Seduced by the Hero

By: Pamela Yaye

“We’ll get through this together. You have my word.” Sharleen reached across the desk and touched Dionne’s hand, giving it a light squeeze. “If you need anything, just ask. I’m here for you, and so is the rest of the Pathways family. You’ve built a fantastic team, and any one of our colleagues would be glad to listen if you need to talk. We’re a hundred percent behind you, Boss.”

Dionne opened her mouth to thank Sharleen for her support, but she couldn’t find her voice. She wasn’t one to cry, but her friend’s words made her eyes tear, and the room swam out of focus. Good God, what’s wrong with me? I’m an emotional wreck, and it’s only ten o’clock.

“How did your meeting go yesterday with Jules and his attorney?” Sharleen asked. “Are you any closer to finalizing the terms of your divorce? Have you finally reached an agreement you’re both satisfied with?”

I wish, but he’s determined to screw me over. Dionne’s gaze fell across the picture frame on her desk. The photograph had been taken Labor Day weekend at her childhood home, and every time Dionne looked at the picture of her loved ones, her heart ached. In her culture divorce was frowned upon, something her deeply religious Somali father was vehemently against, and Dionne felt horrible about the pain she’d caused her family. Her parents adored Jules; so did her siblings, and every day her mother implored her to kiss and make up with her estranged husband.

No way, no how, she thought. Her Prince Charming had turned out to be a frog, and she was sick of playing the role of the dutiful wife. They were finished, over for good, and there was nothing Jules could say to convince her to reconcile. Their marriage had been stained with insults, name-calling and lies, and Dionne was ready for a clean break.

“Nothing’s changed. Jules is still as stubborn as ever and...”

Dionne suddenly closed her mouth, stopping herself from saying any more. Even though she knew the divorce was for the best, discussing the demise of her marriage always made her emotional. Scared her emotions would get the best of her, and she’d end up bawling all over her Escada pantsuit, Dionne turned toward her computer monitor and typed in her password. “I have to finish my speech for the Seattle Leadership Conference, so let’s touch base later.”

“It’s Thursday, remember? I’m off at noon.”

“Hot date?” Dionne teased, playfully wiggling her eyebrows.

“You know it.” Sharleen cheered and danced around in her chair. “Emilio’s taking me to Fiji for the weekend.”

“Again? But you guys were there Labor Day weekend.”

“What can I say? My fiancé likes spoiling me, and I’d be a fool to stop him.”

Enjoy it while it lasts, because things will change. They always do, and not for the better.

“I’ll be back on Sunday, but call if you need me.”

“Why bother? You never answer your phone after hours.”

Her eyes twinkled, and a smirk curled the corners of her glossy lips. “You wouldn’t either if you had a man to wine you and dine you.”

“It’s a shame Emilio doesn’t have a twin,” Dionne joked, laughing.

“He doesn’t have a twin, but he does have five very single, very handsome brothers. Want me to hook you up?”

“Hell no!” she shrieked, fervently shaking her head. “The last thing I need is another lying, cheating man in my life. I’m better off alone.”

“Not all men are dogs, you know.”

You’re right, they’re not, but the good ones are rare and harder to find than the exit at a corn maze. Dionne hadn’t dated anyone since leaving Jules and moving out of their marital home, and she had no intention of putting herself out there anytime soon. Her focus was on building her business and spending time with her family. They wouldn’t hurt her, wouldn’t betray her trust—

“You and Jules have been separated for almost a year,” she pointed out. “Wouldn’t you like to do something besides work? You’re a great catch, Dionne, and there are plenty of eligible, successful men who’d love to date you.”

“I’m not interested. I like my life just the way it is, thank you very much. I have my business, my family and my friends, and that’s more than enough.”

“Well, if you change your mind just let me know.”

I won’t, so don’t hold your breath. Unconditional love is a myth, and the notion of living happily ever after is a fairly tale.

The phone sounded, and Dionne sighed in relief. She was tired of talking about men, namely her good-for-nothing ex, and wanted to get back to doing what she did best: running her business. Dionne hoped it was her divorce attorney calling with good news, and placed her hand on the receiver to signal the end of their conversation.

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