Monday morning, Erin stood in her kitchen with a wistful smile on her face. Brandon had dropped her home on Sunday evening. Waking up in his arms was a dream. He was a grabby cuddler who even gave kisses in his sleep. Super sweet for a big man. The weekend had brought them even closer. She was pulled out of her reverie by the beep of her gate alarm, she looked at the screen to see him waiting for her to open the gate in a black Maybach. She smiled as she remembered his enthusiasm about Mercedes machines as he called them. The put the code to open the gate and walked out with her bags and two travel mugs and 2 sausage and egg wraps for each of them.
He came around and pulled her into a hug and kissed her “I missed you,” he murmured against her lips.
She giggled and wiggled away from him.
“my hands are full, I need to put these down, so I can hug you.” She said
“I was doing a great job for both of us until you pulled away” he said taking the mugs and wraps from her.
She put her bags in the back and slid in the passenger’s chair.
“Coffee for and a wrap for you.”
They chatted easily as they drove to her office.
As they got to her premises, Erin started picking her stuff ready to get off.
“I had a great time with you this weekend. Thank you.” She said
“The pleasure is all mine love.” He answered, “When do you suppose we could meet again?
“Let’s see how the week goes, I also have my folks to factor in I haven’t been home in 2 weeks, that is too long in their books.” She answered. “I will call you in the day she said opening the door.”
“Sure, Take care.” He said.
He waited for her to walk into the building and then drove off. He felt delirious. He knew beyond doubt that she was the woman for him, but she had reservations about him. He hoped she would give him a chance to prove his commitment to her. He tried to think back to his failed relationship with Jocelyn, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. He prayed that he wouldn’t fail with Erin because he was not sure he could recover from losing her. He pulled his car into parking and walked into The Magnum HQ office.
“Good morning sir” the receptionist on the ground floor said. “your father is here, in his office, he asked to see you as soon as you got in”
“Good morning, Thanks,” he said as he strode to the lifts.
His dad rarely showed up to the office in the morning since he started giving Brandon the reins of the businesses. He walked directly to his father’s office and walked in. His father stood by the window looking outside, probably had seen him come in.
“Good Morning Junior.” He said without turning.
“Hello pop, did mom kick you out of the bed?” he asked
Malcom an older version of Brandon laughed lightly. “On the contrary she did not want me to leave,”
“So, what brings you here this early?” Brandon asked
“I wanted to catch you before your office became a hotspot of traffic and meetings.” He said walking to the leather set in front of his desk. “Sit down Don”
Brandon moved to sit across his father.
“I am hitting a dead end with Pack Industries and they continue to cause a dent in the client base.” Malcom said.
Pack industries was a packaging materials company the was slowing down the progress of Magnum Packaging in the market. They were an older business and Malcom wanted a merger. The founder of the business was older, and his son was not interested in running the business, so Malcom had thought it was time to negotiate with them but the CEO of the business who the old man had given power was not cooperating. Their finances were solid, so Malcom really had no leeway in.
“Yeah,” Brandon said thoughtfully, “They seem solid. Can’t we leave it for now?”
“I was thinking so too. But we have invested well into this business to let the competition take us out” Malcom said.
“They are not taking us out Pop, they just put us in second place. We are still profitable.” Brandon said dryly.
“That said, we need to make the Africa trip. I know we have not maximized the potential of the market and I am still keen on your idea of setting up the plants there at least for the pharmaceuticals.”
“when do we go?” Brandon asked
“How about this weekend? Two weeks business and one-week vacation?” he responded
“Four days to plan…..” Brandon said thoughtfully. “Let me check with my PA and I will get back to you”
Brandon’s phone started vibrating. Looking at the screen he saw ‘Mrs. Magnum’ was calling. He smiled and picked up looking at his dad to excuse himself.
“Hey, Miss me?”
“Just wanted to make sure you got to work safe”
“I did, I am in a meeting with my dad”
“So sorry to interrupt, I will….”
“Relax, I answered the call,”
“Are you sure?”
“Yep, we were talking the packaging industry business, nothing major?”
“Aha, in the coming months you guys will have and upper hand, with the new import duty regulations Pack industries must either set up a plant here or lose this country as a market.” She said.
