Valerie arrived to the office first. She went in and went right to the elevator. After she stepped on and pushed the button for her floor, Cat stepped on right before the doors closed. Valerie looked over at Cat and her pregnant stomach and smiled.
“Good morning Cat.” Valerie said. “How are you feeling?”
“I’ll be glad when this is all over.” Cat said as she rubbed her stomach.
“This baby is doing a lot of kicking.”
“Did Mr. McKnight tell you that this was his baby?” Cat grinned as she pressed the button for her own floor.
“No he didn’t.” Valerie said. “But I do recall an e-mail that you sent to me about the baby.”
“I’m surprised.” Cat said. “I thought he told you everything.”
“Well, this was one thing that he did not tell me.” Valerie said. “But that’s ok. Mr. McKnight has some news for everyone.”
“Really?” Cat smiled. “Do you know what it is?”
“Actually yes I do.”
“Does it have anything to do with me?”
“Well.” Valerie said. “I’m not supposed to say anything, but yes it does.”
“Oh my God.” Cat gasped. “I knew he would come around. He’s gonna propose to me isn’t he?”
“I can’t say.” Valerie smiled. “But this news will impact you and the baby in such a big way.”
“I’m so excited I might go into labor right here.” Cat said.
“No sweetie, don’t do that.” Valerie said as the elevator stopped on Cat’s floor. “You cannot tell anyone about this news. Mr. McKnight will call you in for a meeting when he is ready to talk to you.”
Cat was grinning so hard that her face started to hurt.
“Thanks for the heads up Val.” Cat said as she stepped off of the elevator.
Valerie nodded as the doors closed. When they opened up again, she was on her floor. Jackson met her as she was coming out.
“How did you get here so fast?” Valerie asked. “I left first.”
“Yes, but I took the stairs.” Jackson said. “I’m faster than the elevator.”
“Well, how fast do you think we can tell Cat the news?”
“Well lets just say, we met in the elevator and she was informing me that her baby was your baby. I told her that you hadn’t told me but that you had some news for everyone. She automatically assumed that you were going to tell everyone that you were going topropose to her.”
“I would not be surprised if she is down there right now telling everyone that you are going to propose to her.”
Jackson started to laugh as he and Valerie stepped into his office. He closed the door behind them, and then grabbed Valerie in his arms and kissed her.
“Oh my, Mr. McKnight.” Valerie smiled. “We haven’t told anyone about our marriage.”
“I don’t care.” Jackson said.
Valerie giggled as she wriggled her way out of Jackson’s arms.
“First I think you need to call Tyrone.” She said. “We’ll need him when we go to break the news to Cat.”
“I called him while I was on my way in.” Jackson said.
“He’ll be here at noon.”
“What do you think Cat will do?”
“Baby I don’t care.” Jackson said. “I have married the woman of my dreams.”
“You are so sweet.” Valerie grinned.
Cat could not concentrate that entire morning. Everyone wanted to know what her problem was.
“I can’t tell anyone.” Cat grinned.
“Oh come on.” A girl in her row said. “What’s got you all in a tizzy?”
“I think Jackson is going to propose to me today.” Cat squealed. “He’s finally come around and has accepted that this baby is his. He’s gonna wanna be a family.”
Another woman looked at Cat and raised her eyebrow.
“Did he give you any indication that he is even remotely interested in being part of this baby’s life?”
“In the beginning no.” Cat said. “But since he’s come back from his business trip, he’s ready to be a father.”
“Are those his exact words?” The girl that sat next to her asked.
“No, I spoke with Valerie this morning.” Cat smiled. “She said that Jackson will be calling me into his office to tell me something and that it will effect me and the baby in a big way.”
“So it really is his baby?” Yet another woman asked.
“Of course it’s Jackson’s baby.” Cat snapped.
“Look.” A fourth woman said. “Most of us in this department have been with Jackson at one time or another. We know that he was careful with us. There was no way that any of us were trying to trap him like that. I know if he wanted me, it would have to be because he loved me and wanted to be with me, not because I got pregnant. You’ve been scheming for a long time.”
“Who cares.” Cat smiled as she looked at the clock. “I’ve got him now and that is all that matters. He can afford to take care of both me and this child. If you guys schemed as hard as I did maybe he would be marrying one of you.”
The women just shook their heads as they watched Cat sit down at her desk and rub her stomach.
Valerie was in her office finishing up a proposal when Jackson buzzed her phone.
“Yes.” She said.
“Tyrone is here.” Jackson said. “Do you wanna come in?”
“Of course.” Valerie said. She stood and went through the adjoining door into Jackson’s office.
“Hey Val.” Tyrone said as he reached to hug Valerie.
“Hey honey.” Valerie said. “How are you?”
“We’ll see when this entire thing is over.” Tyrone said. “And by the way, congratulations. Cuz here hasn’t smiled like this ever.” Valerie smiled as she looked over at Jackson.
“So how are we going to do this?” Jackson said.
“I just say we call her up here and see what happens.” Valerie said.
“Is there some kind of plan or script?” Tyrone asked.
Jackson thought for a minute.
“Yeah.” He said. “Whatever you guys do, just follow my lead. And Ty, kinda hide behind the door so that she doesn’t see you when she comes in here.”
