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Praise Stories from the Vault

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Terese felt her blood boil and her heart sink, all at the same time. She bit the inside of her cheek in an unsuccessful attempt to hold back tears … she couldn’t believe what she had just saw. It had barely been a week since her and Leo broke up and now she had spotted him with Delaney Renshaw in locked lips at the corridor of the hotel.

 

When Leo had broken up with her the other night, she had demanded to know the reason, demanded to know why he had suddenly decided to end things when they seemed so happy together, but he had been vague.

 

“It just doesn’t feel right anymore, I’m … I’m sorry”.

 

The words replayed in Terese’s mind. Now after spotting Delaney and Leo together, she didn’t want to believe it, but it seemed as clear as day, he had wanted someone else … or as Paul predicted months ago, Leo had inevitably swapped her for “somebody younger”.

 

In the safe haven of her office, another stream of tears rolled down Terese’s face. In that moment, she not only hated Leo, but she hated herself … hated herself for going against her head and allowing herself to fall in love with Leo, only to have her heart broken again.

 

Terese couldn’t believe Leo was that vain and shallow … she thought he was different. She just didn’t understand though, he was always the one more invested in the relationship she had grown to love … he was the one that kept chasing after her, even after all her insistence that they would never work. Maybe that was it, maybe he was simply just after the chase and now that the thrill of it had gone, so had he. Terese’s paranoia and self-doubt set in … how could she have been so foolish to trust that he was really committed and could really see a future with her?! He was Robinson blood after all.

 

***

To Terese, Paul Robinson was a womanizer, someone used to getting what they want only to get bored once they had it. He was petty, vindictive and not always a “good man”. However, she knew she would only be lying to herself if she denied there was always something lingering between them … an attraction, chemistry, unspoken feelings … perhaps even love, though she never allowed herself to confront that possibility. She knew if she did, if she truly gave her heart to him, he would end up hurting her one day. After all, if history was anything to go by, Paul Robinson was only in it for the chase.

 

But that was the thing, she knew Leo was different … different from his father. Thus, Terese knew there had to be more to why Leo broke up with her. She couldn’t help but wonder, however, if this was her prejudice against Paul talking, her denial over the break up or was it a gut feeling? Regardless, she knew she needed answers.

 

Terese knew about Leo’s involvement with the Renshaws, however, Piper had suggested he had been withholding information. Although she didn’t want to believe it at the time, that seemed like a possibility now.  Since Delaney’s arrival a couple of weeks ago, the father-son duo had been interacting more and it appeared that their relationship had rebuilt its trust and strength. Thus, if Leo had been relentless in giving her answers, the only other person who could would be Paul. Terese swallowed hard – she knew Paul wouldn’t just give her the answers outright – she needed a plan.

 

***

Terese’s eyes scanned the Waterhole looking for Paul, she knew he would be here at this time in the afternoon … part of her was annoyed that she instantly knew that. She spotted Paul sitting at the far-end table, opposite the pool table, with his partner Jane Harris. Terese paused for a moment in her tracks, watching them laughing, happily together. Every time she saw those two loved-up, something stirred within her, not only was she unable to put her finger on what she was feeling, she was also too afraid to confront it. Her daze was interrupted as Jane got up from the table and made her way to the bathroom; Terese made a beeline for Paul.

 

“Hey um … what are you doing tonight?”, she asked nervously while taking a seat in Jane’s chair.

 

“Why do you ask?”

 

“I, um … was just looking through those documents regarding the suggestions for Lassiters and the projected financials and I think we really need to discuss them”, she lied, avoiding eye contact.

 

“Well, Jane and I are actually heading out for dinner tonight, so can we find another night to discuss it?”

 

At that, Terese felt of pang of jealousy within her. There had been a time where Paul would drop anything and everything for her. She knew it was wrong to feel this way, but she missed that.

 

“No”, Terese quickly protested. “I mean, it’s just really important and it needs to be done before I send out an email tomorrow”. More lies.

 

Paul eyed her suspiciously. This time, she held her gaze intently. He took a deep breath in, “fine, fine … I guess, I’ll re-schedule with Jane and I’ll see you tonight” he replied.

 

“Thank you” she said softly before leaving the table.

 

***

Ding! Paul heard the bell of his penthouse elevator, just as he was making his way towards it. As the doors opened he was surprised to see Terese, dressed in a black, lace dress – not her usual work wear. Her beauty left him speechless, but he quickly snapped back into the present.

 

“Terese … I thought we were meeting in your office?”

 

“I thought we could meet in here, like we used to”. She made her way to sit down on the sofa.

 

Paul felt slightly confused. Ever since he had found out about Leo and Terese, months ago, Terese had barely been in his home, it was a general assumption on both their parts that she was no longer welcome here. Maybe she assumed that everything could go back to the way it was now that Leo and her had broken up. But it wasn’t that simple. He couldn’t deny, however, that Leo had been working hard to rebuild their relationship … after all, Paul knew he had broken up with Terese ultimately to keep Delaney from telling her father what Paul had done to their associate, Mannix Foster, and saving him from prison. Nevertheless, while things had been improving with his son, every time he saw Leo or Terese, he was reminded of the hurt and the betrayal they caused him that October night. It would still be a while before he could fully forgive them.

 

“Um … do you want something to drink. I’ve got non-alcoholic”.

 

“Yeah, that would be great thanks”.

 

He poured Terese a drink, and one for himself, before joining her on the sofa.

 

“So, what did you need to discuss that was so pressing?”

 

“Actually, I’m not here to talk about business … I’m here to talk about us”.