“Monique?” Lucia turned at the sound of her name. It was Anita.
“You look well…what are you doing here? Can’t have enough of your guy?”
“Is he in? I’d like to see him,” Lucia said.
“Ted? He hasn’t been here since yesterday; thought he was spending the whole at your side.”
“No and his phone is off. Okay, thanks,” Lucia said, turning around.
“So, what’s up with your tape problem? Is there still the chance of it floating on the internet?” Anita asked. Lucia glanced at her with a smile.
“No, they are all gone now. If you want one to watch, why not make one yourself?” Lucia snapped.
“Anyway, I want to say thank you for letting me take your place whiles you were away. It was really productive.”
“Productive, huh? Did you try anything on Ted whiles I was gone?”
“Try anything? I’d say I was there for him when you weren’t; I only offered him my sweet company and maybe a little bit of something you are not offering him.”
“Is that so?” Lucia asked with a chuckle. Anita smiled.
“I’m surprised you haven’t asked Ted to fire me. If I were in your place, I’d have done that the very minute he asked me out just for the fun of it.”
“And that’s the difference between you and me. I haven’t done so because you’re no threat to me, Anita.”
“Oh yeah, maybe you’re underestimating how much of a handful I can be.”
“Oh no, I’m very abreast in all matters concerning you. I am not your employer, Ted is. And whenever he feels he doesn’t need you anymore, he’ll definitely send you out and I have a strong feeling that the day is coming very soon.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure if I were you. Who knows, I may be sticking around for a very long time,” Anita said confidently.
“Sure, if you want to see firsthand how happy Ted and I are going to be for a very long time, then great! I’ll even give you the front seat to our reality show. You may throw yourself at him as much as you want, but remember I’m the one wearing the ring,” Lucia said and walked out. Anita watched her leave, her heart pounding with rage.
The doorbell rang. Mrs. Bourbon opened the door.
“Lucia Baker! So nice to see you! Come on in.”
“Thanks,” Lucia said as she entered.
“How are things at the office?”
“So far so good. Is Ted at home?”
“Yes, he has locked himself up in his room. When I asked him about work, he said you would handle it.”
“And I am; I just wanted to check up on him. Is he unwell?”
“Not that I know of; he’s not himself though. Let me show you his room. It is the third on the left after you’ve taken the stairs,” Mrs. Bourbon said.
“Okay; thank you, Mrs. Bourbon.” She went upstairs. She knocked on his door. There was no response. She knocked again. Still, no response. She exhaled and opened the door. Ted turned to look at the one invading his room. Lucia closed the door.
“Hi…I’ve been calling but your phone is off,” she said. Ted took the earpieces from his ears.
“Yeah, I needed some time off.”
“Okay, everyone needs that. Are you okay?”
“I was a few minutes ago.”
“I’m sorry for disrupting your peace and quiet. I was beginning to get worried when I couldn’t get in touch with you. So, when are you coming back to work?”
“Why, any urgent matter I need to attend to?” Ted asked.
“No, just wanted to know.”
“I’ll come when I’m ready.”
“Okay; I’ll leave you then. Whenever you feel like talking, you know where to find me,” Lucia said as she held the door knob. Ted lay on his side, his back facing Lucia. Lucia opened the door but a second later, she closed it. She leaned on the door and watched Ted for a while.
“You’ve not been yourself since I got back. I don’t know if it is because of how I took off or it is something else but it is obvious it is eating you up. I want you know that whatever burden you may be carrying, I’d like to share it with you,” Lucia said.
“Thought you were leaving,” Ted said, his back still facing her.
“I cannot leave you in such a state, honey.” She took off her shoes and got onto the bed. She lay beside him and hugged him from behind. She could hear his heartbeat in her ears. Ted held her hand around him and Lucia flinched, fearing that he would push it back. But surprisingly, he placed her hand on his chest, pulling her closer to him. Lucia kissed his cheek and leaned her face on it.
