FIVE YEARS LATER
Erin’s desk phone buzzed, she looked at the screen showing it was her PA Nate. “Are you ready? The Magnum Delegation will be there in 30 minutes we should be heading out. I already informed Gwen, Mark and Evans.” He said.
Erin had taken over her father’s Transport company as the CEO. It was not just an inherited position. After the six months of rehabilitation and healing, Erin had started working in the company as an operations officer. She put her best effort went for specialized training in Logistics, custom clearance and many others. She even learned to drive the trailers and basic auto-mechanics. She poured her heart and soul into the company and the other employees respected her for it. Her growth had been on merit and she had brought lots of changes that had put the company at the top as one of the best transport companies in the country.
They had just signed a five-year contract with Magnum industries, and they would be handling all their big consignments.
Today they were hosting five delegates from Magnum for lunch at her mother’s restaurant. It was not a formal business meeting: Laura, the Logistics manager at Magnum had mentioned she loved the Caribbean food done at her mother’s Restaurant. The restaurant ran a region or country theme every Thursday and they were doing Caribbean today, so Erin had invited Laura who requested to bring along four colleagues. To balance out, Erin had invited Nate her PA and close friend, Mark the Operations Manager, Evans the Finance Manager and Gwen the sales manager who had brought in the Magnum deal.
Brandon Magnum was the last of his group to walk into the simple yet elegant restaurant. He was led by the hostess to the table that was reserved for them. There were two empty chairs next to each other. He exchanged pleasantries with the Red-Line people and sat down, he had met Gwen and Evans and had to talked to Nate on Phone.
“Where is Erin?” Laura asked
“She went to see her mother in the office, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she comes out dressed like one of the servers carrying trays.” Gwen answered.
Just as she finished talking, a petite biracial woman walked out of the kitchen with trays. She had long black hair pulled high ponytail, she wore red framed glasses and a stripped blue and white dress. She was beautiful, clear light brown skin, big brown eyes, everything about her was calling to Brandon. He eased back in his chair and took her in as she walked to their table.
“We are going to have a family style buffet Lunch; we have all options of the foods cooked today so as soon as they are done setting up the food you can serve yourselves” she said as she lay the trays on the large table.
Everyone on the table burst out laughing remembering what Gwen said.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Red-Line Transporters CEO; Ms. Erin Bitro.” Nate said in fits of laughter.
Erin stood there looking at them confused. She shook her head and looked for a place to sit. Her eyes dashed to the empty chair then to Brandon, He saw her eyes widen then she looked away as a slight color rose on her cheeks. He focused on her, liking the fact that she was affected by him. She slowly made her way to the chair next to him.
“Hi,” he said quietly to her, “I am Brandon Magnum” He knew she knew who he was.
She looked up at him and extended her hand, “Nice to finally meet you in person and thank you for the confidence in my business.” She said.
He took her hand in his and gave a firm handshake. “Nice to meet you too. As for your business, your reputation precedes you, you have built an impressive name for yourselves, it is an honor to work with you. And your mom has also done a good job here” he said gesturing around the restaurant.
“I am proud of her as well, normally she comes out to make me feel special whenever I bring friends over but seeing that it is peak lunch hour maybe you will meet her some other time” She said smiling.
“Is that another invitation for when this place is not so busy?” He asked looking at her
“Ummm….” She looked up at him with a confused look
“Thank you, I agree, I will let you know when I am available” he said his eyes twinkling with mischief.
All the food had been set out and he stood up and headed to the buffet table leaving her looking at him confused. He was too tall for her five-foot two height. He was at least six foot five. His jet-black hair was tied up in a man bun. He wore blue dark wash jeans and a black shirt that fit his well-built body and had tan skin. He was something, but Erin was scarred, she was happy with her life. She slowly stood up and went to get her food.
Lunch was easy and fun, two hours later they were ready to leave.
