I stared up at the huge glass building in front of me. Sanders Incorporated. The whole building was owned by Benjamin’s company. My heart was racing as I pulled the door open and walked in. I watched as everyone went in and out around me. I walked up to the security desk. “How can I help you?” He smiled at me.
“Uh, I have an appointment with Mr. Sanders.” I said rubbing my clammy hands on the back of my jeans. He raised his eyebrow at me not believing me at all.
“Sure, Ma’am, Let me just check.” I looked around at the other guards nervously. “I don’t see any visitors on Mr. Sanders list.” I swallowed nervously. I don’t want my plans of facing Benjamin to be crushed before I even get upstairs. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” I looked over his shoulder as an older looking security guard walked over.
“Is there a problem here?” He asked looking at me. He looked familiar but I can’t place him.
“She was just leaving.” The other guard smiled sweetly at me. I ran a hand through my hair taking a deep breath.
“I’m here to see Mr. Sanders.” The guard nodded.
“I can take you up.” The first guard turned around as the older one smiled pointing to the elevator. “Right this way.”
“Jack.” The Guard said as I walked around the desk to walk to the elevator.
“Come,” He smiled pressing the button. My hands were shaking like a leaves in a summer breeze as I pushed them into my pockets. The door closed as he put a key in the elevator and pushed the top floor button. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you, Ana.” I looked over at him. He smiled at me.
“I’m sorry, I uh, don’t remember you.” He looked down at me.
“It’s been a long time. 4 years now?” I nodded.
“Something like that.” I looked up watching the numbers go up as we pasted the higher floors.
“Does he know you’re here?” I shook my head. “He’ll be happy to see you.” He smiled as the door opened and I stared into the top floor of the building. “It was good to see you again.” I stepped into the waiting room as I rubbed at my chest to calm my racing heart.
“Can I help you with something?” The secretary smiled at me.
“I’m here to see Mr. Sanders.” She looked down at the book on the desk.
“Just sit down over there.” I walked over to a chair and sat down and pulled at the strings on my bracelet. My foot was bouncing as I sat by myself in the waiting area. It hasn’t changed at all since the last time I was here. I looked over to his office doors as the secretary talked away on the phone. I stood up when she turned her back to me and walked towards the door. This is so stupid. What am I doing? I opened the big wood door and slipped into Benjamin’s office. I looked around the office expecting it to be full of people. The room hasn’t changed since the last time I was here, 4 years ago when I was telling Ben that Ryder didn’t make it. His office was roomy. It had a large book shelve nestled against the dark walls. It was covered in old books and little knickknacks. There was still the wall of windows that looked over the whole city. I walked over to the oak desk that sat in the middle of the room. I looked at the picture frames on his desk and picked up the biggest one. A picture of Ryder and me from when he was just a couple months old, from when he was happy. He was reaching for the camera while I tried to hold him so he didn’t fall. We were both laughing, him as he flew towards the camera, me as I tried to hold his wiggling self. I was so engrossed in the picture I didn’t hear the door open.
“What are you doing-” I looked up to see Benjamin staring at me. “Ana.” His voice was almost silent as he raked his eyes over my face. I’ve never been this nervous before. I’ve known this man for years; I’ve had a son with him. But that all went out the window as I put the picture back on the desk.
“Hi, Benjamin.” I rubbed my arm as he blinked in shock. “I was waiting but your secretary isn’t the best.” I leaned my body on the hard wood of the desk.
“You’re here.” I nodded at him as he picked up the papers he dropped. “You really came.” I walked around to sit in of the big leather chairs in front of the desk.
“Sorry I just dropped in without warning.” Ben sat down at his desk staring at me. He shook his head.
“You can drop in whenever you want to. Ana, I, uh,” He looked down trying to arrange his thoughts, trying to find something to say.
“Where you living now? Last I remember you were in Ohio with your mother.” I nodded smiling at him.
“Hawaii, with my new stepfather. I got your letter.” We are still getting our mail from our old house forwarded to us. It takes a while to get any mail. He leaned back in his chair and put his hands to his face. “I’m sorry I haven’t talked to you in a while.”
“I don’t blame you.” I watched his shoulders drop in regret.
