What You Can’t Have
I just had to finish some things so I sent a text to Adam informing him that I’d go down a bit late. It was my first day at work so I wanted to make a good impression. I didn’t want Zach to think that I was a lousy worker… I knew I made a bad impression during the interview so I was hellbent on erasing that dreadful memory. Also, I was, surprisingly, enjoying prying into the life of Mrs. Woods. I knew I should feel bad but as Zach said, it was just a job… I should learn to detach myself, otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to survive. I was an assistant to a divorce lawyer so it was expected that most of the time, things would go ugly.
And damn me if the word ugly sounded so… enticing.
Who doesn’t love a little drama, right? Especially if it wasn’t your own mess.
I was quickly typing the final words for the report. I looked at my watch. I was already 20 minutes late. I felt bad. Adam’s time was worth so much… and I was just making him wait. But I also didn’t want to tell him that I couldn’t join him for lunch because I knew that he’d take it negatively. I really did a number on his ego during the time that I was busy ignoring him and I didn’t want to commit the same mistake twice.
Looking at Zach who was busy eating his Chinese food, I contemplated on how I should address him. I knew we had some history—if you may call our brief encounter that—but I also didn’t want to be disrespectful. In this building, he was my boss. And though he was sometimes acting like a kid, he was still an authority to be respected. At least I knew that much.
“Mr. James,” I called and his attention immediately shifted to me.
“What?” he said, his brow furrowed.
“Can I take my break already?”
“Yeah, sure,” he replied casually. “But what did you call me?”
My forehead creased.
He wrinkled his nose.
“Do me a favor and don’t ever call me that. Mr. James is my father. Call me Zach.”
“But you’re my boss.”
“I already cooked for you and I’ve already seen you pissed drunk. I think we’re passed that boss thing already,” he said.
I shrugged. If that’s what he wanted…
After that, I quickly arranged my things and went outside. But as I was walking, I was very conscious that the people around me were talking… And I knew because I had eyes and I could see them whispering with each other. It wasn’t the normal kind of discussion in a workplace area… And I even saw someone biting her lips! But I had no time to ponder on such thoughts because Adam was waiting for me. I didn’t want to make him wait any longer.
But even before I could go to the elevator, I saw him sitting on sofa at the office lobby. His legs were crossed and he was reading a business magazine. His forehead was slightly creased—a little habit of his every time he’s engrossed at whatever he was doing. I smiled upon seeing him. I was about to approach him when I heard voices behind me.
“Is he really the Adam Walton?” a girl whispered.
I wanted to turn around but I didn’t want to sound too obvious. I didn’t want to listen but they were right behind me! And they were talking about my husband.
“Yes!” the other girl replied. “God, he looks better in person! His pictures didn’t do him any justice! How can someone so rich be so handsome? It’s so unfair!”
I nodded internally. It made me wonder sometimes…
“But why is he here?”
“Maybe he has a meeting?”
“What? He’s not a client of this firm, remember? We lost that account a few years back and the boss gave hell to the group who lost the account,” the girl said. “And besides, if he’s a client, there’s no way in hell that they’ll let him wait in the freaking lobby! He’s the Adam Walton!” she hissed. Apparently, it was a necessity to add the before his name. The power my husband held, really…
Based on the reaction my husband was getting, I figured it was a bad thing to make it public that he’s my husband… but that ship already sailed because even before I could turn around, Adam saw me and waved. I heard a faint gasp from the gossip mongers behind me.
“Hey,” Adam said. He smiled. And that was a cue for another gasp. “You done?”
“I made a reservation at The Loft but if you want something else, we can change plans,” he mentioned as he casually held my hand and we began walking towards the elevator. Even if I couldn’t see it directly, I could feel holes being bore on my body. ‘Yes, I am his wife!’ I wanted to tell them all so that they’d stop staring. I knew that Adam’s a huge name in the corporate world but it still surprised me sometimes.
And it was just as grueling as I thought it would be.
I nodded. Why was I even distracted? I needed to focus. I only had a few minutes left so I better make the most out of it.
“Can we go somewhere near? I know I arrived a bit late since I needed to finish some things. I’m so—”
Adam cut me off.
“It’s okay. I don’t mind waiting.”
And then the elevator opened.
We went to a nearby 5-star restaurant and upon saying Adam’s name, we were ushered inside. I was really starting to think that maybe billionaires had their own special card or something that allowed them to be the first in everything. Similar to access pass in theme parks.
“How’s your first day?” he asked.
I sliced my stake and then smiled.
“It was surprisingly fun,” I replied.
I nodded and then proceeded to explaining the things I needed to do for my first project. I told him about everything—about how Mrs. Woods was apparently not so squeaky clean herself… Not that I wanted to be someone who thrived in pulling people down but I was just glad that I was doing good in my job… and that just happened to be digging deep into people’s lives. And this shed light since I initially thought that Mr. Woods deserved getting half his money taken away from him because seriously, when was adultery ever justified? But as I looked further into it, they both cheated.
