Cold Heart

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Good Guy

“Claire, right...?” The guy said.

“Yes… I...I’m sorry I didn’t get your name…thank you so much for helping me,” Claire said, feeling bad for troubling the man.

“No, don’t worry about it… I’m Bruce...Hayes,” he said while letting out his hand.

Claire shook his hand.

“Do you want me to call somebody…? Maybe you remember your home number--or someone?” He asked.

“I, Uhm,--” Claire slightly glanced down at her hand on her thigh, where her wedding ring was. “--should call my husband,--” but I don’t know where he is, or if he would even care…

Claire tried to act normally and without giving any hints like a sad voice or disappointed face. “--but...I don’t exactly remember his phone number... and since I lost all my things, heh, I think I can’t call my--family,”

Suddenly, Claire was just worried that the guy would think what kind of wife who doesn’t remember her husband’s number. Not to mention that Bruce slightly squinted his forehead.

“B-but don’t worry, I live nearby… I’ll call my husband from home later… Thanks though,” she quickly added before smiling.

“Where do you live? -- I can take you home,-- I mean, to your house, not mine,” Bruce said, suddenly confused at himself for being nervous.

“Oh, no, you don’t need to do that… I don’t want to trouble you much longer, heh, really, I live in Zaxe Skyline,--It’s very close--”

“The Condominium?” He chimed in.

“Y-yeah,”

“I’m actually staying there for a few days, I was headed that way when I saw you...sliding down, with style, though,” Bruce said, holding his smile.

“Hah. Very funny. That was definitely not sliding… I’m glad you find it amusing, watching me rolling like a snowball…-- I could die, you know? Everything is hurt right now--” Claire couldn’t help smiling, it’s kinda funny now if she thought about it. Claire smiled as she looked down.

“Wait, did you say your last name is Hayes? I suppose you’re related to Mrs. Delaney Hayes…?”

Bruce’s eyebrows were up. “Well… not too close... I’m just --her son,” Bruce answered after finished chuckling.

Claire was softly laughing, for a guy with macho looks, Bruce was quite friendly. Unlike moi husband. She slightly thought before looking down.

Not long after that, a nurse came to the room and started to take care of her wounds. In the meantime, Claire and Bruce were chatting, Claire did ask him not to wait or worry about her but Bruce insisted on accompanying her home.

Claire knew she shouldn’t bother him much longer, but she actually didn’t know how to go home without any help especially with only one good leg to walk.

She did thinking it through, if she arrived in the Condo and then Jeff saw her with some guy, it means trouble. She of all people knows well that it takes forever to build a good name and only a second to tear it apart.

But she didn’t have much choice, especially when her ankle started to act out and swollen a bit. Every time she moved it the pain struck, let alone to use it to walk. On top of that, she really couldn’t pay the hospital with empty hands.

“I’m very sorry for troubling you… I promise I will pay you back,” Claire said while trying to step down from the cab.

“Don’t worry about it… Come, grab your shoes,” Bruce said.

“Oh,--”

Claire was reaching on her shoes which she couldn’t use. When they were at the clinic, she used the wheelchair, but now, she was outside her building and she was thinking about how she could get inside with only one leg.

I guess I have to ask him for one last help, and then jump around. She thought.

Claire was about to ask Bruce to support her. But as soon as she took her heels, Bruce lifted her body, carrying her in his arms. She held on to his neck as a reflex of her shock.

“B-Bruce, I can walk,-- y-you don’t need to carry me,” She stammered.

“I’m sure you can… I’m just helping to speed things up,” He said, smiling and blinking an eye.

Claire’s eyes were searching inside the lobby.

Oh, boy, am I in trouble if Hunter was here. Of course not because he would be jealous, but because she put herself in a place that could make people question or gossip about her, Hunter, and a strange guy.

But he’s not here. She thought as she was wishing, that hopefully the moment there won’t bring any trouble in the future.

***

Luxemore City.

A text notification was heard from Hunter’s phone. He glanced at his phone without really intending to check it since he was in the middle of a conference meeting. It was not just any meeting, it was a meeting with the CEO of a potential company to merge.

But when Hunter saw Jeff’s name on the screen, he immediately checked his phone.

What the hell?!

Hunter was quickly thinking about the reason Claire could be in someone’s arms, the picture didn’t give him so much info than just two lovers where the man carry his lady, bridal style. Even though Claire wasn’t his real wife, he felt strongly upset like a husband who finds his wife with another man.

He would have lost it if Jeff didn’t send some more information via texts.

-----‐----------------------------------------------------------------------

Jeff: Sir, It’s not like it looks like

Jeff: I should type first and then give the pic

Jeff: Your wife is hurt, she got an accident

Jeff: Call me, Sir.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Without bothering to reply to his text, Hunter raised from his chair, making everybody in the room look at him.

