Their marriage was a marriage of convenience. Despite that, Mandy fell for the billionaire that was her husband, hard. He never reciprocated her feelings. And that was fine by her, until one afternoon, a woman came knocking on the door of the penthouse in which they stayed.
The woman claimed to be Harrison’s long lost high school sweetheart – that, she could handle – but also his lover.
Mandy didn’t care for what the woman said much, thinking she must be really desperate to come seek her – Harrison’s wife – to ask her to step aside and give her husband the chance to love again.
And then, at a function she attended with Harrison, they met the woman in question – Clara was her name –and she seemed to be awfully intimate with him. If her fleeting but meaningful touches were anything to go by, it was safe to assume that her beloved Harrison had cheated.
Mandy’s ire knew no bounds. And yet, she controlled herself well, and managed not to show an ounce of the animosity she felt to the despicable woman.
By the time the function ended, Mandy was feverish with barely contained anger.
Nevertheless, once she and Harrison were in their penthouse, she didn’t blow up as she should have. Instead, she kept her poker and cold face on.
“Are you okay?” He asked, his tone somewhat worried for some reason, as he unbuttoned his shirt.
Worried he might have gotten caught? Her mind supplied bitterly.
“Peachy,” she told him in a saccharine tone of voice, her fake smile still plastered on.
“Are you sure?” He insisted as he was about to head to the bathroom.
“Positive,” she deadpanned.
Left alone with her somber thoughts, she didn’t know what to make of the situation. What should she do? She loved Harrison greatly, had managed to put up with his coldness over the two years they had been together, but could not possibly stand the idea of him fooling around.
Nevertheless, when he emerged from the bathroom, fresh out of the shower, all and any speech she might have prepared fled her mind.
It should be illegal for a common mortal to be so handsome, so devilish, so cold one moment, so hot the next…
Indeed, as soon as he got out of the shower, he sought her lips.
She flatly and decisively refused his advances in the nick of time though. She couldn’t possibly allow him to take her to bed when he was cheating on her. Her pride would suffer greatly from such a humiliation.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
What is wrong is your inability to keep it in your pants, she thought to herself, but only said instead, “You just showered.”
He looked at her intently as if urging her to continue since her excuse was nothing but that – an excuse.
“And I just don’t feel like it,” she went on coldly.
“Okay,” he drawled and then went to bed immediately at that.
She sighed in relief. She wasn’t sure she could resist him should he decide to seduce her for real.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Two weeks of forced abstinence later, and Harrison was ready to burst. He didn’t know what was wrong with his wife for her to deny him so.
He only knew that he needed to fix it, whatever it was, so that he could pay more attention to his business matters during the day.
Indeed, he would never admit it out loud but Mandy troubled him enough to make him lose focus.
His wife was plain – dull even – and yet oh so responsive and pliant each time he held her.
And he found no answer as to why she was acting so coldly towards him lately. He guessed he wouldn’t be getting an answer soon – he had sure asked on more than one occasion.
He tried to get her to talk, urged her to open up to him about what troubled her, he, who never cared much for women’s ramblings.
Each time her answer was basically the same.
“I am fine.”
“It’s in your head.”
He was fed up with these answers. And yet, it seemed like he just wasn’t getting to her. Hell, she no longer even told him she loved him as she saw him to the door.
Her smiles had gone from warm and radiant to chilly and fake. Her tone had gone from caring and loving to cold and detached.
He couldn’t take it anymore and thus decided to ask her out for dinner.
“What’s the occasion?” She asked almost coldly as he told her over the phone to get ready.
Why would he need an occasion to take his wife out for dinner?
“It’s been a while since we last had a date,” he tried to infuse his words with as much tenderness as he could.
“That never bothered you before,” she told him flatly.
“Are you game, yes or no?” He insisted, starting to get annoyed.
“Fine,” she answered after a while. “Where should we meet?”
He was about to argue that it’d be best if they went together to the restaurant, and then thought better of it. No need to create yet another argument.
He told her the name of the restaurant he had already booked a table at – or at least had his PA do that – and before long, they hung up.
She didn’t tell him she loved him before hanging up today either.
Something was definitely wrong with his wife, and he intended to find out what it was, come hell or high water.
Tonight, all bets are off, he said to himself. It's either I get an answer or I get an answer.