People wouldn't say I was the most charming of men.
In fact, I was probably too serious that people around me outside of my family and friends treat me with such deference it actually got frustrating sometimes.
I understood it though and didn't complain because I was Brandon Maxfield, after all.
I had responsibilities—money to make, people to keep employed, projects to do. I had to take things seriously with so much at stake. But even though I was often preoccupied to the point of being unapproachable, I was never as much of a beast as I'd been the last couple of days, since Dad dropped this complicated baggage called Charlotte Samuels on my lap.
Our first meeting didn't go well but I had no plans of backing off. I knew my way around high-stakes negotiations. I often won them. But I have to admit that I've never met quite as wild a creature as Charlotte. It was going to take a different approach but I was by no means skittering away at the first snap of her teeth.
The memory of our heated confrontation at Marlow's yesterday was seared in my brain that if I wasn't muttering sulkily to Simone, I was ignoring her while we had dinner last night at her place. When she finally reached out to touch my hand because I didn't even hear her calling my name, I felt a pang of guilt.
I've known Simone for years and she'd always been a good friend. She was glamorously beautiful and intelligent that it was no hardship when I agreed with her to make what started out as a casual thing between us into an exclusive relationship. It made sense. We had something good going. The sex was pretty good. The companionship was nice. The biggest relief for me out of that arrangement was that we understood where we were with each other. She's a businesswoman with a work life as demanding as mine. She didn't cling or pout when I couldn't call her or make plans for dinner. She's been married before and this was as casual for her as it was for me so there were no ripples. Just smooth-sailing—exactly how I liked my relationships.
So I don't know what came over me when, as we sat there, comfortably chatting away after finally mentally kicking myself at being such surly company, I blurted out the fact that I was getting married.
Her face lost all color and her eyes grew wide as she gaped at me for a while.
I probably should've segued into it more smoothly. I probably would've if I'd even planned on saying it in the first place. But I hadn't planned on it. It hadn't even come up.
For one, Charlotte hasn't even agreed yet. Two, even if she did, I hadn't really thought about what I was going to do with Simone. My marriage was going to be in name only—a mere technicality. Was I even going to give up Simone or the other women who may come into my life in the year I was married?
I wasn't planning on claiming my husbandly rights with Charlotte. It would be crude to demand that when I was paying the girl a fortune. It made it too black and white. That didn't mean though that I haven't entertained the idea. Well, my body entertained it yesterday, before and after I realized who she was, but my brain had to shut it down. It was purely a business deal and mixing in my pleasures would be disaster.
Since Simone looked like she'd gotten the wind knocked out of her, I felt compelled to explain in hopes of taking away some of the sting of my announcement.
But as I explained, she just looked more and more confused that I eventually sighed and told her not to worry about it. That I was going to take care of it. She didn't ask what was to become of us, and I was grateful for that because I didn't have answers. The ingrained principle in me to be faithful to one's wife and the urge to rebel after having been forced into this situation warred inside me and it was giving me a headache and the grumpiest disposition in the world.
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Brandon's Notebook (A TMMM Bonus Material)Romance
If you've read The Mischievous Mrs. Maxfield, you know who Brandon Maxfield is. He's only my readers' favorite book-husband ever. *wink* If you've read his little journal note about the honeymoon and swooned, then you might like this. We've been in...