Nothing prepared me for this day, a person who is always up and about and organized about her life, always prepared to face the unexpected.
I was not at all ready for what was taking place at 35th floor inside a huge office room of Spencer Enterprise at Upper East Side Manhattan.
“Richard how can you do this to me, to us, I trusted you!” No sooner those words left my mouth, I couldn’t hold back my tears, I cried so hard holding my left hand on my chest tightly as if that would stop that aching sensation I was feeling. I was in no mood to hide how I was feeling, no strength to act strongly that it was not affecting me.
“I am sorry Ell, baby I was supposed to tell you tonight over dinner, I didn’t meant for you to find out this way.” He sounded so drained and relieved at the same time that I came to know the truth finally.
I snorted,“Oh how considerate of you Richard.”
He appeared so calm, despite the situation, like he prepared himself thoroughly for this situation.
His gaze was hard not a trace of remorse,“Ell you know how important this company is for me, the need to prove to my father that I can be the next CEO of this company when he steps down next year and not that egoistic step brother of mine.“He spat out those last words with so much bitterness.
Richard did not have a good relationship with his father, their relationship was more business-like. His father for some odd reason overly dotted on his stepbrother Caleb.
He was the son of his father’s mistress, Caleb stayed with them once his mother passed away. And since then Richard had to fight for the attention of his father. It was not that his father did not love him, I feel his compassion for Caleb came from the fact Caleb’s mother had passed away. This made him obliged to take extra care of his son Caleb, now that he was the only one for him. Richard was two years younger than Caleb. Unlike him, Caleb truly seemed to care for Richard a lot, as per my observation and the many times I had met him.
Richard continued speaking rather desperately,” I know I asked you to marry me that I wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, believe me, Ell, I meant every word I said, but..”
“But what Richard,” I interrupted him my voice hoarse.
He just stared at me with an unreadable expression like he was still processing his thoughts trying to piece them together. I thought I always knew what he was thinking most of the time, as cliché as it sounds but we were a couple that understood each other, we hardly argued so much. But right now this person with his blond tousled hair standing behind the huge oak table with his back facing the tall glass window overlooking the empire state building and with his hazel eyes was someone I did not recognize.
“I can’t marry you, I am going to marry Nicky Reeds, I have to, I must, mother wants me to take that step. Its the only way I can show my father that I am capable and serious about taking over from him and what better than to marry our longtime business rival’s only daughter and merging our companies together as one, it would really benefit our company and since Nicky is the sole heir of Reed’s enterprise marrying her would mean I handle her shares too because she is not interested in handling business.“Saying that he walked towards me taking me in his arms.
I wanted to push him away but I couldn’t, it was like a drug to me he was my drug, I was so addicted to him. I know he was hurting me and I have to do right by me by walking away. But I did not, I felt I had to convince him at least once, so that later on in life I would not regret at all by thinking that I could have at least tried fighting for our relationship. I sobbed so much in his arms and my eyes blurry with tears I met him in the eye and pleaded still choking with tears.
“Richard, please don’t do this to us after all that we have been through together, please don’t leave me,” I released myself from his embrace and folding my arms against my chest tightly to gain some composure,” I love you, Richard and I believe in you. I know you deserve that position more than Caleb, for God sake he isn’t interested in the family business at all. If I clearly remember the last conversation I had with him, he is satisfied with being a chef in his restaurant. Your father knows how dedicated you are, he would never deprive you of it. Please, Richard.”
I know I sound so needy and pathetic with all the pleading, but I did not care. All I know is I love him and I will not let his mother manipulate him like this, using his insecurities just because she thought I was not good enough for her son. I was too below the social status pyramid it seemed to her.
In fact, not too long ago I was just reminded of my status by that haughty and cold woman in my office. She barged into my office without knocking and had the audacity to tell me, “Oh sorry I did not bother to knock, I am in a hurry and I had to deliver this news and I wanted to do it in person so that there won’t be any misunderstanding later on.”
I was studying a case before I was rudely interrupted by her, trying to still process my mind between studying the case and the commotion before me, I looked up tearing my eyes away from the laptop. When I realized who it was I immediately stood up from my chair and in a very nervous tone, I said,” Mrs. Claire Spencer, I...I hmmm,” I was mentally cursing myself for my nervousness.
This woman for some ugly reason gets to me, I turn from a strong independent woman instantly into this timid gawky teenager with thick spectacles back in high school. But thank goodness for me being a lawyer I quickly regained my composure, one thing I learned all these years in a courtroom is always expected the unexpected and master the art of recovering from uncomfortable situations fast.
