Cold Heart

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New Life

Up in the air, Colten’s Jet.

Claire was sitting near the window in Hunter’s private jet, gazing at the night sky, a few stars, clouds, and the city lights. She preferred it that way since if she looks in front of her she would have to look at Hunter, who was sitting at another row on her one o’clock facing her.

Not saying that she was angry or annoyed by him, she just needed more time to calm herself down, and every time she looks at him she just remembered how tough her life would be for her. Not to mention the last incident with Miles just took all her energy out, emotionally.

Claire took a deep breath as she leaned her head to the window, closing her eyes and relaxing every inch of her body. Soon, her mind went empty and she fell asleep.

Hunter was busy with his tablet, doing some work to divert his mind that kept directing to Claire. Maybe his eyes were on his tablet but he knew how gloomy Claire’s been since she became his wife.

Some moments later after she closed her eyes, Hunter glanced at her before calling the stewardess in duty to put on her a blanket and to bring him a drink. He really needed one, he thought.

He pinched his nasal bones annoyed by the fact that his mind was on her almost every time, he couldn’t shake the need to know a few things about her. Not to mention the strange feeling that he felt every time he saw her fell or hurt.

Like when her ex tormented her with his words, and she took the blame by admitting something she didn’t do.

What’s with her mother anyway? A cheater?

That must be tough.

And how dare her ex forced her to kiss him?

Hunter loosened his tie and took a sip on his cognac as he regretted not to beat Claire’s ex back there. Not because he’s jealous but by principle, as far as everyone knows, the girl is his wife. He thought in denials.

He then recalled his conversation with Claire the first time they met. It was pretty clear that she was the victim of her parents as she said, and now, he made the situation even worse for her.

Maybe I should just make Harrison disappear for good… That would’ve saved them from trouble, she will be freed from the deal and he will get to accomplish his vow.

Well, that’s some dark thoughts, Hunter admitted inside while taking another sip.

He watched Claire again, slightly touching his forehead with his hand before looking away as he sighed.

Well, it’s only for a year... Time flies and she’ll be okay.

Fuck! Why can’t I stop thinking about her well-being?

***

Colten’s Condominium, Zaxe City.

It was almost midnight when they arrived at Hunter’s Condo. The receptionist guy greeted him politely and warmly as if he knew him well.

“Welcome back, Mr. Hunter! I’ll help you with your bag…” He said while walking out of his booth. His focus turned to Claire as he smiled.

“Good evening, Miss…?”

“Jeff, this is Mrs. Claire Colten,” Hunter said flatly before slightly clearing his throat. “--my wife.”

Jeff’s eyes were widening in excitement as he shook Claire’s hand.

“Well, wow…! This is good news, sir… Ma’am,” Jeff said with a nod.

“Hi...nice to meet you,” Claire responded.

“I hope you find the place comfortable… This way to the elevator, please…! U-uh-uh no no, I will take all the bags, Mrs. Claire,” Jeff took the bag in Claire’s hand before leading the way.

As they were walking to the elevator, Jeff slowed his steps to be beside Hunter and whispered to Hunter.

“Sir, I thought you’re still--”

“Not now, Jeff.” Hunter slightly whispered too. “Don’t ever mention her name to anyone...got it?”

They walked a little bit behind Claire to make sure she didn’t hear a thing. Jeff knew about Valerie too since it’s part of his job to put attention to people coming there, and Jeff was one of Hunter’s trusted people which was one of the reasons why Hunter picked the place for Claire to stay.

Jeff leaned over to Hunter since they were closer to Claire.

“Okay, sir, but… which name, her -her? Or her--”

Hunter glared at him, gesturing that it doesn’t matter as long as he keeps his mouth shut.

“Got it! Capeesh.” Jeff quickly backed down.

When they were upstairs in the room Claire was stunned by the place. No wonder Hunter was so determined to have his company back aside from his promise to his late mother, his place just described all his hard work considering what he’d told her about how he was left with nothing.

“Uh, I’ll inform the maid for tomorrow, if--”

“That won’t be necessary,” Hunter said, cutting in Jeff’s words. “My wife likes to manage her own place,” he said.

Hearing that Claire was slightly looked down before weakly smiling at Jeff, confirming what Hunter said.

Soon, after Jeff left, Claire turned her face and looked straight into Hunter’s eyes. Apparently, she got enough strength to show her disagreement.

“I see that you wanted me to take over your maid’s job here?” Claire crossed her arms.

On a normal day, Hunter would talk back badly at her, but oddly, he felt very tolerant at the moment. Maybe because she’d been through a lot? He slightly noticed.