Tyrone grinned as he backed into a corner near the door..
When Cat’s phone finally rang, she just knew that it was Jackson calling her up to his office.
“This is Cat.” She said as she looked at the company’s caller i.d.
“Hi Cat.” Valerie said. “Mr. McKnight would like to see you now.”
“I’m on my way up.” Cat grinned. She hung up her phone and stood.
“All right ladies.” She announced. “When I come back down, I will be sportin’ a large rock on my hand and a grin on my face.”
“Whatever.” A coworker said.
“Don’t hate.” Cat said as she whisked passed everyone and went to the elevator.
“How was your business trip slash wedding slash honeymoon?” Tyrone asked.
“It was great.” Valerie said. “I wanna go back there again.”
“We will.” Jackson said.
“For fun not business.” Valerie said.
“We’ll go back for both.” Jackson smiled.
There was a knock at the door and Tyrone and Valerie looked at Jackson.
“Follow my lead.” He whispered.
“Come in.” He called to Cat.
“Hi.” Cat smiled when she walked into the office.
“Have a seat.” Jackson said.
Cat looked around the room and saw Valerie standing next to Jackson. She didn’t notice Tyrone standing off to the side almost behind the door. Her focus was on Jackson only.
“Jackson, please don’t get mad at Valerie for telling me that you had some news for me.” Cat said. “I nearly pulled it out of her.”
Jackson sat back in his chair and listened to Cat finish.
“Jackson honey, I am so glad that you have chosen me.” She
said. “I knew that you would realize that this baby was conceived out of our love for each other. Please don’t get me wrong, I was not trying to trap you in any way.”
Jackson was silent as he watched Cat. Valerie was using every ounce of dignity within her to keep from laughing.
“So, after saying all of that, I’ll be quiet so that you can propose to me.” Cat said.
Jackson began to grin. He looked at Valerie and then looked at Cat.
“Oh God I should have brought a camera or something.” Cat said.
Jackson stood up and went to his panoramic window. He stood there for a moment and then turned to look at Cat.
“When I told you that I was in love with someone else, did you ever find out who it was?” Jackson asked.
“Well it’s evident now that it was me.” Cat smiled. “You just needed some time away from me to get your head together. I can understand that.”
“Cat remember when you came to me and told me that you were pregnant?” Jackson asked.
“Yes.” Cat said. “You hurt my feelings when you denied it.”
“Well Cat, I would apologize for that.” Jackson started. “If the child was mine.”
Cat opened her mouth, but Jackson stopped her.
“But since it is my cousin Tyrone’s baby, I’m not going to apologize.”
“Who is Tyrone?” Cat asked nervously. “What are you talking about? I don’t even know anyone named Tyrone.”
“Then let me refresh your memory.” Tyrone said as he stepped from the corner and stared into Cat’s terrified eyes.
“Ty, if I wasn’t already in love I’d keep you for myself. Do you remember saying that? Or what about, when you told me that I reminded you of someone? I reminded you of Jackson. And you wanna know why? Because we are related, by blood. He’s my cousin. We used to play the same type of games that you played.”
“Jackson this baby is yours!” Cat said.
Tyrone and Jackson both held up test results.
“Cat, come clean now and save whatever little bit of dignity you think you have.” Tyrone said.
“Jackson I thought you loved me.” Cat said.
“Cat, I’m already a married man and have been for two weeks.” Jackson said. “When I told you that I fell in love, I was talking about the woman that I married.”
“Who?” Cat asked.
Valerie smiled as she held up her hand, showing off her four carat ring and two carat wedding band.
“What?” Cat nearly screamed. “She’s only your assistant.”
“No Cat, she is second in command of this entire company.”
“Now.” Valerie began. “Would you like to start your maternity leave now or would you like to continue up until that actual date that you were going to leave?”
“Jackson I loved you.” Cat began to cry.
“No you didn’t.” Jackson said.
“What am I supposed to do about this baby?” Cat sobbed.
“You need to discuss it with the baby’s father.” Valerie said.
“You are going to be a mother now. Stop acting like a baby. You made this bed, you can lie in it.”
Cat looked over at Tyrone.
“So what are you gonna do?” She snapped.
“I’m going to sue you for custody of my child.” Tyrone said as he folded his arms across his chest.
“Do you really think a judge will allow you to take the baby?”
Cat asked. “You’re a photographer. You’re never home.”
“Cat, have you ever heard of TM Photography?” Tyrone asked.
“What about TM Productions?”
“And there is Ty Advertising in DC.”
“I own them.” Tyrone said. “I shoot pictures as a hobby. I
don’t need the money.”
“Why didn’t you tell me all of this?” Cat asked.
“Because I already knew what kind of woman you were.”
Tyrone said. “The same type of woman that I wouldn’t want my child to learn from.”
“All I wanted was someone to take care of me.” Cat said. “I wasn’t out to hurt anyone.”
“Cat you are selfish.” Valerie said. “You are selfish, sneaky, and manipulative. You tried to trap a man with a baby that wasn’t even his. And now it’s blowing up in your face. Deal with it.”
“You know what?” She snapped. “I quit!”