Starting over from the Beginning

All Rights Reserved ©

Same Old Work Life

After having breakfast together, Brandon dropped Cherry at her workplace. The streets of New York were bustling with a horde of caffeine deprived zombies rushing to get to their work. If it wasn’t for Brandon keeping Cherry close at his side, standing in front of the stair entrance of her work, by having his arms around her waist, she would have been swept away by the hustling crowd. Despite being annoyed by the people bumping against him, Brandon kept his smile glued on to his face as his eyes were fixed on Cherry.

But the twinge of annoyance that flickered by his eyes didn’t go unnoticed by Cherry and a wave of guilt engulfed her as she knew he was taking every hit against his body because of her. Not wanting to keep him here any longer than that he has to, she gave him a small smile of assurance as she craned her neck slightly to look him in the eye. “I’ll be fine from here, so go to work already.”

“Are you sure? You don’t need help with the stairs?” His arms tightened themselves around her waist when he felt her moving away earning an eye-roll from Cherry who sighed internally at her husband’s overprotective behavior. If her stomach grows any bigger, she’s sure that he will start carrying her everywhere so that her feet never have to touch the ground again.

“Brandon, I’m pregnant, not incapable of taking care of myself.”

“Taking care of yourself and being capable of walking up the stairs are two different things. I don’t know if you have noticed, but lately you walk as if there is a huge cucumber stuck up in your ass, sweetheart.”

Hearing that brought forth a gasp of surprise from Cherry’s lips and she slapped Brandon’s chest playfully as the red tint on her cheeks begun to form. Her playful abuse felt like a butterfly’s kiss to Brandon, but he still winced as if it impacted him while keeping a lopsided grin on his face. “I am carrying your child here.” Cherry pointed out as she jabbed at his chest. Her eyes narrowing at her husband petulantly for commenting on her degraded walking style, resembling the one of a penguin. The growth of the child in her stomach has brought some extra pounds of weight on her hips, making it difficult for her to walk from point A to point B.

Brandon grabbed the finger that tried to bore a hole in his chest in worry that she would hurt herself and cracked a smile that was supposed to bury the repulsion that he felt upon hearing Cherry refer to that thing as his child. If he lose control over his face muscles for even a second, he was sure that she would find a grimace on it.

“I know, sweetheart, and you look so beautiful doing it.” His words, that were coated in the thick layer of honing, were sickeningly sweet that it even made way into Cherry’s heart, mellowing down her fumes, not noticing how her husband deviated skillfully from the subject. Cherry muttered under her breath while averting her gaze from Brandon down to the solid pavement on how he was so skilled in using his words. But the words didn’t instill in his mind as he was too focused on the savory lips pushing out words that bounced off his ears and not being able to resist it any longer dived in and swallowed them. His lips moved leisurely against them before nipping at her bottom lip to let go, as if to give her a preview of how their night will venture. Feeling how her soft hands naturally coiled around his neck to play with the short, ash brown hairs on his nape gave him a certain rush that made him deepen the kiss further, earning a delicious moan from his sweet wife.

The people who were walking past them threw a side glance at the couple flaunting their relationship brazenly in the open air. Some of them found it adorable, but many of them cursed the couple for rubbing salt on their single-life wound and scoffed as they sauntered away.

“I’ll call you when I get off work.” He whispered against her lips to see her nod with a smile gracing her face.

“I can’t wait.”

“Here.” Brandon handed over her handbag and gave her one last kiss on her forehead before unwrapping his arms around her waist. “Now go, before you get late and get in trouble with the boss.”

A red tint that got smeared on Brandon’s lips during their kiss caught Cherry’s attention and she raised her hand to his face to have her thumb gently rub it off his lips. “I don’t think that I will get in trouble with my boss. You know why?” Cherry inquired as the corner of her lips tugged in a wide grin.

Brandon’s brow arched as he hummed in wonder about the answer while enjoying the feeling of her thumb against his lips. When the lipstick smudge got transferred from his lips to her small thumb, Cherry lowered back her hand and answered, “Because my best friend is married to the CEO of the company. I doubt that I’ll ever get fired.”

