Monday rolled around quicker than I expected, despite what Zahara thought I wanted to be present in the room when they talked to Demetra. I wanted to look her in the eyes and listen to whatever bullshit excuse she was going to give, behind exposing my child’s identity. When we arrived at the Magnolia Records, Jacob and his lawyers were already waiting in the meeting office, I sit in between Zahara and one of my security guards.
“Don’t say anything, alright, not a word, no matter what,” Zahara whispers, and I just give a nod. Soon, Laurie the receptionist pushes open the door and Demetra walks in followed by an older looking man, and Braum. They take a sit in the remaining seats.
“Good afternoon, welcome to Magnolia Records! I’m Jacob Dawson, one of the head producers here and manager of Adeya,” Jacob says. “These are my Lawyers Dennis Freidman, and Daniel Pascal, and I’m sure you’ve met my assistant Zahara before,” he says, earning just a nod.
“Good afternoon Mr. Dawson, I am Robert Laney, I am Demetra’s attorney,” the older man says.
“Let’s get things started, shall we? It’s simple we just want all profits you gained for releasing the private information of my client, and we will drop any forthcoming lawsuits,” Jacob says.
“My client declines that offer,” Robert says, earning a confused look from Jacob which was rare, Zahara tenses beside me. “Your client Adeya Waterson not only kept the identity of her child away from the public, but she also kept the identity away from the birth father who has the right to release whatever pictures he chooses to release,” for the first time since the meeting started, I look in Braum’s direction and he avoids my gaze. Demetra sits next to him, a cool look on his face, Jacob chuckles.
“This isn’t family court Robert,” he says, before turning towards his lawyers.
“Demetra Long received nearly 30 thousand dollars total from multiple news sources by releasing the photos, and the name, and if Abraham Clifford were to release this information of his birth child it would be a completely different story, but Demetra Long has no biological connection to the child or to Mr. Dawson’s client, therefore she had no right to release that information,” Dennis says.
“And if you want to take this to family court, you won’t build a very good case by blaming Ms. Waterson client from keeping a secret away from the Father, we don’t know the true reason why Ms. Waterson chose to keep it a secret but retaliating but releasing private information won’t hold well in front of a judge, Lorelei Waterson is only 4 years, and her identity was released to the public which will put herself in danger,” Daniel adds. The atmosphere in the room changes, Demetra didn’t look as collected as she did before.
“How about we give you guys a minute to go over what you’d like to do,” Jacob says, standing from his seat, and gesturing for Zahara and I to follow him out. We leave going down the hallway to a different meeting room. “The nerve,” Jacob says, sitting down at the table.
“Are you okay?” Zahara asks, grabbing my hand.
“I’m fine, I knew they’d probably something like that at my face,” I say.
“Don’t worry Adeya, if you need Dennis or Daniel for Family Court, I’ll get on it quick,” Jacob says.
“That won’t be necessary,” I say, the meeting door opens, and Daniel comes in.
“They’ve made their decision, they will go through with the payment of all she gained from releasing the statement,” he says.
“Perfect, you girls stay here I’ll wrap things up,” Jacob says, following Daniel out of the room.
“Are you really okay?” Zahara asks, after the door is closed.
“How could he sit there and just let her get away with that?” I say, squeezing my hands in tight fist at my side. “How could he just let her tell her attorney that it was because I kept him a secret, that he was okay with it? Lorelei is going to have to have security follow her everywhere she goes now! She won’t have a normal life or get adjusted to this life now and it was all because that bitch was jealous!?” I snap, Zahara grabs my hand, forcing it out of a fist and holding it.
“Breathe,” she whispers.
“I knew telling him would be a bad idea, fuck,” I say, she pulls me into a hug rubbing my back.
“Breathe, just breathe,” she instructs.
“Ms. Waterson, Mr. Clifford would like to speak to you,” my security guard says, popping open the door. I pull away from Zahara dabbing away the tears.
“Let him in,” I say.
“Do you want me to stay?” Zahara whispers, but I shake my head. The door opens and Braum walks in, Zahara leaving behind him, allowing the door to close.
“Don’t apologize,” I say, crossing my arms. “I don’t care,” I shrug. His shoulders drop and he looks down at the ground. “I want Lorelei to have a Father in her life, but, and I mean this from bottom of my heart I want nothing to do with you,” I say, he looks up at me, his eyes filled with pain, and confusion. “You lied to me, and it doesn’t seem to bother you that your girlfriend released your daughter’s identity to the public, like it means nothing to you that her life is going to be completely different now,”
“This isn’t what I wanted,” Braum says.
“Then what did you want?” I snap, dropping my arms. “You’ve done enough,” I start walking towards the door, and Braum reaches for me but I yank away. “We can discuss visits, I don’t want to get family court involved, and don’t force me too,” I say, before opening the door and leaving the room quickly rushing down the hallway towards the elevators.