“Please take a seat.” I gestured my right hand towards the chair.
She just gave me a cold smirk,” Oh dear, don’t bother, like I said I am in a rush, to cut to the chase, my Richie won’t be marrying you, you guys are no longer engaged.”
“what??” I questioned my voice raising an octave higher than normal. I was so taken aback by her chilling revelations.
“He is going to marry Albert Reeds’ only daughter Nicky Reeds our longtime business rival, there will be a grand party at the Ritz announcing their engagement and of course merging of two successful my multi-million companies.”
I was so shocked, my tears threatened to fall, but oh no I was not going to give her the satisfaction of seeing me cry, instead I said raising my chin and bravely meeting her eye,“I know Richard will never become a party of whatever scheme you concoct.”
“Believe me my son is completely aware of this scheme, in fact, he was the one who suggested about announcing the engagement at the earliest,” She chuckled as if it was so stupid of me to assume Richard was forced into it by her.
Hearing those words nearly knocked the breath out of my chest I gripped the edge of the table tightly, my knuckles were white in color due to the force I was giving. I finally mastered to say just these words,” but I...I don’t understand, he would never do this to me.” So much for trying not to appear weak in front of her.
In a rather bored tone,” There is no need to stress your pretty little head understanding the situation, my son is not marrying you, it’s as simple as that, and if you still need convincing you can confirm it with my son, which I am sure will be a waste of your seemingly rather,” she looked around my small office, one hand on her hip,” Busy working life? anyway, I’ll take your leave, I am sure you have plenty of work to do around here.”
With that she walked towards the door but turned to face me again and spoke in a rather condescending way, “Don’t stress my son with your accusations alright, he is under a lot of stress as it is running a million dollar company, you will find someone eventually, someone more suited for you, someone from your own class, my son is just not the one,” with that she turned and walked out of my office.
I was pulled back from my thoughts with Richard calling my name.
“Ell don’t make this harder for me then it is, Nicky will be here any moment I can’t afford to jeopardize this with her. You have to leave, its over, I...I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me one day. I am sorry.”
Blinking back my tears I almost screamed,” Wow Richard can you even hear yourself speaking? Was I just someone you toyed with and now that it served its purpose you are tossing it away?” I spotted those words out rather disgustingly.
“Ell I know I am hurting you and believe me I am not proud of myself but...” He stopped mid-sentence and rubbed his forehead and squeezed it as if he was having a headache,” I can’t-do this anymore Ell please understand”, he said and then he looked straight into my eyes and said rather coldly, “You need to leave, we are done.”
That was all my poor heart could handle and that was all the humiliation I could take, feeling defeated I turned to leave, but I realized I still had his ring on. I took it out from my ring finger and flanged the ring at him and said,“Richard I cannot fathom you would be this cold, just to further your ambitions you would hurt me this much, I guess I never knew you at all.” I was no longer crying I was too hurt to cry, as I reached the door I turned and looked at him one last time.
“As much as I am hurt and angry at you, I still wish you happiness, because I am not as selfish as you, goodbye Richard, I hope I never ever see you again.”
Before he could say anything I pulled the door and closed it hard behind me with as much force as I could muster, making the secretary jump on her seat who was seated to my left and carried myself towards the elevator and pushed the down button, pathetically hoping he would come running after me. I got into the elevator and as the elevator door closed and took me down, I finally released my breath didn’t realize that I was holding it and tried my best not to break down again.
I realized I did not need to put too much afford for that because I was too numb to feel anything. The bright glaring sun hit my face when I stepped out of the building, I rummaged my bag for my sunglasses put them on and walked towards the subway. I was not in a mood to hail a cab, maybe a long walk would help me clear my head before I go to my office I thought.
Suddenly everything seemed so empty. I thought my life was finally moving in the direction I wanted, finally I will be building the type of family I always wanted to have with Richard, how stupid I was, I let out a small pathetic laugh at that broken down wish I had.
Is letting your guard down and completely trusting and barring your heart out for someone this bad, I know we have to be vigilant about the people around us but not with friends and definitely not your lover. Otherwise, what is the point of even being in a relationship if you have to be always cautious?
As I walked down the steps of the subway I decided firmly, I will never again let a man treat me like this nor let him ever make me feel this way. I will build a wall so thick they won’t be able to even reach the surface of my heart.