I was so angry at him and so embarrassed in front of Mr. Johnson that I didn’t want to talk to anyone for the rest of my break. I didn’t want to pick up on Lisa even though she kept calling me back. I turned off my cellphone in order not to be disturbed by anybody.
I spent the rest of my break in the restroom washing my face and drinking mineral water. I kept thinking again about all what happened when we were standing in front of the elevator earlier, how Mr. Johnson saw us, how he kept looking at me, about everything.
I was feeling myself so embarrassed. I didn’t want to meet him again. After all, he was not simply my boss, he was my father even though he didn’t know about it ... not yet.
And today, I got caught up with Marvin, which made me feel that I transgressed the rules of Mr. Johnson’s company, because I wasn’t allowed to be in that floor and despite this, I did go to that part of my father’s company with Marvin, who not only is my friend’s father, but also is my father’s friend and business partner ... or should I put it this way: my father’s co-worker and business partner.
What was I thinking back then !
I am a real idiot, aren’t I ?
I was stupid to have accepted to go with Marvin there. We were out of our minds and this goes back to him, he was the one responsible for what happened to both of us, especially to me as I was just a trainee in this company, and what we did today jeopardized my training.
We are adults; he’s the oldest of us; he shouldn’t have driven me to that part of the company. Look what happened now. I was sure that Mr. Johnson was angry at me and disappointed with my behavior.
I was behaving childishly and irrationally. Marvin was driving me crazy. My break was over and I had to come back to work. I regained by desk and started to work when I saw Lisa coming over my desk, and she seemed to be pissed off. I wouldn’t blame her for that.
- “Where the hell have you been? I kept calling you !” Her voice a little bit higher than usual.
- “Lisa, I’m so sorry ! I should have called you back! I had to go downtown ! I had something urgent to do” I explained.
- “You could have told me that. I waited for you to have lunch Amy” She let a long sigh out of her chest.
- “Sorry, Lisa. I didn’t mean to upset you. Please, forgive me.” I begged, and kept looking at her waiting for her reaction.
It seemed to her that I wasn’t well. So she stopped right away, scrutinizing every detail of my face before she said.
- “Amy, are you alright?” Her voice full of concern now.
- “ Why wouldn’t I be okay?” I tried to keep myself calm and not let any emotion out.
- “I was just asking because you look pale !”
- “Am I ? It must be because I haven’t had lunch yet.” It was true, I wasn’t lying.
- “ You know that you shouldn’t skip a meal, and you keep doing that ” She scolded me.
- “It’s just that I didn’t find enough time for that !”
- “Amy ! Did I have to repeat myself every time. You have to eat ! damn it !” She seemed worried, then unzipped her purse and grabbed something.
- “What are you doing? I got to get back to work!”
- “Here you are ! Eat those biscuits!” she said, handing me a box of biscuits. I smiled at her warmly and took it from her. I liked the way Lisa took care of me. I know she was really worried about my health and wanted to help me get better.
- “Oh ! before I get back to my desk. Are you still coming with Eric and I to the movies later this evening?” She asked.
- “Euh ... I totally forgot ... ” I slapped my forehead with the palm of my hand.
I didn’t want to go with them, plus I couldn’t make it anyway. I was supposed to meet Marvin this evening !
- “Don’t tell me you forgot about our plan for this evening!?”
- “Oh yeah I did. Again, I am sorry. I can’t make it tonight. I don’t want you to be pissed, Lisa. It’s just that I ... I have some work to finish for tomorrow.”
- “I hate you Amy !” She said raising her middle finger to me, then left.
- “Thanks for the invite, though. Next time I’ll come with you guys, I promise !”
- ” Will see till then, Amy ” She scoffed.
That afternoon went slowly and I had to go through another one hour and a half as I was typing a financial report when Mrs. Jessica Spencer, the head of the accounting department, told me through the phone that Mr. Johnson needed to see me in his office right now. My superior asked me if I did something wrong, and I told her that I didn’t do anything wrong. She got surprised that the big boss needed to see me in his office, after all I was a trainee. I didn’t have any authority in the company to be called to meet Mr. Johnson in person and in his own office.
What? Philip Johnson wanted to see me in his office! Why? Don’t be silly Amy, you know why he wanted to see you. It was obvious he was going to ask me what I was doing with Marvin on that floor earlier that afternoon. And probably put an end to my training.
Was he suspecting something going on between Mr. Richardson and I? I really don’t know ...
I felt I was into trouble. Oh dear lord, help me.
