"I mean, we are doing well in five years, so I guess, a piece of paper does not make any difference," added Eric when he, perhaps, sensed that we got dumbfounded.
I smiled and nodded, but tried hard to conceal my embarrassment and sense of shame. I felt rejected, unwanted, and undesired.
"It makes a great difference if you were to ask me, Eric. One of the best days of my life was when I walked down the aisle with the woman I love," Mr. Tim Cruz pointed out, and I swore, I saw Mr. Grey smirked and threw a scornful look at Eric.
To my added embarrassment, Mr. Cruz turned to Mr. Grey and solicited for his idea. "Sean, what is your opinion regarding this?"
All I wanted at that moment was to faint and not wake up forever when he glanced and cast me a look of pity.
"I have the same view as you do, Tim. When the right time comes, I will ask her hand for a marriage," seconded Mr. Grey while his eyes stayed on me. Right at that moment, the last straw of my reluctance to leave Eric had lifted off. Someday, I would be able to repay him with money if all he cared was only that.
Another businessman approached us, and soon we separated. Eric found himself another business colleague, earning himself another praise for having me in his life. I then wondered why Eric had not seen me as others did, and I started to question my self-worth. If I happened to be in a relationship with somebody else, would he also treat me like how Eric did?
I was lost in my reverie when my phone vibrated. I pulled it out from my purse and checked the caller's identity. It was an unregistered number, and I knew it wasn't from the hospital where I worked. It's neither from my patients because I never gave my private number to any of them or their family members. The call disturbed me, thinking it could be an emergency, so I decided to give a ring back. Before my call went through, a message notification popped out. To my relief, it was the same number as the one who had just called a few seconds ago.
I felt like dying when the message went this way, "Nice meeting you, Dr. Red. I wish to grab more time with you tonight. Sean Grey."
Glancing at Eric, who got hooked to their discussion, I replied. "Thank you, Mr. Grey."
His reply came right away. "May I have a dance with you later?"
I was flying to the moon then but I sank back the next moment, afraid that Eric might be furious. Then, I remembered Eric's instruction before we came here. He said I should make sure I would grab Mr. Grey's attention, so what else could make me happier tonight?
"I'd be happy to," I replied, and instantly came the raptured feeling I so longed to feel.
After a few minutes, the program started, and so the formal launching of Laminae, Inc. The word shock was an understatement when a slideshow presented all the businesses of Mr. Grey. He then came up next and elaborated on the presentation, which earned him gasps of appreciation and rounds of applause. If I considered Eric a successful businessman, he was just a speck against the achievements of Mr. Grey. I then understood why Eric was willing to sell me to him, and it was sadly because of his greed for more wealth and fame.
Dinner followed, and we seated ourselves in a table. Soon after that, came the ball. All bright lights turned dim in a moment, and soon became a kaleidoscope of multicolored lights. Romantic music from the orchestra started to flow, and the men who brought their dates for the night hurried to the dance floor. Perhaps, I got so hooked in watching them swaying their bodies to the rhythm that I didn't notice Eric's absence. He neither asked my permission nor gave me a little amount of respect by telling me about his plans for tonight. All of a sudden, my eyes flew wide in seeing Eric across the dance floor, holding a woman's waist. Despite the dim lighting, I could still figure out that he was flirting with the woman because I saw his hand moved across her back and lingered on her behind.
Though a few minutes ago, I made a firm decision to find a way to leave him, seeing him now in another's arms, still consumed me with pain and jealousy. Big drops of tears began to trickle down my cheeks. In the next moment, I lost my self-control, and I started to sob. I never knew it could be this painful. My heart felt like it was run over by a heavy object. I was glad the music was loud enough to muffle the sound of my stifled cries, just as how thankful I was, as well, for the dim lights that veiled my tears.
I soon forgot about the deal I made with Mr. Grey. My mind was on a total mess. I felt emotionally battered with the sense of rejection, worthlessness as a person, and dignity-stripped as a woman. I was not sure if I could ever stop my tears the moment the music stops, and I also could not tell how long I would be able to endure.
Right then, I decided not to let Eric see I was hurting, nor let him know I was crying. It was the only sense of pride left in me. I remembered some people said that the best revenge we could give to a cheating partner is to let them feel we are not affected. That leaving us for someone else is not our loss, but theirs.
I wiped my tears and dubbed a pressed powder on my cheeks. I then bent down and applied a new layer of lip color. Just as I put my kit back to my purse, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and looked behind my shoulder, and my heart leaped instantly at the sight of who was there.
"Mr. Grey," I mumbled softly, as I suddenly felt nervous. He was no longer the patient I met but a prominent worldwide figure.