Thursday, November 19, 2009

To Be Continued...

Yes, sadly, this is the end of the story. I am breaking off into some new (personal and work-wise) things and won't have the proper time to devote to the story and I don't want to just give some irrelevant post and draw out an ending. And I don't want to give you an ending that you would find too predictable. To me, that's no fun.

I didn't really want to end the story, but circumstances are getting in the way. I'm sorry, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. I'm sure you can predict or make up what happens next, considering most things ended on a good note.

I really appreciate you all reading and supporting the story. Thank you all!!!

La Shunda
a*k*a Lady

Chapter 27

The next afternoon after Jeremy got to work, he called the lawyer Charlotte had hooked him up with. He’d spoken to the guy before, but hadn’t settled on him to finalize the divorce. He’d wanted to talk to Robin first before he made any definite plans.

Now was time to get the ball rolling.

Albert Grayson was the name of the lawyer. He told Jeremy to make sure that he got copies of any and all the police reports to file in the divorce decree, although, he really didn’t feel they would need them. Mr. Grayson told Jeremy they would be in there for leverage, just in case Robin tried to put up a fight.

Jeremy was also reminded that the papers would also ask that each party leave the marriage with what they came into it with, with the option of each person keeping their car. Jeremy even told the lawyer to go ahead and let her have everything left in the house.

After finding out the sick things that Robin and Greg were doing in the house, he figured he might as well just let her have it. He was going to start over with Charlotte anyway.

As they were still on the phone, Mr. Grayson handed Jeremy’s paperwork off to his assistant to get it filed in the computer. The two men were talking about what process was next when his assistant interrupted them.

“Mr. Grayson, I can’t file this petition. Robin Johnson’s lawyer has already filed a claim this morning,” the assistant said. “I am printing out a copy of the petition for you.”

There was some commotion on Mr. Grayson’s end before Jeremy heard him curse under his breath.

“What’s wrong?” Jeremy asked.

“Your soon-to-be ex-wife filed a petition for divorce this morning. In the claim, she has stated that she is 16 weeks pregnant. I thought you told me she was only 8 or 9 weeks?” the lawyer asked.

“According to her when she was in the hospital, she was. I guess that goes to show you that you can’t trust anything that she says,” Jeremy stated and scoffed.

“Well, there’s more here, too. She’s also asking the court to deny you any rights or privileges to the child upon birth if said child does turn out to be yours. I cannot see a judge granting this, but you never know.”

Jeremy was quiet for a minute. He would not have imagined, no matter what was going on between the two of them, that Robin would stoop so low as to keep his child away from him, if it came down to it. Out of all the things in the world that she could do, this one would hurt the most.

“I can’t believe it,” he finally said.

“Don’t get too upset yet. We still have to determine whether or not the baby is yours. You might be about to blow up for no reason,” his lawyer told him. “Why don’t you go home and get some rest, do something to take your mind off this for a while. Let me handle this end of things for now, see what I can dig up, and I’ll call you in a few days and let you know what I find out,” Mr. Grayson said.

Jeremy agreed to try not to worry too much. The lawyer was right, one never knew which way a judge would go when it came to situations like this. He figured he needed to try not to get too worked up. It could all be for naught.

He packed up his things and headed home. Just thinking about the fact that he called Charlotte’s “home” now, instantly put a smile on his face.

Thinking about that got him thinking about the future. Having Charlotte in his future, it was starting to look up already.

A little over a month has passed since Jeremy’s lawyer filed a counter-petition, asking the judge to throw out the demands of Robin’s initial petition. The paperwork went through, in Jeremy’s favor. The judge, who was raised by his single father, couldn’t believe that Robin would deny a man the opportunity to help raise his child. He even went as far to give shared custody to the two of them, making it mandatory.

Jeremy couldn’t have been more pleased. He didn’t want to push things by asking for sole custody, so for now, he was extremely happy.

Robin was starting to show a little bit now, and it made Jeremy a little sad to know that he wasn’t around for the growth of his potential child. When he thought about all the moments he was missing out on, he always got a little down. But then he would think about Robin and those feelings would go away.

He couldn’t wait for the baby to be born. He and Charlotte were even preparing for it at their house. They’d gone out and bought just the essentials. They were practical, not stupid.

Then, exactly three months from the day Robin filed the petition for divorce, the final decree was finally granted. Jeremy was free of Robin, as far as her being his wife.

The second Jeremy got the call that Robin had left court and everything was all said and done, Jeremy called Charlotte. He told her the good news and told her to get ready because later on that night they were going to celebrate. He then called both his mother and Charlotte’s, to let them know that they were all going out.

After hanging up the phone with everyone, Jeremy jumped in his car and headed to the bank. He made it there, took care of some business and then headed back to work.

At six o’clock that evening, he headed home. Once he got there, he had a quick celebratory drink with Charlotte, jumped in and out of the shower and got dressed. They were both dressed to kill as they stepped outside. There, as they headed out the door, was a limo waiting for them.

Earlier that day, after Jeremy had gone back to work, he set his plan in motion. He’d called the limo company to hire one for the night. He’d called both mothers back and told them to be ready by 7 pm because a limo was going to come through and pick both of them up. He wanted to surprise Charlotte, so he didn’t tell her about it.

When the driver opened the door for her to get in, she was surprised to see her mother and Jeremy’s mother already waiting inside. She got excited because he was pulling out all the stops and she was wondering what was next.

They talked about how happy they were that everything was almost over. Once they got to the hotel, they went inside and up to the “S” level. When the elevator stopped, they got off on the floor where the Spindletop Restaurant was. Charlotte had always wanted to go there and have dinner.

The Spindletop is a restaurant in Downtown Houston, atop the Marriott Hotel. Its located in one of the tallest hotels and sits on a slow-spinning axis. The “walls” are made of glass so that you can see the view outside at any angle.

As they walked up to the host stand, Charlotte was beaming. She couldn’t believe that Jeremy was doing all this. He did say that he wanted to go out and celebrate, but he was doing it in a way that coordinated with one of Charlotte’s perfect date nights. She was falling in love with him all over again.

They were quickly seated at a table in the middle of the room, one where they could turn in any direction and see beauty all around. Jeremy took the liberty of ordering a bottle of champagne and they toasted to the good news of the day.

After they’d all ordered their food and eaten and talked and laughed, Jeremy got really serious. He was getting nervous, fidgeting and stuttering.

His mother kept asking him what was wrong, she’d never seen him act like that, but he kept assuring her that he was fine.

As the meal was winding down and they were having their coffee, and Charlotte her tea, Jeremy pulled out a small brown box and set it on the table next to Charlotte’s tea cup.

She was talking to her mother, not paying attention, until she noticed her mom’s vision looking down at the saucer.

“What’s…” she started to say.

When she looked down, she saw the box and immediately looked over at Jeremy.

He reached out and took her hand then slid off the chair and got down on one knee.

“Charlotte Renee’ Roberts… I’ve wanted to do this since I was in pre-K, the first day I met you. I didn’t even know what love was, but I knew that there was something special about you. We grew to become such great friends, but my love for you never faltered or diminished, it only grew. I really wish that I’d done this 10 years ago, but as I see it, right here, right now is the most perfect moment in the world to change this, what we have going on. I’m asking you, Charlotte, to spend the rest of your years with me, continuing to grow together, to love together, to be one, together. Charlotte, will you marry me?”

Jeremy opened the box and showed Charlotte the ring. It was perfect, just what she’d described to him her perfect left hand ring jewelry would be. It had a tri-colored (white gold, gold and copper) band, with 6 small diamonds on either side of the setting, which had a 2 karat square-cut diamond in the middle.

He watched her shakily extend out her free hand to him and he took the ring out of the box and placed it on her finger. As soon as he did, Charlotte lunged at him and knocked him to the ground, kissing him all over.

“Is that a yes?” he asked her through the kisses?

“Yes,” she screamed, as the room erupted in applause.

A month and a half later, Jeremy and Charlotte were just lounging around their house, having a lazy day, when Jeremy’s cell phone rang. He took his time answering it, not really wanting to be bothered, happily spending the day with his fiancée.

When he checked the caller ID, he noticed that it was Robin’s number. He really didn’t want to answer it, but thought that if she was calling him, something might be wrong with the baby.

“Hello?” he said, hoping his suspicions were wrong.

“Jeremy, its Greg,” Greg started. “Look, I know I’m the last person you want to hear from, but I just thought you’d like to know that Robin went into labor about an hour ago. We’re at Hermann right now, we just got into a room. They’ve checked her and she already dilated about 6 centimeters. I thought maybe you’d want to be here for the baby’s birth.”

“Uh, yeah, sure,” Jeremy stammered. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

He hung up the phone and stared at it.

Robin was in labor. She was about to give birth to a baby that could’ve been his son or daughter. He wished he knew what she was having. He’d always wanted to experience walking into the delivery room with a huge bear and balloons that said “It’s a Boy” or It’s a Girl” on them. But Robin was adamant about being surprised about the sex of the baby.

Jeremy clunked down in the chair closest to him as Charlotte walked back into the room.

“What’s wrong, babe? You okay?” she asked.

“Robin’s at the hospital about to have the baby. That was Greg,” he said, still in a shocked state.

Charlotte jumped up and grabbed her purse and keys.

“Well, come on, let’s go,” she said as she grabbed his hand and pulled him out the door.

They got in the car and drove to the hospital. They parked in the first spot they saw and ran inside, frantically trying to find the labor and delivery wing.

As soon as they found it, they saw Greg pacing the waiting room. He looked relieved when he saw them walk in. He ran up to Jeremy.

“Look man, I know you don’t like me and don’t really want to have anything to do with me, but I can’t go back in there. She’s possessed! She’s yelling and screaming and they won’t give her anything for contractions that she can still feel because the epidural didn’t take down the left side her body. She’s crazy!” He rambled.

Jeremy almost felt sorry for Greg, but then he quickly shook that off. He wasn’t there to ease Greg’s pain. All he wanted to do was be there for the birth of the baby.

He asked Greg what room she was in and Greg walked them to it.

