Chapter Twenty-three

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Billie walked into the lobby and just about every head in the place turned to see the woman in the red dress. Billie smiled secretly to herself as she hit the button on the elevator.

The door sprung open and Braden was there, along with two women whose mouths dropped open at the sight of her. Braden fumbled to hold the door for her.

"Good morning!" Billie said as she stepped into the elevator.

"Morning, Ms. Dupree," the occupants said in unison.

"Braden, remind me again of that question you asked me before? About me wanting to go down or what is that you have trouble getting it up? I can't quite remember."

The woman next to Braden let out an involuntary giggle, earning her a stern look from Braden. "About that? I didn't mean any disrespect, Ms. Dupree? I ..."

"You're fired," Billie said over her shoulder.

"What? I..."

The elevator reached her floor, and the doors opened. "Come now, Braden. Not even I'm that cruel. I would never do that."

Braden leaned against the back wall of the elevator both stunned and relieved.

"But I could," Billie said as she stepped through letting the doors slide shut behind her. God, that felt good.

Her staff stopped and stared as Billie walked through the rows of cubicles wearing a huge smile and said, good morning to everyone that she passed. Her sentiment was echoed back to her.

She reached her office. Sat down and pulled out her phone. Now to take care of Donavan. Billie called him, but he didn't pick up. So, she left a message.

"Hi, Donavan. I don't think it would be right if we met for lunch. I appreciate the offer but perhaps we can make a different plan some other time," she recorded, but thought, a time where I can let Quentin know and take him with me.

With that handled she thought to send him a text for good measure. There. All taken care of. Billie delved into her work. She couldn't wait to see Quentin again. Just thinking of him brought a smile to her lips.

***

Quentin's phone rang. "Hello, Mum," Quentin said switching his phone to hands-free.

"So, I see things are going well," his mother stated.

"Very," Quentin said and couldn't keep the smile from his spreading his lips as he thought of Billie.

"Your father is livid."

"Is he now?" Quentin's smile only widened further. "Do tell?"

"I don't like how much you're enjoying this, Quentin. He is your father after all," his mother admonished.

"In name only, Mum. That man doesn't care about me, never has. I refuse to be a pawn in his games any longer."

"Has Billie agreed to marry you?"

"If it comes down it. I do believe she will," Quentin said.

"He's close to closing the deal. Even your escapades around town can't diminish his delight in that."

"It doesn't matter. It will never happen. I won't let it happen. Billie will NOT lose her company."

His mother was silent for a moment or two. "I hate this you know. I don't want this war. You're choosing to divide this family."

"What family?" Quentin said but regretted the words the moment they left his mouth. "Mum, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said..."

"No, no you're quite right. I've chosen to turn a blind eye to what I don't wish to see."

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