“I’m sorry, just proceed… I have to make an urgent call,” Hunter said, looking at Mr. Ronald Rinaldi, the CEO, nodding to give his permission.

After Jeff explained every information he got, Hunter got back to the meeting room. He took a seat and tried to catch up with the conversation that was going on but failed to do so.

She’s taken care of. There’s no reason I have to see her right now, right?

Right. But who is this Hayes?

He tapped his fingers on the table, his mind wandered hard, deep down he felt guilty for never checking on her. He practically avoided her for almost a month, and now she hurts without him there.

Does it matter? And why should I care?

“Hunter? Are you here?” Mr. Ronald called his name when he realized that Hunter seemed distracted.

Hunter was hesitating for a while and the next thing he knew he asked permission to leave.

“I didn’t know that you have a wife,--” said Mr. Ronald. “And I don’t recall any wedding invitation from you.”

“Yeah, about that… I will gladly tell you about it some other time, Sir-- but I really have to go now,” Hunter said between his polite manner and his own shock at himself.

Did he just put aside his work, a very important meeting, just to see his fake wife?

“I understand… We can reschedule.” Mr. Ronald said before smacking his lips. He never saw Hunter that uptight or tense. “Oh, and bring her to our gala dinner…!”

***

Zaxe Skyline, Zaxe City.

When the bell door was ringing, Claire was trying her best to reach the door. She hopped a few times and then sometimes restrained the pain her ankle gave her, it took a while for her to get to the door.

“Hey…”

Claire was surprised to find Bruce standing there with some food in his hands as he greeted her. She’s actually thinking that it’s going to be a problem if someone knows there’s a guy that was not her husband in her place.

Maybe, if her marriage is not fake, her husband would understand, but her situation is different. She couldn’t make mistakes, even just a seed of a small mistake.

Claire was slightly confused but lucky for her, she saw Mrs. Delaney show up, heading toward them.

“Hi…Mrs. Delaney--” Claire said after breaking her eyes from Bruce who’s apparently noticing the way she was relieved when she saw his mother, and not him alone, came there. Claire opened the door wider.

“Come on in...!”

“Thank you, dear…” Mrs. Delaney was walking inside, she brought a few stuff too in her hands. “I heard what happened to you, and I decided to see you myself…”

“Oh… You shouldn’t… I’m fine, really, heh,” Claire closed the door.

When she turned her back, Bruce was already there, giving out his hand so she could lean on him. Claire took Bruce’s hand and he quickly put his other hand on her waist. He helped her head towards the sofa.

“Thanks, heh,” Claire said after she was back at the sofa, stretching her legs.

Claire could feel Bruce’s eyes on her which made her realize that there’s just one guy that can make her break and nervous under his looks.

“I brought some food for us… I thought since you can’t really move around with your foot, we can’t let you starve,” Bruce said while taking the bags that he left on some sideboard near the door earlier before he helped her.

“Bruce here...--been talking about you all the time!” Mrs. Delaney said from afar which made Bruce embarrassed as he scratched his head. He didn’t expect his mother would reveal his interests in front of Claire.

“Mom--” ​Gee!​ He thought inside.

“I was like,-- Son, she’s taken! He said,--well the good ones are always taken. I said--Don’t you dare take someone’s wife!”

“I’m sorry…” Bruce was mouthing, shaking his head and rolling his eyes.

Claire lightly shook her head too, chuckling as she looked at the floor. “It’s fine…” she replied.

Mrs. Delaney kept talking for a while, blabbering things that were too fast and too far to hear since she was in the kitchen.

“Just ignore her… I was going to come here alone, but my mom thinks that’s not a good idea… that’s why she insisted on coming with me,--”

Judging by the way Claire tensed when she found him on the door, Bruce knew Claire would feel uncomfortable if he came alone just like what his mother said.

“--I brought some traditional medicine that will work very good for your ankle,” he added.

“Thanks, heh… but you really don’t need to do this, I feel bad enough to trouble you before,”

“Well… don’t be--” Bruce said, smiling.

His mother had told him about how Claire often helps her with his nephew and niece, and even without trying to give back her kindness, he willingly cares for her. Bruce thought as he was starting to treat Claire’s ankle with the medicine he brought.

“The swollen is getting bigger,”

“Yeah, I’ve noticed…Ouch--” Claire said when Bruce pressed the medicine on her ankle.

“You should change the bandage later before you sleep… Tomorrow morning, it will get better…” He said as he wrapped her ankle with a bandage. “Don’t use your leg too much, at least tonight, okay…?”

“I’ll try, heh… thank you,”

“I hope you don’t mind if I ask this...—” He said, staring straight into Claire’s eyes.

“--Where is...your husband?”

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