Unbound the pentagon gro.., p.10

Unbound: The Pentagon Group, Book 2, page 10

 

Unbound: The Pentagon Group, Book 2
 



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  Matt stood up, visibly upset. “Perla, I bought and renovated that property so I can raise a family there. I love my house.”

  “When did you buy that house Matt?”

  “I bought it four years ago.”

  “Were you engaged or were you married at the time?”

  “I was married.”

  “When I was married, I bought a house with my husband. I didn’t move into a house he’d previously screwed other women in, which brings me to the Boston apartment. How many women did you bring there?” Matt looked stunned. My animosity spilled over and I was laying out our private issues before our good friends.

  “I’m going to take a break. I’ll be right back.” Matt stood, eyeing me with furrowed brows. When he walked out the door, Zipper stood.

  “I’ll give you two a moment, and we’ll be right back.” Zipper nodded and walked out of the room.

  “Hello, Perla. Welcome back.” Turner said sarcastically. “When I asked you to compose yourself, I didn’t ask you to try to put his balls in a vice in the process.”

  “He’s delusional if he thinks this is a great idea.” Turner gave me a stern side-eyed look.

  “Save your anger and insecurities for the therapist, darling. Don’t take it out on him in front of us.”

  “Sorry, not sorry, Turner. We gave him a good reason to accept the new house situation. If I’m to marry him, then I want a house which is ours. I don’t want reminders of other women who he’s been matrimonially linked to nor ‘done’ thoroughly.”

  “Darlin’, I know you try hard not to use the ‘f’ word around me, but I’ve heard it before.” He tried to bring in the levity. “I know what you mean. If this is going to work out, you want a fresh start in a new home.” I nodded. Turner looked at the time on his wristwatch. “Let’s hope he comes back soon, I have another meeting right after this.”

  I felt anxious in wanting to finish my part of the prenup negotiations. It felt like time was getting away from us. Just when I was about to stand and get Matt, Zipper walked in the door and Matt followed. I was relieved and nervous; it was an interesting combination of emotions. Matt and I made eye contact, and I noticed the emotions in his eyes. They both took a seat in their claimed chairs.

  “Are we ready to proceed?” Asked Turner. Both men nodded simultaneously. “In regard to dissolution of marriage at or after the five year mark, Perla doesn’t want any maintenance, payout, or physical or personal property other than those acquired during the marriage or provided as gifts. In the event children are born or adopted into the marriage, Perla wants sufficient child maintenance for housing, a vehicle for transportation, medical, personal needs, and most importantly, educational expenses for the children of the union. In addition to those requests, which will be fleshed out at the time of dissolution of the marriage and decision making for children, Perla wants term life insurance for each child, in the event of Dr. Keene’s death to protect the children’s future interests. None of these are to be considered for Perla’s personal use, but for the sole benefit of any children. These monies are to be held in a trust fund for the children with equal distribution of payments for their care. Any assets remaining in Dr. Keene’s estate should be equally distributed to the children’s trust.” Turner looked down at his notes and continued.

  “In the event of divorce, Perla wants sole physical custody, but joint custody of the children will be granted to both Dr. Keene and Perla.” I heard Matt, rubbing his coarse beard. I looked at him and saw him shaking his head. He looked annoyed, which I couldn’t understand because he called for this situation. He leaned back in the chair, his cupped fingers covering his mouth, and listened.

  “What’s the matter, Matt?” I finally asked.

  “You’re talking about divorce, as if I’ll ever let it happen. You’re talking about what to do with children upon a never-going-to-happen divorce. I intend a lifelong marriage to you, which is why I even started all of this. When we do have children it seals the deal and ends any thought of divorce.” The assuredness in his voice was clear of his intentions to never divorce me. I felt my nipples pearl. I was thankful for wearing a padded bra. However, I was sure my face flushed.

