Matt brushed past Krit’s secretary and pushed opened the door to his office, she saw him sitting there buried in his work. Papers were everywhere, folders piling up to one side. She sat herself down and leaned forward.
“I’m surprise to see you.” Krit gave her a simple smile.
“Mom told me what happened.” She leaned in further.
“I’m fine now.” Krit pushed her head back. “It was a severe case of headache that took over me.” He lied about being fine. His headaches had been off and on.
“You are not lying are you?” Matt asked and grabbed hold of a picture on his desk with the three of them. “I have always liked this picture.” She smiled.
“Matt for what it’s worth, I am truly sorry for messing things up.” He held up his hands knowing what she wanted to ask him. “It was one of the worst things I could have done. But to explain it in detail I can’t seem to, just know that it was stupid and…”He squint his eyes hoping the headache doesn’t return but a small pain in the back of his head told him it might be happening again.
“You really did mess things up.” She agreed. “I never will understand all the reasons behind it.” She looked away. “Even though, you have changed my view on certain things and broke my heart.” She paused to glance at Krit. “Still I don’t want you to die.”
“I mean, maybe not dead but like seriously hurt or with an incurable disease or something. What I am trying to say is…I mean mom is such a caring person no matter what you do she stills have it in her to want to help.”
“There was a time when I know my own heart and thought it to be a sure thing. I have everything I ever needed. A beautiful wife, a temperament daughter that sometimes I see me in her, a good amount of wealth but with all that I found a hole in there somewhere and destroy it all.” He laughed bitterly.
“When Jin started to shower me with attention while your mom and I are in a routine I was looking forward to the uncertainty. I would not have said it was boring with your mom, but it was predictable. We never have problems, we hardly argue. We did the right things and it was just that.” He laid his head against his chair. The damn headache sure had its way hindering his thoughts.
“Dad?” Matt’s voice slightly went up.
“I’m fine. I went to the doctor and it was just a case of headaches, though they do not know what is causing it. But what can be of just headaches right?” He asked but wasn’t sure himself.
“Maybe you should see a different doctor to get a different opinion.”
“I’m going to see a Neurologist next week.”
“They can’t get you in sooner?”
“Where was I?” Krit brushed off his daughter’s concern. “A fool will always find a way to jeopardize what’s important to him. I started seeing Jin but it wasn’t that long. She knows how to work around men and make them feel good about themselves. Stupid of a person that I am, I enjoy the little crumbs she threw my way.” He closed his eyes again. “Basically, Jin is smarter than I am. She had a backup plan to everything. While I didn’t and eventually lose all that is in my life.”
“You have a midlife crisis?” Matt asked strangely.
Krit looked at Matt as if she had lost her mind. “I don’t think that’s a legitimate excuse. I did it without thinking. I am a big boy that made a huge mistake so I’m going to be big enough to pay the price, I hurt your mother and you and that is something I wish I can take back. Your mother had been nothing but wonderful to me, given me all that she has. And I took it for granted. It is now the predictable that I want most. The steady in life that never shook even in the worst storm, if I could I would not do it, Matt.”
She was tired of dealing with this issue. She couldn’t change it, it has been done and moving on is going to heal what is left of her. Her marriage isn’t that long off before it ended. Though, going back to life as it once was isn’t going to happen. She let out heavy breath.
“I want your marriage to work with Andrew.”
Easy for you to say, you are not living with him.
“Since you are here, I want you to get more involve with the charity event we are having in the next month.”
Matt smiled and leaned in. She always loved Innocent Smile. It was something that has become a part of her, even Andrew can’t take it away, or what her dad had done can’t soil it. The event has been a highlight of the year for her ever since she remembered it. How can she not participate in something that changed another person’s life?
“I want you to get with your mom and do whatever needed to be done to make this one much more exciting than last. I’m afraid I can’t be much of a help this year. And after that I am jetting off to Switzerland for about a month.”
“That would be wonderful.” Matt smiled widely and for a minute Krit saw his little girl as she was meant to be in his eyes.
Krit reached across the desk and took Matt’s hand in his. “Know this, I love you.”
Matt got up. “I have cried and cursed, many nights asking myself questions and perhaps a bit broken but before all of that, you have given me plenty of beautiful memories to hold onto. And no matter what, you will always be my dad.” She left and didn’t see the tear that fell at the corner of Krit’s eye.
Andrew sat laughing at something Cade had said, he didn’t notice Matt standing there watching him almost in awe at what she saw. She had never seen him so lively, so laid back.
When he finally acknowledged her standing there he sobered up and gave her a look that she wasn’t fast enough to make out before he turned to Cade.
Cade smiled playfully, he stood up and made his way to Matt, grabbing her arm he pulled her to them. He looked to Andrew before seating her at the opposite side. Andrew shook his head at Cade’s tactic.
“We were just talking about kids.”
Matt slowly turned to Andrew. He didn’t look at her but circle his cup in a way that made her heart throb. Would he ever show that kind of gentle touch with her? She remembered the day when he gave the necklace that was by far the most gentle she had seen from him. There lay a man that can do so much with his hands.
She swallowed wrong and coughed.
Andrew looked up and gave her a suspicious look.
“Children are nice.” She wasn’t sure if they had already been done with that part of the conversation or not.
“I was telling Andrew once the baby is born I am going to appoint myself as his or her godfather. I will spoil that kid rotten, so bad that you two are going to be in trouble.”
Cade smiled and only he seemed to be the one that is excited about the subject. Andrew kept his eyes lowered while Matt bit her lip from slipping the truth.
“You better stay away from my kid.” Andrew warned. “If anyone does the spoiling it’ll be me.” He looked Matt in the eyes.
Lying about it had become easier and easier but it’ll never get to that point. A few more months everything will be over. He once again returned to Matt, trying to say something to her without saying a word. She had no idea what it was but his looks somehow started to make her move in her seat.
“Have you decided on a name already?” Cade turned to Matt.
“No,” she laughed, not doing a good job convincing any one.
“I’ll name it after my dad if it’s a boy.” Andrew said it casually as if they were talking about what’s for dinner.
Matt knew he was making her felt guilty. And sure enough, when she looked at him a smirk was plastered on his lips. She wanted to kick him from under the table. Now that’s a thought. She lifted her leg and unfortunately Cade moved his at the same time and she kicked him instead.
“What did you do that for?” Cade leaned and rubbed his shin.
Matt lowered her head and looked at the red spot on Cade’s shin. She smiled with the utmost sincerity. Cade rubbed it until it stopped throbbing. Matt lifted her head slightly and looked at the man that her foot was aiming for Andrew smiled with such charm, lifting his glass to his lips he winked.
Cade recovered from the kick and sat up straight. Pulling something from his pocket he laid it on the table. “It’s a gift from me to you two.”
Matt looked at it but made no move to take it. Andrew eyed Cade briefly. “Where is it?”
“Take it back and find you a girl to go with. Matt and I are not going anywhere in the meantime.”
Was he crazy to deny a trip to France? Matt grabbed the tickets. “For us? That is so thoughtful of you. If Andrew doesn’t want to go with me can I take a friend? I mean it would be a waste to not go don’t you think so?”
Cade looked from Matt to Andrew and repeated that movement once more. “Well, I guess…I mean if Andrew…” It was awkward to say the least for Cade. He didn’t think it would be a complicated issue as far as a trip goes.
Andrew yanked the tickets from Matt and placed it in front of Cade. “I decide where we go and when.” He turned to Matt.
“Honeymoon is going to have to wait.”
“Cade had already bought it, it’ll be a waste. You don’t have to go with me if you don’t want to. I’m sure Zuri would love to go. Yes, that settles it.” Matt took the tickets back from Cade.
Andrew held Matt’s hand with her clutching the tickets. “No, Matt, it is not settled the way you want it to be.” He tore her fingers away. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you.” Shoving the tickets in his pocket he calmly sat there, finishing his drink before continuing with Matt and Cade staring on. “I’m not playing this push and pull game with you because of a trip.” Andrew got up. “I’ll return it to you later Cade. And no more trips to anywhere.” He threw Matt one last look before walking off.
“Your friend is crazy.” Matt kept her eyes on Andrew.
Matt stepped out the store and turned her head looking around when a man from nowhere ran right into her knocking her easily to the ground. Her purse fell off her shoulder, her knees scraped she couldn’t react fast enough when someone pulled her up and reached for her purse at the same time.
