Cold Heart

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Bad Day

When the plane had landed at Zaxe City and the airstairs were opening down, Claire and Hunter were walking toward the airstair. As the door was wide open Claire could see a black sedan nearby. She was in the middle of stepping toward the stairs when Hunter touched her elbow from her back.

“Claire… That car is for you… The driver will take you back to our Condo,--” He said rather quickly and coldly, avoiding Claire’s eyes. “Uh, --I have to take care of that urgent matter in Avante City,”

“Oh...--” She murmured, slightly looking down at her feet.

Claire couldn’t help to glance at the stewardess that seemed happy to see Hunter sending her home.

“-- Okay…” Claire said softly as she pushed herself to be calm. “I’ll see you later...then… Take care,”

Then she turned her back and stepped down the stairs without looking back or saying anything more.

At first, her steps were slow as she wondered why Hunter decided not to go home with her, or why she suddenly felt sad.

It was as if Hunter couldn’t take it to be with her at all. Not to mention, going separately on their wedding day could be a bad image for them.

Claire couldn’t decide which part was making her heartbroken. Whatever it was, she didn’t want to feel that way but of course, her mind was hard on her.

Her head was full of questions about Hunter.

Not only did Hunter decides to terminate the honeymoon part, well, that she could understand there’s no use putting themselves in the misery of a fake honeymoon. But to send her away, leaving her on the day of their ‘surprise’ wedding day? That was just cold. She thought.

And was he telling the truth?

Or was it just some made-up reason to be or meet with someone else?

Maybe that Valerie, the stewardess, or any other girl?

Sigh... Anyway, it really doesn’t matter, Claire.

What do you expect from this fake marriage, huh?

You need to stop lying to yourself… He will never stop hating you…

Just focus your mind until this--miserable contract ends!

Claire reminded herself before pacing her steps, heading toward the car and hoping that her steps could ease her broken heart.

Hunter was sitting back as he never took his eyes off Claire. He repressed any feelings that said he should have gone with her back to their condo.

No. That was not the right decision.

Going back to their Condo or going on their honeymoon won’t bring him good. Especially after what they went through. All the romantic moments, the acts, and the sexual tension he pretended not to feel.

No.

Staying in the same room alone with Claire was dangerous, and he shouldn’t be playing with fire. Not saying that he couldn’t resist her, but he knew better than to tempt himself and to be defeated in the end.

No.

Not when sometimes all he thinks was to treat her as his real wife in bed. Going separately was the right decision rather than seeing her every day, every night.

She won’t stand a chance.

I will eat her alive.

I’ll fuck her at any chance.

I will lose.

Hunter thought as he tried to dip his thoughts back on his laptop screen. He loosened up his tie and sighed, thinking that he had to stay away from Claire at least for a few days.

Never did he think that he’d be unstable, and the last thing on his mind was to get entangled with Claire or even get too personal with her.

He did not want anything to do with Harrison Neverner or anyone that could remind him of that son of a *beep*.

They say time will heal, well in his case of Claire, he hoped that time would neutralize everything, including everything he felt for her.

So, that’s what he’s gonna do.

Not that I’m saying that I felt something.

He assured himself as he clenched his jaws and finished his drink, unintentionally denying that he’s in denial.

Besides, he’s just being a guy. Feeling attracted is a normal thing.

“Can...I help you with anything, Mr. Colten?” The stewardess gave a light touch on his arm.

Hunter looked at her with his flat face.

“Yes, I could use another drink and some time alone, I don’t want to be disturbed.”

He spoke with a bit of a harsh tone. His ‘piss off’ looks was written all over his face. The smile from the stewardess was gone, she quickly did what Hunter had ordered her. Seemed like she took the wrong step to even dare to flirt in the first place.

Sure in the old days, Hunter was a player, a womanizer. But those days were long gone, moreover when he reached his success. The first thing that he learned was to know better whether the girl who after him, was really into him or just his success.

The funnier thing that Hunter realized and then denied was, it’s like there’s only one girl who lately rules in his head now. And it ain’t Valerie, for sure.

