Marriage of Convenience

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Romance

Chapter 20 (v.1) - Chapter Twenty

Submitted: January 16, 2020

Reads: 28

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Submitted: January 16, 2020

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 Freya tried to make her mind focus on what she was doing as she neared the bottom of the escalator. This afternoon, spent with Sam in his office, had been harsh. He'd made no effort to hide his dislike. And in her emotional state, it had been difficult to take. But she'd managed, though heaven only knew how, ignoring his devastating, 'Wonder Woman to the rescue!' as he'd scanned her outlined proposals for the salvaging of Dexter Securities.

'Theo's approved this, I take it?' He'd finally laid the papers aside. 'Or is the whole proposal his brainchild?'

 His teasing look had told her that, no matter what she said, he'd never believed a mere female could come up with such precise figures and projections. He couldn't believe it because it would damage his ego.

 She hadn't disabused him; there had seemed no point. No point in anything these days. And she didn't have the emotional resources to endure a ding-dong verbal fight with him. Theo had drained her emotions dry.

 Far from consulting Theo, she had said nothing about the conclusions she'd formed after days and days of concentrated work. True, he had asked her to let him know her findings so that they could discuss them, and that was because he had a vested interest now. But the salvation of Dexter Securities

while it was still salvageable was her baby. The fact that Theo now had thirty percent of the voting stock was neither here nor there. She wasn't doing it for him. How. could she willingly do anything for him when he persisted in treating her like dirt?

 Freya?' A hand touched her shoulder and she twisted around, her racing heart a testimony to how edgy she had become over the past ten days, quieting down to normal as she saw Rose's puzzled eyes.

 'I thought it was you, Theo’s secretary explained. 'Though I couldn't be absolutely sure. You look awful. Lost weight, haven't you?' On that unflattering note, Rose prepared for a natter session.

 'I've been working out.' Freya put on the brightest smile and lifted one shoulder in a gesture she hoped denoted unconcern. 'You know how it is too busy to eat properly. Anyway,' she turned the subject quickly, 'how's Emily Steven settling down in my old job?' Rose was far from a fool and Freya didn't want anyone to guess that everything had turned sour between Theo and herself.

 Rose pulled a face. 'So-so. I couldn't stand her at first. She's capable enough but hell those damned airs and graces. She acted as if she expected me to drop a curtsey every time she walked by.' She grinned suddenly, wryly. 'But we started to gel after that husband of yours reduced her to tears yesterday. I knew exactly how she felt! It's a pity you ever left. You were the only one who could handle him, make him remotely human. He's been worse than ever this last week or so. if you don't mind my saying so! And if

he doesn't change his tune I, for one, am definitely looking for another job.'

 Then a doubtful look flickered over her face as if she was afraid she'd said too much. 'I still think of you more as being his PA than as his wife. So excuse my big mouth, but you might do some good if you dropped a word in his ear.'

 'I'll see what I can do,' Freya said, but she knew Theo would not listen to what she had to say on that, or any other subject. And that made her recall the time when he would have made a point of listening to anything she had to say because in those days he had respected her viewpoint, her intelligence. There was nothing he respected about her now. She didn't even respect herself.

 And the knowledge hurt her chest with pain. Quickly, before Rose could guess her misery, she excused, 'I have to go, Rose. Sorry to rush off, but I'm late as it is. 

Her feet dragged as It was raining now, the heavy drizzle wetting her charcoal silk suit. It hung on her body where once before her ill-fated marriage to Theo it had clung lovingly.

 she lingered in the almost deserted streets, growing colder, wetter, until a car swept by, spraying her with muddy rainwater before purring on, Wiping the mud stains that had probably ruined the suit forever.

She was sick to death of being made to feel that her existence was of no importance Her cousin hated her for some reason of his own and her husband didn't give a damn so long as she was an available body in his bed. A body he could use and punish.

 She wasn't going to stand for it any longer! She doubled her pace, her high heels beating on the wet pavements, her shoulders straight. She still loved Theo but she wasn't going to allow him to make her feel defeated, shabby, and worthless. Nor would she allow him to use her body to wreak his own savage brand of vengeance. He gave her no quarter. He made love to her that shamed her.

 His lovemaking was bitter of what they had shared earlier on in their marriage. Erotic it might be, but it was also a method of marking her like his possession, murdering her pride, making her hate herself. Not anymore, though. If there were to be any hope for the future of their marriage at all then it would have to be in name only until their differences were resolved if they ever could be. She would use the guestroom, or move out altogether, and to hell with his objections because the sort of marriage they had at this moment wasn't worth a damn.

 As she ran up the four shallow steps that led to the front door and searched through her handbag for her key. But the door swung open before her chilled fingers had located the key and Theo snapped, 'Where the hell have you been?'

A sudden dislike feeling snaked through her as she pushed past him into the hall. Let him rage if he wanted she was about to show him she had a mind of her own and would not be treated as worthless garbage!

 The old Freya was back, her fighting spirit stronger than ever after its absence during the last ten days.

 'To discuss the future of Dexter Securities with Sam,' she answered him, then swung past him. 'Excuse me, I have to get out of these wet things.' But he caught her, pulling her around, and there was nothing gentle about his grip Sam?' he queried nastily. 'Or was it Leo?'

Freya drew in a tired breath, striving to hold on to her new determination to hold her own. 'Sam,' she emphasized. 'And if you don't believe me-'

 'Why should I believe anything you say ' he interrupted cuttingly, 'when I walked in on a truth that turned everything you'd ever said or done into a living lie! And if; as you say, you were having a meeting with Sam, why didn't you ask Benjamin to fetch you? Why. Choose to struggle home through the rain?' He released her as if he couldn't bear to be this close, his mouth twisting with distance as he told her, 'You didn't ask for Benjamin because you didn't want him knowing where you'd spent the afternoon, he might have let something slip. So you thought it more prudent to make your own way home, regardless of what I might think when you tried to sneak in, looking like a drowned rat! Or were you counting on getting home before me?'

 'Get lost!' The words were low and furious. 'You've got a sick mind.' She pushed the briefcase at him. 'You'll find all my conclusions here. Sam approved them, but only because he was convinced everything he read was your idea!' she snapped bitterly, stalking away from him and stamping up the stairs.


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