Charlotte peeked in the room and saw that Robin was sleeping. Mrs. Mathers was sitting on the sofa across the room from the bed and looked up when the door opened.

Charlotte smiled at her and let the door close back. She didn’t want to start anything and figured it would be best if she stayed in the waiting room, and told Jeremy as much.

Jeremy poked his head into the room and Mrs. Mathers looked up again.

“I’m not sleeping, you know,” Robin told Jeremy. “And you can tell you little girlfriend that she is not allowed in here. Period.”

Jeremy shook his head. He couldn’t believe that on such a special day, Robin was still trying to stir up mess.

“First of all, she’s not my girlfriend, she’s my fiancée, and second, she’s fine with that. She didn’t want to cause any problems, so she decided to wait in the waiting room.”

Robin’s mother walked out of the room then, rolling her eyes at her daughter, while Robin still hadn’t picked up her jaw from hearing fiancée flow from Jeremy’s mouth.

She didn’t say anything else about Charlotte after that.

The doctor came in not too long after to check Robin to see how much more dilated she was. She had two more centimeters to go and she was ready to push. Hearing that started her crying. She was terrified, she confessed to Jeremy. Greg was no help, he couldn’t stay in the room long enough to even hold her hand and her mother was nagging her.

Robin looked up at Jeremy, glassy eyed. She begged him to stay with her through the birth and he told her that he would. He wanted to be there, especially if this baby was his.

Robin started to cry even more then. She apologized profusely for cheating on Jeremy and for everything she’d put him through.

After a few minutes of silence, Greg poked his head in the room. Seeing Robin calmer than she’d been since they arrived at the hospital, he walked all the way in the room. He stood on one side of the bed as Jeremy stood on the other.

“I asked Jeremy to be here when I give birth,” Robin told Greg.

Greg just nodded his head at that. He was actually relieved to hear it, but didn’t want to let it show.

The nurse came in about ten minutes later and checked Robin again. She told them that it was time to start pushing and called for the doctor to come back in.

After all the technicians and nurses and doctors got set up, Robin started pushing. She screamed and panted and cursed everybody she’d ever met, but she pushed through and delivered a healthy baby girl.

Jeremy ran out to tell Charlotte and to bring her back in the room to see the baby. She wasn’t so sure because she didn’t want to upset Robin, but Jeremy reminded her that sooner or later they were going to have to get along anyway, especially if he was going to have joint custody of the baby. He told her that now was as good a time as any to start.

Charlotte, reluctantly, walked back to the room with Jeremy. When he opened the door, Robin was laying in the bed holding the baby. She looked up at them as they tiptoed into the room. Robin smiled instantly faded, but was almost immediately replaced by a fake one.

“Here, Jeremy, come see your… the baby,” Robin said, correcting herself.

Jeremy walked over to the bed, holding Charlotte’s hand and pulling her along with him.

“Hi, Robin,” Charlotte said quietly. “Look, if you don’t want me in here, its fine, I’ll leave.”

“No, no it’s okay,” Robin said, eyeing Jeremy. “We’re gonna have to get along regardless, right?”

Charlotte nodded her head and told Robin how beautiful the baby was. She even got a chance to hold her for a second, before Robin gave her a look.

“I think I want to name her Morgan, Morgan…Mathers, for now,” Robin said, looking between the two men in the room.

Mrs. Mathers beamed at the mention of that. Although she knew the name would be temporary, to have her first grandchild with her namesake, it was like an honor to her.

Suddenly, the attending nurse came over to Jeremy with a Q-tip swab. She asked him to open his mouth and swabbed the inside of his right cheek. She did the same thing to Greg. Then she told them that they would have the results in two days.

Jeremy and Charlotte stuck around for another hour or so, when they noticed that Robin was getting ready for a nap and the baby had finally dozed off.

After they left, they went and got something to eat and then headed home.

Three days later, Jeremy got a call from Greg telling him that results had arrived in the mail and that Robin and him would wait until he got there before they opened it. Jeremy told Charlotte what was going on and they headed over together.

On the way, Jeremy called his mom and let her know what was going on. She was anxious to see her grandchild, if it was so. She excitedly told Jeremy to call her as soon as they knew something.

As soon as Jeremy and Charlotte walked through the door, Robin was ripping the envelope open. Her face went from lit up to completely hitting the floor. She didn’t respond when both of the guys asked her what the results were, she just dropped the paper and sat down slowly on the sofa, hands clasped over her mouth.

Jeremy was the first to reach for the results and seemed just as shocked. He yelled out a curse, to no one in particular, threw the paper at Robin and stormed out of the house. Charlotte still didn’t know what was going on, so she followed Jeremy outside to find out.

When she caught up with him, he was just hanging up the phone with his mother. He turned and smiled at Charlotte, reached out his hand to take hers and they headed home together.


Only about six months have passed since Jeremy, Robin and Greg got the paternity test results.

The Robin/Jeremy/Greg triangle should’ve been more like a square. Little Morgan, whose last name will probably remain Mathers still, has an unknown father. Morgan turned out to be 99.99% NOT Jeremy’s OR Greg’s child.

Greg, so upset over finding out that Robin was cheating on Jeremy with more than just him, decided to leave her and moved out a week after the paternity test results came in. He had no clue that Robin was cheating on him and refused to stay in an unfaithful relationship.

Robin, after losing both of the men she was in a relationship with, also lost her job and all her co-workers starting blackballing her. She couldn’t get a job anywhere that was worth it, and in the end, decided to move closer to her parents, literally. She sold the house her and Jeremy lived in together, and after splitting the money from that with Jeremy, she bought the house across the street from her parents.

As for Jeremy and Charlotte, they finally began planning their wedding. With Charlotte being in the business already and having great contacts in the industry, vendors were jumping at the chance to be involved in the Roberts/Johnson wedding. The couple is well on their way to a very happy ending.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chapter 26

Jeremy sat in his car for a few minutes, digesting what had just happened. How in the world did Robin turn this thing around and make him out to be the bad guy in all this?

He chalked it up to her knowing some high-profile lawyers and using that as some type of leverage, but it didn’t matter. Texas wasn’t a community property state, so she couldn’t take his business away from him. He’d started it before they were even married. Besides, the divorce would get granted whether she wanted it or not.

He breathed a sigh of relief for remembering the friend of Charlotte’s, who he was seriously considering hiring as his lawyer, telling him that.

He was just about to turn put the car in reverse when a black BMW pulled into the driveway next to him. He could make out Greg in the driver’s seat as he rolled down the window.

Greg nodded a hello to Jeremy as he reached up and tapped a button on his rearview mirror. Jeremy watched in shock as his garage door, on the side that he usually parks in, rose up.

He quickly started putting pieces of things together. It wasn’t even five minutes ago that Robin was groveling on her knees for him to take her back and then Greg is showing up at his house, with entrance to his garage?

He was glad that he didn’t trust her. He was glad that he didn’t give her a second chance. But he felt sorry for the baby she was carrying. He was secretly praying that the baby wasn’t his, although he wanted a baby so bad. He told himself that he would have to wait on that, though. He and Charlotte could start working on that after all this other drama was taken care of.

He smiled to himself about that. He looked up and waved at Greg with a smile on his face, just before the garage door started closing. He was sure that Greg would be wondering what he was smiling at, but he didn’t care. He wouldn’t give either of them the satisfaction of thinking that he was scared, nervous or jealous because, in actuality, he wasn’t.

As he was backing out of the driveway, he had a thought. He needed to go ahead and get the rest of his things out of the house.

Before Robin had come home from the hospital, he made the decision to move majority of his things out of the house. She was already lying on him while she was laid up in the hospital with her boyfriend at her side. He knew he couldn’t trust her even an inch. He’d already moved out the more important things before she even came home. He was glad that he did that because, after today, he was sure that he would find his stuff cut up or burned on the front lawn the next time he came to get them.

He pulled over in the gas station about a mile away from his home.

He called Charlotte to let her know what he was about to do, just in case something went wrong. Charlotte, of course, wanting to protect her man, volunteered to come over and bring her Vaseline and tennis shoes. Jeremy coaxed her off the ledge and told her he was glad he had a ‘ride or die’ chick, but that he was sure things would be okay.

He then called his mother and also let her know what he was about to do. He was surprised by what she told him in response.

His mother informed him that she’d started a “Divorce Fund” for him the day after he told her he was going to marry Robin. She would put money into every week, but would also put extra money into it when Jeremy and Robin were having problems or whenever she would say something bad about Robin. She told Jeremy that there was over $25,000 in the account!

Jeremy was also shocked to learn that his mother had put his name on it as the secondary. He knew his mother couldn’t stand Robin, but in the last five years, since the day of Jeremy announcing his engagement to Robin, his mother has been preparing for the day when they would break up. He didn’t know whether to be happy, because he had his mother in his corner 147%, or to be upset that his mother was counting on them failing.

He decided on the latter, considering everything that has happened.

Upon hanging up with her, he called the police station and requested an escort to his home. He gave them his location and a car arrived within the next ten minutes. He got out of the car and explained to the officer what was going on. He told the officer about Robin and Greg, about Robin just getting out of the hospital and about the two of them being at the house right now. He also informed the cop that he’d just left the house, after she kicked him out and wanted to avoid her calling the cops on him if he went back over there alone.

The officer, Officer Rainey, told him he was doing the right thing the right way and escorted Jeremy back to his residence.

Jeremy followed the officer up the sidewalk to the front door. Officer Rainey knocked on the door and explained to Robin that Jeremy was there to get the rest of his things. She eyed Jeremy the entire time the officer was talking and then turned on the sweet face when it was her time to talk.

“Officer, I’m so sorry that you had to take time out of you busy crime-fighting day to escort this idiot back over here. All he had to do was come back up and knock on the door and say that he wanted to get his stuff. His name is still on the deed to this house. I wouldn’t fight him if he wanted to move out,” she sternly told the officer.

Then she turned her rage on Jeremy.

“You know you had no right bringing the police to my house. What are my neighbors going to think? How dare you!,” she mumbled through strained teeth.

