The door to Ted’s office opened.
“Not now; I’m kind of busy here,” he said dismissively without looking up.
“Someone woke up grumpy today.” Ted lifted his head and got up.
“Mrs. Baker! Forgive me; I didn’t realize it was you.”
“I can see that.”
“Have a seat please.” They both sat.
“So how’s work over here?”
“It’s good. We have a lot of propositions from potential investors so yeah, things are looking good.”
“Good to hear and where’s my daughter?”
“You didn’t know?”
“Oh I’m sorry; I thought she would have called to inform you by now.”
“Inform me about what? I tried calling her but her phone was off. Where is she?”
“She’s out of town. On business.”
“You let her go on her own?”
“And why is that?” There was a knock and the door opened immediately after. Anita froze in her tracks when she saw Mrs. Baker in the office.
“Oh I’m sorry; I didn’t know you had a visitor. I’ll come back later. Good day, ma’am,” she said hastily and left the office. Mrs. Baker turned a stunned face towards her son-in-law.
“Is she who I think she is?” She inquired, pointing at the door. Ted nodded.
“I can explain that.”
“And where did you say my daughter was again?”
“She went out of town to negotiate terms with some investors.”
“She left you here with her.”
“It was either I gave her the job or the case in court; and I didn’t want our names splashed across all media platforms.”
“But you wouldn’t mind destroying your marriage in place of that.”
“No ma’am. Lucia and I will work this out.” Mrs. Baker stood up.
“Now listen to me young Bourbon, I like you and I do believe you love my daughter as much as she loves you. But I won’t watch you break her heart and hurt her senselessly. Lucia Monique deserves better than that. Call her and fix this and do whatever you can to get that rodent out of this building and out of your lives. Is that clear?” She warned.
“Yes ma’am,” Ted replied humbly and swallowed hard. She walked out of the office. Ted slammed his fist onto the desk in fury. He called Anita to come over to the office. She entered.
“I’m so sorry, Ted. I had no idea…”
“You breathe better when you cause trouble, don’t you Anita? Why did you just barge in here? You do realize that I have a secretary, don’t you?” Ted asked angrily.
“I am so sorry; she had vacated the desk. I know I’ve made things more difficult for you. Heard from Monique yet?”
“That’s none of your business. What did you want anyway?”
“I wanted to tell you that all was set for the video-conference and they are ready for you.”
“Oh great; is Lucia part of the conference?”
“No; I didn’t see her. Perhaps she’ll join later.” He took some files and they got out of the office.
“Thanks for your time, everyone. Mr. Wilson, where is my wife? She was supposed to be part of this virtual meeting,” Ted asked.
“Yeah, she said she couldn’t make it. She had some things to see to. She said she’ll call you later,” Mr. Wilson informed him.
“Of course she did,” he muttered to himself. “Thanks, Mr. Wilson.”
Lucia entered the apartment rented for her by the Mr. Wilson’s company. Mitch followed her.
“Do you like the place?” He asked, closing the door.
“Yeah, it’s cozy.”
“I chose this one myself. I figured this would be the perfect one for you.”
“And why is that?”
“Well because this place is perfect for two and since you’ll be here for a while, I’m sure your husband will drop by to see you. And I believe a lot of good stuff can be done here,” he said dreamily. Lucia cleared her throat.
“Oh I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to…”
“It’s okay. Thanks for escorting me. You were a big help.”
“It is my pleasure. Would you like to go out for dinner or would you just order in?”
“Um…probably order in. I don’t feel like stepping out again.”
“I was hoping you would say dinner so I could invite myself.” They both chuckled.
“Well the day has not ended yet. Maybe I’ll change my mind.”
“I pray you do. See you later, Mrs.…”
“Call me Monique.”
“Right; bye,” he said and left.
Ted was preparing to leave the office when his office door burst open and an excited Anita rushed in.
“And you do it again. I think we should talk about your manners in this office,” Ted said.
“I have a gift for you, Ted Bourbon.”
“You do?” Anita handed him a file with a broad grin. He glanced at her curiously and took the file when she urged him to. He opened it. Anita watched him closely as he scanned through. He lifted his head and looked at her. For a moment, his expression was blank but a second later, it broke into a smile. Her heart melted.
“You did this?” He asked, surprised. She nodded.
“Come here.” He gave her a brief hug and drew himself apart. He reopened the file.
“Wow…this is amazing, Anita. I have been trying to find time to do this but I never did. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Ted. This is to tell you that I’m here with a good heart. I just want to help you take this company to its very greatest height.”
