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The Christmas party was incredibly boring for me. Watching the older businessmen waddle around with their wives was not how I wanted to spend my last hours of the holiday.
But my father was retiring from the company and he wanted his family here. It’s not every day the company’s founder and CEO stepped down. It was natural they would want to celebrate him.
My father was the best man I knew. Not many men would exactly be thrilled when their only daughter gets pregnant in her freshman year of college and has to come home.
Just as I thought of the little happy accident he came running up to me between the legs of the guests in attendance with something green in his hands. Most of those here already knew the of CEO’s grandson and were used to him making the office his playground.
“Mommy, look! Papa says pretty ladies have a kiss me when I have this!” The beautiful little boy stated holding his small hand out to me. “So, you gotta kiss me now!”
I noticed he had a small bundle of mistletoe squished in his tiny fist and just couldn’t help the smile that began to spread on my face.
“Why of course I’ll give you a kiss, Trevor. Momma’s little boy has the best kisses ever!” I scooped him up easily and twirled him around in my arms before planting a big kiss on his rounded cheeks. As I peppered kisses all over his face he began to squeal in delight and wriggle in my arms showing he was ready to escape my hold.
“Look, Trevor, Papa is at the buffet table. I bet if you ask him for a finger sandwich he won’t say no.” I whispered to him while pointing out my father to him. Dad was looking over the select hors d’oeuvres set out and wiggling his fingers as he always did before grabbing a snack.
“I don wanna samwich, I want cookies!”
“Okay, only because it’s Christmas. Go and ask Papa for some cookies!” I set him down on the ground and watched his little legs take off in the direction of his grandpa. My father felt the little boy run straight into his leg and looked down with a wide smile on his face.
It was funny to think dad was almost ready to disown me when he found out I was pregnant. Despite his hard exterior, Howard O’Sullivan had a heart of mush. As soon as Trevor was born his grandfatherly instincts took over and we were welcomed back with open arms.
Although, being pregnant and alone was never easy.
Seeing my dad take Trevor over to the desserts table to look at cookies just warmed my heart. They disappeared through the crowd of suits and fancy holiday dresses and I turned back to go find my self a drink.
There was a tower of champagne glasses that had caught my eye and I was ready for a drink. The gaudy white lights over everything were giving me a headache.
As I was reaching for a glass someone bumped into me from behind. Their drink spilled on my side and I could feel the chilly liquid seeping into my thin golden dress.
“Oh fudge!” I snapped as I turned around to look at the culprit.
“Shit, excuse me! I’m so sorry!” replied a deep voice.
My eyes traveled up the tall and muscular frame clad in an all black and very expensive looking suit. Yet, when my eyes landed on his face my breath caught in my throat. I would never forget those hazel eyes that now held my attention.
It didn’t matter if it had been five years, I couldn’t forget those eyes. I saw them on my son every day.
“Hey, let me help you with that,” the man began to fumble around for napkins to help with the drink on my side.
“No, no don’t worry about it. I can do it.” I’m sure my tone was cold towards him, but I needed it to be.
“Umm, this might sound weird.. But, do we know each other?”
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Why was he here? How could he be here? He was dressed for the party. Could he possibly be a business associate?
“I’m sure I would remember you. I don’t think so,” I tried to turn away from him in a rush. The color was draining from my face and I could feel a cold sweat forming on my brow.
“No, hold on,” he gripped my arm. It wasn’t rough despite the firm grip I remember him to be capable of. His hand was gentle on my arm and I could already feel the forbidden warmth growing from that small contact.
“Ronia? That’s your name, right?” The question was easy enough to answer. I turned back to look at his strikingly handsome face where his brows were pulled together in thought.
“Everyone here knows me, so I’m sure you’ve heard of me before. Now if you’ll excuse me,” I turned my head to make sure my father was still no where near here with Trevor.
“Wait. You used to have purple hair. I remember you,” I would never forget him. It was only one night, but it was enough to change my life.
“Did we... Yeah, I’m sure we did. I don’t think I could forget someone as beautiful as you.” A devilish grin spread across his luscious lips and my body betrayed me at remembered how great of a kisser he was. But I couldn’t think of that. I had to get out of here.
“I’m sure you say that to all the ladies. But please, I have to go.” I managed to pull my arm from his grip. I guess he decided not to follow as I easily managed to lose myself in the crowd.
I was trembling and could feel the anxiety that was settling in my gut.
He shouldn’t be here. It had been so long, why was he here?
As soon as I managed to take a deep and steady breath I found myself able to calmly walk in the direction of the small stage where the massive Christmas tree was set up.
Dad was standing with Trevor in his arms pointing out the various different lights and ornaments that it had been decorated with. Although it was a beautiful sight I had to get my son out of here.
“Hey dad, it’s getting late. I should probably get Trevor home by now.”
