The billionaires wife, p.9
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       The Billionaire's Wife, p.9

         Part #2 of An Heir At Any Price series by Holly Rayner
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  “We’ll talk about it, after they leave,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about any of this in front of Mark. He’s confused as it is already.”

  “That’s fine; I don’t want to upset him either. But, you and I have a lot to talk about. Dinner’s almost ready, so they should probably go now,” I told him, trying to be firm.

  He was playing with Eric and he didn’t answer me. When I bent down to take the roast out of the oven, he left the room and took Eric with him. Sighing, and maybe slamming a pot or two, I finished making dinner. When I got back to the other room, they were all sitting on the floor playing with Eric’s toys. They looked like a happy family. I don’t think I could even put into words how angry that made me. It was also obvious that Aiden hadn’t told Cecile that it was time to leave.

  I cleared my throat and Aiden looked up at me.

  “Maybe we should say goodnight now, dinner is ready.”

  Before Aiden could speak, Cecile said, “I don’t mean to overstep, but Mark hasn’t had dinner yet. He was just telling me how yummy your dinner smelled, Holly. It might be nice for us to eat with you.” She smiled at me again with that sickening, sweet, faker than her breasts smile and said, “Why not let Aiden have dinner with both of his sons? It will be nice for us all to get to know each other. It seems we’ll be spending a lot of time together.”

  I thought that the vein in my temple might burst. I could not only feel it pulsating, I could actually hear it inside my head. This woman was the pushiest, ballsiest…

  “That sounds great!” Aiden said. He looked at me with pleading eyes and gestured his head towards Mark. I think something inside my head exploded.

  Chapter Six

  ~

  AIDEN

  I wasn’t only caught in my lies, but in my worst nightmare. Holly and Cecile were sitting at the same table on either side of me. They both had knives. I have to admit that the biggest reason I had wanted Cecile and Mark to stay for dinner was because I was a little afraid of what was going to happen when I was alone with my wife. She had a fire in her eyes that I’d never seen before, not even before we had Eric and I had done some really stupid things.

  “How old is the baby?” Mark asked. I wanted to kiss him for getting the conversation started.

  “His name is Eric and he’ll be a year old in two months,” I told him.

  “So that means he’s ten months old?”

  “Yes, that’s exactly what it means. You’re a really smart guy Mark, you know that?”

  “That’s what my daddy used to tell me…before he left.” The table was completely silent. None of us knew what to say to that. It was Cecile’s responsibility to explain Jake to him. I wanted as far away from that subject as I could get.

  “He was right,” I said, simply.

  “Aiden’s going to teach me how to play baseball,” he said.

  “That’s right, Buddy. As soon as we have some time we’re going to do that.” I could feel Holly staring at me; I couldn’t bring myself to look at her. “So how are you doing in school, Mark? Do you like your teacher?”

  “Yeah, she’s really nice,” Mark said.

  “What grade are you in, Mark?” Holly asked him. I looked at her and in that moment if no other, I knew why I loved her so much. She was fuming angry at me, yet she was putting that aside to make this little boy feel more comfortable.

  “I’m in second grade,” he told her. “I can read now.”

  “That’s amazing,” Holly said. “Maybe someday you can help Eric learn how to read, when he gets old enough.”

  I wanted to get up and hug her tight. She was amazing. I glanced at Cecile and something about the look on her face told me that she wasn’t as impressed. She suddenly leaned across Mark, blocking Holly’s vision of him and said, “Here, let me cut that meat for you.”

  “I can do it, Mom,” he told her.

  “Let me do it, I don’t want you choking. You know how I worry about you,” she said. I couldn’t see Mark’s face, but I imagine he was rolling his eyes. Even a seven year old had to be able to see through his mother’s act. I was troubled by the fact she seemed so determined to keep Holly from trying to forge some kind of relationship with the boy she had lately insisted on calling my son.

  I looked over at Holly who was helping Eric get a drink from his sippee cup. When she looked at me, I smiled. She didn’t smile back, but she didn’t throw her fork at me either…I guess that was a start.

  HOLLY

  We sat down at the dinner table and for a few minutes Aiden and Mark had talked about Mark’s school and his friends. I was okay with that, except for the looks that Cecile was giving me every time she thought that Aiden wasn’t looking. The little boy was sweet, surprisingly so since he had Cecile for a mother. I knew I’d been in a terrible mood since they’d gotten there and I felt bad for not trying to make Mark feel more comfortable. I reminded myself again that none of this was his fault. I started talking to him about reading and how maybe, someday he could help Eric learn how to read. He seemed taken aback with the baby.com. Cecile, proving again what a nut job she was when she leaned across him so that I couldn’t even see the boy and began cutting his meat. He told her that he didn’t need her to. It was so obvious what she was doing that even Aiden figured it out. I could tell by the look on his face and the way he tried to smile at me. I almost felt bad for not smiling back, but I was still too mad at him to even force one.