“And I appreciate it very much,” he said sincerely.
“So what do we celebrate it with?”
“I have to get home.”
“What for? Your wife isn’t there. Come on, we could share a toast to something at least. Please…” Anita pleaded sweetly. He closed his eyes for a moment and said, “Sure.”
“Great! I’ll be right back. Don’t you dare move an inch,” she said and left the office excitedly.
“I can’t believe she did this. At least she is proving herself useful.” His phone rang. He took it out of his pocket and answered it.
“Hey,” he said, breathless after a silent moment.
“Hey. How are you doing?”
“You left me here all alone. How do you think I’m doing?” Another minute of silence passed.
“I missed you,” Lucia confessed.
“I missed you too. How are you holding up there?”
“I came here all alone. How do you think I’m holding up?” He chuckled.
“How are the negotiations going?”
“So far so good. They try to confuse me from time to time but I’ve got someone who explains the technicality aspect to me so we are safe.”
“That’s good. So when are you coming back?”
“As soon as everything is wrapped up. I promise.”
“Okay; because if you don’t, I’ll come and get you myself.” She chuckled.
“I’d love that. Still in the office?”
“Yeah, I’m about to leave actually. Can I call you later in the night? We can chat ourselves to sleep.”
“Yeah, that would be nice.”
“Red wine or champagne?” Anita asked as she walked in. Ted turned cold eyes towards her. Anita froze when she realized he was on the phone.
“Was that Anita?” Lucia asked after another minute of silence had passed.
“Lucia, it is not…”
“Lucia, wait!” The line went dead. Ted threw his phone at the wall in rage.
“I am so sorry. I must have terrible timing.” Ted tried to calm himself by exhaling deeply. He went for his phone and sat down.
“I’ll take it back,” Anita said, turning away.
“No. Bring the bottle. I think I need a drink.”
“Which one?” she asked cautiously.
“The wine. I’d have preferred something stronger but I think I’ll take that when I get home.” Anita placed the bottle on the desk.
“I’ll get the glasses,” she said and walked out. Ted tried calling Lucia back but she ignored the call. He scolded himself inwardly and sighed. She returned with the glasses and poured the wine into them. She gave him one. He downed most of the wine in the glass. Anita watched with worriedly.
“It was Monique on the phone, wasn’t it?” Anita asked. He nodded and emptied his glass.
“I could call her and tell her I’m not in your bedroom.”
“I believe your voice is the last thing she wants to hear tonight. We’ll talk it out.”
“She really can’t stand me, can she?” Anita asked.
“Who can blame her? You’ve been a nasty thorn in her flesh.”
“You don’t think it’s the other way round?”
“You’re here because I gave you my word, Anita. Let’s just keep it that way.”
Lucia took her phone and after a moment of hesitation, she dialled a number.
“Hi Mitch; I was wondering if you’d like to join me for dinner at my apartment. I’m about to order in. What would you like to eat? Okay, I’ll be expecting you. Bye,” she said and hung up. She glanced at the rings on her finger. She touched them for a while and then took them off.
Anita pulled over in front of Ted’s residence.
“Thanks for bringing me home.”
“You’re welcome. You’re quite stoned.” He laughed.
“Yes I am. And I’m going to take a shower and drop myself on my bed.”
“Sounds like a good plan. I’ll see you at the office tomorrow.”
“Yeah, bye.” He got out of her car. She drove off. Ted entered the house.
“I brought us a bottle of wine, if you don’t mind,” Mitch said.
“No, not at all; thanks. I’ve set the food in front of the TV. I’d love to watch a movie. I hope one of the channels would show an interesting one.”
“And I happen to have a DVD with me; although it is not the typical movies ladies like to watch.”
“Which is it then, horror?”
“Oh no; Star Trek? Do you like sci-fi?”
“Of course I do. I’m the typical kind of lady, Mitch.”
“Glad to hear it. I’ll get it started.”
“Sure; I’ll get the glasses.”
When they were done eating, Mitch started stealing glances at Lucia who was watching the movie intently.
“What is it, Mitch?” Lucia asked, sipping her wine with her eyes on the TV.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to stare. I was trying to imagine the kind of lucky guy to get you for a wife.” She smiled.
“How’s married life by the way?”
“It has its ups and downs.”
“And judging from your mood, I think you’re at the down side, right? You’re Mrs. Bourbon, huh? I did have a friend back in the day with that name…”
“Could we not talk about me and my married life, please?”
“Sure. Let me tell you about the incredible lady I recently broke up with…”