IX. She Don't Buy Bullshit
They say some things never change.
A few examples would be:
One, Liam Everhart is still as attractive as ever, with his top-notch styled back haircut and complimenting his tanned skin.
Two, Liam’s friends are still good-looking idiots who hold no courtesy for the people surrounding them.
Three, my heart is still beating...for him...my ex-husband.
“Bro,” Jackson said, giving Mauricio an elbow nudge. “The baby is white.”
Mauricio narrow his eyes and lean in closer towards Marisa, a rude action. Who says you can breathe the same air as my fake baby? “I don’t know Jack...Maybe-” he paused, before looking at me, “he is Matt’s baby?”
Jack and Mauricio turn their heads toward Matt who stood there, hands in his pockets, and a piece of gum resting inside his mouth. He stops chewing. ”Not my baby.”
Liam was still staring at me.
The only sound strolling between us was the shoes and light chattering of the workers. Once in a while, someone would quickly glance towards our direction, but it wasn’t long enough to maintain eye contact.
“The boy...isn’t mine right?” Matt sounds a bit more hesitant. “I mean...we never slept together...right?” His confident tone only drop with my silence.
Fuck this. “Matt,” I said, dragging out his name. “I...I wanted to tell you.”
Matt’s face seemingly paled.
Liam was still staring at me.
“It’s...not your baby,” I said blandly. “We never even been together in the same room alone so how can we make a baby?”
Matt releases a breath of air. “I told you...not my baby.”
“Maybe if you remember whom you slept with, then you wouldn’t have to worry about having a baby somewhere,” which may be a possibility, “or have STD.”
Jack and Mauricio snorted, but quickly cover up their laughter with a cough. They stood there, with a wide grin, surely watching the showdown.
Everyone knows that Matt and I never really gotten along with each other. I do not particularly appreciate how he treats women like rags, and he thinks I’m overly sensitive. We got into a weighty argument in the past due to the situation. Afterward, we never saw each other eye to eye.
“Thank you, for caring, but I always use protection.”
I gave him a tight smile, “Protection pops, and for all we know, your baby may be popping somewhere right now too. So, congrats, daddy.”
Matt hid his hands behind him and leaned down. “Hmm...I never knew you were so endearing towards your husband’s friend.”
"Ex-husband.” Liam seemingly winced at my correction.
Matt chuckle, “Yeah...sure ex-husband.”
I stood there, attempting to understand his mocking like tone. Why is he laughing? Jack elbow Matt, and he stops. He pinched his lip and turned to the side.
“How are you?” Liam finally said. The three guys around him fidget lightly before taking a step back. They turn towards one another, seemingly giving us privacy with their meaningless conversational exchange of beautiful day today and it’s a bit hot.
“I’m good. You?” My response was quite cold as if I’m greeting a stranger.
“Good.” His eyes skew downward towards Marisa. “Nice boy.”
I inhale a deep breath in my nostril before closing my eyes. "She is pretty,” I emphasized her gender.
He took a few blinks. “She?” Liam had always been a man who wants to clarify things that he doubts.
“Is she mine?”
“We cannot produce a white baby,” I emphasized each word before releasing a deep breath of air. “Liam, why are you even asking that question?” I lean inward, as my eyes maneuvered around the lobby as my hands cover Marisa’s ears. She giggled and wiggled her toes. “Throughout our one-year marriage; we didn’t even have sex,” I whispered, seeing the three guys behind him lean inward, probably trying to hear what I said.
Liam tightens his lips, before the edge of it twirl upward and as fast as it arrives, it disappeared. He shrugs impassively, “I want to make sure.”
Another pause and I look back to see Jackson, Mauricio, and Matt looking at us. Once our eyes made contact, they quickly advert it, going back to their conversation of the weather.
“Why are you here?”
“Why can’t I be here?”
I slide my tongue across my cheek, “You never go to California.”
“Maybe now I want to come to California...often.”
My eyes narrowed, “Why?”
