Like A Real Couple
A second before Hunter got back in the room, Claire began to feel anxious again. She knew Hunter would very much want to discuss many things, things that even she doesn’t know where to start.
It’s funny how she felt a little bit scared of him, not because of the possibility that he might abuse her physically, but more like she felt scared to be a disappointment for him.
Claire tried to sit on the bar high chair since they were the closest ones for her to rest her feet, but it was not an easy task when she can only use one good ankle.
She was in the middle of trying to lift up her body using both of her hands, leaning her palms on the chair with her back against the chair when Hunter came in front of her and helped her.
Their faces were so close to each other it was as if they’re about to kiss. Which made Claire’s nervous level off the charts.
Hunter put his hands on Claire’s waist and just easily lifted her until she no longer needed her own effort to sit.
“T-thanks,” she softly said before trying to open a conversation. “Ha-have you eaten? I--”
“You need to quit your job.” He said cutting in despite her caring words.
Claire was speechless for a while between their locked eyes.
“Because you don’t really need your job...” He said sturdily.
“Yes, --I do...”
Claire’s disagreement was so obvious in her cute upset expression, Hunter thought. He should’ve known by now that Claire was never the easy kind of girl, --easy to accept, obey, or settle, in a good way.
“No, you don’t --!” He quickly replied before clenching his jaw.
“--I gave you the card so you can use it, and so you don’t have to work…!” He emphasized as he took a step closer.
Even though Claire had sat down on the high chair, she still had to lift her face a bit to level his eyes. There’s no way she’s gonna back down on the matter.
“Tell me something, will you?--” Claire said calmly, slightly looked away, and took a deep breath.
“--This whole thing about our...Agreement, t-this fake role, and your vow to get back every last dime that my father owes you, right...?--”
Claire was crossing her arms on her chest. She tried not to sound too provocative.
“-- So what now? I get to use your card, your money... and then after all of this goes by you’re gonna ask me to pay everything back to you too...?” She said she couldn’t help but have her voice shaking a bit.
Hunter slightly let out a sarcastic chuckle as he glanced down.
Shit. So that’s how she looked at me. He thought.
“Seriously?” He said. “...Do I --look like a loan shark to you? Or do I look like I need more--Heh-- You…--you don’t know anything about the reason why I-- Well, in case you haven’t notice I--”
--’m in the top ten of the richest people in the world?
--I can buy anything that I want?
--I have enough money to buy evten times more of Harrison’s company?
Hunter was searching for words, which is odd for him since he was rarely at a loss of words. Was it because he was struggling inside whether to explain himself to her or not? Or was it because he didn’t want to sound cocky and arrogant in front of her?
“--Whatever, --ahem. ...I can assure you that my vow is not about money,” he said firmly, gazing into Claire’s eyes. “Or do you forget what your father’s company is worth right now if I decide not to run it?”
Who’s fault is that if I don’t know anything? Claire felt as if she wanted to challenge him but she held back. The last thing she wanted was to provoke him, especially when she knew he was tired.
She looked down at her lap for a second before gently speaking.
“All--…all I was trying to say is… I’m trying to clean up this...mess,--this situation between you...and my father, and me... I’m not planning to make another problem that can put me,--or you under another…prison in the future. So... I’m still gonna try to stand on my own feet,” she said carefully. She did notice a muscle popped out as Hunter clenched his jaws.
Unbelievable. Hunter thought.
Most women would just be happy to sit around and spend their husband’s unlimited wealth, but of course, not her! The girl chose to rent some beachwear just because she knew she was only gonna wear it once, while the other refused to wear the same outfit for more than one time.
And what did she say about prison? Well, it’s not like he could blame her if she feels that the marriage they have was a prison to her. Hunter slightly thought inside.
He was at war with himself, some part of him was still crazy worried about her if something like that happened again, which made him still blame himself, and the other part was crazy jealous especially when there’s a cynical thought that kept saying Claire might be seeing the guy way before the accident, behind his back.
“But here you are… you literally can’t stand with both feet until someone has to carry you around in his arms as if you’re his lover…--”
Hunter’s voice was calm but Claire caught his vibes that showed his annoyance, rudeness, and coldness.
