"Hi baby. You having fun with Aunt Kim?" Savannah cooed into the ear of her oldest son. It was close to lunch time and she had been thinking about them all morning.
"We watching the Lion King," Jake relayed to her. "Nicky is still sleep."
"Did you have fun with your Dad last night?" Savannah asked.
"Yeah. We went to the playground and then we went to get something to eat."
"That sounds nice." Savannah was curious to how much time they spent with Tracey, but she was careful not to use her children as spies. They were just children. She wasn't even as hurt as she had been in the beginning. She suffered from all sorts of issues. She would follow Mike to see where he was going. On her way home, she would drive by his house to see if Tracey's car was parked out front. She would listen to people's conversations to hear if he was dating anyone or just to hear what he was doing.
Savannah shook her head as she recalled those humiliating nights, her ear to the door, or the floor for anything she could find out about Mike.
"Mommy!" She snapped out of her daze when she heard Jake's voice.
"I said I love you and I call you back."
"Okay. I'll see you a little later."
Turning her attention back to work, she opened a file and began inputting information. Half an hour later, she was sitting with her feet up on her desk, looking at the ceiling. Alicia Keys' voice filtered throughout her office. She twiddled her thumbs and smiled wondering what kind of man Dwight would be in her life.
She imagined waking up in his arms, hearing his light snoring in her ear. She hoped it was light snoring. She imagined chasing after all the kids, including Isabella. She hoped they would get along.
"Savannah, Mr. Duncan Clarke on line two." Her assistant called from the door.
"Thank you." Savannah whirled around in her chair and picked up the receiver. "Savannah Dennis."
"Good afternoon, Ms Dennis. This is Duncan Clarke. I was just calling to confirm our meeting for tomorrow."
"How are you Mr. Clarke. Yes. I will be in your office tomorrow around one. I'm actually working on some preliminary ideas that I think could maybe, tweak the image of your company. I only say tweak because your image is actually still a pretty good one. But we have to do some adjustments because this is a new era and people are changing."
"I remember when gas was only a nickel. I can't believe we pay close to four dollars now." He cleared his throat. Duncan Clarke was a formidable man at 50. He had acquired a small gentleman's clothing shop and had managed to keep his head above water. Now with the advancement of Corporate America, he was interested in having his fashions appeal to the younger professionals.
"Well, I'm sure you're missing that cheap gas now. I know I sure am." She smiled. "So, one pm tomorrow."
"Yes. See you there." He wished her a pleasant day and hung up the phone. Immediately afterwards, her assistant entered her office.
"Savannah, Mike is on the line. And he sounds a little agitated."
Savannah sucked her teeth, nodded and leaned in her reclining office chair. "Yes."
"I was wondering what you were going to do for taxes this year?"
"What do you mean for taxes?"
"I think that since I pay my child support on time, that I should get to claim them, or that you should at least give me a part of the refund."
Savannah stifled a laugh. She had never heard of anything like that before. The woman she used to be would have signed over her sons' social security numbers or give him some money out of it. But that was time passed and she had no intentions of becoming that woman again.
"You think you should get paid for taking care of your children?"
He sucked his teeth. "I think I should get something. I mean, look at all these fathers out here who don't do anything for their kids. I pay every month and on time. That should count for something."
"I'll give it to you. You are a good father. I could not have asked for a better parent. But, if we go by your theory, who is going to pay me for being a mother and taking care of my children?"
"That's not what I meant Savannah. All I'm saying is that I struggle to make sure that Jake and Nicholas get their money on time. And you get all the financial benefits. I need some things too."
"Michael, I use that money to continue to take care of your kids. Make sure they eat, they have clothes and medicine. Let's not forget that being a provider is not just about money. Who is around when they are both running fevers? Who stays up late at night with them when they can't sleep. Who takes Nicholas to the ER when he can't breathe because of his asthma?"
"Stop being dramatic." He cut in. "I went to the hospital with you when he had an attack."
"Granted you did. But I believe you left shortly after an said you had something to take care and that you would be right back." She sighed. "I don't want to get into a debate about who is the better parent. You are a good father but if you are asking me to pay you back the money you give to your children, then I have to tell you no."
She heard him mumble into the phone and cuss under his breath. "That's okay. See how well you do without." He hung up the phone. Savannah sighed
Savannah sat in the middle of her noisy living room and watched her boys wrestle. She had tried unsuccessfully to get them to bed, so she let them play in the living. She had forgotten how quickly little boys could demolish a room. She crawled around on all fours, extracting small pieces of potato chip from the area rug.
