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Rhea’s Chance at Love (Part II)

Rhea drove hurriedly to work. She checked her wristwatch and saw it was noon; she was so late. She dashed to the elevator greeting the secretary in the lobby. She could feel the tension in the office as soon as she got to her floor. Everyone looked dejected.

“I am so fired,” Rhea thought. Investors from the Carter company were supposed to be here this morning, and she had skipped it. Rhea had worked on the deal last minute so no one else could present it except her. The deal was also critical to her company’s progress.

Her boss had wanted to hand over the deal to someone else. But Rhea hadn’t agreed to her. She wanted the deal, she wanted to make Leah proud of her.

“Leah needs you in her office,” Suzanne, her closest friend in the office, said to her. Every Other day, Suzanne looked chirpy and happy, but today she looked like she was coming from a funeral.

She knocked on the door of her boss’s office, she still hoped the ground would swallow her up. “Come in,” Leah said. Leah was one of the only people to have ever seen the potential in her. She had hired and trusted her, and Rhea had always tried to live up to her expectations.

Rhea walked in. She shivered as she felt the blast of AC. Leah beamed at her as if Rhea hadn’t just lost a huge deal. “How are you doing, Rhea? I am so glad to see you.” Leah smiled genuinely. Rhea felt like this was the calm before the storm.

“I am good. Look, I am so sorry I blew the meeting. I know I fucked up bad, and I can make it up to you,” Rhea replied sincerely. She knew Leah would be disappointed. Hell, she was disappointed in herself. But she couldn’t just ignore Aurora and leave her all by herself on the road.

“About that, The Carters company has made it clear that they want nothing to do with us again. Frankly, I am highly disappointed in you. I understand what you are going through. But you have allowed that to affect your work and I need my manager in top shape. I have to demote you.”

Rhea expected it. For the past two weeks, she hadn’t been able to work to the best of her ability. But it hurts hearing it. “Okay then. I have no qualms with it. I deserve it.”

“But if you can get us the deal or a better one, I would give you your position and a better salary,” Leah said. Rhea grinned at that. She felt very excited to hear it.

Rhea walked out of the office feeling on cloud nine. She resumed her office and packed her stuff. It was time to be a team member. Her friend Suzzane walked up to her, “How was it?”

“I got demoted,” Rhea told her. “You look like you just won a million dollars more than you got demoted,” Suzanne told her cheekily. “What can I say? Life is finally looking good for me,” Rhea said happily. She started to think of ways to get the investors back.

After she was done with work that day, she went home. She was exhausted; there was nothing much on the internet about the CEO. Mr Ian Carter was a mystery. As soon as she got home, she had her bath and had dinner. She bought grilled steak on her way home because she felt lazy.

She called Emily to ask about Aurora. Emily informed her that her father had gone home. “He was so handsome, and he asked about you. He wanted to thank you. I think he is going to give you a call. Aurora is a total darling.” Rhea smiled at that. She totally agreed with Emily on that.

“I do hope he does call, though. I wanna speak to Aurora,” Rhea whistled.

The week went by pretty fast. She didn’t receive any call from Aurora’s father, although she was pretty tempted to speak to the little girl. Her friends knew she had been demoted, and they were all worried about her. She had reassured them she was going to be okay.

On Tuesday evening, Levi came to visit while she was working at home. She checked her peephole and saw him. She didn’t feel anything while she stared at him. Not love, not anger, she felt nothing. She waited a bit before opening the door. She was dressed in her pyjamas, and he was dressed in casual cloths.

“What do you want?” She asked as she rolled his eyes. Levi seemed surprised. “Could we talk?” He asked. “I don’t wanna talk to you Levi, so could you leave?” She said. He actually had the guts to look wounded by her words.He made no move to leave. “I still love you, Rhea,”. He said out of the blue.

Those words would have shook the very foundation she stood on before. But now it made her angry. “You can take your lying ass to Venessa. Just so you know, your things are in the trash, where you belong,”

If Levi was surprised before, his eyes seemed to grow wider now. “You knew about Venessa?” He asked. “I don’t have time for this,” Rhea said as she slammed the door in his face. She breathed out on the other side of the door. Damn, that felt good, she said out loud in her apartment.

