I’m a smart man, some say a brilliant businessman, but I am not well known for my social skills or my ability to maintain relationships. I give away too much of my money to charity and just to anyone who I think needs it, at least I used to. My father hired Noel to oversee my legal affairs before he and my mother retired to Tuscany. He said I was “too soft” and that anything that even smelled like a legal issue should be handled by Noel. So, when I found the test, I called him and now here we are. I want Vicki. I want the baby. I want a family. Noel says I can’t have that and keep my money. The truth is, if I knew for sure that he was wrong and that Vicki wasn’t doing any of this for money, I’d gladly give it all away and take her and the baby instead. I can make more money. I doubt that I’ll ever meet another woman that makes me feel the way that she does.
I had to stop two more times before I got home from the mansion to throw up. My head was pounding and I felt like my heart had just exploded in my chest. I couldn’t believe this. If there wasn’t something missing from the house and they suspected me, then the only other reason for this would be that Alex found the pregnancy test. But to have me fired over it, and not even speak to me himself… was I that wrong about him? I’d seen him as a man of compassion, kindness and honesty. Could I have misjudged him that badly?
As I had these thoughts, I pulled into the lot in front of my apartment complex. I parked in my usual spot and made my way around towards the door and that’s when I saw them. There was a large, black car and more men in dark suits. They were parked directly outside of my door. What the hell?
“Excuse me, you can’t park here,” I said.
“Victoria Hart?” a small, balding man with glasses and a suit that was too big asked me.
“I’m Noel Parker. I’m Mr. Reigns' attorney of note and I’d like to come in and speak with you.”
“What about?” I asked. How dare Alex send first a security officer and now a lawyer to speak with me? How dare the coward not come speak to me himself?
“I’d rather not do this in a parking lot.”
“I don’t really care what you would “rather” do. I’d “rather” not have you in my apartment and you can tell your cowardly boss that if he wants to talk to me, he can do it himself.” I started to walk away.
“Miss Hart, Mr. Reigns is not going to come and see you himself if that’s what you’re holding out for. I’m prepared to offer you a settlement…”
I turned on the little man and got into his face. Through gritted teeth I said, “A settlement? You’re talking about money? Is nothing sacred that you people think even a life can be bought? You tell your boss he makes me sick and he’s a bigger coward than Jason. I don’t want his money and I will not be forced to do something against my own principles because it’s what he thinks is best.” I turned and started in again.
“Miss Hart.” I almost didn’t turn back around, but there was some small, pathetic part of me that wanted to believe Alex was in the back of that car and about to step out and tell me this had all been a big mistake and he wasn’t trying to pay me to get rid of our baby. The baby that I wasn’t even sure I had yet since I hadn’t had a chance to even call the doctor thanks to this circus.
“You’ve been served,” some younger man in a suit said, holding out a manila envelope. I looked at it like it was a snake about to bite me.
“I don’t want that,” I said.
“I served you, Miss. You can take them or leave them here on the sidewalk. Either way, the court process will go on the same, with or without you.”
“The court process? What the hell?” I grabbed the envelope and then as quickly as I could, I unlocked the door and went inside, slamming them out. I threw the envelope down on the coffee table and dropped to my knees in the middle of the room and sobbed. Why was my life such a mess? Where had I gone so wrong? I’d been working so hard, going to school and I’d been faithful and loving to my boyfriend and I pay my bills and I abide by laws… why was this happening to me now?
After about half an hour of feeling sorry for myself on the floor, I got to my feet and went into my room. I left the offending papers where they lay for now. I washed my face and changed into a pair of sweats and then I called the gynecologist. I made an appointment for the following morning for a pregnancy test. Then I made a cup of tea and finally, settled onto the couch and once calmer, I ripped the envelope open. I pulled out what was inside, and in my hand was a pile of legal forms. I was being sued by Alexander Reigns for: Breach of Contract-In my contract at work it stated that I was not to engage in any type of personal relationships with any members of the household. That clause was meant for relationships amongst the staff, or visitors that might come to the house on occasion. I suppose it was also meant for my employer. The words went on and on in legal jargon which in my brain translated to mumbo jumbo. The gist of it was that if I were to agree to “terminate” the pregnancy, I would be paid the sum of one hundred thousand dollars and of course, Mr. Generous would pay for the abortion. Was he kidding? Who pays someone to terminate their pregnancy?
