”Oh, you’re still here?”
I had banged against the wooden oak door for at least ten minutes and that was the response I got when the door opened. Yes, I was still there. I had been standing there for the past hour and I sure as hell wasn’t going anywhere. The exasperation on Mr. Savoy’s face as he looked down at me in my sodden business suit, standing outside on his exalted front porch in the pouring rain, infuriated me.
My main problem was not with Mr. Savoy but with Clayton Greystone. Mr. Savoy’s association with Greystone Empire lay mainly in the fact that he was married to Mrs. Elizabeth Greystone, widow to the dearly departed Mr. Greystone.
“How did you even get onto this property again?” Mr. Savoy demanded looking down at my 5-foot-3 frame.
”Clayton,” I seethed.
I met Clayton Greystone while working at the Greystone PR Company. Clayton was “working’” in the company and doing some PR to meet the “common folk’” when we met. He was charming and funny. And I fell for it. While Clayton and I were still in a sham of a relationship, he brought me over to one of his family’s homes and gave me the passcodes. At the time I thought that it meant our relationship was real and growing deeper but I came to realize that he had a horde of women patrolling in and out of the estate. He dumped me as soon as I let him know he couldn’t exactly live that same lifestyle with a toddler in tow because I was pregnant. He didn’t take that too well.
“Clayton is otherwise preoccupied,” Geoffrey said shortly. “He’s poised to run a multimillion dollar corporation and doesn’t have time for false accusations and upstart tramps that don’t have the sense to know when something has run its due course.”
“False accusations?” I echoed back, shocked. I could feel myself getting hot all over. “Tramp?”
“How about this?” I said, flicking my hair out of my face. “How about I go to the Post and find out what they think about my baby? I’ll get the rumor mill going. You might try to deny it but people will still wonder. So you better get Clayton Greystone out here NOW because I’m not going anywhere until HIS BABY is taken care of. Do you understand me?”
I panted heavily as I continued to lock eyes with Geoffrey. I wasn’t some gold digging whore Clayton had picked up off the street.
“What’s all this noise?” said a voice from behind Geoffrey. The door widened to reveal Mrs. Greystone. I could tell she had been standing there for a while before she finally spoke. “Come inside! The weather is dreadful.”
A beat passed before Geoffrey fully opened the door and another before I eventually stepped in. My confidence and anger melted away as I stood there like a sodden rat on their beautiful white marble floor. What was I doing? What were the odds that any of this was going to work?
“I always find it better to deal with certain delicate matters while one is dry and with a cup of tea in hand,” Elizabeth said. “Come upstairs with me and we’ll get you something dry to change into.”
As I followed Elizabeth Greystone up the nearby stairs and into a guest bedroom, I realized even more how out of my depth I truly was. She pressed a button on a nearby intercom as I gazed around at the opulent room.
“Please bring up a spare set of clothes,” said Elizabeth into the intercom and then turned to face me. “You just missed Clayton, I’m afraid. He flew out to Milan for a fashion show with a female friend. I believe she was walking in the runway and he wanted to show some support.”
Oh, that hurt. Clayton had moved on with a model.
In the doorway of the room, a short woman appeared. “Mrs. Greystone,” she said. “I brought the clothes you asked for.”
“Great. Be sure to help this poor girl. She looks a little shocked. I’ll see you downstairs shortly,” she said as she swept out the door. “Come into the sitting room just off the entrance and we’ll get this all sorted out.”
I sat down on the bed not caring that I was still soaking wet and probably ruining an expensive duvet. I realized then that I was alone.
Well. Not actually. I did have my baby and Mrs. Greystone’s maid. Both of which were no help to me now. As I stared at this woman, I started to cry.
I heard a flurry of steps but couldn’t see since my vision was so clouded by my tears.
“Now, now,” she cooed in her Southern accent as she smoothed down my sopping wet curls. “You’ve just got to pull yourself together.”
But the woman let me cry. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I don’t know what I’m doing,” I said as I started to get up and tried to resist the urges of the woman to stay seated. “I don’t know you and I’m scared and I’m broke and–”
“Shhhh,” she said as I finally gave up the fight to get up. “It’ll all be alright. You’ll see. I’ve taken care of Mr. Clayton since he was born so I know him well. He will do right by his child.”
“I don’t think he will," I said shaking my head. “He’s off to Milan to go be with some model and probably doesn’t even care about his own baby and doesn’t probably think it’s even his baby.”
“Clayton may have made some mistakes with his children in the past but –”
“What?” I cut her off. “What did you say?”
“Listen,” she sighed. “God knows I love that boy like he was my own but he was going to have to face the music sometime.”
Maybe because I looked pathetic, but probably because she was old and overworked, she had let slip some important information about Clayton Greystone. I was probably just another in a long line of women.
I wasn’t going to get what I wanted out of them and I wanted more than just cash. I wanted my baby to be accepted and to have a family. My baby deserved to be loved and wanted, not treated like a dark dirty family secret. I needed to get out of there.
”Could you give me a moment to change?” I sniffed.
The woman smiled and winked. “You do what’s best for yourself, dear,” she said, and left the room.
I fumbled around for my phone and found it mercifully dry. I dialed an Uber to meet me at the front gate. I got up, took a breath, and tried to get my bearings. There was nothing here for me or my child. I slipped out of the room and down the stairs quietly. I could hear a faint rustle coming from the sitting room. I opened the front door and just like that, we were gone.
“She’s gone,” said Elizabeth as she took a sip of her tea. “She left maybe five minutes ago. I heard the door.”
“Good riddance,” said Geoffrey as he took a long swallow of brandy. “She was more of a problem than she was worth. We have enough to deal with.”
Elizabeth didn’t respond as she put down her cup and looked out at the window that showed a beautiful view of the property. She made a mental note to make sure the girl did not actually go to the Post.
But the Greystones underestimated the combination of a scorned woman and a pregnancy.