She had no idea that Jeremy would come back to the house. She had no idea that Jeremy knew that Greg was in the house. Apparently Greg didn’t tell her that he saw Jeremy outside.

Rainey asked her to come out of the house and wait for Jeremy to go in and get the last of his things. He wasn't at all fazed when Robin hesitated.

Her skin went pale and she stammered for words until the officer threatened to have her arrested if she didn’t step outside.

She quietly told the officer that her boyfriend was in the back of the house, tied up and gagged, because of the sexual events that were about to take place. She explained that she would need to go and release him so that he could step outside also.

Jeremy stifled a laugh as the officer blushed at what Robin had told him.

Rainey told Robin that she would have to wait in the squad car because of the fact that there was someone bound and gagged inside the house. He also informed her that if her story didn’t add up with Greg’s that she could be arrested for that as well.

Rainey escorted Robin down to the car, without handcuffs, and placed her in the backseat. When he got back to Jeremy, he told him that he would have to call for backup before he could allow him to go in the house.

The officer got on the radio and called for backup. Jeremy got on his cell phone and called Charlotte to tell her the news.

After laughing at the situation, Charlotte informed Jeremy that this would be something that he needed to keep and possibly use during his divorce, if necessary. Neither of them knew what Robin had up her sleeve, but she prided herself on being a no-nonsense, high-profile, get it done at any cost type of professional, with a pristine reputation to match. For this scandal, with an equally high-profile co-worker, to get out and around, both her and Greg would lose their jobs, especially since the type of relationship they have is forbidden at their place of work.

Jeremy tucked this tidbit of information away for later use and was happy that he’d done things the way he had. He also found out, once backup had arrived, that everything from the moment Jeremy had talked to someone at the police station had been documented. All of this, including Robin tying up Greg and their sexual escapade, would go in the report.

He would love to see what Robin would try to pull now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chapter 25

Just before Jeremy left his office Thursday morning, four days after Robin was admitted to the hospital, he got a call on his cell phone from his house. He already knew who it was and figured now as good a time as any to talk to the person and get it over with.

He answered on the third ring.

“Uh huh,” he mumbled.

“J, its Robin. How are you?” she asked shyly.

“Fine, and you?” he inquired. He really didn’t like her at the moment, but he couldn’t deny that he still cared about her, especially since she could’ve been carrying his child.

“I’m okay. The baby is fine, in case you wanted to know. The doctors told me that I need to take it easy for the rest of my term.” She snorted. “You know how hard that is for me, especially with the kind of work I do.”

“Yeah, I do. So, what’s up?” he asked her, getting straight to the point.

“Jeremy, I was hoping we could talk. I don’t know where you’ve been, and I don’t want to know. I don’t really feel I have the right to ask anymore. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t be civilized adults about this. I’m sorry… for everything. I wish to God that I could take it all back, but we both know that’s impossible. I think what we need to do now is sit down and talk about all this. I don’t want to lose you. I love you so much.”

Jeremy was quiet for a few minutes. Robin could still hear the construction noise in the background, so she knew he hadn’t hung up on her. She felt like she should give him a few minutes to digest what she just told him.

“Is that all?” he asked.

She was dumbfounded. She’d just apologized to him and he was still acting strange about it.

“What do you mean ‘is that all’? I just poured out my heart to you. I am trying to apologize to you and you won’t even acknowledge that. What do you want me to say?”

Robin was starting to get upset. She knew that if she did, he would shut down any type of conversation and blow her off. She really had not a single bargaining chip at the moment.

“Look, I’m sorry about that. It’s just frustrating doing this over the phone. Can you please come home so that we can talk about this?”

She knew she was pleading now, but what more could she do to get him to come home. Once he got there, she figured she use whatever leverage she had. She knew how much he wanted the baby, but she didn’t know if that would work, considering she wasn’t sure which man fathered it.

“Jeremy, please, just come home and we can talk. Give me an hour to explain everything and we can go from there. Whatever you want. Just please…”

“Okay,” Jeremy said, cutting her off. “One hour, then I’m out. We need to talk, anyway. I’ll be there when I can.”

He hung up the call without another word. He then dialed Charlotte’s number and told her what just happened. He mentioned to her that he was going over to talk Robin, but that there was no way she was ever going to be able to change his mind. He also reassured her that he would be home later on to spend some quality time with her.

After finishing up a few things around the site, Jeremy packed up and headed to his house. After he pulled in the driveway, he stood and looked at the house hard.

In the beginning, he loved that house and everything it meant for him and Robin. Moving into it after they got married was a godsend to them. It meant stability and a great start to a family to them. It was where he wanted to raise his children and, perhaps, grow old with his wife. He remembered how they searched all over for the perfect location, a neighborhood that was friendly, within walking distance to all three levels of school, and had a neighborhood shopping center. It was perfect for them and their future family.

And she ruined that.

He walked up the sidewalk to the front door and knocked on it. He definitely didn’t feel like this was his home anymore. The woman inside was no longer his wife, but a stranger to him. He couldn’t see himself in that house anymore, let along with her anymore. Their whole relationship was built on a lie.

When she opened the door, she still looked small and fragile to him. He noticed that her face was rounder and her breast were fuller than he remembered. If this was two weeks ago, he would be relishing in that. His wife, pregnant with their child.

He stood there staring at her until he couldn’t take it anymore.

“Can I come in,” he asked.

“Oh… of course,” she responded, stepping aside to let him in.

He waited for her in the entrance and followed her to the living room. She sat down on a chair and he sat down on the sofa, across from her.

“So…” he began.

“Wait, let me start.”

He just looked at her. He wasn’t about to say anything, he just wanted to get the ball rolling.

“I know you want an explanation for what has happened, but the honest truth is, I don’t have one. It’s my fault, entirely. I allowed another man get close to me, to seduce me and interfere in our relationship. I was wrong to allow that to happen, I admit that. But in my defense, I did try to break it off...”

“When,” Jeremy asked, cutting her off.

“The day I realized I was pregnant, the first time.”

Jeremy looked shocked. He couldn’t believe what she’d just said.

“The first time? What, two years ago? Are you serious?” he said, jumping up and pacing. “I can’t do this if you are not going to be straight with me. You tried to break up with him two years ago, but something else must’ve happened because here you are again, still with him and pregnant. Again!”

“I know, I know how this seems, but just listen,” she cried. “I tried to break it off with him, but, I don’t know what happened. I got sucked back in. I guess the longer we worked together, the more I gave into him. When I started getting sick this time, I knew I had to do whatever it took to end things. I didn’t want to lose you,” she said looking at him, “or the baby,” she said, holding her stomach. “I knew this was something you wanted, WE wanted, so bad. Just the thought of it being someone else’s, I just didn’t know what to do.”

Jeremy just stared at her in shock. Nothing she was saying was making sense to him. He couldn’t believe or understand how she could stand there and think that the words she was saying to him made sense. He wasn’t in her head and he wasn’t in her heart, but he knew that deep down, she was being selfish and was only looking out for herself. She didn’t care about him, otherwise she wouldn’t have started seeing Greg in the first place.

“I’m so sorry, Jeremy,” Robin cried hysterically.

She got down on her knees at his feet and grabbed a hold of his legs.

“Jeremy, please! I love you and only you. I don’t want Greg. Please, just, please don’t leave me.”

Jeremy couldn’t believe the way Robin was acting. She was crying, on her knees, no less. She was in a place that Jeremy had never seen her go. He figured this is what was meant by the term “groveling on your knees”. As much as he loved seeing her like that, he couldn’t let her do it. It was really no point to it.

“Robin, get up,” he said, gently pulling her off his legs and helping her up on the sofa.

When she sat down next to him, she tried to hug him, but to no avail. He turned to face her and pulled his leg up on the sofa to separate them. He could tell by the look in her eyes that she knew that he was done with her.

“Stop acting like this. You’re not supposed to be getting all worked up. You could hurt yourself and the baby,” he scolded her.

She sat back against the sofa and closed her eyes. He was showing concern for her well being, but it wasn’t what she wanted from him.

“Jeremy,” she said, eyes still closed and head still leaned back against the sofa, “Please, let’s work this out.”

She turned and faced him once again, eyes lit up from her newfound revelation.

“We can go to counseling for however long it takes and I’ll even let you pick the therapist. Or, we could try to work this out ourselves. We could talk to my parents, too. They’ve been together for 35 years. It hasn’t been perfect for them, but they’ve been through their ups and downs and have survived it all. Hell, I’d even be willing to go and talk to your mother. Whatever it takes, I’m willing and able to do.”

She sat back after saying all that to catch her breath. Anything involving his mother was kind of a last resort for her. She hated the woman and she knew that his mother didn’t like her at all either. That should show him how much she was willing to put in work on this.

Jeremy just sat there, taking everything all in. She had said what he’d wanted to hear from her for a while. But saying it now was a little too late. Maybe they could’ve gone to counseling had the incident not gone on for four years. Maybe they could’ve gone to counseling had she told him what happened after the first baby. They definitely wouldn’t be where they are to even have to consider counseling had she not have been cheating on him for pretty much their entire marriage.

He eyed her, from her head to her toes. He was getting annoyed just looking at her. He loved this woman and she had given herself to another man countless times over the last four years.

Although his marriage to Robin was practically over when he cheated with Charlotte, that still didn’t excuse what he did. He felt bad about that, but not enough to bring it up to Robin. If she didn’t mention it, neither was he.

“Look, I can’t do this. I can’t stay in this fake ass marriage married to a fake ass woman.”

He stood up and walked to the doorway. When he was standing in the middle of it, he turned back around.

“I’ll have my lawyer contact you about the divorce,” he said as he walked to the door.

Robin jumped up off the sofa and ran to the door, just in time to shut it back as he was opening it.

“You think that’s it, huh? You think I’m just going to let you walk out, just like that? What? Where you going? Back to ‘her’? Yeah, my mama told me everything. And just so you know, MY lawyer will be contacting you,” she said.

After giving him an evil look, she opened the door for him.

“Now get the hell out my house!” Robin said.

