Unfulfilled? Not Anymore! Ch. 03byCaramelangel247©
*~ The strongest bonds are ones that have been tested by fire. Thanks for all the feedback! The emails make me laugh while the comments boost my day and inspire me write more. I'm having issues posting the writing lately but I found a way around that problem while I wait for my new laptop power cord to get here. Please know that if you want me to respond to emails- please say so. I've gotten a lot and it isn't always easy to know when people just want to express an opinion and when they are hoping I write back. As usual Rate and Comment!
"Husband." Danni could still hear the word echoing in her head. She trusted him and this is how he repaid her? A marriage she knew nothing about. A child she knew nothing about. What else was he hiding from her?
It felt like someone had struck her in the chest with a sledge hammer. All she could feel was the pain and betrayal. She couldn't decide what to say to Hunter and chose not to say anything at all. Choosing instead to delete his text messages and ignore his calls. She refused to be the "other woman". Even Hunter wasn't worth that headache.
Danni tried to study and finish some homework but she couldn't concentrate. After awhile she gave up and threw everything she would need for class into a bag. She also grabbed clothes for work tomorrow and she left for her grandparent's house. Her grandparents lived about two miles from her small efficiency apartment and she knew she could sleep in her old room. There was something comforting about hanging in the kitchen with her grandma talking and eating cake, or sitting in the living room studying while grandpa read the paper and watched yet another of his western classic movies. Right now Danni could use some comfort.
Using her key, Danni let herself inside the house and called out. "Grandma, its Danni." Hearing the clash of pots in the kitchen she headed that direction.
"Hey sweetheart. What's going on?" Her grandma moved from under the cabinet and placed the towel she was using over her shoulder before sitting down to the table.
"Nothing much. Didn't want to stay home" She replied with a half smile. "I'm hoping you still have some leftover peach cobbler from Sunday dinner."
"Well, you go on ahead. You know where everything is. Are you staying the night? I don't have sheets on the bed up there. I got tired of changing the sheets whenever one of you kids decide to drop by. I'm just leaving the blanket on top." Her grandma told her.
Danni laughed as she removed the carton of ice cream from the refrigerator and placed a scoop on top of the warm pie. "Grandma, we already know about your tricks to avoid laundry." She teased.
"Well then, you won't be too surprised when I give you a list of chores. My shoulder has been hurting me lately and I can't change the light bulbs."
Danni shook her head slowly. "In the house 5 minutes and I already have chores to do."
Her grandma arched an eyebrow at her. "In the house 5 minutes and you're already eating up my food. Thought I was done feeding you kids when you turned 18 and moved out. You are almost as bad as your cousin Devin."
"No way" she protested. "Devin drops by and eats a mountain of food, and then he heads back to campus. I WORK for my food. I get pie. You get light bulbs. If you feed me breakfast and you might convince me to cut the grass and water the lawn for you." Danni offered.
"Is that so? What about groceries? I need to stock that deep freezer in the basement." she replied.
"I'll help you get groceries if you drop me by my apartment so I can fill up my fridge." Danni bargained. Her job as an assistant manager in the clothing boutique paid the bills so she could afford to live away from her family, but having a car was not in the budget. Public transportation is good in the city but bringing groceries on the bus was nothing short of nightmarish.
Danni sat with her grandma talking awhile before cleaning up her dishes and saying good night. It felt nice to think about something other than Hunter for a short while. Her grandparents had been there for her whenever she didn't see eye to eye with her mother and father. Something that happened a lot as a teenager. So often, in fact, that she had basically lived with her grandparents her last two years of high school.
She liked having an apartment near their home so that she could come over often and check on them. Her grandparents were independent and generally healthy but certain jobs were just too difficult to manage. So Danni made it a point to drop by 2-3 times a week and make sure they didn't need help with anything.
Tedious chores were exactly what she needed right now. Whenever her mind had two minutes to wander, she thought about Hunter. She remembered being held in his arms and playing in the water on the beach. Then she remembered his pregnant wife at her door. Shaking her head she turned on a horror movie before lying down and going to sleep.
