Unbound: The Pentagon Group, Book 2, page 8
“He broke my heart Chelz. He ripped it out and stomped on it.”
“He’s trying to fix it. Not with money. It’s just a means to an end. He wants you back. You want him back, but you’re too bull-headed to allow him to work through this. And good on him for knowing how to rein you back in.”
“Have you been talking to him?” I accused.
“No. I told you the last time I’m not so sure he used you just for Liberty. He genuinely loves you, and this just proves the point. What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know, yet. I’m going over to Carson and Turner’s place. Turner is representing me in this transaction. We have to work through the prenup, and will meet with Matt and his friend, Kevin Zipperer. I’ll need Matt’s money to pay his exorbitant attorney’s fees. I’m still paying off the work he did on my divorce.” I stood up and walked toward the door. “If I decide to go through with the wedding, as ludicrous as it sounds, I’d like for you to be my matron of honor. I think you’d bring me better luck than Esmeralda did the last time.” I winked at her.
“I love you, sweetie. Keep an open mind.” She demanded.
Carson welcomed me with open arms and a kiss to the forehead. “Honey, this is the craziest shit I’ve ever heard and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it for a movie. It would make a load of money. Think of it, a romantic comedy with the two most attractive and funny actors they could find.”
“So who would play you?” I asked mocking my own pain.
“The guy who played the twins in the social media movie. I so look like him, but I’m more endowed.” I grimaced.
“Not a visual I need right now, sweetie.” I informed. He pulled me to the living room.
“Can I fix you a drink?” He asked as I sat down on the plush couch.
“No, thank you. I don’t think I would be able to stop if I start. Where’s Turner?”
“He’s showering. I don’t know how he can wear a suit all day in this heat. I’ll be back and bring you water.” I sat down on the comfy couch Carson sat with me on when I cried all my tears after the break up with Matt.
“Dinner will be ready in half an hour, so we can talk in the meantime. How are you holding up?” The concern in his voice was evident.
“I feel like the main character in a mob movie. I want to move on and live life without him, but he pulls me back in. He can’t deal with my independence. He doesn’t want any other man to be with me. He has to win at all cost.”
“But do you love him?”
“Of course, I love him, but it isn’t the point.”
“Isn’t it?” He paused. “It’s because you do love him you’re not more irate and haven’t gone off the deep end with this information. You love him. He loves you. He has an insane way of showing it, but it’s obvious.” I bit down on my cheek, listening to Carson’s take on the situation. Stella enlightened me as to why Matt had an ‘insane way of showing’ his love for me.
Turner made an appearance and walked over to me. He sat down next to me and pulled me close for a hug. He kissed my forehead and asked, “How are you doing?” I shrugged.
“I’d be better if you two were bisexual and we’d be in a polyamorous relationship right now. I wouldn’t have to be dealing with a possessive ex-boyfriend.” They laughed at my quip.
“No wonder he loves you.” Turner responded. “You’re adorable and funny.” I grimaced.
“Can we get down to business, so we can eat dinner without this being a topic of conversation while we eat?” The boys nodded, and I pulled out my list. Turner reviewed the list and we discussed the terms based on the prenup Zipper sent to Turner.
The prenuptial agreement was the size of an atlas which didn’t surprise me. Matt had a lot of terms. His assets and liabilities would quickly return to him upon our marriage. He wouldn’t deprive me of any rights to his fortune while married. I would have access to his properties and as much money as I desired. However, it clearly required I behave myself like the loving wife which would have naturally occurred had he not lied and deceived me. Part of being a loving wife included having children. The thought of having children in a forced marriage sickened me, but it wouldn’t be a loveless marriage.
