He pulls me into a tight embrace. This man... I don’t know what it is about him, but I just can’t seem to stay away. If this is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
“What do you want, baby?”
I look into his eyes and take a deep breath, knowing that my answer will change everything between us. But before I can admit what’s been on my mind ever since I met him, a different, familiar voice echoes through my head.
“What the hell is going on in here?” The voice belonged to my husband.
*** 10 days earlier: Although being a senator’s wife has its perks, the downsides are far greater. Every moment of my life is planned out and scrutinized. “Good morning Jessica.” I flash a wide sparkling smile at the receptionist, who looks almost startled to see me.
Her cheeks appear to be flushed, and her mouth remains open until the elevator doors open then close behind me. What the hell is up with her?
As soon as I reach the third floor, I walk into Kyle’s office and have a glance down at my watch. Kyle and I are supposed to have a sit-down interview with National News today to discuss his campaign. We’re running late so we’ll have to hurry if we want to make it.
I open my mouth to announce my arrival, but I stop at the doorway in pure shock. Is that Tina, his personal assistant?! She’s half-sitting on the edge of the desk, facing my husband. When I see her hands between his upper thighs, I feel my anger rising.
Oh hell no, I’m crashing their little party. I slammed the door shut behind me, startling them both.
“Good morning, Kyle!”
“Vanessa!” He stands up, sending Tatiana to tumble on the floor.
“Ouch Kyle! That hurt!”
He laughed. “Sorry.”
She looked up at me and gasped. “Mrs. Lexington! So nice to see you this morning!”
I nod. “You as well, Tina.”
“Oh, it’s Tatiana actually. But close enough!” She stood up and smiled. “You look lovely this morning.”
It was quite clear that she was doing her best to try and change the topic. She looked down and rearranged her wrinkly blouse and nonchalantly tried to fix her neat ponytail.
As I look at my husband’s mistress, I pity her. The poor girl fell for his charm and lines of bullshit that he fed me for years.
“I didn’t know you were coming so soon, honey.”
God, that smug grin on his face made me want to slap him as hard as I could.
“You were clearly very distracted, honey. So I assumed that you forgot about...”
“The interview with the National News, sir.”
I rolled my eyes as Tatiana completely cut me off mid-sentence. “Did I ask you, Tatiana? No. I asked my husband.”
“I’m so sorry Vanessa, but I had to look over some paperwork that I blew off for the last two weeks.”
“Why is Tatiana in here?” Besides trying to get down your pants.
“Ms. Sullivan was helping me with...”
“I’ve been looking for my gosh darn earring all morning and I still haven’t been able to find it.”
“Maybe it’s stuck in my husband’s zipper.”
“Well, you two were quite close when I walked in.”
Tatiana blushed in pure embarrassment.
“You should keep an eye out for things like that. It’d be awful to embarrass yourself on national television.”
“Found it!” Tatiana bent down and picked up an object next to Kyle’s desk. “Thank goodness! I was afraid I’d never find it!”
“Glad you did, Tatiana.”
She looked up at Kyle and blushed. “Well, I suppose I should get back to work now. I don’t want to take up any more of your time, sir.”
He nodded. “Thank you, Tatiana.”
She blushed and scurried out of the office without saying a word.
“Was that really necessary?” Kyle asked sarcastically.
“No, I suppose not babe. However, hasn’t anyone told you not to sleep with your employees? It’s very unprofessional.”
Kyle glared at me and changes the subject. “Did you look over the questions and answers I gave you for the interview?”
“Of course I did.”
“I know my role, don’t worry. I’ll recite the answers exactly like they’re written.”
“I really lucked out marrying you, didn’t I? Always so obedient and reliable.”
“I always aim to please, Kyle.”
He picked up the stack of letters from his desk. “Give me a few minutes.”
“But we’ll be late.”
He looked and me and rolled his eyes. “Just let me read through these and we’ll head out.” He throws several of the letters in the trash without even looking at them until he gets to an unlabeled envelope.
“Kyle, we don’t really have time for this.”
“Stop nagging.” He opened the letter at the bottom of the pile and unfolded the paper inside of it, reading the content slowly and carefully.
“The interview is cancelled. You need to leave right now.”
“Don’t question me, Vanessa. Do as I say and go straight home. I have something I need to deal with.”
I’ve never seen him be this worked up before. He looks...Disturbed? Or scared maybe? I obey him to avoid an argument and go home.
It’s been hours since I got home and I had no text messages or missed calls. I spoke with the National News and explained that we needed to reschedule. They were not happy about it at all.
Is this really how my life was supposed to turn out? From a Princeton graduate to a trophy wife? How pathetic! I can’t even do anything about it. Whenever I bring up even filing a divorce, it turns into an argument. He always says, “It’s bad publicity!″ So now I’m stuck in a loveless marriage for the rest of my life. A look of determination suddenly formed on my face. No. I can’t live this way anymore! I’m not going to be viewed as a weak housewife. The minute he gets home, I’m demanding a divorce-whether if he likes it or not. Just as I’m thinking about that, Kyle comes through the door and leaves it wide open. He’s finally home!