Her face twisted in pain, from the skin on her knees breaking and a small blood ran down on one knee.
“Are you badly hurt?” Matt lifted her head and the man looked familiar.
“I remember you.” She said taking her purse from his hand.
“Nice to meet you again, Matt.” Mac looked down to her knees. “The one on the left looks pretty bad.”
“I have no idea what happen. One minute I am standing the next I found myself on the ground.”
He lowered his head inspecting the wound, when he saw the blood he took out his handkerchief and wiped it gently.
“Ouch!” Matt tried to pull her leg away but Mac dabbed on it until the blood was no longer visible.
She tried to straighten herself up instead she stumble a little forward Mac took a hold of her arm and steady her.
“Come with me, I’ll walk you to the store over there.” He pointed to one across the street. “They should have something for your knees.”
“No problem.” Mac smiled. “What are you doing so early at this side of town?”
“Buy something for Zuri.”
“Zuri.” Mac tested the name on his lips, “Interesting name.”
Matt limped along side Mac, with him occasionally trying to support her with his hand on her back all the while she felt someone was watching them. She turned around but didn’t see anything suspicious, though she can’t shake off the feeling that someone truly did.
Andrew sat in his office with the mail stacking up needing his attention. He looked at the clock that made a ticking noise and it was quarter past five, Matt is not home yet. He reached for his phone to see if he had missed any of her calls but none came from her.
He grabbed the mail and went through them when he came across a thick yellow envelope. He looked at it curiously as to what it was. Turning it around when the door to his office open, Matt stuck her head slowly inside.
“Where have you been?” Andrew asked but his eyes didn’t leave the envelope in his hand.
“I have some errands to run.” She stepped inside his office and closed the door behind her.
Andrew opened the envelope, taking his time like it was something he should have left un-open but at the same time he couldn’t avoid it. When he pulled what felt like pictures to him out, his eyes turned violently dangerous even Matt stepped away with her back landed squarely against the wall.
Andrew’s hand began to shake when he went through the pictures one by one. The fire was burning so high and hot he could kill someone and not think twice about it. He got up knocking things in his way to the ground. His pulse racing, when his eyes met Matt, she wanted to run, that was how dangerous Andrew became to her.
“What the hell is this?” He held the photos up, acting like Matt could see what kind of pictures that was. When she didn’t answer he yelled louder. “What the hell is this?!”
“I don’t…I don’t know what you are talking about?” She stumbled and backed herself to the door touching the knob she held it trying to turn it slowly.
“Don’t you dare, if you run I will hunt you down.”
Matt had seen Andrew upset, when she first burst inside the church but that was a pale comparison to what she is witnessing right now. His eyes were black and thunderous his body was in such a rage she was actually scared of him for the first time.
She saw the way he control his walking, it was too slow of a pace for her to feel any comfort. She lowered her eyes to his hand and it looked like it was coming after her throat. It was little relief to her when she saw a twitched at the corner of his lips. He was coming for her and she had to find a way out. Whatever he saw, it created a monster one she wished to not have to deal with.
She turned grabbing a hold of the door and tried to swing it open, when Andrew kick it shut, pulling her by the arm he shoved her deeper inside the room and closed the door, locking her in. A new set of panic rushed in and she frantically looked around for an escape and it was nonexistence.
“This is what you have been doing?” The thickness of his voice didn’t hide his anger. It was too much for him to even try.
Andrew threw the pictures at her, it fell to the ground scattering around her feet. She looked down and bent to pick one up, what she saw rendered her shocked she shook her head in disbelieve. Who is out to get her? The pictures were from early morning when Mac had helped her with her knees. Who would go the length of following her and rushed the photos so Andrew could have it in his hands by evening time?
“You have been enjoying your time with Mac.” He wasn’t accusing her but stated more of a fact.
She opened her mouth to argue that isn’t so, but looking at the pictures, there was no way she could make him see it otherwise. His judgment was clouded by his anger and any reasoning with him probably would ignite a new flame that would painfully do more damage.
The picture fell from her hand landing right on her foot she kicked it to the side.
Andrew walked over to his desk. “Damn it.” He fists banged on it so loudly it made Matt jumped.
“You are mistaken.” She tried to steady her voice but it came out shaky still. Matt saw the way he lowered his head, perhaps to collect himself before speaking, though the tense in his body indicate it hadn’t help.
“Are you playing me for a fool, leaving your husband at home and finding time to spend it with another man?”
The statement chilled her because his voice was so low too soft for it to be just a casual question.
“Answer me!” If his tone wasn’t enough to persuade her that he had gone completely mad, he flipped the desk over sending every little piece of articular along with all the decorations tumbling and crashing to the floor.
She didn’t waste time in standing around waiting for his next move, she turned and headed for the door again, this time almost succeed in getting it open, when she felt his strong, steel arm grabbed her by the waist and yanked her so roughly she ended up on the other side of the room.
“I didn’t meet Mac anywhere he was helping me when a stranger ran into me.”
She tried, Matt had to at least give it a shot but he advanced on her like a storm chasing the blue sky away. It was intimidating, alarming and downright scary. Her eyes moved everywhere looking desperately to get away from him. She took a step to the side but it was no use. Andrew’s fingers dug into her arm, making her winced.
“What has he gotten from you so far?” The mock in his voice almost made her gag. What was she, a girl that goes around throwing herself at the next man?
Matt clenched her jaw when his fingers dug deeper into her skin she wanted to yell out. Forcing the pain away she thought of sitting on the beach with Zuri, reading their favorite books.
“Did he get farther with you than I have as your husband?” His breath traveled down her neck made it harder for her to ignore his closeness. She could feel the warmth of it and the smell of his cologne mixture of masculinity and rain.
“Nothing happens between us.”
“Nothing, so the wife says. The pictures must have been a lie then?” His eyes sweep her body, like a vulture ready to eat its meal.
“Let go of me. I see now that Lana is not to blame who would want to be with a man that is insane one moment and likeable the next. Who can tolerate such a person?” Matt didn’t know the whole truth of his relationship with Lana but with him ready to kill her, she’s sure Andrew was more at fault than Lana was.
Andrew’s jaw tightened so hard, the words Matt said was like a slap.
“Tell me, did Mac get to kiss you yet?”
“Damn it, you stop it.”
“Or did he get a more intimate exposure?”
She tried to free her arm but she couldn’t. Matt did what she thought best, she stomped on his foot and that cause him to let go of her arm. But if she thought it would buy her some time to get out of his office she was sadly mistaken. She made it no more than two steps when he grabbed a hold of her shirt, a good handful of it and pulled on it so hard, two buttons came loose. Her shirt now hung over one side of her shoulder. She pulled it back, holding it tight with her hand, she glared at him.
“No man should have a right to you other than me.”
“I am not an object to any fool out there.”
“But you are mine.” He said it like a caress causing her to stand up straight holding her shirt more securely.
“I am not yours, less than five months I am free. And you will be nothing but a stranger to me.” She tilted her chin to him.
Andrew could see the defiant in her, she would have done him proud in a different situation but this was not one of them and he will show her this time there is no way out. She had pushed him too far, he’s ready to fall off the cliff and take her with him.
“Free to do what? To run into Mac’s arms, keep on dreaming.”
Just as soon as the words left him, she didn’t know how he did it, but she found her hands hung loosely on her sides and her shirt was hanging around her shoulder, exposing one bare side.
She quickly reached to pull back her shirt when Andrew brushed her hand to the side, replacing his hand with her, a finger tracing her shoulder in circle as if he can’t decide what he wanted to do next.
“I will take what’s rightfully mine before Mac gets a chance at you next.”
Matt acted like he just punched her in the stomach with a powerful blow she took a deep breath and held it. She wanted to scratch his eyes out for making her out to be a piece of meat he could share and passed it to the next hungry man.
His fingers toyed with her shirt briefly before it caught up with another button he traced it around before he unbuttoned it.
His mood changed into something she is not aware of. Whatever that may be she didn’t care, she needed to get out and fast before it was too late. When he reached for the next button she shoved him so hard he tumbled backward and landed on the floor. Matt jumped away and rushed to the door, but Andrew got up and tackled her from behind. She went flying with him on top of her.
She saw the blackness in his eyes he was not the same person. He pinned her down with his legs trapping her she could not even budge from her spot. One hand behind her head, he grabbed a handful of her hair stilling her as if she could even make a move to anywhere. The other hand, he held her chin to him.