“Adeya!” Zahara shouts, but I ignore her, before beelining it to the bathroom. Pushing into the girl’s bathroom, to get a breath.
“And he just sat there like an idiot! Half a million down the drain because he couldn’t grow some balls!” I hear Demetra shout.
“Calm down baby,” Bo says, I grip tight on the bathroom door stepping back. “We’ll figure something out,”
“Our plan is ruined now, he’s so useless,” I hear Demetra says, I step back letting the door shut before moving into the boy’s bathroom. I can hear the girl’s bathroom open and shut.
“Do you think someone heard us?” I hear Demetra say. “Whatever, I have to go find him,” I push open the boy’s bathroom door open just in time to see Demetra disappear behind the corner. Bo stands in the hallway, and I step out.
“He’s your best friend,” I say, Bo spins around jumping back.
“You can’t be serious Bo?” I say.
“What are you talking about?” he says.
“I heard, everything,” I say, his jaw tenses but he doesn’t say anything. “How long?” I ask.
“A year after they started officially dating,” he says.
“It’s been 2 years? Bo!” I say.
“Don’t say that like you’re some saint princess,” he snaps. “Braum got everything! All the toys, all the games, everyone wanted to be his friend, and he got invited to all the parties and he had you! He had you and that wasn’t enough for him,” Bo says. “And he knew I had feelings for Demetra, he knew that still went after her! He just couldn’t lose!”
“That doesn’t give you the right,” I start but he holds up his hand.
“Don’t give me that morality bullshit,” he says. “You can save it for the talk shows, what do you think is going to happen Adeya? He’s going to break up with Demetra and get back together with you?”
“Fuck you,” I snap. “And to think I thought you were different than the rest of the shitty people that came from that god forsaken town!” I snap, shoving him back. “You can go to hell,” I stomp pass him walking towards the elevator, Zahara waiting for me at the end of the hallway.
“What was that all about?” she asks.
“We need to go, now,” I say. We get on the elevator going down to the private garage where our cars, and Calum wait.
“How did it go?” he asks, when we climb into the car.
“Demetra is cheating on Braum with Bo, and it’s been going on for 2 years,” I spit out.
“Wait, Bo as in his best friend Bo?” Zahara says, and I just nod. “I caught them in the bathroom, I confronted Bo… I think they were going to use the money to run away together or something,”
“That’s terrible,” Calum says, I sit back in my seat.
“Can we go? We can go please?” I say, buckling myself into my seat. I could feel the feelings scraping to get out. We leave the garage, and head towards Lorelei’s school to pick her up. When we arrive at the school, Lorelei is waiting inside with her teachers, as instructed. “Hey baby bear,” I say, picking her up and peppering her with kisses.
“Hey mama,” she says, kissing me back.
“How was school?” I ask.
“Good! Good, I want ice cream!” she says.
“Maybe later,” I walk back out getting into the car and buckling Lorelei in.
“Hi baby!” Zahara says, from the front seat, blowing kisses.
“Hi!” Lorelei says. Calum takes Lorelei and I home where I give her my undivided attention, I braid her hair, and we play outside for a bit, before doing the little homework she had. For dinner, we make a pizza, and a cookie cat, before watching Frozen 2 for the millionth time and I put her to bed. I however go back downstairs and clean the entire kitchen, and her playroom before realizing I was working to distract myself; I go back to my room ending the night, without a single thought of Braum.
The next day, I wake up to a long stream of missed phone calls and texts from my mother and Mrs. Clifford. “Good morning,” I say, calling my mom back.
“Are you home? Abraham is trying to meet up with you so he can see Lorelei before getting back, he says you have him blocked?” she asks.
“Yesterday was a disaster mom,” I say,
“Oh no sweetie, tell me all about it,” she says.
“Long story short, Demetra was going to try and spin the narrative and make it look like Braum had some right to release the photos of Lorelei because he is the Father and I kept her a secret,” I explain. “It was ridiculous mom,”
“Oh honey, I am so sorry you’re going through this, I know how stressful everything is for you right now,”
“I’ll be fine,”
“Please just call Braum, he would really like to see Lorelei,” my mom says.
“I will,” I hang up the phone, and call Braum’s number.
“Hello? Adeya?” he says.
“You can come to my community park, just ask the guard to call me when you get here and I’ll let you in, it can only be you,” I say.
“Okay,” he says. “I’ll see you a little later,” I hang up the phone tossing it on my bed. When I go downstairs, Lorelei and Alec are eating at the kitchen table.
“Good morning! Daddy is coming to see you today,” I say, sitting at the table.
“Really?!” Lorelei says excitedly.
“Yes, he’s going to go to the park with you and May,” I say, she claps her hand together happily. I move to the counter making myself coffee.
“And what will mommy be doing?” Alec asks, and I only give a shrug in respond. “Well I have summer martini’s next to the pool,”
“You mean the wading pool?” I ask.
