Chase has been suffering silently the past week. I know he is getting irritated, especially since I went completely vegan with our dinners. I also bring him lunch every day and Verity cleaned out his little bar at the office. Ryder and Mark also locked their bars in their respective offices, seeming to enjoy watching Chase squirm as much as I do. On top of that he's been super busy at work, so he hasn't had time to go out and get a decent meal or a drink. And he's missed every game this week in favour of the cheesy romances I've forced him to watch. But still he hasn't broken.
I've been leaving annulment papers in strategic locations only to find them torn to shreds each time. So now, I'm upping the ante. I place the last of Chase’s new suits into his closet and smile. It may have taken a bit of a hit on my credit card to replace his entire wardrobe, apart from the one Armani suit he wore to the office, but hopefully it's worth it. Verity had given me a platinum credit card attached to Chases, how she had the authority, I will never know, but I refuse to use it. I don't want his money. I just want him to sign a damn piece of paper.
He's been putting the moves on too, which has only increased the sexual tension between us, and it's getting harder to say no. But I won't go there. I won't be a means to an end for him. And I have a boyfriend, I just have to remember that.
Guilt floods me as I shut the closet doors and sit down on Chase’s bed. I rarely think of Liam, the only time I do, is to stop myself from jumping Chase. But I know he loves me, and I'm sure that one day, I will love him too. He's good to me. I need to remember that. I decide to give him a call, he should be up still, it's Friday night in Australia after all and he always went out with the guys on Friday and Saturday nights.
I walk out of Chase’s room and into mine across the hall. It's a guest room with ensuite, only slightly smaller than Chases master suite, but still more luxurious than I've ever been in. I grab my phone and find Liam in my contacts, hitting call I sit down on the bed and wait for him to pick up. The phone rings out until I get his message bank. Sighing, I hang up before leaving a message. I'm sure he will see the missed call and call me back soon.
I hear the front door open and close a moment later. I can't help but smile, partly because of my latest plan against Chase, partly because I find I like him coming home to me. I push that thought away, while I'm playing house, I shouldn't be liking it as much as I do. I jump to my feet and skip out to the foyer to greet Chase, as I have every day for the past week.
“Honey! I'm home!” he calls out. I can hear the smirk in his voice as I exit the hallway and move towards him. Kissing him on the cheek, I help him remove his jacket and place it in the closet.
“Welcome home dear.” I say, overly sweet. I give him my brightest smile and he eyes me curiously. His arm snakes around my waist and he pulls me into him. My hands land on his chest, stopping myself from falling completely into him.
“Is that all I get as a greeting?” he says. I slowly pull back, his arm still holding me close, but giving a little to allow me to move. I smile sweetly and lean over kissing his other cheek before pulling out of his arms and moving away. He lets out a low chuckle. I ignore the low ache forming from being so close to him. “You're in a good mood.” He states. I look back over my shoulder and smile, giving him a wink, while I walk to the kitchen to plate up the completely tasteless dinner I created.
“What did you do?” he asks, his voice laced with curiosity and suspicion. I start platting up, not looking at him.
“I don't know what you mean...” I say innocently. Chase walks around behind me and spins me around to face him. He steps closer, trapping me between him and the bench with his body. His palms rest on the bench either side of me and he leans in, his breath on my neck as his lips move over my ear.
“You have a tell, dear wife... I know you're up to something, when are you going to give up this game?” he whispers. My breathing shallows as the vibration of his deep voice sends tingles down my spine. I squeeze my legs together and try to steady my breathing. I hate how my body reacts to him, it takes all my will power not to grab him to me and kiss the daylights out of him. Will power that's getting harder to draw on.
“When are you going to sign the annulment?” I whisper. My voice comes out breathier than I'd like, betraying how turned on I am by him. I can feel his smile where his lips are still gently touching my ear, he bends his head slightly and runs his nose up my neck, inhaling my floral perfume.
