On Wednesday, I woke to a text and voicemail from Sebastian. While I was happy he was thinking of me, I couldn’t help but feel he was just going through the motions. I believed him when he said he’d be here for me and the baby, but I was pretty sure that meant financially. I wasn’t so sure he meant emotionally. At least where I was concerned. I wanted to sympathize with the guilt he must be feeling at betraying my father, but it was hard. Both of them were being complete assholes.
On Thursday, I took my exam in the morning and defended my thesis in the afternoon. I didn’t feel completely on my game, but I thought I did well enough to pass. When I left campus, I should have felt elated. I’d just completed all the requirements to earn my MBA. On Saturday, I’d graduate, and be ready to take on the business world. But mostly I felt tired and stressed.
I went home and took a long bath to sooth my body and soul. It didn’t work. I had an early dinner and began to search for other jobs in case the one in L.A. didn’t work out.
As I was getting ready to go to bed, my phone rang. I expected it to be Sebastian, but it was Karen.
“Karen.” I wondered if my father put her up to calling me. He’d likely think a woman’s influence would make a difference. While she and I had gotten along, I didn’t feel close enough to her to discuss my personal problems.
“Listen, I’m pretty sure I’m poking my head where it doesn’t belong, but your father is having a really hard time being estranged from you.”
“Did he tell you what happened?” I climbed in bed, planning to go to sleep when the call was done.
“Did he tell you what he said?”
She sighed. “I know what he thinks about this. My question to you is, is this man worth hurting the relationship you have with your father? It’s hurting him that you’re choosing the other man.”
I wondered if she knew about the baby. “Have you introduced my father to your father?”
There was a pause on the end of the line.
“If he decided my father was too old for you, would you leave my father?”
“It’s not the same. I’m older.”
Fuck you, Karen. I wasn’t a child. “Karen, I appreciate what you’re doing, but this rift isn’t on me. It’s on my father.”
“This man betrayed him. Has a reputation—”
“I love him and he loves me. Why doesn’t that count for anything?”
“You’re still young, Leah. You’re about to finish school and set out on your life. You shouldn’t tie yourself down so young. Especially with a man that took advantage of you and betrayed your father.”
Of course she’d think that. All she had was my father’s side of the story. “Until the other night, my father liked him. A lot. Wished him to find love and happiness like my father had found with you. Now he’s scum of the earth?”
“It’s different when it’s your daughter.”
“What about the baby?” I hadn’t wanted to share that information, but couldn’t help but wonder if that would change her tone.
“My father didn’t share that tidbit with you? I’m pregnant with Sebastian’s baby. Maybe you and my father should stop being so focused on my father’s fragile emotions and instead consider what is best for the baby, since neither of you care about what I want or need.”
I was done with the call and hung up. For a moment I considered that my actions were immature, but they already thought I was too young, so what did it matter?
I was getting ready to turn off my phone, when another call came in.
“What’s up?” I wondered if he’d heard something about the job.
“So, I guess Cox wasn’t a father figure after all, huh?”
Ut-oh. “What do you mean?”
“You were the intern we heard rumors about. I should have guessed by the way he acted around you.”
I didn’t know what to say.
“Listen, I don’t care about your sex life, but I do care about my job.”
“Is he firing you?” I couldn’t imagine what for.
“I’m not the one about to be fired. The board is meeting tomorrow and rumor is that Cox will be removed as CEO.”
“Yep. I don’t know what’s going on or if you two are a thing, but if you have any pull with your father, perhaps you can intervene since he’s the one spearheading this coup.”
Could my father be that vindictive? “What time is the meeting?”
“Ten. He’s planning to fight, but you never know how these things will go. I’m surprised you didn’t know.”
I hadn’t spoken to my father, and Sebastian apparently felt I didn’t need to know. “Thanks again, Niall.”
I immediately went to my father’s apartment, but he wasn’t in. Was he hiding from me? I called Sebastian, but the call went to voicemail.