The Billionaire's Promise (An Heir At Any Price Book 3) (5 page)

BOOK: The Billionaire's Promise (An Heir At Any Price Book 3)
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Chapter Six








Two hours after I spoke with Aiden on the phone, I was tucking the baby into his bed. A half hour after that, I was putting away the food I’d made for us that was slowly wilting. Another half hour after that, as I sat on the couch getting angrier by the minute, he walked in the door. He looked disheveled and nervous.


“What the hell, Aiden?” I was so angry I didn’t even give him a chance to speak. I really didn’t want to hear his excuses. “You said an hour over three hours ago. That was bad enough, but the fact that I didn’t get a call or a text in between is not acceptable at all.”


He sat down and ran his hand through his hair. It was a habit he had when he was upset. I noticed then that he had his jacket off and his tie was all askew. “I know,” he said. “I’m so sorry.”


“What is going on, Aiden? Why do you look so…agitated? What happened?”


“I messed up, Holly. I screwed up so bad.” His eyes were filled with water. I almost thought he was going to cry. It was then that I got worried.


“Aiden, you’re scaring me. Please, just tell me what’s wrong.”


“I kissed Cecile,” he blurted out. It wasn’t at all what I expected to hear him say. I was in shock. I didn’t even know what to say back. He was looking at me, waiting for a reaction. I didn’t have one. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I needed to get out of there. I felt like he was sucking all of the oxygen out of the room.


Instead of speaking, I stood up and went down the hall to Eric’s room. I picked him up and tucked him into his baby seat. He was still asleep and he didn’t even flinch. Then, I grabbed his bag that I always keep packed for emergencies and took only my coat. As we passed Aiden I dropped the manila file that the P.I. had given me down on the table in front of him. Then I picked up my purse and Eric and I walked out. Aiden didn’t say a word, and he didn’t come after us.






I hadn’t meant to blurt that out like I had. I needed to tell her, if I hadn’t, it would have eaten away at me. I’d found Cecile at the diner earlier where I had told her to go. She was still distraught and all I wanted to do was calm her down so that I could send her home safely and go spend the evening with the woman that I love. I listened to her cry, she said she didn’t have any friends and that she’d thought she and Holly could be friends but Holly acted like she hated her. She talked about feeling all alone and although she had Mark, she felt lonely and afraid most of the time.


I’m not a stupid man. I know that Cecile can be a very manipulative woman when she wants to be. I don’t know how much of what she was telling me was grounded in truth and how much was designed to play on my emotions, but her sobs got to me and I finally went to her side of the booth and put my arm around her. There was no sexual intent there, no desire. I just thought of it as one friend comforting another. We sat there like that until she was finally able to stop crying. When she did, she looked up at me with her eyes all red and swollen.


“Thank you, Aiden. You’re the only one who cares about me. I wish that I could go back in time and do things right. I lost the best thing I ever had when I lost you.” The next thing I knew, she had her hand resting on the top of my thigh. I know I say I have no desire for her, and it’s true, in my head. My body however is male and no matter which adult female is touching you there, it’s likely you’re going to have a physical response. I did and the next instant, she was covering it with her hand and her lips were on mine. It all happened so fast that it took my brain a few seconds to respond. As soon as it did, I jumped up out of the booth, away from her.


“What the hell are you doing?”


She actually smiled at me as she said, “You can’t deny you want me.” Her eyes fell below my belt line and then came back up to meet mine.


“You’ve lost it, Cecile. What you just did could be considered assault.”


She smiled wider and said, “Are you going to have me charged?”


I threw a twenty on the table and said, “No, but this is never going to happen again. I’m going to talk to Jake about seeing Mark. Holly’s right, this is all a game to you.”


I didn’t realize she’d followed me out until I got to my car. She was behind me as I pulled open the door and she said, “Holly is your cheap thrill, you’ll tire of the mousy little waitress soon enough. When you do, call me, and don’t bother calling Jake, he’s not going to give you permission to see Mark.”


I didn’t say anything else to her; I just got in the car and came home. I wondered the entire way how I was going to tell Holly. I was afraid that if I didn’t Cecile would. I’d started thinking that Holly had been right all along and Cecile was just trying to break us up. When I saw Holly’s face, the worst, most overwhelming sense of guilt I’d ever had came over me. I hadn’t meant to blurt it out like I did, but I couldn’t hold it in any longer.


After Holly left I finally reached and picked up the folder she left in front of me. I looked at the 8 by 10 glossies of my ex in bed with an old man and the ones of her in the bank, stuffing a lot of cash in her purse. I looked at the documents where Jake’s signatures were circled in red and the affidavit that Jake signed, stating it wasn’t his signature. Then I read the report and Jake’s interview. I threw it all back on the table and leaned back into the couch. My head was throbbing. Holly had been right all along and as usual, I’d been an idiot.


I sat there, frozen for a while and wondering how I could have taken such a great life and screwed it up so badly. Holly left and she took our son. I had no idea if she would come back. If it was me and the tables were turned, I doubt that I would.






After I walked out on Aiden, Eric and I drove to my mother’s house. When she opened the door and saw my face, she didn’t say a word. She just helped me carry Eric’s stuff in and she went to make some tea while I tucked him into his crib.
When I came back out she said, “Need a hug?” On the verge of tears, I nodded. She wrapped her arms around me then and the floodgates were opened. I let my mother pet my head and hold me like I was a young child and I cried until I couldn’t cry any longer.