My heart thrummed in my chest while I was heading towards his office, and my mind was clouded of ideas ... dark ideas as I was expecting the worst to come, and started to mentally prepare myself for the possible questions he would ask me.
For the first time in my life, I was going to meet my own father in his office and I would be alone with this guy. Just the two of us, like father and daughter, without him knowing the truth about me. I wasn’t expecting him to call for me. I started to regret what I did with Marvin earlier in that small office. Definitely.
I reached the fourteenth floor and headed toward the reception where I found the same woman of the other day. She recognized me and told me that Mr. Johnson was waiting for me. She showed me the office then called him back to inform him that I had just come. She led the way and I followed her. We arrived in a big white hall and Mr. Johnson’s office was across us. She knocked on the door and waited for him to give her the permission to come in.
She smiled at me then opened the door saying “You can come in Ms. Morgan”. I smiled back at her and stepped into the room.
It was a big room with a desk in the middle, two wooden bookcases on the right corner, and a black leather sofa and two black leather armchairs on the other corner of the room. The dominant colors were black, white and red. I liked the display of the furniture. There were three big windows surrounding the walls of the room. Two plants next to the door.
- “Hello Ms. Morgan, please take a sit!” he said smiling at me.
- “Thank you, sir” I said before sitting on one of the chairs.
- “You must be wondering why I called for you, right?”
- “Yes.” I said in a low voice.
- “To tell you the truth, I just want to get to know you better. I hope you don’t mind, I mean there is nothing personal, of course.”
I didn’t reply and kept looking at him. I didn’t quite catch the meaning of “I just want to get to know you better.”
Does this imply he knows that I was his daughter? I don’t think so, how could he know that? He couldn’t know this, could he?
Being alone with this man in his office made me feel, unexpectedly, comfortable. After all, I know that he was my father. Maybe because of the knowledge of this truth, I felt this way. I thought.
As far as I remember, every time we met, he seemed distant and cold. This time, however, he seemed more sociable.
- “You seem to be ... a shy girl.” he said breaking up the silence between us.
If I hadn’t known that he was my father, I wouldn’t have allowed him to tell me that kind of thing, that I was shy or whatever. But I know, deep down myself, that he tried to engage a conversation with me. I didn’t know his true reasons, however. Was it because he knows the truth about me, being his own daughter? Or was it something else I wasn’t aware of ?
- “I don’t converse easily with people that I don’t know sir!” I tried to remain professional.
- “I am sorry ... I just want to get to know you better, that’s all. You’re right, Amy. Can I call you Amy?”
- “ I don’t mind ” I smiled at him.
- “What a nice name you have, Amy. If I had a daughter, I would’ve called her Amy ... But I don’t.” He rubbed his neck with the palm of his hand, nervously.
What was he doing? He was behaving awkwardly, not knowing what to do or what to tell? Was he trying to make me speak ... reveal something? Did he know the truth about me? Did he know that I was his daughter? I was getting more lost in my thoughts.
What was I doing here, in the first place?
- “Why did you call for me, sir?” I needed to know, like really really know what was going on in his mind.
- “You’re right, I don’t know how to say that, and I don’t know whether you know about what I am planning to tell you ... The reason I called for you, was that I ... well, your mother and I used to be friends years ago. I don’t know if Mona, has mentionned that to you before ... anyway, I wanted you to know that I am pleased to have one of my friends’ daughters in my company.”
- “You knew my mother, Mona Morgan?” I lied because I needed to hear the truth out of his mouth. I pretended not knowing about it because I wanted him to open himself up to me.
- “I thought she told you. Mona was a close friend to me. Unfortunately, we lost contact over the years. I didn’t know she had a daughter.” He explained, but I could feel a bit of nostalgia in his voice.
- “She’s got two daughters, actually.” I informed him.
- “Yeah, I know. It was nice to see her at Marvin’s the other day ”
- “My mother got married last year. I guess you don’t know about that, do you?”
- “No, I didn’t. So ... that means Mr. Carlson isn’t your father, is he?” he said immediately then added, quite confused
“I am sorry Amy, to intrude in your life like that.”
- “It’s okay. Mr. Carlson is not my father, indeed. He’s my step-father... and to tell you the truth, I’ve never grown with a father ... I’ve never met him” I confessed to him.
I wish I could tell him the truth at that moment. I wish I could reveal to him the secret, what my mother told me a time ago, about him being the father I have been searching for so long ... but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell him that he was my father and I didn’t know why.
Why was it so difficult, for me, to break the silence and tell the truth?
