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Lexia drove slowly and tried to focus her mind on the road instead of James and Gianna. The last thing she wanted was to get into an accident and lose another child and that was what she had to think about then. Regardless of how upset she was, she needed to be rational so she pulled up at the side of the road and took a minute to gather herself, glancing at her phone when James called her. She didn’t want to answer it, not knowing what to say to him. She had never ignored a phone call from him before but she couldn’t bring herself to answer it. Besides, if she hadn’t pulled up at the side of the road, she would have been driving and unable to answer it anyway.
After taking another sip of water and talking herself down from her upset and anger she felt okay to drive again so she put the car into drive and started back on her journey home. Her mind was entirely focused on her baby and how she didn’t want any harm to come to him so she was safe, her own upset now coming second to the protectiveness she felt towards their unborn child.
Soon enough Lexia was pulling onto their drive way and she could feel the tension in her shoulders as she let out one long shaky breath. She was terrified about what would happen now. She [i knew] that he had been having an affair with Gianna and what made it worse was he came home to her after being with her and slept with her. She felt used and nauseous again. Her eyes were red from the tears she had spent and she tried to bring herself to move out of the car. She knew what she was feeling now would only multiply when she saw him but she couldn’t sit in her car all night, he would eventually realise she was on the driveway and come out to her.
A hand wiped over her face and she worked up the courage to climb out of the car. [b “Be strong Lexia.”] She told herself as she walked towards the door. He was clearly home and has been cooking, the smell of a home cooked filling her nostrils the moment she walked through the threshold. She was careful to close the door quietly and she remained facing it for a moment, head resting against the door.
Gianna had found an empty bathroom, the waitress counting the bills at the door and telling her that her friend had left after being sick, already paying the bill. She frowned then, cursing to herself and hoping that she hadn’t drove the woman into anything dangerous. She wanted James, but there was really no harm she wanted to Lexia especially after what she had been through with her first child. She was texting James then, not exactly telling the truth but not lying. She let him know that Lexia had left upset.
James had just finished taking the chicken out of the oven, preparing the pasta and vegetables which were simmering in a pan. He looked at his phone which vibrated on the counter, frowning at the message he saw from Gianna.
[I What happened?] He had replied, distracted then and barely managing to get the heat down before the rest of the dinner wasn’t scorched.
[I I didn’t do anything]. Gianna had responded, drunk and not thinking she had gotten into her car, not yet starting the car and trying to sober up.
James was upset then, not wanting or liking the idea of Lexia driving upset. He realized then that she hand even responded to his text, she was usually the type to communicate quickly with him. He wasn’t thinking of Gianna then, hands fumbling to scroll the screen until he found Lexia’s, calling her and hoping he would be able to hear her voice. She had went to a lunch with Gianna and the two had spent hours with each other. What had the woman did to her? What had Gianna said to her? He knew if Lexia knew of the affair it would break her and he didn’t want to lose her. He was not going to let her go without a fight, not with his son. He loved her.
Lexia took another drink from the bottle of water and then she placed it down on the countertop underneath the mirror as she started to root through her bag, pulling out her purse. [b “I can’t stay here.”] She was on the verge of tears, almost ready to break down but she needed to do that somewhere less public. The screen on her phone flashed and she saw his name light it up and the tears filled her eyes, blurring her vision. She closed her eyes for a minute, blinking them back as her hand closed around her purse. She reopened them and dug some money out of her purse and handed it to the waitress who was kindly still waiting with her to check that she was alright. [b “That should be more than enough to cover the meal.”] She had even provided enough to cover Gianna, just so she could get out of there quickly without having to deal with splitting the bill.
[b “Is there another way out of here?”] She didn’t even want to see her. The waitress nodded and indicated for her to follow, letting her out of the fire exit that led straight to the car park. [b “Thank you.”]
[i “Take care of yourself.”] Lexia nodded and almost ran to the car. The moment she closed the door behind her she felt safe enough to fall to pieces and the tears fell freely as she rested her head against the steering wheel. Lexia couldn’t even bring herself to check the text from James. She didn’t know if she could even bear to see him but she had no where else to go. She would have to go home and face him and face that their marriage was potentially over.
Lexia put the key in the engine and started it up, wiping her eyes before heading back towards their home. She didn’t expect him to be home yet, especially since he had been working late so much. Her drive home gave her time to think about what she would say to him but she hadn’t found a way to stop her tears.
James was going crazy, the restaurant a mess to keep up with considering that Gianna, his right hand, had abandoned him. He was dealing with all the responsibilities he had asked of the woman; the shipments, the kitchen staff, and making sure everything was perfect for the mayor when he finally had arrived.
He could barely keep himself together as he was delivering the meals, trying not to slur his words, as he had been drinking to control his nerves. To his surprise, things were going well and he was finally happy and satisfied to find the mayor and his staff disappearing. This meant that he could close the restaurant, as it had already been closed from civilians for the event. He thanked his staff as they were leaving, the day still young and he figured he would surprise Lexia.
He reached into his phone to text her. [I ‘Hey love, hope to see you soon. I’ll have surprise for you.’] He figured that she was still at lunch with Gianna and that would give him time to get things done. He wanted to make sure that Lexia knew he planned to put their past behind them and make their relationship work. James had closed up the restaurant and headed to his car. He was feeling elated, glad to think that while ending things with Gianna was hard, it would prove to be worth it. He had married Lexia, he had made a mistake, and he was going to finish it. He had driven to a nearby jewelry shop, purchasing pieces he knew would be special to her. Lexia wasn’t necessarily the materialistic type, and of course she could make her own, he wanted to show her he cared. James had purchased a bracelet for his son, his and Lexia’s initials engraved in them with love and a necklace for Lexia, the golden plate engraved with the date that they had met.
