“Daddy! Please, please, pleaseee, one more song!” Since, discovering Just Dance during a snow day in physical education at school, Cove has been very adamant of playing every free chance we got. Friday’s victim of choice, Lionardo-Majid Harrington.
“I think that’s enough for one night, habibti.” Liam sat his controller onto the table, turning to me for help. Giving him a mischievous smile, as my newly manicured hands scooped Kettle Corn popcorn into my mouth, I lightly shrugged. Pregnancy things. Liam’s house always being on the cooler side turned out to work in my favor, I had an excuse to wear oversized and chunky sweaters.
We hadn’t decided to officially move in together yet, but came to an agreement that Cove and I would spend Friday through the weekend at his penthouse. Part of me knew the reluctance of moving in was more about Liam catching onto me being pregnant, than it was about us moving too fast.
I was at least thankful that by the end of the week my pregnancy symptoms were a little less intense, but the nausea was still unpredictable. Even though it was well after my first trimester, Dr. Gardner assured me that everything was healthy, and that everyone woman’s pregnancy was different. I’d take swollen feet and back aches over mid-morning vomiting any day.
After, accepting defeat, Cove sat her controller down, running over to Liam with her arms raised, begging for her giant of a father to pick her up. Liam obliged, lifting her up with ease, adjusting her small frame onto his upper body, lowering his head to place a kiss to her forehead.
“You got four more games out of me than usual, I might have to start bringing you to my business meetings to be my negotiator.” Cove had a wide smile on her face, as she kissed Liam on the lips.
“Daddy, can you help me with my homework?”
“Covie, I always help you with your homework.” Cove looked at me, then at a smirking Liam.
“Your flowers are horrible mommy. Daddy draws pretty flowers that my teacher likes.” Touché, her dad is artsy.
“Fair enough.” I raised my hands in defense, reaching for the remote to find something to watch on the large television. I had to admit, becoming apart of Liam’s lifestyle was a luxury I was enjoying. Not for the fact I was going to rely on him to financially support Cove and I, I wasn’t with him for his family’s wealth. But from working two jobs since I was sixteen, barely making ends meet upon moving to Seattle nine months ago, this lifestyle was, comforting.
“Go grab your bag habibti.” Liam sat Cove on the ground, letting her little legs run up his tiled staircase to her bedroom. Accommodating to his weight as the couch dipped, I brought my head to Liam's chest, inhaling his woodsy, yet sweet scent. He was wearing the cologne I bought him. “I know you want to wait, so whenever you’re ready, I have five potential wedding planners ready to plan the wedding of your dreams.” Lifting my eyes to meet Liam’s soft gaze, showing me his rare moments of vulnerability.
“You really want to marry me, huh?” Liam smirked, shrugging his shoulders as Cove’s hurried feet came down the steps.
“I told you, you’re it for me. I got the kid, the woman, and the dog what more could a man need?” Two more kids. The guilt I had stowed away since my doctor’s appointment was slowly creeping back into my conscience, as I moved away from Liam. He doesn’t deserve to be married to a liar.
“I’m going to clean the dishes, while you put your expertise to use.” I faked a smile, adjusting my cardigan and pullover on my body.
“You know that’s Selene’s job right?”
“Let me feel useful, please.” Liam stood up from the couch bringing his lips to mine briefly, placing a light slap on my ass, before joining Cove at the living room table. Chief’s newly clipped nails tapped against the floor, as he followed me into the kitchen. There was only a few dishes from our dinner, but that was more than enough to keep me from dropping my pregnancy bomb.
When I tell him, which I promised myself would be when he got back from New York next week, so he wouldn’t be distracted by any means, I would explain to him why I was hiding this in the first place. The more time alone I gave myself to think, I realized that Liam and I’s relationship would only work if I let him in. I know he isn’t Vaughn, but he needs to know why I’m treading carefully regarding our future. It has been nearly six years, since I’ve seen or spoken to Vaughn Marshall, yet he still had a hold over me like I was his prisoner and he was my warden. His hurtful remarks, the abuse I endured, and the permanent scar on my back, are all reminders of what happened the last time I trusted a man’s sweet words. He broke me, and I’m still not whole again.
As the water turned into a soapy foam, I began dunking the used dishes inside the sink, using the rough side of the sponge to scrub off any excess food. Once, I was satisfied with the clean appliances, I placed them in the rack on the sink, until they were completely dry. Using the fluffy towel hanging over the handle of the stove to dry my hands, I walked back into the living room to join Liam and Cove at the table. Cove was standing on the cushion of the chair watching Liam draw an intricate cherry blossom, that definitely put my four petaled flower to shame.
I was mesmerized watching him draw, barely using the security of the eraser to change or get rid of anything.
“All done habibti.” Cove lifted her head from the drawing smiling brightly at Liam.
"Merci, papa!” (Thank you, daddy.) Of course, he’s been teaching her French.
"N’importe quoi pour toi.” (Anything for you.)
“Hey, hey, no speaking it, if I can’t understand it, you two maybe plotting something.” Cove looked to Liam attempting to wink at him, and he did the same. Liam stood up from his chair, briefly yawing before turning towards me.
