Chapter 15. Breaking Point
My body moved on autopilot as I collected my personal belongings from my corner office. When we’d emerged from the elevator Tracy had been waiting with two large cardboard boxes. Other lawyers and legal assistants were about, leaning out of doorways and casting disapproving glares my way. I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks as I tried to use my hair to hide my face.
Wes followed me into my office, taking a box from Tracy and setting it in one of my client chairs. He ran his hand over his face with a sigh as I scooped up pictures of me, Adrienne, and El as teenagers, photos of my mom and dad. I arraigned them as neatly as I could before moving over to my bookshelf.
“I thought he would listen,” Wes muttered. I continued stacking legal books, choosing to ignore him. I wasn’t even sure what to say. Everything had happened so quickly. And I knew if I opened my mouth right now I would break down and cry. These people have already seen me disgraced, I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of seeing me broken.
I placed the books in the box before pulling out some files. I looked through each, making sure my meticulous notes were placed in each correct one before sliding them into the second box. With a quick glance around I grabbed the last few remaining personal items, settling them in the box before reaching for my purse. Wes stepped around my desk and grabbed my arm firmly.
“Liv, I’m so sorry...”
His eyes were roiling, like the sky during a thunderstorm. His mouth was turned down with sadness and I could feel it weighing on him. I swallowed quickly and shook my head side to side, not trusting my voice. Part of me wanted him to hold me, but the other part wanted suffer with me. I’d just lost everything I’d worked so hard for.
He picked up my heavy box of personal belongings as I grabbed the one full of files. With one last look around my office, my home for the past six years, I threw my shoulders back and headed for the door. As I breezed through I gave Tracy a quick nod, noticing the shine in her eyes like she too was holding back tears. She’d been a great assistant.
I headed right to Travis’s office, bursting in without knocking. He shot up from his seat. Once realizing it was me his shoulders relaxed and he smiled that sleazy smile. “Ah Baser, you could have just left those in my new office.” I dropped the box with a loud thump square in the middle of his desk. I straightened my shoulders and narrowed my eyes then without a word I turned around. He laughed loudly. “That’s it? No verbal banter, no insults thrown?”
I glanced back over my shoulder, my cold gaze taking him in from head to toe. He shifted slightly on his feet, sliding his hands in his pockets. “I don’t need to say anything, we both know you won’t last long without me. Enjoy my office while you can.” I walked calmly through the door even though my throat was burning. The knot in my chest had grown as the panic clawed it’s way up and threatened to escape. Not here, I told myself.
Wes stood by the elevator waiting for me, my box of things in his arms. As I reached him the doors opened and we entered awkwardly. The doors closed slowly and it felt like every single pair of eyes was on us. I was grateful once they shut and let out a shaky breath, closing my eyes and leaning against the wall. “Babe...” Wes started. I held my hand up in a silent gesture to stop. Taking my hint he stayed quiet for the ride.
My heels clicked across the tile floors of the lobby. The building receptionist looking up with a frown. She took in my stern face and Wes’s hulking figure carrying the telltale cardboard boxes and looked back down at her computer. The two guards who’d taken us from Mr. Alderman’s office stood by the glass doors. One pushed it open for me as I passed.
“Good luck Ms. Baser.”
I nodded, feeling the fragile grip I’d had on my emotions slipping. My lip wobbled as warm tears began to drip down my cheeks. I wiped them away quickly but more followed even quicker. I picked up the pace, eager to get to my car where I could finally melt down. My legs shook slightly as a sob slipped past my lips. Just a few more steps!
One more step forward and I felt my legs give. As I began to fall to the ground I heard a loud bang before Wes’s arms were around me. “It’s ok baby, I’m here. It’ll be ok,” he muttered. I’d hardly realized I was crying in earnest now, my face soaked with tears as I cried loudly against his chest. His hands stroked my hair and back, holding me close. The concrete dug into my bare legs where I’d fallen down.
Suddenly as if realized what I’d done I pulled away, looking around quickly. It didn’t seem like anyone had seen us. I wiped the running mascara from my face before pushing off the ground to stand shakily. Straightening my skirt I looked up at Wes as he slid his hands into his pockets. “I’m sorry I....” my voice trailed off and I bit my lip. With a small shake of my head I reached down and heaved up the box of my belongings.
Turning, I took the last few steps to my car. I opened the door and slid the box into the back seat, slammed it and opened the driver door. I paused, one foot in and one foot out, raking my brain for what to say. Wes took a step forward reaching out to cup my cheek. I flinched away from his touch.
“Liv I’m so sorry,” he said with a sigh.
I let out a shaky breath. “Do you understand what I just gave up by being with you?”
“It’s just a job, Liv. You are brilliant. You shouldn’t be working for a schmuck like my dad, you should be running the place and calling the shots.”