“Wait! You just gave us the loop hole we were looking for! I will just put you on speaker to repeat that to my dad.” He said Excitedly
“Your dad?” she asked confused.
“You are on speaker Rin,” he answered
“Don, I was just ….” She started
“Good morning young lady who just got my son excited.” Malcom said
“Good morning Mr. Magnum, actually I just told Don …um Brandon that with the new Import duty regulations Pack industries must either set up a manufacturing plant here or lose this country’s business. Or just absorb huge cuts in profits.” She said quietly.
“How did I not think of it. Thanks, young lady,” he said just as excited as Brandon “I could hire you! Looking for a job?” he asked jokingly.
“No thank you Mr. Magnum” she said laughing quietly “I will let you two go on with your meeting. I will call you later Brandon.” She said and hung up before he could answer.
Brandon felt immense pride and love for her surge through him. He looked at the phone and sighed. He looked up and saw his father looking at him.
“Mrs. Magnum huh? What did I miss in two weeks? My only child got married?” Malcom asked.
“Not married, not yet. But pop this girl, she is amazing. Beauty, brains, character she is what I need.” he answered quietly.
“wow, how long have you known her?” Malcom asked
“Two weeks” Brandon answered
“I would advice you to take your time to know her.” Malcom said looking at his son intently
“I am working on that” He replied
“Do I know her?” Malcom asked
“Erin Bitro, CEO for Red-Line Transporters” Brandon said
“Well that is new from you, not a model? Either way, I am happy for you. Bring her out for dinner at home I need to thank her for giving me the key to open up the Pack Industries door.” Malcom said standing up
“Sure pop” Brandon said
“I have to go, I am taking your mother out for a breakfast date” he said smiling “I will be waiting for your update on the Africa trip.”
“I will let you know during the day. Pass my love to mom.” Brandon said heading for the door.
“come home for dinner and pass on your love” Malcom said laughing as his son walked out.
Malcom was proud of his son. Brandon had his rebellious phase in his teens, but he grew into a fine man with a strong business mind and integrity. He had been alone for so long with too many casual flings and that was worrying him and Brenda but today with the look he had seen on his face he knew his boy was done for by young woman who called. Though he had told him to take time and know her, he had had married Brenda six months after meeting her. He sighed and picked up his car keys to take his woman for a breakfast date.
Nate burst into Erin’s Office panting at nine in the morning.
“Good morning Boss-lady! How was black-haired -Thor weekend?” He asked
“Good morning Nathan,” she said smiling, “The signed contracts are on your desk and so are other documents for filling. Set up a meeting for me with Evans, Lucas and Mark and their teams at eleven and move my meeting with HR to three.”
“Oh, That good?” Nate said sitting in one of the guest chairs.
“Nate!” she said amused
“who are you gonna talk to about this Boss-Lady?”
“Ok, I had the best weekend yet. Now go to work.”
Nathan surprised her, instead of making fun of her and making sexual inuendoes he looked at her long and hard. “I am happy for you Rin, you are glowing, and you look happy. You deserve this and more. I hope he knows that the whole of Red-line, led by me will be on his case if he hurts you.” He said and walked out leaving her open mouth shocked.
The day flew by in a flurry of meetings and work. At 3.45 she was done with the HR meeting and she packed up to leave.
“Bye Nate, we are starting off tomorrow with a breakfast meeting with Fruity Farms at 9. I will meet you at The Marriot hotel by 8.45AM.” She said walking out.
“Bye Boss – Lady, I am taking you to Lunch tomorrow, be ready by 12.30pm” he answered.
Erin reached home 30 minutes later and got working on her garden. She was so engrossed in her little world that her ringing gate alarm startled her. She walked into the house and looked at the security screen and saw a tense looking Brandon. She opened the gate and walked to the front door just as he got out of his car.
“Hi,” she said.
“I was worried,” he said pulling her into a hug. He lifted her off the ground and nuzzled at her neck.
“What happened?” she asked confused as he set her down.
“I have been calling you for the past 2 hours.” He answered
“Oh, sorry she said taking his hand a pulling him into the house. My phone is on vibrate in my office and I was in the garden.” she said.
