“I’m so glad,” she said with a sigh. “You guys love each other very much, and I just couldn’t keep going forward so quickly with our relationship without knowing that your family relationships stayed intact. I knew one day you would really wish you had made amends, and by then, it might be too late. I know firsthand how hard it is to be without your family. Having them right there at your fingertips but not being able to call on them. I wish all the time that there was something I could do to help my parents, so I could show them they are going to be grandparents. I know it's just wishful thinking, though. This was so much simpler. All you both had to do was open your hearts and remember that you are brothers. It's easy to forgive someone you really love.”
I ran my hand down her arm and across her stomach, watching her face light up as I bent down and lifted the edge of her shirt. I pressed my lips to her belly and turned to lay my head down. She ran her fingers through my hair, and I listened to her heart beating. My child was in there, right underneath me, growing and striving. I couldn’t wait until I had the chance to meet him or her. This woman and this child had become my life before I even had a chance to think about it. I loved her, and I loved the baby I hadn’t even met yet. There was no way, after everything we had just gone through, that I would ever let her go again. I wanted to protect her in every way I knew how, and I could feel how much she loved me as she cradled my head in her arms. I moved up and pressed my lips against hers, feeling her smile fade as I pulled back. I looked at her with curiosity.
“I want to talk to you about something,” she said. “I might end up transferring to San Diego.”
“I just can’t deal with all the rumors, all the whispering, and all the snide comments,” she sighed. “It really bothers me that I h
ave been branded the office whore. No one truly understands what has been going on, but they have been quick to judge me. You guys don’t feel it as much because you are the owner’s sons, or maybe it’s because you’re men and don’t get as much of it, but it’s constant. I don’t even want to leave my office anymore.”
I sat there for several minutes mulling her words over in my head. I knew there would be talk in the office when all of this happened, but I hadn’t realized it had gotten so bad. In fact, the thought of these people having nothing better to do than sitting around and talking shit infuriated me to no end. How dare they put pressure on Tiffany to the point to where she was considering flying halfway across the country to get away from it? Damn bullies. I pulled myself to my feet and reached down, helping her up. She looked up at me with curiosity.
“Come with me,” I said pulling her back toward the elevator.
We walked into the elevator, and I pulled her close as the doors shut. She turned toward me and gazed into my eyes as the elevator moved down toward our floor. I kissed her lips and brushed the hair from her face, looking deeply into her eyes. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever met, and my job of protecting my new family was going to start right now. There was no way I was going to sit by and lose the love of my life because these no-good idiots in my office wanted to be fools. If they wanted to stay working for the company, they had better get their shit together and start sucking up to Tiffany like they did me and my brother.
When the doors opened, Tiffany tried to pull her hand away, but I grasped on to it, pulling her toward the bank of desks near the back. I grabbed a chair from one of the side tables and hoisted myself up onto it. I cleared my throat and looked down at Tiffany, winking briefly to try to calm the nerves I knew she had at that moment.
“Alright, everyone, listen up,” I shouted, causing the entirety of the office staff to turn toward me. “Unless you are ready to hand over your letter of resignation today, I would suggest each and every one of you learn to shut your mouths. If you have time to sit around and make up stories about a woman who is not only your supervisor but a hell of a business woman, then we don’t have time for you to work here. This woman is pregnant and who knows what she might do to you if you continue to fuck with her. I know a lot of you on this floor, and I can promise you that most of you have zero room to be talking shit about anyone else. From this day on, there is a zero tolerance for your petty asses. If you are wondering who gave me the right to say this, well I’ll just come out and say it, my family owning this company did, and I can promise you my father will back me up in firing any one of you for stupid high school drama.”
“That’s right,” my father said from behind me. “This is a professional company. We have zero time to deal with things like this. Tiffany is the most important employee I have, and I will not think twice about putting you out on your ass if I continue to hear that you can’t keep your noses out of other people’s business. So, to reiterate, I will fire anyone who continues to harass my future daughter-in-law as well as help her sue your ass. Trust me, if you get fired from here for harassment, there is not another company in this city that will touch you. You can kiss your pension and your salary goodbye. I hope that makes this perfectly clear for everyone.”
