The billionaires wife, p.2
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       The Billionaire's Wife, p.2
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         Part #2 of An Heir At Any Price series by Holly Rayner  
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  I was at work, thank goodness when I had gotten the first call from my ex-wife. It was only a few weeks since Holly and I had gotten home from our honeymoon. We’d had the best time, and if it was possible, I’d fallen even more in love with her than I already was. It wasn’t that I was fond of keeping anything from Holly. It was just the opposite. I was really happy with the trusting relationship we’d forged since we’d married. I’d found out the hard way before that lying is never the way to go. I loved going home at night and playing with my son and talking to her about my day. I didn’t always tell her every detail of the business stuff. Some of it was boring and some of it was just too stressful to put on her, but I never kept the important stuff from her…until now. The call had been two weeks ago and I still hadn’t brought myself to be able to talk to her about it. I think the honest reason why was that I still didn’t really know what to think or what to do about it myself.

  “Hi Aiden,” I heard when I picked up the call. It was Cecile’s voice, a voice I’d really thought I’d never hear again. I felt a knot in my stomach as hearing her voice made me think again about Mark.

  “Cecile, hello.”

  “I know you’re probably surprised to hear my voice after all this time.”

  “I’d say that might even be an understatement. You would have been the last person I’d expect to be calling me today. What can I do for you, Cecile? Did you have trouble cashing out or selling one of the assets you took from me when we divorced?”

  “Bitter, bitter,” she said.

  “I think I have every right to be. I also don’t have time to play games, so if you don’t get to the point…” I couldn’t even begin to imagine what she was calling me for.

  “Okay, I’m sorry. You’re right.” I heard her voice crack as she said, “I didn’t know who else to call. I’ve left Jake.”

  My only thought where Cecile and Jake’s marriage was concerned was for Mark. I was still wary of why she was calling, and it still hurt too much for me to talk about Mark.

  “Why would that concern me, Cecile?” Surely she wasn’t daft enough to think I’d ever consider taking her back?

  “It would concern you because it’s about Mark,” she said. “Jake’s been…distant for a long time. Poor Mark is starving for male attention, the kind he used to get from you…” I felt my stomach tighten at the sound of Mark’s name and waited for her to go on. I had the distinct feeling that there was something specific that she wanted from me. With Cecile, there usually was. I wasn’t married to her any longer. I didn’t have to give her anything.

  I could hear the tears behind her words as she continued, “I found out Jake was having an affair about a year ago. I didn’t leave, because of Mark. He’d already been uprooted from here to there; I just didn’t want to do that to him again, although I knew I’d never be able to trust Jake.”

  I tried to control it, but I let out a snort anyways. “I know adulterers shouldn’t throw stones at one another,” she went on to say, and I thought, At least she seems to be taking a little bit of responsibility. “I’m truly sorry for the pain I caused you Aiden. I understand somewhat now how bad that hurt must have been,” she said. “I think only those who had a child and then lost them would understand.”

  I thought about Mark again and said, “I don’t think you have any real idea what you did to me, Cecile. I couldn’t trust anyone after you. Because of that, I almost lost the best thing that I had going for me at the time.”

  “You’re probably right that I wouldn’t understand. I know that my lies about Mark hurt you more than anything. I never told you this, but Jake knew all along the baby was his. He wanted to let you spend all of your money getting ready for him and then he would swoop in and play papa. I don’t think so. Anyways, Jake has had two successive affairs. I discovered them both so easily. It was like he wasn’t even trying to hide it. He works ten to twelve hours a day and then he spends most of his weekends with his women. I was hurt of course, but mostly it’s been really tough on Mark. Jake acts like he’s a bother, or that he is in the way most of the time and brushes him off when he’s looking for attention…and it’s even gotten worse than that…”

  I felt a pang in my chest for the sweet little boy that I had known. I thought about him all the time. I wondered what he’s been doing, if he started school…if he could ride a bike yet. In knowing that little boy, I’d found out the hard way that biology doesn’t make you a parent. I still loved that little boy the way I did the first time I saw him and I missed him every day. Finally, realizing the time and that I was already late for an important meeting, I wrapped up the phone call.

  “Cecile, I feel bad for Mark. You know how I feel about that little boy…I think. But you took him away from me, years ago. I’m not sure why you’d be calling me now torturing me with tales of how unhappy he is. Anyways, I am late for a meeting and I have to go now, I hope it all works out.”

  “Aiden, wait! I just want to ask for a little bit of your time, for Mark. Please, he needs you. No matter how bad you despise me…”

  “My time? You want me to spend time with the boy you let me fall in love with, the one you let me believe was mine, and then you tore him from my arms and kept him away from me for what…almost four years now? He won’t even remember me, and if he does it will be even worse this time for you to let us get close and then take him away on a whim.”

  “I know, you’re right. You have no reason to do this for me, for him. But, I do know how much you loved him. I was just hoping…for Mark’s sake…I’m not going to take him away from you again. I realize now what a terrible mistake that was.”

  “Aiden, they’re all waiting for you in the conference room.” My company CFO, Randall had stuck his head in the office.

