Matrimonial Heartbreak

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Summary

'Fate brought them together. Marriage kept them in love. But is love enough to withstand the trials of their marriage?' ֍ ֎ ֍ ֎ ֍ ֎ As a fresh graduate, Jess was not sure what the next steps in her life would be. Shy and without self-confidence, it made sense to worry. It seemed like luck was giving her a break when she got a job interview. The man who was going to be her boss was not who she expected. From their first meeting, Reece Stanford confused her, and she could not understand his intentions. Nothing with him made sense, even her growing feelings. For Reece, Jessica Rivers was someone he thought he would never see again. Excited by a second chance, he tried to win her heart with subtle and cunning means. Although the mystery surrounding her relationship with his father was unanswered, he could not let go of the woman that made him want to try at love again. As they overcome the obstacles in their budding relationship, it seemed more secrets surrounded them than both realised. When secrets are revealed and lies uncovered, you know there is bound to be heartbreak. **WARNING: THIS BOOK IS IN DIRE NEED OF EDITING. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.**

Genre:
Drama / Romance
Author:
Prolifick Instinct
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
39
Rating:
4.7 46 reviews
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1|| Name is 'Jess' ֍ ֎


“Are you dating him?”

“What? No. I do not have such a relationship with Mr Stanford. Really, I don’t even have any relationship with him.” Her words came out strained as her palms waved in denial at his accusation.

“He seems fond of you.” He hit the end of the pen in his hand against the file on the table.

“I met him once. Maybe twice.”

“Which is it? Once or twice?”

Maybe this was some sort of test. His face was void of amusement, but she could not guess what he was thinking either.

“Good, Tess. It would be uncomfortable working with you if you have a thing going with my dad.” He smiled. And just as it appeared, it was gone.

How could he think to smile having made such a statement to her? This was not the interview she came for. How did the questions trail from professional to absurd?

A few hours ago, …

For Jess, a quiet and undisturbed day watching a re-run of her favourite TV series, Lone Flower, was one way to define comfort. Moments like this was precious to her because she did not have to hide from the world. She was the kind of girl you could not leave amid strangers or an audience. She lacked the confidence to face people and situations. Her personality made her flee from almost everything in her life, and she bore the consequences for most of it. It was not what she wanted, but she knew no other way to overcome it. Even when she tried to, she failed.

She knew going on that way would jeopardise her dreams and ambitions. That was why the call she made earlier to Stanford Holdings was still like a dream. After days of hesitation and fear, she eventually made the phone call that almost had her heart dropping off her chest and landed an interview for Monday.

She put down the plate of cookies in her hands and walked towards her sister’s bedroom. She knew better than to be in Leisha’s room without permission. Still, she bet her older sister had something more suitable to wear for an interview. She had to make a good impression. This was a desperate time. If she could get this job, it could mean moving out of her sister’s apartment and out of her boyfriend’s leeching eyes. The only person she would miss would be her beautiful niece, Annabelle.

“Sorry, Leisha. I promise I will wash it and put it back before you get back.” She said as she searched through her closet.

Minutes later, Jess gaped at her reflection in front of the mirrored closet door. She let loose her raven black straight hair as it falls to rest at waist length. Most of her college life, she had gotten compliments about her physique and sometimes her look. Her mom was of mixed South American and African American roots, while the only thing she knew about her dad was that he was Egyptian. So, her mom said. Maybe her brown skin and light brown eyes were compliments of that mix.

Growing up, and in college, she stayed away from clothes that complimented or flattered her body shape. She believed it would only draw unwanted attention to her. Now that she was a college graduate and staring at her reflection, she imagined that she could be more than just a shell of her dreams. She just lacked the courage to take the steps. The grey button-down blouse and black skirt she had on made her look ready for work as she stood on tiptoe assessing herself. She did not own any heels, so she would have to manage one of her many flat shoes. She pulled her hair into a top knot as she continued to stare at her ‘new’ self. Her heart leapt at the possibility this job could bring her.

