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"Do I have a meeting I didn't know about?"

Jaimee frowned harder. "No. And don't insult me like that."

He opened the door to reveal one of the newest receptionists, Lily. She was a pretty girl, chubby with rosy cheeks and strawberry blonde hair. She usually had a wide smile for him but today she just looked nervous. He approached, coming to stand behind Jaimee.

"How can I help?"

"I'm really sorry sir, but there's someone demanding to be shown to your office."

"Why didn't you just call?" Jaimee asked.

"She was insistent I show her up. She reached over the desk and hung up the phone when I tried," Lily stammered.

"Who?" Ricardo asked.

"I'll go and see," Jaimee sighed. "Probably another of your stalkers."

"She's not here for Mr Santos," Lily said. "She's demanding to speak to you."

Ricardo raised an eyebrow. "One of your stalkers then."

Jaimee glared over his shoulder before gesturing for Lily to go ahead of him. He was curious; it couldn't be Livvy. "You look shaken. What did she say to you?"

"She started shouting. It just makes me anxious, this is only my second week and I've already let an unauthorised person into the building."

"Into the building?"


He froze beside his desk. His mother was standing on the far side of the room and she did not look happy. He actually heard Lily gulp next to him.

"I'm so sorry. She followed me."

Lily disappeared quickly, before he could reply. He wasn't sure if he even could. His blood had turned to concrete in his veins. He hadn't seen Anita in what felt like years. She had no makeup on, her hair wound back into a tight braid that pulled her features into a fierce expression. She looked way too young to be his mother, and way too angry. Suddenly, her glare became icy. He turned to see that Ricardo had stepped out behind him.

The realisation hit him like a truck. Anita knew. He was paralysed as she turned to Ricardo. "I would like to talk to my son. Alone."

Whatever Ricardo said, it was lost to Jaimee's ears. He could only see his mother, how much she was ready to say, how much she was holding back. He felt the warmth of Ricardo's body heat disappear from his back and knew he had left. She looked him right in the eye and crossed her arms.

"Where did I go wrong, Jaimee, in raising you?"

His stomach dropped.

"Where did I go so wrong that I have to find out from Livvy that you aren't together anymore because of another man?"

He wanted to be anywhere else but here. He wanted the ground to open up and swallow him. He wanted to cry and dissolve into nothingness. He wasn't ready for this. He wasn't ready. He needed more time. He needed to prepare.

"Where did I go so wrong that my own son has been hiding a secret life from me and I didn't notice? Has been lying to my face? Has been lying to himself?"

Anita's breath shuttered and he realised, belatedly, that she was crying. He stepped forward out of instinct but she held up her hands, warding him off. All he seemed to be good for was making the women in his life cry. She didn't sob - had never been the type to - but the tears fell silently as she glared at him through watery eyes.

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