Chapter 17 – Having doubts

Once again, as soon as Rebecca left, Steve came into his office. It vaguely occurred to Mike that his brother seemed to keep a close eye on the door to his office. But when he saw his brother’s face, he knew Steve was obviously upset.

“Mike, she’s not back again, is she?”

He grimaced.  “Yes.  Evidently, we had some unfinished business.”

“For the love of God, don’t tell me you’re starting to believe her?”

“I didn’t before, but now I don’t know what to believe. She’s offered to sign a document relinquishing her right to make any demands of me, financial or otherwise.”  He paused a moment, and then continued slowly, “In return, I have to give up any rights I may have concerning the child.”

“So? Problem solved. What are you worried about?”

Mike looked at his brother with an astonished expression.

“But what if that little girl is mine?”

“C’mon, what are the chances?”

“I’m beginning to think the chances could be considerable.”

“Listen to yourself. A strange woman waltzes into your office, says she’s a friend of some long lost girlfriend of yours, and tells you she’s the guardian of your daughter. What the hell do you thinks she wants from you? I can’t believe you would even give her five seconds of your time.”

He knew from his brother’s viewpoint it sounded crazy, but Mike had an uneasy feeling about the whole situation.

He remembered the day Rebecca Andrews had first walked into his office. Slender, curvy in all the right places, auburn-haired, with warm, liquid brown eyes and a lovely face, he had automatically smiled his most charming smile. It had occurred to him that they might be able to continue their discussion, whatever it may be about, over lunch or maybe even an intimate dinner for two.

It was not to be. She had thrown him for a loop that day, and she had been in his thoughts almost every day since.

He hadn’t believed the story of his being the child’s father. He was convinced Sylvia would have told him herself, but he was very disturbed by the fact that he was attracted to a woman who would invent such a story for personal gain.

He was even more disturbed by the intensity of the concern he felt for her when she had told him she was being followed by someone.  He knew he wasn’t responsible for the incident and, if she was telling the truth, then she and the girl were possibly in danger.  But was she telling the truth or was it just another ploy?

He wasn’t able to shake his feeling of uneasiness, so he called a private investigator to find out where Rebecca lived and worked. Without thinking of the consequences of his actions, something which was unusual for him, he went to convince her to contact the authorities. He told himself he was seeking peace of mind so he could put this whole affair behind him, and that was partially true, but if he had been honest with himself, he would have admitted he also wanted a chance to see Ms. Andrews again.

After confronting her the previous day, and seeing the extent of her mistrust of him, he decided she was much more trouble than she was worth. She was a scheming, opportunistic, lying female, and no matter how attractive she was, he would be better off keeping that in mind. For that reason, he had kept her waiting much longer than necessary this morning, even though, in the meantime, he hadn’t been able to concentrate on anything else, knowing she was sitting in the outer office.

Her proposal threw him off guard. Of all the things he was expecting, that wasn’t one of them. That and her behavior. She had tried but hadn’t been able to hide her apprehension, desperately wanting him to accept her offer. He had that image in mind when he responded to his brother.

“Steve, I know where you’re coming from. But you didn’t see the look on her face when I said I wanted to see the child. I did. It was fear, pure fear.”

“Of course it was. She knows you’re going to want proof of paternity and she can’t give it to you.”

Mike walked over to the window, looked out for a few moments, and then turned to face his brother. He shook his head thoughtfully.

“No, that wasn’t the reason. Why would she have offered to draw up documents completely absolving me of any responsibility? She’s afraid I’m going to take the girl away from her. I’m sure of it.”

Stephen paced back and forth across the office.

“Look, she’s obviously a very accomplished actress and that’s exactly what she wants you to think. She knows by doing so, she’ll convince you that the kid is really yours. Hey, you’re not the first guy to be taken in by a pretty face.”

“Let me take care of this problem,” he continued. “I’ll hire a private investigator and we’ll be able to expose her for what she is.”

“No,” said Mike. “I’ll know soon enough myself. I’m meeting her and the little girl tomorrow. If I think there’s a chance she’s mine, I’ll have the proper DNA testing done.”

“Damn it, Mike, I can’t believe you’re taking this so seriously.”

“You’re a father. You love your son. Could you imagine if you and Letitia weren’t married and she became pregnant? Then if she didn’t tell you about it and left? You would never have known little Stephen. Think about it. How would you feel?” He paused. “Maybe, just maybe, this child is mine. I’m going to find out,” he said determinedly.