“I’m sorry about that.”


“Are you kidding?” she said. “You have nothing to be sorry for. I’m so happy that I’m finally the kind of mother that you can come to. Do you want to talk about it?”


I told her everything the investigator had told me and then I said, “I was so happy. I went home and started making dinner. I got dressed up…I was so looking forward to spending a romantic evening with Aiden. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. Then on top of it, I had the goods on Cecile finally. Not only would she be out of our lives, but it also sounded like Jake would be willing to let Aiden still spend time with Mark. It was the answer to all of our problems.”


“That all sounds great,” Mom said. “What happened to ruin it?”


“Aiden told me he’d be an hour late. He showed up over three hours later. Then, he told me he kissed Cecile.”


Mom took in a sharp breath. She was as shocked as I had been when Aiden spit it out. She really liked Aiden, and she’d been pulling for us from the start. Confusing me, she suddenly said, “Why?”


“Why what, Mama?”


“Why did he kiss her? Did he say?”


“No, Mom, and I didn’t ask. It doesn’t matter why he kissed her. He shouldn’t have kissed her at all. A betrayal is a betrayal no matter why he did it. ”


“You’re right, of course you are. I was just wondering about the situation. You told me that she manipulates him.”


“She does, horribly. But that’s still no excuse.”


“Excuse no, but at least an explanation. Sometimes that at least helps assuage the pain in the heart just a little bit.”


“Maybe, but you know what I can’t stop thinking is: Now, how am I supposed to trust him again?”


My mother didn’t say anything at first, but once again I could tell by the look on her face that she had something to say.


“What Mama?”


“Don’t get mad, okay?”


“I won’t, I came to you for your advice.”


“Okay, first of all, I agree with you that he has no excuses here. He never should have kissed her no matter the situation. But, as far as trusting him, he did tell you about it right away. He didn’t wait and let you find out another way, or try and cover it up, right?”


“True, but he shouldn’t have even been with her in the first place. He didn’t tell me that he was going to see her. Once again, he was sneaking around and that led to kissing her. That’s my concern, Mom.”


“And it’s a valid one. You’re a better woman than me, you really are. I wouldn’t have put up with any of this from the beginning. I know you’ve done it for Aiden and Mark, but it’s taken a big toll on you and I think Aiden needs to realize the kind of burden that he’s put on you, and I think you need to set some stronger boundaries.”


“You don’t think I should leave him?” I asked her.


“Do you love him?” she asked.


“So much.”


“Do you want to leave him?”


I felt the tears running down my face as I said, “No, I don’t want to leave him.”


“Then don’t. Don’t let this woman win. If you leave him, it’s part of her plan she can check off. When Aiden calls, and he will…tell him what you want and how you want it. Be strong and don’t accept any less than you know you deserve, but fight for your marriage, baby. Fight for your family.”


I nodded and lay my head back on her shoulder. “I love you, Mom.”


She hugged me to her and said, “I’m so glad, it was touch and go there for a while.”


I laughed at that. I was so glad that we could laugh about it now. Maybe someday, Aiden and I would be able to laugh about all of the crap we’d been through with Cecile too. My mom kissed the top of my head and said, “I love you so much.”






Chapter Seven









When I woke up the next morning, I was a little bit disoriented. I was in my old bedroom at my Mom’s house. It had been a long time since I’d slept there and as soon as I remembered why I was here, I started crying again. I allowed myself that until I heard Eric cooing over the monitor. I got up to go get him and found my mother already getting him up.


I stood in the doorway and watched as she changed him and talked to him and tickled him under his little chin. He giggled and tried to talk back. Not much of what he said was discernable yet, but he was trying. Mom acted like she understood every word and they were having a big conversation. I didn’t want to interrupt so I went out to the kitchen and got my coffee. I took it out on the porch to drink in the cool air and silence of the early morning. I finally did what I’d been putting off since I woke up. I looked at my phone. There was no missed call from Aiden…no text. My chest hurt but I told myself I was finished crying. I slipped the phone back in the pocket of my robe and tried not to dwell on it. Maybe he was just embarrassed; maybe he didn’t know what to say yet.


The day passed slowly. Mother and I took Eric to the park and we all went out for dinner that night. I kept my upper lip stiff until after I tucked the baby into bed that night. Then when Mom and I sat down with our tea that evening that was when I lost it.


“It’s been an entire day, Mom. What could he have been doing for an entire day that he didn’t have time to call me, or text me? A text takes literally seconds.”


“Maybe you should call him,” she suggested.


“I don’t want to do that. I want to know that he’s contacting me because he wants to be with me. I’m wondering about his dedication to me and Eric. If he can just let me walk out with the baby and not even be upset enough to even call and find out where we are, then maybe he just doesn’t care. If I call him and he talks me into coming back, I’ll never know if he planned on calling me and even though I know that is stupid it’s important to me.”


“I doubt that he’s not upset at all,” Mom said. “Try and tell yourself to give it one more day, honey. I know that’s easier for me to say than for you to do…but I’d hate to see you give up so soon and then have regrets to live with.”


I nodded. I wasn’t sure she was right, but my only other choice was to call him and like I’d told my mother, I was afraid that would just be forcing him into a place he didn’t want to be in. I tried to be brave and not think about what it would be like to have to go through a divorce and an ensuing custody battle with a man that I loved, as well as one of the richest and most resourceful men in the world.


BOOK: The Billionaire's Promise (An Heir At Any Price Book 3)
5.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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