The month of September flew by fast. Rhea made no progress. The Carter comapany wanted nothing to do with them and thwarted Rhea’s efforts to get in contact with them, and it was frustrating. But Rhea didn’t lose hope. She knew something good was going to happen, she felt it deep in her guts.

She befriended one of the security men in The Carter company. The older man was really nice to her and even hinted at Ian Carter’s schedule. Although it was at the risk of his job, he gave her clues to the CEO schedule which she figured out. He didn’t straight out tell her where he was having lunch.

The plan was for Rhea to come in while Ian was having lunch. His favorite restaurant was not far from his company. He sometimes had lunch with his daughter. Rhea had searched about him online, but it never mentioned anything about him having a daughter on the internet.

It was just people close to him that knew about his daughter. He was protective for security reasons. At precisely 2 pm, she entered the restaurant. She knew what Ian Carter looked like, but she couldn’t find him. She saw a familiar Bob of blonde hair and walked towards her. She was eating her food all alone.

“Hello again,” Rhea said as she got to her destination. “Rhea!! I am so happy to see you,” Aurora exclaimed happily.

“Long time no see. Could I have a seat?” Rhea asked her. “Yes, you can. My dad is in the bathroom so that you can meet him finally,”Aurora said happily.

They continued to talk like best friends. Rhea loved how intelligent the girl was.

“Oh, daddy is here,” Aurora happily said after she saw her father. Rhea turned around to see Ian Carter walking towards them. “That’s your daddy?” Rhea asked, skeptical. Aurora nodded. What were the odds?

Rhea was star-struck. This was too much of a coincidence. Ian stopped directly in front of Rhea and stood beside Aurora. He had a pensive frown on his handsome face. Before he could speak, Aurora spoke up.

“Daddy, this is Rhea. The beautiful woman I was telling you about. Isn’t she pretty daddy?” Aurora said. Rhea blushed at that. Was this girl trying to kill her? Her face felt so hot at that moment. Ian just hummed at that.

“I am Ian Carter,” he said as he brought out his hands in the form of a handshake. “Thank you so much for helping my daughter. I have been wanting to thank you in person. Sorry, I couldn’t find your number anymore,” he continued.

Rhea knew she should have called. “It was no problem. Your daughter has been a sweetheart to me,” Rhea said as she glanced at Aurora, who was staring at them. Aurora had stars in her eyes, if anything.

“I would leave you guys to your meal now. I didn’t mean to intrude, “Rhea made to leave. Aurora glanced at her father and made a sign with her eye. Ian sighed and said, “why don’t you join us? If you are not busy or anything. Aurora won’t stop talking about you.”

Rhea blushed once again. “Thank you very much,” she said. Rhea was torn between telling running away and talking to Ian. Ian sat close to his daughter. He called for the waiter, and he ordered for both he and his daughter. “You should order too. Bills are on me,” he said. Rhea was about to protest when Aurora spoke up,” We don’t take no for an answer.” Ian smiled and ruffled her hair. Rhea smiled at that. They looked cute and seem like a perfect family.

She ordered the food with the least amount. She wanted something from him, and she wanted to be in his good graces. They kept talking, and it was memorable for Rhea. She found that she and Ian shared the same love for human psychology, and they were fans of Anime. Even Aurora was an otaku. They made plans for Rhea to come over on Saturdays.

When they were done with lunch, it was past 3. Rhea had forgotten why she had come to the restaurant in the first place. She felt so stupid. She had enjoyed herself so much she had forgotten her priority.

On the Saturday, Ian sent over the driver to pick her up. Rhea was very excited to spend some time with them. She actually had issues picking out cloths to wear. She resolved in her mind that she was going to talk to Ian. The house was a mansion in an estate. The gates automatically opened themselves and Rhea drove in. A gate keeper directed her to the garage.