Mr. Johnson kept looking at me with wide eyes open, as if he knew the truth, as if he knew that I was his daughter. He remained silent though.
A short silent moment reigned over the room as we kept looking at each other without saying a word, when he decided to break the silence ...
- “Where do you live now?”
- “I live at Lisa Richardson’s for the summer.”
- “I see, and what are your plans for the coming months?”
- “I have to come back to university in about two weeks, I really want to succeed ”
- “I’ve already had a look at your resume. You had a little experience and I like how much ambitious you are ” He smiled at me.
- “I had ambitions, sir, like any other girl, I guess. I like my domain of expertise and the world of accounting. I like to do my best in my job.”
- “From what I read about you in the report, written by Jessica Spencer, you seem to be a competent trainee and I must admit that I am proud of you!”
“ I am proud of you ”, he just said made me show a wide smile over my face. I grinned at him, because it made me feel elated.
I was really happy to hear that. I couldn’t believe what my father, Mr. Johnson, just told me that.
- “Mrs. Spencer is helping me a lot with my work. She’s been a helpful coordinator since I came to work here.” I informed him.
- “I’ve heard that you had health problems lately!” Concern in his voice.
- “Yes, but now I am feeling much better. Actually, my mother was here to help me move on with what I have been through so far and check up on my health” I admitted to him. At first, I was quite surprised because he knew about it, but it didn’t bother me.
- “Mona has always been a committed nurse.” He confessed.
- “She’s a doctor now!”
- “A doctor ! I didn’t know about that.” His hazel eyes widened in surprise.
- “I have to admitt that she’s a good doctor, always there for her patients ” I smiled at the thought of that.
- “I am sure she is ... Earlier, you told me that you have never met your father.” Nervousness in his voice.
I felt it was the right time to keep on talking with him about that topic and maybe tell him what I really know if the time allows me to.
- “I’ve never met my father and I hope I will meet him someday. I really do.” My eyes never left his while I was confessing this to him.
- “I am so sorry to know that your father has never been in your life before. I guess, it’s been hard on you ... but it is not your fault after all.”
Why is he telling me this, if he pretends to be so concerned about me, in the first place? It is no longer a “purely” professional conversation, is it!?
There is something going on ... and I need to push this conversation to the limit.
- “ Whose fault is it, according to you? ” I asked boldly, my eyes not leaving his. He looked at me, taken aback, not expecting at all my question, then pulled himself together before answering.
- ” Euh ... Didn’t your mother tell you about it? I mean I’m sure she must have told you about what really happened between .... them”
This time, however, seemed to be the right moment to drop the bomb. I didn’t care anymore. I wanted him to face the truth: the truth about me, being his daughter, and him, being my father.
- “Should I know something that you’re not telling me, Mr. Johnson?” I asked him, appearing even bolder than before, but I didn’t care much about that.
He was dumbfounded when I asked him this question, a bold question I must admit. It was as if I was telling him to stop playing that guess game, and just let me know his true intentions, that it was high time for him to reveal the truth.
It was as if I was telling him, implicitly, that I had already known the truth and that I was waiting for him to say it. To face his own daughter and to tell her the very truth.
Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, he wasn’t speaking anymore. He was just looking at me without saying a word. I know that it was so hard to tell such a truth, but he had to make a move toward me. He had to.
I was looking at him back expecting him to say something when he finally said “Amy, I ...“.
For me, the truth was going to be revealed, at last. I was pretty sure he was going to speak and tell me that he knows I was his daughter. I was waiting for him to finish up his sentence when his cellphone went off, interrupting what he was about to say.
- “Excuse me for a second, I got to take that call!”
- “Yes, Andrew. What? ... When was that? .... I see. Okay, I am coming right now. Don’t let them go. Tell them to wait for me, I’m coming right now.”
He hung up the phone and seemed to be confused. He looked back at me saying,
- “Sorry, Amy, I got to go now. It’s business. Can we speak another time?”
- “Yes sir.” I said standing up, before adding,
“I am sorry, I didn’t want to take much of your time!”
- “Don’t say that. It’s a pleasure to talk to Mona’s daughter.” he said smiling warmly at me.
What? Mona’s daughter? That’s all ... I was hoping he would be saying something else ... anything. Why did he say so? Did he mean that I wasn’t his daughter, that I was someone else’s daughter? How should I understand that! I was completely lost ... and more confused.
I tried to hide my confusion, so I smiled back at him then headed towards the door. I didn’t want to turn my face back and look at him. I was sad because we couldn’t finish talking about the topic, about my real father. I left and headed toward the third floor empty-handed.