We finished within enough time to have a great dinner without any discussion of the ‘relationship takeover’. Carson shared the details of their wedding in October in Rhode Island. A low key affair with less than fifty people, and was to be held at his parent’s estate in Newport. I was ecstatic. Carson showed me pictures of concepts and swatches of fabrics. I was still to be the ‘best gal’ and stand up for Carson and Turner’s brother, Breton will be best man. I’ve seen Breton and he was as handsome as Turner, and married to his high school sweetheart. Carson asked for my help with taste testing in a month. I tried to maintain my focus on all he was saying, but selfishly my issues kept occupying my mind. I never anticipated getting married anytime soon, and certainly not before Carson; less so in thirty days to a man who was buying my hand in marriage.
Chelsea called me early on Wednesday morning. I was in the bathroom getting my hair just right knowing full well the day’s humidity would make it impossible to tame.
“Hi.” She said excitedly when I answered. “Are you ready for your meeting with Matt?”
“Not really.” I admitted. “I’d rather figure out how to get out of this. But I’m running into brick walls. If my attorney tells me I can’t, then I have to go through with this craziness.”
“Have you talked to Matt?
“Not since, I video chatted with him on Sunday when I cursed him out for paying off the Parisi debt.”
“Hold up. What do you mean he paid the Parisi debt?”
“Oh. I guess with the shit I’m dealing with, I forgot to tell you yesterday. On Friday, he paid off the debt to Ben. Over ninety thousand dollars paid. Ben’s attorney filed it with the court. I’m free of Ben, but not free from Matt.”
“Holy crap, Perla. Matt’s freakin’ incredible.” I smirked even if she couldn’t see it.
“I’m tired of talking about him. I’m tired of thinking about him. I’m nervous to see him, especially with this unusual proposal. I never thought of marrying someone under these circumstances. This whole thing is absurd. It’s like a made for TV movie.” I admitted.
“Maybe you should talk to him before meeting.”
“It’s never a good idea to meet with the opposing party before a business deal, especially without legal counsel.”
“You and your business learnin’. Cut the shit, and call him.”
“You’re marrying the guy. What are you scared of?”
“I’m afraid this is all some elaborate plan to drive me crazy enough to be committed . . .”
“Perla, that’s crazy! He loves you. I can tell.”
“What’s crazy is the way he’s trying to win me back. I can’t believe we’re discussing a non-traditional marriage. I love him. I couldn’t turn it off when I walked out the door, but I want him to win me back with dinners, a stroll in the park, a flower he brings to me because it reminded him of me, to lay down in bed on Sunday morning with coffee at our bedside tables reading the Globe. We never got to do those things, and he’s demanding me to spend the rest of my life, well . . . five years of my life, with him and we don’t know if we’re compatible personality wise. Do we have kids? I’ll be thirty-three years old if I decide to divorce him, and how do I start over? There are so many ‘what ifs’, and I can’t think straight.”
“Perla, there are ‘what ifs’ in my marriage. There were ‘what ifs’ when you were married to Ben, and sweetie, it didn’t last. The common denominator between you is your love for each other. Sex is fantastic. You didn’t argue before you found out about what he did. Yeah, I want to knock his block off, but he loves you. I know it. You love him too. You’re good for each other. You’re so damn stubborn he knew this was the only way to get you to stop and listen. Kee
After the phone call with Chelsea, I steeled myself for the meeting. I dressed in my most professional dress, a cream sheath with nude heels. However, I put a pair of flats in my purse for after the meeting because I couldn’t possibly give tours in high heels. I grabbed my purse and headed out, taking a brown cardigan for the chilly morning.
After stepping outside the front entrance, I was greeted by a snapping wind on what had been an extremely hot summer. It was sunny, and I found it oddly ironic the birds chirped and the usually quiet street was buzzing with activity. I set off to walk to the bus stop when I heard, “Hi”. There was no mistaking the voice. It was the voice which turned my insides into a quivering mess of goop.