“I am tired of playing games with you. No man is going to take what is mine, never again!” He bent his head aiming for her lips.
“Please don’t do it. I would never betray you that way. I see the pain in my mom’s eyes every time I look at her. You have to believe me.” She rushed her words out. She closed her eyes afraid it was too late, when everything around her stopped.
Andrew’s head dropped, she felt his lips touched her neck. His breathing was fast but his heartbeat was even faster. The hand he had in her hair hadn’t loosened but his body slumped on hers. He lay on top of her without making a movement, but she felt him all the same. Her legs kept straight, her arms to the sides she wasn’t sure what to do next.
A minute when by, she felt his breathing came back to normal. His breath was no longer a fire burning her skin but a cool air touching it. He made no hurry to remove his lips from her neck. He turned and his head buried itself deeper. His hand slowly untangled from her hair but reluctantly.
She stirred underneath him but his lips bit into her neck it made her stopped. She turned her head away, her eyes on the door she remained as still as possible.
A long moment later Andrew pulled himself away from Matt, looking down at her lying under him was a sight he thought wouldn’t have been. But it was for the wrong reason. She looked puzzled by his actions and then when he moved slightly he saw fear.
Her hair was wildly free his hand still touched the tip of it. Her eyes refused to look at him but he won’t force it on her to do so. She was lucky that in the midst of him losing control she was able to say the few words that made him stop. If it was some other ones beside those he would have taken her right on the floor in his office. He cursed so profoundly that a sailor would have been so proud of him.
Rolling off of her he sat by her side. Matt attempted to sit up but it took her longer than expected. Andrew saw the way she had trouble with her shirt, he grabbed her shoulders. She tried to push him away, but he held her hand in his.
“I’m trying to help.” He pulled her shirt together, seeing that it was going to be as good as it gets he went back to his spot.
Matt held onto her shirt and brushed her hair away. She sat there in silent.
“Leave, go to your room and lock the door. Even if I beg you to open don’t do it.” He didn’t even look at her.
Matt didn’t have to be told twice. She stood up ran to the door and close it behind her. She heard something crash inside his office follow by a few more curses and another crash. Matt leaned against the door and closed her eyes.
Out of all the things Andrew had done to her this was one time she should have cried but she found no desire to do such a thing. Instead she walked to her room, almost dreamlike clutching onto her shirt.
Matt and Zuri sat watching the people around the bar, men trying to pick women up and some women looked just as eager. But a place such as a bar or a club, one should not expect a woman to be on their best behavior.
Matt’s eyes scanned the upscale place, she liked it. It was a decent size where there’s room to walk around without touching each other. The few tables they have were romantically decorated with candles and something next to it that smell like pie and berry, which kind of made her hungry.
She tapped Zuri’s shoulder when she spotted a man, suave looking walking up to a woman that sat by herself. They both watched in interest how it played out, but it didn’t take them long for a laugh to break out when the man walked away, shrugging his shoulders he went on and search for his next victim.
“This place is nice,” Matt said taking a sip of her drink. Something Zuri had ordered for her, a bit of a fruity taste and stronger alcohol. It’s a great combination to a disaster result. The moment it hits her throat it burned.
“You should be going home soon. Andrew is going to get upset if you show up drunk.”
“Don’t care.” Matt turned her head and listened to the soft music.
“What is going on with your marriage?”
“Nothing, he’s just proving me right as the days goes on. Any more I think I’m going to play the lottery and be one rich girl.” Matt took another drink, bigger than the first and coughed.
“Matt, take it slow. You are going to end up crawling on four soon.”
Matt didn’t want to take it slow. Tonight she was going to let loose. All the things happening in her life, just for one night she is trying everything to forget it. Especially forget a husband that had scared her. Yes, she could not block the image of Andrew, with his eyes dark as the night staring at her. The way he laid on top of her, with his body tense and…she took another big drink of the alcohol and this time it made her felt good.
She looked over Zuri’s shoulder and caught a man walking in, his tall form, with a body beautifully built. His face was handsome but different than the typical handsome. In the slightly dark room, he was like a…she waved over to Mac.
Mac smiled and found his way to them, not eagerly sitting himself down he leaned in and tried to talk over the music, “hi, Matt.”
“Hi…Mac.” She smiled girlishly as the alcohol starting to kick it.
Mac briefly landed his eyes on Zuri but made no introduction. He turned to Matt instead waiting for her to do that, as if catching on she obliged.
“Zuri, this is Mac.” Matt lifted her head to Mac, who seemed taller by the second. “Mac, this is my pretty little friend.”
Zuri made a sound of annoyance by the introduction.
Mac then turned to Zuri and made his inspection on Matt pretty little friend. So this was the Zuri she mentioned. She isn’t just pretty she was interesting with her curly hair that wasn’t just the simple type curl, but the look-at-me kind of curl that automatically grabbed his attention. Wait a second, where is he heading at? He is not looking to be in a relationship not with anyone especially a tiny girl with big curly hair and round eyes that made her that much unique looking to him.
“Are you done staring?” Zuri said in a flat tone. “Anywhere else you would like to look?”
Matt laughed and Mac caught off guard stood blinking.
“Zuri, is a sweetheart but her mouth just like mine gets carried away sometimes. Join us won’t you?” Matt pulled a chair from a nearby table before Mac had a chance to respond. Patting it none too gently. “Here, keep us company for a bit.” Matt was beginning to feel tipsy and she had a feeling one more drink was going to completely get her drunk. She waved happily to waiter, “another one please.”
Zuri shook her head. The night was going to be long and if the man named Mac isn’t going to stop staring at her like she has two heads and another set of eyes, she was going to drown herself in a couple of more drinks. She noticed he tried not to look her way but when he thinks she’s not paying attention his eyes came back to her. Oh, yes, she will need another drink to clear her mind of a man that seemed to want a piece of her.
Zuri finally persuaded Matt that the night had to end, driving her up to the front of Andrew’s house she touched Matt’s arm. “Are you going to be OK?”
Matt nodded, but it was wobbly, reaching for the door she missed it at first.
“Matt, I should walk you in just in case.”
“No…No…No…I will be just fine.” She smiled putting on her best sober face. “I am not drunk, perhaps tipsy not drunk.” She hiccupped.
“You are wasted. This is the first time you ever had any alcohol and to try and convinced me otherwise would be a failure.”
“O…OK.” Matt agreed and kicked the door opened with one leg and hopped out, almost fell face forward when one foot landed unevenly.
Zuri reached out acting as if she could catch Matt. “I’m fine.” Matt threw her head back and laughed quickly. “Go now.” She shut the door and hit the top of the car.
Zuri watched Matt walked to the door before taking off.
Matt leaned forward trying to see the locked with its numbers. They started to look alike. Punching it with blind faith she heard it beep. Wrong.
She sighed and tried again, once again her fingers were going all over the numbers and another beep came to her ears. Crap.
Hitting her face, shaking her head she steady herself before trying for the third time. She leaned in and paused. “It has…yes, it has to…”She didn’t get to finish when she finally got the code and the lock turning.
She thought to herself, sticking her head inside the house she took her boots off. “I can’t be dragging and making so much noise.” She tiptoed inside, in the dark.
“Glad you make it back home.”
Matt stopped and she swayed. Where the hell is he?
She turned around but connecting the voice to the body to its exact location became increasingly hard. The darkness isn’t helping the least bit. She took a step forward and pause another step and pause. By the rate she is going, she might as well throw herself on the floor and call it a night.
“It’s almost one in the morning I thought you forgot where you live.” Matt heard the dripping of sarcasm and even if she’s drunk, not that she is she could detect it like bee to honey.
“I…well…who says…”Great, Matt thought, what was it that she wanted to say? She became absentminded and her feet are starting to get weaker. Whatever he wanted Andrew better hurry up because she is losing to the feeling of sleep.
Matt made for another escape and hit her knee on the edge what to her is like a table. She made a sound of agony but proceeded to move forward.
Then all the lights came on, covering her eyes she groaned.
“Where have you been?”
She is starting to hate that one particular question.
“Did you not hear what I just asked you?’
She did, loud and a little unclear but answering him was what she didn’t want to do and she didn’t. She stumbled here and there touching her foot to the first step of the stairs.
“You better not go further.”
She took another shaky step.
“Make it your last one.”
She hopped to the next.
“I have the key to your room.”
She turned knowing she wasn’t going to win as usual. What she saw was surprised on his face and she smiled all warm and once again in a girly but flirtatious way.