After I finished work that day, I started gathering my belongings and decided to bring with me some files to finish reading them at home when I received a call from my mother. I picked up the phone and was happy to hear her voice.
- “Amy, dear! How are you doing?”
- “Hey mom! I’m fine I’ve just finished work. What about you? Did you have a safe trip back to Phoenix?”
- “Yes, dear everything was alright. I just called to check up on you before coming back to work.”
- “You’re at work now?”
- “Yes, I’ve got a night shift. I am going to start in less than fifteen minutes.”
- “I see. And Lily, how is she?”
- “She is fine, Jim is going to baby-sit tonight.”
- “I see. Mom, can I talk to you about something?”
- “Yes, baby. What is the matter? Is everything okay with you?”
- “Yes. I’m okay, mom. It is just that Mr. ...” I said looking around me just making sure no one can hear me. I couldn’t take the risk to pronounce his name. I was afraid that someone might hear what I was about to tell my mother about Mr. Philip Johnson.
- “You mean Philip Johnson, don’t you?”
- “Yes, that’s him. He called for me earlier and we met in his office”
- “ Oh ... I see. Why did he want to see you? Did he tell you anything?”
- “He told me that you and him used to be friends years ago. That he was glad to know that I was your daughter and then he kept asking me about my real father.”
- “Really ! He wants to know who your father is.”
- “I guess, this is his intention.”
- “And what did you tell him Amy?”
- “I pretended that I didn’t know and I kept waiting for him to react, but I felt that he might know that he is my real ...”
- “... Your real father. He does, Amy. I am sure he does. I don’t know why he didn’t want to believe when I told him the truth about you twenty years ago.”
- “Mom please! Stop it, now what is gone is gone. I just need you to help me, mom. I don’t know what to do.”
- “My baby, follow what your heart is telling you right now. If you feel that you have to tell him that you’re his daughter you go for it, if not he may never do it Amy. He may never tell you that he knows about you. As far as I know him, he will never do it. He’s just a coward !”
- “Mom, please stop it! You know how I feel about all this, don’t you?”
- “I’m ... I’m sorry, baby. I’m just happy though, because I called in the right time.”
- “Yes, you did.”
- “I got to go now Amy. They are calling me. As I told you, tell him what you know because he will never do. Talk to you soon, baby. I love you, Amy”
- “Okay mom. Love you, too” before she hung up the phone.
I locked my cellphone, before putting it in my purse, then looked at my watch to check the time. I still had some time to go to the harbor.
After about twenty minutes, I was in front of Esperanza. I was still pissed at Marvin, but not like earlier. I have to admit that he screwed up, reminding myself that we got caught by Mr. Johnson and then I had to go to his office. I was thinking if I should tell Marvin about that episode or not, if I should let him know that he wanted to see me in his office.
The problem was that he was surely going to ask about the reason why and of course I would be in a position where I couldn’t tell him the truth and that I had to lie, and I didn’t want to lie to Marvin. So I decided to hide what happened earlier that afternoon. It was better this way, I guess.
I was about to call him when I heard his voice from over the boat “Amy! Come on.” I looked up to see him, waving at me.
I headed toward the boat and found my way towards Marvin. I must say that I was very happy to see him again. As we came inside, the place was filled up by soft music vibes.
He held my hand into his, then kissed my knuckles gently, looking at me.
- “Are you still mad at me, baby?” His blue eyes pouring into mine.
- “Are you kidding me or what! Of course I am ! Because of you we were caught! And it could be worse ... ”
- “I know, I shouldn’t have taken you to that part of the company, but I thought, it was the safest place for an intimate moment with you. But, do not worry about Philip. He won’t bother you. I promise!”
I kept looking at him trying to persuade myself that all he was saying was true.
- “I wish I could believe you Marvin!” I crossed my arms.
- “Amy ! I’m serious. You have to believe me, baby” He grabbed my waist, and pulled me closer to his chest.
I remained silent, still debating over the issue of believing his words or not, when he kissed my forehead whispering in a gentle voice
“I missed you, baby. Hope you will forgive me. I didn’t mean to put you through that”.
I hugged him back and leant my head onto his chest. He started caressing my hair then said
“Lisa called me earlier. She is going out with Eric and a few friends. This was what she told me.”
- “I know. She invited me, but I said that I couldn’t make it this evening!”
- “Good girl, so we have till ten.” He gently pulled me away to look at me, before adding ” did you miss me, Amy?” His eyes, hungry at the sight of my lips.
