Lucia entered Mr. McLean’s office to find him and Ted already seated.
“Good morning; sorry I’m late,” she apologized as she sat.
“Good morning, Ms. Baker. You’re right on time. I know you two have a lot on your plates so I won’t waste your time. Hope the transition is going well for you two.”
“Yes sir.” After some minutes of business talk, Mr. McLean said, “There’s a business network dinner coming off this weekend. It is a good opportunity for you young folk to meet up with great minds. Are you up for it? I can get you tickets.”
“Let me check my schedule,” Lucia said, taking out her phone. When she opened her calendar, she realized she had an out-of-state business trip with Ted. She bit her lower lip. After the confrontation at the hospital, she doubted he was still up for it. “Um…sure, I don’t think I’ve anything…”Lucia was saying when Ted cut in, “Actually no; we have a weekend business trip to meet a potential investor.” He threw Lucia a deadly look that made Lucia subconsciously want to vanish.
“Oh already, that’s great. Okay then, I’ll get you tickets for the next one.”
“We are grateful, Mr. McLean.” “It is my pleasure.” Ted looked at his watch.
“We’ll take our leave now. Thanks for your time, sir.” They shook hands.
“My regards to your dad, Ms. Baker.”
“Sure, Mr. McLean. Have a nice day.” They stepped out of the office. Ted who was walking in front of Lucia suddenly stopped and turned, making Lucia almost bump into him.
“Gosh! You startled me. Did you forget something in the office?” “Why did you say or almost say you were free this weekend? Did you forget about our trip or did you not want to come with me?” Ted asked.
“Oh no, it’s not like that. Well, because of what transpired at the hospital and because of what you said, I didn’t think you would want me to come along.”
“Seriously? This is a business trip not some pleasure get-away.”
“I know that. I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
“What happened at the hospital has nothing to do with this. And besides, the fact couples fight doesn’t mean they are going to get a divorce, does it?” Ted asked.
“What’s with the metaphor? We are not a couple, are we?” Lucia asked. Ted sighed and walked away. He unlocked his car door and opened it.
“Ted, wait.” Lucia approached him.
“I know I’ve hurt you with my actions or should I say my inactions…and I want to let you know that I’m sorry. We were friends before and I enjoyed our connection. And I really want to gain your friendship and trust back.”
“It is going to take more than ‘I’m sorry’ to gain my trust back, lady,” Ted said and got into his car. “Ted…” He started the car and drove away. Lucia sighed and walked to her car.
Lucia pulled over at Allen’s apartment. Allen opened the door a few seconds after Lucia had knocked.
“Hi Lucia. Come on in.” She entered and looked around the place.
“Want a drink?”
“A glass of water will be fine, thanks.” She sat. As her eyes roamed the room, memories of her time with him began flashing in her mind. She remembered her bruised and teary face. She touched her forehead to hold back the headache but to no avail. Flashes of Allen hitting her to the point where she fell and hit her head on the bed post came to mind.
“Hey…are you okay?” Lucia startled when Allen touched her shoulder. She began panting. “What is it?” She took the glass from him and drank. Allen sat beside her.
“You remember what?”
“I remember…everything.” “Okay…you already told me that.”
“No! I remember what you did to me, Allen. How you used to abuse me.” Allen’s face turned pale.
“Lucia…I was a total jerk back then and I’m very sorry.”
“You made me forget my memories and when Ted came looking for me, you lied to him.” “Oh boy, he figured you out, didn’t he?”
“That is not the point, Allen! I was your punching bag, wasn’t I?” “I’m sorry.”
“And you still had the guts to come see me in the hospital? You’re pathetic,” Lucia said, getting up.
“Lucia please…” “Don’t let me ever see you anywhere around me or I’ll have you arrested and if my mum finds out about this, you’ll surely rot behind bars.” “Lucia…” She left the apartment and slammed the door behind her. Allen collapsed onto the sofa.
There was a knock on Ted’s door. He raised his head to see Anita entering.
“I need your signature on these papers,” she said, handing over a file to him. He took them and signed them. He raised his hand to give it back to her with his eyes on his computer but after a few seconds of the file not leaving his hand, he looked up. Anita took it.
“What was that for?”
“I just needed to know if I had your attention.”
“Come on, we’ve been through a lot together and now all you do is to avoid eye contact? I’m not just any employee,” Anita said. “That’s all you are to me, Anita and if you’re not comfortable with that, I’d be glad to get you fired this instant.”
“Whoa, what’s with the attitude? What’s the matter, the love of your life refused to rub your feet last night?” She asked teasingly. When he eyed her, she sat down. “Come on, the fact that our wedding has been called off doesn’t mean we can no longer be friends, right?”
“I’m kind of busy here, Miss.” “Miss, wow…is that where we are right now? Tell me, why are you so grumpy?”
“I’m not grumpy; I’m just not in the mood to play dumb games with you.”
“Is this about Lucia?” He looked at her.
“What about Lucia?”
“Are you thinking about her?” “Maybe I am. What is it to you?” “What if I told you, I know where she is?”
“What do you mean?”
“You wouldn’t believe it…she’s closer than you think.”
“You know who Lucia is?”
“For quite some time; ever since you told me about her, I did a little investigation and found her out.”
“So why didn’t you tell me?”
“Are you kidding me? Who’ll will deliberately give her fiancé the green card to call off their wedding?”
“But I called it off anyway.”
“Yeah but at least, if I don’t get you, she won’t either and I can live with that.”
“Wow. For a moment, I forgot the kind of woman I almost married.” “Oh please, I’m not the devil. This is basic human instinct. I wanted to protect what was mine as long as it was mine.”
“Anyway, thanks. I found her too.”
“You did? You sure?”
“Sure about what?”
“Sure you found the real Lucia Baker?”
“So you’re going to get married to her and spend the rest of your happy days on the beach and enjoy the view of the sunset?” “Very funny; no. I guess you won, Anita. I’m not going to be with either of you,” Ted said. Anita smiled.
“Gladly,” she said, getting up. “You’ll be fine. Sooner or later, you’ll realize I’m the best one for you,” she said with a wink and left the room. Ted sighed and buried his face in his palms.