Chapter 8 Gregory’s Lone Visit
“Yes,” Nicholas said, just to humor the kid. He was convinced that it would only take a few days for Gregory to forget all about that woman, and he was even more convinced that there was no way a woman unknown to the Sawyers could make such a long-lasting impression on a tender-aged child.
Alas, Nicholas had spent every waking moment of the following three days keeping Gregory company, only to hear the boy whine about seeing Tessa.
While Nicholas had come up with various excuses to delay such plans of seeing Tessa, Gregory lost patience and threatened to ignore him for good. Then, the boy king decidedly locked himself in his room, refusing to come out or let anyone in.
Staring at the tightly shut bedroom door, Nicholas began to grow exasperated. He didn’t have time for this, certainly not on a day when he had to drop by the company to attend an inter-continental meeting.
As such, he summoned the butler and ordered sternly, “Keep an eye on Greg, and don’t let him get up to nonsense. Call me if anything unexpected happens.”
“Yes, sir!” Andrew, the butler, said solemnly with a respectful nod.
Then, Nicholas straightened up and headed out the door. Soon, his towering figure disappeared behind the door of an exquisite Bentley idling outside, and the car pulled away from the curb, cruising away from the house.
Presently, Gregory was huddled up in his room, simmering in childish anger as he pressed against the balcony and watched his father’s car drive out of sight.
When the car disappeared entirely from view, Gregory turned and stalked back into his bedroom, then slung his Superman backpack over his tiny shoulders. After that, he sneaked out through the hole in the backyard wall and promptly deleted all the camera footage that would have recorded his escape.
In actuality, he had already looked up online the address where Tessa’s orchestra was supposedly based. If Daddy doesn’t bring me to see her, then I’ll go and see her myself!
Now that his mission was accomplished, Gregory dusted off his starfish-like hands and made a triumphant noise. “You must have underestimated me if you think you can keep me under lock and key!”
The little one had only just made his great escape when he hailed a ride through a phone application. He cleverly set the Heavenly Chorus Orchestra as his destination, which was around a startling hundred-something miles away.
Nearly two hours later, Gregory finally stepped out of the car and looked up at the entrance of the Heavenly Chorus Orchestra building.
Tightening his grip on the strap of his backpack, he took a deep breath and walked through the doors, then looked up at the receptionist as he asked softly, “Hello, miss, I’m here to find my mommy. Her name’s Tessa Reinhart, and she works here! Could you help me call her, please?”
The receptionist took an immediate liking to the little boy, but when she heard he was Tessa’s son, she couldn’t hide her astonishment.
Tessa had been working here for all these years, but never once had she mentioned that she was a mother to such an adorable little boy. “Are you here on your own, little one? Give me a moment while I call your mommy right now.”
“Okay, thank you, kind lady!” Gregory said cheerily, then stood by the front desk and waited.
Meanwhile, when Tessa got the call from the receptionist saying somebody was here to see her, she had thought that it could be a member of the audience from one of her shows, but what the receptionist told her was, “Miss Reinhart, your son is here to see you, and he’s on his own. Please come over as soon as possible; it’s not safe for a child like him to be wandering around alone. Heaven knows what kind of predator would try to kidnap him!”
“Er…” Stunned, Tessa blinked and finally said, “Okay, got it, I’ll be right there.”
Her child had been taken away from her five years ago, and she wondered idly if some kid had come over to the building and mistaken her for his mother. Then again, she thought it was some kind of twist of fate, so she hurried over to the building. Better me than some human trafficker, she told herself.
It didn’t take long for her to reach the orchestra building, but the moment she stepped through the doors, she locked eyes with Gregory.
She stared at him with wide eyes, and she stood frozen in shock. What’s the little guy doing here?
Gregory, on the other hand, beamed when he saw Tessa, and there was no hiding his excitement. He slid off his seat with his backpack slung over his shoulders. He barreled toward her with as much speed as his little legs would allow. He threw his arms around her leg and said sweetly, “Pretty lady, you’re finally here!”
Tessa felt her heart melt into a puddle. Crouching down, so she was at his eye level, she asked gently, “Sweetheart, what are you doing here?”
Gregory pouted and mumbled, “Daddy doesn’t have time to bring me to see you, so here I am on my own!”
On your own? For a minute there, Tessa wondered if she had heard him wrong. She felt the hair on her neck stand to attention as she found herself at a sudden loss for words. I don’t know what sort of blind courage a little boy could have to make a trip all by himself here! Also, the Sawyers will be at their wits’ end when they discover he’s gone missing!
She shuddered when Nicholas’ frosty expression flashed in her mind. Hastily, she made to placate Gregory, “Sweetheart, it isn’t right for you to be here on your own without telling your family beforehand. Come along now. I’ll bring you home.”
“No, I don’t want you to go home!” When Gregory heard that she was asking him to leave, he hugged her tightly and looked up at her dejectedly. Still pouting, he asked, “Why do you want to send me home, pretty lady? Is it because you hate me?”
“Of course not! That’s impossible. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I like you,” Tessa cajoled soothingly.
Still, he seemed unconvinced, his little face somber as he pointed out accusingly, “Then why didn’t you tell me goodbye before you left the banquet the other day? I asked Daddy to bring me to you, but we couldn’t find you anywhere, and I didn’t even get to say goodbye.”
Upon hearing this, she stiffened in surprise. This little guy actually tried to look for me while on the yacht? She hadn’t had a reason to stay back after her performance, given how the rest of her orchestra was already alighting the yacht.
She didn’t think that the little one would think she had left without saying goodbye to him.
A fond smile curled on her lips as she gazed at him gently, then consoled him, saying, “Sweetheart, you’ve misunderstood. Anyone who sees how adorable you are will love you at first sight, but I just think that it’s inappropriate for a child your age to be wandering out of home without a chaperone.” She paused for a while before adding, “See, if your daddy finds out you’ve gone missing and called the police, then I would be a kidnapper, wouldn’t I?”
A kidnapper who has taken the Little Prince of the Sawyer Family away from home. Now that’s a crime I’d never dream of committing, even if I had Dutch courage.
However, Gregory unexpectedly patted his chest as he promised confidently, “Don’t worry, pretty lady, I’ll protect you! Daddy won’t be able to bully you at all!”
Amusement flashed in Tessa’s eyes as she sputtered at his childish oath. Reaching out a hand, she caressed his little face gently, more than happy to have the little guy’s promise of protection.
That being said, she was still worried and unsettled. After a moment of thought, she pressed, “Sweetheart, do you think you could give me your daddy’s number?”