“Is everything okay?”
“No, not exactly.”
“There’s someone who I’d like you to meet. This is Corey Diaz. He’s an ex-SEAL and the top man on my security team.”
A strong man with a sharp jawline and an equally sharp expression appears behind Kyle. He looks at me without saying anything. His face is so serious but his eyes are piercing.
“Okay…” I say shocked. “Why is he in our house?”
“Corey is going to be your own personal bodyguard.”
“My what?! What in the fuck is going on?”
“I received this letter today.” He hands me an envelope, and crossed his arms around his chest.
Inside it is a neatly typed letter and a handful of photos. I gasp when I realize the pictures are of me at the store, out with my friends and even me sleeping in the living room.
“What is this, Kyle?”
“Just read the letter.”
Dear Mr. Lexington… Here’s proof that we not only know where she is at all times, but that we can get into your house without you even knowing. If you don’t drop the campaign, your wife’s days are very limited. Consider yourself warned. There is no signature found at the bottom of the letter.
“What the hell is this?! Is this some kind of sick joke?”
“Babe, it’s nothing to be too worried about.”
“NOTHING to be worried about?! Kyle, there’s a photo of me sleeping in our bed! They were in the house while I was sleeping! How are you not worried about this?!”
The bodyguard’s eyes flicker over to mine but remains quiet. “Really, these shenanigans happen all the time. Most prestigious senators are used to receiving death threats. They get them everyday.”
“Then what’s up with the bodyguard?”
Kyle shrugged his shoulders. “I’d look like a dickhead if I didn’t take the threats at least a little seriously. Especially since it’s been released to the public.”
I gasp. “What?! How?!”
Kyle checks his Rolex watch with an expressionless look on his face. “I had to tell the news why we cancelled the interview so last minute.”
I stare at him in awe. He exposed the letter to the public?! “Why would you do that? I texted you and told you I’d already contacted them! Everything was perfectly fine!”
“Calm down, Vanessa. Those people are like vultures. I needed to give them something, otherwise they’d refuse to reschedule.”
“Kyle, I already rescheduled! I had everything handled! What if you just put my life in more danger? Do I really mean that little to you?”
“Jesus.” He laughed and rolled his eyes. “There’s no need to be all dramatic with yourself.”
“What if I don’t want a bodyguard?”
“It’s non-negotiable. I’m your husband, you do what the fuck I tell you to.”
“You sound so stupid right now. This is a marriage for god’s sake, not a dictatorship.”
“This is how it is going to be until this is dealt with. Starting tomorrow morning, Corey will be watching your every move. He’ll be contacting me if anything is suspicious.”
“I’m twenty five years old for fucks sake!” He chuckles. “It’s for your own good. As long as he’s with you, there’s no concern. I have to go back to work now.”
“I can’t believe you’re doing this.”
He smirked before saying, “Bye babe.” He walks out leaving me alone with the bodyguard. I glance at him who’s completely silent. I try to ignore his muscles and look anywhere but at his whole torso. “Corey, right?”
“Well I guess you and I are going to have tons of fun.” He stands silently and the only gesture I get is a simple nod.
*The next morning, my new guard follows me everywhere. “If you’re going to walk so close to me, you can at least try and hold a conversation. Otherwise, you’ll look like a stalker following me.”
How can someone be so quiet? Doesn’t he ever get bored? I’ve tried all morning to strike up a conversation but the only thing I get back are short sentences or one worded answers. “Are you always this quiet? Or is it just me who brings out this exciting side of you?”
He almost smiled before he composed himself again. “Just doing what I’m told, ma’am.”
I see my favorite cafe across the street and I head toward it. Maybe some food will loosen you up a little. 10 minutes later, he sit down at an empty table with our orders. “Not much of a breakfast person, I take it?”
“Coffee is fine.”
"Don’t look at me like that.”
“Is there something wrong with being mysterious?”
I pause for a moment. Holy shit, I can’t believe it. That’s the longest sentences he’s said to me all morning. “I suppose not. Mysterious means you’re reliable, which are great qualities to have. It’s fine as long as you’ll still have some fun sometimes, right?”
He simply sips his coffee and says, “I'm only here to do my job, Vanessa."
He stops for a second, appearing like he didn’t want to come across rude but remains quiet. “You only ordered a latte, is this your daily routine?”
“You notice things, don’t you? But you are right. I do usually order something to eat as well. It’s just this whole anonymous shit has startled me a little. It’s shocking to believe someone would threaten Kyle with my life… However, if they were someone close to him, they would know it’s stupid including the fact that he doesn’t care what happens to me.” I force myself to form a small smile.
“Sorry, I hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable. He shook his head.
“Not at all. Relationships certainly do have their challenges.”
“You sound like you’ve experienced some. Is your girlfriend upset that your gone for a long...” Shut up Vanessa. “Sorry. I don’t want to be nosy.”
“I don’t have time for a relationship right now. My responsibilities are elsewhere.”
“That’s smart.” I fiddle with the coffee cup in my hand. “Can we take this to go? I’d like to go home.”