Andrew didn’t move from his place, he watched as she forced herself to stay in one place but it was obvious she’s failing. He sense the way she smiled with her head moving side to side like she is trying to find something that isn’t there.
“You are drunk.”
Matt shook her head in denial, making her way to him like she was dancing to a piece of music that she couldn’t find a rhythm to, she stopped in front of his face, too close to his face.
“Who says that I am drunk?”
“I just did.”
“Well, mister you are so wrong.” She lifted a finger at him, it was moving even when she didn’t want it to. Her eyes followed it.
“The hell you are not. You can’t even stay still. Why are you drunk?”
“I told you…”She paused, smiling too happily she continued. “How can I be drunk when I have two…” She lifted three fingers.
The whole day he waited to talk to her, to apologize if nothing else for what had transpired in his office. But looking at her in her state of drunkenness it was better if found a wall to talk to, by morning she probably couldn’t even remember how she made it home.
“How was your…day…?” Matt took a small step forward.
“Not as good as yours.”
She laughed and with another wobbly step she was completely connected to him. Matt wrapped her arms around his neck. Andrew inhaled deeply. The way she rubbed herself on him, with her breasts touching the thin material of his shirt, he gritted his teeth. Why does he get turned on by her at the worst moment?
Matt found his ear and start nibbling on it.
“Sweetheart, this is not working.” He pulled her away, breathing hard. Great!
Her hand came to his head threading her fingers through his hair she made a sound that even a saint can’t help but feel the sensation so powerful that made his body burn for her.
“Matt, any more sexy moves from you I’m going to have to take you upstairs.” He felt her lips moved in a smiled teasing him. “Stop nibbling my ear.” He finally pulled her away.
Andrew just noticed her skirt that now is inching up way too high over her thighs, her shirt revealing, that if she bent down just a little, her breasts would have been flying out. Her hair, teased and half way pinned up. Her eyes were dark of eyeliner and her lips, bloody red.
“What are you wearing?”
Matt’s eyes closed and she titled backward a bit, catching herself she came forward almost bump into Andrew, smiling for her clumsiness she looked up with half shut eyes.
“These are Zuri’s clothes. And those are her boots.” She thrusts a finger to the black boots that slept soundly, like Matt is longing for right now.
Andrew reached to cup one side of her face. Matt grabbed a hold of his hand to steady her feet more than anything else. He touched her lips with his thumb at first slowly caressing it from one side to the other. Matt sighed, almost making it sound like a small moan. Andrew lowered his head but somehow that action caused him to press her lips with his thumb harshly, Matt opened her eyes to him.
“Hey, watch it!” She managed to sound angry.
“Your lips are ugly with the red.” He wiped off her lipstick until it looked to be a paler blood stain. Looking at his thumb now covered in red, he looked for something to wipe it off.
Andrew grabbed her shirt and wiped her lipstick from his thumb away, that cause her to pull back if not for holding onto his hand, she would have found herself flat butt first on the floor. She came back to Andrew.
“I…do…don’t like you.” She slurred and jammed a finger at his chest.
He looked at her finger before catching Matt’s eyes with his.
“So, you’ve told me.”
“You have ruined a lot of things for me.” She touched the tip of his nose with her finger when it was gearing for his eye, he grabbed it still.
“Be careful now, I don’t want you to blind me.” He brushed it away.
“You…” She leaned forward, putting her hands on his chest to braced herself and pushed back a little. “You took…”A paused, her eyes closed. “You took my first kiss.” Another paused and a small laugh rang out in the big room of the hallway. She took an unsteady step to the left.
Andrew shook his head and caught her waist bringing her back to face him.
Matt brought her finger back to his face, but her hand had no more strength she dropped it. And within matter of seconds, she smacked herself right into Andrew. He grabbed her arms and held her away.
“I didn’t like what …you…” She nodded her weak head up and down, “did to me in…there.” She lifted her finger to his office.
“I’m sorry.” He finally apologized and meant it.
“Sorry,” she made it sound like the word was foreign. “You are sorry?” She asked.
“I am.” He saw how her eyes closed shaking her head as to clear it she opened it.
“He said he’s sorry.” She turned her head to the side as if someone other than them was standing around. “That mister…” Her body limped, he loosened his hold on her arms and traded place with her waist pulling her upright.
“I saw Mac…uh-huh, the guy you don’t like.”
Andrew almost dropped her.
“He’s kind of…nice.”
“Is he now?”
“Yes…Yes...” She smiled dreamily. “He...he’s not you.”
“What did you guys do?”
Even if he didn’t want to know he couldn’t help himself.
“We…”She hiccupped. “We…”Another smiled came with her eyes increasingly going extremely heavy. “I don’t know.” She shook her head.
“You don’t know or you don’t want to tell.”
“That wasn’t a joke.”
“Yes, but…”She started swaying more and her body slumped.
Matt forced her eyes to open with all she got, looking up to Andrew she reached out and touched his cheek. A sound like a growl or something so Andrew, Matt thought left his beautiful lips. She patted his cheek a bit hard. He tried to turn his head away to escape the patting. That took him away from Matt momentarily and she took the opportunity to throw herself at him with full strength. He wasn’t fast enough to catch her, when they both tumbled to the floor.
Matt lay on top of him, as if she is on top of her bed, snuggling her head to his neck she let out a satisfaction sigh. Andrew on the other hand, was in pain from his head connected to the hard floor.
Matt managed to lift her body up a little bit and looked at him. But it was enough to make Andrew let out a sound because her breasts were right in his face and to make matter worst she started to move, without realizing it rubbing herself against him. Looking at her, apologizing isn’t even close to the proximity. His mind was thinking of a soft bed that required them to be naked.
“Matt.” His voice strain and short, he held her head in his hands. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to… umm…rub on me at this moment. It’s hard to concentrate on why I waited for you in the first place.”
“You don’t want me?” She teased him by leaning her face closer.
Oh, she’s going to regret this night.
Andrew tried, sure but he was just a man. After all he's her husband and has the right to look, so looked he did. And his eyes went to her chest again. He became alive, every inch of his body and that’s an exaggerated understatement.
“I don’t think you like my answer, not when you are still moving up and down on me like that. And what is it with the ear?”
It seemed when Matt is drunk she is obsessed with his ear.
“I…hmmm…love your ear.”
“I’ll never let you forget tonight.” He said under his breath which is shortening itself the longer she is on top of him. He grabbed her hips with both hands to halt her movement.
“Do you find me attractive?” Her eyes fluttered then her head dropped, her lips briefly touched his cheek. Her hair covering his face, he took in a handful and held it to the side.
“I always find you attractive even if you send me fuming from ear to ear. Even when you are drunk and look like a circus clown, you are still the pretty girl I see.” He looked into her eyes that seemed to blank out on him for a second.
Matt Put her hands on his shoulders and pushed herself up straddling him. Andrew cursed.
Matt eyes opened a fraction bigger. Who is calling her Angel? Only her mom calls her that. Her head is swimming around and around.
“You can’t sit on me like that and wiggle your hips.” He’s not sure he could lay under her any longer.
Matt touched a finger to his lips. He tried to get up, when she pushed down on his chest and once again he found himself where he started, on the floor looking at a girl that is so tempting but he couldn’t have at least not when she’s out of her mind with alcohol.
“When morning comes, you wish you never have a lick of alcohol.” Andrew paused. Lick might not be the correct word when she’s positioning herself in a way that made his mind thinking of doing just that.
“Can we kiss?”
“Matt, you need to get up. I can’t take it anymore.”
When all he got was a half smiled and her eyes closed. He pulled her back to lay on top of him with her head buried in his neck. Wasn’t much better but at least she stopped moving on him.
Andrew made an effort to control his breathing it was so damn difficult when all the thought was what he could do with Matt. He turned his head a cold shower is needed immediately after this.
Before he’s able to let his frustration show with her, she rolled off of him. He reached for her but only their fingertips touched.
“Hmm…” Matt moved her fingers a little and stretched her arm out, finding Andrew’s hand she held onto it like it was a life saver.
“You are not going to fall asleep on me are you?”
And with that Matt couldn’t fight the sensation of falling to a place that have a bed for her.
Her eyes closed, her lips shut she passed out. Andrew felt her fingers slipping losing its strength he made a grabbed for it and held it tightly not ready to let go.
Andrew sat patiently waiting for Matt. He knew if he bothered her early in the morning nothing productive was going to come out of it. She’ll probably in no mood to discuss anything or at least the things that he wanted to say to her.