* * * *
Hunter glanced at his watch. It was 11pm and Danni wasn't at home. He'd called a number of times and sent a few text messages but still no reply. That wasn't like her. He tried calling her cell phone again. This time after just 3 rings it went to voicemail and he ended the call. She was definitely ignoring his calls. If her cell phone was turned off it would've gone straight to voicemail, and if it were on silent it would've continued to ring 5-6 times before going to voicemail. No, Danni was intentionally sending his call to voicemail. Hunter called a second time. This time after just 2 rings the call went to voicemail.
"Danni, what's going on? Just. Just call me. Okay?" Shaking his head he ended the call and left. He couldn't figure out what was going on. If she were in the hospital or if there was an accident in her family her phone would be off. Even if she didn't have time to talk she would've sent a text saying she was busy. He knew he had to cancel on their plans to see a movie earlier but refusing to return his phone calls because of a cancelled date was more than just a little bit extreme.
Hunter pulled up into his driveway with a muttered curse when he noticed the Lexus parked on the street in front of his house.
He glanced at his phone once more, hoping that Danni had responded to one of his messages, but there was nothing. Closing the garage he entered the house.
"What are you doing here Katherine? Why do you still have that key?" He asked wearily.
"You wouldn't answer my calls. I had to do something to make you talk to me and the baby is due in a couple months." She rose from her position.
"I haven't been answering your calls because I don't want to talk to you. We're getting a divorce Katherine." Hunter looked at her stomach but decided not to mention the child. Instead he turned toward the kitchen and pulled a beer from the refrigerator.
"Hunter, c'mon, we have to at least try to work things out. We could be a family again." She pleaded.
"That is not going to happen. I've waited a long time for this divorce Katherine. Nothing and I do mean NOTHING is going to stop it from going through in 4 months. You'd be better off going back to Jose or whatever his name was." He told her harshly.
"That's over. I wanna fix things. I wanna come home. We could try counseling again. How many times do I have to say I'm sorry?" She asked him.
"You don't have to say it at all!" he said exasperated. "I don't care if you are sorry. I don't care how you feel. I want my divorce to go through in 4 months so that I can move on."
"Move on? Move on?" She yelled.
Hunter dumped the beer in the sink and tossed the can before walking out of the room.
Katherine angrily followed him from the room. "You can't move on! We are having a child together Hunter. A CHILD. I am not just going to step aside so you can 'move on' with the little black girl from the hood." When he stopped walking and turned around she smiled smugly. "I am your wife, Hunter."
"What did you do Katherine" He asked his jaw tense.
"What did I do? I didn't do anything. I simply thought she might want to know that you're married and HAVE A CHILD ON THE WAY!"
Hunter wanted to yell at her. He wished he could pick her up and shake her until she got the point. But so long as she carried that child in her stomach, she held all the cards Even if she didn't know it.
"What's the matter Hunter? Did I hit a soft spot?" she asked her tone dripping sarcasm.
"Not really. You don't honestly think you control anything do you?" He taunted. "I'll be sure to add delusional to the running list of reasons why I would never consider stopping the divorce. Katherine is a lying, cheating, manipulative, DELUSIONAL bitch that signed a prenuptial agreement. Did I miss anything?" he asked his tone hard.
Katherine's face twisted in rage. "Yes, you forgot wife! You also forgot mother of your unborn child!" she screamed at him.
"More like EX-WIFE." Hunter opened the front door. "Get out Katherine. Don't call. My lawyer can contact me when the kid arrives."
Katherine walked out the door without answering. Once inside of her car she smacked the steering wheel with her purse and gave a small scream of frustration. She was running out of options! Taking deep breaths she forced herself to calm down and started the car.
Antonio was a playboy Italian millionaire she attracted the attention of while traveling in Europe with another lover. She'd hoped he would become infatuated enough to propose marriage. Never mind the fact that her divorce was far from final. Instead, after just a few months, she found out Antonio was growing bored with her and seeing other women. She hoped that he might change his mind if she got pregnant but he simply laughed, turning her away. He told her that his mother wanted a nice sweet Italian bride. Not some gold digging American who cheats on her husband.