She heard the doorbell followed by a loud and persistent knock on the door. She frowned at the intrusion. Leisha was away on a business trip for the week while Annabelle was with their mom. With no time to get out of the clothes, she went to the door.

“Who is it?”

“Jessica, open up. I need to get something.”

Scott. She began to pace while she smoothed her palms on her thighs. He was supposed to be on a camping trip with his friends. It was the only reason she comfortably stayed in the house and not make an excuse to go to her mom’s.

The bangs on the door started again. “I don’t have all day. Open up.”

She closed her eyes and exhaled before she opened the door.

“What were you doing?”

She did not reply.

He looked down at her and a smile formed on his face. “Are you wearing your sister’s clothes?”

She learnt over the months not to engage Scott when he talked to her, especially regarding things that made her uncomfortable around him.

“Dressing up, are you? What are you up to?” He asked as he headed towards what she assumed would be Leisha’s room.

Leisha allowed her boyfriend in her room whenever he came around, so she could not stop him either.

“Hey, Jess! Have you seen my grey boots? Can you help me?”

No way. She stood by the door, leaving it open and made the decision to not leave her position until he was gone.

He came into view. “What are you doing there? Help me out.”

“I don’t know where you keep your things. Besides, I am waiting for mom and Annabelle. She called twenty minutes ago. She should be here now. I am waiting for her.”

It was a lie, but her mom was the perfect excuse. She did not like Scott, and he avoided her if he could.

“Really?” He went back in. In less than two minutes, he was out with his grey boots. He attempted to engage her to chat with him, but with no success. As soon as he was out the door, she locked the door behind her and exhaled.

*

The weekend was over, and by Monday morning, her nerves were uncontrolled as expected. She took quick bites out of her toast with a glass of orange juice, ready in her borrowed outfit. Jess decided to send her sister a text, hoping Scott will not tell her about being caught in her clothes before she did. She had not gotten a reply.

Traffic was not a drag, and she reached her destination in seventeen minutes. She looked at her wristwatch. She was right on time and in fact, had several minutes to spare. Picking up some courage, she tried to walk confidently. That plan did not work out well when she bumped into someone.

“Sorry. I’m sorry.” Jess said as she unconsciously rubbed her shoulder.

With her head down, she continued walking, unaware of the stranger’s eyes on her. “Hey. Wait up.”

She heard but did not wait. She could not. She wanted to turn and apologise for being rude, but she did not want an excuse to be late for her appointment. Not that a few seconds will make that happen, she was just too

She had to wait in a short line at the reception desk. Directed to the floor she was to have her interview, she fiddled with her fingers and bag strap all the way to the elevator. The doors opened and in were two men and a man who looked to be employees. They all exited before her, which got her the privacy to self-interview. She followed the numbers as it counted to the top floor. She cautiously stepped out and traced the only path there was. The different sections of offices were divided by transparent glass doors and windows. Every activity could be seen, and it made her motionless as she got immersed in her thoughts. Maybe she was not ready for this.

“It’s you. Right?”

Jess stared at the fair-skinned brunette who stood inches taller in front her. She had angular cheekbones that matched well with her piercing eyes and lean body.

“You are the girl Mr Stanford is expecting? Jessica?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

“Follow me.” The simple command was hard to ignore.

She could not help the way her eyes followed her movements. They traced it down to the fancy black high heels she carried without losing momentum. Something she did not dare attempt if she valued her ankles.

As she was led into an office much different from the ones she saw earlier, Jess noticed the few stares she got.

“Wait here.” The brunette told her before she knocked on the door and went in.

“Sit down, dear, you look nervous.” Jess turned to the woman who looked to be in her fifties. She had on a pair of round-rimmed glasses with her blonde hair in a neat chignon.

“Thank you.” Jess accepted with a warm smile.

