The Billionaire's WifeBy: Holly Rayner
I pulled out my wallet and took out an American Express card. It was in the business name and it had some ridiculous limit on it that I couldn’t even recall at the moment. I really didn’t care; I just wanted Mark to be taken care of. I handed it to her and said, “Use this for now, I’ll get an account set up for you and get some money into it this week.”
Cecile had tears in her eyes. She threw her arms around me and said, “Thank you so much Aiden. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it means to me that you would do this for us.”
“For Mark,” I reminded her, taking her arms from around my neck. “I love my wife, Cecile.”
“Of course you do,” she said with a smile.
The rest of the day with Mark was as perfect as the first part. I went home happy, almost buoyant. That feeling lasted until I saw my wife and my other son’s faces. Then suddenly I felt a wave of guilt wash over me, like I had cheated on them somehow. I suppose I was cheating them, just by lying to Holly. I needed to tell her and soon, but the timing that night just wasn’t right. I just kept postponing it, waiting for the perfect opportunity. When that time came, I let it pass.
The first night I was supposed to be home to tuck Eric in for over a week, I got called by Randall to go sign some contracts. I went into the office and when I was gone, Holly had found the business card with Cecile’s number on it. I guess she must have called it and Cecile answered. Holly didn’t know who she was talking to, so I assume Cecile didn’t either. But what it left Holly with was the idea that I was having an affair. That night, my beautiful, blunt, brutally honest wife waited up for me and when I got home, she looked me in the eye and said, “Are you having an affair?”
I didn’t know about her finding the number and calling it yet. I thought it was about me taking off before putting Eric down so I said, honestly, “What? No, Holly, why would you ask me that? I’d never cheat on you. I was with Randall tonight. Here,” I told her, taking out my phone. “I’ll call him, you can ask him yourself.”
“I believe you were with Randall tonight, Aiden. But, I’m wondering why there’s a woman out in Scarsdale somewhere who expected to hear from you tonight or tomorrow morning? She didn’t seem at all surprised that I was calling her and asking for you.”
I should have told her right then. I should have just fessed up and given Holly the credit she deserved. But instead, out of fear that she would be angry and not let me see Mark, or worse yet, try and leave me and take Eric, I lied.
I forced a laugh that I hoped sounded natural and I said, “Oh, that was Mrs. Lange.”
“Mrs. Lange. Remember how I told you I couldn’t reach my assistant earlier? Well, she’s been doing that for a while now and she’s really stressing me out. I got a referral from one of my executives for Mrs. Lange a couple of weeks ago. She works for one of the executives in my company who is planning to retire soon. He said she’s amazing. I haven’t had time to meet with her yet, but we’ve spoke on the phone a few times; I think I might just hire her. She comes highly recommended.” Once I’d opened my mouth to lie, I couldn’t seem to stop. They just kept coming out and I was digging a deeper hole with each breath. I felt sick to my stomach and I also felt a deep sense of self-loathing that I’d never felt before.
Holly’s face turned red and I was even more ashamed because I knew she was feeling foolish. I had made her feel that way with my lies.
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I trust you, Aiden…I really do.”
I smiled at her, feeling like a complete ass inside and passing up another perfect opportunity to tell the truth.
“It’s my fault. I’ve been leaving you and Eric so much lately. This big deal is killing me, but I promise, it will get better soon, okay?”
“Okay,” she said with one of the smiles I had fallen in love with. I had taken her into my arms and kissed her then, and she rewarded me for the horrible behavior she knew nothing about by making love to me for hours that night. I really am a disgusting ass.
I usually don’t miss working as a waitress but when I sit and watch the hustle and bustle, seeing how alive the café is in the morning, it gave me a little pang of regret that I didn’t get to spend my time with these people any longer.
“I found an engagement ring in Joe’s pocket,” Rose was telling me.