“I have to check in with the manager at my gallery, it shouldn’t take more than an hour.”
“Okay.” Giving him a nod of understanding, as I smiled at him. Liam pecked my lips and Cove’s left cheek, before fishing his business phone out of the pocket of his black sweats, disappearing down the hall to his study. “What do you have so far Covie?” After, she finished coloring the cherry blossom’s petals pink, she slid her paper over for me to see.
“Ms. Goldie wants us to make a family flower.” She smiled at me beginning to point at all the names she tried her best to spell out on the petals. “There’s you, mommy, and there’s daddy.”
“You’re so good baby, your handwriting is getting so much better.” Cove pecked my lips, before going back to her small doodles around the flower.
Monday, March 8th
“I assume you’ve calculated all potential hindering factors our competitors may provide.” Liam looked up from his notepad, as he scribbled down his last remarks on Desiree’s presentation.
“Of course, Mr. Harrington.” Of course, Mr. Harrington. Barf. “As you can see I’ve factored in plagiarism if our product were to ever be leaked before a release date and the needed steps to diminish said problem. And here is if any competitors try to launch a similar product just at a lower cost.” Everyone at the table began clapping as Desiree concluded her flawless presentation. She really is good at what she does.
“I’m impressed Ms. Bilkova.” Liam spoked as he closed his binder, retracting the tip of his pen back inside its metal barrier, placing it in the pocket of his black suit jacket. “Everyone else good work but there is room for improvement. Ms. Dawson you will remain with Ms. Prescott until your data improves.” My heartached for Gracie, as Liam put her on the spot. I know first hand from working with her for the past two months that she is so hardworking. Her personal life was just taking a toll on her, limiting the needed concentration for her given tasks.
“Of course, Mr. Harrington, I apologize once again.”
“It’s okay Gracie, you’ll get it soon.” I rolled my eyes, as Desiree placed a “friendly” squeeze on Gracie’s cardigan covered shoulder. I really don’t like her.
“We’ll meet again on Monday to check in with your new assignments, you’re free to go.” The interns bid us goodbye, scurrying out of the conference room to enjoy their two-hour lunch period. Gracie was the only one left, stumbling to get her binder, folders, and MacBook back into her work bag. With a quiet huff, Gracie walked over to me, trying her best to smile despite once again scoring low on her assignment.
“Um, Ms. Prescott, what can I help you with?” I smiled lightly at Gracie, taking into account her pale cheeks lightly flushed red.
“Go, enjoy your lunch Gracie, I’ll have your assignments ready by then.” She nodded, walking out of the conference room with her head down in defeat. Closing the top of my MacBook, placing it back into its protective sleeve, I turned to Liam, with my hands on my hips. “You’re too hard on her.” Liam sighed, replacing my hands with his, resting them tightly on my hips.
“She has to learn baby. This is me being incredibly lenient, if she didn’t have such strong recommenders, I would have fired her by now.”
“She does such good work when she’s with me for the first half of the day, I don’t know what goes so wrong after that.” I brought my gaze to meet Liam’s baby blues as I fixed his tie. “I know she has family matters maybe-”
“I’m not lessening her workload because my wife has a favorite.” I raised my eyebrow at his statement.
“Wife?” Liam smirked removing his hands from my hips.
“It’s only a matter of time.” I rolled my eyes, gathering my laptop and binder into my arms. “Archie and Delilah invited us to lunch, I couldn’t refuse.” I had nothing against Delilah, but I wasn’t exactly jumping at the idea of flaunting what she couldn’t have with Liam. Sure, she and Archie are married now, but love is an intense emotion that isn’t always easy to get rid of. Especially when the object of that emotion is your husband’s god of a best friend.
“I-I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Delilah and I’s relationship is strictly friendly, she found her person and I found mine.” I smiled lighlty, as Liam closed the conference room door locking it, once we were in the hall. He could be so romantic when he wanted to be.
“Fine, but the moment I feel uncomfortable, we’re leaving.”
“Deal, meet me in the parking garage in ten.” Liam rustled in his pocket, showing me the key fob to his Bentley. “Its the navy blue one.” I nodded, as Liam walked towards the elevator, pushing the silver button to open the heavy, silver automatic doors. Once, the elevator doors were closed, I slumped against the wall behind me, closing my eyes, as I inhaled and exhaled slow, but repeatedly. Nasuea+fatigue= Monday’s symptoms. My original lunch plans were to take a much needed nap, but I can scratch that out of my plans for today now. Once, I felt the fatigue pass, I walked into my office straightening up a bit, before I left out.
“Katie.” At the call of my name, my body became stiff, my blood felt ice cold running through my veins, an uneasy feeling hugged my body. I knew this day was coming, I just didn’t think it would be today. It felt like time had stood still as I turned around slowly, being mindful of the thin heel holding my pumps upright, my eyes met with the chilling apperance of Keith. His once bare face now was covered with irregular stumble attempting to build a beard, and his dirty, blonde hair hipster hair was now dark brown and cropped above his ears. “Can we talk?”