“Congratulations, well deserved,” Roger Bertram, founding partner at Bertram & Fillmore, came up to me and patted me on the back.
“Thank you, Mr. Bertram,” I said and smiled.
“Oh, please, call me Roger,” he said. “You know, Sophie, you’re the youngest associate turned partner we’ve had at this firm, but you’re also the most driven. My wife always says she’s impressed with how you’re able to balance your family life and still be such an outstanding attorney. What is your secret?”
“Oh, now you’re sounding like one of those detergent commercials, Roger,” a voice from behind me boomed, followed by a chuckle. “Our little Sophie knows where her priorities lie, don’t you, Sophie?”
I turned around and smiled up at Gerald Fillmore. Coming from anyone else, his words might have sounded demeaning, but the other founding partner at Bertram & Fillmore, with his 75 years, had been a mentor for me ever since I joined the firm. Mr. Fillmore and his wife Loreen always made sure to invite us over for dinners and cocktail parties.
“I love this firm, and I’m thrilled to have been made partner. I know this is a huge honor, and…”
“Oh, hush,” Roger said. “A couple of old geezers like us know all of that already. All we want is for you to continue doing what you’ve been doing, and we’re positive this firm will continue to blossom for years to come.”
“Thank you again,” I smiled. “Now, if you’ll excuse me…” I looked around the room to spot the only face I truly wanted to see tonight.
“Uh-oh, we know that look,” Gerald chuckled. “Go on,” he urged me and I shot the two founding partners a warm smile before making my way across the room.
“Hey you,” I smiled when I reached Jason, who’d been sipping his champagne in a corner of the top floor conference room. The view from up here was stunning; we had all of LA at our feet. Much like we’d both dreamed of as we made it through law school together.
Well, Jason graduated a few years ahead of me, and went straight to work for Bertram & Fillmore. He was the reason I was here in the first place. I had to admit, I felt a little guilty that he had been passed over for the promotion that I’d gotten instead. But Jason hadn’t said anything about it.
“How’s my beautiful wife tonight?” Jason smiled back at me and pecked my lips. “Ready to go home yet?”
“Beyond ready,” I sighed emphatically. “I can’t wait to get out of these shoes…”
“Well, if it makes you feel better, I can’t wait to get you out of them, either,” Jason winked and I slapped his chest.
“Shh, what if someone hears?” I admonished him, my cheeks heating up.
“Then let them know I’m madly in love with my wife, who’s not only beautiful but successful, too,” he said in a loud voice and I pushed him out of the room, laughing all the way to the elevator.
“This is really bad of us,” I giggled when Jason attacked my neck as soon as the elevator doors slid shut behind us. “We should be schmoozing or networking or whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing…”
“Why? You already got the promotion,” Jason said and hiked up my skirt, lifting me off the elevator floor. “Your work here is done. Let’s go home and make babies.”
“Jason…” I objected, glancing up at the elevator ceiling. “Security cameras…”
“Your office or mine?” Jason breathed in my ear.
“You’re crazy,” I whispered, suddenly paranoid we were also being taped.
“You’re right. Your new office is much bigger than mine,” Jason said and pushed the button to the 18th floor.
I buttoned up my blouse and smoothed down my pencil skirt. There wasn’t much to do about the torn nylons, so I stuffed them in the waste basket. Jason came up to me and wrapped his arms around my waist, resting his chin on my shoulder.
“Wanna go back to the party or head straight home?”
“I’m just gonna grab some of my files and we can go,” I said and walked over to my filing cabinet.
“This place is a mess,” Jason said and looked around the room, files strewn on the carpeted floor. “You should get a secretary.”
“You made this mess when you decided to clear my desk, mister,” I turned and scowled at him, my hands on my hips. “Besides, I am getting a secretary. She starts Monday.”
“So, I’m guessing from now on I’ll have to make an appointment with her to get to see you?” Jason raised his eyebrows at me.
“I’ll see if I can pencil you in,” I teased him.
“Come on, Mrs. Sands, let’s go home,” Jason said and took my hand.
“All right, Mr. Sands, I’m coming,” I smiled back at him and followed him out of the office.
We’ve come a long way since our first time together, Jason and I. After Chelsea –and eventually Johnny – had been captured, another miracle happened and Lucy regained consciousness. She didn’t remember much, but she was eventually able to get back to normal and patched things up with Nick. Taylor hung around for awhile, trying to convince me to give him another chance, but he finally bowed out. Kristen, who felt terribly guilty for being away on a cruise while everything went down, also graduated and became an amazing architect. Jason and I hired her to design our summer house in Colorado. Jason and I… well, we got married at the beach two years ago, and we’ve been talking about starting a family once our careers take off. I guess that time has come - for me, at least - but I think we’ll hold off for a few more years. Life is just perfect the way it is. I just want to take some time to enjoy it.
Author’s Note: Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to read, vote, comment and fan during the course of this story. I truly appreciate it. Now, this was the sequel to The Neighbor, and the third book in this series will be titled The Secretary, and will follow closely to this epilogue. I’ve written these ‘books’ – I still feel weird calling them that – so that they can be read individually, or as a series. If you haven’t read The Neighbor, that is where you will find Sophie’s mom’s story of her relationship with Chelsea’s uncle, Josh Taylor. The Secretary will follow Sophie and Jason as adults, with the struggles that balancing family life and a career brings, and I’ll probably include some back story on how they got to where they are. Again, as I did with The Neighbor and The Poolman, we will still be in contemporary times. Meaning, Sophie will probably still be watching Top Model and alike LOL. There won’t be any flying cars or any kind of predictions for the future, just ordinary life as we know it today. : ) Hope you’ve enjoyed this little story, and I hope you’ll come back for more : )