So here it is, Chapter 5.
“You have a lovely house,” Ethan called out, admiring the neatness of the living room while he waited for Samantha to bring out her art. She had great taste. Nothing looked gaudy or overdone.
The room was decorated in soft hues of blue and cream, with the walls virtually bare but for one print in watercolors in swirling shades. It was interesting, and as he moved closer, he noticed her name at the bottom. An interesting piece. Not his style, but interesting in any case.
Like the walls, the rest of the room was sparse as well. One sofa, in black, and a matching chair. A single TV stood in the corner, a stereo unit at its left. The woman loved plants apparently, several stood regally by the large bow window facing the south.
“I like it, its home,” Sam responded as she entered the room, holding a sculpture in her arms. “Here we go.” She set it on the coffee table, gently. “This one I’ve been trying to sell. So far no luck. I call it simply, Mother.”
It was a tall sculpture in wood of a naked woman with long flowing hair, a small child on her lap, suckling at her bare breast. The whole statue was coated in bronze. It was incredible and it amazed him that she hadn’t sold it yet.
“Nothing wrong with simplicity,” Ethan added, admiring the piece. It was done elegantly, not trashy. He lifted the statue and was a bit surprised at its weight. “Very nice, Samantha. Very nice indeed.”
She beamed. “You’re just saying that to get me into bed.”
“If I wanted to get you in bed, Samantha, we would be there already,” he said simply.
Those words packed one hell of a punch and had her pulse racing. “Then what are you waiting for?”
He set the statue down very carefully and walked toward her. “Is that why you invited me back here, to get me to take you to bed?”
“It was a thought.”
He took hold of her hands and regretted that he couldn’t follow through with what they both obviously wanted. “I really do like your art, Samantha.”
“I’m glad.” She moved to him, seductively.
“I would like to buy this piece, the statue of the Mother.” He wanted her like he hadn’t wanted in a very long time, and regretted that he couldn’t have her. He wasn’t the type of man to sleep with a woman on the first date, not to mention it would be unwise, being separated from his wife for only a month.
“Okay,” she sighed, breathlessly.
“How much?” She smelled so damn good.
“Huh?” She looked up at him with baffled confusion.
“The statue, how much are you asking for it?” He shouldn’t have gotten this close to her, now he wanted her so badly he ached.
Confused, she tilted her head. “I…uh… I don’t know.”
He could tell her mind wasn't on her work. Frankly, it was taking all his will to keep his mind off of having sex with her. “Then how does five thousand sound?” He pulled away now, knowing if he didn’t he would forever regret his actions, and yet, regretting all the same for having pulled away.
She shook her head. “Ethan —”
“Fine, ten, but that’s my final offer.” He wanted her, but until that was possible, he’d have to settle for something she’d created with her own hands.
“Great. Good.” She stepped toward him, he moved away.
It was killing him to push her away, but to jump into a relationship right now would be foolish of him and there was no way he was bedding this exquisite woman then not see her again. That was not his style. “Wonderful,” Taking his checkbook from the breast pocket of his jacket, he began to write out the amount. “Now I have a Dowling original.” He held the check out to her with a smile. “I will treasure it always.”
She took the check, her face perplexed. “Thanks.”
“I enjoyed myself this evening, Samantha.” Tucking the checkbook back in his jacket, he headed to the front door.
“That’s it, you’re leaving?”
“I’m afraid so.”
She blinked several times before responding. “Okay, what the hell was all this about? Why did you take me to dinner, agree to come back here after if you didn’t have any intention of taking me to bed.”
He never should have and he knew that now. But part of him was curious to know if he could do it, date. He wanted reassurance that he was still a temptation to women. “I was curious,” he admitted and regretted it instantly when her eyes went wide.
“Curious? Oh…wait…I get it.”
“What I meant was—”
“This was a test. To prove to yourself that you don’t love your wife. Well, I guess I know the answer.”
