Claire was speechless for a second, she didn’t know what to answer. Like completely clueless, she didn’t know where Hunter was right now.
She kept calm and blinked her eyes normally, trying not to give any hint of her loneliness or sadness over the fake life she lives there.
“Working… Heh, in another city, I think --M-Mobwit City... He’s a hardworking man,--” Claire said smoothly with a few chuckles. Though she chose not to look into his eyes since she just randomly mentioned any city.
“--but don’t worry, I’ll go easy on my ankle, I’ll manage,”
“The food is ready, kids!” Mrs. Delaney shouted from the kitchen.
Bruce rolled his eyes and smiled as he heard his mom call them with the word kids. He helped Claire to the kitchen and they ate dinner together.
From the conversation that night, Claire found out that Mrs. Delaney hardly sees Hunter there, leaving her to answer slash lying, again, to every question asked.
Fortunately, despite the guilt of lying, she could answer everything without running out of lies, maybe because Hunter was not there, and no one really knows him.
Claire knew that Bruce was a nice guy.
And it’s nice to have someone that nice with you, she thought.
She even felt comfortable whenever Bruce was around, but what she felt about Bruce was just pure friendly intention. It was nothing compared to what she felt toward Hunter.
Which is weird, not good, and foolish.
But anyway, even if she did find someone she’s comfortable with, someone suitable, someone who really is her soulmate, what can she do about it?
Claire’s mind was slightly thinking about that and she got drowned in her inner-pity-party for a moment as she gazed at her plate with her empty eyes. She didn’t realize that Bruce was watching her.
Bruce has never been that naive ever since he met Claire that day. He never believed in love at a first sight, or all about chemistry, and all that jazz.
Being in the military didn’t give him much time to think about his love life, not to mention he’s the kind of guy who enjoys being alone. He’s still taking his time playing around with girls he met only for a few days or a one-night stand since he always goes back to serve his country.
But ever since he met Claire, which it hadn’t been one full day yet knowing her, has made him question his love life in the future. His wants. There’s something about Claire that made him want to know her more.
And it feels like he knew her already like he knew that she’s sad right now. This is crazy, she’s married. He thought.
“It’s getting late… We better help with the dishes before we go home,” Mrs. Delaney said.
Claire politely refused to be helped since they’ve done so much for her already but they insisted, so Claire took part.
She was washing the dishes with Bruce beside her, while Mrs. Delaney cleaned up the table and set a few things that would make Claire easier to get.
“Your niece and nephew are good kids… I bet you missed them when you’re not around,” Claire said.
“Yeah, I did miss them when I’m away… but,-uh, when I came to visit them, I was like, why am I here again?” He laughed.
Claire was laughing too, she knows how the kids could be very loud, demanding, and testing every inch of their sanity.
“Well, what do you know? Having kids is not as easy as everyone thinks,” Bruce lightly said between his chuckles. “Uh,... It sounds like you’ve been spending time with them..--Is your husband okay with that?”
“... Yeah, of course…--” Claire replied while passing the clean plates to Bruce. “He...He’s actually great with kids, heh,”
Claire didn’t really know what Hunter was really thinking about kids, but based on what she saw when he was with his family at the beach, in her opinion, it was safe for her to assume that he is good with children.
“That’s...good,” Bruce responded without really sounding enthusiastic as he was aware that his mother was not there with them.
“Claire,--” Bruce suddenly faced her, acting a bit awkward too. “Do you--... Is it okay?-- if I check on you? Help you, and --see you for a couple of days?” He said between his nervous acts.
Claire was speechless for a second, the only thing that she knows is if she says yes it would be because she’s afraid to hurt his feelings.
Claire awkwardly chuckled as she wiped her hands with dry towels.
“Heh, Bruce, I don’t think--”
Claire stopped because suddenly, Bruce was looking at someone’s presence.
As Claire followed where Bruce looked, she was stunned to see that someone she thought to be Mrs. Delaney since there were only three of them there.
She spontaneously gasped, shocked. And as she turned her back against the sink, she forgot about how her ankle hurt, making her stumble and Bruce caught her arm.
All of those days, he has to come home now, of course! She thought slightly between those quick seconds that felt very slow.
He stood with his blazer on his arm, folded sleeves, loose tie, with his suitcase beside him. He looked tired. And pretty soon Claire was sure that Hunter would “thank” her for even making his day worse since he found her with some guy in his house.
Not to mention, Hunter’s expression was obvious to her. He always looked cold, but this time is different. Bad difference.