Jeremy returned her evil stare as he walked out the door.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chapter 24

Jeremy and Charlotte both woke up to the blaring alarm. They snuggled up together even more after Charlotte hit the snooze button. She knew she had to get up but lying next to Jeremy was so tempting.

After the second time the alarm went off, Jeremy stirred and groaned. He turned over and sat up on the edge of the bed. He was going to spend the day at the construction site and put in some work. His guys were good, but it seemed that there was a lot of work that needed to be caught up on. He’d been away from the office more than he usually was lately. Today was catch-up day.

He leaned over and kissed Charlotte, who was now laying on top of the covers, on the cheek and headed off to the bathroom for his morning routine.

Charlotte smiled to herself as she watched him do his manly walk to the bathroom. She couldn’t help but think how exciting and wonderful it was to wake up next to Jeremy. She had a feeling that it would be easy getting used to that, if the opportunity arose.

She sighedwhen she thought back to the conversation they had the night before, before they went to bed.

“I have to talk to her, even though I don’t want to,” Jeremy told Charlotte.

He felt it was necessary to try to have a civil conversation with Robin. He needed to put out in the open that he wanted a divorce. But what was heavier on his mind than that was finding out whether or not the baby was his or Greg’s. It would be seven months before that news would come to the light. He decided then to talk to a doctor to see if they could run test before the baby was born.

“Regardless of what Robin and I do, if that’s my baby, I’m going to fight for custody,” he said, looking at her. “And since we’re going to be together… wait, we are going to be together, right?”

“Of course, silly,” she told him.

“Good,” he said, kissing her quickly. “Since you and I are going to be together, I want to make sure that you’re okay with that. I hate that my firstborn would have to be with her, but that would still be my child. I’ve wanted this for so long. I wouldn’t be able to walk out on that.”

“And just for the record, I would never ask you to. I understand how you feel, baby. Like I told you, I’m behind you 100%. But if there’s something I don’t agree with or think we should talk about, you know I’ll speak up. But as for this situation, I’m here for you.”

“Well, that would be my plan. There shouldn’t be anything else as far as her and I. As far as I’m concerned, its over.”

Charlotte smiled at that last thought. She kept replaying his words over and over again, relishing in the fact that she was about to get the man of her dreams.

She jumped when Jeremy opened the bathroom door. He did a running start and jumped on the bed, landing right next to Charlotte. She laughed and giggled as she rolled away from him. She covered her mouth as he went for a kiss.

“I don’t care, I love your morning breath, too,” he teased as he kissed her hand.

She shook her head ‘no’ and jumped up and ran to the bathroom to brush her teeth.

When she came out, her bedroom was empty. She took that opportunity to pick out her clothes for her client meeting. She walked into her walk-in closet and picked out a pair of slacks and a blouse to wear. When she turned around, she jumped and dropped the clothes.

There, standing in the doorway of the closet was Jeremy. He was just watching her dance around and hum to herself as she picked out her clothes.

“That was the cutest dance I’ve ever seen,” he teased her. “Do it again. It was very sexy,” he laughed.

She smirked at him as she bent to pick up the clothes.

“I’m about to fix pancakes. You want?” he asked, as she hopped past him. He smacked her butt as she did.

“Sure, but no coffee, can’t stand the stuff.”

“Then why do you have it in the house?” he inquired.

“Because, my mama thinks it’s the polite thing to do. She always tells me that my guests might want to have coffee. Whatever.”

He smacked her butt again and jumped out of her reached when she swatted at him.

As he left, she started getting dressed. She still had about two hours before he client meeting, but she wanted to get in a little more research before it.

Once dressed, she made her way to her office and opened up all the windows. She was glad that she had converted one of her guest rooms into a home office. She made sure that the blinds on the door were open slightly, just enough for her to see out without anyone being able to see in.

She logged into her computer and made sure her printers and scanners were in ‘ready’ mode. She straightened up her desk and did some light filing before settling down at the computer.

Just as she was about to start her research, Jeremy poked his head in.

“Breakfast is ready. Sorry, I can’t stay and eat with you, but my assistant, Nicole, just called and told me that the buyers are on site. I need to get there soon.”

Charlotte gave him a sad face, but kissed him and said her goodbye.

She walked him to the door and repeated her gesture again.

She watched him walk to his car, get in it and pull out of the driveway. He blew as he drove off down the street.

Yes, she thought, I could definitely get used to this.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chapter 23

The car ride to Charlotte’s house was very quiet. She was still trying to process what just happened. She couldn’t believe what Jeremy had just done. She was ecstatic that the man she wanted, no needed, felt the same way about her. She wouldn’t change anything about the way he showed her that, except for the consequences he was dealing with right then.

She could clearly see the hurt and pain he was trying so hard to mask. And he was right to feel the way he was.

To be married to someone for some years and not know they are living a double life is shocking. Charlotte thought back to one of her favorite tv shows, CSI: Miami. She remembered an episode where something similar to what they were dealing with happened and the hurt spouse wound up killing the one who was cheating for all those years. She was super happy that Jeremy was not like that character.

But, no matter how hard she tried to put herself in his shoes, she would never know the pain he was going through. All she knew was that whatever he needed from her, she was going try her best to be that for him.

When they pulled up in her driveway, Jeremy’s expression still hadn’t changed. After she turned the car off, she unbuckled her seatbelt and turned to face him.

“If you want me to take you somewhere else, somewhere you go to get away and think, I can do that. I guess it was just instinct for me to come home, but its up to you,” she said, trying to make the situation as comfortable for him as possible, given the situation.

“I just want to be where ever you are,” he replied.

He mimicked her movements and turned to her. He, once again, caressed her face.

“My god, you are so beautiful,” he complimented her.

She blushed, and him seeing that, it made him smile. She started thinking back to how sometimes, when they were younger, he would say little things like that to her, but then would make a joke or something to erase the tension it made between them. This time, in the present, there was no tension, just the love they both wanted to express for each other.

She put her hand on his and moved it around to his mouth and kissed his palm.

“You’re not so bad yourself, Mr. Johnson. At least, I’ve always thought you were the most handsome man I’d ever met,” she teased him.

They just stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, talking without having to say words. Jeremy snapped out of his daze when he felt his cell phone vibrating. He took it out of his pocked and looked at it.

He didn’t recognize the number on the screen and thought about whether or not he should answer it. He decided not to, thinking about everything that happened. Someone calling whose number was not in his phone already could mean more drama on top of what he was already dealing with. So he stuck the phone back in his pocket.

“Come on, let’s go inside,” he said to Charlotte.

He gave her a quick kiss and then grabbed the latch on the door and pushed it open. She met him at the front of the car and he took her hand, like he did at his house, and led her to the front door. He held out his hand for her keys once they reached the door and unlocked it.

Charlotte liked the fact that he was a subtle ‘take-charge’ kind of guy. He was a man’s man, but it didn’t overpower his gentle, sensitive side. She saw that in him early on, another thing that attracted her to him. She also knew that was one of the reasons that the girls used to flock to him. He had developed that skill even at an early age. She figured being raised by his single mother, she taught him how to treat a lady.

Once they entered the house, Charlotte headed straight for the kitchen.

“You want anything? I think I’m gonna fix a sandwich and some chips. I got so caught up in trying to catch up with you this morning, I didn’t eat breakfast,” she told him.

He just sat at the bar overlooking her kitchen and watched her “float” around it, effortlessly. He was in awe. This must be what it’s like to be in love, he told himself. He’d never felt what he was feeling for her with Robin, not even in the beginning. It paled in comparison. This, he figured, was really real.

His phone was vibrating again in his pocket. He took it out and looked at it, only this time to see that it was message letting him know he had a voicemail. He figured that whoever that was that called a little while ago must’ve been kind enough to leave him a message.

He opened the phone and pressed the button for the automatic voicemail. He listened to the message.

“Hey man, its me, David. I was just calling to check and see what’s going on. Robin called Rhonda and told her that you left her in the hospital and that you’re not answering her calls. What’s up, because that just doesn’t sound like you? Man, who is this Greg dude up here with her. She said it’s her co-worker, but something about that ain’t right. Oh, this is a phone at the hospital; the nurse made me cut mine off. Call me back on… excuse me, what’s this phone number? Oh, 555-9528. Holla!”

If Jeremy hadn’t calmed down a bit from earlier, he would’ve probably had a heart attack from all the anger that was building up inside him.

He closed the phone and looked up to see Charlotte staring at him.

“What’s wrong? Who was that?” she asked. She noticed the change in him immediately. She was getting nervous because his eyes had changed colors again.

He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths, trying to calm himself again. He said a quiet prayer for the strength to not blow up before he spoke.

“That was my boy, David. He and his wife are at the hospital, with Robin, and she’s telling them all kinds of lies about what went down. She told them that I abandoned her in the hospital and won’t return her calls. She lied about who Greg is, too. She’s trying to make me out to be the bad guy in all this.”

He shook his head and just sighed. There really was only one thing left to do. He told himself that he needed a good reason to do it, and by his calculations, this was as good as it could ever get.

Charlotte waited for him to say something else, but when he didn’t, she spoke up.

“I know some people, if you want their information,” she told him.

He looked at her and smirked and smiled.

“Who do you have? Pookie and ‘nem?” he laughed, teasing her.

She couldn’t help but smile. She knew that if he was joking, he feeling better.

“Maybe, but let’s save them for something that we can’t handle. I was thinking more along the lines of a couple of attorneys? I mean, that is your next move, right?”

He nodded his head yes and stepped down off the stool he was sitting on. He made his way around the wall separating him and Charlotte and wrapped his arms around her waist as she finished making the sandwiches for them.

“Finding this stuff out, the way that I did is messed up, I know. But in a way, I’m kind of glad that it did happen this way. Not only do I have the excuse to leave her, but it works out to where I won’t feel bad once everything is all said and done, don’t you think? Or am I crazy for thinking like that?” he asked her.

She shook her head and turned to face him. She kissed his lips and then wriggled out of his grasp.

“No, that’s not crazy. I was just thinking that same thing a little while ago,” she responded.

