Misadventures with the Boss (Page 32)

Well, how could I turn her away?

I couldn’t. Because the fact of the matter was that I still loved her. Heart, body, mind, and soul, I still loved her, and there was nothing even my most determined thoughts could do to change that.

Flexing my fingers, I pushed myself off the sofa just in time to hear the gentle whoosh of something as it slid across my floor.

I frowned, following the sound until I found a white envelope with my name scrawled on it in perfectly neat, very familiar handwriting. There was no address. Even if there were, I knew the mail carrier would never deliver a letter like that.

I picked it up, strode to the door, and swung it open just as Piper was pressing the elevator button in the hall.

“Stop,” I called out, my pulse hammering.

She spun around, her cheeks a full flush of color and her ponytail nearly hitting her in the face.

“Everything is in the letter,” she murmured, her eyes glassy with tears. “You said you didn’t want to see me, and…well, I want to respect your wishes.”

The way I hadn’t respected hers, my conscience repeated.

The elevator dinged open behind her, but I held up a hand.

“Save me the suspense since you’re here. What’s it say?” I asked, holding the envelope up.

“I…” She twisted her fingers in front of her. “I had sort of planned on you reading it. But, you know, it’s just…it’s a custody agreement I drew up. I wanted you to know that no matter what happens between us, you’ll never have to fight to see your child. What happened, what I did—that wasn’t because of you. When I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t stop thinking of that day at the museum when you told me you never wanted to have children and how stuck you felt and…”

She shook her head. “It’s put much more eloquently in the letter. The fact is, I didn’t want to force you into something you didn’t want just because I was pregnant, but I know now that it should have been your choice. I’m sorry. But really, I want to respect what you want and I’m going to go. I promise.”

“Don’t you dare.” I took a few more steps into the hall and then showed her the envelope before I tore it in two.

“Jackson—” she gasped.

“I don’t want any custody agreement,” I said. “I want to have a family, and I want that with you. It was selfless, what you did. You were ready to raise this baby alone to protect me, and I…”

I shook my head, struggling to find the words. “That’s why I love you so much. You’re so brave. But you know what? You and this baby are mine, and you’re not going anywhere. Never again, you understand?”

She nodded, tears welling in the corner of her eyes. “I love you, you know,” she said.

“I do know. And you should know that this is my choice. Not because you’re having my baby, but because this is what I want. A life with you and with little whoever he or she is.”

She nodded. “Then you can have it. Forever.”

“Forever,” I murmured. “I like the sound of that.”

Epilogue

Piper

“Would you hand me that stack of folders?” I asked my sweet husband.

We now shared the corner office that had once been the location of so many illicit encounters. I’d been promoted to junior executive—and not because I was f*****g the boss. I’d refused for nearly two years until I was certain I’d earned the job title. But thank goodness it had been mostly a non-affair with our staff. Anyone with a set of working eyeballs could tell how perfect we were together. I was praised often and thoroughly for how well I had tamed the dragon. And not to mention, the merger we’d worked so hard on together went through without a hitch.

“Of course.” Jackson rose to his feet and set the stack of folders on the desk in front of me. But as soon as he sat back down, his eyes darted to his computer screen again.

“What are you doing?” He seemed so distracted this morning.

A glance over at Jackson’s work station revealed what I suspected all along. He was watching our daughter again.

While I was away on maternity leave, Jackson had surprised me by remodeling the office building to add a brand-new daycare facility for the office staff. Now all three of us came to work together, occasionally had lunch together, and the built-in security cameras played almost nonstop on Jackson’s computer screen. And if Mommy or Daddy had to work late, we’d bring Mae up to our office, where we’d order in dinner and let her play on the rug with the basket of toys we kept in the filing cabinet. It was a pretty sweet setup.

“She’s just waking up from a nap.” He smiled that smile of pure joy I’d come to love—the one he seemed to save just for Mae and me. I didn’t think I’d ever tire of it.

It was sweet how passionate Jackson was about keeping us all close. And for a man I was convinced didn’t want a child—well, let’s just say he’s already trying to knock me up again. It’d taken some work on his part, but he’d eventually won over my parents and Hailey. They’d accepted and welcomed him like the family he’d never had. My exacting alpha-male CEO of a husband turned into one big softie, and my misadventures with the boss ended up leading me to a lifetime of happiness.

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