The story so far:
"You're going to do what?" Kim yelled into the phone.
Savannah turned the volume down on he office phone and shuffled some papers around on her desk. She'd practically just gone to bed a few hours before she had to report to work. She was almost late because she had spent a longer amount of time saying goodbye to Jake when she dropped him off at school. When she dropped Nicholas off at daycare, they almost had to ask her to leave.
"Answer me Savannah!"
"I think I should."
"What is wrong with you? No really Savannah. What the hell is wrong with? I mean, you are a good mother Savannah. Think about all the sacrifices you made when you had them. Even when you found out Nicky had asthma, you were calling doctors and doing research and YOU found that new medicine for your baby!" Kim huffed into the phone. She was clearly upset.
"I know. But I just think I could be doing more. I almost lost Jake the other day, and Nicholas' asthma is getting worse." She sighed. "i don't think the medicine is working like it used to."
"Okay, so you get new medicine and you keep it moving. I should slap you!"
"Listen, I just was wondering. Of course, I love my boys. But if I can't give them what they need, I should make it so that they can be taken care of." Savannah held her head in her hands.
"You know how many mothers go through this kind of stuff? You wouldn't believe the kind of stories that I hear." Kim stopped. "What does Mike think about this?"
"I was thinking about giving them to him."
"Now I know you're crazy. Does this have anything to do with Daddy? You're not that person Savannah? Okay?" Savannah heard a loud scream in the background. "Look, Sav. I have to go. But you listen to what I'm telling you. I know you love your boys, Remember that before you do something crazy. I'm gonna call you later. I love you Sav." Kim hung up.
Savannah hung up the phone feeling worse than before she called. She glanced at the picture on her desk of Nicholas and Jake. Running her fingertips across their faces, she thought back to when she was their age.
Reginald White had been cruel. Their mother had been married to him for all her life, and he was verbally abusive for most of theirs. He'd, on several occasions, told Savannah how horrible of a person she was. He'd been selfish with his love and never missed an opportunity to express his hatred. No one knew why he hated his girls like he did, until he was admitted to the hospital. Apparently Reggie, as his friends had so lovingly called him, suffered from a mild form of bi-polar schizophrenia, which caused him to hate those closest to him.
Savannah thought back to those moments when she and Kim would tuck themselves away in the closet, hoping to avoid the wrath of the man they loved so much and feared so much at the same time.
"You have a call on line one." Her assistant said through the intercom.
"Savannah White speaking." She replied absently, after she picked up the receiver.
"Hi, beautiful." Dwight's cool voice seeped through the phone. She sat up straighter in her chair.
"Hi," she said softly.
"What's wrong?" Savannah could hear banging in the background.
"Savannah?" He asked.
Savannah sat on the phone quietly for a few minutes before she broke down and told him everything that she had thought about over the past few days and even about her father.
"What makes you think that's going to happen to you?"
"The other day, Jake was playing in his room. I walked by and before I knew what was happening, I was yelling at him and telling him how loud he was being and I screamed on him so badly that he burst into tears. So you see, it's happening already."
Dwight sighed. "Look, that doesn't mean anything. Maybe you were just tired. I've screamed on Isabella before and made her cry. You're just a parent that has a lot her on her plate right now."
"You don't understand. While I was doing it, something inside me was enjoying it. That's why they have to go."
"Listen, Savannah," Dwight started softly. "I will be over tonight after I get off and we can figure this out. I know someone who might be able to give you some insight on this."
Savannah thougt about getting help. She also remembered her father being doped up beyond recognition. The last glimpse she got of her father was of him lying motionless in a hospital bed, drool oozing down his chin. Soon after that, she was in the same hospital, only this time, she was looking at her mother.
"Savannah, you there?"
"Yes. She said barely above a whisper. "Okay. That sounds fine."
"You mind if I bring Isabella? I don't want to trouble my sister." "
"No. It's no problem." Savannah rubbed her temple to keep an oncoming headache at bay.
"Okay. See you then."
Savannah replaced the receiver in the cradle and opened a few files on her computer. If she could focus on something else, get her mind off her thoughts, she should be able to make it through the day.
She felt weak inside, out of control, ready to explode. She didn't feel her usual self and fear rose inside of her. Suddenly sweat beads formed on her forehead and her throat got dry. The room seemed as if it was spinning and she grabbed hold of her desk to gain her footing.
"How is my favorite employee?" She heard Dean's voice. Her breathing slowed and the room's spinning ceased. She was staring back at him as the sweat rolled down her back and seeped into the fabric of her skirt.
"I'm okay," she responded breathlessly.