When she got to the door, before she could ring the doorbell, Ian opened the door. He was dressed in a blue t-shirt and shorts. He was tanned, and his muscles bulged out. Rhea was staring and she felt they both knew.

Ian cleared his throat and said, “Come in.” Rhea scruffled in

“Aurora has been waiting for you,” Ian said. Rhea had noticed a few things about Ian. He was a man of few words. He hardly spoke. “Thank you for inviting me,” Rhea said to fill up the silence.

“It’s nice having you here,” Ian grumbled. “I have been meaning to tell you something, actually,” Rhea spoke out nervously. Ian turned to look at her.

“So I…..” that was all Rhea could get out before Aurora yelled, running down the stairs. “Rhea is finally here.”

Ian yelled after her. “Stop running on the stairs, Aurora.” “Sorry, daddy,” she said as she pouted. She hugged Rhea and sat in between them. Rhea kind of felt happy and disappointed about that. She could feel a sort of tension between Ian, and she didn’t want to think about that right now. Aurora kind of filled the silence between them.

“So we were planning to binge-watch Haikyuu,” Rhea smiled at that. She had watched Haikyuu, but she wasn’t about to spoil the mood. It was just 4pm, and Rhea knew they couldn’t watch it finish that day. Ian and Aurora brought out popcorns and a blanket since it was getting cold. They all cuddled up and started watching it.

While the anime played, Rhea watched both Ian and Aurora, more of Ian. She stared at his chiselled face, and she felt her heartbeat faster than usual. She knew she had a crush on him. Who wouldn’t? He was so handsome. When the series got funny, Ian and Aurora both laughed. They were so cute.

She shook her head and checked the time, and it was past 7 pm. As they would say, time pass when you are having fun or staring at your crush. She looked down to see that Aurora had snuggled into her. She patted her hair, and Aurora sighed comfortably.

“She likes you,” Ian said. He startled Rhea. She didn’t know he had been staring at her.

“I am glad she does,” Rhea smiled.

“You wanted to talk to me about something,” Ian asked questioningly.

“Yes, could we talk somewhere else? I don’t want to disturb Aurora,” Rhea said.

“Sure,” Ian stood up and motioned for her to follow him. Rhea settled Aurora comfortably and followed Ian. He led her to the kitchen.

He brought out some cooked food and put them in the microwave. “Did you cook all these?” Rhea asked as her eyes bulged out. She didn’t take him for a chef. He smiled timidly and scratched his hair.

“I am a chef when I am not in the office. When I am at work though and unable to cook, the maid takes over for me”. Rhea nodded and said, “Actually, what I want to tell you now, I have been meaning to tell you since the first day.”

Ian nodded, and he seemed to be listening attentively. She told him what had happened the day of the presentation and what her boss had told her. She even confessed how she had probably been following him. “I didn’t mean to stalk you. I was just desperate,”

“I am glad you told me. It must have been pretty difficult for you. I would do something about that, so you don’t have to worry about it,” Ian smiled at her.

“Really, thank you,” she was so excited, she had jumped and kissed him on his cheek. Things got awkward from there. Rhea stared at Ian while Ian cleared his throat.

“We might need to wake Aurora,” Ian said as he removed the food from the microwave.

“Yeah, sure,” Rhea said awkwardly. “Help me grab some plates,” Ian said, and they went to set the plates in the dinner. Rhea woke up Aurora gently.

“It’s time for dinner, my dear,” Rhea said gently. “Yes, mummy,” Aurora replied groggily. Rhea ignored it, and they ate dinner in silence. It was kind of awkward for Rhea because Ian wouldn’t even look at her. When it was time for her to leave, Ian volunteered to take her home.

He put Aurora in her bed upstairs. Rhea kissed her forehead before she left. They went to his garage, and he entered his car which was a Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle AWD. Rhea entered after him, and she told him the direction to her home.

When they got to the front of her apartment. Rhea got down and In followed closely after. “I had fun today,” Ian said as soon as he got out of his car, and he followed suit. She smiled at that. “I would love for us to go out some other time if you don’t mind,”

Rhea was shocked. She didn’t expect this from him. She nodded because she couldn’t trust her tongue. Then she turned around and walked to her apartments, she was in a daze.

