Truce and Manipulation

Author’s Note: A bit more of Fi’s story, all leading up to “A Visitor with Good and Bad Timing.

Truce and Manipulation

“Honey. Wow. I—”

“I just came for my things, Richard. I thought the lawyer said that you wouldn’t be here when I did. That was what we arranged, what we agreed on,” Fi said, rolling her eyes. She should have known that he’d do this to her. He was manipulating her. Again. Bastard.

“I’m sorry. The baby doesn’t run on our schedule, just her own.”

Fi winced. He had no idea how much that hurt. She’d always pictured a little girl when she thought about them having one of their own, and he just had to go get that daughter with someone else. She wanted to kill him. “Just tell me when to come back so that you’re not here.”

“We can be civil for a few minutes. I’ve got to change her diaper, so we’ll be well out of your way.”

“No, I don’t want to do this with you here. I don’t want to watch your little show. Maybe you’re a perfect father, but you were a lousy husband, and I cannot forgive you for that.”

“We talked about adoption—”

“That is different. That is a child who needs a parent, a child who doesn’t have a choice or a chance. You went out and made a child with someone else. You not only betrayed me, you ruined an innocent life as well. Did you honestly think that—”

“You’d be a good mother and—”

“Shut up. I’d be a damn fine mother, but you had to go and twist that around, too.”

She heard a wail, and Richard cursed, turning away. He ran over to the couch and picked up the child, and she shook her head. He had to be kidding. He couldn’t carry the baby to the door and answer it? He’d rather leave it unattended? What was wrong with him?

“Here,” she snapped, going over and taking the baby from him, rocking her in her arms. He’d always been so standoffish with her brother’s kids, but if he hadn’t been, maybe he’d be better at this now. Not that he had any business having kids at all. He was too immature for that. She didn’t even know why he wanted children, not anymore.

“You look so natural with her.”

“I hate you, Richard.”

He grimaced, and she thought he’d try and explain again, to apologize and make her see “reason,” but she didn’t want him to start. Their life together was over. She couldn’t go back. She couldn’t trust him. She didn’t know how, not anymore.

She didn’t even want to know.

Richard’s phone rang, and he dragged it out of his pocket, answering it. “Chloe? What? No, I… What do you mean, you have an emergency? The baby’s with me, and you—Fine. I’m on my way. What? No, I don’t have anyone to ask to leave the baby with right now and—you have to be kidding.”

He cursed and hung up. “Um, I know you heard that, so… Here, let me change her so that I can go, and I’ll just—Unless…”


“Would you stay for a few minutes and watch her? She should be about ready for a nap, and so if you put her down in her crib, you can keep the intercom with you and pack what you want to pack. I wouldn’t ask except Chloe is not… stable, to say the least.”

“And yet you had an affair with her and got her pregnant.”

“I did. I made a mistake.”

Fi rolled her eyes. She couldn’t believe she was tempted to agree with him. She didn’t want anything to do with him, and she sure as hell didn’t owe him any favors. “If I do this, you just sign the papers. No more fighting me, no more tricks to try and get me to see things your way. You’re just… done. We’re done.”

“I still love you.”

“I don’t trust you.”

Richard nodded. “Okay, fine. Just stay for now, and we’ll work out the little details when we get back. Deal?”


Next: All the Complications Enter at Once

Back: The Loss of Eight Years

Beginning: The Loss of Eight Years

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