Chapter 8, Part 2
Eve’s body stayed completely still, but inwardly she did a triple somersault.
“TC, you can’t--”
“Oh, but I can.”
“What about the girls?”
“They are adults, and they aren’t stupid. They will be hurt by the news, but I doubt they’ll be surprised with how things have been the last few months. I’m the one who’s surprised. I could have told you before you confessed this great love you had for Julian Crane that he was a lying, cheating dog.” He grunted. “Well, you reap what you sow. As I said before, I don’t want to prolong this. With any luck, two weeks from now this farce of a marriage will be over.”
“Two weeks?” Eve repeated. Could she and Julian finally be together in two weeks?
“Three on the outside. I want this finished. Since you won’t be getting a dime in settlement, the proceedings shouldn’t take too long.”
“You heard me. You’re not getting a dime in settlement. If you try to fight me on this, I will tell everyone what a slut you are, that you were Julian Crane’s whore, and you gave birth to his bastard seed. I don’t think the upstanding Dr. Russell would want that. So, see, at least you’ll be leaving this marriage with the good name I gave you.”
Eve bristled. She fought the urge to kick him. She never hated TC, but she didn’t like him very much right now, and it was clear from his venom, he didn’t think much of her, either.
“So, are we clear on everything?” he said, talking to her as though she was his child.
She glared at him through narrowed eyes. He really thought he was holding all the cards, when all he was doing was making her angry and giving her everything she wanted. “You’re calling all the shots, how can I begin to say no?”
“You can’t. It will be okay for you to sleep in one of the spare bedrooms until the end of the week, but I expect you and every trace of your existence to be out of my house by Saturday afternoon. You can’t say I’m not being gracious.”
Eve silently mused. Did he say gracious?
The sound of heels clacking on the walkway got closer. Eve rolled her eyes as Liz slithered over to TC. “My goodness, what happened to you?” her sister asked, touching the swollen jaw.
“Julian Crane,” he answered.
Her mouth formed a surprised ‘O’. “Julian?”
“It’s a long story.”
“Well, you can explain it to me as I take care of that bruise.”
“Thanks, there’s a first aid kit up in my bedroom. TC took her hand. “I’ll tell you all about it in there.”
The two strolled arm-in-arm toward the house, shooting hateful glares
at Eve as they passed. Eve wanted to feel sorry for TC, but after his bitterness
with her, whatever he got he deserved. After playing him like a violin
tonight, she should have been more respectful of his physical pain, but
he forced her hand, and he didn’t care one an iota about her emotional
pain. She just found out she lost her son. He wasn’t the only person to
get bad news today. All she wanted an amicable divorce, and he wouldn’t
give her one. The only possible way she could have gotten it, was if he
thought she didn’t want it anymore, and she was right on the money. She
couldn’t wait to tell Julian. With any luck, things were going well on
his end, too.
Julian checked his cheek in the wall mirror when he got home. Almost twenty minutes later, the print on his face was still quite visible and it hurt like hell. Pressing his hand to his burning cheek, he vowed never do anything that would make Eve want to slap him like that for real reason. His present discomfort was a small price to pay if it accomplished what he and Eve hoped. He anticipated her call within the hour, but in the meantime, he had to deal with Rebecca. Certain the clingy woman would be in the library, he made his way to finish out the last phase of the plan. He entered to find her sitting in his chair behind his huge desk.
“So, Pookie, where have you been?” she asked, making her way to him.
Julian walked to the bar and poured himself a brandy. “Out.” He found it amazing Rebecca could walk in those too tight dresses she wore. Well, walk wasn’t quite right, Rebecca wiggled.
“I gathered that, but out where?” She raised a curious eyebrow. “With Eve?”
“Yes, I was with Eve,” he said, replacing the top on the decanter. “Not that it matters.”
“Maybe not to you, but….” She touched the visible red handprint. “Pookie, what happened to your face? Did Eve do that?!”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, she did. We had a little disagreement.”