Dean glanced behind him and entered her office, closing the door a little before walking over to her desk. "I've been thinking about you and how much of an asset you are to our company. Great work you've been doing with the Clarke account. He is really pleased with your work." He sat down across from her desk.
"Thank you." Savannah tried to swallow, hoping to activate her spit glands.
Dean folded his hands across his chest. His cologne wafted over to her nose. He watched her for a few seconds before he spoke again. "I know you've been hearing rumors about me. Being a womanizer and all. And these rumors have been causing me some irritation. Of course, this is none of yor concern." He scooted to the edge of his chair. "I cannot help that I am married. I did it when I was young and had I not so much to lose now, I would leave her. But the truth remains that I cannot ignore beauty when I see it.
"I think you are a very attractive woman. I love that you are smart and you do wonderful work. But I have noticed that lately you have been looking a little down and out. Now, I am not sure what is going on in ypur personal life, that is none of my business. However, as your boss, I have to make sure that this job is not causing you too much discomfort."
She watched his eyes. He had sneaky eyes. It was looking into the pits of hell and getting stuck there. She tried not to stare too long. BUt she could see how some of the women there could get caught up over him. He could be charming. Just like the Devil. Many women found themselves becoming modern-day Eves, forsaking happiness and peace of mind to take a bite of forbidden fruit.
She would listen in the coffee room as the women, all ages, all sizes, all races, would talk about what they would like to do with and to him. Savannah would cringe at the thought of him touching her. BUt now, sitting in her office, he resembled something close to a human being. It was amazing the transformation.
"I'm fine. Just think I'm catching a cold. Nicholas brought something home from daycare. Maybe I caught it." She sniffled and wiped her nose with a stray tissue on her desk.
"Um, humph." He nodded quickly. "Here's the skinny. I am a businessman. That's how I operate. No matter what I want, I go after, presenting how both parties can benefit. Now you are a smart woman, smarter than half these twits I have working for me now. But I think that entering into a business transaction with me would prove very lucrative for you. You cannot lose. More opportunities than you could imagine...." Dean's voice filtered off as Savannah jumped across her desk and landed on top of Dean. He squirmed underneath her. "Get off me! Get off!"
Savannah managed to get her grip tighter around his neck and watched as his face turned pink. She laughed maniacally as he scratched at her arms and blood trickled down onto his suit. She closed her eyes and listened to his screams. Sweet waves of ecstasy washed over her as she felt his flailing cease and his body begin to relax....
"Savannah, Savannah? What do you think?"
"No thank you. I have too much respect for myself. I'll pass. I'm sure you can find someone to be your lapdog. Just not here. Now if you don't mind, I have some work to do, unless there is anything else." She glared into the shocked eyes of her boss and felt the fire in his die out. Even the Devil usually perched within his irises seemed nowhere to be found.
He stood up and leaned across her desk. "You listen here. Ms. White. Things could get very uncomfortable for you here. I don't like to threaten. I make promises and I promise you that if you don't shape up around here, you may be doing projects...for another company."
Savannah stood up and leaned into his space. He backed off her desk. "And let me let you in on something, Mr. Mitchell. Things will get very uncomfortable indeed. Especially when there is a leak about sexual harrassment in the office, plus allegations of money laundering and extortion. You see, I may not say much around here, but I know plenty. I didn't graduate at the top of my class for nothing. Those other women may not have the gall to stand up against you, but I do and if you ever bring your sleazy **** in here and let that filth roll off your tongue, my name will be on the top of this building." She stood up and straightened her shirt. "Do you understand that?"
With his face flustered and bright red, Dean quickly turned on his heels and fled her office. She sank down into her chair and let out the breath she had been holding since she cussed her boss out. Fear and excitement rose from her belly as she held her head in her hands. What the hell just happened?
"OMG!" Her assistant sprinted into her office. "Savannah, what has gotten into you?" Her face was vibrant with wonder.
"You heard that?"
"I sure did! Apparently, you must have hit the intercom button and I heard it all. No one has ever talked to Mr. Mitchell like that! And you should have seen how he was looking when he came out. He was redder than Rudolph's nose!" She laughed and clapped her hands together.
Savannah tried to laugh along but she focused on the rush of euphoria welling up inside of her. She smiled to herself imagining him in his office, flustered and angry. "Try not to tell anyone."
"Oh. You don't have to worry about that. I need my job and this is the last thing I want to get caught spreading around." She turned on her heels and strolled back to her desk, chuckling softly.
Savannah searched her purse for her Ibuprofrin. A headache seared through her head. She reached for the glass of water on her desk and downed a pill. She rubbed her temples, hoping to make the pain go away a lot quicker. This day needed to be over quicker.
