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Just Another Empty Threat -Bk 3

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Chapter 2

She looked around his office as he dropped himself into the chair behind the desk. She understood why he’d brought her here. It was the only room in the house that remained his territory and untouched by the interior decorators. He sat behind the desk which made him in control. It was a power thing. She understood why he needed that, especially right now.

“When I said that we would need to be united,” Felix growled, “I meant united behind me. The concept doesn’t have me looking whipped in front of the men.”

“You have every right to be pissed,” she perched herself on the edge of the desk, “I should have spoken to you about it first, but you would have said no.”

“Damn right I would have said ‘hell no’,” he emphasized, “But you knew that, and you didn’t try to put your arguments across in private instead you made me look like a fool in public.”

“If you trusted me then you wouldn’t need to hear my arguments,” she countered.

“Emma,” he snarled, “You knew I would hate this, and you ran away from the fight again.”

“But it’s a great idea,” she looked away, “It was the right thing to do.”

“That’s not the point,” he emphasized, “You knew I would have serious objections and you knew it would make me look weak, but you didn’t trust me enough to discuss it with me first.”

“That’s not entirely accurate,” she huffed a silent snort.

“You don’t trust me to listen to you and respect your opinion,” he continued, “That’s why you are avoiding arguing with me.”

“Felix,” she stood up and walked over to the window, “Isn’t it possible that we didn’t have time for a debate? If I didn’t catch Jose straight after hearing what Juan had to say, then my words might have been so compelling.”

“That’s a weak excuse,” he said, “And mildly insulting.”

“You are right,” she sighed, “I make bad decisions.”

“No,” he snarled silencing her, “Don’t do that. That’s not true and you know it. And I refuse to let you throw that sympathy shield at me.”

“Then,” she exhaled, “What do you want me to say?”

He sat there silently watching her. She could feel his eyes on her. She knew he was right but didn’t know where to start in admitting it.

“Why aren’t you furious with me?” she whispered, “You should be yelling at me. I’m surprised that you don’t hate me.”

“I am yelling at you,” he growled, “But not furious. And you know how I feel about you. I’ve made my love for you blatantly clear.”

“I’m not taking about the Jose thing,” she said, “That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m asking why you think you can trust me? I’m asking why you aren’t irate at me for my stupidity?”

“Emma,” he said her name with a soothing tone, “You’re overthinking this.”

“I want to know why you aren’t blaming me,” she shot back, ignoring his patronizing tone, “Maybe Juan is right. Maybe I’m not a fit mother.”

“Don’t do that,” he said softly, “That’s not true.”

“I lost our son, Felix,” she creased her eyes shut again but couldn’t stop the tear escaping, “I left him there. I did that. How could I do that?”

“Emma,” he had moved to standing in front of her, “I am at fault for that.”

“Why?” she lifted her face to see his pained expression, “You didn’t abandon our son with a lunatic. I left him there while I pursued my own goals. I put my own desires ahead of the safety of our child. That doesn’t make me a fit mother.”

“If it wasn’t for me then you would have never met Juan,” he wrapped his arms around her, “I drove you into that situation and forced you to trust him. I gave you no other options but the ones he offered you. If it wasn’t for my infidelity, then you would have remained in this house and Eli would be asleep upstairs. It was my lack of control that brought all of this about.”

She let him cradle her in his arms. He was wrong but she wasn’t about to correct him. She had made plans to leave him prior to knowing about his cheating. Contact with Juan was made and her decision to flee him was all decided on prior to seeing the photographic evidence of his infidelity. She left him because their relationship was killing her not because he was cheating on her.

His statement confirmed something that she had suspected. If he hadn’t cheated then her leaving would not have been ‘his fault’. The regret and devastation over her departure was solely due to his acceptance that he was the cause. His cheating was undeniable, unforgivable and, in his mind, justified her betraying him. He blamed himself not her.

If he suspected that she left because she was unhappy in their relationship, then this would change everything. In his mind, excuses like an unhealthy relationship, him treating her poorly, not having sex with her, and not respecting her wishes were unjustifiable reasons for her to leave. He wouldn’t understand it and instead class it as selfish, childish and unwarranted behavior. He would have seen her leaving as ‘her fault’ not his. He would see it as the ultimate betrayal, and he would be furious. He would never forgive her and would never accept her back into his life if he knew.

“Although I don’t deserve it, I want you to trust me again,” he said into her hair, “I need you to talk to me. This won’t work if today becomes a habit.”

“It’s not a light switch,” she pushed herself from his arms, “I can’t just flip a switch and hay-presto.”

“I know that,” his face flinched slightly as he smiled a small sad grin, “But avoiding the issue isn’t going to help.”

“Then answer my question,” she lifted her eyes to meet his, “Why aren’t you furious with me? Irrespective of what you did, I still left our son on his own.”

“You left him with your grandfather, a man you should have been able to trust.”

“But I left him,” she flung the words back at him, “What sort of mother does that?”

“It’s not your fault.”

“Like it’s not my fault you were burnt,” she interrupted him, “And it’s not my fault that Bruno was able to kidnap me. And it’s not my fault that you had to cheat just to get sex. And it’s not my fault that I put my trust in the head of an international drug cartel.”

“Emma,” he exhaled, “Why can’t you accept that I don’t blame you.”

“Because I blame me,” she yelled, “I blame myself for everything.”

“You still blame yourself for what happened to me?” he asked, “Even after Juan admitted that his men fired the shot that caused this?”

“You were in that room because of me.”

“I was in that room because I chose to follow you that day,” he said softly, “It was my choice. I wasn’t a child. I was twenty years old and I wasn’t naïve or innocent of this world. I knew violence and power. I was a responsible adult.”

“Why did you follow me?”

