Chapter 16 : Weakness

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I take an earlier flight back to Boston on Saturday night, leaving my team to enjoy the rest of the weekend in D.C. I meant to surprise Kate but I arrive at an empty hotel suite.

She isn't answering her phone. It takes a short call to the front desk to find out she went out for dinner. From the description they give me of the man who picked her up, I know it's Marcus.

He isn't answering his phone either.

I feel ridiculous ringing up his assistant, although I'm not quite sure why. Ramira Rojas is quite used to me calling her when I'm unable to reach Marcus. I suppose it's because I only do it when I need to speak to him about a work-related matter and I don't have the patience to wait. Hunting him down because he may have run off with my wife is a less dignified reason.

"He's at the Filoksenia, Mr. Marin," Ramira says. "His reservation was at seven-thirty. If he's not answering his phone, I could ring the restaurant for you."

"That won't be necessary, thank you," I reply. After a pause, I add, "How do you spell that?"

"Let me send you the location of the restaurant through text."

Mumbling another thanks, I end the call and head out.



I dismissed my driver after he dropped me off so I take a cab to the restaurant. I wasn't in the mood for a night out and thought Kate and I could have a quiet dinner at the hotel restaurant and tell her about my trip. I made the mistake of assuming she didn't have plans of her own.

It's just dinner, I remind myself for the fifth time as the maître d' led me to a table by the wide windows looking out to a garden.

Kate looks beautiful in the dress I gave her on our wedding night. I feel a pang of guilt. Did she wish I'd taken her out instead of hiding her away at the hotel? But when she laughs at something Marcus says, my irritation erases my guilt.

"A little healthy competition is good for the soul," Marcus is saying as he raises a glass of wine.

"Is that what this is?" I snap.

"Raul!" Kate says, her eyes wide. "I thought you wouldn't be back—"

A waiter is positioning a chair at the table between Kate and Marcus. I grab it by the back and set it in place. Sitting down, I keep my gaze fixed on Kate. "I took an early flight, I thought I'd surprise my wife." I make a point to emphasize the word "wife". While I don't want to make a scene, I want to remind her that we're on our honeymoon — not officially but it was the best we could do with my work schedule — and she has no business gallivanting off to dinner in public with random men. At least without letting me know.

"Oh." Her smile is genuine and takes me by surprise. "That's sweet."

"Look at you," Marcus says, chuckling. He slaps me on the shoulder, a gesture of approval. "Wouldn't have guessed the role of doting husband would come so naturally to you."

I glare at him. "Did you think it was appropriate to take my wife out to dinner while I was out of town?"

He's still grinning as he takes another sip of his drink. "What do you mean?"

A server has set a place for me at the table and is now pouring me a glass of wine. He offers me a menu which I wave off politely. I'm hungry but I'm not in the mood to eat anything. "I mean," I say slowly, "Do you have any idea how this looks to people?"

"Huh?" Kate says, blinking. She glances at Marcus, then back at me, looking puzzled.

"You look like you're on a date." I gesture at her dress. "Is this going to be a regular thing with you, wearing a dress I gave you to go out with other men?"

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