“Never.” He states. He pulls away to look me in the eyes. I'm lost in the ocean blue irises, the intensity of his look dwindling my power to resist him.
The sound of Train's, drops of Jupiter, sounds out from my bedroom and I snap out of whatever hold Chase had over me. Liam. My boyfriend. I push chase away and move out of the kitchen.
“I need to get that.” I say. He lets me go and I practically run to the bedroom to answer my phone. I close the door of my bedroom and sink my back against it. I was so close to giving into those beautiful blue eyes. So close to letting him have his way with me.
I walk towards my phone as it stops ringing and pick it up in my hand. I need to call Liam back, I need to let go of whatever hold Chase just had on me and remember my boyfriend back home.
That stupid phone. If it hadn't have rang when it did, Kate would be mine right now. I know she was so close to giving me permission to kiss her, I won't make the same mistake of just taking what I want again, I can still feel the sting on my cheek when I think about what happened last time. Sighing, I make my way towards my bedroom, not worrying about dinner, I don't have an appetite for whatever Kate calls food anyway.
As I walk past Kate's door, I hear her on the phone and pause. I know, I shouldn't eavesdrop, but I'm curious about her. I know practically nothing about the woman living with me, except that she enjoys odd forms of torture, like depriving me of the essentials. Food, sex and alcohol.
“Liam... I'm trying ok, it's just taking time! Once the annulment goes through, I'll be on the first plane home I promise.” I hear Kate say, frustration evident in her voice. Liam? Who’s Liam? I press myself closer to the door, I can hear her pacing the room, her steps sounding frustrated. “Of course I'm not sleeping with him! I'm not cheating on you Liam!” she exclaims. I step back, my mind going into overdrive at what I just heard. Liam's her boyfriend. My wife has a boyfriend. I don't know how I feel about this revelation. I shouldn't care, she's a means to an end, but the taste of jealousy at the thought of another man’s hands on her lingers in my mouth. I hear Kate end the call, but I don't move away from the door. Arms crossed I listen as she walks towards the door and opens it. A look of surprise crosses her fine features when she finds me there.
“You have a boyfriend?” I ask, though I already know the answer. Her eyebrows rise in shock before turning to a glare.
“You were listening to my conversation?” she asks. I step towards her, I don't know why I always feel the need to invade her personal space. Well I do, it's the rush of heat I feel in her presence, the electrical current that runs between us.
“Answer the question.” I say, looking at her sternly. Even though I already know the answer, I don't know why I want to hear her say it. She crosses her arms and juts her hip out, giving me a hard stare.
“Did you think I'd be single?” she answers my question with a question. Honestly, yes. I assumed she was. But that was a pretty stupid assumption, considering how gorgeous she is. She'd have a line of guys waiting for a chance with her.
“I thought you were married.” I say, not taking my eyes off her. She scoffs and rolls her eyes.
“I didn't know I was married. Did you really think I'd end an 8 month relationship when I found out?” she asks. Well yes I did. I assumed she would find out I was rich and be on the next plane here to live the good life. Another stupid assumption where Kate is concerned. I'm starting to realize that she will never be what I expect her to be. And that thought gives me comfort.
“And how does he feel about you living with your husband?” I ask her, a small smirk playing on my lips. She flinches a little and looks away, composing herself she steels her body and looks back.
“He knows I'm trying to get this annulment and get back to him.” She says, her face stoic. The words are like a punch to my gut. She wants to go back to him. She's chosen him. But have I really given her a choice? I've been nothing but an ass to her since day one. But I can't help but smile as I realize she didn't actually answer my question
“He doesn't know you're living here does he?” I say, amusement evident in my voice. I see a flicker of guilt in her eyes and I know I've hit the nail on the head. Still, she stands firm.
“I'm staying here, not living here, my home is in Perth.” She retorts. In Perth with HIM.
“Not for the next 8 years, it's not.” I say without hesitation. The fire in her eyes remind me of the first day in my office.