"Aah!" She heard the yell, but it was too late as she found herself trapped under two small bodies. Nicholas scrambled over her head and Jake wrapped himself around her arms.
"What are you crazy kids doing?" she laughed. "You're going to give me a heartache!"
Nicky reached for her face and planted a wet kiss on her cheek. SHe could feel the dribble running down her face and she tried her hardest not to wipe it off while he was looking.
"I'm the Jolly Green Giant!" Jake yelled as he chased and screaming Nicky around the living.
"Nicky, don't play so hard, okay? You breathing all right buddy?"
Nicky nodded his little head and continued chasing after his brother. Savannah smiled to herself. Thoughts of her conversation with Mike flooded her mind. What if he was for real about what he said? Mike had always been consisten as a father. Granted, there were times when his priorites were mixed up as far as she was concerned but he was still a good father.
She stood up and stretched her weary body. Raising two sons wore her out. If it wasn't something she had to deal with at Jake's school, she had to take care of something at Nicholas' day care. And work was kicking her tail also. She was working on a new account, some old money, and she was eager to get to the close of the deal. Of course, the hefty bonus she was set to receive did more than make her work harder.
She strolled across the office floor, twirling every few steps or so. She liked becoming a little again. She loved being feminine. It was hard to do sometimes when there had men trying to take advantage of that. And by the time Mr. Right comes along, the girl inside has run off and grown up into a woman who has to take on a little masculinity to protect herself.
She thought about dinner. Surely Kim would stuff the boys to capacity so mainly it would be a light meal. She thought about the leaky roof, which let water to run down her kitchen walls and leave brown streaks on them. She thought about Nicky's appointment with the doctor next week, and worried that her baby's condition would worsen. She also thought, again about Mike's threats. He'd always expressed how he loved his children. But he also had a vengeful side. That was the side that her eyebrows furrowed.
"Ms. White. You're looking charming as ever," her boss slid into the office. Dean Mitchell was a tall, lean man, with short blond hair. He always wore the most immaculate suits, yet he always looked slimy. Savannah watched him walk across her office to her post it board behind her desk. "Your boys are growing so fast."
"Yes. They get their height from their father." SHe paused. "What can I do for you, Mr. Mitchell?"
"I was just coming to see how you were doing with that new account." He ran his long, slender fingers along the back of her office chair. She caught his glare as his eyes roamed up and down her stockinged legs. Savannah cleared her throat and he slowly caught her eyes.
"I just spoke with Mr. Clarke today. We have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Just the basic preliminary stuff. And then I have a follow up meeting for next week. He seems to be a pretty sturdy client. I like him." Savannah walked over to the window in her office.
Dean Mitchell was a ladies' man. Though there was talk about a multitude of affairs, there had been no actual proof. Everyone knew his wife. Caroline Mitchell was a force. Actually they were together. Their marriage was one of convenience and not love. Dean had a wanderers eye and had propositioned a few women at the company. Surprisingly, Savannah never heard about any sexual harrassment cases against Mr. Mitchell. The women either complied or found jobs other places.
"That's good. That's good. You've really been an asset to the company these past few years." He drew his hand to his mouth and stroked his patch of chin hair. "I would like you to head up this department. I've already talked to human resources and the powers that be. They all agree, based on your track record, and it can be effectively immediately if you like."
Savannah stared into the steel gray eyes of her boss. This was quite an opportunity. With the extra money she would be able to do many of the things she had planned, like redecorate her sons' bedrooms.
"I am flattered that you would consider me for that position. Could I have a few days to think about it?"
Dean walked from behind the desk and stood next to her at the window. The heat emanating from his body was unmistakasble. He stepped closer, so close his breath brushed her cheek. "You are a very appealing woman, Savannah. I'm glad that you are here..." he paused. "with me."
"I'm glad to be here, with the company." She clarified.
"I have biug plans for you, Savannah. Big plans." He ran his fingers along her elbow and she stepped back. The smile on his lips was sinister, full of privilege and feeling of entitlement. "There is a late meeting scheduled for tonight. I need you to be there. If you are going to be heading this department, I need you there."
Reluctantly, Savannah nodded. She watched as Dean, taking one more look at her legs, strolled out of her office. Shaking off the debris his eyes left on her flesh, she dragged over to the phone to call her sister. It was going to be a long night.