“The food was amazing Erin, pass my complements to your mom.” Laura said as everybody agreed.
“I am coming back to thank her myself,” Brandon whispered in her ear, “It’s a date” she looked up at him and he saw a flash of fear and panic in those brown eyes before she put on a small smile.
“It was a pleasure hosting you and your team. I will see you around.” She said
Brandon looked at her holding her gaze until she lowered her gaze and her cheeks colored. He smiled. He would be seeing her around.
Erin pulled out her phone and dialed “Mom, I am leaving, I will come by on Friday night.” She paused to listen to her mother on the line, “Then I won’t come, you guys enjoy the weekend. Love you Ma’”
They walked out, and everyone went to their cars. Brandon watched as she fluidly hoped into a customized Raptor and chuckled. From what he had heard about her driving twenty two-wheelers and more he would have been shocked if she had some ‘Hello-kitty-car’. He was going to get to know her. It was not just a one-time sex thing he was after with this one, he wanted to really know her, at thirty-four he was ready to settle, and she stirred up feelings he was not sure he was capable of. He slid into his G55 and drove off.
Later that Evening as Rin sat in her home office with a book on her lap, her mind wandered to Brandon Magnum. She had not thought about any man since the accident and her subsequent break down. yet today her mind was lusting after the big tan man. She wondered what he was like in bed… sure he had throngs of women at his feet. Had he been flirting with her or was she so out of it all that she had been hallucinating? She pushed her fingers through her hair and sighed. She was messed up and now she was drooling over a man way out of her league. She moved to her desk and focused on clearing up the work she had carried home.
It had been two weeks since that lunch and The Red-line Transporters CEO was haunting him at every waking moment. He saw her in his bed, in his kitchen, in his bathroom, in his office, heck! He saw her walking down the isle to him, saw her in the big family house he would buy, saw her heavily pregnant with his babies. His fascination with her was slowly morphing into a rabid obsession.
He decided the to talk to her, what better way to know if she was the one than getting to know her? He walked to his PA’s desk. “please get me the cell phone number for the Red-Line Transporters CEO, her name is Erin Bitro. Please send it to me on WhatsApp.” He said as he walked back to his office. He collected his wallet phone and car keys and walked out. He had one meeting then he would head home.
He got her number as he got to his car, he smiled as he saved her number; Mrs. Magnum. He hoped that one day that would come to pass.
Erin was reading engrossed in her book when her cellphone started ringing. She looked at the unfamiliar number and wondered who was calling at ten. In the night
“Hello,” she answered.
“Hey” Brandon said, “Erin this is Brandon,” she was quiet “I…I am sorry, I think it is late, I really wanted to call you today but ended up in this long ass meeting and calling you seemed like a very important thing for me so….” He paused realizing that he sounded sheepish. This woman had him in knots. “I am sorry Erin; I will call another….”
“It is Ok, Brandon. If you are still up to it, you can tell me why you called” she said.
He let out a breath and chuckled, “Truth or political correctness?”
She laughed “You called me at ten in the night, there is nothing politically correct about this call anymore.” She said.
“I missed you.” He said.
There was silence. Then he heard her exhale.
“Erin?” he asked
“Yes?” she answered
“Am I still welcome on this call?” he asked.
“Yes, you are.” She answered
He let out a breath he had been unconsciously holding.
“I know you don’t know much about me apart from my businesses and what people say about me and I don’t know much about you other than your business, what people say and the fact that you drive 22-wheelers, but I would like us to get to know each other” he said.
She laughed again, a sound he had just figured he loved hearing
“I would like that too Brandon.” She said quietly
To say that he was happy was an understatement; he was elated, he just hoped that his next words would not screw it all up.
“Just to be clear, I am not just looking to be friends Erin. I would like us to work towards a relationship. If I tell you that it is only about friendship, it would be a lie. I need more, and I am willing to take it slow, but I want to know if we can slowly work towards a relationship.” He said.