That brought him back to last night. God should have given him some brownie points for being such a good boy. Because his body was damning him from night till morning for not obeying it, he has never had a more torturous night. It almost made him laugh out loud lusting over his wife and her within an arm reach, he couldn’t even have. For Andrew, having that one forbidden fruit will be the death of him. Somewhere in the distance he heard laughter of how funny the joke is about this marriage. But a million wrongs and countless excuses was not going to make him forget her body on his.
Wasn’t this part of marriage supposed to be the best? Where sex can happen anytime of the day and both would enjoy it? He’s not going to blame his body for being on alert when Matt walked inside a room. Any man with full vision would see how attractive she is.
How was he supposed to stand the next few months?
He heard her walked down then paused as if realizing he was sitting there. He looked up at that point, her eyes to him for no longer than a couple of seconds when he saw the way her head turn to her right as if seeking out her room, he got up quickly and this time made sure she doesn’t have a chance to run from him. And it’s high time they have a conversation and refusing him at this point was not an option.
“Matt, even if you go to one side of the world and back if I wanted to find you I will have you not learn that yet?”
She wasn’t the greatest of all the fools out there not to have learned a simple lesson as that. But the girl in her still hope for that one taste of victory where she can fully claim, that if she desired to go, the world is a big enough of a place to hide her. Right?
She looked at Andrew through her eyelashes. Wrong.
“At least you are standing up straight this morning.”
“Where’s your mom?” She asked skirting around the subject to avoid it like a pimple on her behind where she can’t reach but it hurts like hell.
“Mom is giving us time to be husband and wife, as her absent should have been a clue. She thinks about the falling in love, babies and riding into sunset whichever part of the universe she wants it to be.”
“Do you remember what happened last night?” There was a slight tease in his voice that made Matt looked around for a hole big enough to swallow her up, if not at least her head so he doesn’t have to see the redness on her face that looked like a laser light trying to find a spot to land on.
He changed course and became serious. “Before I get to that, I’m sorry for what happened inside that office. The past is a shitty place to go back to when it’ll make you turn into a monster.”
An apology with a foul word, such romantic was her husband.
“I really am. I’ll never force you into such a thing like that. If something ever happen between us, it’ll be you coming to me willingly.”
Now wait a minute buddy….who says that sex was a part of the deal?
Andrew stared at her long and hard as if waiting for her to say something.
“Sex.” She laughed, like the word tickled her funny bone. “No sex, no baby and no sunset.”
But why did she feel her heart is a little misplaced by her statement.
Andrew stood straight smiling like a secret he knew and dying to share. “Last night you were quite ready.”
Matt paled what had she done? As if reading her reaction Andrew came closer. “Not only you threw yourself at me but somehow my ear became such an attraction that I was having a hard time getting you to stay away from it.” The corner of his mouth lifted and soon spread into a smile that she found it kind of cute if she wasn’t too caught up in her own embarrassment.
“I did no such thing.”
Alcohol was not a problem solver, Matt doesn’t care who it was that thought it to be so…it was a convincing lie.
“Oh, that wasn’t even the worst.”
“There’s more?” Her voice lost its sound.
“A lot more,” He stopped there waiting for her.
“Like…like…what more?” She was going to die if he keeps on teasing her a little at a time. Her face red she looked past him.
“You were on top of me, wiggling that pretty hips of yours…” Andrew tilted her chin to him. Once again, his playfulness wiped clean. “If you ever get drunk, don’t do it around anyone but me. You are too flirtatious for your own good. I don’t want to have to kill anyone for taking advantage of you.”
“Did you undress me?”
He shrugged. “Kind of have to, so you would be more comfortable.”
“You saw me naked?” She swallowed. Yes, it was worse than she thought.
She closed her eyes. No more drinking for her.
“Matt, I’m your husband I don’t see the big deal.”
She felt his finger touching her jawline and ever if she wanted to or not, she squirm and an awareness shot right through her.
“Not a big deal?”
“So if we decided to further the relationship and I ended up pregnant what then?”
Not that it’s ever going to get that far. Sex is complicated…too complicated for her to untangle herself from. Emotionally she has to be invested in a whole lot to get there.
“The marriage stays put.”
“We’ll work something out.” He responded easily.
“Just like that?”
“Just like that.”
Matt opened her mouth to let him know how much “just like that” irked her only to stop when his fingers ran down her neck, resting under her chin slightly lifting it up. “Look at me, Matt.”
As if under a spell she did just that. “No child of mine is going to grow up without me. If I have to fight tooth and nail to let his or her mother agree to a relationship I will. I’ll do whatever it takes I don’t play games when it comes to that.”
She heard the passion in his voice. He might be a lousy husband to her from time to time but deep within her she has a feeling he would be a great father. Oh, no.
Changing the subject she willed her mind from the topic. “So nothing happen between us last night then?” She wanted to shoot herself. Now she’s back to making an idiot out of herself again.
Andrew gave that smile, half tease and half serious. And her heart leapt a mile away. “If I wanted to take you I would have last night. It was one of the easiest tasks and you wouldn’t even remember. But what’s the fun of having such thing to be forgotten. When it happens I want you to remember every detail.”
Matt paused and breathed a bit too hard from what he said. “I really threw myself at you?” She looked at him hopefully it was a lie.
“Oh.” Stupid girl.
“I wasn’t complaining.” He smiled and lowered his head to her. “In fact, you kept me up all night last night. Even a cold shower didn’t quite help me out that long.”
“Oh.” Another one came out and it seemed that was all she could manage. His breath caressed her cheek and softly touched her lips.
Matt didn’t know how it was possible to not notice it but she was caught up in the way his lips closed in on hers and the desire in his eyes. His hands went to her waist and held it tightly moving her to the wall.
“You asked me a question last night that I didn’t get to answer.”
“What is it?” She didn’t look up any further because his lips are at the corner of hers now.
“Can we can kiss?”
Matt opened her eyes not believing her ears. Was she that brave to ask such a thing? Being drunk sucks!
“And the answer is yes.”
Andrew didn’t have to move any more since his lips were touching hers but to make sure he looked at Matt in case she back out, but when she closed her eyes and her hands touched his shirt as if to steady herself he took her lips.
Matt hung onto his shirt tighter. Because it was not like the other kisses she had experienced with him before. No, this was in a league of its own. It was filled with want, hunger and possessiveness. She heard a sound deep in his throat and she found herself up against the wall even more. Andrew touched her neck gently and held her there tilting her to one side. He needed more but how much more he was afraid to know. All he knew was the kiss wasn’t enough.
Matt sigh and her lips parted and he went deeper inside her mouth if at all possible and his hunger seemed to intensify with each touch. She loosened her grip on his shirt and wrapped her arms around his neck pulling him to her.
“Matt.” She heard her name but she couldn’t answer, not when his tongue is doing something that she found intoxicating.
He pulled away from her lips and she felt a lost, protesting it she closed her eyes. He smiled at her disappointment. But it didn’t last long when he started, to kiss down her neck. Those butterfly kisses did more than she thought, her stomach was tightened and she felt only Andrew could make it better. She arched her back and rolled her head to one side, giving him full access of her throat or whatever he needed. It might have been wrong since their relationship isn’t defined in whichever way but yet it is so right to be in his arms.
And before her thoughts ran around he came back to claimed her mouth in such eagerness she lost all sense in thinking. His hand sliding under her shirt when something buzzed, Andrew ignored it nothing is more important than what he’s doing now. Matt tried to reach inside his pocket to retrieve the phone but Andrew held her hand still.
“Don’t touch me any lower than my waist.” He warned.
He continued to explore her skin under her shirt. What is it that she needs? The burning never stopped and the wanting only created more confusion.
The phone buzzed again, and Matt made another attempt to reach inside his pocket. Andrew grabbed her hands, pulling himself away from her regrettable he looked at her.
Both were panting from what they had done.
He took the phone out and saw a number that he didn’t recognize but he answered anyway considering it didn’t stop. Whoever it is has to have a good reason for disturbing him in the middle of a kiss.
“Hello.” He growled. He listened to the woman on the other line and he tensed. “She doesn’t have any other friends?” Andrew turned to Matt whom is still up against the wall, her lips swollen from the kiss, her shirt a little out of place he had never seen a more beautiful sight.
Matt couldn’t move even if she wanted to. She kept her eyes on Andrew.
