Chapter 16 – The Gamble

As before, I decided not to announce my arrival. I was fairly certain Michael Walters would refuse to see me if he was given any advance warning. We certainly hadn’t parted on good terms the previous day. I think I was more nervous than I had been the first time I had gone to see him. After all, I now knew what kind of person I was dealing with, and I knew he could make life very difficult for me, if he so desired.

Upon arrival, I asked his secretary if her boss would have a few minutes to spare for me. I watched as she used her computer to send him an instant message. I also noticed her grimace when she read his response. Her cheeks reddened as she asked me to take a seat and wait a few minutes. Obviously, Michael had let her know how he felt about my visit.

That little incident shook my confidence a little. My bravado of the previous day had been fuelled by anger. Now, I needed to get him to cooperate with me, and I knew I would have to approach him carefully. It bothered me that I was coming to see him hat in hand, so to speak, but if it helped me achieve what I wanted it would be worth it.

I waited almost half an hour before he messaged his secretary and told her to send me into his office. I knew he had purposely made me wait, stretching my already taut nerves to the breaking point, but I was determined not to let my irritation show.

He didn’t rise from behind his desk when I went into the room, and I could see by the icy look on his face that he was not in a mood to be cooperative. When I spoke I could hear the tension in my voice and I wondered if he noticed it. I didn’t waste time beating around the bush.

“Mr. Walters, I have an offer to make you.”

He laughed coldly.

“What could you possibly have to offer me?”

His attitude angered me and I wanted to slap the sneer off his face, but I took a deep breath and forged on as steadily as possible.

“I’ll have a document prepared by my lawyer stating that I’ll never make any demands of you concerning Melissa.”  I hesitated nervously. “And, in return, you’ll give up all your paternal rights regarding her.”

His eyes narrowed suspiciously. I held my breath and waited. Hopefully, he would jump at the chance. I was counting on it.

The silence wore on and I was sure he could hear my heart thumping wildly in my chest.  Logically, the suggestion should have put his mind at ease as far as my intentions were concerned, but I suspected simple logic didn’t always work with this man. I was afraid he was the type that would explore all of his avenues before locking himself into one decision.

He stood and slowly walked over to look pensively out of his office window. His next remark confirmed the fear that had started creeping through my veins.

“I want to see her first,” he finally responded.

“No!” I answered, too quickly. “You made it clear that you wanted to have nothing to do with us. It’s too late for that. I made my offer. You can take it or leave it.”

I could hear the panic in my voice and I swallowed hard, trying to suppress it. Before he had a chance to say anything else, I spun on my heel and headed toward the door of his office, hoping to escape in time.

He moved amazingly fast, and the palm of his hand slammed against the door directly in front of my face. I had a terrifying sense of déjà vu. I just stared at his hand dumbly, not turning around, not knowing how I should react. I realized that I had made a terrible mistake.  I had misjudged him, and I might end up paying a price for that mistake.

“I won’t sign anything until I’ve seen the child,” he answered calmly. I spun around to face him.

“Why? You obviously didn’t believe my story. I don’t think we should waste each other’s time. Let’s just draw up the documents and we’ll never have to see each other again.”

He grasped me firmly by the elbow, propelled me back toward his desk, and eased me into a chair.

“You’re not leaving here until we’ve come to some sort of arrangement.”