Seduced by the HeroBy: Pamela Yaye
Thankfully, Sharleen took the hint and rose from her chair. “Have a good weekend,” she said, marching towards the door. “Don’t work too hard.”
Back in CEO mode, Dionne sat up tall and cleared her throat. Even though her marriage was in shambles, she looked forward to coming to work every day and enjoyed connecting with clients. “Dionne Fontaine speaking,” she said brightly, turning away from her computer screen. “How can I help you?”
“You can start by returning the money you stole from me.”
Her eyes narrowed, filled with hate. Damn. It was Jules. Again. How many times did she have to tell her assistant not to put his calls through? Her ex could be persuasive, charming even, but still Lily worked for her, not Jules, and now because her assistant was a softy, she was stuck talking to her estranged husband. The man who’d made her life a living hell for the past year. Her first impulse was to hang up the phone, which is what she usually did when he called, but this time she didn’t. “I have nothing to say to you. Quit calling me at work. I’m busy.”
“Return my money. You stole from me, and I want every cent back.”
Dionne played dumb, pretending not to know what he was talking about. She was, of course, aware of what Jules was referring to, but she wasn’t going to argue with him about the six-figure donation she’d made to the Atlanta Children’s Shelter just days before she filed for divorce. If you can spend thousands of dollars at the strip club, then I can give thousands of dollars to a worthy cause.
“This has gone on long enough,” he snapped, his voice taut with anger. “You made your point. Now, move back home before I change my mind about giving you another chance.”
“This isn’t a game. We’re through, and there’s nothing you can say to change my mind.”
“You don’t mean that. Think of all the good times we’ve had.”
What good times? We argued constantly, and you betrayed me over and over again. For five years, they’d lived in comfort and affluence, but it was time to end her marriage and move on with her life. Her parents couldn’t talk her out of it; neither could her in-laws, and in the time they’d been separated, she’d never once regretted her decision.
“Every marriage goes through rough times,” he said. “Don’t let your insecurities ruin us.”
“It was your lies that destroyed us, not me.”
“We need to talk, alone, without our attorneys. What time will you be home?”
Her stomach twisted into knots. Was Jules in her house? Was he calling from her master bedroom? Snooping through her things again? Last Friday, she’d arrived home to find Jules in her living room, and if she hadn’t pretended to call the police with her cell phone, he’d probably still be demanding she withdraw the divorce papers.
“If you keep harassing me I’ll file a restraining order against you.”
“But I love you.”
Dionne burst out laughing. Surely he wasn’t serious? Jules thought if he poured on the charm, she’d be putty in his hands, but his attempt to sweet talk her was so pathetic she rolled her eyes to the ceiling. His moods changed as often as the weather, and she’d always been on guard around him. She never knew what to expect, what would set him off, and hated how he used to take his frustrations out on her. “You don’t love anyone but yourself. That’s how it’s always been, and you’ll never change.”
“If you come back home I’ll buy you a Porsche, a new mansion, anything you want...”
Dionne tuned him out, losing interest in his smooth, slippery speech. Instead of trying to fix the problems in their marriage, Jules had put all his time and energy into running his family’s construction business, Fontaine Enterprises. To this day Dionne felt as if she’d never truly known him. He had a temper, but it was his lies and infidelities that had destroyed their relationship. Despite his family pedigree and accomplishments, Jules was the most insecure man she’d ever met, and Dionne had no respect for him.
“Is this about money?” she asked.
Jules barked a laugh, and the sharp sound pierced Dionne’s eardrum.
“Of course this is about money. With you it always is. Call off the divorce and I’ll increase your weekly allowance by ten thousand dollars. Will that make you happy?”
Disgusted, Dionne stared down at the receiver with contempt. Jules was showing off, talking big, but she knew the real reason he was calling, why he was blowing up her phone day and night. Jules had political aspirations, dreams of being the next mayor of Atlanta, and feared a divorce would tarnish his perfect image. Dionne didn’t give a rat’s ass about his public persona. Reconciliation wasn’t an option, never would be. It wasn’t in his DNA to be faithful and honest, and she was tired of making excuses for his poor choices. Their marriage was broken, irrevocably damaged, and nothing could change that. “You know what would make me happy, Jules? A divorce. So revise your initial offer, or take your chances in court in November.”