"Hi there, Ms. White." Jake's teacher, Mrs. Ross walked over to her. She was a beautiful older woman, with cocoa skin and she smelled like cocoa butter. She wore soft gray locs, down her back and always looked cozy. She adored Jake because she said he reminded her of her son when he was little.
"Hello," Savannah replied, helping Jake get his backpack on. She watched Nicholas grab and pull on a little girl's shoe string. She picked him up and he fought to get down until he noticed her earring.
"I just wanted to let you know that Jake is doing a wonderful job. He's really learning very well. He tells me that you read to him and his brother at night. That's good." Mrs. Ross paused and moved in closer to Savannah. "His father came by and wanted to take him out of school. He is not on the list so I didn't let him go. He looked a little agitated. Is everything okay?"
"No. Things are a little hectic between his father and I. Thanks for not letting him go. I don't need anymore problems, you know."
"Don't worry about it. But Jake is still a pleasure. You take care of yourself, you here?"
Savannah smiled at the woman and packer her children in the car. "How was your day baby?" She asked Jake, while handing Nicholas a carrot stick.
"It was fun. We colored the birds and we ate chips and we played outside."
It was refreshing to her to see her son so happy. She worried about him, wondering if he was happy. She listened to him as he wildly replayed the whole day he was in school. She laughed and pushed the thoughts of her run in with Dean to the back of her mind as she headed for home.
"What color is the fire truck?" Savannah asked Jake who was sitting next to her at the dining room table.
"Red!" He yelled proudly. Nicholas repeated the yelling and squealed as he tried to drag a red crayon across some paper.
"Good job. You guys are smart." As she watched her boys, she wanted to kick herself. How could she ever think about giving them up. Sure things were tough at times, hard even, as she recalled being curled up in her bed crying until the wee hours of the night.
Her telephone and she left Nicholas in his high chair to get it. "Hello?"
"Girl, if you ever say something crazy out of your mouth like that again, I will kill you myself." Kim yelled through the phone. Obviously, she had not calmed down. Savannah grabbed the crayon from Nicholas as he was trying to put it in his mouth and handed him a carrot stick.
"I know. I was just going a little crazy. You know how that can be."
"Yeah, but you don't get crazy and think about giving away your kids. As far as you being a bad mother, I can't tell. You do so much for them you forget about yourself. Now if you want to give yourself up for adoption, I understand. And then you were giving them to Mike? Whoa!"
Savannah heard Kenneth tell Kim to calm down. After listening to Kim apologize, she restated her initial response. "I was feeling a little crazy, I said. But I have since changed my mind and I'm going to kepp them."
"You doggone on right." Kim paused. "I think you should go see someone. I mean, you remember how Daddy was."
Savannah told her sister about her yelling at Jake and cussing her boss out. "In both cases, I loved it."
"Whoa, you cussed your boss out? The pervert?"
"About time. Maybe you can get Dwight to come up there and kick his butt too." Kim sounded excited.
"I'm serious Kim. What if I get fired. I need my job."
"No you don't. We all know you have a million stashed somewhere. And you have the credentials girls. You are smart. I must say, I raised you well."
Savannah showed Jake where to color next and gave Nicholas another carrot stick. He munched away contentedly. "You did. I really think I'm losing my mind. I don't want to be like Daddy. You know how mean he was to Momma. And us. I don't want my boys going through that." She noticed Jake look up and she moved away from the table and leaned against the wall.
"You love them too much, Sav. They have medication for your problem, if there is a problem. You are probably just tired."
"No. People who are tired just yell at their children or fuss about their bosses quietly. They don't threaten their bosses and they don't scream at their kids and like it." Savannah stopped. "Kim, I have to go. That might be Dwight."
"Ooh, details, details!" She managed to scream out before Savannah placed her phone back in the cradle. She glanced back at her boys and hurried to the door.
"Hi." Dwight was standing in the doorway, Isabella in his arms. She was wearing what looked like Princess pajamas He had a little pink suitcase in hs hand. "I'm sorry. I tried to keep her awake." He shifted and Savannah noticed a bag in his hands.
"It's okay. She lay in my room."
Jake and Nicholas looked up and stared, not at Dwight, but at Isabella. She was a cut little girl, with a curly pony tailed puff on top of her head.
"Jake, this is Izzy. She'll be here for a few hours so, when she wakes up, you can show her your room and stuff, okay?" Savannah asked, walking over to Jake.
He looked betrayed and pouted before he said okay. Savannah pointed Dwight in the direction of her bedroom and cleared the dishes from the table. She returned with a rag and wiped everything down, including her messy two year old.
"Your bedroom is really nice. I've thought about red walls, but I guess I was never brave enough to do that." He looked down at the table and smiled at her sons. "Hey fellas, I brought you guys something." He walked back over to the couch where he dropped a big brown paper bag and sat it on the table.