“Oh Ronia, sweetie, nonsense. I’m just about to make the official announcement. Wait one moment,” he wouldn’t take no for an answer. At the side of the stage next to the impressive Christmas tree there was a microphone stand. Father quickly turned with Trevor still happily eating cookies in his arms to grab a mic.
“Alright everyone, I hope you are all enjoying the holiday festivities. John D I see you back there at the desserts table, so we all know you’re having a good time,” Fathers coworkers and employees laughed at the inside joke they shared at John’s expense. “Now I know we all love the holidays and end of year bonuses that come with them, but I’m sure you’re all here for the big news. As some of you may know I’ve been considering retirement for some time now, and many of you are anxious as to who would replace me as CEO.” He looked around the room at the now hushed crowd. “And that title will be passed to none other than Charles Dillon!”
My mouth went dry and the air around me became frigid.
I never knew his last name.
The crowd around us cheered and clapped politely for the man who was to become their next CEO. A chill crept up my spine and I turned my head to see him standing where I left him with drink in hand. He was receiving claps on the back and handshakes from those around him. Despite those hovering over him with congratulations I could still feel his eyes on me.
“Alright, everyone get back to enjoying the party!” My dad put down the microphone and turned to me with a smile.
“Can you hold Trevor while I get his bag from your office?” I asked quickly. He must have noticed how frazzled I was because his brows knit with concern and his wrinkles deepened.
“Are you feeling okay?” Dad held out his hand and placed it on my cheek then moved to my forehead as if checking me for a temperature.
“Dad, I’m fine. I’m not a little kid anymore. It’s just late for Trevor. He needs to get to bed,” he must have believed me. It wasn’t entirely untrue. He nodded his head and I placed a kiss on my boy’s head before scurrying back to the direction of my dad’s office. Well, what was soon to be his old office.
The crowd parted easily for me as I made my was through. Everyone was distracted with the party and the news they had just received.
But my heart was pounding in my chest and I knew I had to get out of here. I was riddled with fear and it was driving me to nearly fly over the floor in my glittery heels.
I opened the door to the office and ran to his coat closet where Trevor’s backpack was hung up, making sure to grab our coats as well. As quick as I could I made sure I had my car keys to get home.
When I was in the hallway outside of the conference center where the party was taking place I heard someone walking out of the nearby restrooms.
“Ronia? Ronia! Wait,” his enthralling voice called to me once more. Like the idiot I was I turned to face him.
The years had been kind to him. Although now a few white hairs grew at his temple, standing out in his dark black hair, he was still so handsome.
“Charles...” the name came out as a whisper when my eyes found his.
“So, you do remember? You- um- You look different. Good. you look good,” he seemed to be a bit nervous and that was different from the man I remember who only exuded confidence. Although I’d only known him for one night.
“Uh, thanks. Whatever happened, happened. Congrats on the new job, but I really need to be going,” his eyes shot up and for the first time he seemed to notice all the belongings in my arms.
“Oh, yeah, okay. Do you think that we could maybe go out sometime? Like, for dinner?” He sounded hopeful.
“Uhhh,” my hesitation was palpable in the air between us. As much as I was still very attracted to him I couldn’t give in to him. I licked my bottom lip and looked around for my exit.
“Just to catch up, I promise.” Charles put his hands up as if to show he was harmless, followed by a cheeky grin. I knew he was anything but harmless.
At that moment the door to the conference room opened and I heard the sound of little feet pattering towards me.
“Mommy! Papa said we’re going home, but I don’t wanna! We don’t have any cookies at home!” Trevor ran into my legs and gripped at the edges of the golden shimmering dress covering my calves. Trevor noticed Charles standing too close to his mother and partially hid behind my legs to avoid the stranger.
This is a nightmare. It has to be.
“Hey there little man, I couldn’t help but notice your shoes are on the wrong feet,” Charles squatted down low so he was more eye level with Trevor all while flashing his dashing smile that not many could refuse.
“It’s so they don’t wiggle,” Trevor said with confidence like what he said made complete sense.
“Alright, buddy,” Charles stood back up and chuckled before turning his eyes back to me. “I didn’t know you had a kid.” His tone had a hidden question behind it.
“Why would you?” I nearly snapped at him. I tried to keep Trevor still hidden behind my legs so Charles couldn’t get a good enough look at him. I didn’t need him to see the resemblance.
It’s been just us for so long, I didn’t need any random meeting to change things. Our lives were good and I wasn’t going to take any chances.
“Goodbye, Charles.” I turned as quickly as I could and picked Trevor up in my arms. I had to get my baby out of here. I would text my dad to let him know we made it home safely and that we’d see him in the morning to open presents.
But right now I had to get away from my son’s father.
Chapters 1-5 are posted on Patreon! (Link in bio)
I wasn’t going to start working on this story yet, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it!
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