“What is it, sweetie?” She whispered.
“I was hurt when you fled and…I was in a bad place. I did something I’m not proud of,” Ted confessed.
“Anita, of course. No wonder she felt on top of the world when I saw her today.” Ted turned his face to look at her.
“You met her?”
“Yeah, I went over to your dad’s office thinking you’d be there. She was blabbing about sticking around for a long time. I was wondering what she meant but who cares, right?” Lucia said. She ran her fingers through his hair.
“Whatever it is, let it go. For all you know, I may have some indiscretions to confess too.” Ted raised his eyebrows. Lucia chuckled.
“I’m joking; my point is, it’s in the past so just leave it there…as long as you won’t repeat whatever it is you did.”
“Don’t you want to know…?”
“No. I just want you to forgive yourself and me and let’s move on. I miss you.”
“I miss you too.” They kissed. Ted lay on his back, pulling Lucia onto him. The door opened. Lucia startled as she sat up, covering her mouth.
“Oops…I didn’t mean to interrupt you…” Ted’s mum began to apologize.
“Mum, how many times do I have to tell you to knock first? That is why I prefer to stay at my place,” Ted said.
“Come on, you know you love your room. You should be thanking me for coming when I did. We do not want any pre-marital baby on our hands, do we?”
“We were just kissing, mum.” Lucia covered her face in embarrassment.
“Now you’re making her uncomfortable,” Ted said, sitting up and putting her arm around Lucia. He kissed her cheek.
“Okay, now that the awkward moment has passed, I need you to come with me, dear. There are some photos I need you to see,” Mrs. Bourbon said to Lucia.
“Right now? She came to see me,” Ted said.
“Yeah and from the look of things, her purpose has been fulfilled. You two have made up so now let’s move to urgent matters. We had to halt our plans because of you leaving town so we have to hurry things up. I want you to come look at some bouquet photos.” Lucia got out of the bed and wore her shoes. They left the room. Ted lay back on the bed and sighed in relief.
“Thank God she understands,” he muttered. He joined his mother and fiancée in the living room.
“They are all very pretty. I don’t know which one to choose,” Lucia said.
“I know; take your time. You’ll definitely find your favorite.” Ted stood behind Lucia and peered at the magazine. He pointed to one photo.
“This one is pretty and unique.”
“Yeah, you like it?” Lucia asked, glancing up at him. He nodded and kissed her forehead. Ted’s mother smiled as she admired them.
“Then this one it is,” Lucia said, showing the photo to Ted’s mum.
“Good choice. Since we do not have much time, I’d suggest we start a-touring on the wedding dresses as soon as possible. When are you free?”
“I do not really have a free time.”
“Since you’re the boss, can you give her some time off?” She asked her son.
“Sure; how much time do you need?”
“Like three days.”
“Just for a wedding dress?” Lucia asked.
“Oh no, and all other related matters. I’d need you two to find some free time so we can all go cake sampling.”
“Sounds tedious,” Ted remarked.
“It is but count yourselves blessed that you both have parents who love you this much to be doing almost all of the work. All you have to do is to be ready, look good and get married. How cool is that?” Mrs. Bourbon said with a smile.
Lucia stayed over for dinner with Ted’s family and it was really warm.
“Where are you two off to?” Ted’s mum asked when she saw the couple going up the stairs.
“I left my purse in his room; I’m going to get it,” Lucia said.
“Okay.” They entered the room.
“How is it that they are planning everything without asking us for the go-ahead first?” Lucia asked.
“Because in their world, we have already given it.” He pulled her into his arms for a hug.
“Thanks for coming over; I feel much better.”
“Does that mean you’d be coming to work tomorrow?” Lucia asked.
“Most definitely.” She smiled happily and he kissed her. Lucia took her purse. They went back downstairs. Lucia said goodbye to Ted’s parents and she stepped outside with Ted. She sat in the car. He blew her a kiss. She smiled as she caught it. They waved at each other when she started the engine. She drove away.