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 beginning, be sure to catch up under the category HUN Reads!
Michael Sebastian sat down on the edge of the bed. Sleep had eluded him the night before as it had for many nights previous. A photograph of his wife Marion and himself in happier times caught his attention. It was from a recent vacation they had taken to the islands, Marion had insisted they head to Mustique Island in the Caribbean, as a way to rekindle their flagging relationship. The private island boasted of luxury villas, one of which had been gifted to them for their honeymoon destination by Marion’s parents. They had taken the trip as a way to recharge from the rigors of Michael’s campaign which was wearing on their marriage as well as their sanity. In the photo Michael is embracing his beautiful wife, kissing her cheek as she smiles broadly for the camera. Her skin was a flawless mocha color, kissed by the sun making it glow. Her almond shaped eyes sparkled behind the smile crossing her full luscious lips. Michael loved this photo of his wife. He knew that had her passion for politics never caught fire, she’d most likely have become a super-model, her beauty was so remarkable. He often thought how ironically God bestowed his gifts, in Marion he had broken the mold. A woman of unmatched beauty, an unbridled curiosity which translated into a severe intelligence, a biting wit tempered by a salacious charm, such a perfect specimen if not for her vicious heart. Michael loved his wife beyond measure, but was never able to fully trust her motives in returning his love. From Michael’s point of view Marion considered him to be a rehab project. Taking him from the ghetto to the senate, from neighborhood trouble maker to respected Republican leader. Michael had asked her once why she had ever agreed to marry him, what did she see in him, her answer was- “potential”.
Michael had not come from money, a fact that was asserted by Marion or her family every day since she accepted his proposal of marriage. He hadn’t been blind to the differences in their character or their upbringing, it had been a constant battle of wills between them. Michael had never intended to become a Republican senator, or be on the short list as the next presidential candidate. He would have been satisfied just to coach basketball at the local Methodist youth center. But the promise of power, the promise of realizing the potential for greatness he’d always felt was a part of him gave fuel to the fires of passion he felt for his beautiful wife. He just couldn’t resist her charm- no one was immune. So here he sat, with a house bigger than he’d ever imagined owning, a wife more beautiful and intelligent than he deserved, and a secret that could cause him to lose everything.
“Why aren’t you dressed?” Marion asked coming out of the bathroom. She was dressed immaculately in a designer outfit that could have paid three interns on his staff for a year. She was putting on her pearl earrings, the ones her father had given her on her sixteenth birthday, the ones she wore for special occasions. “We have a press conference in two hours and we need to make an appearance at campaign headquarters before that.”
“Why do we do it?” he asked. His tone was a language Marion could read instantly. She knew what argument was about to take place and she breathed a heavy sigh. “Why does any of this matter? Wouldn’t you be just as happy if we were… if it was like it was back in the day? Working at the shelter, really helping people?”
“You mean would I be okay with living on Ramen noodles and Sam’s Club diet soda in that studio apartment with the cockroaches?”
“It’s all just stuff,” he continued, gesturing toward the room filled with designer furnishings. “What good does it do anyone if we aren’t really doing anything for the people?”
“Why do you think we’re not doing anything for the people? We do everything for the people.”
“I sit in an office and pass legislation,” he laughed. “What good does that do?”
“You know what I’m going to say, darling,” she moved toward Michael with an awareness of her body that aroused him. “We have this argument all the time. I’m going to tell you that what you do is important, that every thing you do or say is leading to one thing. And what is that one thing?”
“The presidency,” they repeated in unison.
“That’s the big picture my darling,” she cooed. “Once you get to that office all of this time you think you’re wasting will be for a good reason. You can look back on all of this and know it wasn’t a waste, it was a stepping stone toward your greatness, the greatness you deserve. You know you’ve earned it. You have to keep your eye on the prize. You could go back to the shelter and hand out nasty old blankets to the homeless. Or you could become the most powerful man in the world, and wipe out homelessness.”
Marion sat down on the bed next to him. Michael could feel the heat between their bodies like an emotional desire long left unsatisfied. She kissed his bare shoulder as she nestled her small frame close to his larger one. It never surprised him at how often he thought of his wife’s body, how it seemed to fit perfectly the places of void in his own, like puzzle pieces interlocking. Her perfectly manicured fingernails trailing across his naked back left goosebumps in their wake. Her perfume was a musky blend of scents that always made him forget his next thought. All he could think of was her, the heat of her, the scent of her, the touch of her. He reached a clumsy hand toward her face intending to pull her toward him for a kiss. She instantly pulled away, as she always did in their private moments together. In front of the cameras she was a loving devoted wife, behind the scenes she was cold as ice.
“Not now, honey,” came her automatic excuse. “We have a schedule to keep. You need to get dressed.”
“I can be quick,” he joked as she rose from the bed. He captured her hand and pulled her toward him.
“I’m dressed,” she turned with a stern look of disapproval. “And you know how long it takes to get me this beautiful- you gonna mess up all of my hard work?”
Michael knew it was a losing battle, one he’d lost many times before. “Of course not, I’ll be just a minute.”
Stay tuned for an all new HUN Reads, every Friday!