The Perfect Wife

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Chapter Twenty

~20~

Davian

Reyna took advantage of the jetted tub in the master suite while I prepared us something to eat. Just like the master bedroom, I equipped the en-suite with the scenic view of the city or whatever scene Reyna chose. After showing her how to change the screen settings to wherever she wanted the screen to take her, she opted for a tropical beach. It would have been my choice, and when joined with the surround sound at the touch of a button, it became the perfect paradise.

As I was preparing the salad, my phone began to vibrate on the counter. I knew that Reyna would be in her own little paradise for a while, so instead of bringing it to my ear, I hit the speaker icon, which also freed up my hands. “Give me some good news, Axe.”

“We have taken care of the two men in the van.” Axe began. “After a bit of persuasion, we found out they were instructed to keep an eye on the hotel for your arrival. We roughed them up pretty good, but they wouldn’t confirm that Salko hired them. They kept mentioning another name, Braxton. I’m not sure if it means anything, but they won’t be around for a while. We dumped them off at Emory University.”

After I hung up with Axe, ‘Braxton’ ran through my head. There was only one person I knew of with that name, and it was Reyna’s mom, and she died nearly sixteen years ago. Something told me that the McCalls would know more Braxton names and whether any other relatives would be a threat to Reyna. I had dealt with a lot of douche bags in my business dealings, and so had Crosby McCall. The staffing service he ran put him in contact with more than his fair share of shady people. Investing in the McCall Agency was a mistake I had regretted from the first day Crosby McCall opened the doors to his so-called staffing business. If the right people found out what the staffing agency comprised of, the company would cease to exist, and he would end up spending a very long time behind bars. Thankfully, Cross Enterprises couldn’t be implicated since there was no way to track our involvement. My father was smart in that sense when he agreed to help his longtime friend.

Pulling the beef casserole from the oven, I turned to find two beautiful brown eyes staring back at me. Reyna didn’t know it, but she was the sexiest woman alive. Wearing a pair of striped flannel shorts and a pink t-shirt that hit just above her waist, she made me think dinner needed to rest for at least twenty minutes while I devoured the goddess in front of me.

“It smells wonderful,” she said as she took a seat at the center island where I had placed the casserole.

“How about a glass of wine?” I offered.

“That would be nice.”

I knew there was something else on her mind as she traced the edge of the countertop with her finger. Placing a glass of red wine in front of her, I held up my glass in a toast. Instead of addressing my toast by lifting her glass, she kept her head focused on her finger that was still tracing the edge of the counter. “You know… in four days, it will be my birthday, and since we are already in Atlanta, I thought it would be nice to celebrate it with Kenzi and my parents. It isn’t every day that you turn twenty-one.”

There it was, guilt. How could I forget? Having a twenty-first birthday party was the last thing on my mind. Not only was it the furthest thing from my mind, but her request also couldn’t happen unless I planned on putting her in danger. Here, at least I could protect her. Beyond this safe haven, she would be exposed even with The Society protecting her. There was no way I could allow it. I still needed to think of a way for her to see Kenzi without putting both of them at risk.

“I can’t risk it, Reyna. Your safety is all that matters to me.” That wasn’t exactly true. Her birthday mattered too. “Maybe we could celebrate your birthday here. Just me and you.”

Reyna’s finger no longer slid along the counter. Her head came up, and her defiant eyes were on mine. “No! I deserve to celebrate my birthday with my mom and dad and my best friend. You can’t stop me. I won’t let you dictate what I can and cannot do anymore.”

She stood from her seat, and before she could take her first step, I was at her side, holding her in place so she couldn’t move. “Let go of me.”

“Not until you promise you will listen to me.” Reyna was a fighter, but I wasn’t about to let her go until she heard me out.

“You are a real dick.”

I couldn’t argue with her. I was a dick in every sense of the word. If she hated me, fine. Having her hate me was better than risking her life. Taking a softer approach, I whispered, “Please, just listen to what I have to say.”

I could tell that she was giving in to my words. Her struggles against me settled down, and she melted against my chest. I could feel her sobs vibrated against my chest. “Davian, please let me have this. It is only one day.”

It was more than one day. Her twenty-first birthday meant everything to her, which also meant it was something special to me. I wanted to give her the biggest twenty-first birthday party ever, but I knew it wasn’t possible. “I’ll allow Kenzi to celebrate your birthday with you, but bringing your parents here is too much of a risk. The van outside wasn’t arranged by Salko. I think there is another player, and I have to keep you safe more than ever.”

“Who other than my father would have an interest in me?”

“Someone who shared your last name.”

“McCall?”

“No, Braxton.”

The room suddenly got quiet until I heard her plea, “Why?”

“I don’t know, princess. We are still trying to figure that out.”

Holding her at arm’s length, Reyna’s eyes were still clouded with tears. The way she looked up at me killed me. I did this to her. I wasn’t an honorable man, and she deserved better. I knew it, but I couldn’t let her go. And using her as a bargaining piece was no longer an option. There had to be another way to draw Salko out.

After having to reheat our dinner, Reyna and I finally sat down to eat. I could finally say that she understood how important it was to keep her safe, or at least I hoped she did. As we sat at the table enjoying our dinner, there were small exchanges of conversation, all of which surrounded what she wanted to do for her birthday celebration. Everything she mentioned would take some doing, but it wasn’t entirely impossible. I actually through it was ingenious on her part to use the camera system I had and incorporate a way for her parents to be present through a FaceTime app of sorts. That way, they could be a part of her celebration.

The conversation was going great until Reyna mentioned Gwen. “So… tell me more about your fiancée. What was she like?”

There were so many words to describe Gwen. She was smart, funny, and stubborn. Mostly she was kind and had a heart of gold. “I think you are a lot like her in some ways.”

“Like how?”

“Well… just like you, she was stubborn, but she knew what she wanted.”

“I’m not stubborn. I just like doing things my way.”

That was the truth. I knew firsthand how much Reyna liked doing things her way. It was evident the day I met her, and it was apparent tonight. “I don’t see a difference between stubbornness and doing things your way. At least not when it comes to you.”

“Hey… I take offense to that.”

“You shouldn’t. It is actually a compliment.” Little did Reyna know that I like her defiant personality. It’s what kept me wanting her more.

I’m not sure how the subject of conversation switched so quickly from Gwen to my mom, but when Reyna asked, “How is your mom doing? It must be really hard your dad and you,” I knew that Mika must have filled her in.

“I really haven’t thought much about her. I know she is in a good place, getting the best care possible. As for my dad, he has moved on, but he still sends her flowers on her birthday and their anniversary, knowing she won’t know who sent them. He lost the woman he loved a long time ago. Someday I hope that he will find a woman that can fill his heart as much as my mom did.”

“I assume they are no longer married.”

“Legally, no. Before my mom got really bad, she thought it was best they divorce. All he had to do was sign the paperwork to make it legal. He never did until the doctors confirmed that she wouldn’t get any better. It was the hardest thing he ever did, but in return, he promised to make sure they took good care of her, and if he passed before she did, I would carry out his promise until she died.”

It felt good to talk about my mom. It had been so long since I’d seen her or even thought about her. Maybe once this situation with Reyna ended, hopefully with Rui behind bars, or better yet, dead, I’ll try to visit her again.

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