Bending The Rules

By Rebecca Burton All Rights Reserved ©

Romance

Chapter 17

Dominic called every day for almost a month. Eventually he stopped, but the feelings I was hoping would disappear along with his calls didn’t. I resolved to do the one thing he’d had faith in me to do. I decided to focus my remaining strength on starting No Person Alone.

Surprisingly when I called around to set up funding meetings people said yes... and that was after I mentioned my name. I knew some of it must have had something to do with Dominic, but I let that piece of information slip by me, along with the knowledge of being pregnant. I’d visited a doctor and picked up vitamins, but nothing was set in stone, nothing was known for sure. I hadn’t even told my mother.

I looked in the mirror. My stomach was beginning to round, and I wasn’t going to be able to conceal it for much longer. I slipped on a loose fitting blouse and a pencil skirt before picking up my purse and laptop.

Mom smiled at me as I walked out of my room. “You look beautiful love. Date?” she whispered.

I eyeballed her, I couldn’t think of anything worse. After Dominic I was going to be far more careful with my heart.

“No, I have a meeting with a potential funder. This one is from out of town. Private too. He doesn’t want any sponsorship perks.” I smiled. The business so far had all wanted some kind of recognition, and that was fine, but I didn’t want my potential clients to be bombarded with sponsorship and advertising issues.

“Sounds promising... did he approach you?”

“Yes. Apparently a mutual friend mentioned my name.” I whispered. I looked down at the floor and ignored the dull pain in my chest. I knew the mutual friend had to be Dominic. I barely knew anyone in this world, anyone with any real clout anyway.

“Well best of luck. I have to go sign some employment forms.” She smiled. “I start work on Monday.”

“You should be partner.” I replied, disdain dripped from my tongue.

“Felicity, one door shuts, and sometimes a window opens. You’ll see. We can’t meticulously plan out our lives. I really think it’s better this way.”

I smiled and walked across the floor. I kissed her on the cheek and then walked to the door. “I’ll see you tonight Mom.”

“See you tonight hon.”

I left the house and drove to the Café Mr Cooper had suggested in the emails. I was early, so I ordered a coffee and took a seat. I was going through my proposal when a shadow stood above me.

“Mr Cooper, thank you for meeting me so late in the evening, sorry we couldn’t speak on the phone before – ”

I looked up half way through my sentence and felt the blood run from my face, Mr Cooper wasn’t Mr Cooper at all. Dominic looked down at me, pain in his eyes that matched what I felt in my heart. It was hard to believe it had been four weeks since I’d seen him last.

“Felicity.” Hearing his voice melted my heart. I wanted to hear him speak more, but my fractured heart was only just beginning to mend.

“Mr Coran, I’m busy I’ve got a business to start.” Please leave.

“I told you I wanted to fund you, I always did. I already deposited the money in your account.” He said ignoring my pleas.

“You can’t do that.”

“I did.”

“You can’t throw money at me and expect everything to be fine!” I replied.

“I know, and I’m not trying to Felicity.” He murmured. “Please, just let me explain.”

“Why should I?”

“I had nothing to do with the buy out.” He pleaded. “I told them to do what needed to be done to make the hard and fast decisions. I didn’t know until I went in the next day, I tried to call you, but it was too late they signed the documents before I got there.”

“You expect me to believe that?” I scathed.

“It’s the truth. I couldn’t renege on the deal, although I tried. Everything was signed. The guys thought that they had done something amazing for me, the company only wanted 5 million more for a complete purchase. It’s what I do Felicity.”

I sighed, I knew very well what he did. But whether or not he had known was of no interest to me. It was my mother who had to deal with the fallout.

“You knew the meeting was that day though.” I whispered. “You must have.”

“I was a little clouded by love and I forgot.”

I let his words permeate in my head. So I’d helped this process? Guilt seeped into my veins.

“So it’s partly my fault my mother has no job. The career she worked so hard for is effectively over. No one looks twice at her anymore, they all want young pretty things to work for them. She’s had to take a job at a receptionist for god sakes.”

I gathered my things and looked up at Dominic. “I’m sorry, but I have to go.”

“Wait.”

“I can’t wait Dominic.” I replied I began to walk away, but my handbag slipped and the contents spilled on to the linoleum floor. I bent down and tried to pick them up in a hurry, but before I could gather everything, Dominic knelt down in front of me and picked up a few things. Including my prenatal vitamins. He stood up, as did I and he looked between me and the pill canister for 30 seconds before he finally said a word.

“What are these?” He said, his voice was low.

“Vitamins. I’m lacking in um.”

“Folate?” he almost sneered. “I’m not an idiot Felicity I know what these are.”

I reached forward and yanked them from his grip. I wasn’t ready for him to know yet, I was barely ready for myself to know. He took my hand and held it. “We need to talk don’t you think.”

“I have to go, I have another meeting in 30 minutes.” I lied.

“Fuck your meeting Felicity. Sit down and talk to me god dammit.” He almost yelled, garnering the attention of the other patrons in the café we stood in. I swallowed hard and nodded, he was right, even if I didn’t want him to be.

I sat back down and placed my laptop and hand bag down.

“The tablets. They’re prenatal vitamins right?”

