Homefront United Network presents HUN Reads, a weekly segment of a novel by Amanda Cherry, HUN writer. Follow along every Friday as the story unfolds! If you missed the beginning, be sure to catch up under the category HUN Reads!
Content Warning; The following segment contains elements that may not be appropriate for all viewers, personal discretion is advised. The Homefront United Network is not responsible for content of this copyrighted material produced by the author.
The plush carpet on his bare feet gave way to the cool tile of the bathroom. Steam from Marion’s shower lingered like a heavy fog obscuring his view of himself in the mirror. Wiping the condensation away he looked at his dark blood shot eyes. He opened the medicine cabinet searching for some Visine eye drops, which he applied to both eyes. Clear eyed and focused he said a quick prayer asking God to guide his steps and use him in service. Last night’s doubts and fears dissipated along with the lingering steam.
His morning routine was quick and simple. The electric razor hummed across his chiseled features, leaving his mocha skin bare of the previous night’s stubble. Known for his bright photogenic smile, he made sure it was camera ready with flossing and brushing. A quick brush of his close cropped afro, before applying a light conditioner. A quick rinse of his face, followed by a moisturizer and aftershave. The last step, applying his deodorant. Walking into the walk in closet he shared with Marion, he removed the pajama bottoms he’d been wearing in favor of an Armani suit in navy blue, a white oxford shirt and light blue tie. After putting on socks, underwear, pants and shirt he returned to the bedroom to find Marion sitting on the edge of the bed he’d vacated earlier. Early in their marriage it had become a ritual that she would tie his necktie for him. No matter how bad things got between them, they’d never given up this small moment together each morning. Her back was to him, but from her posture he could tell she was upset.
“Marion,” he called out. He walked across the room in two strides. reaching a tentative hand toward her shoulder. Before he made contact, her cell phone fell from her hand as she stood to embrace him. “What’s wrong?”
“Do you know how much I love you?” she asked. “Do you know how much I love our life together?”
He caught himself laughing at the absurdity of her questions. “Of course.”
“No matter what happens,” she pleaded. “Please don’t ever forget that.”
“You’re scaring me.”
“I don’t mean to.”
“Tell me what’s happened.” Michael pulled her to sit on the bed, prepared for the worst.
“I don’ think I can.”
“You can tell me anything, babe.”
“I don’t want to talk right now,” she said reaching for him. She pulled him into a kiss tinged with an urgency he’d never felt from her. Her hands fluttered over the buttons of his shirt unfastening them with ease. When she reached for his pants, he stopped her.
“Marion?” his questioning gaze caught her off guard. “What is going on with you?”
“Don’t you want me?”
“You know I do.”
“Then why are you stopping me?”
“Because, because you don’t want me.”
“That’s not true.”
“It’s been a hard truth for awhile now, babe.”
“I’ve never given up on us Michael, not ever.”
“Are you saying I did?”
“I’m saying that I need to be with you, right now.”
“Just like that? After all this time?”
“What do you want me to say?” she pleaded. “Do you want me to beg your forgiveness? Do you want me to forgive you? Because we both know you’ve got plenty to be forgiven for- don’t we?”
“Marion,” he brought her small hands to his lips. “It’s always been you for me. There has never been any other woman for me. I worship you, I have laid my life on the altar of your love. I would die for you.”
“That’s not true,” she said. “I’m the one who dies for you, a little bit everyday. A piece of me shrivels up and blows away under the weight of all the lies I have to tell for you, for us.”
“I never asked you to keep any of my secrets,” she placed her hands over his bowed head. “I never wanted all of this to come at the cost of so many lies.”
“So what are you suggesting?”
“We tell the truth, let the chips fall where they will.”
“We’d lose everything.”
“We’d have each other, isn’t that enough?”
She paused for a moment as if seriously contemplating the consequences of exposing the house of cards they’d built over the last 10 years. One phone call, one photograph, one email and it could all come tumbling down. The presidency would be gone. Michael would be forced to resign his post as senator. A career in the private sector would be haunted by the scandal making their lives unlivable. Their finances were tied exclusively to Michael’s political clout, that would dry up as soon as the winds of scandal hit. There was no choice but to stay silent, keep the truth buried as they had so many times before. Marion had grown so accustomed to living with the secret, she couldn’t reason a life outside of the lies. She had to be strong for them both. Knowing Michael would gladly give it all up to be rid of the burden, she lied to him as well. “Of course it would be my darling, but it isn’t just us now is it?”
“Marion-” he began to protest.
“Michael,” she pushed him down onto the bed. “We are a team, you and me against it all. But there are others who rely on us to be strong, to weather the storms. We can’t let them down, now can we?”
“I’d give it all up if it meant we could go back to just you and me.”
“There is no going back,” she said stroking his cheek with the back of her hand. “We’ve gone to far, we’re in too deep to turn back now.”
Climbing on top of his prone figure she kissed him again. This time he didn’t stop her. Drunk on the intoxicating smell of her, high on the warmth of her skin caressing his, he didn’t want a reason to stop her.
“Make love to me,” she whispered in his ear. “Show me that we’re in this together.”
Stay tuned for an all new HUN Reads, every Friday!