This was one of the sides of Liam that I always loathe. He always bounces a question back to you when you ask him. It’s as if he finds some sick twisted joy in seeing your frustration. What makes it more difficult is that he only does it to me.
“You don’t like California.”
“Maybe I like it now.”
“You never like it before.”
He looks back down towards Marisa. “A lot had changed.” His tone was much lower.
“It’s been a year.”
“It’s been over a year.”
“You left more than a year.” His tone somehow sounded bitter, more accusing.
My stomach boils, cheeks turning a shade of red as I glare at him. How dare he make me sound like the villain. It’s as if I’m the horrible ex-wife who left him when he was the one who drew out the contract. He was the one who drew the clear cut line between us.
“Is she yours?”
Before I can declare the truth, the elevator ding. “Vivian!” Agatha screamed, and she straddles towards me with a smile. “You forgot your baby bow.” She leans down and pop the bow into Marisa’s head. Grinning at Marisa, Agatha pinches her cheek lightly. “She had been a very good girl today, all for her mommy,” Agatha said, giving me a wink.
Liam’s eyes narrowed.
At that point, I gave up. If he wants to believe Marisa is my baby, then let him. Why should I explain it anyway? We’re divorced, if I want to go out and bang another man then make a baby, it’s my right! What am I supposed to do? Not fall in love and not fuck while waiting for my ex-husband to change his mind about me?
“Thank you, Agatha.”
“No problem.” She stood up straight and turned to the side. “Oh, Mr.Everhart welcome.” She bows down a perfect 90-degree angle. “I apologize, I did not see you there.”
How does she know Liam?
Liam places a palm in the air, “No apologies necessary. I’m glad to see an employee so dedicated to her job.”
She smiles, “Thank you Mr.Everhart.”
The elevator ding once more, “Liam!” Gianni’s voice rang.
Please, don’t tell me. Are they friends? This is a start-up fashion company so they shouldn’t have made contact with big corporations like the Everhart.
Gianni walked towards Liam and gave him a quick hug. “Why are you here again? I thought you left for New York last weekend.”
Liam smile, eyes skewing towards me momentarily. “I met someone interesting last week.”
Gianni gasp, covering his mouth with his hands. “Who?”
“One of your current employee.”
He looks at me.
Gianni looks at me.
Everyone looks at me.
I point at myself, “M-Me?” I don’t remember meeting Liam last week.
“Her?” Gianni question.
“Yes.” He grins, “You always manage to hire such interesting employees Gianni.”
I ground my teeth, unable to understand his words. I met him today. “I apologize Mr.Everhart, but I believe you misunderstood.”
He tilted his head and took a step towards me. “Oh?”
My legs felt like it was glued to the floor. “We didn’t meet until today.”
He leans in closer, “Sorry, my tears and pride are blocking the path.”
I gasp, slapping my hand over my mouth.
He places a hand on the stroller. I swallow feeling his pinky sliding against mine. “You still haven’t learned to look at someone in the eyes properly.”
The redness only spread from my cheeks towards my ears and maneuvers down my neck. “I’m-”
Liam grasps my chin, and move it upward to meet his eyes. “Look at me in the eyes while speaking.”
Just standing there makes my breathing rapid and shallow. I can feel my pulse pounding in my temples and chest. My legs were shaking vigorously, and if I move, I may trip. I can feel the burning stares of everyone to my right. Half were curious about how the story will unfold, due to their knowledge of our history. The other half seemingly confused about our interaction.
“Why are you bullying my employee, Liam?”
He releases my chin, and I vacuumed a deep breath as the distance between us spread.
“Becca...It’s been a while,” Liam said.
She glances at me, and I took that chance to jump behind her.
“Why are you standing there, allowing strangers to bully our employee.” She smacks Gianni across the head.
“Is that how you speak to all your investors, Ms.Baker?”