“I’d say more than little.” Her eyes brightened at the prospect of what that meant. “Is your relationship with Eve once again a thing of the past?”
And Eve thought TC was predictable. Julian took a swig of the dark liquid. “It would appear so.”
“Well, Julian, you shouldn’t be surprised. These kind of relationships seldom work in the long run. You should never try to make them more than what they are?”
His ears burned with anger. “And that would be?”
“Well, thinking marriage with Eve. Alistair would have never stood for that.”
There was no doubt about that. However, what Alistair would or wouldn’t
stand far didn’t matter to him anymore. Julian downed the remainder of
his drink, closing his eyes as the fiery liquid burned a pathway to his
belly. “When you’re right, you’re right.”
He lowered the crystal tumbler to the bar, and turned to his ‘intended’. Before he could say anything more, his cell phone rang. He checked the caller ID. Eve. “It’s business. I have to take this.” Rebecca didn’t make a move to leave, so he spoke carefully. “Ed, did you achieve that acquisition?”
“Rebecca’s there?” Eve said.
“That’s right. I’m very anxious to hear.”
“It worked like a charm. TC would hear nothing of working things out. He was through with me when he found out about you, and since we’ve had our ‘parting of the ways’, our staying married wouldn’t hurt you. Long of the short, there’ll be a quickie divorce.”
“That’s fantastic. When do you think the deal will be finalized?”
“He said two weeks. Three at the most.”
Julian couldn’t contain his wide smile. “Wonderful, that’s wonderful.”
“I wish I could see you, but we have to be careful, at least until the papers are signed and filed. We wouldn’t want to raise any suspicions.”
Rebecca watched him like a hawk. He brushed his fingers through his hair, sighing. “Unfortunately, you’re right about that.”
“Don’t sound down. When this time is over, we’ll be together and our forever will begin. We have something to look forward to.”
“Absolutely.” Julian could see their future so clearly, it was like he could reach out and touch it. “I trust we’ll be able to handle whatever problems might come about in the closing of this deal.”
Eve laughed. “Me, too. I better let you go. Rebecca’s gonna get curious this deal of yours. I love you, Julian.”
He ached to say the words back to her, but that wouldn’t go over too well right now. “I totally agree with you on that assessment. I look forward to seeing those papers. You take it easy, Ed. Thanks for all your hard work.”
“Some big deal came through?” Rebecca asked, soon after the call ended.
“Yes, I’m this close to getting an acquisition I’ve been waiting years to attain. This goes to show that perseverance pays off. This had been a pretty miserable day," he thought of the son he and Eve lost, "but I'm feeling a lot happier now." Julian suddenly got an idea. He was going to put a sligt deviation in the plan. "I’ve not been very kind to you today, and I’d like to make up for all my bad behavior.”
Rebecca's bright eyes sparkled. A seductive grin turned the corners of her lips as she flanked her arms around his neck. “Ooh, what does my Pookie have in mind?”
“Our wedding. I only plan to get married one last time, and I want it to be the grandest show in town.” He grazed his fingers up and down her arms. “I want you to make this wedding ceremony one fit for a queen. Spare no expense. Go absolutely crazy. Think of a young girl’s wildest dreams for her perfect wedding, and make them come true. I only have two conditions.”
Rebecca removed her arms from his neck. She was so giddy she could barely stand still. “What conditions, Pookie?”
“I don’t want to get married at the country club, I want it to be here, out on the grounds, two--no, three weeks from now. Think you can handle that?”
“You said spare no expense?”
Julian nodded. “That’s right. And I want to be a part of the planning, okay?”
“Consider it done.” She gave him a big hug. “Oh, Julian, our wedding is going to be perfect.”
“Absolutely,” he agreed. His heart filled with joy as delightful musings
filled his head. My wedding to Eve is going to be absolutely perfect.