- “Let me think ... I don’t know” I winked.
He groaned, eager to feel my lips on his. He, then, took my hand and drove me to one of the cabin. This time, we went to the cabin with the big mirror, where we had sex for the first time.
I didn’t want to think much of that day where I couldn’t stand looking at myself in the mirror and when I remembered all what Jim did to me a year ago. This time was different, I had to control myself and don’t let my fear get over me. I had to be strong.
He opened the door as we came in. My eyes widened at the sight of how well-decorated the cabin was. There were red flowers all over the bed, and in the center there was a big box wrapped up with cardboard.
I was very pleased by the fact that he bought me a gift, that we were again alone, just the two of us, sharing this intimate moment.
- “Is it for me?” My eyes all wide while I turn to him.
- “Yes ! Open it Amy! ”
- “What is it?”
- “I won’t tell you! It’s a surprise baby! Open the box!”
I was thrilled by the gift and started unwrapping the box. My first thought went to a dress or to lingerie. I could remove the cardboard, opened up the box to find a dress. A lovely and elegant dress.
I took it out of the box to be able to see it when something, about its color overwhelmed with confusion. It reminded me of that dress I was wearing the evening I was raped by my step-father.
It was similar to the one I was holding in my arms. Mini dress, elegant, green, except that this one was made of lace. I was holding the dress with my both arms unable to speak or to react.
I couldn’t say a word. I was just watching it totally lost in thought when I felt a gentle touch over my shoulder. I slightly jumped out of panic, to later meet Marvin's eyes looking confusedly at mine.
I had to pull myself together, not letting any kind of confusion appear. I kept saying to myself that it was another dress I was carrying, not the one I was wearing when I was raped. I started shivering a little bit.
- “Amy, are you alright? ” His voice full of concern.
- “I'm fine, it's just I am feeling a little bit cold ... ” I lied.
He hurried to the closet to bring a blanket, put it around my shoulders to warm me up.
- “Are you feeling better, baby?” he said worried.
I couldn’t speak. I just nodded to let him know that I started to feel warmer. My eyes were turned to that green dress ... again.
I was still looking at it and struggled deep down myself because I was having flashbacks of the day I was raped.
The flashbacks were still haunting my mind and I was fighting them back so hard. I was fighting them for two reasons.
The first reason was that I didn’t want Marvin to get more worried about me and didn’t want him to get disappointed with my behavior. He would think that I didn’t like his gift, which wasn’t the case, of course. I liked his gift very much. I liked the dress and the color as well. The problem was just that this green dress reminded me of a past event I was thriving to forget all about it. That is all.
The second reason was that I had to control what I was feeling. I don’t want to go through such feelings again and again, each time I glimpsed a thing that would take me back to that horrible evening. I didn’t want to feel myself paralyzed each time it happened to me. I had to be strong. I had to go through it despite my fear. I had to step forward and not backward for myself, to save my soul, to hope for a better life.
Marvin bought me this lovely dress for a special occasion which was Mr. Johnson’s party. I had to thank him for this special gift, for having thought about me. I had to go beyond this paralyzing fear that was imprisoning most parts of my body. I had to.
The only way I found to forget about my fear was to kiss him. I needed to kiss him in order to be able to feel him. To feel his presence next to me. To smell his vanilla perfume. To feel safe in his arms. To freeze time for just a few seconds and just think about Marvin. Just Marvin and the dress he bought me.
He took my face into his hands and said softy
“baby ... you’re crying, is everthying okay Amt ?” Concern in his husky voice.
- “I am okay, Marvin. I swear. It is just the dress, I didn’t expect you to buy me a gift.” I said wiping away the few tears from my cheeks.
- “I want you to wear it tomorrow, for Philip’s party. I can't wait to see you wearing this dress, for I am sure you will be so stunning, the prettiest of all women who would be attending the party” His eyes never leaving mine.
I smiled at what he just told me then had this instant idea,
" What if I wear it now? " I offered.
His eyes wide open in surprise, he nodded before his lips met mine in a gentle kiss. I wanted to surrender myself to Marvin that evening. I wanted to be able to go beyond my fear and let him make love to me in that green lace dress, in that cabin, in front of that mirror, which used to scare me the last time we had sex.
It was a challenge for me that I mentally accepted to take despite everything wrong going on inside my head. I didn’t want fear to overwhelm me. Not anymore.
This evening, all I wanted was for Marvin to remove this dress out of my body and make love to me for hours.