“It is ok now,” he said and pulled her to him and pressed his lips to hers in a gentle kiss.
The slowly pulled apart needing to breath.
“Can I interest your in dinner as an apology?” she asked.
“Anything to spend some time with you love” he said shrugging off his suit jacket and tie and untucking his shirt. “what are we having?”
“Beef stew,” she said, “My dad is originally Caribbean, so this is his recipe, it has green bananas, and I will add collard greens just about now, and I love it.” She said as she walked to the kitchen sink and washed her hands. She added the vegetable to the simmering stew and stirred the pot.
“Smells amazing,” Brandon said walking into the kitchen, “can’t wait to try.”
“Five minutes, I need to store up the tools in the garden though” she said rushing out.
Brandon followed her out and helped her clean up the hoes and rake she had been using and walked into her farm shed that was lined with tools, gum boots, gloves coveralls, aprons, seeds and fertilizer bags. He wanted to be part of this. He would ask her to let him help sometime. He just had to buy the gumboots and coveralls.
“That’s it, lets clean up and eat!” she said looking around the shed.
It was a little chilly outside, so they opted to eat in her huge dining room.
“How big is this house?” Brandon asked.
“Too big for one person but I like it. It has 4 other en suite bedrooms apart from my bedroom, 2 other washrooms downstairs, the dining room, the living room, I have an entertainment room, a pantry room off the kitchen, a storage room and an extra office other than the one I am using. I have hosted team meetings here overnight, so the space comes in handy.” She answered
“that is too big! But seeing that you like it is all fine, and this is one of the best beef stews I have ever had.” He said.
“Glad you like it.”
They chatted about work as they had their dinner. When they were done, Erin made 2 cups of lemon green tea and passed one to Brandon preaching to him the benefits of the drink. Brandon was never keen on herbal things, but he tried it and like it. He followed her to her office with his cup in hand.
“I have a breakfast meeting with a client, so I just want to run over the contract and their email to iron out the details. Also, I have some approvals to clear that will be needed in the morning at work.” She said as she sat at her desk.
“Mind if I also pull out some work? I don’t want to leave yet.?” He asked. “I however have to make lots of calls, it is just the beginning of the work day at some of my branches and I have to check in with the teams.”
“In that case, come with me.” She walked out of her office to another door down the corridor. It was the smaller office tastefully furnished with a brown office set. You can use this office be as loud as you wish.” She said walking back to her office.
Brandon got his laptop and set up in the office. He wondered if all the rooms in the house were clean and ready to use like this one. He set out to call his overseas managers. He went through the reports and gave required approvals. He lost track of time, by the time he was done it was past 11.30pm. He remembered the email from his father’s PA about the business trip/vacation. He looked at it and saw his father had chosen 5 countries: South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia and Rwanda. He replied the email confirming his presence and proceeded to shut down. he packed up his stuff and walked out to look for Erin. Her office lights were off, so he went up stairs to her bedroom. He knocked lightly and pushed the door. She was not on her bed. Her reading cocoon was closed, and nature sounds were playing from the speaker and she was on the recliner asleep with a book over her face clad in white silk pajamas. He thought of leaving a note but decided to put her in bed then leave. He slowly lifted her and started walking to her bed. She mumbled his name and nuzzled her head to his neck. The unconscious act of affection tugged at his heart. He moved to put her on the bed, but she held on to him. “I love you Don,” she said still sleeping. Brandon stilled and looked at the woman in his arms, he wanted to kiss her breathless and scream to the world that he loved her but chose to wait till she was comfortable to say it while awake. He kissed her forehead and whispered, “I Love you too Rin,” and slowly pried her off him and tucked her in. he sent her a message and turned off the lights and music and walked out of the bedroom. He picked his stuff from the office and walked to his car and drove home happily. She loved him.
Brandon called Erin at 7 in the morning knowing she was an early riser.
“Good Morning, I am so sorry I couldn’t stay awake.” She said when she picked the call.
“Good Morning Love, it is fine. You gave me the honor of carrying you to bed and tucking you in, that is enough to make up for the donkey snores.” He said laughing.
“I don’t snore like a donkey! Wait, carry me to bed? Where did I fall asleep – oh the cocoon!” she said. “Thank you! I have been however been known to sleep talk….”