She reached into the cabinet and got a couple of wine glassed and asked him to grab a bottle from the wine rack. He suggested champagne, since that was the first thing he saw. She agreed and he followed behind her as they made their way towards the living room. He was about to sit down when she kept walking. He trailed behind her as she made her way to the patio off her bedroom.

“Wow, I could get used to this,” he said once they stepped through the sliding glass doors.

Charlotte had a huge backyard behind her house. She had two patios, one off the living room and a private one off her bedroom. The one they were standing in had 8 foot cement walls and green vines growing up and down them. There were candelabras coming out of the wall that held tall and short candles and a small intimate table and chair set off to one side. The other side off the small patio held two side-by-side cushy lounge chairs. There was a small three-drawer dresser set between them that held throw blankets to be used when the weather got cold.

Charlotte led the way over to the small table to sit and set the food down. Jeremy popped the cork on the champagne and poured them both a glass.

“To us,” he stated. “May this time we’ve spent together grow into many more to come.”

He toasted to them and they both took a sip. They sat out in the cool air and talked. Charlotte asked how Jeremy knew David and Jeremy returned the question to her. She told him who David was to Damien and Jeremy mentioned meeting him a couple of weeks before. They talked about how small Houston was, apparently, because they kind of, sort of, ran in the same circles, they just didn’t know it.

They were talking about going out to eat that evening when Jeremy remembered that they were supposed to have had Brunch with his mother that past Sunday.

Charlotte covered her mouth as she thought about it. Ms. Johnson was going to kill her, she thought.

Jeremy pulled out his phone and called his mom. He figured now was as good a time as any to tell her the news about him and Robin.

“Ma,” he said into the phone once she answered, I have some good news and some bad news.”

“Jeremy, what is going on? What are you talking about?” Ms. Johnson asked him.

“Ma, go with it, okay? Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?” he asked her.

She sighed heavily into the phone. She wasn’t one for playing games, especially when Jeremy sounded so serious.

“I guess give me the bad news. Maybe the good news will counteract that.”

“You sure?” he asked.

“Jeremy,” she huffed, “just spit it out. I need to get ready for my spin class.”

Jeremy laughed. His mom was almost 60 years old, but she led a very active life. Her and her girlfriends were always doing something. She’s been on more cruises than he could count on both hands. She’s been to Hawaii, Alaska, Italy and even France. Jeremy still had yet to leave these 50 states.

“Okay, well, the bad news is that Robin and I will be getting a divorce. Ma, you will not believe the mess we’re in right now. First of all, she’s pregnant, yeah, about 8 weeks along. Secondly, Ma, she’s been cheating on me with some guy she works with almost since the day we got married!”

Charlotte took that as her moment to leave and let him talk to his mother. She got up and started to walk towards the patio doors when he stopped talking and reached out and grabbed her hand.

Jeremy pulled Charlotte down onto his lap and changed his tone when he started talking again.

“Ma, you know what? None of that matters right now,” he said as he caressed Charlotte’s cheek.

She noticed that that was becoming a habit of his, one that she definitely didn’t mind.

“Jeremy, what the hell is going on? I told you that girl was no good! See, you should’ve listened to me in the first place. I knew there was something off about her, I just didn’t know what it was.”

Jeremy had to pull the phone the phone away when his mother started yelling.


Jeremy and Charlotte both started laughing, which prompted his mother to ask who that was. When he told her, it started a whole other round of yells.

“HA-LLE-LU-JAH! HA-LLE-LU-JAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HA-LLE-LU-JAH!” was all that could be heard from Ms. Johnson.

“Ma, I take it that you like my good news, huh?”

“All I have to say is its about damn time! It took ya’ll,” she counted on her fingers, “too many years to finally get together! It’s about time.”

“Okay, Ma. Go on to your spin class. We just wanted to say hi and I wanted to fill you in on what’s going on. Oh, and David called and told me that Robin is telling everyone lies about what’s going on. Don’t believe her if her or her mom calls you.”

“Baby, you know I never liked that girl,” she spat. “Whatever they got to say, they can do it in court. Besides, my real daughter-in-law is sitting right there beside you. Hallelujah, baby, hallelujah.”

Jeremy talked to his mom for a minute or so more before hanging up.

“You think she was happy about the news?” Charlotte asked him, standing up.

“Not as happy as I am about it,” he replied.

He stood up and kissed her, all the while leading her back into the bedroom. He then closed the curtains to give themselves a little more privacy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chapter 22

Both Jeremy and Charlotte jumped and looked towards the voice that had been the source of the interruption.

“Mary, what are you doing here?” Jeremy asked, upset.

Mary Mathers was standing in the doorway frowning at Jeremy.

From the moment her daughter introduced them, she felt that Robin had struck gold. She realized, though, early on, that Jeremy might’ve been too good for Robin. She would often try to get Robin to do little things for Jeremy, like he did for her, things that she knew he would appreciate. Despite her efforts, it seemed that her worst fears had come true.

“I came to get some clothes and things for Robin to have in the hospital, since she’s going to be there for a few more days. I never expected to come here and find you and… her,” she spat.

Mrs. Mathers tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes at Charlotte. You could tell by the look on her face that she recognized the person who was just about to kiss her son-in-law.

“Charlotte,” she started, “how could you?”

Before Charlotte could respond, Jeremy spoke up.

“You know what, Mary? You have no idea what has been going on, do you? You have no right to come into my house and start questioning anything. If you want to ask questions, why don’t you go down to the hospital and talk to your daughter. She’s the reason why this whole situation is so screwed up in the first place.”

Jeremy took a couple of steps towards Mrs. Mathers.

“Did she tell you that she was pregnant? Did she tell you that she has no idea whether or not I’m the father of the baby? Did she tell you about Greg or that he might be the father of the baby my WIFE is carrying? Did she tell you that she’s been sleeping with this other man for damn near our entire marriage? It makes me question whether or not the baby, that I mourned for an entire year, was even mine.”

Mrs. Mathers just stared at Jeremy, shocked in place. She reached out for the doorframe to brace herself. She’d known for some time that that something was going on with Robin and Jeremy for a while, but she had no idea that this was it.

Robin called her mother the morning after she was admitted to the hospital. She didn’t give her details about what happened, but she asked her to stop off at her house to bring a few things for her. Her mother asked where Jeremy was and Robin told him that he’d gone home to get some rest and that she didn’t want to bother him. Mrs. Mathers didn’t buy that and made a mental note to give Jeremy a piece of her mind once she got to their house about leaving his wife in the hospital alone overnight.

She figured she would really find out what happened once she got to the hospital, since Robin assured her that she was okay and was only being kept in the hospital for observation.

When she unlocked the door with her spare key, she called out for Jeremy, but got no answer, so she headed to the back of the house, towards the bedroom to wake him up. He wasn’t in there so she headed towards the den. She could hear a female voice once she got halfway down the hall. She stood and listened for a second hearing another woman, who was not Robin, telling Jeremy how much she loved him.

When she stepped around the threshold, she never expected to be shocked further with the news about her own daughter.

“I don’t…” she stammered, “I didn’t know. Robin didn’t tell me much on the phone. I just knew that she was in the hospital, alone, and that she needed me.”

Jeremy scoffed.

“Like hell she’s there alone. The way he was crying all over the waiting room yesterday, there’s no way in hell he left her there,” he said.

Mrs. Mathers walked slowly over to the seat nearest the door.

“Jeremy, you know that I would do anything for my daughter, but this, I would never hide from you. I swear I didn’t know anything about this.”

Jeremy softened while looking at Mrs. Mathers. He knew it wasn’t her fault and he didn’t mean to lash out at her the way he did, but she had no right making accusations about anything when she clearly was still in the dark.

“I’m sorry, Mary,” Jeremy said. “I’m sorry that you had to find out all this this way.”

Jeremy sat down on the sofa nearest him. He dropped his head in his hands and took a few deep breaths.

“Well, what is she doing here?” Mrs. Mathers asked. “What’s going on here? Are you cheating on my daughter?”

Jeremy threw his head back in laughter. He couldn’t believe the audacity of this woman. After all he’d just told her, she was still pressing him. He shook his head and stood up. He walked over to Charlotte, took her hand and kissed her deeply and then walked with her through the house out the front door.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chapter 21

The next morning, Jeremy was lost. On the one hand, he didn’t want to seem cold and heartless and not check on Robin, but on the other hand, he felt he needed to figure things out first, get his mind straight with both Robin and Charlotte.


He hoped that she wasn’t upset with him after last night. He wanted ever so badly to spend time with her but felt like he wouldn’t be able to give her his all because of the drama he was going through. He knew that if he talked to her, she would understand. She might’ve even had some insight to share with him. He decided to test the waters and call her up.

Unfortunately, his calls were being picked up by the answering machine. He hoped that she wasn’t avoiding his calls.

He climbed out of bed and threw on some clothes. He went to the bathroom and finished up his morning routine before heading towards the kitchen to grab a lite bite to eat.

He was just about to turn on the coffee pot when there was a knock at the door.

He walked to it and opened it, not bothering to check the peephole or ask who it was.

The sight before him was more than he’d ever expected.

The next morning, Charlotte removed the covers from over her head. She’d barely slept through the night. Her mind was roaming all over the place with thoughts of Jeremy, herself and Robin.

She figured dealing with this situation would’ve probably been a whole lot easier she hadn’t slept with Jeremy. Now, she was not only emotionally involved, but physically, too.

She knew that she needed to talk to Jeremy, but she didn’t want to give him the chance to either not answer the phone or to hang up on her. Again.

She wanted to get to the bottom of things and figured today would be the perfect day to do that.

She climbed out of bed and went to the bathroom to wash up. She quickly dressed and then went down the hall to her office. She sat down in front of her computer and logged into Google. She hoped that what she was about to do wasn’t considered stalking by his standards, but she needed answers.

She pulled up the information she’d found and then input the information into her phone’s GPS. She walked through the house, grabbed her purse and her keys and walked out the front door.

She said a little prayer that she was doing the right thing.