My body vibrates with anger as I squeezed the door of my car so hard my knuckles turned white. “After being fired for you really think any cooperate companies are going to want to do business with me? After hearing about my unprofessional conduct and willingness to sleep my way to the top,” I chocked slightly on the words, closing my eyes and taking a deep breath threw my nose. “I’m ruined Wes and I have nothing to show for it but a few orgasms.”
Wes’s eyebrows pulled together as he frowned. “You have me.” He held his hand open and out to his sides slightly.
I let out an exasperated breath, “For how long Wes? Until you realize that we don’t know each other enough? See that we are too different? When you realize that I live, eat, and breath my work? I never dreamed of being a wife or a mom or all those other things girls dream of. I wanted to be powerful, successful, in control.”
“I know that Liv,” he interrupted, “And I know why. You had the rug pulled from under you when you realized you were adopted. Those things help you cope but you don’t need them anymore. And if you don’t want to get married, fine. If you don’t want to have kids, fine. I think you’d be amazing at both but all I really need is you.” His face was imploring. He’d moved even closer, the warmth of his body washing over me. I hated that I instantly relaxed, taking in a deep breath of him. He reached up slowly, his palm cupping my cheek gently. “I know this sucks, I can’t imagine what that cost you, but I’m here and for the first time other than my career I know what I want.”
Time seemed to slow between us. My face tingled where he touched me, shooting straight down to the warm space between my legs. From the moment I’d met him at that bar we’d had this easy connection. I hadn’t even questioned taking him home. And look where it had led me. Jobless and disgraced in front of practically everyone I knew. Wes barely blinked as he searched my eyes. I’m not sure what he could see, I felt dead inside.
Slowly I sunk into the drivers seat of my car. I turned the key in the ignition, resting both hands on the wheel and looking ahead. After I moment I turned, “It’s not what I need right now. I need to find a way to fix this mess.” I tugged at the door, hitting Wes gently, trying to get him to move. He stood there, unflinching for what felt like an eternity.
Then he looked up at me, flashing a quick smile. “I know your hurting so I’ll give you some space. But this isn’t over Liv, far from it. And I know you aren’t used to people fighting for you but I intend to.” With a wink he took a step back, closing the door for me, and turning to stride down the sidewalk.
Not wanting to be humiliated further I quickly left the lot and turned onto the road. I gripped the wheel tightly, my jaw clenched. Who did he think he is? He didn’t get to decide who I was with or what I did with my life. Our entire relationship, if you could even call it that, had been based on a mutual attraction and need for each other’s bodies and I’d never needed more. And again, he insinuated that my birth parents didn’t fight for me. What did he know!?
I turned the corner sharply, my foot pressing down on the gas harder. I clenched my teeth so tight I thought they might break. His privileged upbringing had caused him to believe he could have whatever he wanted but I didn’t intend to give in. I’d never needed a man to be complete and I sure as hell wasnt going to start now. All I saw was red as I continued to whip through town as fast as I could, breaking numerous speed limits and ignoring stop signs. In my pocket my phone rang and I answered it.
“What?” I snapped.
“Wow, sounds like someone’s having a bad day,” El chirped.
I fought an eye roll as I took another sharp turn. “Not in the mood El, what do you need?”
She sighed dramatically. “I can’t call just to talk to my only sister?”
My open palm smacked against my steering wheel. “Damnit El now is not the time!” Hot tears filled my eyes, threatening to spill over. Shame filled me from head to toe. I hated yelling at her but my emotions were all over the place. I couldn’t tell her what had happened. I’d always been the success of the family. I had to make a plan of attack, get my feet back under me.
“You’re freaking me out Ollie, what’s happened? This isn’t like you.”
My mouth felt dry as I tried to think of an answer. My world felt like it was spiraling out of control. The accelerator was pushed to the floor as I flew up over a hill, glancing around I suddenly realized I didn’t know where I was. Panic clawed it’s way up my throat as I looked around frantically for any signs or landmarks to point me in the right direction. “El I think I’m lost...” I started to say when I turned my head back in front of me and BAM!
I flew through a guardrail, my stomach dropping as the car soared through the air. I let my phone go as I heard El saying, “What do you mean lost Ollie?” Ground rushed up to meet me, my car smacking roughly against it. I realized I hadn’t put on a seatbelt as my head hit first the roof of the car before smacking hard against the wheel.
Warmth trickled down the side of my face as my ears rang. Darkness clouded my vision as I shakily tried to open the door of my car. Somewhere I heard the faint call of my name but I couldn’t answer. The door swung open slightly and I slid out the side, falling into a heap on the ground.
Black continued to cloud my vision as I tried to move any part of my body. It was no use. I looked up into the cloudly sky, praying El would send someone to search for me as the world went black.