  Covering the phone with my hand, I said, “Two minutes, Randall.” Then back into the phone I continued, “Cecile, I really have to go.” I was struggling with whether or not to trust her again. Randall stuck his head in again and I said, “Give me your number and I’ll get back to you on this. I’m married now, I’m sure if you’ve kept up with me at all, you know that. I’ll have to talk to my wife; we have a son of our own.”

  “Yes, I heard you got married, and I think I read a birth announcement as well. Everything you always wanted,” she said. “Congratulations, you have your family at last.” It was too bad that she didn’t sound sincere. She gave me her number and I wrote it on the back of one of my business cards and stuck it in my jacket pocket. Before I hung up she said, “This isn’t about me at all, Aiden. It’s all for Mark.”

  “You can bet that if I agree to this, it won’t be you and I doing things together. It will be my son and I getting reacquainted with each other, no more,” I told her once again.

  “Yes, I know that, Aiden. That was why I chose to call you. Mark needs you.”

  I hung up the phone and thought about it all for a minute. I meant what I said, but I sincerely doubted that she did. Cecile rarely did anything, just for anyone other than Cecile, it was one of the reasons I had started spending so much time away from her before we split, I had just gotten so tired of all the drama. She used my absence as an excuse to have an affair. Neither of us handled things right, but I didn’t cut out her heart by taking her child away either.

  I sat there at my desk and looked at the phone for a full five minutes before Randall stuck his head back in and cleared his throat. This was a huge meeting for our company. We were trying to break into the Asian markets in China and Thailand. We were meeting with some of the biggest players in the industry today from both countries…and now all I could think about was the little boy I loved so much, and lost. I also thought about Holly, and Eric. Would seeing Mark now be a betrayal to them somehow? I opened my desk drawer and reached way in the back. I pulled out a small silver frame with a picture of Mark in it. He was only a few months old when it was taken. I sat down and looked at it. If Biology had really been involved, then the answer to that would obviously be no, people blend
families all the time now. But since he wasn’t biologically mine, would this just seem like an excuse to spend time with my ex-wife?

  “Aiden!” Randall never raised his voice, especially not to me. I tried to push all of these thoughts aside and headed into my meeting.

  I had talked to Cecile three times since that day. I’d agreed to see Mark. I still haven’t spoken to my wife about it.

  Chapter Two

  ~

  HOLLY

  I watched Aiden and Eric rolling around on the carpet together. The baby was squealing and Aiden was laughing. It was such a precious moment that I wanted to get out my video camera, but I also didn’t want to intrude on their time together. Aiden had been working so much lately, and when he was home recently, he seemed distracted and…distant. Tonight was the first time in a long time that he seemed like himself. We’d all had dinner together and then he’d sat down on the floor to play with Eric.

  Over the past week I had asked him more than once what was going on, but he would just tell me that he was thinking about this big deal he had going on at work. He would apologize and say that he’ll try harder to spend more time with us. I wasn’t looking for an apology, I wasn’t angry with him. I was just worried about his emotional state, and about Eric’s needs for time with his father. I’m not the clingy type. I do get a little starved for adult conversation now that it’s just me and Eric most days. But at the same time, I love being a stay-at-home mom, and the life Aiden had given me so far exceeded my expectations for myself that sometimes I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. So, I tried hard not to dwell on the small stuff.

  Because of all of that, I tried to buy the story about work at first. I didn’t have any reason to believe that he wouldn’t be totally honest with me. Since we had worked through our issues before our wedding, things had been running really smoothly and I had been happier than I’d ever been in my life. I adored my husband and my son and my mother was doing better than ever, living in her own home again, not drinking and she had even made some new friends. I didn’t want anything to be wrong between Aiden and me. I was really not one of those women who thrived on drama. I thrived more on my family and being happy. But, unfortunately in this case, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more to his anxiety than work. Tonight helped to put my mind at ease somewhat. Aiden seemed to be back to his old self again.

  I was brought out of my thoughts by the sound of Aiden’s cell phone ringing. His suit jacket was hanging on the back of the chair and without even giving it a thought, I stood up to get it for him. Before I had even gotten out of my chair he was up off the floor and telling me, “It’s okay, Holly. I’ll get it.”

  “Okay,” I said, startled at how forcefully he’d said it. “I was only going to hand it to you.”

  He smiled at me and said, “Thanks, I got it.” It may have been my imagination, but the smile seemed forced somehow.

  I watched as he fished the phone out of his jacket pocket and looked at it. I could be feeling paranoid, but I thought I saw a look of relief cross his face when he looked at the number on the face of it. It made me wonder who he was hoping it wasn’t. He pressed accept and put the phone to his ear.

  “Hey Randall, what’s up?”

  Aiden listened to what Randall was saying on the other end. I could see by his face that he wasn’t pleased by whatever it was. While he was on his call, I went over and picked up Eric. I took him out to the kitchen to get him a snack before I gave him his bath and started getting him ready for bed. Tonight was the first time that Aiden had made it home in time for his son’s bed time too in over a week. Eric was going to be happy to have his daddy tuck him in finally.

  The baby was in his high chair eating his whole grain cheerios and sipping his juice out of his sippee cup when Aiden came into the kitchen. Eric’s face automatically lit up when he saw his daddy and he reached his chubby little arms up towards him. Aiden went over and wiped his face and hands and picked him up, kissing him on one of his chubby little cheeks.

  “I hope you know how much Daddy loves you.”

 
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