It was quiet. She wanted to say something, but held back, unsure if starting a conversation while the woman was working will be appreciated. Besides, she was sure her awkwardness at initiating or maintaining a conversation would not go well.

“Have you known Mr Stanford for long?”

“Ha... not really.”

The woman gave her another smile. “You look nervous. Don’t be. I probably should not tell you ahead, but you look like you could do with easing some of that stress building up.”

Jess just looked at her.

“You practically have the job. Mr Stanford made it clear to me. So, you have nothing to worry about.” She smiled.

She stared wide-eyed at the woman. What?! Did she get the job? She got a job.

The woman laughed silently. “I am Eva. You will be fine once you get around the basics in a week or two. The boss is also getting used to things, so that is good for both of you. Mr Stanford was sure you are more appropriate for the job, and I see why.”

She had no idea what the woman was talking about. How was the boss also getting used to things? Were there more candidates for the position she was not sure of?

“Do not get intimidated by Val. You only have to avoid her when you can.”

She wondered who Val was and why she needed to avoid someone she never met.

“You met her. The long legs that brought you in.” She added.

“Why?”

“Being Mr Stanford’s assistant is a position some have had their eyes on.”

Oh.

Then it dawned on her. Assistant?

The door finally opened again, and they turned to see Val come out. “You can go in.”

She raised an eyebrow at her when she stood up and stared at her for a few seconds. Jess had no idea what that meant before she turned away from the office.

“Good luck dear,” Eva said and smiled at her.

“Thank you.” She knocked lightly and entered when she was given the approval.

The frame of the man sitting behind the desk in the large office looked nothing like Mr Stanford. It made her stop for a moment, and her nerves were out in the open again.

“Please sit.”

His voice came out rather gruff, not what she expected from the…well, a regular looking face. Her fingers stayed entwined below the desk to gather confidence when he looked up at her. He was young—at least a lot younger than the man who had called her in for the interview. She had no idea who she was talking to.

He leaned in and set his arms on his desk. “It is really you.” His gaze on her was focused. She could see the corner of his lips raising, but it disappeared immediately like it never happened.

Everyone appeared to be intrigued by her, and it made her curious to know what Mr Stanford told them about her.

“You look surprised. Perhaps, were you expecting someone else?”

“Yes, sir. I thought I was meeting Mr Stanford for an interview today.”

“You are meeting him.”

She knew she had to manage eye contact, no matter how intimidating they were. “Mr Stanford...?”

He raised an eyebrow at her. “My father?”

She had no idea they were related, but it made sense.

“Are you dating him?”

Her eyes widened, and she blinked. Heard she heard wrong? “What? No. I do not have such a relationship with Mr Stanford. Really, I don’t even have any relationship with him.” Her words came out strained as her palms waved in denial at his accusation.

His head slightly tilted to the side as he narrowed his eyes at her. “He seems fond of you.” He hit the end of the pen in his hand against the file on the table. Her eyes involuntarily followed the movement.

“I met him once. Maybe twice.” She might be lacking social skills, but she rarely stayed quiet when she was wrongly accused.

“Which is it? Once or twice?”

She was starting to dislike this blue-eyed guy. Maybe this was some sort of test, but an inappropriate test it would be. His face was impassive, she could not guess what he was thinking either.

“Good, Tess. It would be uncomfortable working with you if you have a thing going with my dad.” He smiled. And just as it appeared, it was gone again.

How could he think to smile having made such a statement to her? This was not the interview she came for. How did the questions trail from professional to absurd?

“My father must have seen something about you to recommend you for the position, Tess. I would like to confirm some things, though.”

She thought she heard wrong the first time. He called her Tess.

Tess—

Her name was Jess! Why was he ‘Tess-ing’ her?

“How would you handle a boss who asked you out on a date?”

What? She did not prepare for a question like this. Would it be sensible to answer that her boss would never be interested in her? What would a professional answer sound like?


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