“Is that so?” He smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. The best friend who Cherry was talking about was someone who they both have known for a long time, April.

Brandon cared about April. She was a good mediator as it came to his relationship with Cherry. If it wasn’t for her, Cherry would have never accepted his confession, so he owes her and she was somewhat entertaining to be around with. But he never expected her to attract such a leech, who was the owner of the building that carried the same dark secret as his.

“Yep.” She popped out the ‘p’ cheekily and twirled around to climb the stairs. She walked on the steps confidently, determined to show Brandon that she’s still able to walk gracefully, but one step before reaching the top she lost her balance.

“Ah!” Her hands flailed around and one leg was in the air as she tried to gain back her balance. Brandon’s heart stuttered and was about to make a dash to catch her until he saw Cherry regain her footing by placing the foot that was in the air down at the top of the stairs. They both simultaneously let out a sigh of relief. Cherry glanced over her shoulder with a tittering smile.

“Everything is fine!” She waved Brandon off, who wore a berating look and she fled in the building before her husband could give her an earful of lecture.

Entering the office, a barrage of “Good morning” and “How are you?” got thrown at her by her colleagues whenever their eyes met and she returned their greetings while her feet carried her to her seat. Pulling back her chair, about to take a seat, her eyes flitted to the neighbor’s desk opposite of her. The smile on her face sobered down and a solemn sigh escaped her mouth as her melancholy eyes rested on the desk that belonged to her best friend, April, who was on pregnancy leave. The work place felt less animated without her as she had no one who she could tease about their love life. Speaking of love life, it took her by surprise when April told her that she was going on a leave when she was just few weeks pregnant compared to Cherry, who was already many months along.

If it wasn’t for the daily phone calls and the occasional visits to April’s place, you would have thought that she went off the grid. She chuckled to herself at that thought and told herself that would never happen. She now sat down at her desk, working on some documents that needed to be submitted today and typing could have never been more difficult as it was today because of the baby bump that had created some distance between Cherry and her desk, making it difficult for her fingers to reach the keyboard. Maybe she should use the bump as a table for her laptop? She seriously considered doing it as her eyes lowered to her stomach when her desk trembled from the vibration emitted from her phone. She stopped with what she was doing and unlocked her phone screen to see a message from April.

Annoying best friend: “Hey Cher, do you wanna hang out at my place today?”

Cherry: “I can’t. Date night with Brandon.”

Annoying best friend: “Oooohh, no problem. You can come to my place after lunch.”

This got Cherry’s eyebrows to meet with her hairline. Did this girl eat something wrong today, or did she forget that Cherry was working now?

Cherry: “Chick, I’m working. I can’t just skip work just to visit you. I didn’t even come to work with the car. Brandon dropped me off.”

Annoying best friend: “I know. I can ask Mark to drop you at the place. I will also ask him to make sure that you wouldn’t get in any trouble. Just pretend that you’re going on a business trip or something.”

Cherry stared down at her phone with an apprehensive look. This behavior of April was not like her at all. April would have never encouraged her to skip work or use her husband’s influence. Even in the past, when they were still in school, it was Cherry who had to beg April to skip school just to see a movie.

Cherry’s phone vibrated again, pulling her thoughts back to the conversation at hand.

Annoying best friend: “We can watch that Korean drama that you wanted to see.”

Reading the message brought a frown to Cherry’s face. Now she was certain that something was amiss with her friend, as April wasn’t a fan of Korean dramas. She would never offer to watch one unless there was something bothering her.

Cherry: “Okay, I will tell Brandon about it.”

Annoying best friend: “Yay! You’re the best! I love ya :)”

Cherry: “Love you too.”

She placed her phone away, but the frown on her face didn’t leave as the worry for her friend laid deeply on her mind, hoping that everything was alright with April.

The afternoon sky was dotted sporadically with white clouds that allowed some of the sun’s rays to dye the city, giving it its warmth. Sitting in the far end corner of the lounge room, that was filled with employees walking around with trays of food, sat Cherry at a round table. Drinking some hot chocolate milk while lowering her eyes down at her wailing colleague, whose face was buried away in her arms that were planted on the table’s surface. Her tears were wetting the table to a point where it would stream off the edge like a waterfall.