“Don’t worry about that we are good” he said.
He went on to tell her that he would be away for a 3 weeks trip spread across 5 countries in Africa.
“That’s a long time” she said before she could filter her thoughts. “Sorry, it is…. I mean I …”
“I think it is too long as well Love.” He could sense her distress, maybe she thought she was overstepping but she was entitled to him and his time. He also thought it was too early into their relationship to take a long break, but this was important. There and then he decided to skip the vacation, he would talk to his father and see how fast they could finish the business part.
“I will see you in the evening, right?” he asked
“See you, I do have to get going” she said hanging up.
Just when Erin was walking out of the house she felt a sharp pain in her lower abdomen. She paused holding the door frame until it passed. She needed to see her gynecologist. She had been having too many pain attacks to continue ignoring. She called the clinic and booked a 4.00pm appointment then drove to the meeting.
She was set up and settled when the clients and her team arrived. The meeting went faster and easier than they anticipated. They quickly reached to and agreement to sign a 5-year contract. There were few minor modifications to be made on their standard contract and they would sign. The very productive meeting was wrapped up in an hour and a half and had to get to her office where her dad would be waiting with Evans. Thanking her clients, she walked out trying to ignore the pain gnawing at her. She pulled up at the office 30 minutes later and walked to her father’s office. He walked to her as soon as she walked in.
“Good morning baby.” He said pulling her into a hug.
“Good morning dad,’ she said.
“How was the breakfast meeting?”
“5-year contract” she said beaming.
“You have done a great job with this place baby. I am super proud of you.” He said. “Evans will be 30 minutes late, so you and I can chat. So, what is going on with you?”
“Nothing much.” She said as she set up her lap top.
“Erin, something is up baby, and I don’t want you slipping into depression. If you are not comfortable talking to me….”
“Dad! I am fine, nowhere near depression.”
“Then what is going on?”
“I have been seeing someone.”
There was a heavy silence in the room. Roy Bitro was panicking. he wanted to scoop his only child and hide her away from all men. She had no idea how many times she had been resuscitated while she was in the coma. The coma that was supposed to last only five days but ended up being 5 weeks. The doctors told them that she might never walk, never talk all because she got married to a mistake of a man. he sent a message to Evans letting him know that he would call him when they were ready. This had to be sorted out now.
“who is it?” he asked
“Dad, I want to enjoy life like everyone else. What I went through was bad and hard on you and mom, but I am here now. Please help me make this work. I need this. I am stronger, and they say lightning doesn’t strike the same place, twice right?” she said in a wobbly voice.
“Don’t cry baby,” he said pulling her into his arms again, “I want you to be happy, enjoy life and I know you are strong Rin, but I am scared for me, for your mom, we almost lost you, it was the most difficult time in our lives. I am sorry I sound selfish. I will be better. Come sit down and tell me about him.” He said pulling her to the couch with him.
“first he is handsome, taller than you and has a man-bun,” she said giggling with the tears still streaming down her face. “He listens to me, we have these long conversations, sometimes on phone or in person. He doesn’t judge my choices, my hobbies in fact he seems to be in awe…..he told me I am the home he was looking for. He makes me feel happy, comfortable, safe…...”
Roy felt bile rise from his knotted stomach. His prominent instinct was to take his child away from all this, but he could see that she was happy. She was in love. He was happy for his little girl, but he did not want her broken again.
“I….uh I am happy for you Rin. I really am,” he said thickly, and that was the truth. “You never told me who it is.”
“Brandon Magnum” she said cautiously “He is not what people say he is dad, he is sweet, he listens …he is the best.”
Roy wiped his palm over his face. He had heard of Malcom and his son Brandon, both ruthless businessmen. What his daughter was describing was nothing like the men he had heard of. He was going to handle this his way.
“You’ve got this baby and your mother, and I have got you, so enjoy yourself, take your time to familiarize with everything before you jump all in, ok?” he said.
She jumped to his lap and held on to him tight. “Thanks dad,” she said crying.
He was startled at first but held his little girl now a grown woman tightly against him. He was desperately praying that Brandon Magnum was worthy of his precious child.
They sat like that for a while until Erin stopped sobbing.