  “Well, you’re the one with prenuptial experience, so I don’t know why it’s a problem for me to protect myself and lay all this stuff out now. Did you think I would just sign your encyclopedia sized prenup without having some needs of my own? If you don’t know how relationships work, Matt, let me enlighten you. These things are not discussed in one rushed session. We’re supposed to discuss these things throughout our courtship and if we are of accord, we then proceed with a marriage.” As I spoke, his eyes narrowed at me. I was getting aroused at how he looked at me. He was definitely my physical type and I loved looking at his beautiful face, angry or not. “Are you starting to realize three months of dating may not have been enough time to go through this circus?” I asked. Matt smirked.

  “No. As a matter of fact, I want it even more. Is there anything else?” He asked, looking at Turner.

  Turner looked at his notes. “Those were the only concerns Perla had and wants included in the prenuptial contract. Are there any objections to anything we’ve listed?”

  Zipper chimed in before Matt could express himself. “Matt does have a few concerns with Ms. Mercurio’s requests. However, we don’t think it would be anything which diverges from her needs. We’re sure we can come to a mutual understanding. We’ll go down the list.”

  I braced myself for what he would take issue with. I could feel my jaw tighten and my teeth ground involuntarily awaiting his issues.

  *****

  “Getting started, Matt understands Perla’s need to work. He accepts her term to have her own income stream. However, he wants to make it clear he will provide all the living expenses in the marriage. Whatever Perla earns is for her to do whatever she wants. There are some requirements he would like to add to her working clause.” Zipper looked at his notes.

  “Job can’t be more than forty hours a week with limited overtime unless it is during times Matt is otherwise unavailable, such as his travel. Additionally, Perla is to make herself available for business trips and vacations which are planned within enough time for Perla to take the time off. The total amount is five times a year for a total of six weeks out of fifty-two weeks a year. The honeymoon will be a two week consecutive time period, which will be jointly decided.” I didn’t think it was unreasonable. I would expect the same from Matt, but I understood his professional schedule was vastly different than mine. Turner whispered, ‘Are you okay with?’ near my ear. I nodded.

  “On the matter of the apartment, Matt feels it’s a needless expense. If there is an anticipated and discussed separation, Matt will buy a condo in Perla’s name. However, if children are born to the marriage within five years and dissolution or separation is anticipated, Matt will leave the marital and familial home to prevent disruption in the lifestyle and comfort of Perla and the children.” I nodded to Turner and he made a notation of including the clause in the prenuptial.

  “Matt agrees to Perla’s term of abstaining until marriage and not living together. However, he adds the proviso Perla live in the Midtown apartment so Matt is assured she’s safe and not commuting the extra miles out of the city to her studio. He will stay at the North Shore house.” I was torn with this offer. I wanted to stop the long commute. I would save time and money. Displacing Matt wouldn’t have been my choice, but he owns four different vehicles for getting to work while I relied on the bus and train. I accepted the term, knowing Matt hated my long commute.

  “Matt would like Perla to reconsider her request to be removed from all activities and gatherings with his friends . . .” Matt stopped Zipper from talking.

  “Perla, my friends are a big part of my life. I’d like you to reconsider this request. Once you get to know my friends individually, you’ll know each one is a great person and has no intention of personally harming you or causing you distress. We can tak
e it slow, going out to lunch with each of them, then maybe the dinners again. I’d like them to be part of our family as well as us be part of each of theirs.”

  “No offense to your friends. . . Zipper.” I looked at him. “I really like you and Jenna. I think personally you two are really nice people who made me feel really comfortable.” I maintained eye contact, and he nodded with a smile. “However, it was before I learned about Pentagon. I think professionally, you and the rest of the men are to be avoided at all cost. I live my life as simply as possible, free of drama. And now that I’m aware of the drama created by Pentagon, drama which disrupted my simple little life, I want nothing to do with any of you. If this is a deal breaker for you Matt, then I’m sorry, but you need to find a woman who can accept your friends.” Matt was quiet, and was visibly upset. Zipper reclined, and kept his head down. My heart beat loudly in my ears awaiting a response. No matter how much each of the men of Pentagon hurt me, I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the two men before me.