“How… What are you doing here?” Jeremy asked his visitor.

After opening the front door, Jeremy was shocked to find Charlotte standing there. He realized now why she hadn’t answered the phone when he called.

“I did know what else to do. I wanted to come over last night, but I told myself to give you a little time. I know you didn’t mean it in a bad way, but last night ended kind of funny. I just had to come over,” she said really fast.

“I tried calling you this morning. I wanted to apologize… for last night. You were trying to… be there for me. I…,” he stammered.

“Can I come in?” she said, doe-eyed.

He snapped out of his trance and stepped aside so that she could come in.

He guided her to the den and told her she could sit down and when she didn’t he asked her if she wanted anything to drink. She declined and he told her he was just about to put on a pot of coffee. He excused himself and headed for the kitchen.

Charlotte was standing in the middle of the room. All four walls around her had pictures on them. She noticed right away Jeremy’s pictures from high school and the others, where he hadn’t changed much from those, she thought would’ve been college. In most of them, he was alone or with a few of his guy friends. She even noticed a few of them with Jeremy and David in them. It wasn’t a wonder that David knew Jeremy. David got around, plus, they were all from the same neighborhood.

She searched the walls to find pictures of Jeremy and Robin’s wedding. She told herself that if she could just see his face on that day, a day that was supposed to be the happiest day in his life, she would be able to tell if he was really happy with Robin then, or if he married her just for the sake of marrying her.

She found a few near the big bay window. She had to admit, Robin looked beautiful in her wedding gown. She saw Ms. Johnson standing on the other side of Jeremy putting on a fake smile.

Just seeing that made Charlotte smile.

Then, she took a deep breath and held it as she stared at Jeremy’s face. She scanned his eyes, his mouth, his nose and ears to see if anything jumped out at her. She jumped and released the breath when she heard Jeremy speaking behind her.

“I thought I was happy back then,” he said.

Charlotte almost went through the ceiling. She turned and looked at him quickly as he slowly sipped his coffee, then turned back to the picture.

She could see it in his eyes. He was smiling, but his “light” wasn’t there.

Charlotte always loved Jeremy’s eyes and his smile, especially when they worked together. She could always tell when he was truly happy about something because of them. This picture, although not the total opposite of what she was used to seeing, didn’t have that 100% Jeremy seal that she was used to.

She went and sat opposite him on a recliner.

“Char, I just don’t know what to do. I mean, the baby… what if its mine? She knows that this is something I’ve wanted since forever. How could she do this to me? I can’t…”

He stopped and cocked his head to the side, contemplating what he was about to say.

“Is this payback? Karma?” he asked her.

She furrowed her brow and he continued.

“But she was doing this just a few months after we got married. Who’s to say that she wasn’t cheating on me the entire time we were together? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing what we did, but she went to the extreme. She’s fucking pregnant!” he said, spent.

She could tell that he was getting more and more upset, but she knew that she needed to let him vent so that he could get it out of his system. She flinched when he jumped up from his seat.

He paced the room for a few minutes, every once in a while stopping and looking up at the ceiling. Finally he stopped and sat at Charlotte’s feet. He leaned his head against her legs and she rubbed it, trying to comfort him.

He reached up for her and she allowed him to pull her down to the floor next to him and then he laid his head in her lap. They sat there in silence, her rubbing his head and back and him calming down.

She was remembering back in the day when you could always find them just like that, him upset and her consoling. Ten years later and nothing had changed. She was glad to still be the one he ran to.

“Jeremy, I just want you to know that everything that I’ve done and said since day one, way back when, I mean it. I love you so much, with all that I am. Right here, well, maybe not ‘right here’, but that’s where I want to be, for how ever long you’ll have me.”

Jeremy sat up and looked at her really hard. He could tell that she meant every word she was saying.

“I know, baby. And I promise you,” he said, caressing her cheek, “we’ll work this out, together.”

He leaned in to kiss her when they were interrupted.

“What the hell is going on in here?!”

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chapter 20

The day was passing quickly and Charlotte hadn’t heard from Jeremy at all. She had hoped that he wasn’t so upset with her that he wrote her off. She couldn’t bear to lose him again. Too much time had passed for him to disappear again.

She’d tried calling him more than once and each time she got his voicemail.

It was almost 11 pm when her house phone rang. She ran to pick it up.

“Hello? Hello?” she asked, hoping to hear the voice she longed for.

“Charlotte? Honey, what’s wrong? You sound out of breath,” came back a familiar voice.

It was her mother. She talked to her mother for about an hour, relaying to her the past couple of days.

She’d always been close to her mom. She was the only other person that knew how Charlotte felt about Jeremy back in the day. But she was a little shocked at Charlotte for letting things with Jeremy go as far as they could. She understood, but she was still shocked.

After she talked to her mother well into the night, she climbed in bed.

There was really nothing left for her to do. She didn’t want to push Jeremy, but she also didn’t want him to go away. She decided that she would try calling him one more time.

Just as she went to pick up her phone, it started ringing. She stared at the name that showed on the display. It read “Jeremy Cell”. Her heart skipped a beat as she hit the button to answer the call.

“Hello?” she said quietly into the phone.

“Lady? Were you sleeping? I’m sorry to wake you. I just needed someone to talk to and you were the first person I thought of,” he replied.

“No, I wasn’t sleep, just getting ready for bed, but I’m up to talk if you need to. I’ve been trying to reach you all day. I wanted to apologize for earlier. Terrance is…”

She stopped when he cut her off.

“You don’t have to explain. I had no right to get jealous and upset like I did. You are single and free to do whatever you want to. It was wrong of me to feel like you were mine and to show my ass, sort of speak, today. I should be the one apologizing. I’m sorry, baby. Oh, wait, maybe I shouldn’t call you that anymore. Charlotte, I mean. Terrance seems like a nice dude. He better make you happy, though. If he doesn’t, then I have every right to kick his…”

He stopped when she cut him off.

“Jeremy!” she said very sternly. “Terrance is not my boyfriend. That’s what I was going to tell you. He’s a friend, well, an ex that came to visit me. We used to date back before he went to Iraq. We were just catching up, nothing more, nothing less.”

Jeremy was quiet for a minute. Inside his heart, he was celebrating. That news brought the first smile to his face since he heard the news about Robin. But it disappeared when he remembered where he was and what was going on.

“Jeremy, are you still there?” Charlotte asked after he’d been quiet.

“Yeah, I’m here. I’m fine, it’s not me that’s the problem, though. Robin was admitted to the hospital earlier today. Charlotte, I need to talk to someone. I can’t believe this mess. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

4 hours earlier

“What are you talking about? What’s going on?” Jeremy asked Greg.

Jeremy was not facing Greg. He was getting very agitated and was starting to wonder what this guy’s deal was. From the way he was talking, he sounded as if he was trying to cover up something.

“Look, Greg, I understand that your company doesn’t want this, whatever happened to my wife, to get out or whatever, but I think I at least have a right to know what’s going on.”

He looked back and forth between the doctor and Greg, waiting for an answer.

Greg took another step forward.

“Look, I’m really sorry that this has to come out like this, but I just don’t see any other way right now.”

He took a deep breath.

“You might want to sit down for this,” he said motioning towards the chairs.

Jeremy crossed his arms and just stared at him.

The doctor took that moment to interject.

“Mr. Johnson, we really need to get this underway. Your wife and the baby need to get their treatment started. Now.”

Jeremy started at the doctor in disbelief. He had no idea that Robin was pregnant. He couldn’t help but smile at the idea of his wife carrying a little Jeremy or Robin.

“My wife and baby? Doc, she’s pregnant?” Jeremy asked.

“Yes, but she’s having complications. Right now, she does not need blood, but we need to take the proper precautions.”

He holds out his clipboard to Jeremy. He informs him that they need to run some tests first and then they will go from there. Jeremy quickly signs the paperwork and hands the board back to the doctor.

“Nurse,” the doctor calls out, “let’s get to work.”

Jeremy was so excited that he’d forgotten about Greg standing for a second. When he turned around mid-“YES!”, he almost bumped into Greg, who was standing there with a really sad look on his face.

Jeremy looked at him hard. Again, Greg was making him feel extremely uncomfortable. He decided he just needed to get to the bottom of whatever it was Greg had to say.

“What is it that you wanted to tell me?” Jeremy asked.

“Again, I think you should sit down,” Greg requested.

He and Jeremy moved over to the white chairs lining the waiting room.

Greg, again, took a deep breath.

“Look, this is not the most appropriate time to tell you this, but I don’t have a choice. Robin is not just my co-worker. She’s also my girlfriend.”

Greg leaned back and waited for Jeremy’s reaction. He watched as Jeremy’s eyes went from light brown to black. He stood up when he saw the change.

“What did you just say to me? Please tell me you’re joking,” Jeremy said.

He remained seated and, on the outside, very calm. Inside, there seemed to be a fireball of rage building inside him.

“Look,” Greg said from the opposite side of the hallway, “she wanted to tell you about the baby, but she didn’t know how. She wasn’t sure if the baby was yours or mine. It’s been stressing her out for days now. And today, we were, um, at lunch and she went to the bathroom and came screaming. She was bleeding,” Greg finished.

Jeremy looked up from where he was sitting with his head in his hands when he heard that.

“What? What do you mean? What happened?” Jeremy shot question after question at Greg.

“I don’t know. We’d just finished, um, eating and she got up off the bed to use the bathroom. When she opened the door, she was standing there with it dripping down her leg. Then the next thing I know, she passed out. I called 911 and… here we are.”

Jeremy didn’t know what to say or do. Sure, he was mad as hell at the fact that his wife’s boyfriend was the one that was relaying to him what happened to her and he was irate at the fact that his wife had a boyfriend to begin with. But he couldn’t bring himself to feel the need to lash out. Basically, on that point, he was nonchalant. He couldn’t help feeling that way.

“Has she woken up since then?” he asked Greg.

Greg looked at Jeremy again. He expected him to react totally different, which shocked him.