“Yes, of course.” His smile was simply intoxicating.
*It isn’t long before we’re back in the house. He finished his coffee before we left the cafe so I put mine on the kitchen table. I try to think of something to ask him. “Have you ever tried…”
“Wait. Something’s wrong.” Suddenly, a gunshot flies through the air, breaking the vase on the counter. Terrified, I covered my head with my hands as the bullets continued to fly. He tackles me to the ground, as I feel the whoosh of air as one nearly hits my arm. I look at him with my eyes wide open and I then realize that he just saved me from getting shot.
“We need to leave!” He pulls me up and protects me with his body as we head to the bedroom. I feel adrenaline in my veins as I run as fast as I can but then a sharp pain hits my shoulder, making me trip. He is too fast to react.
“Grab my hand!” He extends his arm and offers it to me, his eyes asking me to trust him. I reach out and grab his hand without any hesitation. Corey’s other arm slides underneath my thighs and he lifts me up. As he does this, my arms wrap around his neck and I bury my face in his muscular chest. Just before we make it around the corner, he stumbles and grunts in pain.
“Corey?! Are you okay?” He doesn’t respond but his mouth is set in a firm line. We make it to the bedroom closet where he slams the door shut and sets me down on my feet.
“I have to go back out.”
“But you could get shot!”
“Nope, I’ve been through much worse than this.” I sense hesitation in his voice even though he sounds confident.
“The shooter can’t get to us here. If you leave, you’ll be at a big disadvantage.”
As he shifts his body weight, his arm grazes my breast accidentally, causing my heart to skip a beat. Noticing this, he immediately tries to step away. “Sorry, this close is too small for both of us.”
I giggle. “That’s only because your muscles take up too much space.” He remained silent but she noticed the corner of his mouth turn up and reach for the knob. Do I mind sharing this small spot with him? Should I tell him to stay?
“Please don’t go. I’m…” Gunfire suddenly echoes and bullets smash the walls in front and behind me. I cover my ears and let out a scream. His large, muscular hand covers my mouth to muffle the sound.
I shake my head. “Sorry.”
He smiled. “It’s okay. I’ll keep you safe.”
He cupped her cheek in his hand. He was remarkably very close to her. “I promise Vanessa, I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Wow, this is the first time I’ve heard him say my name! I have to admit, I like the way he says it. His expression turns serious and steps away. “You okay?”
“You don’t look it.”
“I’m fine, really. Just scared.”
“Listen. Do you hear that?”
“What?” “They’re gone. But I need to make sure it’s safe. Stay here.” He opens the door and leaves.
Holy shit, someone was trying to kill me! But he saved me. Maybe it’s not so bad having him around.
Kyle probably wouldn’t care if he was here. How can it be possible that he and Corey are two completely different men? Kyle is so selfish compared to Corey who reminds me of a superhero in an action movie. He did everything he could to protect me. Being married to that asshole has made me forget there are some nice guys out there. Men like Corey.
“What was that?”
“N-nothing!” shit, I didn’t even notice him.
As we go back out into the bedroom, I ask “Are they gone?”
“Yes. They escaped.” He looks at me and stops. “Is that blood?”
“Yes, but I’m fine. Really, I am.”
“Where’s a first-aid kit?” “In the bathroom.” He nods and leaves. He soon comes back with the kit.
“I’m okay Corey, really.”
“Shh..” He takes out a gauze and some disinfectant spray and carefully starts to clean the wound. I suddenly think of something as I watch him.
“I could’ve died. Someone really is trying to kill me and for what?! For being that asshole’s wife?!”
He looked at me in shock but says nothing.
“Yes you heard me, he’s an asshole.”
“Listen. I was hired to protect you, that’s what I’m going to do.”
“You can’t be with me always. What happens when you go home?”
Stepping closer, he says, “I’m protecting you so I’m not leaving your side. Ever.” He seemed very concerned, sending adrenaline down my veins.
“Until he says otherwise.”
Someone bursts in the room and Warren points his gun up, only to see Kyle. “Whoa! Take it easy!”
“Sorry sir. We took on some home invaders.”
Kyle nods. “I heard from our neighbors there were gunshots. What happened?”
“Like I said sir, someone got into the house.”
“Jesus.” Kyle runs his hand through his hair. “Glad I got here as soon as I could.”
Like you really give a shit. I thought silently.
“Did they break or steal anything?”
Corey glares at him. “Fuck your possessions. Your wife is the most important.”
“Right. My bad. HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN!”
“Kyle, he saved me!” He looked at me in a way that he usually does before he hits me.
“Shut up, I wasn’t talking to you.”
“He was doing his job, you fucker.”
He raised his hand and slapped her.
“KYLE!” Filled with pure anger, I stormed out of the bedroom and went downstairs.
Corey looked Kyle square in the eyes and scowled.“What the hell is wrong with you?! You NEVER lay your hands on a woman.”
“Do you think this is funny?”
Kyle shrugged. “I do what I want. VANESSA, GET UP HERE!”
Corey could tell she was reluctant but listened. “I’m sending you away.”
“You’re going with Corey.”