Gisela lay in her bed. Frost decorated the window. A month had passed since she'd invited Justin into her bed. She fluttered her eyes open, flopped onto her back, and tucked the pillow under her
head. What she'd done still left an ache in her stomach. For the last two days, the kits had stubbornly shown the three red stripes on each of the four occasions she’d done the pregnancy test.
She sat on the edge of the bed and absentmindedly flipped through pages of the book from the bedside table. I should've insisted he use protection. How could I have been so... She lay the
book back on the table.
Well. I... I--I should tell him.
The realization abated some of her stress. Yes! Just march into his office and... And bring the pregnancy tests! That way I wouldn't even have to say anything! She showered, then dressed
into a black, off-shoulder, knee-high slit dress. A shake of her head to straighten her braids, then she was off.
Gisela arrived at the precincts of Justin’s office at ten. She held up the lower hem to prevent Connie, Justin's secretary, from hearing the rustle of her frock. On tiptoe, she went around the PA’s
office to his door—she’d accompanied Olivia to her dad’s office on many occasions and knew the way. Her hand recoiled from the doorknob the moment she touched it, almost like it had burned her.
Gosh, her heart raced. A hand to her chest, she leaned against the wall and took three deep breaths. She had to do this. He deserved to know. It was his baby, too.
She grabbed the knob once again and slowly turned it.
Justin looked up. “Oh! Ah, um… What brings you here?”
“Ah, mmh, I-I-I came to…” She gasped, closing the door behind her. “Sorry, I-I dunno where to…to-to start.”
He scurried back a little on his chair. “What are you talking about?”
“Err… ah, we need to talk.”
Eyes wide, he came around his desk and gestured to one of the seats. “Please have a seat. What’s the matter?”
She sat across from him. “I was supposed to have my periods last week but— “
“Wo wo wo! But what?” He moved his seat closer. “What the hell are you saying?! Listen, I know where you’re headed with this. Don’t.”
She blew her nose, then twirled the handkerchief in her hands. “What am I supposed to do?”
A sarcastic half-smile flickered over his face. “Are you trying to say you’re pregnant?”
“Yes.” She dropped her bag on the floor next to her seat.
"You're kidding. Right? Tell me you're kidding."
She swallowed and remained silent.
Justin gritted his teeth. “Okay, so what has that to do with me?”
The question--and his tone--stung. She gasped. Breathe! It was as if it had knocked every wisp of air from her lungs, and with her jaw dropped, she struggled to inhale, to exhale… to do
“Oh. My. God! Are you kidding me? Look, let’s cut to the chase.” He tapped at her lap. “What do you want from me? money?”
“God, you think I’m a whore?” She grabbed her handbag and moved to leave. “So this is what you always do?”
"Wait. Jeez, wait. Sit. Let's talk. What do you want?"
She ran fingers through her braids and tapped her heel on the floor, with one hand placed at the doorknob. What the hell, so he’d moved on as if nothing happened? Of course, she didn’t expect him
to treat her like a wife, but anything would have been better than seeing her as an inconvenience. But she really needed his help. She’d seen how tough it had been for Aunt Jemima to raise
her and her two cousins as a single mother. She sat and crossed one knee atop the other, exposing her thighs.
Justin stroked his mustache, his gaze fixed on her legs. “Let’s not jump the gun, are you sure you’re pregnant?”
Yes… her charm was starting to work and she could tell from his low and coarse voice that he’d softened. “I have done the pregnancy test over and over and still—.” She took a deep breath. “Oh my
God, you think am making this up? What for?”
“I didn’t say that, but how sure are you it’s mine?”
Come to think of it, why hadn’t she thought of Ken? He’d spent the night at her hostel just a few days before Justin.
She feigned a frown. “What do you take me for? Of course, it’s yours.”
Justin stroked his mustache. “I need to be sure so I know what to do.”
“Can’t believe you’re asking me this. You think I go sleeping around?”
He leaned back and crossed his legs at the ankles. “Well, forget I asked, so what’s your plan?”
“I wish I didn’t have to come to you.” She uncrossed her legs but left her thighs exposed. “It’s obvious I’m bothering you.”
She’d laughed off Olivia when she claimed Ryan liked her in short skirts. Well, seems he wasn’t alone. Justin couldn’t take his eyes off her legs, and he’d softened even further.
He said, “Don’t put words in my mouth. Is it wrong for me to know your plan?”
“I just don’t have one.” She leaned back. Her dress slid up a smidge. She spread her knees slightly. The dress smidge up again. So much skin. “What am I supposed to do?”
“Have you thought ...of... ah... Well, you know you can't keep it.”
She sat up, winding a braid around her finger. “No, don’t even go there. I’m keeping my baby.”
“No, you can’t.”
“Just in case you’re mistaken, I won’t force you to take care of your responsibility.” She stood. “I can take care of myself.”
He rose with her and clasped her by the waist. “You don’t understand.”
She leaned on him. “You don’t love me anymore?”
‘’You don’t understand,’’ he repeated, obviously absentminded.
Feeling his breath quicken, she leaned in even closer. ‘’What is it I don’t understand?’’
“This is wrong. You’re putting me in an awkward position.”
She tilted her head back. “Is it wrong because we’re in your office? What if it was my room?”
Either he wasn’t listening to himself or he was in a trance. How could he kiss her and in the same breath say this? “What happened between us was a mistake.”