“What is it that you want me to do?” He waited for the answer impatiently. “I’ll be there.” He hung up the phone and cursed.
She wanted to ask who it was for him to react like that but decided to keep her mouth closed.
“Lana is sick. It was one of her neighbor that called.” He knew that it sounded wrong even when it left his lips.
One minute they were sharing a passionate kiss, the other Matt looked like she can’t get away from him fast enough. He saw the hurt in her eyes. Andrew was sure she didn’t want to reveal it in front of him and he was sorry it had to turn out this way. She just didn’t know how bad he wanted to continue what they started and finish it upstairs. The thought made him took a step toward her only to have Matt took a step away.
“I’ll never get back with her.”
But you’ll go to her still, same difference.
“Just tell me you don’t want me to go and I won’t. Just say it.” Now he sounded like a fool, asking something he had an idea what the answer is.
“History, sometimes are meant to be repeated.” She choked out.
Matt turned her head and pulled herself from the wall, she took no more than three steps when she heard the door closed behind her.
When Andrew first entered Lana’s apartment she looked like a broken doll. She was shaking, vomiting and crying that he thought would never ease up. He had never witnessed anything close to the emotional damaged that she presented to him at the moment.
She acknowledged him weakly at first, the tears shining brightly on her cheeks told him there’s a very ugly history behind them. He waited with arms crossed over his chest not quite knowing what to do or rather say to comfort her pain. It’s one of those moments where if you say something wrong, it triggered another set of pain.
He walked away and went to her kitchen, rummaging through her pantry to see if there’s tea to be made. The least he thought he could do and truthfully to get away from those eyes that he left years ago. A person’s eyes he believed can be most people’s soul. And Lana’s soul right now is one hell of a messed up one.
“Here you go.”
“Thank you Andrew.” Her voice left from the crying was hoarse and low.
After an hour Andrew watched Lana sipped the warm tea it must have done her some good the color on her face began to return. The way her white nightgown loosely cover her up, with her hair tucked to one side of her ear, her face sadly looking down made her look like a little girl stuck in a woman’s body.
“Thanks for coming.” She said quietly.
“Didn’t have much of a choice, your neighbor was quite convincing and really dramatic.” And my wife didn’t stop me.
“How did Matt end up snatching you away?”
Andrew wasn’t ready to let the dirt out of the word dirty yet, so the pretty little lie will be just that for now.
“It’s a long story, one day when things settles down I’ll let you know.”
“It is one of those stories where you’re able to pass it down from generation to generation?” Her lips curled and down it came again after another taste of her tea that has gotten bitter all of a sudden.
“I’ll let her know how lucky she is to have married you.”
“Wouldn’t do you any good,” he sounded confident so much so that Lana couldn’t help but question him through her somewhat blurry eyes.
Andrew stretched his legs at least the chair was very comfortable. He wondered why Mac wasn’t the first person she contacted. Throughout his absent in her life Mac remained as close to her as he remembered. “Was Mac not available?”
“Out of town for the day.”
Lana laid her tea down and stared at her hand, wishing the one thing she could hold especially today out of all days that would never be. Her eyes burned of what one person has the ability to do and robbed another of such precious joy. She hated him.
Andrew lifted his eyes to her. “Want to talk?’
She didn’t know where to begin but letting Andrew know how her life fell apart after him is about time. She laughed like a sound strangling her at first before staring straight.
“First off, if I was granted one wish it would have to go back when we first date. Thinking back on it it’s one of the happiest times of my life.” Her eyes went upward then back down staring at her hand again. “You might have a temper on you but you have never laid your hands on me, never disrespect me and given me all you could at the time.” She went straight to Andrew. “One of the biggest mistakes I have ever made.”
Andrew listened on talking now would only deter her from going straight to the point.
“I learned a very harsh lesson in the saying, you never know what you have until it’s gone.” Tears started to stream down her face.
Andrew sat still, looking at her with different eyes from years ago. Back then he would have leaned over and cup that face of hers and wiped it clean. Because he didn’t like the idea of anything tainting that smooth skin of hers, now he couldn’t budge from his little comfortable chair and offer her the same hand. His attention back to Lana, he watched her tiny fingers gingerly erase one tear drops at a time. As if she didn’t want it to completely leave her face making it a reminder of something that took her heart away.
“I wanted so much more from life, the one where a woman has it all. A career, a devoted husband and a couple of kids,” Another strange laughed came. Andrew is wondering what exactly happened to her to cause such reaction from someone as calm as Lana.
He leaned a bit forward.
“I met him before your father passed away. Do you know where I met him?”
Andrew didn’t answer. She went on. “Out of all the places I met him it is at the flower shop.” Her lips twisted in a way that made her look like a different person.
“He must have swept you off your feet.” Andrew didn’t even feel anything making the comment and wasn’t expecting to.
“He was charming, says the right thing at the right time. His ways with words was so hard to defend with. I feel in love with what I want to believe him to be in my eyes but not what he really is.”
Lana sagged a little and stared at her hands. Andrew became curious as to what her hands hold the answer to.
“He promised me everything I had ever dreamed of and more. You on the other hand, I have a clue where you stand. You never promise me marriage or a happy ending to anything. You were just you.”
“After I buried my father, I decided to ask you to marry me. When I watched his casket lowered to the ground I knew life was too short. I did love you then Lana. I was waiting for the right time to clear everything first before I propose. But unfortunately, by then your heart was no longer mine.” Andrew saw her face paled, she reached for her tea with her hands shaking drinking it slowly she let it slide down her throat closing her eyes from the pain in her heart she cried.
“I didn’t know.” She whispered.
“I came that day to your house to let you know I was ready to take the next step. But the moment I walked inside your house I knew you had slipped away from me.”
“I’m sorry.” She reached out to him but stop short when he leaned back in his chair as if her touch would hurt him somehow.
“What done is done,” he shrugged and stretched his legs. “Can’t take it back now can we?”
“Married now, Matt would kill me in my sleep if I stray.” He smiled and Lana knew at that moment he had found someone…the one.
A moment of silent and she folded her hands together attempting not to look at it. He just had to know.
“What is with your hands?”
One question that spoke more than a thousand words, she couldn’t fight it if she wanted to. “My child,” She said and buried her hands in her face.
Andrew didn’t blink, he stared at her like what she said was something so complicated that he couldn’t make out of. But he didn’t stop her from crying he knew she needed to get whatever it is out. He sat there and waited until the sob became just a sound and then the sound drained out.
“The bastard was the cruelest human being I have ever met. Not only did he cheat on me but he took the one thing that meant more to me than life itself.” She drifted off to that time. “On his way out the house, I caught him by the stairs telling him that I want a divorce. He slapped me and told me the only way was to pay him out. I refused because what he demanded I knew my father would not agree.”
She took in a breath.
“I threatened him that if his affairs did not stop he would not get a dime. He pretty much laughed in my face and said he’ll have any girls he want since I am not doing much for him at that point. I almost threw up but I had to reason with him because I was pregnant.”
Andrew looked at his wedding ring, not sure why but somehow it attracted his attention.
“I was so stupid I should have given him the world if I could stop what happen next. When he turn to go, I grabbed his arm and with one yank from him, I found myself tumbling down the stairs and lay there in my own blood, I knew the baby was gone and I died many times over that day. My so called husband did no more than to bend down at me and walked off, I would have killed him right at the spot if I could.”
“Lana.” Andrew stopped not sure what else to say.
“That’s my fairytale right there. Quite a happily ever after isn’t it?”
“No one deserves what you went through.”
A silent that stretched out between them hung like a rope that wasn’t ready to be cut loose. Andrew touched his neck, a sign that it’s almost time to leave. But one question he had to get out. “What happened to your ex-husband?”
Lana smiled so sweetly at first like a child, then her lips went up higher showing the woman side and all of sudden an evil grinned that took away the sweet girl he once knew. How she changed it all within a minute time frame left Andrew sadden.
Love in Lana’s case broke her completely.
“He’s in prison for murder.” She laughed and it was not a sound that Andrew long to hear again. “The animal deserves to rot in there.” She finished.
“He’s going to be a bitch to a man that’s more than an animal.”
“Not one ounce of pity coming from me.”
Andrew studied her in a way that he has never for all the years they have known each other.
“I hurt you and karma just happened to tripled up on me.” She wiped her tears. “I paid the price that tore me apart and not a day goes by I wish I could make that day happen again and done things differently. He could have taken everything I have if that child lives, everything Andrew.”
