Submitting to the Billionaire(7)

By: Georgia Le Carre


“No, everything that happens to you, happens to us.” My voice sounds louder, more secure. I can already feel my backbone straightening with steely determination to make it right. I’m like my Nan. When bad things happen, I pick myself up, dust myself off, and I’m ready to carry on with the journey. Yes, it’s a setback to my lovely plans, but we’ll work through it. We’ll get professional help for Nigel to beat his addiction. We’ll get back on our feet in time.

“We’ll sell this house. There must be more than enough equity in it by now to cover that debt,” I say.

He drops his eyes guiltily.

“What?”

“There’s no equity in it,” he says quietly.

“How can that be? We’ve had it for five years.”

He looks at me beseechingly. “I remortgaged it.”

“You remortgaged it without telling me?” I gasp.

He drops his eyes again and nods slowly.

“Christ, Nigel.”

“I know. I know. I fucked up.”

I just cannot believe what I am hearing. “What about our savings account? We still have that. Right?”

“No.” His voice is so quiet it is a whisper.

My hand flies up to cover my mouth. “The apartment you bought for me in Spain?”

He screws his eyes shut. “Sold,” he says in an anguished voice.

“How could you sell it? It was in my name?”

“I forged your signature,” he admits, looking ashamed.

I press my palms to my temples. This can’t be happening. Closing my eyes, I take slow breaths through my mouth. When I open my eyes, I will wake up from this nightmare. In, out. In, out. I lift my eyelids. My husband is staring at me with that I’ve-been-a-naughty-little-puppy-but-please-don’t-scold-me-cause-that’s-what-we-puppies-do expression. I feel sick. I should be angry, but I must be too shocked, because I don’t feel anything.

He reaches out a hand and touches mine, and I feel that first flare of boiling rage. He refused to let me work because he said it was his job to take care of his woman, and look what he has done. I snatch my hand away.

“Jesus, Star. Don’t pull away from me.”

“What the hell did you expect from me after you tell me you’ve been living a life of deceit, and you’ve gambled away every last bit of wealth we had?”

“Maybe if I thought you would have reacted differently I would have told you about my problem sooner.”

My eyes widen. “Are you trying to blame me for your gambling habit?” I explode incredulously.

“Of course not, but if you weren’t such a paragon of virtue it might have been easier to confide in you.”

I gasp at the unfair accusation.

“Do you know how difficult it is to confess an addiction to someone as blameless and perfect as you are? You have no vices, no weaknesses, no bad habits at all. You don’t drink, you don’t swear, you don’t smoke, you don’t gamble, you don’t tell lies, fuck, you don’t even watch porn.”

I shake my head in disbelief. “You selfish bastard. How dare you blame me for being a good and loyal wife to you?”

He opens his mouth to argue and I raise my hand. “I don’t want your money. You earned it. You want to blow it all away. Go ahead, but we were supposed to have a baby next year.”

He starts as if he has completely forgotten that we’ve earmarked next year as the time we start our family. As if he doesn’t know that I’ve already began to paint the little bedroom next to ours yellow.

“I gave up my independence because you said I’d want for nothing. You promised we could start a family next year. How could you do this to me?” I shout.

“I’m sorry, Star, I never meant to hurt you.”

“Well, you have, Nigel. You’ve stuck a knife in my heart.”

“Hell, Star. I know I messed up bad, but I’m trying to be straight with you now. You’re right, I was a selfish bastard. You’re too good for me. I know, I don’t deserve you, but please. I don’t want to argue with you. I don’t blame you at all. You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I want to tell you everything. No more lies. No more secrets. Please, Star. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

I try to rein in my growing anger. Instead of recriminations I should be trying to help. We need to talk. To work this out. This is bigger than my hurt or anger. “Okay, let’s talk.”

“You have no idea how fucking sorry I am. I wanted to just end it all last night.”

I take a deep breath. The shock of his words makes me feel almost light-headed. He actually thought about ending it all. Leaving me here to carry on without him. I look at him with new eyes. In a few minutes, my whole world has been turned inside out, everything I believed has been proved to be lies.

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