She still had Hunter to go back to. Hunter might be willing to forgive the past if he thought he was pregnant and even allow her to return home. She came up with a plan to get Hunter into bed and claim the brat was his to convince him to stop the divorce. It didn't seem to be working. Hunter didn't seem to care she was pregnant and with that girl in the way, he wouldn't even consider letting her come home. Damn! Now she was stuck with a swollen belly, swollen feet and not enough money. She was also beginning to worry about the possibility of the child coming early. She needed the child to stay inside until the very last minute. Too early and it would be obvious that she hadn't conceived the night she saw Hunter. Thanks to that stupid pre-nump she would barely get anything in the divorce.
That night before she fell asleep she realized she still had one last card to play. Hunter might be willing to pass on the kid, but his parents might feel differently.
* * * *
Hunter checked his watch again. 3:10pm. He climbed out of his SUV and crossed the street to wait. Danni hadn't returned any of his phone calls in over two weeks. He had tried stopping by her apartment when she should be home. He tried to catch her online, but she would change her status to offline and continue to ignore him. The past week had been frustrating and he wasn't willing to deal with another week of this.
He hated to ambush her this way but she showed no signs of listening to him. He knew her work schedule however and she generally worked until three on Friday while another manager took over for the weekend. Finally, he thought, noticing her exit the store. She was looking down at her phone and shaking her head so she didn't see him when he moved toward her.
"Do you read any of those messages, or do you just erase them when you see they're from me." He asked softly. He could see her body tense before slowly looking up and putting the phone in her purse.
Danni bit her lip and shifted her stance. Hands on hips she asked him, "Why would I read them? I'm not interested in hearing anything you have to say."
"The least you can do is talk to me. Give me a chance to explain. Please." He asked her.
Danni stepped closer to him so that the people passing on the wide sidewalk wouldn't over hear the entire conversation. "I don't want to talk to you Hunter Reynolds. In fact, the more I look at you, the more I want to scream at you. I want to kick you. I want to see you hurt as much as you hurt me." Her voice broke on the end. Angry she turned around and began to head in the opposite direction.
"Danni." Hunter moved in front of her holding onto her waist to stop her from walking away again. "Get in the car. We ARE going to talk, and I think you might want to avoid having a scene in front of your job."
Danni crossed her arms and glared at him. He was right. She didn't want to risk him causing a scene directly in front of the store windows. It was as small store and she had worked there for more than 3 years. Her co-workers could be protective and she didn't want them getting involved. She sighed loudly before asking, "Where'd you park?"
Hunter took her hand and led her to the car. He felt her trying to tug her hand out of his but he didn't release her. He wasn't above using any available excuse to touch her. Getting into the car he turned onto the highway and headed toward his home in Eagan just outside the Twin Cities. Danni continued to tap her foot impatiently and gaze out the window. She either ignored his attempts to talk or she gave short one-word responses. Hunter wasn't concerned by her lack of optimism. Instead he took her continued anger as a sign that she cared more than she was willing to vocalize. She never said that she loved him, but if she hadn't cared she would've answered his calls. She would've told him she wasn't interested anymore. She wouldn't be so angry and hurting if she didn't still care. So long as she still cared, then he still had a chance.
Pulling into the garage of his house, he got out the car, walked around and opened the door for Danni. Happy she didn't refuse his hand, he pulled her close to him until their bodies were touching before he whispered "I'm sorry" and tilted his head toward intending to kiss her.
Danni frowned when he pulled her close but wanted to laugh when he tried to kiss her. What arrogance! Pushing out of his embrace she headed toward the door into the house. "Ass." she snorted and walked into the house.
Hunter ran his hand through his hair and hit the button to close the garage door before entering the house behind Danni. He found her in the kitchen connected to the garage pulling a bottle of water from the fridge.
"Nice house." She told him as she opened the bottle. "Guess now I know why I've never been here before. What, did wifey go out of town?"
"We're separated. We're getting a divorce." He told her.
