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Natasha Lindt Abueva has been working for her boss Jerome Arnaiz for two years. It never occurred to her that Jerome would become a business partner of her ex-boyfriend, Paul Willem Sainz. Paul's family disliked Natasha simply because she does not belong to the same social class as them. She broke up with Paul two years ago to avoid conflict with his family. When they saw each other again, Paul seemed unconcerned. So when he invited her to dinner, she assumed it was for revenge. But Paul had other plans, he wanted to surprise Natasha the next day but instead he met her two year old son, Timothy. Paul is now determined to find out if Timothy was his.
I could not understand why Jerome wanted to bring me to this meeting. I was supposed to be assistant number two and Charles was assistant number one. For some reason our boss wanted us to be with him this morning. Charles had been with Jerome for five years. And they had established a connection through the years. They understand each other—even with a slight gesture. So when Jerome glanced at us, Charles just shook his head then Jerome just shook his head too.
I did not get what their exchange was about. In my two years with these two there were still things that they kept from me, which is fine. The less I knew, the better. I sighed, I just wanted to get out of this conference room because my ex-boyfriend was here. And he was seated facing me. I tried hard not to look at him because I broke his heart two years ago. I did not have the courage to face him again after what I did.
It was impossible that he had not seen me yet because Charles and I were with Jerome when they shook hands. If he wanted to ignore my existence then I would definitely appreciate it. I noticed Charles glanced at his watch then one of the assistants called the attention of the speaker. They wrapped up the meeting and had it adjourned.
"You need to sit at the front," Charles whispered to me as we stood up. He was referring to our seating position on Sir Jerome's service car.
"Okay," I responded to Charles. I was waiting for him to face me but he was still looking at our boss.
I turned to see what Jerome was doing and he was shaking hands with other executives. When Charles started to walk towards our boss, I followed suit. I was not used to this kind of event because I was always at the office. My job was to answer emails, phone calls, and get coffee. When Jerome saw us walking towards him he loosened his tie and blew some air.
"Where to next?" Jerome asked Charles.
Charles took his briefcase and we headed for the door, "You have no other schedule after this, sir. Do you prefer anything for lunch?"
Charles opened the door for Jerome and we were about to go out when a familiar voice called my boss.
"Hello Mister Arnaiz," I heard Paul say to call Jerome's attention.
Charles let the door go and closed it. He gave way so Jerome and Paul could shake hands. We all turned to Paul and waited for him to talk.
"We didn't get the chance to meet earlier," Paul continued smiling at Jerome.
"Yes, it's nice to meet you," Jerome responded cordially.
"This is Cora, my assistant," Paul introduced the woman in a royal blue tailored suit behind him. Her hair was in a ponytail and she had prominent cheekbones, and chinky eyes.
She bowed and extended her hand when Jerome extended his. She barely reached Paul's shoulder. I smiled at Cora and glanced at Jerome and Charles. They were both smiling at Cora too. Jerome did not like being put in a situation like this. Like he was obligated to do the same thing because of manners and formality.
"This is Charles and Natasha," Jerome pointed at Charles and me.
Paul shook Charles's hand first then he turned to me. Paul glanced at me and briefly shook my hand. Then he quickly turned to Jerome. Paul bid us goodbye then he opened the door and let his secretary go out first. He looked back at me again before he walked away. I let out an inward sigh and followed Jerome and Charles to the elevator.
When the three of us were alone inside the elevator, Jerome turned to me and asked, "Do you know him?"
My eyes met in the middle, "What?"
"He looked back at you before he left," Charles added, "There is a juicy story there."
I scowled at them both, "It's not lunch break yet so this kind of conversation is not yet allowed." I reminded them.
Charles smiled and shook his head and Jerome nodded his head. Both of them looked at the floor indicator as the elevator went down. When we reached the parking lot Ken—Jerome's driver—was already waiting outside the Jaguar.
Jerome talked to Ken and told him to take his break for thirty minutes. Ken looked confused but he did what he was told and disappeared quickly. Jerome grabbed Charles's right hand, then he opened the door of the sedan. He pushed Charles inside and was about to go inside when I protested.
"Hey! What about me?" I asked with my eyes looking around the area.
"Nat give us fifteen minutes," Jerome told me and added, "I just want to make out with my boyfriend! Please, Nat."
I rolled my eyes and followed the direction where Ken walked to. I only discovered their relationship last year, when I caught them kissing at Jerome's office. Since then the three of us kept their "dirty little secret" as what Jerome called it. I did cover a lot for them when they did their thing in the office. And many times when I was not there they almost got caught by Jerome's dad. So they "officially" made me an unwilling accomplice. These two were my best friends and we never let each other down. I continued walking while I took my phone out of my tote bag and dialled Ken's number.
Arturo Arnaiz building was a very old building. This four-storey structure was built by Jerome's ancestors and had been here for twenty years. So it was recommended that we transfer to their new and modern building in the business district. We got back from lunch at around one in the afternoon and everyone went back to their work. I was checking my boxes if I already marked them accordingly with my name and our building floor. Charles made sure that Jerome's afternoon schedule was clear so that they could pack the remaining office supplies in his office. I crouched down to check if I left anything in my drawers then I closed them one by one. I was placing the keys of my cabinet on my table when my phone rang.
The screen showed my son's face, "Hello, baby?" I greeted Timothy as I sat on my chair and placed my tote bag on the table.
"Moma," Timothy said on the screen. My two year old son was sitting on my mother's lap.
"He gave me the phone and said mama, that's why I called you?" My mom said as they both smiled at me on the screen.
"Mama's still working, okay? I'm going to call you back when I'm on my way home," I told Timothy and my mom then I blew them both a kiss.
Jerome walked towards my table and stopped in front of me. I looked up and waited for him to speak, "How about a couple of drinks after office hours?" Then he wiggled his eyebrows playfully.
I shook my head, "No, Timothy is waiting for me." I answered Jerome. I unzipped my laptop bag and put out my computer.
"Come on, how about one?" Jerome persisted. He crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at me.
"We can celebrate after we move to the new office, not before," I told Jerome as I waited for my laptop to load.
Jerome rolled his eyes in defeat and walked back towards his office. Then I heard him say, "Daddy, Nat says no."
I shook my head as I typed in my password. He was referring to Charles when he said the word daddy. I did not ask them the details of their relationship, but they trusted me enough to tell me that Jerome was the female and Charles was the male. Jerome's office was separated from the rest of the staff, that was why the three of us had our own little world in this large room. Charles and my table were facing each other. Jerome's door was separated to us with a divider and a door for his privacy.
Jerome's head popped again from his office door, "I'm going to miss this building, Nat. So many dirty memories here." Then he giggled. I heard Charles groan in protest from inside.
Charles was a very private person and Jerome was the loud one. But both of them only showed their display of affection around me and nobody else.
"Timothy looked like his dad," Jerome said out of the blue that made my jaw drop.
"Jerome!" Charles yelled.
"Sorry, Nat," Jerome said, then he disappeared from my view."
I covered both my hands on my face. Was it that obvious?
"Sorry about that, Nat." I heard Charles say. I composed myself and looked straight at him.
I closed my eyes and placed my elbows on my table. I licked my lips and opened my eyes, "Was the resemblance that obvious?"
Charles grinned at me and nodded, "Yup."
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