I was suddenly sick again. I ran for the bathroom and emptied out the contents of my stomach once more. Not that there was anything there but acid and bile at this point. I just sat there on the floor for a long time wondering what I had done to make Alexander believe I would be a disgusting enough human being to take his money in exchange for killing my baby. I was appalled. Actually I was beyond appalled. I was sickened by it, and I was even more sickened by the fact that I’d actually thought I had feelings for this man.
I pulled myself up off the floor once more and went for my phone. I needed an attorney. I wasn’t going to sit idly by while this man tried to pressure me into doing something I don’t believe in and blackballs me across Los Angeles as well so that I’m not even able to get another job. He was the one who took me to the basement. He was the one who poured me those drinks. He seduced me. He chose not to wear a condom and now he wants to erase it all… including our child and pretend like it never happened. I wasn’t going to allow that. It happened and the life growing inside of me was proof of that. I don’t want his money, what I do want and I believe I deserve, is for him to look me in the eye and apologize for hiding behind it.
I called the only person I knew that might be able to help me, Jason. No, that wasn’t really true. My mother could probably help me and when she heard who the father of the baby was, I’m sure she’d be more than willing. She would expect me to take him for every penny he had because that was the way my mother operated. I wasn’t going there. Jason’s best friend is an attorney. The best I can hope for is a discount since I was now unemployed.
“Hey Vicki! Did you go to the doctor?” That was how Jason answered the phone. Did anyone genuinely care about me at all?
“Not yet. Jason, I need an attorney. Do you think Paul might be willing to help me out… you know with payments or something.”
“An attorney? For what? Did you hit someone’s car?”
With a sigh I said, “No Jason. I got fired.”
“Alexander Reigns found the pregnancy test I did at work yesterday. He thinks the baby is his.”
I heard a long pause and then, “Is it?”
“The day you broke up with me, I slept with him. I’m not going to apologize, Jason. You left me devastated. I shouldn’t have done it… obviously, but I did, and here we are.”
“Wow, so he thinks you’re pregnant with his kid and he fired you?”
I sighed again. I really only wanted an attorney. “Yes. He served me with a restraining order and an offer for money if I “terminate” and a bunch of other stuff I don’t understand. That’s why I need a lawyer.”
“Wow,” he said again. This conversation was going nowhere.
“Okay Jason, anyways…”
“Wait, I’ll talk to Paul, Vicki. Of co
urse I will. I’m sure he’ll be willing to help you. I’ll call him right now. Then stay there, okay? I’m going to come over and bring you lunch. It sounds like you’ve had a horrible day.”
Lunch? Jason was worried that I had a horrible day? What the heck was this about? “Yeah, okay. Will you just have Paul call me?”
“We’ll get you an appointment with him first thing tomorrow,” he said, confidently.
“Okay, thank you. But, I have an appointment with the doctor to have the pregnancy test at eight. Should I cancel that?”
“No! No, don’t cancel that babe. That’s important. If you’re pregnant, you need to know now. I mean, so you can start taking vitamins or whatever to make sure the little guy is healthy.” The little guy? Was this Jason I was talking to? “I’ll be there within the hour, okay babe?”
“Okay Jason. Thank you.”
Jason was on my doorstep within the hour with a box of Chinese take-out and a bottle of sparkling cider. “Wow, um, this is really nice,” I told him. I was slightly suspicious of his intentions, but I really did need someone in my corner today.
“Like I said on the phone, Vick, you’ve had a horrible day. I want to make it better.” I let him in and he put the food and the cider down on the table. Then he shocked me by turning around and taking me into his arms. He pulled me into him so my head was against his shoulder and he said, “I missed you, Vick.”
“Really?” I asked, taking a step back.
“Yeah, really. Of course I missed you.”