Eager for him to leave, I stand. “You should go then.”
“I will as soon as we’ve settled this. Sit down, Ms. Watson. Please. I can’t remain seated while you stand.”
I want to say no, but I can't. He’s in enough pain as it is. I plop back on my chair.
He breathes hard for a couple of seconds, probably trying to get his pain under control. “We need to discuss this situation, but we can’t do it here. Meet me tomorrow for brunch, say eleven, at my hotel, the Four Seasons."
Much as I want to avoid this discussion, I can’t. I’ll need to do as he asks. "Fine."
"Samuel Taylor will pick you up at your home. He's my—"
"I know who Samuel is.” My voice rises. “Did you think I'd forgotten him in the last two months?"
"No, of course not. My apologies.” Leaning heavily on his cane, he painfully comes to his feet while I slide my shoes back on. “Until tomorrow, Ms. Watson."
It’s against firm policy to allow an outside guest to roam around the office alone. “I need to accompany you.”
“Fine.” He bows his head.
We wander down the hallway, in silence, not once exchanging a word, as if we’re nothing but business acquaintances. This from the man whose passion burned with such intensity I feared I’d be consumed by his flame. Clearly, whatever we had is gone, never to return. And I want nothing more than to return to my office, lay my head on my desk and cry over everything I lost and can never be regained.
MY LEG THROBS IN AGONY, but I get through the interview with The Wall Street Journal reporter and even manage a half hour of the cocktail party before I say goodbye to Carrey and his team. Leaning heavily on the cane, I head toward the lift, immensely grateful for my VP’s presence. If I start to keel over, Miranda will cover for me.
Somehow I make it out of the building without any mishap and into the limo where Samuel Taylor, my driver and security guard, waits to whisk us to the Four Seasons. Once we arrive at the hotel, we go our separate ways—Miranda to a dinner she’s arranged with friends, I to my room, where I can give my leg a rest.
Alone in my hotel suite, I pour a scotch from the mini bar and sink into the sofa to rest my injured leg. Clicking the remote, I twirl through the telly offerings, stop at a Washington Nationals game. Half an inning later, I'm gritting my teeth from the excruciating pain. The alcohol alone is not cutting it. I reach for my pills, knowing damn well the danger of mixing them with booze. But what choice do I have? I won’t last the night without both.
When I float pain free, my mind wanders back to the events of the afternoon. Somehow the closing took second fiddle to meeting Elizabeth Watson, the woman I didn’t know existed until a week ago when Brianna told me about our relationship and my alleged role in her pregnancy. Something I find difficult to believe since I always use a condom. Or used to anyway. That much I remember. So I can’t comprehend how she could have become pregnant by me.
According to Ms. Watson, I may not be the father of the child she carries. That statement tallies up with the care I usually took to prevent conception. And yet, I don’t believe her. Something about our conversation strikes me as odd. Months ago, she told Brianna I was the one responsible, but now she’s waffling on her statement. Why would she do that? Is she trying to throw me off the scent? Or did she speak the truth when she admitted to multiple sex partners? I don’t buy it. Her refusal to look at me when she mentioned other men seems to indicate a lie of some kind. Which baffles me. Why prevaricate about something that can be proved with a simple blood test?