“Ready to go back to being CEO?” Roy asked.
“I like being your little girl more. And Evans is the moodiest man I know” she said
“You will always be my little girl and Evans is a great Finance Manager.” He answered.
“I know he is great, it wouldn’t harm to be less grouchy.” Erin said standing up.
She straightened her clothes and walked into the adjoining washroom to tend to her face.
She walked out a few minutes later as her dad and Evans were talking about the new vehicle purchases.
“Good morning Evans. Nate will be sending you the contract with the clients we met this morning, I would like us to close it up fast” she said sitting next to her father.
“Good morning Erin, he sent it a few minutes ago, I will review it as soon as we are done here.”
They spent the next hour. Going through the financials. Roy pretty much let Erin run the company, one of the best business decisions he had made. But he still kept tabs on everything and had meetings with the managers regularly sometimes with Erin and sometimes without her. When they were done, and Evans was gone. He commended her, he knew she worked hard. And he appreciated her doing that so that he could cut back and focus on his hobbies.
“Can I interest you in dinner tonight?” he asked.
“I have to go to the doctor after work, but I will be home all weekend.” She answered.
“Doctor?” he asked.
“Cramps: generally, pain here” she said touching her lower abdomen.
“Let me know how it goes,” he said as she walked out.
“sure dad.” She said “Tell mom not to invite magnitudes of people home this weekend otherwise I won’t come”
“so introverted, I still don’t understand how you can be so bright at work and not function at family and social gatherings.” He said laughing.
Roy packed up and walked out his office, he was bent on setting everything straight as early as possible. He called his wife and told her about Erin and Brandon and left out what he was planning on doing now. Unlike Roy, Ivanna was ecstatic that their daughter was finally moving on, she was worried that either she was permanently destroyed, or she was still hung up on Kevin. She promised to call Erin. Roy parked his car at the visitors parking in the basement of the huge sky scraper that housed Magnum HQ. He walked to the reception and spoke to the lady who directed him to the 40th Floor where he met another receptionist.
“I am here to see Brandon Magnum,” he said to her
“Name please.” She stated
She typed something into her computer then looked up at him. “You do not have an appointment, I am sorry I cannot ….”
“Sorry to interrupt. Please just call him and tell him that I would like to talk to him if he says no, then I will be on my way” he said.
The woman dialed “Sir, a Mr. Roy Bitro is here……yes sir” she hung up and turned to Roy. “He will see you right away, he is coming out.”
“Thank you.” Roy said.
Brandon thought of calling Erin, but he knew if she hadn’t called him to inform him about her dad coming to his office then she might not know he was coming. He braced himself and walked out of his office anxious to know why Roy was at his office. He saw the older burly man standing in the middle of the reception. He seemed both restless and composed. He huffed and stepped towards him.
“Mr. Bitro, good morning.” He said extending his hand.
“Brandon Magnum, Good morning.” Roy said as he shook his hand looking him over. “I am sorry I did not have an appointment but, somethings in life are too precious than time. Can I talk to you privately? He asked.
“Sure, we can go to my office.” Brandon said leading the way. “can I get you anything to drink?” he asked as they stepped into the office.
“Nothing for now thank you. I will get straight to the point, I spoke to Erin this morning and my little girl is in lo…. well she thinks the world of you.” Roy said.
Brandon smiled. “I think the world of her too Mr. Bitro.” He said.
“Brandon, Erin has been at the brink of death because of a man. I saw her cardiac monitor flat line 6 times in the 5 weeks she was in a coma. We were given a very grim prognosis about her quality of life if she ever came out of the coma. She was in rehabilitation for 5 months afterwards struggling to pull herself together physically and emotionally. The first man my child told me about broke her and her brokenness broke my wife and I too.” Roy said with pain in his voice.
Brandon was overwhelmed. He felt the pain in Roy’s words. This was a father, a man wanting to protect his child. He either wanted Brandon to leave Erin alone or he wanted assurance that his child would not be hurt again.
“I am very sorry that you, your wife and more so Erin had to go through such pain. I assure you that I will not do anything intentionally to hurt her. I understand where you stand but I cannot leave her. She is what I need and more.” Brandon said.
