Battle-Hardened, War Weary Ch. 04byMimiRose©
Author's Note: Hello, every one.
This is a revised chapter. So, if any of the readers (who are re-reading this chapter) notice any changes or any new additions, please don't think that you're losing your mind. I did revise this chapter... again.
For the individuals who are reading this chapter for the first time, thank you for taking the time out of schedules to do so.
In regards to the new updates to this story, I am in the process of typing the chapter up. Hopefully, the new one will be submitted into Literotica before the first day of Spring.
Three Months and two weeks later: April 17th of 2001
"Hey Honey, I'm home!"
Daniel entered his rented, four-bedroom home with the greeting. He dropped his gym bag onto the marbled floor of the foyer. He walked out of the foyer and into the living room. At first glance, he laughed at the scene that was revealed before him. The living room was a mess.
There were scraps of paper and various charms everywhere, a sign that Mary Anne was in the process of scrapbooking again. She had picked up the hobby at the beginning of her second trimester. One of his teammates' wives had shown Mary Anne a scrapbook that she made, during one of the Emperors' practice and she has been hooked ever since.
Daniel left the living room and had gone on a mission to find his wife. He searched all of the rooms that were on the first level of the house: the dining room, the kitchen, the laundry room and the pantry. Then he had gone upstairs to the second level of the home to search for her, but she wasn't in any of the bedrooms or the bathrooms. He figured that his wife had left the house to go run on an errand. He returned back to the living room, so he could clean up the mess that she left.
It was the month of April. The winter season was almost over and it was a week shy from being spring. Daniel was happy and content, which is something that he hasn't felt in a long time. Daniel contributed his surge of happiness on the fact that he had a lot going on in his life in which he should've been thankful for. He had a career and he was able to financially support himself and his family. He didn't have to rely on his parents' fortune to take care of him and his. He was thankful that he was healthy. His family was healthy. His wife was blessing him with a child, a boy, who was due in August. His son was progressing as normal as possible, according to Mary Anne's doctor. As he cleaned up the living room, he thought about his little boy. A broad smile grew on his face as he thought about his son, Sean.
Back in December, at his in-laws' home, when he learned about Mary Anne's pregnancy, he wasn't happy. If he was honest with himself, he was angry and upset about being a father. He didn't loved Mary Anne and the last thing that he wanted was to have any more legal attachments to her.
Daniel knew that he wanted to be with Kali. He knew that she was attracted to him, as well as, wanted him. Since their last encounter in that hotel room, he had initiated the divorce process. He didn't tell Mary Anne about his desire to terminate their marriage. He didn't even tell any of his family members. He already hired a real estate agent to find Daniel another place to live. He knew that he was willing to give Mary Anne more than half of his fortune and property, just as long as the divorce was finalized. But, once the announcement about the pregnancy was made, he knew that he couldn't divorce his wife. He was raised with the notion that a man divorcing his wife, when they have a family, was a sin. Plus, he knew that it would make him look like a jerk. Kali would never be accepted into his family. He was sure that his parents would give him an ultimatum, if he did leave Mary Anne now. Even though his parents annoy him from time to time, he couldn't imagine living his life without their involvement.
On that night, he was also angry that he was the last important person to know about the pregnancy. He felt slightly emasculated, which he now felt ashamed about. Despite the jovial expression on his face, he was infuriated.
Later on that night, he had used Ryan's face as an outlet for his rage. It provided a temporary relief, but the rage returned a few hours later and it lingered. The anger continued to linger for months. During those months, he had made his feelings known to his wife that their marriage was for convenience. He didn't declare to his wife that he didn't love her, but he did show it. He stopped returning and initiating signs of affection. He stopped telling Mary Anne sweet and romantic things. He refused to touch her. He slept in a different bedroom. He began to drink alcohol more frequently. There was minimal communication between the two of them.
When it had become too much for Mary Anne, she confronted her husband. She asked him if he loved her anymore. She asked him about any extra-marital affairs that he was committing. In a fit of rage and in tears, she screamed at Daniel to explain the reason for his odd behavior. In response, Daniel walked out of the room and soon out of the house. He ended up traveling to a teammate's apartment, where he drank himself into a stupor.