  While she put on her little show on her side of the table, I fed Eric on my side and tried to ignore Cecile completely. I was trying to do some positive self-talk in my head to calm down…it wasn’t really working. That could likely be because Cecile suddenly wouldn’t shut-up. She’d stopped fussing with her own son and now she was focused on mine again. Yet again, trying to make it look like I was a bad mother. I really hoped that my husband can see through her B.S.

  “Oh, Holly! I think he needs his chin wiped. Do you have a wipee? Oh, Holly! He’s fallen over sideways! Oh, Holly! Do you think he’s really old enough for Zwieback toast?” The whole time she was nagging me about how to feed my own son, my husband didn’t say a word to stop her. He should have been defending me and telling her that I knew what I was doing and that I didn’t need her input. Instead, the coward just stuffed his mouth with roast and potatoes. Cecile droned on, mostly about herself and what designer labels she wears, and by the time we finished dinner, I was afraid that I might be homicidal. I got up and used a few wipeys to clean Eric out of his high chair before I went to put the dishes away.

  I was going to sit him in the playpen when Cecile said, “Oh, can I hold the little cherub, please? How are his poor little arms?”

  I continued to hold onto him as I said, “Did you happen to tell Aiden that you were the one who burnt him?” Cecile and Aiden seemed to share everything else, why not that? Cecile narrowed her eyes at me and then turned to a shocked looking Aiden with a fake sad expression.

  “I bumped into the table, I felt so bad. I did counsel Holly on leaving the coffee so close to such a young baby. I hardly slept the whole night worrying about him. I didn’t know who he was or how to get in touch with Holly so I could check on him. I tried to find out from the staff at the café, but they were all very rude to me.” I swear the fake witch had managed to work a tear into the corner of her eye.

  Aiden looked at me and then back at Cecile like he was confused by the news.

  “I don’t understand. What were you doing at the café, Cecile?”

  “I ran by for a coffee with my friend before my doctor’s appointment,” she said. “Remember, I asked you to pick Mark up from school because I was going to be running late. I got home not long after and you told me about your son having an accident? I didn’t even put two and two together until I saw Holly tonight.”

  Then, as if goading me further into my homicidal thoughts he said, “Well, all turned out well, Cecile. My little man is tough. You’re right about the coffee. There’s so much to think about when you have a l
ittle one to look after.”

  I hated the thought, but I have it in my head that maybe Aiden was just trying to cover so that I didn’t catch the part about him picking Mark up and being at her house. I’d spent the time in the ER with our son and with Rose and the rest of the day alone. Now, I find out that Aiden wasn’t working at all. He was running errands for Cecile while she was in the city burning our son.

  I stood rooted to my spot. I was stunned. Aiden was in this a lot deeper than I had guessed. How long had this been going on? With Eric still on my hip, I picked up a serving dish to take it into the kitchen before I said or did something that someone might regret. I doubted it would be me that regretted it.

  As I turned to leave the room, I heard Aiden say, “Here, let me take Eric while you do that.” I looked at my son; the little traitor had his arms out. I kissed him and gave him to his dad.

  “Would you like some help?” Cecile asked. I was at the point where I’d rather pull out my own fingernails with a pair of pliers than talk to her but I managed to spit out a response.

  “No, thank you.” I couldn’t be alone with her. I really didn’t trust myself not to choke her. By the time I had the kitchen cleaned up, the “family” was sitting around the living room again and it was after eight o’clock. It was past time to start getting Eric ready for bed and I wanted this woman out of my home.

  Before I had a chance to suggest that she leave, she said, “You know what we should do? We should open a bottle of wine. Aiden, do you have any of that ’74 left that we got on our trip to Sonoma?” Cecile let out a little chuckle, like there was some “private” story behind the wine.

  “Wine? No. No one is having any wine here. I don’t think so,” I said. “I’m sorry, but that’s it, this night is over. It’s time for my son to go to bed and my husband and I to talk. Perhaps you should be the good mother you like to pretend to be and take your own son home. Isn’t it a school night?”

  Cecile was giving me a shocked look. That was okay. What wasn’t okay was that my husband was looking at me the same way, only his look was tinged with disappointment as well. I tried to tell myself his only concern was for Mark, but I was beginning to wonder. Cecile on the other hand was a tad smarter than I had given her credit for, however. She suddenly changed her tune, either to prove she was a good mother, or because she knew I was about to rip her hair out.

  “Holly’s right. Mark and I were having so much fun that I almost forgot it was a school night. Oh dear is it really almost eight o’clock? Mark, tell Holly thank you for her hospitality and give Aiden a kiss and hug.”

 
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