I nodded, I kept my eyes down, I was too scared to look up.

“You’re pregnant?” He questioned.

I nodded again, and then suddenly, apart from the lady in the chemist and my doctor I wasn’t the only who knew. He knew. I expected him to be angry, I’d fallen pregnant after I said I wouldn’t, but he just slipped his hand over mine and squeezed.

“When?”

“I’m 10 weeks.” I mumbled. “Turns out when I said you were safe, that I couldn’t get pregnant cos of the pill, I lied.”

“Ten weeks?!” he replied, now he was angry. “Felicity, were you even going to tell me? How long have you known.”

“Since I left, and of course I was going to tell you.”

“Were you... because I had to make a fake email and lie to you to even get you to meet with me!” he replied. “I don’t think you planned on telling me at all.”

“Dominic, I’m scared.” I replied. “I not ready to be a Mom. I haven’t even got a career, I don’t have a home. I live with my mother. I’ve been avoiding the truth for four weeks.”

“Not ready?” he mused. “Then why does Molly ask me every night if you’re going to come back.”

I closed my eyes and tried to push away the guilt, but when it came to Molly’s broken heart I couldn’t. Tears filled my eyes until I had no choice but to open them and let them fall.

“You have a home, no matter where you are. Your Mom would literally kill for you, and you have home with me.”

“No. Mom needs me.”

“I called her, she’s coming to work at CoranCorp.”

My eyes narrowed and I shook my head. “What?” She hadn’t told me about a new job offer...

“I had a space to fill on the board. One of my senior staff retired.”

“The board?”

“Yes. I put her name forward, I always had the right to overrule, but regardless, they all ruled in her favour.”

“You did this to get me back?” I mumbled. “That’s really messed up.”

“No, I did it because I saw the proposal your mother made. I was always going to say yes, even before I met you. She was undercut. She didn’t deserve that, and I need to fix it, for her.”

I smiled, and tears began falling again, but this time they were laced with happiness. I’d been too quick to run, I knew that now.

“So you see, your mom will be okay, she could even renovate the house, buy more horses... I don’t know.”

“I don’t know what to say.” I replied, almost breathless.

“Say you’ll come home.”

Before I could answer Dominic his phone rung, he looked at me and frowned.

“Amelie? Yes. What do you mean she’s missing?”

Missing? Who?

“Check again.” He bellowed. “I don’t care, tell Harvey to check the yard again too.”

Molly My heart stopped and I felt physically ill. Where was she, was she okay. My heart raced and I squeezed Dominic’s hand so hard he pulled back slightly.

“A note? What does it say?” I looked up, and his jaw clenched. “Fine.”

He placed the phone down, but kept his eyes on it. A moment later it buzzed. He picked it up and swore under his breath.

“What’s happening?” I croaked.

Dominic’s eyes began to water and he held his phone out to me. I looked at the small screen and read a note. The handwriting was familiar, Molly had written it, in her best handwriting.

Dear Daddy.

I’m very sad. I miss Felicity.

I know Mommy didn’t love me, Mommy told me so. But it’s okay, because I have Flick, or I had her. I’m sorry Daddy, but I want her to come home, and until she does... I won’t.

I love you Daddy, and I love Felicity too.

Love Molly.

“Oh my god, this is all my fault.” I whispered putting the phone down on the table.

“No it isn’t.” He sighed. “It’s mine.”

I looked up at him and he looked mortified. “I lost my cool last night, I said some things I shouldn’t have. She was telling me she needed you, and I told her you weren’t coming... but she wouldn’t stop. So I yelled. I said that she needed to learn to accept that I was enough because I was the only one in her life that hadn’t run away.”

“Dominic.” I whispered, I reached out for his arm, but he stood and started walking away from me

I grabbed my bag and laptop and ran to catch up with him, the café full of people turned back to their conversations once they realized we were on the move. “Wait.”

“I need to find Molly.” He said walking out the door. “I don’t have time for a broken heart Felicity.”

“Let me help you?” I pleaded. “You might not think it’s my fault, but I left. I ran away without saying goodbye. I was a shitty person.”

“You don’t owe us anything.” Dominic exclaimed as we walked toward his Mercedes.

“Yes I do.” I replied. “I ran because I was scared. First sign of trouble and I disappeared without giving you a chance to explain. I let Molly get attached to me, and I ran away. I did what her mother did. Dominic, I don’t want to end up like him, but by running, by leaving my family I did just that. When I was 12 I found out he had planned to run and leave Mom to clean up the mess anyway. He ran.” I shrugged. “And so did I.”

“Get in.” Dominic ordered, his tone was short, but I listened. We were on the road driving back towards the house before he spoke again.

“You ran because you were scared of being like him, he wanted to run because he was despicable as a man, as a husband and as a father. There is a huge difference.”

“It doesn’t matter why I ran, I still did and now Molly is out there.” I let out a broken sob. “Alone.”

Dominic placed his hand on my thigh, I slid my hand over his and for a minute I silently cried.

“I don’t know where to look.” He mumbled.

It hit me like a thunderbolt, maybe she wasn’t alone? Maybe she had gone to the one place she had felt at peace, with the one she’d felt most at peace with.

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