Over the months, he tried to numb the anger and the hate with liquor consumption. Then, one day, the rage was killed. For Daniel, it started out as a normal day in March. He was scheduled to attend a few team-organized meetings and participate in a few interviews. He also knew that Mary Anne was scheduled for a doctor's appointment for the day as well. He wasn't interested in the doctor's appointment, but he did tell her to 'have a good time' while she was there. Then he left the house to go to his team's practice facility.
Daniel returned home later on that day, in the evening. Mary Anne had already cooked dinner and she was eating her fill, in the dining room. He didn't bother to greet her. He had gone upstairs to a bathroom to shower and change into clean clothes. When returned to his assigned bedroom, he found a picture on his nightstand. At first he thought Mary Anne had left another memento of their marriage in the room. She was prone to do such tactics, even though she did act like she was resigned to her marriage's current condition. He was about to crumble the photo into a ball, but he had taken a gander at the photo. It was a sonogram picture.
The photo was in black and white, as well as grainy. Daniel didn't know what he was looking at. He stared at the sonogram with fascination. He studied the picture, in hopes of understanding which body part belongs to the baby. Then suddenly, a huge wave of guilt and regret crashed onto Daniel. He thought about the recent months that has passed and about his behavior towards Mary Anne.
Daniel knew that he had to make amends with his wife. With the sonogram picture still inside of his left hand, he made his way down to the lower level of the house. He walked into the dining room, where Mary Anne was still eating her dinner. Without saying a word to her, he grabbed her right, slender wrist and pulled her out of her chair. She protested. He ignored her. He pulled her into his embrace. She fought him, but he was too big and too strong. During her struggle, Daniel had spoken the words "I'm sorry" into her ear. She stopped struggling. She broke down into a song of wails and tears. Daniel could feel the pain and sorrow that she harbored. It seemed to have been radiating off of her body. When he felt her arms wrap around his waist, he knew that she had forgiven him.
Daniel was almost finished with the cleaning process. He picked the arts and crafts items off of the floor and vacuumed the carpeted areas. Now, he was cleaning off of the coffee table. He was placing random items into a wastebasket. He had come across a small, black leather-bound book. On the front cover, there were the numbers "2001" in gold, embossed lettering. He figured that this book was Mary Anne's daily planner.
'She must've left it,' he assumed. He knew that Mary Anne carried this book around more than she did her Old Testament Bible. He placed the daily planner onto the table and resumed his cleaning.
After the living room was cleaned, Daniel was starving. He traveled to the kitchen and proceeded to stave off his hunger. As he was creating a massive turkey sandwich, he heard the front door of the house open and then closed. He listened for his wife's footsteps. She entered the living room. There was silence. Then, he heard footsteps enter the dining room.
"Hey Baby, how are—
"Where's my supplies?" she asked, sounding upset while interrupting her husband.
Daniel looked away from his turkey sandwich and stared at his wife. Mary Anne was standing in the kitchen's doorway. He saw that his wife held a frazzled expression on her beautiful face, which still glowed. He saw that she held onto her daily planner and clutched it close to her chest.
"I thought that it was—
"You thought that it was what?" The volume in her voice was raised a few notches. "It was my supplies! I was planning on using it for my scrapbooks!"
"I'm sorry baby" apologize Danny as he stared at his wife while marveling at her unusual behavior. "I thought they were garbage—
"Garbage, you thought that my supplies were garbage?" she shouted at him, while sounding offended.
"No, I thought that you were finish with the—
"What were you doing with my daily planner?" she asked. Her blue eyes were narrowed, her nostrils were flaring and her teeth were clenched.
'What the hell is going on with her?' he wondered as he stared at her. The irrational behavior was not like her.
"I did nothing with your daily planner!" He traveled over to the sink and deposited the soiled butter knife. He proceeded to clean the utensil. "I found your planner on the coffee table..." He turned away from the sink to stare at his wife. Instead, Daniel turned to face the doorway. His wife left the kitchen.
Daniel backed away from the sink and then walked out of the kitchen. He entered the dining room and walked to the center of the room. He peered into the living room. He saw Mary Anne in the living room. She was standing in front of the loveseat and behind their coffee table. She was staring into the daily planner. She was reading something.