Danni snorted and walked into the living room where she dropped her bag before pacing in front of the large bay windows. "What is that? Quote's from the adulterers' handbook? We are only together because of the kids. This has never happened before. In a couple years we'll be getting a divorce. I've seen those clichéd movies, why don't you try a line that isn't so damn predictable."
Danni shook her head and her voice began to rise. "Do you know what happens at the end of those movies? He never leaves his wife. The other woman sticks around hoping and praying but she is NEVER more than just his piece on the side."
Hunter tried to move closer to her but she circled toward the other side of the room maintaining her distance. "Back off. Don't you dare touch me!" she set the bottle of water on the table agitated. Feeling hot she unbuttoned the top two buttons on her blouse and ran her fingers through her hair.
"Three months Hunter! You had THREE months to tell me. You let her show up at my house! Pregnant! I had to find out about a wife and a baby from HER, when you should've told me the truth at the beginning. You could've told me in an email before we met. You could've tried to explain the first week after we knew each other. But you never said a word." She shook her head as though the action would halt the tears that threatened to fall.
"Do you know how many times I cried because of you?" She yelled at him. "God, I can't believe I let myself fall for you and this is what you do!" Picking up a pillow from the couch she flung it at his chest.
Hunter caught the pillow and tossed it back onto the couch. When she covered her eyes with her hand he quickly moved forward and lifted her up off her feet. She immediately started to struggle but he held her tightly clasped to his chest as he climbed the steps to his bedroom.
"Put me down! What is wrong with you!" she demanded and beat at his chest. When he finally lowered her she realized she was in the master bedroom. "Are you out of your mind?" she yelled.
"Does this room look like there is a woman living here? Did you see any family photos or wedding albums in my living room? What about flowers, or lace curtains?" Hunter opened the doors on the closet. "See any women's clothes?" he grabbed her hand and pulled her into the adjoining bathroom. "Do you see any perfume, or another toothbrush? You wanna see the guest bathroom or the spare bedroom? Cause there isn't anything in there either."
Hunter gave her a moment to absorb what he was saying before moving close to her and taking her face in his hands. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you about Katherine. But things between us have been over for 2 years now. My divorce isn't a mythical thing. In 4 months the divorce will be finalized and she will be out of my life."
Danni shook her head and he could see the distrust in her eyes. "You sure about that two years? That baby bump she is sporting would suggest something different 4 or 5 months before we started seeing each other." she moved his hands off her face and took a step back. "I don't wanna get caught in the middle. If you change your mind and you two work things out. I'd rather end it now and save myself the trouble."
"Katherine cheated on me and used me. When she found someone with a larger bank account she followed him to Paris. We had to be separated for a year and go try marriage counseling before I could file for divorce. About 4 months before we met, Katherine showed up at a hotel during a friend's wedding reception. I had too much to drink and a couple weeks later Katherine was claiming she was pregnant. A few weeks later I met you online and Katherine was the last thing I wanted to spend my time thinking about." He told her.
"Maybe you need to consider going to counseling again." She suggested.
"Or maybe I shouldn't. Katherine just wants to reconcile because she wants to keep her lifestyle. She thinks I will cave because she is pregnant." He replied.
She bit her lip nervously before questioning "What about the baby?"
Hunter walked out of the bathroom and began pacing in the bedroom. Danni followed. Crossing her arms over her chest she reminded him, "You can't be angry with the child because of the mother."
"Of course not, but if I let her think that I care she will use that child to jerk me around and squeeze money out of me for years. In the divorce she gets a small settlement and nothing else. If she thinks it would get her a larger settlement, she could push the divorce to finalize faster. If the child is born when we aren't married, she could have me wrapped up a paternity suit and contest the terms of the divorce. She could turn this into a huge custody battle that could get nasty. If I am not the legal father I can't stop her from leaving the country without a judge to back me up." He stopped pacing and leaned against the wall.
"Do you really think she would do that?" She questioned.
"I know she would. If it allowed her to keep going to country clubs and shopping all day, then yes, she most definitely would." He told her.