Rhea couldn’t sleep well that night. She kept twisting and turning. She played the interaction between her and Ian repeatedly in her head. She finally caught some sleep after exhaustion caught up to her.

The following day, she felt happier. She dressed in her corporate wear and drove to work. When she got to work, she met Suzanne. She greeted her happily.

“I don’t know what you did, but I just know Leah is excited to see you. She has been singing praises of you since morning. She told you to report as soon as you arrive.”

Rhea immediately knew Ian had a hand in it. When she entered Leah’s office, she was engulfed in a warm hug. “I don’t know what you did because Mr. Ian never gives any company a second chance. He holds the first impression of importance. He called this morning that he would be willing to work with us.” Leah rambled on. She looked so happy to Rhea.

“I am so proud of you. I always knew you were special, Rhea,” Leah continued.

“Thank you very much,” Rhea would have to thank Ian for this.

“He said he would be willing to meet with us on Wednesday, so I want my manager in top shape for the meeting.”

Rhea beamed at that. It was Leah’s way of giving her position back. Work was a blur that day. Rhea couldn’t wait to meet up with Ian. She had texted him that she wanted to meet up with him. She hurriedly ran of her workplace and the address she texted him. It was a restaurant, and she wanted to treat him even though he was more wealthy.

When he walked into the restaurant, he stole Rhea’s breath away again. She tried to calm her beating heart as he sat down opposite her.

“I didn’t expect you to work that fast,” she said after he settled down.

He smiled and said, “it was kinda my fault you got demoted, you know. Any other person would have left Aurora out there.” Rhea agreed to that.

She loved children a lot. Seeing that the little girl was alone pulled at her heartstrings. “What did happen to Aurora’s babysitter?” Rhea asked. She had been meaning to ask him.

“I got a new one. Daphe was one of the best babysitters Aurora has had. But my daughter’s safety before anything, you know,” Ian said sternly. He was starting to frown. She wanted to lighten up his mood. “How is Aurora?”

“She is fine. She had been asking of you”, Ian grinned at her. Dinner went perfectly well between. He volunteered to drop her off, but Rhea came with her car. They went their separate ways, although Ian was contemplating something. He bade her goodnight and made sure she drove away before she left.

Between the new project and seeing Ian, she hadn’t had time for her family and friends.

She decided to call her parents. Although they were always quarrelling, they were still together. She decided to call her mummy.

“Hey, sweetie,” Her mum, Dahlia, said immediately after she picked. She had missed her parents so much. She couldn’t even tell them about the breakup with Levi because they loved him a lot.

“How are you doing, honey?” Dahlia asked softly. “I am doing okay,y”Rhea replied. “That’s good to hear honey,” her mum continued to ask her things, but Rhea noticed her mum avoided asking about Levi.

“You can ask of him, you know,” Rhea said. “of course not, he hurt you. That means he hurt us all, honey. He doesn’t deserve my care,” she said threateningly.

Rhea smiled at that. Her family would always have her back no matter what. “Derek, come and speak to your daughter.” Sometimes, her parents acted like siblings more than a married couple. She spoke to them. When she ended the call, she was exhausted. She had spent an hour talking to her parents.

The next day was Wednesday, the day of the presentation. She went to work and aced it. Ian and his board of directors seemed impressed by the presentation. They decided to be the sponsor of the product.

That weekend, Ian asked her out on a date. She wanted to agree, but she had promised to spend the weekend with her friends. They had to catch up to do. The sleepover was at Hailey and Bailey’s house. Money was good.

They had so much catching up to do. Rhea told them about Ian. It turns out he was like a family to Hailey and Bailey. “He asked me out on a date, and I had to refuse,” Rhea said.

If looks could kill, Kimberly would have killed. “Why did you do that?” Kimberly yelled. Rhea rolled her eye. Kimberly was one person who was particular about them always having the girls hang out. “Well, because I missed my girls, of course,” Rhea replied. That shut her mouth up.