“And do you know what he dared to say after I caught him cheating!?” Cherry’s colleague showed her face stained with tears and mucus running down her nose as she yelled angrily, looking at Cherry.

Cherry shook her head while curbing down the urge to push the errant black locks that covered her friend’s messy face away.

“He said that he never said that we were together!” And back she went to crying, hiding her face in her folded arms on the table as her shoulders shook. People sitting close to them threw some annoyed glances their way as the cries of Cherry’s colleague disturbed their lunch break, but most of the people in the room got lost in their own stories.

“I’m so sorry to hear that Leona. You didn’t deserve that.” A lady with golden long hair who sat next to Leona said sympathetically as she patted Leona’s shoulder, trying to soothe the pain that wounded her friend’s chest. These two ladies were from the Marketing department and were the only ones with whom Cherry liked to hangout with next to April.

“Mary is right, Leona. Don’t pay any attention to what a trash like him says.” Cherry said, placing her cup back on the table at the feeling of her own budding anger sprouting at the sight of her friend being in pain.

“I know.” Using the back of her hand, Leona wiped away the leftover tears and her smudged make-up. “I’m just crying away the last bit of feelings that I had for him.” She leaned back from the table to perch her back against the chair. The rims around her eyes were red from all the crying together with her nose. Though she tried to sound strong, her eyes still held the pain that was inflicted by her ex. “It’s just that… when you know you were the only one who gave their all in the relationship, the only one who envisioned the future with their partner. It fucking hurts.” Her voice came out like the whisper of the wind carrying the somber clouds and when Cherry saw Leona’s eyes getting moist again, she embraced her friend in a tight hug and so did Mary.

They sat like that in silence, letting the tears that escaped Leona’s warm brown eyes drip down her face. Feeling their friend’s body tremble, they could only stroke her back to let her know they were here for her. The babbles made by their colleagues masked her broken sobs.

After a while Leona tapped the arms that were wrapped around her like a warm blanket softly with her hands. “Thanks girls, I’m fine.” Cherry and Mary reluctantly loosen their holds and, noting the worried look in their eyes, Leona offered them a subtle smile before ushering in a quiet tone. “Really, I’m fine. The truth hurts, but I prefer it more than living in a bubble build by his lies.”

Cherry and Mary locked eyes with each other in shared concern, as they didn’t totally believe the words said by their heartbroken friend.

“Alright!” Leona clapped her hands loudly as she spoke in an overly jolly voice, startling Mary and Cherry. “I have dampened the mood enough already, so let’s talk about something else.” She then shifted her gaze to Cherry.

“How is it going between you and Brandon?” She questioned Cherry, trying to sequence the sad topic over to something nice.

Cherry, unprepared for that question, stumbled over her words. “I-It’s going fine. He’s taking me out on a date today as an apology for working so much overtime lately.” Unknowingly, her lips curled up at the thought of her husband and her two friends, who picked up on her brightened expression couldn’t help but grin widely.

“How nice.” Leona sang teasingly, wriggling her eyebrows at the blushing Cherry.

“In what company is Brandon working for that he has to slave himself out?” Wondered Mary and Cherry’s heart tumbled as she lowered her gaze.

“I don’t know.”

This made the eyes of her friends go wide. They both looked at each other before looking back at Cherry. “You don’t?” Asked Mary.

“What about his occupation? What does he do for work?” The question thrown by Leona had Cherry sink further in her chair, abashed at her incapabilities to answer simple questions about her husband such as these.

“I don’t know. He says that he works with people but didn’t tell me exactly what he does.” No matter how many times Cherry would ask him about it, he refuses to give her a solid answer.

Mary and Leona both looked at each other, their lips pursed and their brows crashed against each other. Their eyes locked with their minds linked, not liking where this was going.

“Cher.” Came Leona’s quiet voice as she placed her hand over Cherry’s hand that rested on the table. She looked at Cherry with a strangled look as if what she was going to say next was weighting heavy on her heart. She opened and closed her mouth a few times, hesitant, wondering if she should continue her words.

“Don’t you think that Brandon is cheating on you?”

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.