I looked to my right and saw Matt standing there. He took my breath away. No matter how much anger and hurt I felt toward him, I desperately loved him. The anger seemed to melt away as I watched him walk toward me. He looked relaxed with his hands in the pockets of his light tan trousers. His lightweight tan jacket open to reveal a crisp white, button down shirt unbuttoned at the chest. He was beautiful, perfection personified in his casual stance. How he could look so carefree when I didn’t think I could keep my legs up under me was a mystery.
“Hi.” I said meekly, unprepared to see him. I’d hoped the commute to Kevin Zipperer’s law office would allow me to muster the courage to see the man I pushed out of my life with the intention of never seeing him again.
“I want to drive you to Zipper’s office. Knowing you, you’d look like this and I don’t want anyone ogling you on your way.” I rolled my eyes, knowing his possessive side. It was extreme and ridiculous. However, after Stella’s revelations about Matt, his appearance at my door was completely in line with his personality.
“You really shouldn’t have. I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to be confined together in a moving vehicle right about now.” I retorted calmly. Those dimples, which I’d missed so much, sank deeper with his wide smile. At one time, I would’ve given anything to bring a smile to his face. I blew out a gentle breath.
“I’ll take my chances. We don’t have to talk. I just want to make sure you get there safe. Please?” He said with a hopeful tone to his voice, lowering his head and raising a brow to observe my response.
“Well, since you’re already here.” I sighed and walked slowly toward him. “Lead the way.” I saw the tentative move of his hand to grab a hold of mine. I pulled my arm to wrap over my belly, holding onto the strap of my handbag. I was saddened by the significant change in our lives. In one instance I wanted to kiss him, and in the other, I wanted to run far away.
We walked to his convertible. “Do you want to drive?” He asked without a hint of reservation.
“No, thank you. Sports cars are not my thing. I’m more of a cheap, compact car kinda gal.”
“Well, it’s yours now.” He replied matter-of-factly. I groaned.
“I rather not talk about it, please.” I kept my eyes trained ahead until he tugged at my elbow, pulling me toward the parked car. I was startled by his touch. My heart skipped a beat, wishing I could break through this wall I put up to protect my shattered heart.
Ignoring my pull from his grasp, Matt opened the car door for me to enter and I slipped into the cool leather seat of the convertible. He gently closed the door after me. I wouldn’t have chosen to have the top down because of my wild hair, but I pulled out a scarf which I stored in my purse and wrapped it around my hair, preserving the smooth bun. He jogged to the driver’s side, entered and turned on the car.
“Did you eat breakfast already? I was hoping we could grab something to eat since we’ll be early.”
“I’m not hungry.” I looked out the window containing my nerves and anger. There was so much I wanted to say and many questions I needed answered, but I couldn’t bring myself to talk. It was better to reserve my thoughts and feelings.
He remained silent as he drove through the streets of Charlestown toward the bridge into Boston.
“You look beautiful.” I glanced over at him and saw him looking at me.
“Eyes on the road! Thank you.” He smiled at my gruff statement and acceptance of his compliment. My heart leapt seeing his smile. I used all my willpower not to grip his hand on the gear shift, bringing it to my lap. I remembered when I had him pleasure me with his fingers the first time he drove me home. Where I got the confidence to be so sexually open, I would never know. My anger was at the precipice of overflowing, and I couldn’t allow myself to create an argument. I clasped my hands together and intertwined my fingers, settling for my own hands for security.
We drove in silence over the bridge to Boston, driving alongside the bustle of cars commuting to work. I would’ve given anything to be on the bus right now, going to work, living my life on my own terms.
“Now, I’m the one who doesn’t know how to talk to you.” He said, pulling me out of my reverie. I didn’t respond because I had nothing to say with just him in the car. Everything I needed to discuss would be hashed out in the attorney’s office. “I’m sorry, Perla.”
“Sorry, for what exactly? Pentagon ruining my marriage? For using me to take Liberty? For trying to control me by giving me your fortune? Or for me finding out about this entire thing? There are so many things to be sorry about.” I kept my tone even as I looked out of the window.
