Chapter Nine

An hour later. 

Stanley got down from his car, reached for the items he bought in the backseat and then made his way to the entrance of Lauren's apartment. 

He pressed the doorbell and waited for her to open up which she did in a few seconds. 

Before he uttered a word, Lauren closed the gap between the two of them and pulled Stanley into a tight hug. She buried her face in his chest, shut her eyes for a while and inhaled his scent. 

Stanley could not return the hug fully because of the plastic bag he was holding. But he kissed her forehead and caressed her long smooth hair. 

Even though his heart melted at Lauren's gesture, he knew he was missing something. 

Lauren finally released him from the hug and then she tiptoed and gave him a kiss on his lips. 

It was only after Lauren pulled away from the hug that she realized Stanley was putting on casual clothes instead of his office clothes. She wasn't in her office clothes either because he appeared at her apartment an hour earlier. 

As if Stanley could read her mind, he spoke, "Fortunately, Mr Lonnie facetimed me this morning. Something came up and he wouldn't be able to make it to the meeting this afternoon but we were able to discuss a few things via our facetime."

"So I thought I would spend the rest of the day with you. I brought something we could munch on." He gestured to the plastic bag he was holding. 

Lauren collected the plastic bag from him and then ushered him in. 

She placed the bag on the centre table in the living room, made Stanley sit on the couch and then sat on his lap. 

"What's wrong my love." He asked concerned. 

Lauren sighed and then cupped Stanley's face with her hands. 

"Why didn't you tell me Rita was this cruel?" She asked as tears started welling up in her eyes. 

"Oh my, Did she?" Stanley was about to get angry but Lauren calmed him down. 

"She was here this morning." She explained. 

"That woman, after I warned her to stay away from you." Stan ran his fingers through his hair, getting frustrated. 

"She didn't lay a finger on you, right? Did she say anything to hurt you?" Stanley asked, looking into her glossy eyes with his worried ones. 

Lauren reached for Stanley's hands and kissed it. "She didn't lay a finger on me. She came here to offer me a ridiculous deal to stay away from you."

"She mentioned that she got rid of your child, I'm so sorry about that." A tear involuntarily rolled down Lauren's cheek. 

"Why didn't you tell me about it?" She asked as another tear rolled down her cheek. 

Stanley sighed and wiped her tears away with his thumb. 

"It's okay if you don't want to talk about it. I'm just sorry you had to endure all that she put you through." She said as soon as she saw the pained expression on his face. 

"I didn't know when she had the abortion. If I knew she was pregnant, I would have done something to make her keep the baby even though it involves making a deal with her, giving her money or anything she wants."

"I only found out months later and weeks before I found out, it came to my notice that she has been cheating on me with some of my rivals, business partners and other random people. So I don't even know if the child she aborted was truly mine or not."

"But I confronted her about the abortion the day I found out. She cried, she apologized and she gave a series of excuses as to why she didn't inform me about the baby and made the decision of aborting it alone."

"She also showed me some medical papers about her health which constituted part of the minor reasons she opted for the abortion."

"I didn't confront her then about cheating, but I remember we had a heated argument. I stylishly asked her if the baby she aborted was mine and she said yes."

"I was fed up with life then. A lot of things were just happening at the same time and I felt very helpless, the only person I had to confide in was Anita but she has no idea about the baby Rita aborted."

Stanley ran his hand over his face. "I regret not taking actions and divorcing Rita earlier."

"I guess, she was not a priority in my life. It was around that time that the company was in crisis and we were trying to save it. That alone drained me physically and emotionally to the extent that I forgot about Rita and her deeds."

"On the other hand, I was also trying to figure out my feelings for you. I wanted to make sure what I feel for you is real and not just the lust that I felt for Rita."

"I was a fool for crushing on her and thinking she loves me. She didn't think twice about saying Yes to my proposal. She must have been very happy that she has seen her jackpot to prosperity."

Lauren leaned closer to Stanley and kissed his forehead. "I'm so sorry for everything you went through. Please don't be too hard on yourself, you know better now."

Stan nodded. "Rita is just crazy, I made it clear to her to stay away from you. What deal did she offer you?" He asked. 

"I don't know where she got the information that I'm pregnant with your baby but she thinks I'm pregnant and it's because of the baby that you're ending things with her."

"She offered me money to get rid of the child and then transport myself far away from this country so I won't be in touch with you again."

"I don't know exactly how much she offered because I didn't even take a glance at the cheque. But I told her I would never accept her offer."

Lauren ran her fingers through Stanley's hair. 

"She tried to threaten me but it didn't work. I made her understand that I'll never leave you or neither will I take the life of an innocent one. I also made it clear to her that I'm ready to fight for you even against her."

Stanley's heart melted, his lips curved into a proud smile. 

"The reason I was sceptical about us at first was that I was worried about Rita. I was concerned about how she was going to feel when you make it known to her that you don't love her anymore and then break up with her."

"I was worried and hesitant because I didn't want to be the reason for someone else's sadness."

"I just never knew she was worse than I imagined her to be. You were right afterall, she doesn't deserve my worry or pity."

"I love you Stanley and I'm ready to admit it to the world that I'm madly in love with you."

"I promise to always make you happy and just as you've promised me severally that you will protect me, I also promise to protect you."

"I'm just an ordinary girl who loves you, I may not have much or come from a rich home but I promise to be faithful to you, make you happy and shower you with so much love." She promised. 

Stanley was smiling like crazy by the time Lauren finished talking. His heart swelled with so much pride and he felt fulfilled knowing she just officially announced she was giving him the chance he asked her for. 

He pulled Lauren closer to him and gave her a long passionate kiss. They only pulled away when they were out of breath. 

Lauren rested her head against Stan's chest and he kissed her forehead. 

"Thank you for giving me a chance my love, I promise you won't regret it."

Lauren removed her head from his chest and smiled at him. "I know."

Then her expression changed to that of a serious one. 

"I'm not comfortable with you staying in the same house with Rita." She confessed. 

"She's really desperate about not losing you and once an individual is desperate, he or she can do anything. Please be careful." Lauren pleaded. 

"On my way downstairs for coffee this morning, I saw one of the maids parking her stuff so no doubt she's leaving the mansion soon. Though she wasn't around then but I had no idea she would be over here, causing you trouble. I'm sorry."

Lauren intertwined her hands with Stanley's own. "It's fine. I'm glad she came over, I gave her a piece of my mind and warned her to stay away from us."

Stanley and Lauren spent the rest of the day in Lauren's apartment. They spent their time cuddling, watching movies, eating and they also engaged in interesting conversations. 

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