Bargaining with the Bride(4)

By: Allison Gatta



"Well, some days are better than others." Even he couldn't make his response sound less lame than it was.

"Get your shit and go," she said, crossing back to the door.

"But baby, I'm so sick. I need you," he gave another deplorable excuse for a cough.

"Well thank goodness you have Gretel to care for you. And she's a nurse. I'm sure she could take care of you for a long time with all the money you two have been stealing from me."

"Well, stealing is a little—"

"While you were lying about your illness—"

"More a sin of omission, wouldn't you—"

"Do I look like I'm interested?" She was fighting the urge not to douse the place in gasoline and watch it all go up in flames. She couldn't think about the repercussions. Right now, she only had one mission—and that was getting rid of her almost-lawfully-wedded lowlife once and for all. "Pack up your shit and leave."

She slammed the door behind her, and collected a few pieces of fruit from the kitchen, stuffing them in her purse before she made her way to the door. She wouldn't be here while he packed everything away, asking for help because his hands seized up or whatever else he could come up with to get out of the work.

She opened the door, but a burst of air and loud thunks against the hard wood floor distracted her. The door slammed with the force of Lance's impact as he smashed his body against it.

He could run? What a complete idiot she'd been. What are terrible freaking leech he was.

"Rachie, don't leave me. I don't remember what life is like without you. We're so good together. You and me, baby. College sweethearts. Don't do this." He grabbed her elbows and tried to pull her in for a kiss, but it was awkward and angular. They were too out of practice to start now, even if he hadn't just been caught banging the help.

She stepped from his embrace, her skin crawling where he’d touched her, "Let me remind you what it's like, then. You're going to work. You're going to take care of yourself. And you can screw all the nurses you want, though it probably won't be free of charge anymore."

She pushed past him, not listening to his shouts as she got to her car and then started the engine. The only yell she did catch was, "You were the one who wanted to get married, anyway. I don't need you!" as her car pulled out onto the street.

Maybe he didn't need her. Really, that was good news. The best news she’d gotten in a long time. But the best part, the most important part, was that she didn't need him either.

Sort of…

She thought about her mother, trying her best to frown through the Botox that kept her face so perfectly disinterested. Her father, detailing every call to the wedding vendors while showing her check after voided check for her wedding expenses. All the while, they’d be saying how they should have seen it coming. That flighty Rachael would never actually get married…

Now wasn’t the time to worry about the fall out, now was supposed to be a time for celebration. For freedom. She focused on the road signs, trying her best to push past her self-doubt, and discovered herself driving to work.

Figures.

It was always where she ended up, especially when she'd been forced to sponge bathe Lance or help him with something she now realized he was perfectly capable of doing. It had probably been his idea of a hilarious inside joke. The prick.

She turned into the lot and then parked in her usual spot, thankful that the place had already halfway cleared out for the day. With any luck, she’d be able to throw herself into her latest project and forget that her life was falling to crap around her ears.

After stalking across the lot, through the wide, glass doors, and then riding the elevator, she hustled to her office in the far corner of the top floor. It was a nice spot for someone so new to the company and it didn't hurt that she really believed in the business, either. Organic Chemistry was set to be a game changer for a lot of people—it was the first dating company to use scientific data in conjunction with personality matching in order to help people find love.

She served as the head of research development, examining the data pulled from the head scientist a co-owner and his team of researchers. Working closely with the foundations of what made a relationship work. Sort of ironic, considering her own situation.

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