Ted was in his father’s study room, going through some documents and sipping his fruit juice when his mother entered. He lifted his head.
“Hi mum,” he greeted.
“Hi son,” she responded as she sat down.
“Anything I can do for you?”
“I just wanted to know how you were holding up.” He glanced at her.
“How do you mean?”
“It has been almost two weeks since Lucia left town. I know it has not been easy taking care of both companies.”
“Yeah, I’ve had some help with that so it’s cool.”
“Yeah, whose help?”
“Why would you bring her that close to…?”
“What other choice do I have, mother? I can’t watch the companies sink. And it’s not like I asked her to come.”
“Of course she volunteered; any chance for her to get her claws back on you.”
“No she didn’t volunteer. My runaway bride-to-be told her to take her place.”
“What? Why on earth would she do that?”
“That’s the first thing I’ll ask when I see her.”
“And when will that be?” Ted raised his hands.
“So go find out.”
“How? Her phone is out of service and…”
“Have you asked her mother?” She asked.
“She said she has no idea.”
“Every mother knows her child’s whereabouts. She hasn’t told you probably because Lucia has told her not to. But if you could talk to her, let her understand your need to talk and also see her, you may find out.”
“You think?” Ted asked.
“I believe she’s worth the try, isn’t she?” Ted nodded.
Mrs. Baker opened the door.
“Young Bourbon! Wasn’t expecting to see you. Come on in.” He thanked her and entered. They both sat.
“I know why you’re here. Lucia hasn’t contacted me for a while…”
“She left me to take care of a very young and fragile company. That, I can take but she asking Anita to step in for her, I find that very unacceptable,” Ted interrupted.
Lucia’s mum sat up. “I didn’t know that. Why don’t you dismiss her?”
“I’ve tried but…that’s not the reason why I came. I know that you do know where your daughter is and something tells me that you knew where she was when she ran away from home the last time. At least you knew what she was practicing as a nurse somewhere. I’m begging you, I really need to see her. We just started dating or should I say courting and she’s gone! And you guys are going on ahead with the wedding plans as if everything is fine but it isn’t. I miss her and I want her back. Don’t you want her back?” Ted asked pleadingly.
“Of course I do but that isn’t a strong motivation for her to come back. She’ll only come back when she knows she still has you to come to.”
“And I am here. We have our issues, I admit that but we wouldn’t be able to deal with it if we don’t talk about it. I do love your daughter, more than I wish I wanted to but that’s the truth. These past two weeks have been a nightmare with her in the wind. Could you please tell her to come back home?”
“How about you tell her yourself?” Ted sighed in relief.
“You’re going to give me her number?” Mrs. Baker took her phone.
“Do you have a notepad and pen with you?” She asked.
“Take your phone and type this.” He hastily took out his phone. She gave him an address.
“She’ll be there on Saturday. There’s this conference she’ll be attending. Apparently, she’s going to meet some potential investors for your joint-owned company.”
“I see; thanks, Mrs. Baker. I appreciate this.”
“I’m glad you finally came. I’ve been waiting for you to come for a long time. Only you have the charm to bring her back to her senses.” Ted chuckled.
“And that is a lot of responsibility.”
“It surely is. How’s your mother?”
“Great; tell her I’ve seen a nice bridal shop which I’d like the both of us to go check out.”
“It kind of seems you are marrying us off.”
“You young people all like to delay the inevitable. You two want to be together; we are just pushing the right buttons so that you will do so sooner than later.”
“Thanks again, ma’am. I’ll be on my way.”
Anita entered the office.
“Awww…still pouting, huh? Your sweetheart still hasn’t come around, has she?”
“Leave me alone, Anita.”
“But how can I when you look so lonely and needy? Especially when I know the right antidote to your problems.”
“Are you going to tell me where she is?” Ted asked.
“Then you have no antidote.”
“I’m just wondering, what does she really have that you’ve fallen this hard for her? She’s just a pretty girl from a rich family,” Anita thought aloud.
“No, she’s a pretty girl with a good heart and she’s my soul mate.”
“Uh huh and apparently she’s into sex tapes as well.”
“Okay, okay, I overstepped and I’m sorry.” She stood behind Ted and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“You know I can make you feel better,” she whispered into his ear. Ted got up.
“Stop it, Anita.”
“I know you feel committed to Lucia and all, but she’s not here. And who knows what she’s doing right now, huh?”
“I’m not going to disrespect her by doing anything stupid.”
“Aww…aren’t you the faithful type? I now regret losing you to her.”
“Leave me alone, Anita.”
“How long has it been, huh? You look all stuck up and grumpy. Are you sure you don’t need me to relieve you?” Anita asked seductively.
“I said leave me alone, Anita!”
“Okay but if you need me, you know where to find me.” She winked at him and left the office. Ted sighed and sat back down.
Ted pulled over at the parking lot of Sunset Hotel. He looked at the address Mrs. Baker gave her. The conference was being held there. He got out of the car and entered. When he entered the conference hall, it seemed the conference had ended because everyone was on his feet chatting with a colleague. Ted looked around to see if he could spot Lucia. Out of nowhere, he saw her approaching with an older man. Their eyes met.
“And here he is! I wasn’t sure he was going to make it. Mr. Adams, meet Mr. Bourbon, my partner.”
“Hello sir.” They shook hands.
“Your partner here is very good at marketing your company. She makes it sound like every investor’s dream,” Mr. Adams remarked.
“Yeah, she’s a natural. I hope you’ll consider investing with us.”
“I’ll definitely consider it. You’ve given me your card, right? When I make my decision, I’ll let you know.”
“Yes sir; thanks very much.”
“Thank you Mr. Adams, may I borrow her for a minute? There are some things we need to discuss,” Ted said.
“Sure but not for long!” he said lightheartedly.
“Sure,” Ted said, grabbing Lucia’s hand and pulling her away from the crowded place.