Andrew stood up. “Let it rest with the past. Looking back both of us would have done a lot of things differently.”
Lana lowered herself wrapped the blanket over her. “It hurts.”
He lowered his eyes to her. “I’m not going to stand here and pretend I know what you are going through because I don’t.”
“But you lost your father too.”
“I have many years with my father, besides I didn’t carry him in my stomach.”
Somehow that caused a giggle from Lana. “Andrew, thank you. I knew letting you go was a big lost but seeing you today only confirm it’s beyond measure.”
“Ah, Lana you are giving me too much credit. Matt thinks I am a living hell.”
“Oh, hope she doesn’t make the same mistake.”
The days seemed to wear on lazily but somehow two months said hello and goodbye faster than Matt would have liked. Things have changed between Matt and Andrew but if it’s for the better depend on which side of the coin is being looked at.
She shoved a spoonful of ice cream bigger than her mouth was able to take in and had to spit it back out in her bowl which only got a disgusted look from Zuri. Matt ignored her friend and aimlessly let her mind played back to the last two months.
She rarely saw Andrew could she fault him for that? Honestly, she couldn’t. His work had kept him busy majority of the time and she had her hands tied with the loose details of the charity. And the little time they did come across each other was him telling her that he’s seeing Lana.
Her head pounded slightly with that thought. Their relationship had made a turn, but one Matt didn’t quite like but had little power to change. She wanted to point a finger at him and accused him of seeing his ex-girlfriend but somehow her finger never lifted itself halfway. Because not once had he lied to her about what he was doing and where he was going. When he said, he’ll return home at a certain time, he kept his promise. So what was she to say?
And then there’s Mac. She had become close to him and through him the background of the three people that tangled up in her life shed a clear light. Unfortunately, between Mac and her husband Andrew was at fault.
She inhaled deeply as if her worry would disappear by itself and leave her alone but like everything else in her life, she couldn’t be that lucky.
Matt smiled longingly at the next memory. It was indeed one of the precious moments in the two months that didn’t amount to much. And that was the night time. She would be lying if she didn’t wait each day for the sun to set and the night to fall. Because night time became his unguarded moment with her and he did it without issuing a single word. Andrew would quietly walk inside her room, sat at the edge of her bed and watched her pretending to be asleep as if the silent between them was enough.
And he did that every single night at almost the exact time. But no matter what, her heat beat with excitement and eagerly awaited his visits. Though, last night visit was a strange one. He did not sit but stood watching her from afar. She heard his heavy breathing and his feet carrying him close to her bed but it abruptly stopped. Before she could even take the next breath the door closed gently behind her.
“I’m excited for next week. The charity event is going to be a blast. Your mom said there’s going to be a surprise, I wonder what it is?”
“Huh?” Zuri’s voice snapped Matt back to the present. “What did you say?” She asked guilty not hearing a word.
“Where have you been all this time?” Zuri licked her lips until the last trace of sweetness was gathered on her tongue. “Ice cream is better than any man out there. I tell you.” She laughed.
Better than my husband at least.
“You ok with Andrew?” Zuri asked casually. Her answer was written all over Matt’s face but she asked for the sake of a conversation anyhow.
“A marriage like mine, you can’t ask for much.” Matt couldn’t finish her ice cream since she had spit the extra from her mouth twice in the bowl.
Zuir pushed her empty bowl aside. “Open up a bit Matt, what do you have to lose? I’m not one of an expert or anything because I can’t seem to hold onto a man for the life of me.” She smiled at all her misfortune with the guys that ran in and out of her life. “But I think you are in a better shape than I am. Honestly, you managed to gain a husband without a whole lot of effort.”
Matt thought about it with a serious look.
“Is there anything that Andrew wants from you?”
“Yeah, maybe he wants to kick my ass for getting on his nerve.” Zuri cracked a smile. “I don’t have anything he wants.” Matt said in almost a hush tone.
Zuri was going to answer when the door jingled and someone walked in. She looked at Matt and her face lit up. Zuri slowly turned her head and her face fell.
“Mac, come here.” Matt waved her hand.
The last person Zuri wanted to see. The last time they met, her car became worthless.
Mac easily took the empty chair between them. “Matt,” he smiled beautifully. And then he turned to Zuri, eyeing her in a way she moved in her seat. “Zuri.” There was a smile that went beyond the simple greeting.
Zuri ignored Mac pretending to check her text message which was completely empty. Mac figured as much but teasing Zuri has been the highlight of his boring life.
“Waiting for a text from your boyfriend?” His tone held a playful hint.
“And if I am? What business is it of yours?”
“Maybe I’ll make it mine.”
Mac couldn’t believe he even uttered the words. He must have been sick, in the extreme to offer such a thing to a girl that isn’t even interested in him. Wasn’t this the same thing with him and Lana? Wanting something that at the end wasn’t his to begin with?
Zuri stared at him as he was waiting for her answer. It was fascinating to her the way, his body tensed almost a tad bit nervous tracing the edge of the table with one finger he kept his eyes lowered.
She has no idea what to make of Mac, for the past couple of months, their meetings had been a disaster and that is putting it mildly. He kept appearing when she least expected, and she became an accident waiting to happen. She had been falling, dropping things, running into things and not a week ago, she ran into a pole with her car because Mr. Handsome decided to honk at her with all he got.
She followed his finger slowly moving from side to side of the table. “I make a rule to not date a guy that makes me jump or startled me until I ran into a pole with my car.”
Mac exhaled which he didn’t even realize he held his breath in the first place. A smiled crept up his lips betraying his true feeling. “It’s a pity that I’m not the exception to your little rule.” He turned to Matt then. Stretching out his conversation with Zuri about dating her was going to make him hot in places he rather feels cold.
“I think you two would make a beautiful couple. Think about it Zuri, Mac is a handsome man.”
“What am I going to do with a handsome man, for all I know looks is such a cover up to all the flaws that are underneath.”
Mac couldn’t help himself once again his head turned to Zuri. This time he kept it there staring at her, he wanted to see past the words to the bottom of her heart but who was he fooling. He wasn’t going to glimpse at anything if she doesn’t want him to.
The door opened again and Matt automatically waved. “Cade, come here. I haven’t seen you for a while.” She yelled.
“We’ll isn’t this one happy reunion.” Mac said under his breath before reaching to pull something out of Zuri’s hair. She touched the spot where his hand just left and gave him that don’t- do -that- again look.
Cade walked happily to the threesome and pulled a chair from another table. “Matt, long time hasn’t it.” He lifted his eyes to Mac. The two gave each other a quick nod before Cade turned on his boyish smile. “Man, I guess I have been out of town forever when I didn’t even know you came back into town. Andrew didn’t mention anything to me. Well, it’s nice to see you back.”
“Look, I know what went on between you three, but Andrew was not one to listen to anyone when his mind is made up.”
Mac shrugged as if he didn’t care about it anymore. “Sometimes, you just can’t help being a fool.”
Cade laughed freely. “I can’t agree more.” He suddenly turned to Zuri just noticing her sitting there. “And who might this be?”
“She’s my dearest friend of all.” Matt introduced them and they clicked immediately and seemed to ignored Matt and Mac altogether.
Mac watched them, well, more likely he was watching Zuri transformed into someone else entirely in front of him. She smiled and pretty didn’t even cut it. She was so animated looking he felt he was watching one of those fairy tale cartoons. Her eyes moved up and down, wide in her answers. She didn’t even once glance his way.
And he was annoyed.
“Since I have you all here, Mac and Cade I am inviting you to an event next week.” Matt suddenly became quiet before she continued. “It was supposed to be held earlier but my dad has been having problem with his headaches so it has been push back till now.” She smiled. “Are you guys going to make it? It’s for a very good cause.”
“I’ll be there.” Cade answered quickly and turned back to Zuri continuing their conversation about places they have been.
“Am I to be your date?” Mac asked Matt hoping to get a reaction from Zuri and he was pleased that momentarily she paused in her little chit chat. Just momentarily because as soon as he stole a look her way she dismissed him with a frown and turned her attention back to Cade.
And then he sat back in his chair studying the happy pair, but Mac was far from happy. It was like seeing a story that is being played out in front of him where he was aware of the outcome. His brows came together disapproving of the scene. It felt like Zuri was Lana, Cade was Andrew and Mac still played himself.