'What's going on with her?' he asked silently.
Then he noticed the look of concern that was on her face. His mind had thought of Sean. The idea of something is wrong with their son's health entered his head.
"Mary Jane, what is wrong?" he asked his wife from the dining room.
Mary Anne flinched and she glared at her husband. "Nothing's wrong?" she said, brusquely. "Everything is fine!"
He gazed into his wife's beautiful, round eyes and saw her anxiety. "Mary Anne, is there something wrong with Sean?" Daniel was now worried for his unborn son. He knew something was wrong. Even though Mary Anne stated that everything was okay, he didn't believe her.
"No, the baby is fine" she muttered and then she walked out of the living room, leaving her bewildered husband standing in the dining room.
Tuesday, April 17th, 2001, at 6:00 AM
Ryan Whittler gazed into his bathroom's mirror. He was trying to tie his silk, burgundy tie. The three busted up fingers on his left hand was messing up the process. The tie stood out against his onyx-hued suit and black dress shirt, he noticed. He decided to wear the suit with the black shirt because for him, it represented intimidation and power. For today's activities, he needed all of the power and intimidation. Once his tie was set, he had taken a step backwards to fully appreciate the ensemble. After his appraisal, Ryan set out for work.
Mr. Santos, his chauffeur, picked him up from his Midtown Manhattan home and escorted Whittler to his place of business. Due to the constantly shitty traffic, Ryan didn't arrive to work at his desired time, but he was still early.
Santos opened the Maybach's posterior door and then Ryan stepped out of the car. The driver walked over to Ryan and stood in front of him. His employee observed Ryan's tie and blazer. He straightened out Ryan's tie and then fixed the cloth that was sticking out of his blazer's breast pocket. "No matter how many times that I've shown you" Santos started out saying as he lined up his employer's tie. "... You always tend to mess it up..." Once the problem was fixed, Santos had taken a step back to observe his handiwork. "There, now it is perfect!"
"Thank you, Santos" Ryan said to the driver.
"You're welcome, Sir. Now, for today, you need to remember a few things."
"Oh, yeah," chuckled Ryan. "What do I need to remember, Santos?"
"The first thing to remember is that you need to eat a hearty breakfast for this morning..."
Since his childhood, Santos has given him a list of reminders for every morning, before they parted ways. When he was a kid, he relished listening to them. As a teenager, Ryan used to roll his eyes as if he was annoyed by attention, even though he loved that Santos took the time to speak with him. And now as a man, he truly appreciates Santos' advice.
"... The second thing you need to remember is you deserve to be here. You will encounter co-workers who are going to consider you to be a 'silver spoon, rich kid' who managed to get the corner office because of your last name and a case of nepotism. The truth is, you belong up there and you deserve your position. I remember when you use to come up here with your dad and when he would tell you things about the business, you would soak all of that info like a sponge. You're smart and more importantly, you are built for this business..."
Santos gazed into the younger man's green eyes and saw life behind those orbs. There was emotion and Santos knew that Ryan was struggling to contain it. He gave Mr. Whittler a smile and then proceeded on talking.
"The third thing to remember is you do not allow your grandfather to give you any shit. He will try to undermine your choices and stamp down on your independence as much as possible. Do not allow that man to such a thing to you, Ryan. Do you remember what I used to tell you, when you used to be afraid of bugs? Do you remember?"
Ryan nodded his head. "Yes, I remember.
"What did I used to say?"
"You..." Ryan stopped speaking and turned away. He stared down Church Street and stared at the long stream of people. He really wasn't staring at the people. He was focused on something else. He was trying not to show any type of emotion. He believes that if he displayed any emotion, even anger, he was weak. He was taught that he didn't want to give his opponents the upper hand.
He turned his attention back to Santos. "You told me that they were more afraid of me than I should be of them."
"That's correct," Santos stated with a broad smile. "He is afraid of you. He knows that he can't control you anymore. Unlike your family, you don't need anything from him. I'm sure that he is still kicking himself in the ass for actually offering you a position in his business. Plus, he doesn't like the fact that you're more of a suitable successor for his fortune than any other relative of his and that kills him."