“You can't force me to stay married to you.” She speaks through clenched teeth. I smile and lean in, breathing on her neck causing goose bumps to appear on her skin as my lips touch her ear.
“Watch me.” I nip her ear lobe before pulling away. I don't miss the way her body shudders from the action. I'm met with fury in her eyes, and a hint of desire. She screams in frustration, stepping back and slamming the door in my face. I can't help but chuckle. She looks like a sweet and innocent little package that it's adorable when she's angry. Kind of like a care bear cursing. I leave her door, allowing her to calm down and taking this one as a win.
Kate came out of her room an hour ago and things are tense between us. Not the usual sexual tension that I know will be explosive when we give in to it, but a cold tension. And going by the glares I'm receiving, I have royally pissed her off. She hasn't said a single word to me, moving away each time I get near her.
Sighing, I leave the couch I'm perched on and decide to have a shower and head to bed. I don't like this coldness between us. While I like seeing her frustrated and angry, this is next level.
I jump in the shower and try to calm my churning gut. Did I push her too far this time? I think about her fucking boyfriend. I don't like that one bit. And I don't like that she's determined to go back to him. I doubt it's even crossed her mind to stay here with me. And why would it? I'm an asshole, I know this. Fuck, I've always been proud of it, but with Kate... well I can't help but feel bad. Still, I don't know how to stop being who I am. And should I really have to?
Getting out of the shower no calmer than I was before, I quickly dry off and wrap the towel around my hips. I walk into my walk in wardrobe, my mind wondering what to do about Kate and reach into where I keep my pyjama pants. The material feels different in my hand and I look down at what I grabbed. It's white material, light in weight. I unfold it and hold it out before me.
It's a dress. A fucking dress. I look up at all my other clothes, and that's when I see it. These aren't my clothes. Gone are my perfectly tailored suits. Gone are my designer ties. I feel like I've stepped back in time and into the wardrobe of a 1900s pauper. Kate. This is what she did. I storm out of my wardrobe in only a towel, dress still in my hand.
“KATE!!” I yell. She stands at the kitchen bench and turns towards me. Her eyes travel my body and I realize this is the first time she's seen me without a shirt on. Or pants. Well, at least since Vegas. Her eyes land on the dress in my hand and I see her bite the inside of her cheeks to stop from laughing. “What the fuck is this?” I ask, not trying to hide the fury in my voice. I hold up the dress and see the amusement return to her previously cold eyes. She clears her throat.
“It's a night shirt.” She states. I narrow my eyes at her.
“It's a dress.” I scowl. She purses her lips, stifling her laughter.
“It's a man’s night shirt. I figured you needed a new wardrobe, now that you are a married man and all.” She tells me. I take a step towards her.
“And where are my clothes?” I ask through gritted teeth. She bites down on her bottom lip, I see her eyes travel my body again as I get closer to her. Note to self: walk around half dressed more often.
“I donated them.” She says, a hint of pride in her voice. She wouldn't... would she?
“Donated them?” I ask, seeking clarification. She nods, her cheeks reddening with the laughter she's managing to hold back.
“To the men's shelter... it really classes up New York to see the homeless men in Armani.” She says with a smirk. I step even closer, watching her eyes roam my chest before flicking hurriedly to my eyes, as if she caught herself checking me out.
“And you expect me to wear this?” I ask. I hold up the dress or night shirt or whatever the fuck it is and see her bite her cheek again.
“Of course.” she says with a flutter of her lashes. I tilt my head to look at her before straightening up and smiling.
“Never mind... I'll just sleep naked.” I tell her. I see her breath hitch before she gathers herself. Yeah, she was imagining that, maybe I should give her a show...
“Be hard to go to work naked, it's cold outside, and you know what the cold does to... you know.” She says. Her eyes flick down to my crutch and I smirk.
“And I'd still be bigger than 90 percent of the population.” I say. I see her cheeks go red and decide to leave her with that mental image. Turning on my heel, I head back to my bedroom, dress in hand.