Roy exhaled loudly and slowly and sat down. “I am not asking you to leave her Brandon. I wouldn’t be a good parent if I did that. I just want you to understand that my child has known pain and I pray so hard that she doesn’t experience that kind of pain again. This, whatever is going on between you and her is not casual for her; do not string her along if this is a casual fling to you.”
Brandon sat down opposite Roy and looked him straight in the eye. “This is not casual Mr. Bitro. Your daughter means everything to me. If I can be very honest with you, I intend to ask for her hand in marriage in due time. We are working on getting to know each other better but I assure you this is nowhere near casual.
Roy stared at the young man sitting before him. He looked serious and determined. He hoped that this was not a game to him. Because if anyone including this young man put his child through anything close to what she went through 5 years back, he would kill them. “Now that we understand each other, I am glad that you are making my daughter happy. She is not quite the social butterfly, getting her to do the social things you always do might be a task.” He said laughing lightly.
Brandon sighed in relief. “Trust me I also don’t like those things, but it is all work and if she is not comfortable with those I won’t force.”
“I won’t take up more of your time seeing that I came barging here in panic as soon as I could get away from Erin. Thank you for seeing me Brandon” Roy said standing up.
“Thank you, Mr. Bitro….”
“Call me Roy” he interrupted
“Thank you, Roy. You never need an appointment to see me. If you don’t mind, I would also prefer if we exchanged cellphone numbers.” He said handing him his business card.
Roy gave him is card as well and they walked out the door up to the lift and they parted ways with a firm handshake.
Erin tried to adjust her sitting position at her desk hopping to ease the pain in her lower abdomen to no avail. She had taken the maximum dosage of buscopan. She was contemplating leaving for the doctor’s early when her cellphone started ringing.
“Hi mom” she said
“I talked to your dad! Why didn’t you tell me you were seeing someone? It could have saved me a little age. I have been worried about you!” Ivanna ranted
“This is exactly why I did not tell you! You go into overdrive. How are you?”
“don’t how-are-you me! Brandon Magnum! I would not have guessed. Is he being good to you?”
“yes, mom he is.”
“I am so happy for you baby. You needed to move on from Kevin. Don’t overthink things, just enjoy yourself. If this doesn’t work out at some point it is fine. We are always here for you.” Ivanna said brokenly.
“It is alright mom, I just pray that this works, I really want it to work. With him I feel perfect. But I learned from experience so if it doesn’t work I will be fine.” Erin said trying to cover the hope and love oozing from her words
“Oh, baby.” Ivanna said realizing her daughter was hopelessly in love. “I pray for it to work too. You deserve a better chance at love.”
“Mama, I have to go though, I have these horrible cramps, I need to get to the doctor.” Erin said in pain.
“How bad is it?” she asked
“Don’t think of coming. I will call you when I am done.” Erin replied
“I will be waiting Erin. And I am still happy for you, I wish you would come home for dinner, but I am sure your evenings are now dedicated to the huge Magnum young man” Ivanna said
“Mom!” Erin groaned. “Talk to you later”
Erin walked out her office to with her bags. She was done for the day.
“What is wrong Erin?” Nate asked as soon as he saw her. Flushed face as she tried to conceal her pain.
“I am going to the doctor’s, Alpine Hope, I have these insistent cramps. You take care of whatever comes up.” she said gritting her teeth in pain.
“I will drive you over” Nathan said standing up.
“No. actually they come and go, I will be fine, you cover for me here.”
“No Nate, I will let you know how it goes.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I will forward my calls to you until I am done with the doctor.”
“Ok Boss-Lady” Nate said sounding unsure.
As she walked to the lift, she forwarded her calls to Nate.
An hour later Nate’s phone rung indicating that Brandon was calling Erin.
“Hello, Mr. Magnum, Nathan here on behalf of Ms. Bitro.” He answered.
“Oh, Hi Nathan, where is Erin?” he asked
“She went to the hospital, she…..” he started answering
“What happened?” Brandon Interrupted
“Um…better if she told you herself, she will call you as ….” He tried saying
“which hospital?” he interrupted again
“Alpine Hope but she is….” He tried yet a gain
“Do you know which doctor or department?” he asked
“Try Dr. Elliot, she….” He started
“Thanks Nathan, sorry I might sound rude but…..I will explain later.” He said and hung up.