Oh goodness, he just couldn’t resist her. This was so… good. What at first had been the cause of shame, slowly started becoming a source of joy, affirmation for Gisela. If he took care of the baby,
inadvertently, he’d take care of her. Her whole life growing up flashed in her mind—hardships the entire time in her widowed aunt’s home. Were it not for the government loan, she’d have long
dropped out of varsity. More than ever, she resolved to pursue this rich man. He’d get her out of poverty. Thus, she’d taunt him with her feminine charm and make him sink deeper and deeper until he
wouldn’t want to get out of the mire.
She kissed him. “I dunno what I’m supposed to do without you.”
The door creaked open and Susie walked in, her eyes still fixed on some document in her hand. “Guess what, I’ve managed to get through to the CEO himself--” She looked up and her eyes and mouth
froze wide open. The documents slipped from her hand. “Oh! I-I-I’ll, Sorry…”
Gisela recoiled from Justin as though a firecracker had gone off, hands over mouth. “Oh…no.”
Her brain struggled to make sense of it all, but it seemed like she’d been paralyzed from the neck up. She went blank and only managed to steal a glance at Justin, hoping he’d rescue the situation.
But his eyes seemed to be attempting to retreat inside his head.
Susie crouched to pick her papers. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to--”
“It’s okay.” Justin brushed imaginary dirt from his shirt. “Anything urgent?”
“Nope.” Susie placed the documents on his desk. “Call me when you’re ready.”
Gisela hunched her shoulders and lowered her gaze. Her cheeks burned. Suddenly, her dress felt too... revealing.
At last, the door closed.
Justin paced with arms clasped behind his back. “Damn, you shouldn’t have come here.”
“I’m sorry, I should go.”
He stopped at her side and briefly stroked his mustache. “Who else knows about this?”
“Nobody, just me and you. Well, and now Susie, but she doesn’t know I’m pregnant.” She took out a lip gloss from her handbag. “Can she tell anyone?”
“No, she can’t.” He collapsed into his chair. “No one else should know about this.”
“Excuse me, someone else might walk in on us, can I lock it?”
“Oh, yeah. Good idea.”
She sat next to him and rested a hand on his lap. “Soon, the bump’s sure to show and Olivia will ask me. So will mom.”
Gosh, it now felt so weird to refer to Katelyn as mom, something she’d gotten used to. Who knows, they might soon become co-wives.
He wrinkled his nose. “You can’t tell them anything. Just stop coming home.”
Did he just say home? Goodness! Had she been so much a part of his household that he even saw her as rightfully belonging there? The baby would cement her position in his life.
“What should I tell Olivia? In fact, she’s been trying to call me all this time I’ve been here.” She looked at her cell phone. “We share everything, actually, there are no secrets between us.”
“If you dare tell Olivia anything, it’ll be over between us and I’ll make your life hell.”
I know you ’re just scared of hurting your family, and you can’t hurt me either, because you love us both.
“You know I can’t tell her, just wondering what I should say if she happens to ask me. I know she--”
“Tell her it’s… ah, don’t you have a boyfriend?”
Her gaze dropped. “Mmmh… no, okay?” She remembered they were together with Ken at the Club before he walked out of them, and it’s what led to her spending the night with Justin. “I can’t call Ken
my boyfie per se.”
His eyebrows rose. It seemed like he’d also forgotten about Ken. “Come on now, don’t take me for a fool. Ken’s your boyfriend.”
“Ken’s a loser and nothing serious happened between us. Ask Olivia, she knows the truth.”
“Please, leave my family out of this.”
“Olivia’s the only true friend I have and knows everything about me.” She started sobbing. “If you don’t trust me, ask her.”
The trick worked. He pressed her hand in his. “You better be saying the truth.”
Justin had a point, but she wouldn’t risk anything with such a loser—a pot addict and a jobless rascal who depended on his sister for upkeep.
She sponged her tears with a handkerchief. “Trust me, it’s yours.”
Justin rubbed the back of his neck. “You better be sure.”
“So, what do you want me to do?”
“Whatever works for you, I wouldn’t want to come between you and Olivia, mom…” Oh! Could she still call Katelyn Mom? “I’ll go by what you tell me.”
He took a deep breath. “Are you sure you want to keep the baby?”
She bit her lip. “Yes, I’m as sure as hell, I’m keeping my baby.”
The handset rang, but he ignored it. “If this remains between us, trust me, I’ll take care of everything.”
She opened her mouth to speak, but-ugh! The telephone rang again. He lifted a finger. “Excuse me.”
“Hello? Yeah, okay… Can it wait till two o’clock? Actually, reschedule all my appointments to the afternoon.” He placed the receiver on the handset and returned. “It’s Connie, she must know you’re
“I don’t think so. No one saw me coming in.”
“Connie would have been here long ago.” He smiled. “I’m sure Susie must’ve told her not to come over.”
“It’s all my fault, I’m so… sorry.”
“Don’t be hard on yourself. I’d have done the same in your position.”
Goodness gracious, why was he being overly kind? Perhaps to ensure she doesn’t let out the secret. Definitely she wouldn’t. It was equally for her own good to win his trust from the early going.
She rose to her feet. “I should go. So, about tomorrow? Olivia will feel bad if I miss her birthday."
“No, you should come. Just behave normally so no one suspects anything.”
She gripped his hands tight, and when she spoke, it was hardly more than a whisper. “How am I supposed to get in touch with you in case of anything?”
He stared, then lowered his gaze. "I'll... um, arrange something with Susie.”
She stepped outside. It worked. She stroked the bills Justin had slipped into her handbag before she's left. This baby will change everything! She couldn't wait to call Aunt Jemima. It was only a
matter of time before she’d relocate her from the village to the big City.
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