The back story to this chapter is that Peter is Jennifer's ex-husband. Drake is Jennifer's current husband. Drake is a shady, conniving, underhanded man who manipulated his way into Jennifer's life and sabotaged Peter's life and position in the company so that Drake could take over and gain access of the money he intends to embezzle. But, Jennifer is naïve and can't seem to see what's going on right under her nose. In this excerpt, Peter sneaks into Jennifer's office because he wants to spill the beans about Jennifer's current husband, Drake.
“How did you get in here?” Jennifer enters her office to find her ex-husband, Peter sitting on the guest sofa at the far end of her executive suite.
“The door was open. I walked in.” He knows his pat answer is not sufficient, especially since he is a very unwelcomed guest in the building and much less welcomed in Jennifer’s office.
“How did you get past security?” Jennifer wants to know.
“Security?” Peter smirks, “If those bozos were paying attention, they would have seen me walk right past them and into the elevator.”
First thing in the morning, Jennifer is not in the mood to be confronted by her ex-husband. She glances at her watch. It is 9:05. She makes her way to her desk and asks, “Wasn’t Sheila here to stop you from entering my office?”
As Jennifer sat behind her desk, Peter answers, “No, but I can always count on your secretary to be diligently brewing coffee right about now.” He chuckles dryly. Continuing, “Look, Jennifer…”
“No. You look,” Jennifer’s interruption is stern and forthright, “I don’t appreciate you just walking into my office like this, so, you have but one second to hightail your ass straight out that door.” And she points directly toward the door. There is no mistake. Jennifer does not care to have Peter there for whatever reason he might have.
Peter makes no move to leave. He sits there as if he has not heard a word Jennifer said.
“I won’t hesitate to call security and have you thrown out,” she assures him as she reaches for the phone.
Peter knows Jennifer will call security and the thought prompts him to stand and move forward. He responds, “Jennifer, please, don’t call security. I’m sorry,” he apologizes, “I don’t have a right to be here, and I certainly don’t have a right to be arrogant about my presence. I know you don’t want me here. I’ll leave, but there’s something I need to say first.”
He pauses to get a response from Jennifer. But, she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath in anticipation of the confrontation that is undoubtedly about to begin if she allows Peter to say what he is about to say.
“I know I have said this a thousand times..”
“A thousand and one,” Jennifer quips in a lighthearted tone, but, regardless, Peter knows that her mood is still as stern as ever.
He continues, “I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ve just got to do all I can to convince you to listen to me. Just hear what I have to say. I know that if you heard me out once and for all, you would see the truth about this man you call your husband.”
“I call him my husband because he is my husband, Peter, and that’s just it. He’s my husband…”
“Peter!” Jennifer insists on continuing. “I have a new life with Drake. We’re happy, and I know that if you would go out and get a life of your own, you would be happy too.”
“Happy?” Peter asks, “How can I be happy? That man took my wife away from me, and when he did that, he also took my life. I’m here because I’m trying to get my life back together again. You need to know about this man. You need to know how he deceived you and everyone else…”
“No, Peter,” Jennifer interrupts as she rises from the leather-bound executive chair. She holds her words until she can position herself in front of her mahogany desk, placing one hand on her hip, the other pointing like a revolver at Peter’s face, “I won’t listen to what you have to say. I don’t want to hear any more of your lies.” Then, she turns abruptly so that now her back is toward Peter. Her folded arms display a posture that indicates her disinterest in continuing this conversation.
“What?” She interrupts as she turns back around, arms still folded as she faces Peter.
Peter has to ignore the stern look on Jennifer’s face as he continues. “Darling, I know…”
“Don’t call me that!” Jennifer exclaims, “I am not your Darling. I am not anything to you anymore. Please…”
“OK.” Peter interrupts with a sigh. He knows Jennifer does not take too kindly to his endearments. It always sends her temper soaring. He should not risk upsetting her like this since it would, most likely, be the last chance he would have to get Jennifer to listen to him. “OK. I promise. I will not call you Darling anymore.”
Peter relents to the hardest thing in the world for him to do. He still loves Jennifer and always thinks of her as his wife. They had been married for twenty-one years when Jennifer asked him for a divorce. It all happened suddenly. They were happy before Drake Elliot came to town and poisoned everyone and everything in his path. Peter knows that if it were not for Drake, he and Jennifer would still be married. He doesn’t blame Jennifer. After all, he knows she was just caught in Drake’s web of lies, stung by Drake’s venom. She only didn’t realize it at the time, and she certainly doesn’t know it now.
Jennifer and Peter may not be married anymore. Still, each time Peter looks at Jennifer, his heart melts as he longs to be with her. She is the most beautiful woman in the world to him with her 5’7” stature, a rare combination of green eyes that shine like emeralds, and brunette hair that gently graces her shoulders. Being born from a Caucasian man, a European immigrant, and an African-American woman, Jennifer’s skin tone resembles the delicious coffee color with cream.
She is feminine yet sensuous. The V-line cut of her grey silk blouse exposes her neck, and just a hint of skin left bare above her breasts. Peter can imagine her firm breasts held by a white laced demi-bra. She always wears matching laced panties next to her round, proportioned derriere. Her black wool skirt is elegantly tailored with a three-inch slit on the sides so that when she sits down, the fabric falls open ever-so-slightly to expose a slither of her slender but toned thighs. Oh, how he would enjoy holding her right now, remembering her soft skin and how her perfume always lingers after a long embrace, her essence remaining with him throughout the rest of the day.
“Jennifer,” Peter calls, coming out of his thoughts about her. “I know the things I’m saying sound a little far-fetch, but they’re not lies.”
“Then, what are they?” Jennifer wants to know. She unfolds her arms, and now both hands are placed on her hips as she is more perturbed than ever. “What are they, Peter? Why do you keep trying to convince me that my husband is trying to sabotage the company? She emphasizes the word husband for Peter’s sake.
“Because it’s true.”
“So far, you’ve never been able to prove anything you’ve said.”
“I know that Jennifer, but I have proof now.”
Then, Jennifer gives a fake laugh to show her disbelief. “You expect me to believe that after two years, you finally have proof?”
“Yes.” Peter signs, “I swear. As God is my witness, I swear.” He emphasizes God, as he knows Jennifer is a God-fearing woman, and he feels that bringing God into the conversation might help strengthen his position.
For a split second, their eyes connect. There is a lingering pause as they experience a moment of truth and realization. Since the divorce, Jennifer could never look at Peter directly, at least, not straight into his eyes. Perhaps she is afraid of what she might see.