Now, what is it that most wives do when their husband comes home? Claire quickly thought between her overthinking and nervousness.
She quickly walked toward Hunter with a limp and sometimes a jump, she was holding on to every piece of furniture close to her.
After Hunter put down his blazer he met her halfway. He hates to come home and see Claire with someone else, but he couldn’t afford to have her fall on his watch.
“H-Hey…! You’re home…!” Claire said as she got closer to Hunter.
Claire was planning to give Hunter a little welcome-kiss on his lips,--since it was the first thing that crossed her mind if she was a wife, but as soon as she leaned toward Hunter, tiptoeing her good leg, he pulled her body close to him until Claire fully relied on him.
The kiss made Claire’s head very spinny as usual.
Flaming, demanding, yet gentle and sweet, made her forget her surroundings for a second. When she opened her eyes just after Hunter broke their kiss, it was as if she had just gotten back to earth.
Claire had to arrange her breath between her fuzzy head and warm cheeks when Hunter touched her face gently with his fingers on her chin. There’s a hint of worry in his eyes as he found a few mild scratches on Claire’s face.
Is it possible that Hunter cares about her? But wait, they have an audience.
So he must have played his role… Claire reminded herself.
Hunter was clenching his jaws, looking at a few scratches on her face just upset him even more than to find her with some guy. Not to mention the scratches and bruises on her elbows, knees, and her ankle. He really couldn’t help but feel genuinely upset, he can’t even express anything other than just be in silence.
“Oh!...Th-this is Bruce,--”
Claire decided to speak when Hunter didn’t say anything.
“--Mrs. Delaney’s son… He-he’s the one who helped me and took me to the clinic,” She said while still leaning on Hunter, her hand was on his chest.
It was not like she didn’t want to stand on her own, but it’s like Hunter’s arm was still holding her close to him. Claire was so anxious inside, thinking how would he react toward Bruce because he didn’t show any friendly gesture from the beginning.
And he was still quiet between his cold face and looking at Bruce every now and then even after Claire said something to melt the air. Bruce too, looked as calmly as he was but there was no sign of him breaking the ice first.
Luckily for Claire, not long after that awkward silence, Mrs . Delaney was back in the room, it turned out she went to the bathroom.
“Hunter…! It’s great to see you again! How are you…?” Mrs. Delaney said.
Hunter nodded politely. “Mrs. Delaney… I’m good,--” he replied. “Thank you so much for helping Claire,”
“Oh, heh! Don’t mention it… Claire has helped me a lot more than I ever did… Where have you been…?” Mrs. Delaney asked while gathering her things from the dining table.
“He’s working! In-in Mobwit City, right?” Claire cut in as she looked at Hunter, giving him a hint to support her with her eyes.
Adorable eyes, as usual. Looked like someone was lying. Hunter slightly noticed inside.
“Yes, my...business took much longer time and attention than I expected,” Hunter said smoothly.
“Tsk, there will always be some work that needs your attention and time… but don’t you forget what matters most! You should spend more time with your beautiful wife and make a bunch of babies!--” Mrs. Delaney said bluntly. “Otherwise, you’re gonna lose your wife…! Somebody is gonna steal your lovely wife if you never there to nurture your marriage!”
Someone like your son? Hunter couldn’t help but glance at Bruce between his cloudy judgment. Clouded by jealousy.
Why did he even think that way, he didn’t know. It’s not like she’s my real wife! Hunter’s mind was contradicting again.
When the first time Hunter came in through the door, he was already jealous. He knew that Claire wasn’t alone from the chattering sound and her laughs. Moreover, to find that he’s not the one who makes her laugh, to make her happy. No, all he did to her was always turn her down. It was never his job to make her happy, he reminded himself.
“Yeah,... I’m workin’-- We’re working on it,” Hunter said while clearing his throat. He showed a glimpse of a polite smile at Mrs. Delaney.
Wait, what was that? Working on making babies?? Claire was very messy inside but all she could do was just smile and pretend that she’s on the same page with her husband.
“Well! I’ll be waiting for the good news!” Mrs. Delaney said with a chuckle before patting Bruce’s shoulder once. “Come on, Bruce, it’s time for us to go home…”
“Um, thanks again...!” Claire said from where she’s standing as Hunter took their guests to the door.
She also mentioned for one last time that she’s going to pay for the medical and dinner fee somehow, which made
Hunter offer to pay what Claire owes at once but Mrs. Delaney refused.
There were never any conversations between Hunter and Bruce in the whole process