“Just don’t. Ben, I’ve forgiven you for what has happened; now you just need to forgive yourself.” He dropped his eyes to the photo of Ryder and me on the desk.
“Ana.” I shook my head at his tone of voice.
“No, I’ve gotten past it. I want a relationship with you. Not sexual, or anything like that. I want you to just be there when I miss my son, just like you do. I need to be with someone who fells my pain. I want us to get over what happened in the past and just be friends.” He rubbed at his eyes before nodding.
“Anything you ever need, you tell me. I love you, I do. You gave me a son, which I love even now. I go every day to his grave, so he’s never lonely. I just want him to be proud of me. I’m taking care of his mother.” I smiled weakly.
“You don’t need to give me all that money. I’m okay.” He shook his head.
“I put in enough money so you can live without a worry.” I picked up the picture of Ryder again.
“Last time I checked it was a little over 40 million.” I looked up at him. “I’m never going to use all that. I can’t even think of what to do with it.” He smiled.
“That was a couple years ago, Ana. I think it’s about 61 million now. It's feed through a company I bought in your name. They are doing very well. I don’t even put much into anymore. I just help the company out and they put all the money in your account. You, uh, own the company. How do ya feel about that?” I shook my head at him. Only he would find a way for me to not be able to be mad at him. “I don’t need the money.” He shrugged.
“You are unbelievable.” I sighed putting the picture back on the desk. “I don’t think I will ever be able to use all that money.” He smiled at me.
“You better try; it’s only going to go up from here.” I rubbed my hands over my legs. “How is your mother?” I sighed.
“The same as always. My step father, Danny, he wanted me to get away as he told her he was done.” Ben raised his eyebrow at me.
“She usually doesn’t freak out too much.” I shook my head.
“He’s asking for custody of me, and fighting for her to not take his son.” He gave me a knowing look.
“It will be a grueling ordeal. She’ll try to take him for everything he’s got.” I looked away from him. “I tried to get you away from her but she’s a blackmailer. You will have to look out for that.” I looked back over to him. “I will help him with everything I have. I would love to meet him; any one strong enough to stand up and fight that woman deserves an award.” I looked behind me as the slammed open.
“Benny! Benny! Where is she?” I blinked as the women walked in. She was the picture of perfection. Black hair with warm brown eyes.
“Carla, please. Calm down.” His face showed his concern for this woman.
“No, where is she?” His eyes flickered to me making me blush as her face lit up. “Anastasia, oh I finally get to meet you.” She walked over and pulled me into a bone crushing embrace.
“Uh, sorry, I’m at the disadvantage here.” She pulled back and I felt the pressure of her heavily pregnant belly pressed into me.
“I’m sorry! I’m Carla Sanders, Benjamin is my husband.” I looked over to him as he shrugged. “I’ve wanted to meet you for years. I’ve heard so many stories about you.” Benjamin had gotten married. His wife is beautiful. A Latin beauty. His wife is pregnant with a child. It’s as if I’ve been replaced, as if my son has been replaced. I don’t know how I feel about this.
“Carla, leave Ana alone.” He said clearing his throat. “We have a doctor’s appointment to get to.” She let go of me.
“I want you to come to dinner tonight. Ben can send you the details. I nodded.
“I have to get going. I have somewhere I need to be.” Ben nodded.
“I will send a car to your hotel to pick you up.” I gave him a nod as I walked out of the room silently, hearing them talk to each other as they were alone. I don’t remember walking out or going down the street. I don’t remember much, it was like I was in a dark tunnel making my way towards the light. It was like I was drowning in emotion. I was suffocating from the pain. I couldn’t keep my head above water anymore. I was finally drowning. I sat down on the green grass, of a place I haven’t been in over 4 years. I put my hand out and ran it over the gentle stone in front of me.
“Hi, Baby.” I sighed running my fingers over the marble letters. “It’s been a long time.”
Ryder Alexander Sanders, January 1, 2009 – October 28, 2009
A soul to never be forgotten, he’ll live on in memory
A/N: Alright this is the last chapter of this book! I hope everyone enjoyed it! But don't worry, Ana, Finn, Matty, and Danny will be back soon! There is still so much to be seen and to happen, well this is it for now. I'm not sure if there is going to be an Epilogue, but I will let you know. Just comment on the chapter, and I will update you :) <3 Patty
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