I closed my eyes and began the breathing technique that Amoli taught me. This is not happening. This is not happening. I continue chanting inside my head. I did a through and through background check on this company! The only thing I didn’t think about are investors - which isn’t publically published on the website. Then again, companies wouldn’t tell the world who owns what shares in the corporate.
I was dumb enough not to believe that the Everharts would invest in a new fashion company considering they already own so much in the field.
“No, you happened to be the exception, Young Master Everhart.”
Liam flinched slightly; he had always hated it when people call him Young Master because its a reminder that his fortune did not come from him but his ancestor.
Becca smacks Gianni’s head again.
Gianni cover it, “Ow! Why do you keep hitting me?”
“Because you’re standing there like a lost deer.”
Gianni blink, “I’m just wondering,” he said slowly, eyes going from Liam towards me and back to him than me again. “Do you two know each other?”
Becca and Agatha look at us, eyes wavering back and forth matching Gianni’s action. I glance over at Matt, Jack, and Mauricio staring at everyone. They know Liam, and I was married, but they choose not to mention instead be the pedestrian and watch.
I turn my head to see Liam staring at me. He didn’t respond at Gianni’s question. Does that mean he is giving me the power to answer?
The sweats bead down my neck and at this moment, I know I have to respond carefully. My mouth pops open, “Y-Yes.”
The trio behind Liam snaps their heads towards me, unexpected by my response. Even Liam seem quite surprised. I look to the left, in the distance, unable to meet their eyes.
Becca steps forward, “What are your relations with Mr.Everhart?”
I swallow, “We-” used to be married “We-”
“We used to work together,” Liam interjected, pulling all the attention towards him.
“But, Vivian said she had no experience in the fashion industry,” Gianni said.
It’s true, I have no experience, well nearly no experience, in this field. All because my family owns a fashion company doesn’t make me an expert in it, and I’m not going to tell them my tiny experience is through looking at my parents’ and siblings sketches.
Liam looks at me, and I continue staring forward. “She was my...assistant.” Lies. “She works for my company a while back, but suddenly quit last year due to an unknown situation.” He glances down towards Marisa, “And now I know what the situation is.”
“Oh, what a shame,” Mauricio said, shaking head back and forth. Matt and Jack continue staring, but I know if they made any moment, they will break and start laughing.
“I wouldn’t be in this situation if it weren’t for you,” I whispered.
“Pardon?” Liam question, despite hearing my statement. “I believe I provided you with everything you need Miss Blanc.”
“Everything except the most important thing.”
He places his hand on the stroller once more, while bending a single leg in front of the other. Liam washes back his jacket, further revealing the coffee stain I notice earlier. “Oh, and that is?”
I dig my hands into the handle. “Your work conditions were unbearable,” I said, feeling my chin tremble.
“How exactly was it...unbearable," he spoke lowly, molars grinding against one another. “I believe I was the one who had to bear everything for you.”
Becca coughed loudly, interjecting the moment. “I’m sorry.” She put up her hands, “But, I do not believe the bullshit you’re saying because you two are way too close to be-” she place quotation marks in the air “Boss and assistant.”
Gianni smacks his hands together as if he had an epiphany. “Unless you assist-” again with the quotation marks “your boss with specific-” his hand move in a circular motion “you know.”
Suddenly, a roar of laughter overcome the quiet lobby. “He said assist!” Mauricio scream, slapping his hand on his thigh. What are you? Five?
Even Liam couldn’t hold back his chuckles, “Yeah you can say that our relationship is similar to that.”
“No, you cannot say our relationship is similar to that,” I clarified.
“Then, what is your relationship?” Becca crossed her arms, as her back straighten even more. At that moment, I wish I choose to stay in the workroom. This is what happen when I want to leave work on time instead of being one of those over the top employees who pour their blood, sweats, and tears into the company.
I bit my lower lip, still in a mental turmoil. My mouth gap open but nothing seems to drop out. The pounding inside my head and chest only increase as Becca drill her eyes into my face, demanding a logical response. She don’t buy bullshit.
“She is my wife.”