“Erin?” he asked
“I am still here” she answered
“What do you say?” he asked
“I am not so….um, I have some things I am dealing with and I am not sure I would be the right person for you in a relationship.” She said
“Are you seeing someone now?” he asked
“No” she answered
“Neither am I, is there ..um, is there someone you like?” he asked, “the truth please” he added hastily.
“Erin?” he called.
“There is someone I like… it …. it’s you.” She whispered.
“Brandon?” she called
“I am sorry Brandon; I will just get go….” she started
“Erin wait!” He said breathlessly. “Sorry I made it awkward, I was doing my victory dance, I like you too.”
She laughed again, “I would like to see the victory dance” she said.
“Oh, you will not just see it, you will do it with me some day.” He replied laughing. “So, what is causing the hesitation in your mind?” he asked.
“I was married before,” she said
“It is not a problem for me.” He responded
“The end of that marriage was not an easy one for me, I ended up in a car accident, in a coma for weeks and in rehab for months.” She said.
“when was this?”
“Five years ago.”
“Can we talk about it? Because it seems if we can understand what it means to you we can work on it” he said.
Silence. He chuckled, “I think talking to you is better in person.” He said
“I am sorry,” she said, “I was thinking: Yes, we can talk about it.” She said.
“Ok, First, my family and friends call me Don, Brandon can be a mouthful.” He said.
“Rin, that’s what my family calls me,” she said.
“So, what happened to you?” he asked.
Erin started narrating to him.
Brandon Listened to her patiently, he waited when she broke down and wished he was there. They talked about it for long, he decided to clarify everything about it, so he could see how to support her.
Erin was shocked at herself; she had not talked this much about it even with her parent’s or therapist, yet she had opened to Brandon. She wanted so much to move on and move on with him. But she wanted him to know the truth. Some of the questions he asked were uncomfortable, but it was better done now than later.
“Brandon,” she called
“It is Don to you Rin” he answered.
She chuckled quietly.
“One more thing,” she said
“Hmm?” he responded
“There is a probability that I cannot carry a pregnancy to term” she said.
Erin knew this was a deal breaker, it was even for her. She really wanted to have children, but it was not something she was sure of.
“Explain” he said after the long pause.
“My uterus ruptured during the accident. They cleaned it out to remove the baby, while I was in a coma, the wound became septic, they did another surgery and had to nip out a part that was very nasty. This reduced the size of the uterus and there are also 2 major scars which according to the doctor might make carrying a pregnancy to term very high risk. She explained
“But not impossible” he stated.
She remained quiet.
“When was the last time you went to the doctor for this?” he asked
“four years ago. I did not want to keep hurting myself over it.” She said.
“If we do, get into a relationship, would you go to the doctor again? He asked
“Yes.” She answered.
“I would love to have children, but it does not mean I would be inconsiderate to you in anyway. This whole thing is not your fault and you shouldn’t be hurt for so long about something you really had no control over.” He said.
She looked up at the wall clock. And gasped.
“we have been talking for four hours!”
“That long? I barely noticed.”
“Times goes fast with good company, but I am now really feeling sleepy and my dad and I are going hiking from 8 in the morning.
“I am glad I called and even much happier that you agreed to talk to me.”
“Next time, it will be you talking and me listening. I still don’t know anything about you other than the obvious.”
“And what are the obvious?”
“Successful businessman, ruthless and eccentric, many women grace your bed, among others” she said laughing.
“Successful businessman- true, I learned from the best, my dad is no joke. Ruthless and eccentric - Depends on the circumstances and the person. As for the women- Not many, but I have needs, they were aware I was not into relationships. Yes, we do need to talk more. Now you owe me two dates: one at your mom’s restaurant and another one to get to know me.” He said.
“Good night Rin, I will be collecting on my dates soon.”
“Good morning Don, I am glad you called.”
The call ended leaving both feeling lighter in mind and excited in anticipation for what was coming.