Unlawful Trust

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Chelsea looked rough this morning getting out of bed. We had fun last night but it seemed she had a little too much fun with the size of her hangover. At the adult sex store, she acted a little tipsy as she fooled around with the sex toys, laughing and coming up with names for her device. We had a blast until we got home. Reality snuck back in and made her solemn and sad, and she spent the rest of the night crying. I slept with her in her bed but couldn’t help more than hold her and try not to give her false hope. I couldn’t lie to her. Never had, and never intended on deceiving her even to make her feel better. I didn’t know the outcome of her separation but knew she was strong and would get through it.

Her suffering now only made me sad, but she needed to get it all out. She needed to break down and purged some built-up frustration and pain out of her system. Whatever happened between the two of them she needed to be strong for the kids. She would come out of this a better person and I promised myself to try to be there more for her at every turn.

When the kids came home from their grandparents, she sucked it up and put on a smile for their benefit. They were being their usual selfish personalities. Complaining about grandpa and grandma only having basic television, how they were expected to clean up after themselves, and how they had to help feed the few small animals for their upkeep. I just shook my head. I realized their world had been turned upside down too but it wasn’t too late to find out the harsh realities about how the world owes them nothing. They needed to make it on their own. A little strict maybe for kids who weren’t even teenagers yet, but good advice either way.

Secretly glad about Chelsea’s hangover, she didn’t talk about cleaning a thing today and it was already mid-afternoon. Not that it really needed it with all the washing she roped me into this week. The old two-story craftsman house was home to Chelsea’s mother’s side of the family. Her mother grew up here and the proximity to her parent’s house would help her to look after the kids. Close, but not too close. They had a big family so the house even had a bedroom for each kid after maneuvering some wiggle room in the basement, but it all worked out.

A wooded lot between the houses would give the kids some outdoor play. If that wasn’t enough, a river flowed a short distance away and boasted an occasional tasty fish. Chelsea almost drowned as a small child in the same river but was saved by her father and warned the kids never to go without adult supervision.

Edwin and Barb came to visit during the week, tolerating my presence. Although Chelsea loved her father he was old and set in his ways, throwing outdated religious views at people as a way to explain all the improper wrongdoings in the world. We never saw eye to eye but I did envy how Chelsea looked up to him. My father wanted a career more than a family. Not that I needed him, but it would have been great for him to come around from time to time growing up.

Currently, we both sat out in the backyard soaking up the afternoon sun. Wisconsin in June barely reached warm levels but this summer had been unseasonably hot. The kids were inside trying to get the crappy rural internet to all of a sudden come to life and work their electronics to perfection. I, for one, enjoyed the peace and quiet as we watched the serene fields around her house.

The sound of a car turning into her gravel driveway alerted us to an intruder, and we both looked at each other. She had a look of trepidation on her face and I knew she feared it could be Brandt, although from what I heard about his injuries he would be laid up for a while. I overheard them talk on the phone — yelled at each other really as Brandt said some nasty comments to her for leaving — and I hated the look of alarm on her face right now.

Standing up first, I intended to shelter her the best I could. Walking around the corner I noticed a flashy yellow sports car pull up to the house. Chelsea came behind me, and we both waited to see the driver emerge. The car looked expensive and wouldn’t be the typical choice of transportation had it been one of the farmers from the neighborhood, but the windows were tinted, and we couldn’t make out the driver.

The door opened and none other than Ryder Jurdaine emerged.

He climbed out of the car fitted only in inexpensive jeans and a V-neck red t-shirt that made his caramel hair look more seductive. Always so handsomely dressed in suits and ties, I forgot he once was a rocker and knew how to dress like the common folk. He looked over in my direction first noticing my look of shock before smirking at me and then waving to Chelsea. Sucking in my breath, I swallowed quickly and gave a glance behind me. Chelsea’s whole face brightened considerably when she saw him. Running to his car she wrapped her arms around him as I slowly made my way over to the two of them knowing it would appear strange if I didn’t address him.

Chelsea beamed at him, “Ryder, you didn’t need to come out here.”

“I promised you I would. I wanted to check up on you and make sure you were doing okay.” He touched her face briefly and the sentiment proved tender.

“How is he?” Chelsea hid her interest but couldn’t stop herself from asking. She would always care about Brandt but still felt guilty.

“At home and going through rehab for his leg. That is if he can keep a physical therapist. All he does is piss them off lately.” He said it to lighten her mood, but she could only give a small smile in return.

“I see you’ve got company.” He nodded in my direction and his eyes never wavered from my own.

Not alluding to my annoyance at his arrival, I addressed him, “Ryder, so nice to see you again.” I offered my hand to shake but instead, he brought it up to his lips and kissed it. The feel of them sizzled my skin briefly.

“Amilyn, you are lovely as ever.”

Chelsea thankfully interrupted the moment, “The kids will be so glad to see you.” She leaned her head into the car and saw his duffle bag, “Good, you brought some clothes.”

He cocked his head at the house. “I didn’t plan on staying here but didn’t have enough time to check-in at the hotel yet. Unfortunately, I can only stay in Wisconsin one night.”

She shook her head, “Then I insist on you staying here with us.”

He smiled at her and then glanced in my direction obviously enjoying the look of unease on my face, “Are you sure? It appears you might already have a full house.”

Keeping my face even, I addressed Chelsea, “I should really leave anyway. I have to meet with an investor. Ryder can use my bed.” I didn’t think it would be good for me and Ryder to be in the same house much less the same state after what I pulled on him in Miami. The meeting with the stockholder was a feeble excuse but at least somewhat accurate. Mael, my one and only investor in my so-called company, didn’t need any updating on the progress since I had no updates.