“Until you get a real one like I requested or move into a bigger place like I requested that is all we’ve got,” he says.
“I’m in,” I say.
An hour or so later, I get a call from the security house. I accept his request. He pulls up to my house parking on the side of the road, getting out of the car.
“Papa!” Lorelei shouts, hopping off the porch and dashing across the lawn. He meets her halfway scooping her into his arms.
“I missed you so much baby girl,” he says.
“Is there a specific time you want us back?” May asks, looking back at me.
“As long as she wants,” I say, she nods before hopping off the porch. I wait until she is leading Braum away from the house, carrying Lorelei away before I close the door and join Alec in my backyard.
“Now Adeya, I have something to tell you and you’re going to have to be open about it,” Alec says, once I sit down.
“Mark has a friend, his name is Raphael,” Alec says.
“Alec,” I say.
“No listen! Please he’s a really sweet dude! He’s really nice!” Alec says.
“I don’t know,” I say, sitting back.
“So, what Braum can move on but you can’t? it’s been three years Adeya! He’s a real sweetheart, and he says he loves your music,”
“You’ve already talked to him about me?” I say.
“You’re my closest friend, who happens to be a super star, your name comes up quite often,” Alec says. “Anyway, he invited you to the Fireman’s ball this Friday!”
“Alec!” I say.
“I didn’t confirm your invitation but come on Deya!” Alec says. “When was the last time you went out on a date a real one? You have to move on sweetie,”
“But,” I couldn’t find the words to explain it, and I didn’t want to admit Alec was right. “Just one date,” I say, Alec nearly leaps out of his chair in joy.
“This calls for a whole glam squad! I’ll be right back!” Alec gets up speeding out of the backyard, leaving me alone to contemplate everything. My last date was going to the movies with Braum before I found out I was pregnant, before he broke up with me. Everything was so normal, he acted so normal, he looked at me like I was the sun and the sky and now, I was going on a date with a complete stranger.
“Did I hear that correctly? Did you say you were going on a date?” Laila says, her jaw nearly on the ground. “With who? Where? When?” she says.
“Alec’s boyfriends’ friend, he’s a fire fighter and invited me to some ball,” I say.
“Lucky boy imagines showing up to a work event with a super star on your arm,” Laila says. “How sweet! Are you excited?” she asks.
“I don’t know Laila; I haven’t thought about another boy but Braum and I’m terrified” I admit, falling back on my bed. “What if I mess up?”
“Mess up how? You laugh, you smile, you dance, you do everything you would do with a friend except way more flirting,” she says, I roll over looking at her.
“I wish you were here,” I say. “I miss you so much,”
“I wish I was there too! Sipping margarita’s and lying by the pool instead of studying day and night for a class I’ll never pass,” Laila says, dropping her head down in defeat.
“You’re the smartest person I know, and I can’t see anyone else becoming a Doctor,” I say.
“Thanks,” she says. “I’ll be there in two months, and we’ll be sipping eggnog and celebrating little Lory’s 4th birthday,”
“I can’t wait,”
“And I want every detail about this date! I expect a full play by play,”
“You know it,” I say, before signing off. I hear the front door open, and I quickly leave my room to greet May and Lorelei at the door.
“Mama! Mama I want to show daddy my room!” Lorelei shouts, already pulling Braum towards the stairs.
“Okay honey,” I say, letting them pass.
“I’m leaving for the day; I’ll see you tomorrow?” May says, and I nod.
“And actually, can you stay late on Friday, I have a date,” I whisper, her face lights up.
“A date?” she says, with a wide grin.
“No one can know May,” I say.
“My lips are sealed!” she says, before turning and leaving. I lock the door behind her before making my way upstairs, I walk into Lorelei’s room where Lorelei is explaining every toy, she has in her toy chest. Braum however is standing at her dresser, holding a picture. I knew the exact picture, it was summer of sophomore year, when Laila, Geo, Braum, Bo, and I all went to the lake house with our families. It’s a picture of all of us.
“Laila still has her cast, from when she broke her arm cliff diving,” I say, Braum looks back at me setting down the picture.
“That was crazy,” he says.
“There was so much blood, I think Bo fainted,” he laughs at what I say. “One of the best summers to date,”
“It was pretty fun,” he says.
“Lorelei honey, say bye to papa,” I say, Lorelei drops her toys back into the toy chest.
“Bye daddy!” she says, hugging his leg.
“Bye sunshine, I’ll defiantly come and see you before I leave,” he says.
“When do you leave?” I ask, he looks back over at me.
“Monday,” he says, I just nod in response. “Look Adeya,” he starts.
“I’ll see you later Braum, I’ll call you before you leave,” I say, his shoulders drop and he just nods leaving, I follow him to the door locking it behind it. I rest my head on the door, trying everything to keep it together.