Nate looked at the phone and smiled. He couldn’t be happier for his friend.
Almost 45 minutes later Brandon pulled into the hospital parking. It should have taken 15 minutes to get to the hospital but there was an unusual amount of traffic. He parked and hopped out of the car. He was not sure what to expect but he wanted to be there for Erin and he wanted her to know that he was available for her always. He asked for Dr. Elliot’s clinic and rushed off as soon as he got the directions. The lift door opened, and he rushed out then slowed down when he saw her. She looked tired and was slowly walking towards the lift looking at her phone. She was the shortest woman he had ever dated, she was curvy in the right places. Her exotic beauty a reflection of her Caribbean and Caucasian genes. She was perfect. Still absent minded, she walked right into him and he wrapped his arms around her petite frame.
“Don? What are you doing here?”
“You should have called me.”
She looked up into his eyes, “It is nothing major. I should be fine now.”
He held on to her and said nothing, after a few minutes she spoke again, “Don people are staring, I am fine. Can we um…. go?”
“Can I drive you home?”
“I have my car Don, but I have a better plan. You can go to your place and pack an overnight bag and your clothes for work tomorrow and come to my place.”
He looked at her for a bit and smiled, “I like that.” He said as they walked to the lift hand in hand.
Erin informed him that she wouldn’t be working the following day and he immediately decided he would stay home with her. Her walked her to her truck and went to his car.
Half an hour later Brandon pulled up at her house. He walked in and looked at her cooped up on the couch looking sleepy.
“Hey Love,” he said gathering her in his arms. “You never told me what is wrong.” He said quietly.
She giggled quietly hiding her face in his chest.
“I am waiting.” He said his nose buried in her hair.
“It is kind of embarrassing and….”
“Love, I plan on taking care of you completely when you give birth to our babies, so I am prepared to deal with every part of you.” He said somberly
“Give birth to our babies?” she asked looking up at him
“You heard me. Now tell me what is going on.” He said looking at her trying to gauge how she was taking his bold declaration.
“The um…. the IUD, it moved down and was causing some bruising that turned into a mild infection. So, it was taken out. there is still some pain because of the infection and bruising but it is better now.” She said quietly. “I have some really strong pain meds in my system making me sleepy now, but I am good.”
“I am glad you are better but if you are not well please let me know. I am here for the long haul. Are your parents aware? He said
“Yeah. And I also told my dad about you and he told my mom. My dad kind of looked unhinged, he would be happy if I swore of men completely. My mom is twirling on the moon in joy.” She said
“Your dad came to my office. I guess that was after talking to you.”
“I am sorry Don I should……..” she said pulling away from him.
“Rin. You have nothing to apologize for.” He said firmly “Look at me.” She slowly looked up at him. “I know we have known each other for a very short while but I have never been so certain of anything in my life. I have fallen irrevocably in love with you. I understand if you do not feel the same way yet but…..” he said as she cut him off.
“I do, I do love you. I do.” She interrupted him with tears falling in floods.
They held on to each other tightly reveling in the bliss of the moment. Brandon was sure that the woman in his arms would go on to be his wife. Erin was ecstatic the love she felt for Brandon was immense, it erased the insecurities she had developed during and after Kevin. Right here was a man, handsome man who loved her. Basking in the feeling of absolute bliss, Erin slipped into peaceful slumber.
Brandon held Erin in his arms for almost an hour then decided to carry her to bed. After tucking her in, he walked to the kitchen to see what he could cook. Pulling out a pack of chicken drumsticks he saw that she had chapatis. He walked to her garden and picked out an assortment of vegetables. It felt gratifying to pick your food straight from the source. He set out to make stew to be eaten with the chapati. Getting all the required items was not so hard seeing that his woman was a neatness freak. He set the table and woke her up 2 hours later for dinner.
“Rin wake up” he said kissing her forehead.
“Hmmm” she mumbled stretching out like a cat.
“we have to get you fed.” He said looking at her with a smile.
She smiled up at him as she sat up. “Fed huh? Then we have to cook.”
“Done.” He said
“You cooked?” she asked
“Yep, come on, lets go eat.” He said carrying her out of the bedroom as she giggled.