“--Do you even think how that could impact us? I’d like to keep our marriage lay low as it can be, but because of this, I had to come home and see you-- now everyone knows I’m married…!”
Claire was unable to speak again. Just when she thought Hunter’s rudeness was no longer new for her, but still, every word hurts. Usually, Claire was able to remain calm, but that night she felt overwhelmed. She barely could hold on and calm, her eyes were getting glassy.
“I didn’t ask you to come home--!” she burst out with a trembling voice. “And I did think about how it will impact you, like, every time…! That’s why I took my job-- and not just any job I can find!--”
Her body was shivering a bit from the anger she felt. Well, how could she not? Her career was practically over since the day she became his wife.
“--I always put our deal above all else! Not that I have any choice…heh!-- And it’s not like I plan to be snatched-- Oh, and forgive me if I didn’t know that the stuff I wear was worth that much until it made me a target. --Or do you think I planned to be snatched too?”
Hearing her words in those split seconds, Hunter was squinting his eyes, he was surprised that Claire was actually brave enough to confront her, moreover to show how she’d had a meltdown.
She had expressed what she felt in a firm way yet still kind, even with all the mild sarcasm inside which made him even more trapped in his mixed-up feelings.
“Don’t --patronize me--!” He said between his clenched jaws. He took one step closer until they were so close.
“What do you think everybody will think about if I don’t even bother to check on my wife? So I guess you’re not the one who has no choice!”
Claire could see how Hunter’s dark eyes were filled with anger.
Or maybe hatred.
How come she’s the one who got the unfortunate incident and yet she’s the one to blame? And to think for a second there she thought Hunter really cared about her.
Claire was taking a deep breath and looked away. As she blinked her eyes, her tears started to fall off her cheeks.
“Honestly... I don’t know what it is that you expect me to do… because I know that everything that I do, will never be right for you,” she softly said with her face still avoiding Hunter’s look.
She never wants to look weak in front of Hunter or anyone, but she couldn’t help it, maybe because she had a rough day and Hunter just added it up. She quickly wiped her tears with the back of her hand.
From the moment Hunter saw her crying even when she hid it, he was immediately struck inside. If looking at her in her gloom was enough to make him struggle, seeing her cry because of his doing was the worst.
Great! Now he really made her cry, he thought.
He took a few steps back and turned his back, he rubbed his face and sighed.
Damn it! He thought as he clenched his jaws.
Despite all their fake acts, they sure fight like a real married couple. Hunter pinched his nasal bones before turning his back again. He found Claire sitting with her back on him now, facing the bar.
Claire was trying to stop her tears that kept flowing out, thinking why she got too sensitive at the moment.
This is so not the right time, hormones!
She finally could control her tears, blocked her mind from her own pity party when Hunter came beside her without saying anything, he put a few things on the table. A new phone, wallet, and cards.
“The phone is ready to use and already synced with your previous number, your bank cards, and the black card that you can use, --all are new and ready to use,--” Hunter said, his voice was softer than before.
“--I know your worries, but I’m telling you now...I won’t be keeping a tab. And if you still can’t trust my words, I can always add about this in our agreement,--” he added.
Claire was still unsure what to say, she kept looking down, staring at her fingers as she bit her bottom lips. She was scared that she’d start crying again when she looked at him.
“--as for your decision to keep working... I’ll agree under one condition,--” Hunter said with a sigh. Not only that, it looked like he has a hard time saying them. “--you will use the driver that I’ll assign for you every day, he’ll drive you to work and home, or any place you need to go.”
Claire was surprised, she spontaneously looked at him. She thought she was gonna have to give up for the sake of their deal, but Hunter just approved her wish.
Hunter noticed her wet eyelashes, round eyes, and wet lips as their eyes locked on each other.
He cleared his throat. “Uh, this is...my term to prevent any of this happening again,”
“Okay…” she finally said after a while.
They had a deal.
It’s strange that they had finally settled the argument. They were in awkward silence as they still stared into each other’s eyes.
Did I just come up with a solution to give her what she wants? This must be the guilt. He said inside.
While Claire thought, is it possible that he’s softened up on me?