This story is by ross riter and was part of our 2018 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Be careful what you wish for. Sitting here in the waiting room of my ob/gyn doctor I was
catatonic. The silence and starkness of the sterile, white walls seemed ghost-like. I was there to learn
who the father of my newly-conceived child is.
How did my seemingly perfect life go off track and now threaten all three of us (baby makes 4)?
I have been selfishly reaping all of the benefits of the situation I implemented.
My parents were good to me, their only child. A high-powered litigator, my mom was my
inspiration. A well-liked anthropology professor at a local college, my dad played both mom and pop,
when necessary. They got along, hardly ever saw each other, but stayed together, unlike many
of my friends’ parents.
After prep school I was accepted into several Ivy League schools. I chose Harvard and got both
BBA and MBA business degrees there in just 5 years. I could not wait to get going in the entrepreneurial
After Harvard, I interviewed with a start-up company that had invented an indispensable new
environmental product. I was hired as its marketing assistant. My skills were appreciated and my
career flourished, becoming the Assistant VP in charge of global marketing. I was in heaven.
I married Hubert, my boyfriend from Harvard, who was a litigator, like mom. We had our
separate professions which we treasured, lived separate lives like my parents, and co-existed.
We both worked 10 hours or more a day, including weekends. Although we had spoken briefly
of a family, procreation was the last thing on either of our minds. Once a week, after Saturday night
dinner, if one of us did not fall asleep, a “quickie” might be dessert. I traveled everywhere promoting
the global business. He tried cases throughout the USA.
I had free reign in hiring Ivy League MBAs who were intelligent and ambitious. For many years I
resisted advances from several of the older, powerful men in the company. All of the younger men
were afraid of me, due to my apparent power in the company.
A year ago I began to train a competent associate, Scott, to take my place, as I was about to be
promoted. I knew nothing of his personal life. He knew nothing about mine. But when I was pulling
an all-nighter to meet an important client deadline, he was right there beside me, never complaining.
After a typical travel day, Scott would have dinner with me. to debrief. We usually stayed
in adjacent rooms with a private bedroom on each side, a large working suite in between. Neither of us
closed our doors, in case the other had a brainstorm and wanted to run it by the other.
After one day’s extraordinary sale, I was feeling frisky. We finished dinner and a bottle of
champagne. Up in my room I put on my pajamas and tumbled into bed, after yelling “good night!”
Unable to sleep, I tiptoed through the suite and without knocking, entered Scott’s room to find
him watching TV. Surprised, Scott asked “is there something you need?” “There always is,” I
whispered, provocatively. “You always give me what I need. Tonight, I need something else.”
“Shall I get dressed and meet you in the suite?” he asked naively.
Emboldened by the alcohol, I crept closer to him, unbuttoning my pajama top as I moved
stealthily. When I dropped it on the floor, he gasped. I threw him back onto the pillow and climbed on
top of him. I had my way with him, despite his vocal protestations.
When the sun came up he slinked off to the shower and got dressed as if nothing had
happened. I retrieved my pajamas and went back to my room, ecstatic. Thus began a one-way, out of
town affair that Scott never consented to, encouraged, or wanted. He had hitched his wagon to my star,
or else he would never have allowed me to force him to have sex with me. We would both pay a high
price for our self-indulgence.
Things at home remained unchanged. I dutifully pretended to be interested in the weekly
Saturday night ritual, much like Scott did with me. I now had everything I had ever dreamed of.
I was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and took Scott with me to the top. I arranged for us
to travel every other week. Less than that, I was not satiated. More, would have been suspicious.
After I ravaged Scott that first time, we never spoke of the incident or its continuation. I
initiated and he obliged, for the sole purpose of saving his career. Some nights he feigned illness.
Some nights we skipped dinner and went straight to the arena. He never looked me in the eye,
he the victim and me the perpetrator.
Hubert had mentioned that in another five years, when his term as newly appointed Managing
Partner of his law firm expired, he would like to go on sabbatical and start a family. Scott was single (or
gay?), and work was his only passion. For all three of us, our careers were our lifeblood. But with power
came a friend, with benefits.
I made a fatal mistake. Hubert and I never used any birth control. That had never been
an issue. Scott inquired about protection that first night and I said “under control.” That was my
Then, I missed my period, which had never happened. I thought nothing of it. My body
began changing. My ample breasts began to swell. I made an “urgent” appointment to see my doctor.
Saturday night, after the conclusion of our twenty minutes of “wedded bliss,” I hinted at having
a child again, to Hubert. He flew into a rage, screaming that I had always put my career first. “This time
I need to do the same!” His fury would have been even greater had he known that he might not have
been the father.
I asked Scott to meet me for lunch the following Monday. He seemed nervous and would not
look at me. “What is up, you have been acting strangely for weeks now?”
“I’m pregnant Scott!” I replied.
“Why is that any of my business?” “It may be your child!” The look on his face was menacing.
He got up and stormed out.
I waited thirty minutes before I texted Scott and asked him to come to my office. When I got no
response, his assistant told me he was “went home ill.”
Some in the company thought that my rise had been too meteoric, my behavior too
Machiavellian. Except for the CEO and Board of Directors, I had no friends or allies. I was alone now,
needing to mitigate the damage I had inflicted.
I locked my door and began outlining my options. I made two columns, headed them
“Husband” and “Concubine,” and noted the pros and cons of staying with each. Then I got a text from
Scott saying: “see email and reply by 5:00 pm today!” Scott’s emailed response was devastating:
“Resign immediately. Sign nondisclosure agreement to never disclose our “arrangement.” Endorse me unconditionally, as your successor. I have memorandum ready to hand deliver to Board/CEO now: chronology detailing illegal sexual harassment/abuse, starting right after initial unprovoked ravagement; I have video of each subsequent rape and threats to sabotage career. Counsel on retainer since first attack. She predicts multi-million dollar jury verdict, against the company and you when videos shown. Do not ever communicate with me at any future time for any reason. If no capitulation, suit will be filed and served upon you and your husband and company Monday. Wall Street Journal and international news media will be copied.”
Which horrid option was optimal: blowing up my marriage with news of a lascivious liaison
with a male subordinate initiated and coerced by me, or, divorcing Hubert and starting my life over
again with my child, powerless and scorned by all who knew of me, or of my transgressions.
At home, I filled in the Hubert/Scott table, so that I might analyze which of the two bad options
was optimal for me, utilizing Boolean logic as if in a Harvard study group. The chart showed no way out,
neither option desirable after what I had done, nor satisfactory.
I briefly considered an abortion, but quickly rejected it. It did not matter who the father of my
child was. My life as I had known it was over. my marriage and career were devastated, reduced to
chaos and disorder.
I stayed up all night pondering my fate. At dawn, I realized there was no option that involved
either man, no matter who the father was. I would relocate to another city where no one knew me,
raise my child alone, and begin again.
I had unfairly done both men wrong. The only question now, was whether I could survive the
consequences of having created the life I thought I had wished for.