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Chapter 3

  • NOAH'S POV
  • I blew on the coffee Lucy had made. She didn't always get the temperature right, and It was always too hot. Picking up the remote, I turned on the television to catch the early morning news. My fingers automatically found the buttons to turn the volume up while I scrolled through my phone, checking for business emails I could have missed.
  • "...the former Amelia Carter engaged."
  • I froze midday in opening an email. My ears immediately perked up. What had I just heard? The former Amelia Carter engaged? The voice had come from the television, and that was where I directed my entire attention immediately.
  • The newscaster, occupying a quarter of the screen, went on talking, but my confused mind could barely make out what he was saying. My gaze was riveted on the caption in bold black type at the bottom of the screen.
  • It read, DAMIAN DONOVAN, BUSINESS MOGUL, AND NEW JERSEY'S MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELOR SET TO GET MARRIED TO THE FORMER AMELIA CARTER IN LAVISH STYLE.
  • I gaped at the screen and read the stupid caption repeatedly, but it still did not change. The cup of coffee slipped from my suddenly nerveless fingers.
  • I felt a warm wetness on my thighs and almost simultaneously heard a crash. I looked down. My trousers and the couch were soaked through. At my feet, the coffee cup lay in shattered fragments. I gave it only a cursory glance.
  • I got up and walked stiffly to the sofa that was closer to the television to see better. My mind was in a whirl. Perhaps the news item wasn't about my Amelia. There had to be what... dozens? Hundreds of Amelia's in the country, and Carter was by no means an uncommon name. My rapidly beating heart slowed a little at the thought. That had to be the explanation. Anything else was intolerable.
  • And then the bottom fell out of my pipe dream as a video clip popped up on the screen. The woman beside that bastard Damian, though beautiful, elegant and sophisticated looking, was unmistakably Amelia.
  • The paparazzi were following Damian and Amelia and, of course, Damian's bodyguards. Amelia smiled and waved. I spotted a large diamond ring on her finger.
  • The couple were about to get into a limo when Damien stopped to answer a question posed by one of the reporters. I nearly went berserk when the smiling, dark-haired, scar-faced creep slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close to his side as he spoke about his engagement.
  • I felt like reaching into the screen, twisting his arm and ripping it off. The video ended. The newscaster came back on. This time, he was with two guests in the studio. They began yakking about Donovan and the circumstances that had led to our divorce.
  • I turned down the volume of the television and shut my eyes tightly, wishing I could shut out the images of Damian and Amelia together. How on earth did the jobless, mousy Amelia meet Damian? How could she have moved on so fast?
  • I could have sworn that she was absolutely devoted to me. Even when I had told her that her best friend was pregnant for me, without batting an eye, she had gone on her knees and begged for us to stay married. Could she have been pretending all that time?
  • The worst thing about all this was that she was getting married to none other than Damian, my biggest business rival. He had no doubt married her to spite me, to insult me. To think the ordinary woman I had once called my wife seemed to be basking in the sudden attention she was getting! It practically turned my stomach.
  • A headache slowly but steadily started building in my skull. I grimaced and massaged my temple. I tried to keep thoughts of Amelia and her betrayal out of my head, but it was impossible.
  • "Noah love." Lucy's voice came floating to the living room.
  • I didn't answer her. I didn't trust myself to speak at that moment. Soon, I heard her approaching footsteps.
  • "Noah, I've been calling you. I wanted to ask you to check out the-" She stopped talking. I felt her hand on my back. "Love, what's wrong?"
  • I saw only her slippered feet as she approached the front of the sofa. She nearly stepped on the smashed pieces of the coffee cup but stopped herself in time. She sucked in a breath, and instantly, she seated herself on the sofa beside me.
  • "The cup broke? Did you hurt yourself?" she said.
  • She drew out a handkerchief and began to clean up the coffee stains on my crotch a little too vigorously.
  • "For Pete's sake, Lucy! Do you want to kill me?" I snapped, snatching the handkerchief.
  • I dabbed at my trousers and flung the soiled handkerchief onto the ground. Lucy's lips turned down at the corners. She looked hurt.
  • "You're upset," she observed. "What happened?"
  • I pointed to the television. "That happened."
  • She peered at the television screen, then turned to me with a shocked expression. "Amelia? Getting married to... Damien? How did that even happen? She's practically a nobody, and he's like.... the most influential figure in the business world." I shot her a glare. She flushed. "I meant after you, of course. You're the most influential person there is."
  • "Of course I am. That- That Damian guy is just an upstart. He's been lucky in his business dealings so far, but that's just it... luck, which will run out eventually. He doesn't have an intelligent mind like I have."
  • "Of course, he doesn't love," Lucy crooned.
  • She rested her hand on my arm. Not wanting to be touched, I sprang to my feet and began to pace the room.
  • "I wonder how she sunk her claws into him," Lucy mused. "But that doesn't matter now, love. Come and sit-"
  • "That's what I've been sitting here, asking myself," I interjected, only focused on the first part of her sentence. "How on earth could she possibly have moved on so fast? Unless..." I stopped pacing abruptly as an unwelcome explanation occurred to me. "Unless she had somehow been cheating on me with him long before I told her I wanted a divorce."
  • The thought made me unbearably hurt, sad and mad.
  • "I wouldn't put it past her," Lucy sneered.
  • She rose and approached me.
  • "Do you think-" I began.
  • Lucy placed a finger on my lips, silencing me. "Ssh. What she may or may not have done doesn't matter now. After all, you don't love her, do you?"
  • "Of course not," I stated emphatically. Liar, an annoyingly persistent voice, whispered in my head.
  • Smiling, Lucy wrapped my arms around me and fiddled with my shirt collar. "Good. Don't let the news get you all worked up. Amelia's old news. She's out of our lives, and good riddance! Besides... we have something more important to focus on, don't we?"
  • A bit puzzled at her statement, I frowned. "What's that?"
  • Lucy laughed softly, took my hand, slipped it underneath her blouse and rested it on her stomach. "Our baby, silly."
  • With a sigh, I rested my forehead against hers. "Yes. Yes. You're right, of course." But Amelia was still printed at the back of my mind.