“No,” he coughed. “Not that I know of, she hasn’t. I was freaking out before you came because they wouldn’t tell me anything because I wasn’t her husband. I’m so worried. I can’t lose her.”

Jeremy looked up at Greg. He noticed that Greg wasn’t talking to him like he was nervous about his reaction anymore. It was weird, but Jeremy felt sorry for Greg. And in that moment, Jeremy realized that he wasn’t in love with Robin anymore. He cared about her, sure, but he wasn’t in love with her. It was no use pretending anymore.

“Mr. Johnson,” a nurse walked up to him and said, “your wife is in and out of consciousness, but the doctor thinks she’s going to be okay. She’s doing a bit better now.”

Jeremy stood up and Greg came rushing over.

“Can I see her?” Jeremy asked.

“Once the doctor clears her for visitors, I’ll come back and get you,” she responded.

Jeremy breathed a sigh of relief. He couldn’t believe it. He found out his wife was in the hospital, found out that he was possibly going to be a father, met his wife’s boyfriend and realized that he wasn’t in love with his wife anymore, all within the course of a single hour.

He wasn’t sure that he could take anything else, but there was one thing he just had to know.

“Greg,” Jeremy called.

Greg jumped a couple of miles, it seemed, when he’d heard Jeremy call his name.

“How long have you and Robin been… you know?”

Jeremy wasn’t sure that he wanted to know the answer to that question, but he knew he had to know.

Greg didn’t answer right away.

Physically, he matched Jeremy pretty even. It was just that Jeremy had such a cool demeanor about him in a situation that Greg expected him to blow up in, that it had Greg shaken. He didn’t know what to expect.

He felt like he owed it to Jeremy to answer his questions, since everything was out in the open, but he just didn’t know what to think.

“Oh, only a little while,” he said, downplaying things.

“How ‘little’ is a little while? Two months? Five months? What?” Jeremy asked.

Greg started to sweat. He wasn’t prepared to explain everything today. He just wanted Jeremy to know the most important details, to help him get through today.

“A few months after you two got married.”

Jeremy stared at Greg for a long time before standing up. He walked past Greg and out the main doors of the emergency room. He didn’t know where he was going, but he needed some air.

He paced the sidewalk back and forth trying to calm down. He felt so stupid because he didn’t pick up on anything for the past four years. He was so angry with himself for not realizing it sooner.

After about 15 minutes, he went back in to the waiting room.

“Look, man,” Greg started, “I hate that this had to be dropped on you like this. If I could do anything to make it better, I would, but it is what it is.”

Jeremy didn’t even acknowledge him. He went over to the coffee machine and got a cup. Then he went back to the same white chair he’d been sitting in and sat down. He stared off into space as he sipped the hot drink.

Greg watched him from the other side of the room, but didn’t say another word to Jeremy.

About an hour later, the doctor came out and told Jeremy that Robin was going to be fine and that she just needed to get some rest. As for the baby, it was going to be fine, also. The doctor also informed Jeremy that he could go in and see Robin. He jumped up and followed the nurse down to her room. Once he was standing out of it, he put his hand on it to push it open. He hesitated for a few seconds, not sure what to say to her.

Once he stepped inside, he almost cried at the sight of her. The beautiful woman that he saw leaving the house that morning was gone. Robin looked as if she’d been hit by a truck. Her skin was very pale and hair, which was normally kept very neat, was a bird’s nest. She looked very weak and fragile and Jeremy almost visibly cringed at the sight of her.

He walked over and stood next to her bed. She gently turned her head towards him as he reached down and took her hand.

“Hey, you,” he whispered. “How are you feeling?”

She smiled weakly at him.

“I’m okay, considering,” she croaked. “I’m so sorry, Jeremy. About the baby. I took a pregnancy test and I wanted to tell you, but I just wasn’t sure. I had an appointment scheduled for this Friday to confirm it, but…” she trailed off.

“Shh,” he quietly scolded. “It’s okay. I know all about that. It’s okay.”

“You know? How?” she asked.

He looked at her with a smile. She smiled at him, too.

“Sweetie, don’t you know?” Jeremy asked.

She looked at him as if to visually ask what he meant.

“Greg, your boyfriend, told me,” he said through a grin.

Robin’s smile faded. She looked up at Jeremy with an “I’m caught” look on her face.

“Jeremy, I don’t… I…” she stammered.

“Shh, Robin. It’s okay. Everything’s going to be fine, you know. If that’s my baby, without a doubt, I will be around to raise my child. You already knew how much I wanted… doesn’t matter. I just wanted to come in and let you know that. I’m gonna head home now. Oh, and don’t worry, I’ll tell Greg its okay for him to come in now.”

Jeremy patted and then let go of her hand and headed for the door. He ignored her calls of his name from behind him and walked out of the room.

“She’s all yours, buddy,” Jeremy said to Greg as he walked past.

Greg stared after Jeremy as he walked back out the main doors of the emergency room.

Charlotte let out a deep sigh. She couldn't believe the story he'd just told her.
On the one hand, she was pleased at the outcome. She knew that was evil of her, but she couldn’t help her emotions. On the other hand, she knew that he was hurting and she wanted to be there for him.

“Jeremy, why don’t you come over and we can talk in person,” Charlotte suggested.

“I’m sorry, Lady, for earlier. I jumped to conclusions and I shouldn’t have.”

“Forget about that,” she told him. “Come over and we can talk.”

“You know what? I think I’m gonna just chill tonight. I’ll talk to you later, okay?”

He didn’t wait for an answer before he hung up the phone.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chapter 19

Once Terrance left, after Charlotte profusely assured him that she was alright and that if she needed to talk that he would be the first person she called, she threw herself into her work.

She started back working on the invitations and inserts that she designed that morning. Since most of her business is spread through word of mouth and websites online, she posts everything that she does in her blog so that potential clients can see what she is capable of doing before they hire her.

She was just about to send her design to the client, when an instant message box popped up on the screen. She didn’t recognize the name, but then again, her computer had been set up to keep her permanently logged in since forever ago, which was the last time she actually logged into it. As she was thinking back on it, she had no idea what her password was. But regardless, there, smack in the middle of her screen was a small box from ‘ibzdaone’.

Ibzdaone: I miss you.
WhosThatLady: Who is this?
Ibzdaone: Who else would be telling you they miss you? You talking to somebody else already?
Ibzdaone: You cheating on me, Charlotte?
WhosThatLady: Damien?! What do you want? Why are you sending me an IM? We broke up! Move on!

When she realized it was Damien she got upset. She hadn’t talked to him since they broke up. She hadn’t really even given him a second thought after she’d hung up the phone with him that day. But, leave it to Damien to act like that day never happened.

Ibzdaone: What do you mean ‘we broke up’? You talking ‘bout that little spat we had over the phone the other day? That didn’t mean anything. Baby, I miss you. Can I come see you tonight? I miss you so much.
WhosThatLady: OMG!!!
WhosThatLady: Are you serious? Are you out of your mind?!
WhosThatLady: I can do this right now. Don’t IM me, don’t call me, don’t text me, don’t send me emails!!! It’s over. We are not together anymore. You are no longer my boyfriend, man, significant other… whatever you used to call yourself. ITS OVER!

Then she closed out the window. She also clicked on the little smiley face in the bottom right corner of her screen and logged out of the messenger. She never used it anyway, so it didn’t matter anymore.

But she couldn’t believe his audacity. After days of not hearing from her, especially after the conversation they had that morning, he still thought that they were together.

She scoffed at the idea that he was serious and pushed it to the back of her mind, dismissing it as a joke he was playing to see if she would fall for it and roll over for him. Those days of her dismissing her anger with him were long over.

She went back to her design and sent it off to the client with a note asking them to get back to her as soon as possible so that she could get started on her project. She was getting that giddy feeling that she usually got when she was working. It was one of the reasons that she chose to do what she was doing. She loved her job and she loved working for herself.

She started thinking back to her younger days when she first started thinking about her career. Her mind immediately turned to Jeremy.

He played such a huge part in her life growing up, it was a wonder they let all that time pass since they’d seen each other.

Thinking about him just made her start thinking about the earlier events of the day. She wondered if Jeremy would take her call or if she had to wait for him to call her, if he ever did. She thought about calling his house number, but then decided against it when she checked the time. Robin could’ve been home. Her voice was the last one she wanted, or needed, to hear right now.

She went to her bedroom and grabbed her cell phone off the bed and dialed Jeremy’s cell number. After four rings, it went to voicemail. She hesitated at first, but then decided to leave him a short simple message.

“Jeremy, this is Charlotte. Please call me when you get this message. We really need to talk, especially after today. Whenever you get this message, and it doesn’t matter what time it is, please call me. I love you.”

She tossed the phone back on the bed and walked to her bathroom.

She hoped a nice, long, hot bath could help de-stress her. She was definitely ready for Calgon to take her away.

Jeremy pulled into the first parking spot he saw in the small lot of the emergency room at Hermann Hospital. He didn’t care that he was crookedly parked across two lanes. His wife was in the emergency room. If he got a ticket, he figured he’d deal with that later.

He ran across the lot and straight into the building up to the nurse’s desk.

“Excuse me,” he said to a nurse who was standing behind the counter looking into a file cabinet. “My wife, Robin Johnson, was admitted here a little while ago. Can you please tell me where I can find her?”

The nurse told him that she was in with the doctor at that moment, but that she had some paperwork that needed to be signed first.

He looked at her like she had five heads sticking out of her neck. He didn’t care about the paperwork, he wanted to see his wife and find out what was going on. He didn’t even know yet why she was admitted.

“Look, lady, I don’t have time to sign insurance papers or whatever that is. I need to find my wife and find out what’s going on. I don’t even know what she’s doing here. This morning, before she went to work, she was fine. Then I get a call saying that she’s in the hospital and still no one has told me what’s going on or what happened?”

“I can tell you what happened,” a voice said from behind Jeremy.

When he turned around, there stood a tearful Greg.

“I can tell you what happened to Robin.”

“Wait, you work with her, right? I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name.”

