I typed furiously on my laptop putting the finishing touches on the report for Mr. Anderson. It was the culmination of my months upon months of work I’d dedicated to the project. It had the ability to skyrocket my career. Sitting back in my chair I rubbed my rounded belly. I was officially six months pregnant today. Six months pregnant, avoiding the baby’s daddy and my mother like the plague while throwing myself into my work.
“Ms. Bell. I need you in my office now.” Mr. Boswacker yelled into my office.
I hefted myself out of my chair and followed him down the hall to his office.
“Close the door then have a seat.”
Closing the door, I made eye contact with Daniel who was talking to a junior associate.
“I need that report you’ve been working on for Mr. Anderson.”
I furrowed my brow. “Why?”
“It isn’t your job to question me. I need it and expect it in my inbox the minute this meeting ends.”
“I’m going to need to run that by Mr. Anderson.”
“No you don’t. Send me the report or send me your resignation.”
“I’m sure there is nothing wrong with your hearing.”
“Your giving me an ultimatum.”
“You are quite clever, Ms. Bell. Now, please leave and get me that report.”
I stood and left his office. A fog came over me and I felt dizzy.
“Rhapsody! Are you ok?” Daniel’s voice sounded far away.
“Yeah. I just need to get back to my office.”
“What’s wrong?” He put an arm around my waist and assisted me to my office. Closing the door behind him, he sat across from me.
Plopping into my chair, I sighed. “Boswacker said if I don’t give him the project I’ve been working on for Mr. Anderson then I’m fired or need to resign. Either one is bad if I don’t give him the report.”
Daniel blinked at me. “What? He’s outright trying to steal your work?”
“Looks like it.”
I placed my hand over my protruding belly. Little monster was kicking up a storm. It seemed like he or she were pissed off at Boswacker too.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“You aren’t thinking of handing it over are you?”
I shrugged and opened my laptop. “I don’t know, Daniel. I’ve got little monster to think about.”
“I understand but you can’t let him get away with that. If you quit there will be loads of companies coming after you. You can’t give in to him.”
Staring at the report in front of me I contemplated my next move. The idea of losing my job made me sick. However, the idea of just handing over that work made me want to vomit all over Boswacker.
“Hold on a second. I’m thinking.”
“I hope your thinking about ways we can dispose of Ballwacker’s body.” Queen B said sharpening her nails.
I ignored her as a plan began to form. I started to smile when it became fully formed in my mind.
The phone ringing cut me off. I picked it up expecting Mr. Boswacker. “Rhapsody Bell.”
“Rhapsody, sweetheart.” Grams’ voice came through the phone.
“Oh, hi Grams. I can’t really talk right now.”
“I know. You’re probably busy trying to take over the world. But, I want to take you and Cassandra out to dinner tonight. We haven’t had a girls night out in quite a while.”
I blinked then looked at the phone. “Is everything ok, Grams?”
“Of course. Why would you think something is wrong?”
“Well, we’ve never actually had a girl’s night before.”
“Oh, pish, we are starting a new tradition.”
“Ok, Grams. Where am I meeting you and Cassie?”
“How about that little Italian restaurant near your work?”
“Yes, that one. How does that sound?”
“That sounds good. I’ll see you at six.”
“Ok. Love you.”
“Love you too.” I hung up the phone.
“Something wrong?” Daniel asked.
“I get the feeling my grandmother has something up her sleeve or some bad news to share. I couldn’t tell which.”
“Hopefully it’s nothing. Maybe Chord contacted her.”
I glared at Daniel. “I hope not. Though I doubt it. I haven’t heard from him since that disastrous night when Jimmy Ray burst in.”
Daniel looked down at the floor. “I know I shouldn’t say it but maybe you should talk to him. I mean maybe he really didn’t mean it. How would you have reacted if Emmerson showed up?”
“It doesn’t matter anymore. I haven’t thought about him since I left that night.”
“Haven’t thought about him my ass. You only count the days and minutes since you’ve seen him. I think you’re up to sixty-five days, sixteen hours, twenty-two minutes and thirty-nine seconds.” Queen B tapped her watch.
“None of that matters. Do you want to hear about my plan or not?”
Daniel smiled and said, “I’m all ears.”
I wove my way through the crowded restaurant. I’d run late after my meeting with human resources. I attempted to suck in my stomach but soon remember that I was pregnant and no amount of sucking would lessen the protrusion of the very obvious baby bump.
“I know a kind of sucking that wouldn’t have caused that.” Queen B said as she made a rude gesture with her mouth and hand.
“Shut it.” I mumbled drawing the attention of an elderly man from the table I was passing.
“Rhapsody! Over here!” Cassie called.
“I see you, Cassie. You don’t need to yell. It just takes me a bit longer to get places.”
“I know. I just wanted to make sure you saw us.” Her voice continued at the loud pitch.
“Why are you still yelling?”
“Yes, Cassandra please stop that. You’re making my hearing aids ring.” Grams said as she gave me a hug. “What’s wrong with you, Rhapsody? You don’t look yourself.”
“I’ll tell you later. I just need to relax and get this little monster fed.” I rubbed my belly then sat at the table.
Taking the menu that was on the setting in front of me I opened it. I’d been to Papa Sargentinos many times before and had a favorite dish but little monster was craving something different. When I finally settled on eggplant parmesan with a side of boneless buffalo wings, I noticed Cassie was staring at me with a stressed look on her face.
“What’s going on?”
“What do you mean?” Cassie asked with a strange smile on her face.
“You’re acting weird.”
She shrugged then I watched as her eyes went over my shoulder. I turned and watched my mother strut through the restaurant toward us.
“What the hell is going on? Emmerson is here. Why didn’t you tell me?”
Grams took in a deep breath then said, “I’m tired of all this cloak and dagger stuff, Rhapsody. Your mother needs to know she will be a grandmother.”
“Grams..” I whined.
“Hello everyone! I’m here.” She whipped her jacket off with a flourish.
“Mother.” I mumbled.
“Don’t I get a hug, Rhapsody?” Emmerson Lee stood with her arms outstretched.
I stood from the table and watched as she took in my form. The moment she realized I was pregnant, her demeanor change.
I opened my mouth to confirm her suspicions when Grams interrupted me.
“With Jimmy Ray’s son’s child.”
“Boom! Now that’s how you ruin a family dinner.” Queen B did a slow clap.