"Is that right?" Ryan said with a smirk on his face.
"You know that," said the driver.
"In all honesty, I never thought of that."
"Well, he does, Ryan. Now, off you go and I will pick you up at six. Have a great day today, Sir," his chauffeur said to him.
"You have a great day yourself, Santos."
Ryan made a few steps towards the entrance of the building and came to a halt. He stopped and then gazed at the tall building that stood in front of him. The building was one of the tallest buildings in the world. Whenever he would visit his father's office, as a kid, he always tried to view that top of the building, before he would enter. His eyes would strain in hopes of spotting the top. He always considered the North Tower of the World Trade Center to be an amazing building.
After the elevator arrived to the 38th floor and before Ryan could step out of the carriage, he spotted a tall and lithe woman leave her desk. She spotted him and proceeded to walk over to him. At one point in time, Ryan thought about trying to initiate something with the executive secretary, Penny. But, he knew that engaging in an 'out-of-the office' relationship with a co-worker would not be a good idea. He also thought that Penny is the type of woman who wants a 'couple' relationship and not a 'friends with benefits' type of relationship. Then there was the fact that he was busy already was juggling two relationships, one with Suzette and the other one is with Kali.
In his eyes, Penny Himura was very attractive and definitely his type. Physically, the Japanese woman was taller than most of the women that he's been with, with the exception of Kali and Suzette. She was five feet and eleven inches tall, naturally. Her body possessed curves, which he knew was frowned upon in her culture. She held an ample amount of breasts, a narrow waist and a pair of wide hips. She wasn't as curvy as Kali, but she wouldn't be over-looked. Her skin always maintained a healthy glow and a tan that appeared so natural that a person couldn't tell that she used a tanning bed. She kept her straight, black hair into a pixie cut and it complemented her round-shaped face. Her facial features can be describe as very pretty and demure; she owned a pair of pink, full lips, a small nose, a pair of arched eyebrows and a pair of eyes that were small but sharp.
In regards to her personality, it was the thing that really caught Ryan's attention. Unlike her face, Penny's personality cannot be described as being very pretty and demure. She is brash, brave and an out-spoken individual. Ryan knows that she has no problem telling anybody her opinion about them, despite how unfavorable that opinion can be. He has witnessed Penny verbally cut down both men and women, who thought they could intimidate her with their job positions and wealth.
"Good morning, Sir Whittler!" Penny greeted him as she approached him. The two adults laughed at the inside joke that she made.
"Good morning Penny" he greeted. Penny and Ryan walked away from the elevator and entered a corridor that led to the executive's private offices. "What does my schedule look like today?" he asked her.
"As if you didn't know" said Penny with a sly grin. She proceeded to run down his daily itinerary. "At 10:45, you have a meeting with the other executives and including Mister Whittler, our all-knowing Master of our universe..."
Ryan laughed at Penny's dig at his grandfather. He told her to continue with her task.
"At 1:00 PM, you have a lunch meeting with the Fukui family. The meeting is about the Japan account. And you will be having lunch at the..." Penny gasped in awe. She hugged her clipboard and she stared up at the ceiling briefly. "...You're having lunch at Knives and Dishes Restaurant today!" she swooned. "I am so jealous of you!"
"I'm not going there to ogle at celebrities, Penny" Ryan stated to his secretary.
A gasp of disgust escaped from her mouth and she glared at Ryan with a facial expression of disgust. "Fuck a celebrity!" she proclaimed. Ryan burst out laughing. He wrapped a protective arm around her shoulders. "I am referring to the delicious food that you will be chowing down on! You are going to be eating stuffed shrimp and wild rice pilaf in garlic butter while I am stuck here, eating Top Ramen! It is not fair!" she claimed. "Oh," she gasped. "Do you need a Japanese translator for the meeting? I can be your translator!"
"Penny, I don't need one. I can speak Japanese fluently. The Fukui family can speak English fluently and besides, I thought that you couldn't speak Japanese that well," informed Ryan. The co-workers arrived to Ryan's office. He unlocked the door and then pushed it open. He allowed the woman to enter the office first, before he walked in.