“I’m Greg, Greg Taylor. I…”

“Mr. Johnson,” a doctor said, walking up to him from the nurse’s station. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’m Dr. Randall, your wife’s doctor. I need to get some information from you. We need to get this paperwork signed.”

“Like I told the nurse, I can handle the paperwork later. I want to see Robin. Now.”

“Mr. Johnson, we need to get that paperwork signed. We can’t perform any surgeries or do the proper blood work without it. Your wife is incapacitated right now and you have to make the decisions, but you need to do it now. What blood type are you?”

Jeremy had taken a step back from the doctor. He had no clue what was going on with Robin, but from what the doctor was telling him, she was in really bad shape. He didn’t know what to think or do. But he knew that he had to listen to the doctor. Whatever he needed to do, he was going to.

“I’m A and she’s O. We found that out when she had her miscarriage a few years ago. Doctor,” Jeremy said, “I can’t give her blood if she needs it.”

“I can,” Greg said.

Jeremy looked at Greg, who still had tears in his eyes. He wondered what this man’s deal was. He was grateful that Greg was there when Robin needed someone and it was very noble of him to stay at the hospital for her support until he could get there, but Jeremy was becoming uncomfortable with the situation now.

“That’s very nice of you, sir, but...,” the doctor started to say before Greg cut him off.

“I can’t explain it right now, but this is something I have to do. Losing Robin is not an option,” he said, and then looked at Jeremy, “for either of us.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chapter 18

It’s Tuesday morning and Charlotte is puttering around in her kitchen fixing herself breakfast when her phone starts ringing.

She looks at the caller ID and realizes that it’s Mrs. Mathers from the mall. She’d forgotten to call her back the day before. She composed herself and answered in her most professional voice.

“Hello, this is Charlotte,” she said.

“Oh, Charlotte, I’m so happy I finally caught you. This is Mrs. Mathers. I met you at the mall the other day? Do you remember me?” the older woman asked.

“Yes, ma’am, I remember you. I’m sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I’ve been extremely busy wrapping up some loose ends. What can I do for you?”

“Well, I was really hoping that you would be able to help us put together this anniversary party. I don’t want Robin and Jeremy, that’s my son-in-law, to have to put this all on themselves. I mean, you know how much work goes into these things. I just wanted to get in touch with you and see if you had time to fit my event onto your calendar. Do you think that’ll be okay? I’m flexible as to the date, if that’ll help. I just really appreciate what you did for me the other day and want to show my appreciation by hiring you, pending on your previous work, of course. Do you have a portfolio or something that I can see that shows events you’ve already done? I’d love to meet with you. Do you think you’ll have time to fit me in today? I’m retired, you know, and have plenty of time. I’m so excited to get started.”

The woman paused. She’d been talking for quite a few minutes.

“Charlotte, are you there? You’ve been awfully quiet,” the woman asked.

Charlotte hadn’t been listening to the woman after she heard the names Robin and Jeremy together. Who else could she be talking about?

She was mentally kicking herself for not putting two and two together when Robin told her her name at the mall. She was a little shocked. She’d met, and actually liked, Robin upon first meeting her. Now she didn’t know what to do. After what happened with Jeremy, she wasn’t so sure that she wanted to meet her at all. She was nervous that Robin would pick up on her feelings for Jeremy as soon as she said hello. She knew that her emotions and feelings would show on her face anytime she was around him and that a person would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to notice it.

Charlotte snapped back to reality when she heard Mrs. Mathers calling her name.

“Charlotte,” the woman was practically yelling, “are you still there? I can hear you breathing.”

“Yes, I’m still here. I’m sorry, I got distracted for a moment. Mrs. Mathers, what is Robin’s last name?” Charlotte asked, hoping her suspicions were wrong.

“Well, she used to be a Mathers, like me, before she got married. Her husband’s last name is Johnson, Jeremy and Robin Johnson. Charlotte, what do you say we get together for lunch and you can show me some samples of your work? Do you have testimonials? I love reading testimonials,” the woman babbled.

Charlotte’s head was spinning. She didn’t know what to say about that. There was no way that she could plan this party now. That would mean working with Robin to put the event together, and that was the last thing she wanted to do. She’d slept with this woman’s husband. There was no way she could smile in her face and pretend like nothing ever happened.

“Mrs. Mathers,” Charlotte started, “I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, but I’m looking at my calendar right now and I just don’t know if I’ll be able to fit your event in with the three others I’m currently working on.”

It was just a small white lie and Charlotte hated to have to do it, but she just didn’t see any other way to get out of it.

“Well, I’m sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to working with you. You’re such a nice girl.”

Charlotte flipped through her rolodex.

“Mrs. Mathers, I can give you the name and number of an associate of mine. We work together sometimes on different projects. Is that okay?”

Mrs. Mathers agreed to that and Charlotte gave her the information and ended the call.

She did have some jobs lined up and more than likely would’ve been able to take on the party, but with the added drama of Robin and Jeremy thrown in the mix, she couldn’t guarantee that she would put her all into it, let alone be in the right mindset to get it done. She felt like passing this on to someone else was for the best.

After grabbing a bagel from her pantry, she walked to her bedroom and sat at her desk. She stared at herself in the mirror for a long time. She couldn’t believe the mess she’d gotten herself in.

The phone ringing broke her out of her trance. Looking at the caller ID, she saw that it was Terrance.

She answered it and they talked for a few minutes before they decided that he was going to bring over snacks and some movies in an hour.

She was happy about that, feeling as though the distraction would do her some good. And Terrance wasn’t a bad distraction at all.

She got dressed in comfortable clothes and then went to her office. She figured she could at least get started on a little bit of work before he arrived.

She sat at her computer and completed a few invoices and even got started on a design for a wedding invitation she was supposed to be building when there was a knock at the door.

She opened it find Terrance standing there with bags of junk and movies. She stepped aside to let him in and they got settled in right away.

They were about half an hour into the first movie when there was another knock at the door. She wasn’t expecting anyone, so she looked out the side window first.

It was Jeremy.

Terrance was still sitting in the living room when she opened the door.

“Hey, you,” she said. “What are you doing here?”

She stepped out onto the porch and pulled the door halfway closed.

“I came to see you,” he responded. “Robin’s at work and I needed to talk to you …”

He was interrupted when Terrance opened the door looking for Charlotte.

“Babe, what’s going on?” he asked.

He stood behind Charlotte and eyed Jeremy. When Charlotte turned to face him, he outstretched his hand towards Jeremy.

“What’s up, man? I’m Terrance, and old friend of Charlotte’s. How you doing?” he said, as he and Jeremy shook hands.

“”Sup Terrance, I’m Jeremy, a very old friend of Lady’s, I mean Charlotte’s.”

Charlotte watched the exchange between the two of them and noticed the darkness that settled in both of their eyes. They were sizing each other up.

“Charlotte,” Jeremy began before she had a chance to explain, “I’m sorry for coming over unannounced. I see that I’m interrupting things here. Look, I’m gonna go and…” he turned and started walking to his car, “I’ll call you… sometime, okay? Terrance it was nice meeting you. Charlotte…bye.”

She watched as he got in his car and pulled off.

Terrance took her hand and gently tried to pull her inside, but she watched his car until she couldn’t see it anymore. She, then, let him guide her back in the house. She wanted to curl up and cry when she saw that sad look on Jeremy’s face.

“So, that’s him, huh, your complicated and ‘not ideal’ situation?” Terrance said once she sat down.

She nodded her head yes. Her mind was replaying the look on Jeremy’s face over and over again. Her heart was breaking a little more each time she was forced to watch it.

“I’ve never seen you look at a person the way you looked at him, not even me.” He said the last part in almost a whisper, but Charlotte caught it.

“So, what’s the problem? Why don’t ya’ll just work out whatever it is that’s wrong and get together? It’s obvious that he cares for you, too. He had that same look in his eyes that you did.”

Terrance sat down next to her, waiting for an answer.

“Because I’m not his wife,” she told him, just before she broke down and cried.

Jeremy didn’t know what to think or do once he started driving away from Charlotte’s house.

He went over there because, after finding out that the person that Robin met at the mall the other day was Charlotte, he needed to talk to her and let her know how he felt about them meeting and see what they were going to do about their future.

But he never would’ve guessed that he’d find her at home with another man. Just the other night, that was him. As much as he tried to tell himself that he had no right to be jealous, he couldn’t help it. The second Terrance walked out that door Jeremy wanted to rip his heart out.

He couldn’t believe that she just stood there. He wasn’t sure what he expected her to do, but he needed for her to do something. His heart was officially crushed.

His cell phone ringing shattered his thoughts and brought him back to the real world.

“Hello?” he said into the phone.

“Mr. Johnson, this is Nicole. We need you to come down to the construction site and sign off on some invoices. There are also a couple of things that need your approval. Are you available to come in today?” she asked.

Jeremy welcomed the work distraction. His company was contracted to build a huge business center on the North side of town. With him being the owner, he didn’t always have to be on site, that’s what he had a General Manager for. But he liked to know where the company’s money was going towards when it came time to make big plans and changes.

“I’m on my way there right now, Nicole. I’ll see you in about 20 minutes,” he told his assistant before hanging up.

He drove the 20 minutes to the site and headed straight for the trailer. He got the paperwork signed with Nicole and then headed into the building to see what kind of progress his guys were making.

He was just about to get into the outdoor elevator when he heard his name being called over the intercom. He was being told that he had a phone call holding for him in the office trailer.

Upon arriving, he picked up the receiver and spoke into it.

“This is Jeremy Johnson,” he stated.

“Mr. Johnson, this is Nurse Banxter at Hermann Memorial Hospital. Your wife, Robin Johnson, was admitted to the hospital a half hour ago. We need you to come down here,” the nurse told him.

“What’s wrong with my wife? What happened?” he asked, yelling the questions at the nurse.

“Sir, the doctors are asking that you come down to the hospital as soon as possible. They’ll be able to explain everything to you once you get here. We’re located in the Medical Center, at Fannin and McGregor. Do you know how to get here?” the nurse kindly asked.

“I’m on my way,” Jeremy said into the phone before hanging it up and running out the door.