"I used to like playing with these. I think you guys would like them too." He dumped some Spiderman and Superman action figures. There were some race cars and other little boy things in the bag. Jake's eyes lit up and Nicholas tried vigorously to get to the pile. "Is it okay?"
"A little late for that, right?" She laughed. "Okay. You can play until bedtime, okay?"
Jake hopped down from his chair, grabbed a few toys and sat on the floor. Savannah took Nicholas out of his seat, handed him the rest and sat him next to his brother. Dwight lingered near her until she motioned for him to sit on the couch. He sat on the far end and she joined him on the other side.
She noticed him watching her and she stared at him, debating whether or not to reveal her dark family secrets. One sure way to end a relationship before it began was to bring up crazy stuff. "I'm not sure how to start."
"Start with whether or not you have made up your mind about your boys." He leaned his head against his hand.
"I don't want to give them up."
"Good. Foster care can be rough on little black kids, especially boys. They already don't live with their father. And then to lose their mother, not a good idea."
"I said I'm keeping them." Her tone was a little nasty, she knew when Dwight looked away from her.
"Listen Savannah. I care about you and I want to help you. But you gotta realize that I'm a friend and not the enemy. So what do you want to do?"
"I don't want to spend my life hopped up on meds. I saw what they did to my dad. I can't be like that and raise two boys."
Dwight sighed and eased closer to her. "My friend has a practice close to here. He is really pretty good when it comes to mental illness..." he held his hand up to stop her objection. "if that's what it is."
"I guess so. I'm sorry to spring all of this on you." She scratched some dried ketchup off her jeans.
"No, it's okay. I actually dealt with more issues with Izzy's mom. She suffered from post-partum depression and that's when she started talking about not wanting to be a mother anymore and needing to do things for herself. Next thing I knew, there was a letter and all of her things were gone. But it was a lot of drama before that."
Savannah listened as he recounted the years of his marriage. She watched his hands as they moved up and down with each story he told. Apparently, his ex wife had become abusive towards Isabella when she six months old. He'd fled with the infant only to return later to find an empty house.
"It's been hard trying to explain to Isabella why her mother isn't around. So I'm sure your boys will miss you."
Savannah nodded her head slowly. She glanced back at the clock on the wall. "Jake, it's time for bed. Excuse me." She said, turning back to Dwight.
Savannah escorted her sons to their room and helped them change into their pajamas. Jake was so tired that he cold hardly keep his eyes open. Nicholas was already asleep by the time she laid him in his bed. She kissed both of her boys before she rejoined Dwight on the couch.
She sat down a few inches from him. "Yes. They went out like lights. I knew they were tired. YOu wanna check on Izzy?"
"I did. While you were putting them to bed. You're really good with them. So gentle."
Savannah blushed and hid her smile behind the sleeve of her thin sweater. "Thank you." She paused. "YOu think your friend can really help me?"
"He helped me. I had to seem him for a little when Izzy's mom left us. I was a little crazy so when you tell me these things you are going through, I can kind of relate."
Savannah watched his lips and for the first time, she realized how attractive he was. His lashes were longer than she noticed. She inhaled soft traces of musk emanating from his body. She felt the warm tension between them and felt drawn to hsi strong arms. Her eyes held his as she slid closer to him.
Preparing for rejection, she was surprised to feel his arm come around her waist and pull her the last few inches to him. "I have been wanting to do this for a while now. I just wasn't sure how you would respond."
Dwight took her hand and brought it up to his chest. She could feel the quick, steady beating of his heart. "I'm sure I wouldn't have turned you down." His lips hovered near her mouth before they pressed softly, but firmly against hers. She wrapped her hands around his neck and pulled him into her. His tongue massaged her own and she could feel the fire ignite in her parts. She fought hard to bury the moans trying to esacpe her throught until she heard moans escaping from Dwight.
"Savannah," he whispered softly, squeezing her until she could feel the pressure in her lungs. Afraid to let go, she pulled him tighter until she was sure that they were one. The kiss lasted for hours, accompanied but him gently pulling her hair and nibbling on her neck. She teased his ears and her heart danced at the songs leaking through his throat.
"Savannah," he whispered again, ths time releasing her a little.
She held back her kisses from him and put some space between them. "What's wrong? Is everything okay?"
"I...um..." He stood up and she could see the reason for his discomfort. "I don't want to take it that far yet. I can't have another empty relationship." He stuffed his hands in his pockets.
"Me neither. But I like kissing you. Is that okay?"
Dwight sat back down and pulled her close to him. He gripped her lips between his and she closed her eyes and enjoyed what could be a very sweet beginning.