I looked back at my father and shook my head, glad to see that he was behind us on this. I glanced over at Jordan who was standing to the side with his arms crossed in front of him. He looked at me and nodded, giving me the thumbs up. Everyone was on the same page with this, and I was putting my foot down. I was pretty sure every single person in that office knew that when we made a statement like that, we were not playing around. Business was business and in this case, it was affecting the flow of our work. Not to mention the fact that it was upsetting my beautiful girlfriend who was carrying our precious little baby. I didn’t care if I had to fire my own secretary, I would do it. Hopefully, though, since everyone knew how serious we were, we would have no other problems with this issue. I stepped down off the stool and turned to Tiffany who was covering her face and shaking her head. She looked at me and smiled, leaning in and kissing me softly.
“You are my hero,” she laughed, holding onto my jacket. “Now I just have to make sure none of them kill me in my sleep.”
“I think you will be safe.” I laughed. “And don’t ever hold something like that back again. You had to know there was no way I would ever let you go all the way to San Diego.”
“I hope that changed your mind about California,” John said when he leaned over.
“Yes.” She laughed. “Thank you so much, John. It really means a lot to have everyone’s support.”
“Alright.” he clapped his hands. “Let’s get through this hump day misery and get back to our homes so we can relax. I’m ready for some relaxation and a nice warm fire.”
“Hump day,” she whispered, raising her eyebrows. “We got it right.”
“We sure as hell did,” I said, laughing and tickling her waist.
The rest of the day went by quickly, with Tiffany back to messaging and texting erotically with me. I even got a sexy titty picture from her when she excused herself to the restroom. Everything seemed to be back in working order. All there was left to do was start looking toward the future.
My phone rang and I picked it up, saying hello instead of my normal greeting because the call was coming from inside of the office. I was surprised to hear John’s voice on the other end asking me to come to his office. I hung up the phone and walked out of my room, winking at Jason as I passed. When I got to the door, I knocked, smiling as I leaned around the corner. He motioned for me to come in and I did, closing the door behind me. I walked over and sat down in the chairs opposite his desk, placing my hands on my knees and raising my eyebrows. I wasn’t sure what he wanted, but he had a pretty serious expression on his face.
“I wanted to see if you had any more problems with the staff since Wednesday when we made our announcement,” he said, smiling.
“Ha.” I rolled my eyes and relaxed. “No, quite the opposite actually. People are going out of their way to be nice to me. I think they think I am keeping points or have some secret roster. It’s almost hilarious watching the worst offenders scrambling around when I walk into the office. Sometimes, they even chime good morning in tune with each other. Half the time, I don’t even know what to say, so I just smile awkwardly.”
“I’m not sure which is worse.” He grimaced. “I was never a fan of that one person who was damn sunshine all the time. That’s probably why my office is filled with condescending assholes. I won’t hire the sunshine and daisies employee because I know I’ll kill them on one bad Monday morning.”
“Well, I’d rather deal with sunshine because the fake ‘hello’ is so much easier to handle than people constantly talking trash about me behind my back,” I said. “It really hurt my feelings because I thought I’d tried really hard to be a good person, and still, no one wanted to give me the time of day. It was almost depressing at some points. But I don’t have to tell you that. I was the one ready to jump on a plane and fly across the country to get away from it. I really do appreciate everything you guys have done. You have treated me like family, no matter how awkward the situation got. I never what having a family was like until I came here to work and met everyone. You stuck by me even when I wasn’t technically family anymore. My own family can’t even stick by me, and we share the same DNA. Sometimes, I think the world is absolutely hopeless, and then, I come to work and remember it's not hopelessness, it’s sarcasm and it originates from my office.”
We both laughed loudly as people scurried past the windows, realizing I was in with the boss. They really had been almost nauseating with how nice they were being to me. I had never seen a group of people react like that to their bosses. I had never seen any of the guys ever come down hard on anyone, so I wasn’t sure where the fear came from, but I was definitely thankful I didn’t have to deal with the crap anymore.
“Well,” John said leaning back in his chair. “I don’t want thanks. You just make sure you take care of yourself and provide me a grandson or a kick ass granddaughter to be the heir of the company. God knows I’m not sure either of my boys will quite get the hang of it.”