***

A few weeks later. Colten’s Condominium, Zaxe City.

Claire looked at herself in the mirror as she stroked her black simple dress down to her thighs. It had been almost three weeks since she last saw Hunter, which was at the airport where they last met.

No phone calls, no texts, nothing at all.

The phone call that she got was from Hunter’s family and parents who asked whether she had accepted all the wedding gifts, and from her best friends who were dying to see her.

Not that she’s complaining, it’s true that it’s best for both of them not to see each other so often to minimize the quarrel. But Claire couldn’t lie that she felt lonely and in those three weeks, there’s so much going on in her life that she couldn’t share any of that with her closest people.

She managed to make new friends even though not too many, like her neighbor from one floor below. Mrs. Delaney, who was an old lady, lived with her daughter, Lauren who was a single parent of two kids. Her kids’ names were Danny, a four years old boy, and Firera, 3 months old. Sometimes Claire helped Mrs. Delaney to watch over her grandchildren at her place.

Claire was still taking care of the condo on her own, even if she could manage to hide their fake marriage from the maid’s eyes she still couldn’t afford to hire any helper. Though sometimes, she was really dying to have help from the maid. Cleaning the entire place was so exhausting, but abandoning the place was never an option.

Claire had found a job too in a Child Social Services seven blocks away from the condo. The Sprout Future Organization was the name. She worked there as a counselor for the children. The salary was not much, but she was happy enough to get the job.

She’d been looking hard for a job and since she couldn’t take just any job available just to protect Hunter’s good name, working in a Social Organization was the best decision. No one would blame Hunter irresponsible for letting his wife work for charities.

So there she was, getting ready to go to work. She used the black lace heels and the bag that she got from the wedding present. Little did she know the prices of those things she wore.

It was just an ordinary day for Claire when she walked to work. She always walked to her office. The difference that day was the heels and the bag, she usually wore flat shoes and less expensive bags.

Claire was starting to regret her choices of shoes when she was about to walk down the street stairs not far from the condo.

She was standing on the ledge, thinking if she should go back and change her shoes. Not because it wasn’t comfortable, but she was just having her doubts moment for a quick second.

When she was about to step down, out of nowhere, a juvenile showed up from her back and just snatched her bag. The boy was very fast and very great at parkour, apparently, he used the skill for the wrong reason.

Claire quickly lost her balance since her body was pulled to timber by the handle of the bag. She did try to balance herself but it was an impossible thing to do, especially since she stood on the ledge of the stair, using high heels she never used and was already in a timber position.

Her elbows and knees were the first to hit the rough tread. Instead of stopping after a hard fall, she kept falling, rolling on every tread of the stairs made of stones.

She couldn’t tell which hurt her more, the concrete stone beat up her body, a few scrapes from the rough edges, or the dizziness she felt from roll-falling to the bottom steps of stairs.

She remembered the sun was very bright and blurry in her eyes and someone was there trying to help her.

But before she could clearly see the guy, everything went black.

*

The moment Claire opened her eyes, she found a doctor who was checking her pulse. Claire was trying to sit when the doctor disallowed her.

The doctor asked her for her name and whether she remembers what happened to her. Claire told everything the doctor needed to know as she glanced at the guy near her bed.

She assumed he was the guy who helped her. The guy was tall, had dark hair, strong jaws, with a simple outfit like T-shirt and jeans. He smiled slightly when meeting her eyes.

Then the doctor asked if she still felt any dizziness and he checked on his paperboard clip.

“It seems that your left ankle got sprained, and your blood sugar is a little bit low, did you have enough breakfast this morning?”

“I, uh, no… I was already late--”

“Well, it’s the most important meal of the day, you shouldn’t skip it,--” said the doctor. “I’m gonna prescribe a few medicines for your ankle, and multivitamin for you… Don’t force your leg to walk and if the sprain gives you a hard time you can use an ice pack or try massage therapy… Other than that I think everything is alright here… just a few handles on the scrapes then you’ll be good to go…”

“Thanks, doc,” Claire said.

When the doctor left, Claire was sitting down, she could feel some pain in her left ankle but she tried not to show it.

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