As I stand in front of Ben’s Hotel. The most expensive hotel in New York. The white brick walls still looked the same, not like I would expect anything different.
I try to hate him. I want to hate him for everything he has done, but I can’t, as when I look down at my hands locked with the little girl he gave me. A little part of me still loves him.
He might have left us with nothing, but as I said, I have her, and that’s all that matters. Even if I always wanted the perfect family.
“Mummy, is daddy here? I can’t wait to see him. I hope he likes me.” I can see she’s getting nervous, but she has been waiting for this day for months.
I know I shouldn’t have, but ever since she was tiny, she’s always asked about Ben, so I did what everyone would do. I told her, along with some of our happiest memories together.
My heart breaks for her having three and a half years without him, but that’s not with the lack of me trying to get in contact after contact to hear nothing back from him.
I even tried his work phone, but he must have blocked me on that. “Baby, you know he’s going to love you. I bet he’s going to be so excited to see you.” she smiles up at me and holds my hand a little tighter.
I know I shouldn’t bring her with me, but I haven’t got any family or friends. I made sure I never got close to anyone after I left Ben. I can’t risk him finding me, but that’s a story for another day.
I’ve come a long way from when Ben kicked me out with nothing but the clothing on my back. I still can’t get the look of betrayal and hate from his eyes when I told him I was pregnant.
I hope when he sees us today; he doesn’t throw us out; he doesn’t even know it’s me coming. I’ve made an appointment under a different name to get him to talk to me.
I would have done it sooner if I knew that would get me a meeting. He’s going to be shocked.
I kind of feel a little bad, but I can’t keep telling Evie he will come and see her soon when he hasn’t tried to get in contact with me since I told him I was pregnant.
I understand he was a bit taken back by the news, but I thought he would have come around within a couple of days.
I hold Evie’s hand a little tighter and take one step at a time before walking into the building; everything still looks the same. Not one thing has changed.
The floors are still white marble, with four giant chandeliers made by William Kent. I know he paid over a million for each one.
“Mummy, look. Can I have one in my bedroom, please, but pink mummy?” I turn to see where Evie is looking to see she’s holding a crystal vase. Shit.
“No, baby, put that down. You can’t touch anything in here. Remember what I told you? Everything cost a lot of money, so you have to be careful!” Her blue eyes shine bright with unshed tears. “I’m sorry. Don’t tell daddy I want him to like me.”
I kneel down on the floor and bring her closer so I can wrap my arms around her. It kills me to hear her say that. I never wanted our lives to be like this.
I wanted him to be there when I gave birth. I wanted him to watch her take her first step, and I wanted him to hear her say her first word, but life has a funny way of fucking me over.
“He will, sweetheart. He will love you so much.” I just hope he believes me.
I understand he will be shocked seeing us after all these years, but he needs to step up. I know what he will think when he sees me. He will wonder why I’m here, but I know the time is right.
I hope he doesn’t try to throw money at us and ’make it go away like he always liked to do because all I want is for her to be happy.
I really did think things would be different. We didn’t have a good start to our relationship, but I know deep down he is a good man.
I only hope that when he sees Evie, he will know I never lied to him. She is his daughter.
She’s his double from the bright blue eyes to the darkest black hair; she is the perfect mix of us both. She has my nose and my pouty lips, but the rest is all Ben. “Come on, baby; we better get going before he leaves, but remember what mummy said. You need to draw mummy a picture whilst I talk to daddy, okay?”
We start heading into the elevator; I’ve noticed a couple of familiar faces. They don’t look happy to see me, but then again, why would they? They all hate me because of Natalie.
I can see them talking between themselves about Evie and me. I can tell what they’re talking about the rumours they heard about me. They must be second-guessing them by the looks on their faces. If I weren’t with Evie right now, I would so shove my middle finger up at them!
All this wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for that one stupid bitch Natalie and her lies that she caused because she was jealous of what I had with Ben.
I didn’t realise I was holding a breath until I stepped into the elevator and the doors finally close. I hate how people always judge me. They don’t know my story and what I have been through. I squeeze my eyes shut. This is not the time to think about the past!
The doors to the elevator open as we make our way onto the floor where Ben’s office is; I grasp Evie’s hand a little too tightly. “Ouch, mummy, that hurts.” I loosen my grip on her hand. “Sorry, sweetie.”
We walk down the hallway, and I see Natalie sitting there, with her bright red lipstick on, her platinum blonde hair looking as beautiful as ever. I hate that she’s simply stunning! It’s a shame that someone with a shitty attitude can turn them instantly ugly.
Her head snaps up when she sees us walking towards her. She does a double look. Oh god, I’m not ready for this. Why couldn’t I have changed the subject every time Evie asked?
I feel sick!
“Sophie?” she says, shocked and full of venom, and I can’t help the smug look that shows on my face. I ignore her and bring Evie to the chair outside of Ben’s office door. “Right, baby, you sit here for mummy. I want you to draw a picture of anything you want so you can surprise me, and I’ll shut my eyes when you’ve done.”
Her eyes go wide, getting excited at surprising me with her photo. It’s the only time I can get her to do anything when I say that to her.
I can feel Natalie’s eyes burning into my back at Evie and me. I don’t bother looking at her. Come on; I can do this. Just knock on the door.
I take one last look at Evie before I knock.
“You can’t do that! Get out. He doesn’t want you here! Take that thing there.” She points to Evie, who is so caught up in her photo she hasn’t a clue what is going on around her.
Don’t slap her. Just keep thinking of Evie.
She reaches for my arm, but I pull away before she grabs it. “I said get out now before I call security.”
“Don’t touch me. I’m not the same woman I was before Natalie. You can’t push me around now if you don’t mind. Will you please take a step away from me!” I say far too kindly than I should do!
Before she can even reply, the door flies open. It’s finally time to face him after all these years.
I slowly turn around, and my eyes go wide. Years of being apart have done him well. Standing at a strong 6ft 5, his body is just as good as it was. No, I take that back. It’s better than it was.
His deep blue eyes stare into mine brown eyes, looking shocked? Hurt? Sadness? Maybe all of it. His jet black hair has grey in it, but it makes him look more handsome if that is even possible.
He scans my body up and down, not even hiding the fact that he is checking me out. My face heats, and I feel eighteen all over again.
I feel a hand place in mine. Evie snuggles into my side. I can see her peeking through her fringe at him.
His eyes flicking down to Evie, her hand still holding mine, his eyes go wide. He looks back and forth between us.
This was the moment I was waiting for all along, and now he’s in front of me. I don’t even know what to say to him, but I do know one thing: that I’m still in love with this man.
“Sophie.” He whispers so softly.