“I still don’t remember anything from that day,” he frowned, “That is why it was so easy for my father to manipulate me into thinking I was tortured and spur me into wanting vengeance.”

He lifted her face to his.

“It was fate that put me in that room,” he said, “And it was Juan who did this to me, not you. We now know that it was his assassins that fired the shot that pierced the barrel, they did this so that I would die slowly and painfully. By firing a single shot and hearing my screams, they knew I would suffer a slow and agonizing death. If they had emptied a clip into the room, piercing a number of the drums, that would have guaranteed a quick death. He made that decision and in doing so also saved you and gave you the opportunity to help me. It allowed fate to tie us together.”

“Fate?” she scoffed, “When did you start believing in fate?”

“I’m not sure,” he shrugged, “I just know that if I had it all over again, I would probably still follow you because that day linked our lives together. We are bound together because of it. Fate or no fate, my future is linked to yours.”

He kissed her gently on the lips as he pulled her back into his arms.

“I am yours,” he whispered against her skin, “And that is your fault. It is the only thing that I blame you for, making me love you so much.”

“I’m being serious Felix,” she growled as she squirmed in his arms.

“So am I,” he tightened his grip on her, “You blame yourself for all the wrong things. Bruno was my employee and if I’d been honest with you right from the start, then he wouldn’t have been able to make you doubt me. And blaming yourself for my infidelity is just ridiculous.”

“Is it?” she huffed, “If you’d been happy then you might not have strayed.”

“No,” he shook his head, “My decisions were my own. You were correct, I cheated because I thought I could get away with it. I was behaving like my father had done and like the man I was before I was burnt. I was arrogant, selfish and stupid.”

“But,” she started to say.

“But nothing,” he interrupted, “Of all the things you can regret, this is not one.”

“But what about Eli?” she said, “How can you fail to blame me for that. Your cheating might have had me there, but it was my decision to leave him.”

“Why?” he asked, “You haven’t told me why you came back?”

“Yes,” she looked away, “I did.”

“No,” he smiled, “You told me that you wanted to make me suffer and to be your dog but that does not explain why you bothered returning to me.”

“Why doesn’t it?” she looked away from him, “Doesn’t it make sense that I wanted you to pay for hurting me?”

“That only make sense if you hated me so much that you wanted to cause me a vast amount of pain to sooth your wounds,” he grimaced before adding, “Or if you still cared about me.”

“Or maybe I just needed to feel strong and powerful again,” she couldn’t meet his eyes, “I might have returned so that I could humiliate you and, in doing so, regain my confidence and mojo.”

“Was that the case?” he asked.

“I thought it was,” she answered honestly, “It was my plan. I didn’t expect to find you so broken. I thought you would have moved on without me and be living happily with one of those women.”

“But you saw me, the house, the filth,” he indicated to the room, “You were watching me through the security feeds?”

“Juan showed me the footage,” she frowned, “Only just before I contact you. I had no idea prior to that. And I wasn’t sure if it was real or not.”

“Are you saying that you had decided to come back before you knew how much I was suffering?” he asked, “Why?”

“As I said,” she grimaced, “My self-confidence demanded it.”

“But then why didn’t you humiliate me as you planned?” he asked, “Wouldn’t my depleted state have made it even more easy to humiliate me? Didn’t seeing me like that inflate your confidence more?”

“Why are you asking me this?” she demanded, “What do you want to know?”

“Because I’m curious,” he smiled, “And I want to know if you came back because you love me.”

“And you want to distract me from blaming myself for leaving our child.”

“You left him because of this reason,” he shook his head, “Maybe if you admit why you left, then it is possible that you wouldn’t feel that way.”

“Why?” she scoffed, “Because leaving him so that I could fuck his father is justifiable?”

“Leaving him so that you could reunite us together, so that we could be a family, is justifiable,” he corrected, “That is the future he deserves and that is what we will give him.”

“And if I left him so that I could selfishly humiliate you like you did me,” she asked, “Will that mean I’m to blame?”

“I don’t believe that’s true,” he grimaced, “I think you need to blame yourself for this. You want to punish yourself for this.”

“I have to be to blame,” she corrected, “And you should hate me for it. You shouldn’t trust me or my decisions.”

“Is that why you run from confrontation?” he asked, “Are you avoiding fighting because you believe that?”

“Maybe,” she muttered.

“Or maybe it’s because you’re scared,” he suggested, “I’m not ashamed to admit that fight with you isn’t something I want to do. I can’t afford to lose you and arguing with you scares me.”

She lifted her face to look at him.

“But if we are going to survive this and everything that is coming our way, then we must know that we can disagree and still move forward,” he said, “We have to talk, discuss, and fight while knowing that we will never break again, that when the dust settles, I will always have your back and you mine.”

“You trust me like that?”

“Yes,” he answered without hesitation, “I trust you with everything I have and everything I am because I love you. And when you love someone, like I love you, there is no room for blame. It pointless and irrelevant to waste time on something that is so defeating. I will never blame you, as I hope you will choice not to dwell on blaming me, instead together we will solve all the problems.”

She lifted an eyebrow.

“And yes, I know,” he exhaled, “That sounds like an excuse for you to forgive me for cheating on you. I don’t expect that. I know I’m to blame for that.”

“No blame,” she repeated, “Only solutions, maybe we can try that.”

“Thank you,” he kissed her, “All I want is an opportunity to earn your trust again. And for that to happen, you need to be open and honest with me. I want you to let me in.”

She frowned.

“Yes, I know it’s not a light switch that can be easily flipped,” he laughed, “But if we work on it together then maybe it will develop on its own without a forced switch. Isn’t that worth a try?”

“But I hate arguing with you,” she huffed, “You always win.”

“I always win?” he laughed, “That sounds like a challenge.”

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