Finally, I decided that perhaps I had PMS. I didn’t usually suffer from that, but on occasion I’d feel tired and puny.
Finally figuring out the source of my illness, I went back to my couch and pulled out my school work. I was too close to finishing to let my female issues slow me down. I opened my planner to see what I had left to do. Looking at the dates, I had a wave of nausea that didn’t have to do with PMS. Instead, it had to do with the fact that PMS occurred before a period, but looking at my calendar, I realized I was at least a week past when I should have had my period.
“Oh God.” A tangle of emotions swirled through me. I was terrified and at the same time, excited, which terrified me even more. A baby wasn’t in the plans, at least not at this time. I had school to finish and career to find and start.
Then I thought of Sebastian. What would he think? I told him I was on the pill which I was, but it must have failed. Or maybe I hadn’t been on it long enough. Whatever the reason, I was afraid he’d think I lied to him or tricked him. Another wave of nausea rolled through me.
Then I remembered how he’d said he’d once wanted children. Maybe he could want them again. Maybe this would be a sign to him that he was worthy of having love and a family.
But I was getting ahead of myself. Maybe I wasn’t late because I was pregnant. Maybe it was something else. The first thing I needed to do was find out one way or another.
I cleaned myself up and headed out to the nearest drug store and picked up a pregnancy test, then rushed back home. My hands shook as I took the stick from the box and followed the directions on the package.
I set the stick on the counter and tried to distract myself by cleaning the bathroom while I waited for the results.
Five minutes later, I took a deep breath and picked up the stick.
Not seeing Leah for a few days was a good thing, I told myself. I’d let myself get too involved with her while in Paris. It had been such a relief and enjoyment to spend time with her without worrying that we’d be found out. We’d been able to explore the city, enjoy great food, and the sex had been as good as ever. Maybe it was the abundance of champagne, the charm of the city, or maybe just Leah bewitching me, but I’d let go of my usual reserve and allowed myself to enjoy our time.
I’d planned that our affair would end when she finished her internship in a couple of weeks, but even on the flight back to New York, I entertained the idea that we might be able to continue to see each other.
Now, with a few days distance from her, I missed her, but also, I’d had time to put myself back into my normal state of mind. As much as I wanted to keep seeing her, I worried about her father’s reaction if he ever found out. And at this time, she was still my intern.
“Mr. Cox? Mr. Hammond is here to see you.”
Speak of the devil. “Send him in.” I rose from my desk to greet Henry, hoping there was nothing in my office of Leah’s that would giveaway the things I’d done to her in here. “Henry.” I extended my hand to shake his as he entered.
“Sebastian. How are you?”
“Good. Want a drink?”
Henry shook his head. “No thank you.”
“Have a seat.” I motioned to the couch. “What brings you in?” Then I remembered Leah. “Is Leah feeling okay?”
“Yes, yes. Just a little bug, I think. I’m here on board business, Sebastian.”
There was a tone to his voice that put me on edge. “Oh? Is something wrong.” I sat in a chair across from him.
Henry shifted as if he was uncomfortable with what he was about to say. “Talk has gotten to some people on the board that you’re having a relationship with a subordinate.”
My heart stopped in my chest. “My private life is none of the board’s business.”
“Well, that’s not exactly true if it can affect the business.” He blew out a breath. “Personally, I hate having to talk about this, but I figured it was better coming from me than from one of the others.”
“I still don’t know why you need to talk to me.” This was my company, dammit. I didn’t need to be talked to like I was in the principal’s office getting in trouble.
“Affairs with the boss are a sticky situation, Sebastian. They can lead to all sorts of lawsuits the board doesn’t want to deal with. And with an intern… well that can lead to the suggestion of sexual favors for a good grade.”