They ate their dinner chatting lightly and watched stand-up comedy afterwards. That was when Erin said they had to get to bed because Brandon had work and he informed her that he was staying home with her. They watched more comedy and drunk chamomile tea another concoction as Brandon called it. It was early in the morning when they went to bed.
They were woken up in the morning by someone one shouting Erin’s name down stairs.
“Coming mom!” Erin yelled back.
Brandon sat up and looked at her to see if she was uncomfortable, but she was all normal smiling at him.
“Guess you are going to meet my mother.” She said getting off the bed walking to the bathroom, “Let’s brush teeth and freshen up.”
Both walked into the bathroom and quickly went through the hygiene ritual. Erin pulled on black leggings and a white oversize tee and Brandon black joggers and a white muscle tee. They walked down stairs hand in hand. Erin’s parents looked up at them from their chatter as they set up breakfast.
“Mom, dad, good morning.” Erin said walking to kiss each of them on the cheek. They responded to her and she went on to introduce Brandon. “This is Brandon Magnum, my boyfriend.” She said beaming.
“It is so great to finally meet you Brandon.” Ivanna said pulling him into a hug. “Though this was not how I pictured our first meeting. But I had to come over seeing that she decided not to update me after seeing the doctor.”
“Nice to meet you too Mrs. Bitro,” Brando said as he pulled away from the hug, “Mr. Bitro, he said extending his hand.” I went to the hospital when Nate told me, and I decided to stay the night and today as well because she seemed intoxicated from the medicines.”
“No worries,” Roy said, “Lets have breakfast, and you can call us Roy and Ivanna.”
There was no awkwardness at breakfast, if was as if it was a regular thing for them to have meals together and they talked about business, life and any other topics. An hour letter her mother said she had to go down to her business and open shop. She took a basket from the pantry to go pick some vegetables. Brandon offered to go help – the garden still intrigued him. Roy and Erin stayed back cleaning up after breakfast.
“I like him,” Roy said. “He does not seem like what people say about him.”
“Most people only get to meet the ruthless business man not the regular awesome man beneath the business face.” Erin said happily.
“I am just glad that you are happy. And he knows better than to mess with you.” Roy said.
“Well apparently my dad showed up at his office and he won’t tell me what happened.” Rin said eying her father.
“We just talked baby. I can’t just let this go into a free fall, I must put some boundaries.” Roy said.
“Thanks Pa’ I love you” Rin said.
They finished cleaning up and started going over some business matters that needed follow up as Roy would go in on behalf of Erin that day. They were winding up when Ivanna and Brandon walked in.
“Rin take some lessons from him on being fun company,” Iva said as they walked back in with Don carrying the basket full of vegetable.
“Yeah right Ma’” Rin said.
Her parents left a short while later after Iva invited them to Lunch at the restaurant.
They spent a lazy day indoors. With Rin explaining to Don about her garden and Don promising to take her to one of his renovation sites. In between office calls and enjoying each other’s company, the day went by fast and soon it was evening, time for Don to leave because he had to go home and pack for the trip. They opted to go to Don’s together.
The following morning, Don was up early with his luggage he called a cab to take him to the airport and woke Rin up.
“Love, I will be leaving in a bit” he said. “This is the passcode for the door. I will be in touch daily and if I can I will be back early. I am gonna miss you”
“Gonna miss you too,” she said fighting her tears “But you will be back. I am so pathetic, I should have dropped you off at the airport.”
“You sleep, and my car keys are on the hooks by the door, you can use any when you go to work since I drove you here.” He said.
“I call a cab”
“No, please use my car, it will make me happy and I hope you will come and spend some time here. I have a maid service, but I would love for you to come over, Please?”
His phone beeped signaling arrival of the cab. He pulled her into his arms and lowered his lips to hers in a intense kiss. They slowly pulled apart. “I love you Erin, this here,” he said moving his arms up and down her body “is mine. Take care for me.”
“Love you Brandon, be safe. I will be waiting.” She answered.
Erin followed him to the door they hugged again at the door and he left. She locked the door behind him and walked back into his home. She went back to the bed and curled up in a ball waiting for the time to go to work.