So in a weird turn of events, it was still a fair fight. Both cheaters and both wanted their hands on the money solely.
I was talking animatedly when I noticed something. It was Adam’s face when he wanted to ask something but for some reasons, he couldn’t. So in the middle of my tale, I decided to stop.
“Why?” I asked.
“Come on. What is it?”
He looked so hesitant but he gave in, eventually.
“It’s just that you look like you’re having a lot of fun.”
“I am!” I said.
“Yes… and I’ve never seen you so happy in such a long time. It’s making me wonder if I’m still doing a good job as your husband.”
My smiled vanished upon hearing what he said. I liked knowing how much power I held over Adam… I liked knowing that I could affect him in so many ways… But I also didn’t enjoy seeing him doubt himself. When I married him, I promised myself that I would stand by his side, come hell or high water. I promised that I would be whoever he needed me to be. But I was failing myself. I had been thinking so selfishly that I forgot that Adam also needed me. That he might seem strong on the outside but inside, he’s still my Adam.
The billionaire who’s feared by many but still cried when he thought I left him.
The man who was willing to destroy his walls just so I could see the real him.
And the guy who’s willing to bend the world just to make me happy.
He looked at me, doubting what I said.
“Adam, we can’t always be happy. It’s life, remember? But we’re pulling through and that’s what’s important. That at the end of the day, no matter how hard life is, we still go home together. That we’re sticking with each other,” I said but his face was still unmoved. I sighed and reached for his hand. Enclosing it inside my hands, I looked at his eyes again, determined to make him understand that what happened between us was normal… That couples fight. It’s normal. It’s healthy. He couldn’t expect us to be happy all the time because that would be utopia.
And how would you appreciate the good days if you haven’t experienced the bad ones yet?
“Life is like a heartbeat. A pulse. It always has ups and downs… And without the ups and downs, we’re dead.”
A smile slowly dawned on his face.
“Medical simile, really?”
“I hate Science but I needed to make a point,” I said with a smile. “Appreciate my effort, Mr. Walton.”
He held my hand tighter, pulled it close and kissed my knuckles.
“And besides, you made me happy. You’re making me happy… And I promise that you still have decades to make me happy.”
And a stare.
“I really love you, Sabrina.”
I smiled back.
“I love you, too.”
And no amount of nasty fight between us could ever change that.
After our rather sumptuous lunch—that I really didn’t get to enjoy because I was still hyped up by my project, Adam drove me back to the building. It was just a few blocks away but his security had always been so tight so we weren’t allowed to just walk back. So freakishly tight that if I weren’t his wife, I knew that there’s no chance in hell that I could even get close enough to snag a hug from him. His security’s that crazy tight. And it was understandable since attempted kidnapping had been a normal occurrence in Adam’s life since time immemorial. So being rich wasn’t always fun.
“I have one!” I suddenly said.
“What?” he looked, his brows arched. I smiled at him.
“I was so happy during our wedding. You gave me my dream wedding. I’m still thankful for that!”
Adam shook his head while smiling. I was so tempted to lean in and kiss him senseless but Jess was in the front seat and I didn’t want to give him and the driver a live show.
“You’re welcome,” he said. “And I’m quite offended that our wedding is on the same level with your first day of work happiness.”
I rolled my eyes and he just pulled me in and kissed the side of my head.
When we pulled over, I looked at him.
“Will you pick me up after work?”
“Is 5 pm okay or you need more time to show off?”
I smacked the side of his head. But I only do that when we’re alone because of course, Adam’s still a figure of authority. But sometimes his remarks really deserved some unserious smacking.
“I think 5 is okay,” I replied. “Gotta go,” I said and then quickly stole a kiss from him because those lips were begging me to kiss them! And I had no energy left to resist, sue me!
Hearing Adam’s amused laughter as I made my way inside the building, I couldn’t help but smile to myself. It had been long… too long, even. God, that kiss was unbecoming! It just made me want to go home and maybe have some alone time with Adam. Because God… it really had been so long.
I reached Zach’s office and I was about to open the door when Sandra, a colleague, stopped me.
“What?” I asked, my brows arched.
“Zach’s with uhm… someone.”
She nodded. I looked at my watch. Lunchtime’s over already. Maybe there’s a client.
“It’s okay,” I told Sandra. “Zach said that I could sit-in during his meetings,” I continued and then opened the door… only to be greeted by a woman straddling Zach in his office chair. The woman was topless and from my perspective, I could see how Zach’s mouth was latched on her breast like a baby. I wanted to peel my eyes away from them but the woman was moaning like crazy! She thrashed her head back, her eyes closed and she was biting her lower lip. It made me feel all kinds of second-hand embarrassment just by seeing them make-out like some sex-crazed teenagers!
How in the hell would I be able to work inside that office again after seeing them go at each other like… God, I didn’t even have a word!
“Holy mother of God.”
Sandra quickly closed the door.
“Told you he’s occupied.”