The Billionaire's Secret Babies

By: Penny Wylder


“You’re fired, Manila.”

I stare at my boss Mark for a solid minute. I cannot have heard him right. He’s sitting there watching me, waiting for a reaction. “Sorry?” I ask, after a long, deafening silence.

He reaches across the table to pat my hand. “It’s nothing personal. It’s just, you know, you’ve been gone for so long…”

“I had maternity leave!” I shove my chair back, leaping to my feet. “I am taking care of two newborns. Twins! I’m doing it all by myself –”

“Well, that was your choice,” he points out.

I ball up my fists at my sides. “How is that any different from Rebecca? Or Marcy, or Tamara?” I list every woman in this office with kids of her own. Marcy took an extra month of maternity leave last year after a complication with her pregnancy led to an emergency C-section. Tamara works from home Mondays and Fridays to have extra time with her three kids after her good-for-nothing husband walked out on her. What’s different about me?

“You chose to bring those kids into the world without a father,” Mark replies.

I am gaping at him, full-on, open-mouthed. I’ve worked here for five years, slaving away as this asshole’s personal secretary. Never once did I complain, not when he called me for last minute travel emergencies in the middle of the night on a Saturday, not when he asked me to bring him coffee every morning like I’m a freaking temp, not even when he got a little too handsy at the office Christmas party last year. Because the rest of the time, he was a decent guy to work for.

So I thought.

“So let me clear this up. You’re firing me because I took my legally allowed maternity leave,” I say.

He frowns. There’s the key word, fucker. Legally allowed. Yeah, that’s right. But then he shakes his head. “Of course not, Manila. We would never do that. But you asked me if you could take an extra month, remember? And then you came back and asked for another couple of days, and you were late two days last week, your first week back on the job…”

“You said it would be fine! I told you the twins needed to go to the doctor for follow-ups those mornings. You said you were flexible!”

“There’s flexible and then there’s bending over backwards and letting someone walk all over you. I’m sorry, Manila. Please have your desk cleared out by the end of the day.”

“Not a fucking problem,” I practically snarl at him. I’m too fucking pissed at this point. I don’t think about how I need him for a recommendation, or how it would look on my resume if I apply to a new place and they call him to ask about my standing when I left. I don’t think about anything practical like that. I just storm out of his office, straight to my desk, and shove everything on top of the desk onto the floor. My calendar, my meticulously organized notes, the stack of travel documents I prepared for him, staying late all last week to be sure I caught up on everything I’d missed while I was gone… I shove it all onto the floor.

The only things I bother to grab from the desktop are my photos – one of my dad, may he look down on me from heaven now and grant me the courage to deal with this fucking bastard of a boss, and one of my twins. My whole world. It’s a recent photo, just four and a half months old, of the day they were born. It’s just us in the photo, my arms wrapped tight around them both.

Luca and Lucie, my perfect bundles of joy. The only thing left making me happy now. The ones I did all of this for.

I tuck those two picture frames under my arms and storm out, making sure to step right on top of the mess of papers I’ve strewn around the place.

“What’s happening?” Tamara stands up at her desk, at the front of the office. She’s the general office secretary, but more like the mother hen. Always taking care of us, making sure we have everything we need, plenty of desk supplies and tea if we’re feeling down.

“Mark fired me,” I say, louder than I intended. Half the office glances over in my direction – it’s an open plan, so there aren’t many secrets around here. But who cares? Good. Let them know what an asshole he is.

“Oh my god.” Tamara is at my side in a second, taking my shoulders, pulling me into a hug.

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