A few more words and she would be finished. A few more minutes of looking at pages of text, boring documents about account ledgers, business information, it was her typical day at the office. With a sigh of relief she stood and shrugged her shoulders hoping to relieve the dull ache in between her neck and back. Slowly and carefully Faith laid her glasses down on the hard oak surface of her desk.
She barely noticed the phone ringing as the pain continued to radiate through her body. Faith took another moment to relax before grabbing the phone. Her assistant's voice was strained and angry on the other end of the line. "What's wrong Liz," she asked cautiously.
Faith didn't freak at the moment, because her assistant had issues with causing drama over the simple things instead of taking a deep breath and relaxing first.
Elizabeth, or Liz for short, let out a quick breath and flipped one blonde curl over her shoulder. She spoke quickly the anger apparent in her voice "Well this guy is here and I told him you were busy, but he won't listen he says it's important. He is so persistent on seeing you and I told him you weren't seeing clients today, but he won't listen. I know how you don't like to be bothered at this time of day, but I think we may have to call security on this one."
"Who is it," Faith asked cautiously.
"Well he says his name is Matthew Hilliard."
Her assistant kept rambling on, but all Faith could do was stand there and stare at the wall across the room. There was then a long silence on the line when finally it registered in her brain, who was a mere few feet away. The phone then became as if it was on fire, and without a thought it fell from her hand and crashed onto the desk with a thud. Faith shuttered from the sound and the thought of Matthew a few feet away. Her stomach had begun to turn into one big knot.
"Sorry Liz," Faith whispered. "It's my ex-husband; I haven't seen him in three years." Faith continued to stare straight ahead finding a spot on the wall of cream colored wallpaper to focus on instead of the situation at hand.
"What's he doing now," Faith asked softly.
"He is sitting here very impatiently. I think at any moment he might bust through your office door like a mad man. Please hurry or I am going to call security. He can't be causing problems you know; we have small children just in the next room."
"Okay," Faith began. "Keep him away from that daycare center. Please I am begging you, he can't find out yet, please! I will talk to him, but if he starts to get crazy I will security."
After hanging up the phone Faith took a moment to check her physical appearance in the mirror just before she heard the slight tapping on her door. "Come in," she whispered softly trying to catch any last minute braveness she might be able to find.
It was useless, the minute her office door opened and he strolled in black suit, polished shoes, tall dark tanned skin, jaw line set steady, cleanly shaved; she knew she had just set herself up for another heartache.
She took a moment to lay the picture of Emily down before making her way forward. He didn't know about their unexpected miracle and she sure wasn't about to tell him anything no matter what. Her daughter was the most precious thing in her life and no matter what she would protect her.
She forced a smile to form on her face; there was no need to start things off on a bad foot. "Have a seat," she whispered.
The anger in his eyes was apparent, but she couldn't seem to figure out what she had done wrong, except of course hide their daughter from him, but she was positively sure he knew nothing about that.
"Yeah I want to see my daughter," he said calmer than she would have imagined considering the anger in his eyes. He showed a lot of restraint, which to her was so unlike Matthew.
Faith looked away; the air in her lungs had completely disappeared. She feared that this would one day happen. No matter how hard she had tried to keep her own secrets, they had been exposed, and to the worst possible person.
"What do you mean you want to see your daughter," she finally spoke after several seconds of pausing to compose her mind and body once again.
"Oh quit playing games! That must have been her in the picture you just laid down."
Faith in that moment knew she was no longer able to keep the secret about their daughter, so with one quick breath she let everything out. "Alright, I can't lie to you. She is your daughter, her name is Emily, but just because you donated, some sperm a few years ago doesn't make you her father. You have never even…"
He cut her words off abruptly. "Yeah well if someone would have told me about her I guess I could have been the father she needs. I sure don't remember you complaining about anything when we were sleeping together!" His anger still held in check for the most she watched him carefully.
Matthew stood tall and confident, arms crossed tightly against his chest. He was the perfect picture of manliness, strong, tall, and handsome. Faith remembered him quiet differently in her memories however. She remembered a soft and gentle man who took every part of his heart and soul and gave it to her for eternity.
'What a jerk,' she said to herself jumping back into reality suddenly, leaving the past exactly where it belonged, in the past.
Faith let out her frustration quickly, "I had my reasons for what I did, none of which I need to explain to you or anyone else."
"Well," he said letting out a breath of pent up air. "I will be talking to my lawyer today. You have no right to hide my daughter from me. Why would you do this to me? I didn't deserve this. Our daughter deserves to have a father."
The words he said hit Faith deep in the core of her soul. She would deny it now, but she knew deep down he was right. There was no denying the fact that Emily needed a father, a stable dad who could teach her and love her.
'I am doing the best I can,' Faith thought to herself, but it wasn't enough. Emily needed that father figure, but Matthew wasn't the right person. He was too carefree, too unstable, too much of a loner to care for a child.
"Three years," he continued on. "You kept our child from me for three years! It stops today. I want partial custody and I will have the best damn lawyers on my side. Fight me on this Faith and I will go to the ends of the Earth and I will win this case. Hopefully you will see my point of view before I have to go that far."
Faith looked for a few seconds into those gorgeous, raging eyes, and thought maybe for a moment she saw the old Matthew, but then it was gone. It was a faded memory of the past withering away with the wind. This was how he was now, strong, tough, and angry. She had no one to blame but herself.
"How dare you! You come in here and just expect me to give up my daughter, because you have some fancy lawyer." Faith tried to fight for control of her body, but she was fighting as loosing battle. "Your daughter," Faith shouted getting angry. "Your daughter doesn't deserve to be drug through the mud like this. She is a child. You are mad at me and you're going to take this out on her. What a father you will be." Faith rolled her eyes and fell into her office chair crossing her arms over her chest.
"I will see you in court," Matthew shouted slamming the door closed behind him as he walked out.