He sighed. “I guess for everything. I’ve never been in love before and I don’t know . . .” He stopped speaking. I couldn’t believe his admission he’d never been in love before.
“What do you mean you’ve ‘never been in love before’? You were married.” I reminded him.
“I realized after meeting you I hadn’t been in love with her. I married her because I felt it was time to get married. My parents married young. They had me at twenty-five and then at twenty seven had Stella. I was thirty-years-old, a successful doctor and business man. Sonia was young. She hid her true nature until after we married. Eventually I realized she didn’t want a family, which meant she didn’t want me. When I met you, I saw forever.” He confessed.
“How many serious girlfriends have you had, Matt?”
“What do you mean ‘serious girlfriends’?”
“What was the longest commitment you’ve made to a woman?” I asked, needing to confirm all Stella revealed.
“Other than my ex-wife?” I nodded. “I don’t know maybe a few months.” He answered. I nodded my head, but not in acceptance. I nodded in confirmation of Matt’s inexperience with love.
“And what happened at the end of those few months with the woman? Why did it end?”
“I don’t know . . . I’m a busy doctor. I spent more time with my practice than I did trying to make it work.”
“You’re still a busy doctor, Matt. How are we different from your previous relationships?”
“It just is.” He declared with a tone of annoyance at having to respond to my accusatory questions.
“I don’t know if your answer is enough for me to feel confident that in a few weeks or months, or maybe even at the end of the year, you’ll get tired of me and move on.” He shook his head. His knuckles were white from tightly gripping the gear shift.
“I’m not going to get tired of you.” His exasperated tone brimmed to the surface.
“How do you know, Matt? I’m sure you didn’t think you would get tired of the other women.”
“I knew I’d get tired of them.” He stated gruffly.
“How? How were you so sure?” I pushed for a satisfactory answer.
“Because I only wanted to fuck them.” He yelled in irritation. If he wanted to shut me up, he succeeded. The harsh description of what those women meant to him made me feel immensely insecure. He wanted to fuck me at one time, so how could it have changed to something more meaningful in such a short period of time? I turned to look out of the window at the tall buildings; intermittently rolling my eyes into the back of my lids to prevent a
Only when he was able to keep the shift in a steady gear did he put his large hand over my clasped fists. “You’re beautiful, sexy, sweet, and funny . . . hardworking . . . incredibly smart. And you’re all about family and friends. How could I not fall in love with the complete package you offer?” With his kind words, I started relaxing, allowing him to hold my hand.
“When you discovered my role in this debacle, I was ashamed and afraid. I can’t lose you, Perla.” He pleaded. “I felt like I was going insane. You wouldn’t talk to me. And you wouldn’t see me the day I went to see you. I was afraid I’d lost you forever, so I made this happen.” He pulled his hand away to shift gears.
“To keep me bound to you? Do you know how crazy it sounds?”
“It may be crazy, but you’re here. We’re finally talking again.”
“What if I refuse to marry you and keep everything?”
“You wouldn’t do it. I know you love me as much as I love you. I can see it when you look at me, even now you’re angry, but there’s a glimmer of love in your eyes. I only need a speck of love to know I have you.” I looked away, shielding the truth emanating from my traitorous face.
“I can feel it when you touch me. Even when you don’t touch me, it’s coursing through the air between us.” He said, and I smirked, shaking my head; he did know me. He removed his hand from the gear shift and grabbed my wrist, causing me to unclasp my hands. His large hand slid down, rubbing his fingertips along the ridges of my fingers, stopping at the fingertips. My body shivered at his touch, like an electric current coursing from my hand to breasts and down to my folds.
“I’m going to spend the rest of my life making this better because I love you. I had to do this to make us work.” His statement made my heart ache. “We’re almost there. Are you sure you don’t want something to eat? We can go to the restaurant across from Zipper’s building. It has a great breakfast menu.”