He watched a little more perhaps longer than he cared to but couldn’t find any other way to get away from it. He wasn’t going to play games not this time. He has grown from being a boy that believed if he loves someone enough, they will eventually feel the same way. It wasn’t so and he learned that the hard way, too many years of dreaming and losing sleep over something that was a shadow. And chasing after a shadow was one thing he would never do again.
If Zuri wanted him, she was going to come to him. He wasn’t going to follow her like a puppy that was waiting for that extra meat to be thrown his way. It hadn’t work out for him in the past and the future he felt the result was going to be the same.
Mac felt all of a sudden like an outsider looking in and he hated that feeling. He stood up, giving himself a little pat on the back that he didn’t knock the chair over. He said his goodbye to Matt which gave him a wink as if she knew something that he didn’t and nodded at the two people that became instant friends. He was not in a hurry to get out but by no mean was he taking his time to leave.
And a smile he didn’t think would come to him fully came. He didn’t have to turn his head to see that Zuri’s eyes were stuck to his back and with that he pushed the door open and welcome the warm sun.
Matt took a deep breath, staring at the door to his office. Should she or should she not? She leaned against the wall debating if it was a wise decision to seek him out when all they have been doing is just short of avoiding each other. She pulled herself from the wall and tapped her cheek lightly. “All or nothing,” knocking the door she waited.
“Come in.” Andrew’s voice was loud enough to give her pause.
Matt opened the door and inched her head slowly inside. She stood next to the door watching Andrew silently. It had been so long since she’s able to catch him just sitting there and to her surprise she missed it. Whomever he is writing to took all his concentration, he pretty much ignored her. His head lowered the entire time. She waited patiently for him to notice her. Thinking it might not be a good time, she turned around ready to leave.
“What is it that you want?”
She walked to him taking her time after all he wasn’t in the least bit hurry for her. She looked around his office the last time they were here it was a scene she doesn’t want to be repeated. So why does she have a feeling today wasn’t going to be a whole lot better.
She gulped loudly.
“I take it you are not planning on wasting my time by standing there.”
Matt turned to Andrew his head still down his brows came together as he started on another line of his letter. She walked over to the other side and now standing behind him. It was better than standing in front of him. She thought of what to say next, or rather how to say it in a more pleasant way to where it would benefit her.
Andrew attempted to finish his letter but he couldn’t knowing what Matt was doing, if she meant to distract him, she had succeeded. He laid the pen down and turned around with his chair, putting his hands behind his head he leaned backward.
“Speak up, I’m listening.”
Matt came to a complete stopped, she was so into her own thoughts she didn’t even notice Andrew had stopped writing. She looked at him, the way he relaxed himself waiting for her made her heart jumped. He looked so comfortable and at ease, the little sly smile that came and went was…
“You see,” She smiled nervously. “There is a favor…”
“Interesting? I haven’t even finished what I wanted to say.”
“Go on,” He lifted a brow at her.
“You see,” She clapped her hands together. Smiling like a child, widely and sweetly. “We are having or rather it’s a charity event that my family put together every year and I would love it if you could attend with me.” Matt opened her mouth to continue.
“When is it?” He stared at her. He was searching for something in her, she knew it. It stilled on her lips and stopped.
She immediately touched her lips. His eyes soften as if he remembered the same memory.
“When is it?” He repeated himself.
“I can’t.” He answered and turned back to his letter.
“You can’t or you won’t.” She didn’t want her voice coming out like she’s accusing him, but it did and the hell with it. This was important to her.
Andrew picked up his pen but didn’t even bother to start, it was no use. “I have to be out of town for a meeting that can’t be put off.”
Matt was sorely disappointed then anger became her. Two months of barely talking and now this?
“That’s fine, I am just asking you for the heck of it, stupid of me to think anything having to do with me is important. Mac had offered to be my date so I guess, just as well.”
Matt saw the way he sat up straight. Turning his chair around so fast she had to take a step backward. He stared at her hard with an unbelievable expression before he turned back to his writing.
Why did he even pretend to do so? He had no clue. With her telling him that she is going to be Mac’s date, her neck should take place of the pen he is tightly holding.
“Let me get this straight, you are telling me that you’re taking another man to an event?”
“Am I right?”
Andrew turned again this time he stood up knocking the chair backward.
“You are making it sounds bad, it’s not like we have a real marriage.”
“People looking from the outside do not know that. Have you asked anyone so far if our marriage is real or fake?”
“Not in particular.”
No you don’t. Matt wanted to shout. He made it sound so dreadful, when in fact if he told her he’ll go with her she wouldn’t have to accept Mac’s offer. And she refused to feel guilty in part she said it to piss him off.
He slowly pace to her, the office is a big enough space but with him around, no matter the space it felt like the room is closing in.
“I promise you that I would not act like an animal, but there are times I think you intentionally do or say things just to see how far I would go. All those times that you have been spending with Mac, don’t think I have not notice.” Andrew paused. He swears if she interrupts him with another Mac’s praise or defending him he was going to go crazy.
She opened her mouth and he swiftly put up his hand for her to close it.
“I have done my best to look the other way.” Andrew leaned against his desk and eyed her up and down.
And never had she felt so naked in front of him as if he’s undressing her right on the spot.
“I have already seen you naked.” As if reading her mind he said it so casually like he had seen her without clothes every day.
She stood up straight. “Mac is a good person.”
Andrew pulled himself off the desk and walked toward her, she kept on backing away until she was up against the wall with nowhere else to go. Trapped like a kitten in the mercy of a lion.
He almost laughed at how predictable she is when it came to Mac if he wasn’t borderline pissed he would have humor himself with a laugh. But he wasn’t going to do that. “Is he as good as me?” His tone was set for an argument.
Damn him, why can’t he make it easy for her?
“I bet there are certain things that you can’t compare us to.” He touched Matt’s cheek and she almost fooled herself that it meant something. Almost, but when she found his eyes it was nothing more than to restrain his anger.
“It’s a family tradition, we are hosting it. I am not planning on missing out on it.”
“You are not going.”
Matt couldn’t help it, she laughed in his face. It wasn’t a beautiful sound because what he said didn’t deserve of one. It was so ridiculous of an order, and it was one that it’s impossible to react to it in any other way.
“You are not going.” He said it more calmly the second time around but with the same underlining order.
“The hell I am not. You can’t stop me. You are never available for anything other than your work and that ex-girlfriend of yours, so why should I be punished for something I didn’t do.”
Andrew snapped then, grabbing her arm, he swung her around. “I have never lied to you about what I have done with Lana. Not once, Matt.” His voice rose to almost a shout.
“Does that make it ok!”
Refusing to let go of her arm he held it even tighter. “She’s a friend.”
“A friend,” Matt hissed. “She wants more than that and if you choose to not see it, you are blind to the fact.” Matt yanked her arm from the pressure of his hand. She backed away when he half turned.
“You can believe what you want, I have told you what Lana meant to me and it’s your fault if you turn a cheek to the truth.” He pointed a finger at her so deliberately she sucked in a breath.
Andrew wasn’t sure about the question until he saw her face, it was curious but more than that it was a fine lot of distrust. “Nothing.”
It was a lie and Matt knew it. But he refused to tell her and she wasn’t going to beg for any information that was going to hurt her in the first place. “Of course, nothing has.”
Andrew walked to his desk and pulled the chair from the floor, sitting himself quietly he grabbed the piece of paper and began to write again, but this time he didn’t get past one letter he stared blankly at the paper. From the corner of his eyes he watched Matt stood there her body slumped a little as if she had given up. He once again tried to focus on the letter gripping the pen almost to the point of feeling pain.
Missing Matt seemed to be a major flaw in his emotion. All the nights that he went to visit her, what did she think it was?
He wasn’t stupid enough to believe she was actually asleep. Not when she was stiff as a board and her eyes were always changing the longer he sat there. He wanted to take her sleeping image and make it the very last thing he saw before he went to sleep. The fool, in him when it came to Matt just keeps on giving.
He heard her feet dragging along, and then stopped shortly. Her arms folded she looked at him. How he wished he could just pull her in for a hug and tell her to have a little faith in him but he couldn’t. He wanted her to come to him and give him that trust without him asking for it.
“I gave you a chance. Don’t act surprise if I happen to go against your wish. This is important to me. I have not kept you from doing what’s important to you. Especially, where Lana is involve, so be considerate and lend me the same hand.” She walked out shutting the door behind her with more force than necessary.
“Damn it.” Andrew crumbled the letter and threw it in the trash.