“No… You could abandon this place for all I care… I just can’t afford to let anyone know that we’re not sleeping in the same room every night especially, the maids.” He said sturdily before taking a step closer to Claire.

“Or do you...prefer sleeping in the same room, same bed, with me in exchange to have or convince the maids...?”

Claire could feel her body shivering as she felt a tingling sensation in her gut when she heard Hunter’s words since she started to imagine being in the same bed with him.

Or maybe, it was all because of the way he said it. However, she perfectly got the picture now of how a maid could implicate their situation. There’s a saying that the maid knows everything about their master, and if one of them finds out her clothes and stuff were not in the same room, they would talk and gossiping.

Claire was gulping, spontaneously bringing her hands down from her chess.

“Of-of course not,” She lightly stepped back.

“Great then.” Hunter briefly said with a plain emotion as the way he usually did. “I’ll show you the rooms...”

Hunter led her to the guest room not far from the master bedroom, which was his room, Claire presumed as she vaguely gawked inside from the door’s gap.

“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna be around much. I’m sure we’re not gonna be in each other’s hair,” he said flatly while opening the door.

The guest room was great and huge. It has a great few of the city and a park.

Well, at least her ‘prison’ is nice, right? She couldn’t help to admit it inside as she stroked the bedsheet.

Watching her every move just made Hunter lose focus, he was starting to get a few thoughts about her. And it was not a clean thought. So he thought he better think or start talking about something, he cleared his throat.

“Keep in mind, that I know everything that happens here. So, if I ever heard that you break one tiny detail in our deal…? Everything will be off.” He said before feeling awkwardly misplaced his words.

Claire remembered everything about their deal. Mainly, it’s about maintaining the perfect image of their marriage and of course to keep their scam marriage a secret since it could fail their main purpose to gain the will.

The rest, in general, aside from how Claire didn’t have any access to Hunter’s richness,--which she never thought of asking to be provided for too,-- was about loyalty, honesty, and transparency, which were also to support the main part of the deal.

She gently nodded as she couldn’t help but feel bummed. “I won’t bring any strange guy to cheat on you if that’s what you were implying…” She said, glancing and caught Hunter’s eyes.

Okay, that came out wrong. Hunter swiftly thought.

“I was just thinking...though,--” Claire said with a sigh, slightly lifting her shoulders. “-- I’m just...gonna look for a job,”

Hunter was just staring at her for a second. He knew from the beginning, the money issue between them was a tricky one. In their deals, Hunter was not obliged to give her a dime but if he gave or provide her, that would show her that he cares or that he could compromise. Then what? The next thing he knows she would work on another blank spot in the deals.

“What kind of work?” He asked bluntly without realizing Claire could take his words wrong as if he was underestimating her very existence.

Claire could be offended but she of all people just knew that most likely, to depend on your own prejudice alone won’t bring you good.

However, like most of the normal girls, she lightly scoffed in reflex. Her lips were parted as she looked away for a second.

“I’m not asking for your permission, actually…” Claire slightly put her chin up between her gentle voices. “... I-I mean I’m--telling you that I will get a job...here,” she stumbled a bit.

Darn it. Very subtle, Claire. She said inside, mocking herself as she failed to be steady, but she held her head high.

Hunter’s jaw was tightening for a second as he found Claire’s attitude intrigued him, making him want to conquer her, shows her who’s the boss, but at the same time, he also wanted to make her his queen. Fuck, when did I become like this?!

“Well… I wasn’t going to stop you.” Hunter said, looking a bit nervous.

Hunter was actually conflicting inside, the urge to not let his wife get a job was suddenly there. People were gonna think too, why would he let his wife work with all the wealthiness he got?

“What I meant to say was…--just let me know if you need anything,” he added, lightly scratching the back of his head and clearing his throat.

For a second there they were just standing in silence. Claire didn’t see it coming, she thought Hunter was gonna disagree. Not to mention it’s the first time he was ever nice to her.

“...Thanks,” Claire softly said, not sure how to respond.

“I appreciate it…” She said, glancing down and lightly biting her lips out of nervousness.

As soon as Hunter left the room, Claire let out a relieved breath and threw her back to the bed. She sighed as she realized how comfy the bed was.

New life, here I come…

After walking out of Claire’s room, Hunter became very judgemental of himself.

Let me know if you need anything? That’s the best that I can come up with, showing her that I give a shit? I shouldn’t say that. He ran his hair with his fingers, pulling his tie, and sitting down on his bed.

Well, he was just playing along to play the role of the good husband, wasn’t he? He thought, unsure of himself.

***

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