  It felt like a century before Matt answered, “Fine. I understand and agree. I’m just sorry you won’t reconsider taking it slow, building a relationship with my friends.” Matt conceded. I remained steadfast in my conviction, and Turner took notes of the ultimate decision.

  Zipper cleared his throat before he continued. “In regard to the marriage ceremony, Matt wants a small ceremony with parents, siblings and their families.” Again, Matt interrupted Zipper.

  “I really want us to be married before our family and close friends. I understand you don’t want my friends there. I want Zipper as my best man. I want my sister and her family, and I definitely want my parents. Don’t you envision your family, and Chelsea . . . Carson and Turner?” His tone was pleading. He looked deep into my eyes with such emotion it was difficult for me to say ‘no.’

  I looked at Turner, shook my head ‘no’, and looked at my hands on my lap. “I experienced the family and friends at my first wedding, and my marriage was a catastrophe. We don’t need witnesses for our wedding, Matt. Your interests are purely sentimental, and I’m not in agreement.” I said. He shook his head, stopping only when he put his head in his hands. An audible sigh came from across the table. I took a moment and thought.

  “If this marriage survives the five years, we can have a vow renewal ceremony and it can include everyone we originally wanted at the ceremony. I don’t see your image of a wedding with my family when I feel pressure to go through with this in thirty days.” I offered.

  Matt thought about it, and he nodded to Zipper. Both our attorney’s took notes. “Honeymoon will be for two weeks, and both of you will decide where it will take place within the thirty days. Perla is to give sufficient notice to her jobs of the time off.” Zipper continued. I nodded, scratching noises on paper lingered in the air.

  “When it comes to children, Matt would prefer to have them sooner than later and would like the issue of having children be an early topic of discussion in therapy.”

  “Perla, I really want to have children and I hope we can try within the year.” Matt gently pled. I smirked and shook my head.

  “I agree to working through the notion of having children, but I don’t want to be pressured if I’m not ready.”

  “Okay. I’ll try to be patient. Thank you for working through this with me.” He smiled softly. “I also want you to know if we don’t have children, I don’t intend to let our marriage fail. I love you very much.” Matt confessed. For a moment, it felt like we were the only two people in the room. We stared intently into each other’s eyes and I saw the sincerity of his words.

  Zipper cleared his throat, “Let’s proceed.” He looked at his notes. “Matt is willing to sell the Boston apartment. However, he wants you to reconsider the sale of the Northern house. Matt bought the house to be close to his family. His parents often stay there when they visit from Maine in the summer. He wants to be close to his sister. And if you have children, he would like for them to grow up near their cousins.” Very good points were made for keeping the house. He conceded to getting rid of the apartment, which was a relief.

  “Perla, you could redecorate the entire house. You can take any room as your own personal office. I can add on, if you need. The house is in the best community to raise children. There’s a reason why my sister and I purchased and renovated houses there. I want you to be comfortable, but I want you to be understanding of my needs too.” I thought about Carson and Turner’s wishes to have the same things: good school district, safe community, close to family. Carson and Turner have discussed moving to Rhode Island once they have children.

  “Fine.” I said with annoyance. I was getting tired of all the negotiations. I found the proceedings ridiculous. I knew it was designed to protect us, but in the moment, I felt overwhelmed and controlled. Both attorneys took notes.

  “We’re almost done. I know Matt states he has no plans on dissolving the marriage, however, to protect each party, Matt offers a reasonable pay out upon divorce.” I audibly grunted my disapproval; sucking my teeth and rolling my eyes. Turner looked at me knowingly. He assisted me during my divorce proceedings. Of anyone in my life who knows what I went through or felt, Turner had a front row seat to it all. He grabbed my hand from my lap and pulled it to his lips. I gave him a grim smile, turning my vision toward the two men before us. Matt didn’t appear to appreciate the comfort Turner offered. I looked at him and shook my head, listening to Zipper offer a fair amount of money to keep me in the ‘lifestyle’ in which I’ll become accustomed as the wife of a billionaire business man and doctor.