“I haven’t been able to ask him about this but, he never talks about the mother of Aurora, and I wanna know who she is so bad. Do you guys have any clue?” Rhea asked the sisters.

“It is a tragic story, actually,” Hailey said. “Probably why he doesn’t talk about it,” Bailey completed.

Emily and Kimberly looked at each other in confusion. “I think you should hear it from him,” Hailey said sadly.

That dampened the mood a little. Until Emily said, “I think I am a lesbian,” they all looked at her and shouted, “what?”

The night pretty much went pleasant from there. They spent two days in each other company. Rhea missed Ian and Aurora so much. She had to see them once she got back.

Rhea visited as much as she could, and sometimes, Ian came over to her apartment, but nothing ever happened. He hadn’t kissed her, and she was starting to get frustrated. The new product was due for New year, and Christmas was in two days. Her parents had wanted her to spend Christmas with them, but she didn’t want to let Aurora down.

All her friends had their lover to spend Christmas with, even Emily. She was in love with a pretty lady named ‘Darcy.’ Rhea thought she was cute, and they were perfect for each other.

She was packing up her bags to spend the night with Ian. She heard her doorbell ring. She had just gotten out of the shower. She raced to the door, thinking it was her neighbour, only to see Ian.

She had forgotten to use her peephole. She hastily slammed the door in his face and realized a couple of seconds later that that would be considered rude. Rhea opened the door hurriedly and apologized. “I am so sorry about that. I wasn’t expecting you,” she said as she felt her face become red.

Ian rubbed his head at that. He tends to do that when he is nervous. “I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said softly. “Can I come in?”

“Sure,” Rhea made room for him to enter her apartment. It wasn’t as gigantic as his mansion, but it was homey. “What is your favourite colour?” He asked out of the blue. She looked at him strangely and replied, “Purple, what about you?”

“That would be blue,” He replied to her. “I would be right back,” she said. She speedily walked to her room and slammed the door. She just realized she was in her bathrobe. She blushed hard and grabbed her cloth and wore them.

She appeared a few minutes to see him standing in front of one of her portraits. She had taken that during her graduation. Her brother was ruffling her hair, and her parents were looking torn between snapping the picture or separating them. “You didn’t tell me you had a sibling? He asked her as soon she came out of her room.

“You never asked,” she said.

“That would be on me then. Are you ready then?” He asked. Rhea nodded. She made to carry her luggage, but he picked it up before her. All she could do was follow him around.

The drive to his house, and Rhea wanted to break the silence. “I don’t mean to pry, but you never talk about Aurora’s mother, and it’s kinda been bothering me.” She rambled on. She tended to do that with him around. He smiled at that.

“Sorry about that. It never occurred to me that you might have thought about that.” Rhea was confused. Why wouldn’t he think that?

“Aurora isn’t my daughter, you know. She is my niece,” which came out as a shock to Rhea.

“Oh my!! I didn’t know about that. What about her parents?” Rhea asked.

“My brother and his wife are both dead. They died in an accident,” she could see the pain in his eyes although his voice sounded steady. It must have hurt.

“When did this happen?” The night she was born. “I am so sorry about that, and does Aurora know about this?” Rhea asked carefully. She didn’t want to offend him.

“She knows, but she can’t help it. She said I am the only father she knows and that she has two dads.” He smiled fondly at that. Rhea smiled too and slipped her hands into his.

The journey continued in silence till they got home. Aurora was already waiting for them. On Christmas, they went to the park and had so much fun. While Ian went to get ice cream, Aurora let in on a secret. “You know you are the first girl my daddy has ever liked this much?” Aurora had told. Rhea had not taken it to heart.

The Rhea was supposed to leave the next day. They had both begged her to stay a week more. She couldn’t win against them both, and she had agreed to stay.

On the last day of December into the new year, Ian asked her to be his girlfriend. He had bought her a purple bracelet with stones. He had kissed her into the new year. Rhea had all she could ever wish for. A boyfriend and his wonderful daughter, a high paying job and a happy life. 

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Classic Literature, Drama, Fiction, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ+, Non-Fiction, Romance