“No, oh God no, Samantha! That was never—”
“You jerk,” Sam spat out at him venomously. “Go to hell, Ethan.” Opening the door, she shoved him out. “And don’t come back.” The door slammed in his face, and he stood there for a moment, just staring. He’d led her on, had wanted her from the moment he’d seen her and now he was chickening out.
He’d done his best to ignore his cell phone vibrating during dinner. But now that he’d left Samantha’s—and he was feeling mighty low for what he did—Ethan checked who’d been calling him so urgently.
His mouth tightened when he saw the number.
Checking his messages, he listened to the multiple calls from his soon to be ex-wife, demanding he show up at the house immediately.
Ethan tucked the phone away in the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled away from Samantha’s house. He had no idea what was so urgent that Gwen needed to see him now, but if he wanted to get her off his back, he had to see her to find out.
Pulling up to the house he’d grown up in and had reluctantly given up when he’d walked out on his wife weeks ago, was not easy. He hadn’t wanted to put up a fight to get it back and decided to just let his lawyers deal with it.
Maybe that was why she was calling him to the house now. Had she received the papers from his lawyer instructing her to vacate the premises?
Parking in front of the steps that lead to the grand house, Ethan climbed from his car and casually walked to the front door of his home. He didn’t bother to ring the bell but entered instead.
He found Gwen pacing the sitting room floor like a woman possessed.
“You rang?” he said with a snarl in his voice. She spun on him, her blonde hair flying, her blue eyes narrowed. She was a beauty, and it had been fatal. For him. Her looks had drawn him in, and he’d ignored his friend’s advice to not marry her.
He wished now he would have listened.
“Apparently you’ve forgotten how to ring a doorbell?” she snapped in a voice so ripe with contempt he was surprised she didn’t spew flames.
“It’s my house,” he justified calmly.
“On that note. I received this today?” She snatched the letter from the coffee table and waved it in his face. “What is the meaning of this?”
“I assume that’s the letter from my lawyer stating that you are to pack up and leave?”
Balling her hands at her sides, she shifted her right hip, bending her knee in a very elegant yet arrogant pose. “You know damn well it is. This is my house and I refuse to leave it.”
He sighed, slipping his hands in his pants pockets. Why did she have to make this so ugly? “Then I guess you’ll be hauled out by the cops.”
“The hell I will.” She threw the papers at him then picked up the file from the coffee table. “You leave me no choice, Ethan, but to use this.”
She slapped the file against his chest. Taking it, he looked down at it before opening it. “What on earth is this?”
“Copies of files taken from your accounting books. The one you had hidden in your desk drawer in your office here in the house.”
Ethan looked down at the papers before him, numbers and words that he didn’t recognize and was completely baffled. “I’ve never seen these before in my life.” He closed it up and held it out to her.
A devious smile slid onto her face. “Is it any wonder no one suspected you of taking money from your own company. You truly are a good liar.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Gwen?”
“Those, dear hubby, are copies of the records you’ve been hiding, indicating you of embezzling money from your own company accounts.”
The burst of laughter that slipped from his mouth made her jump. “You can’t be serious?”
“And if you don’t want them made public, you will call off your lawyer and give me every penny of the money I have asked for without dispute.”
“The hell I will. This is insane, Gwen. I don’t know what you think you’re trying to pull with this…farce, but no one will believe one word of this trash.”
“I’m betting they will. Perhaps you would like to take that file home and give it a good thorough look. You’ll see inside there a great deal of proof as to my accusations, and I have more.” She stepped right up to his face as she spoke. “You want a fight, dear hubby, then a fight it is.”
“Why are you doing this? It wasn't I who cheated on you. You’re the one who broke up this marriage with your infidelity.”
She stepped back, looking down at her nails casually. “I had to find satisfaction somewhere.” Her eyes lifted to his. “I wasn’t getting it from you.”
He was tired of hearing her say that to him. “I’d suggest you start packing your bags, Gwen. You don’t have much time left before I boot you out of my home.” Turning on his heels, file in hand, he marched out of the house, slamming the door in his wake.