  I had to interject and looked Matt squarely in the eyes, “I understand you think I should get fair compensation for the end of an already tenuous marriage. I made it on my own once. If I so happen to find myself in the same position, I can recover without your wealth. Maybe the clause should read you won’t come after me with a bogus claim of embezzlement or make me sign repayment of the six-figure note of debt you paid off for me last week.” Turner whispered, “What?” I told him quickly, “Matt paid off Ben.” His eyes widened. Matt snorted, shaking his head. We had both reared our ugly heads during the negotiations.

  “You’re so damn stubborn. Do you ever think maybe you deserve to be protected, and someone loves you enough to take care of you before and after marriage?” My family and friends have always told me as much, but after what my Ben did to me, I couldn’t believe I was worthy.

  “When you’ve gone through the pain I’ve gone through and the hurt of being ultimately despised by a person you’ve committed to, then you’ll understand.”

  “Perla, you’re acting like I’ve never been hurt too. I was. It wasn’t easy to walk away from my marriage either.”

  “Matt you walked away. I was thrown away. And to find out it was your friends who were involved with my sad outcome makes it a whole lot bigger than what you went through.”

  “Dr. Keene. I’m supposed to be an advocate for Perla, but more than anything, I’m her friend. I know what she went through. It was grueling for her.” Tears welled up in my eyes, reliving the moments when I was divorcing Ben. “She is adamant she not relive the losses she suffered back then. If I were you, I’d look at it differently. Perla loves you so much she doesn’t want you to believe that by accepting these terms, she is marrying you for the money.”

  “Mr. Noble. I know she isn’t. I don’t know what she personally went through. I can feel how hurt she was. . . and still is. I won’t continue to push the issue because she’s clearly upset. But Perla, I want you to know everything I have is equally yours.” Matt offered. I pursed my lips, refraining from saying anything else, and accepting his offer with a nod to Turner.

  “Lastly, on the matter of custody and placement of children upon dissolution of marriage, Matt requests you have joint physical custody with appropriate and equal stays with each parent.” Zipper added.

  “It depends on the age of the child, if the child is under the age of five, it would be best if the child weren
t removed from the mother and the main home, which the child would be used to. It’s best to have minimal disruption in the child’s life.” Turner affirmed my wishes. Matt huffed, annoyed with the topic of conversation. I could tell the subject wasn’t one he wanted to get into.

  “Once you have my baby, we will never be over.” Matt claimed. I shivered with his declaration. There was so much meaning to his simple statement, which extended beyond the creation of life, but the solidification of our infinite bond.

  “Fine.” I nodded to Turner. “I won’t deny him the time he needs and deserves with any future children.” I paused. “Is that it?” I looked to Zipper.

  “Yes. We think so. You haven’t mentioned any other objections to the prenuptial agreement. I’ll have these included in the final draft and we’ll send you an electronic document, Turner. We can convene on Friday morning to sign everything, and you two will be good to go.” Zipper concluded.

  I looked to Turner and gave him a soft smile, which I was certain didn’t reach my eyes. We stood from our chairs. Turner pulled me in for a tight hug. “I’ll call you and keep you updated. I have to run to my next meeting.”

  “Thanks for everything, Turner. Once again you’ve saved my hide.” He grinned, and went over to shake Matt and Zipper’s hands. Turner gave one last wave as he walked out the door.

  I was left with two out of the five men from The Pentagon Group, and I was nervous. I had no words to share with Zipper. After these intense negotiations, I needed some time away from Matt. I was thankful we would have at least twenty-four hours apart, which would give me time to process through the events of the last few days.

  Zipper broke my thoughts, “Perla, I just want to apologize for my part in events which have hurt you personally. It was never my intention. I wish you and Matt well in your lives together.” I bit my tongue to prevent myself from spewing acerbic words. I nodded and lowered my head.

 

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