Chelsea reached in the car and pulled out his bag without his permission, “Nonsense. You aren’t supposed to be leaving until the day after tomorrow. The girls don’t mind bunking together and Ryder can just sleep in Angel’s room. Ami, you can sleep with me again.”

Ryder groaned playfully, “That is just what I was hoping for. Can I be the meat in your sandwich?” His saucy comment garnered a full-out chuckle from Chelsea and it was easy to see the relationship they had. She trusted him. Maybe even looked at him as something of a surrogate brother but also saw his bullshit.

“Ryder you’ve been saying the same shit since I met you. Have I once taken you up on your offer?”

He smiled and pulled her in for a side hug, “Can’t blame a man for trying.”

The kids finally gave up their indoor shenanigans and came out to greet Ryder. He not only pulled them out of the house but convinced all of them to hike to the river and fish with him while Chelsea scurried around making dinner by cutting up the vegetables and getting the grill ready. To my relief, he didn’t divulge anything to indicate the soiree we had just a couple of weeks prior. I was glad he wanted to keep his mouth shut on the subject and although I wouldn’t deny it, I had no intention of explaining myself to Chelsea, or to Ryder for that matter.

When Ryder returned with the kids with one unlucky fish Chelsea’s second son, Vinny, was so proud she had to add it to the grill. Ryder took the painful steps of cleaning the fish and salvaged enough meat so Vinny could feast on his capture.

Although Ryder offered to help clean up after the meal Chelsea shooed him over to the kids. He did a great job of keeping them entertained with a couple of games of soccer making sure to keep it easy enough for Angel to play. The kids were always respectful of her diabetes and her limitations and never made her feel left out because of it. With having a father who was diabetic, they seemed more in tuned to know what to look for too which was a relief for Chelsea now having to rely on Grandpa and Grandma to watch her and the rest of the kids more.

When the dishes were put away we came back out to the backyard and watched the excitement. I couldn’t believe how at ease Ryder seemed with the kids. He laughed and cavorted around like a preteen himself, racing after each of them and tackling them at times to get them to laugh. He looked like a little kid himself instead of the all-serious businessman that ran his nightclub conglomerates to perfection.

“The kids love him, and he is so good with them too. He would have made a wonderful father,” Chelsea commented and smiled at him wistfully.

“Why do you think he never had any kids of his own?” As an attractive, powerful man any woman would jump at the chance to squeeze out a couple of children for him. Regardless of his business achievements, there was no lack of attention from groupies when he played in the band either.

“Ryder never found someone special I guess. I never saw him with a woman more than once. I asked Brandt about it, and he told me Ryder fell in love all the time but it only lasted until he was done coming.” She winced when she said, “Sorry, that was a little crude.”

I laughed, “I heard worse.” Chelsea always had a hard time with certain words. As a good person, crude language was still a feat for her.

“It doesn’t shock me Ryder is a player. He was touring the country with women throwing themselves at him. They all had plenty of access to women...” Turning, I shut my mouth with an audible click. Chelsea confessed Brandt’s indiscretion last night and my comment would only hurt her.

She just smiled, “No, you are right. They all were a little easy at one point or another. Ryder was at least nice to the women even when he shared them.” Her eyes widened as she sputtered. Evidently, she thought her disclosure would warrant an effect on me.

I shrugged my shoulders, “I know of men who share women, Chelsea. Every man or woman has their fetish.” She eased up a little but obviously felt like she betrayed Ryder’s confidence.

The giggles of her older daughter Veronica traveled over to us as we watched Ryder tackle her and tickle her into submission. It didn’t take long for the other kids to gang up on him although he put up a valiant fight. Chelsea looked wistful again and it pulled at my heart, “Brandt used to play with the kids like that. When he had a break from touring, he would be the best dad. I could never tell if the tour refreshed him for the kids or if the kids refreshed him for going back out on the road. He would try to make up for all the time he spent away. It weighed on him but the kids understood.” And then in a softer voice, she added, “He hasn’t been doing much with the kids at all anymore. Now that he isn’t touring it is like he takes them for granted.”

“Maybe it is why Ryder is so good with them? He doesn’t have kids or a wife at home, so he can enjoy yours. Although the way he was hitting on you earlier, he may be scoping out an easy family add-on.” I hoped my lighthearted comment would change her solemn mood. We both knew the flirting Ryder did earlier to be innocent in its meaning.

She laughed, “I’m not his type. For whatever reason, he always went for the female attention he could buy.”

Although it shocked me, I left my face indifferent. “He hires prostitutes?”

She nodded, “I probably shouldn’t be saying this but it always bothered me. He could have any girl he wanted, but he preferred to hire prostitutes. JJ and Ryder would frequent strip joints as much as they could on tour.” She took her index finger and strummed her lips in thought, “They did the majority of sharing women. Deep down he is the most incredible, amazing person. He has a heart of gold and has always been upfront with women. Never leading them on or playing games with them. He genuinely seemed to care about them. It just didn’t make sense that he would use them for money.”

What Chelsea talked about didn’t necessarily bother me as it did her. Men liked to pay for what they wanted to prevent a woman from clinging. Ryder wasn’t the relationship type but I couldn’t hold it against him. I wasn’t anymore either. Ever since my marriage failed, I refused the social norms of commitment not seeing a reason to give up single life again.

After listening to Chelsea talk about Ryder, I couldn’t help but think we may just have more in common than the ability to have good sex. The issue now was — would I want to explore more with him knowing he wouldn't expect anything long-term?

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