He had manage to make a few stops before finally getting to the empty home, where he managed to get everything decorated. Rose petals littered the floor toward the dining room, candles a lit, and he had already started in the kitchen to prepare a meal by his own hands for her. He was ecstatic.
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Gianna watched as Lexia had ran off. It had only took her some time at the table before she decided to head for the bathroom to make sure the woman was okay. She had passed the waitress on her way out. “Are you okay? Did you drive here? I can get you a car,” she told the woman. She wondered if she could contact James, at least she would have the chance to see him since that morning. He hadn’t even texted her
With every word Gianna spoke, Lexia was applying the story she spun to James, assuming now that she was talking about him. There were feelings stirring within her that she had tried to push down before. She started to replay the moments she had watched them exchange looks and how she had seen her follow him into his office several times from afar. Lexia even thought about the texts he had been receiving from her and how he blushed and how he concealed his phone from her in a way he never had before. They had trusted each other implicitly before, never really caring about locking phones or keeping it clutched to him at all time, although he blamed the restaurant for that.
He’s having an affair and the woman he was sleeping with was sitting right across from her. While she was clearly intoxicated she didn’t assume that she was making anything up. Lexia had been deluded to think that she could ignore the signs and the distance and regardless of hearing how he had cut things off with her, she was sickened by the fact that he had been sleeping with her and coming home to Lexia. Her face contorted then, remembering the mark on his neck last night and she pushed back from the table when Gianna apologised for unloading this on her. A hand covered her mouth and she ran to the bathroom, unable to stop herself from purging her stomach.
Gianna had just unloaded her problems on the woman whose marriage she had tainted. There was a knock on her cubicle door then.
[i “Everything okay love?”] She recognised the voice of the waitress who has served her, clearly noticing that Lexia has made a quick exit from the table. She heaved and coughed several times before formulating an answer.
[b “Morning sickness.”] It was a lie but a believable one. [b “It’s not just for mornings.”] She wiped at her mouth and rose from the floor as she tried to gather herself to face the waitress who greeted her with a bottle of water. [b “Thank you, that’s very kind of you.”] Her eyes were stinging red and she was trying to hold herself together, not wanting to cry in front of this stranger but it was something she found very difficult.
“Well, when we first started to see each other he spoke of a separation. He wasn’t in his right mind, but he decided to stay with his wife.” James hadn’t known how he could maintain his marriage with Lexia after they had lost their first child. With him spiraling into depression and drinking, he had confessed to Gianna that he would rather leave then put Lexia through the pain of being with him in his darkest hours. They had been arguing too much then. Though, by some strength he had pulled through and while he still had his affair with Gianna, he had decided to stay with Lexia. Lexia ended up getting pregnant again and the chance of a new child, a new beginning made James think things would be better. Now after speaking with Lexia, he had broken up with Gianna and she could not accept it.
Gianna looked at Lexia, how the woman squirmed in her seat, her face clearly expressing she was having trouble keeping down her meal. Everything inside Gianna wanted to tell the woman that sat across from her what her husband did with her every night, every morning, and on certain days even in the afternoon. She wanted to tell her how James had told her he loved her, how she knew every inch of the male’s body. Hell, she had a good bit of It in her mouth earlier. She’d probably break if she let Lexia know the man hadn’t even bothered to use protection with her.
“I’m hoping she’ll have a backbone and will leave him. No one deserves to be cheated on.” It was oddly ironic then, as Gianna would be responsible for breaking up a relationship considering that she was the adulterer along with James. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to unleash this all on you. It’s just, I needed someone to talk to. He ended things with me today, this morning and I just – I don’t think he understands and was pressured into it I feel. You’re right, he has to make a choice.” Gianna sighed and finished the last glass of wine. Both empty bottles mocking her. “I love him, I don’t think I can let him go.”
This whole conversation was putting Lexia on edge. There was something about the way she spoke that made her feel like there was something she didn’t know and since she already had her suspicions about Gianna and James having an affair. She had told herself time and time again that she was imagining things and she had to tell herself that now. Lexia wasn’t stupid, of course she saw the signs, but she hoped that she was wrong because if she wasn’t, her marriage was over and she had no idea what she would do then. James was her life and she couldn’t bear the thought that she wasn’t his when they had promised to always put each other first in their wedding vows.
Lexia was quite a traditional woman in that respect, hoping that James would have remained true to his vows. If he had been having an affair, he didn’t love her and that was something she didn’t want to hear, especially since they had conceived a child together. Lexia was slowly losing her appetite but she poked her fork at her food to at least look like nothing had changed. The slip of the tongue made her feel nauseous. Was she about to tell her that she was having an affair with her husband? No such words left her mouth.
[b “You say that he’s separated from his wife? It’s not like he’s having an affair.”] She tried to remain in the conversation before taking a sip from her drink. She was feeling sick now, but it wasn’t morning sickness. [b “What would you tell his wife? I suppose it depends whether your intention is to hurt her. There are a hundred ways you could do it but you really need to think about [i why] you would tell her. Are you hoping that she won’t rekindle her relationship with him if she knows he has been sleeping with another woman?”]
[I Has he gone back to his wife?] It took everything in Gianna to not answer that in all it’s truthfulness. His wife sat in front of him and based on the conversation they had earlier, it appeared James was done with her completely and only wanted to be with Lexia. She was right that he had to make a choice and a part of her believed that James had chosen Lexia, though she didn’t think that he had made the right choice and maybe only feared Lexia was getting suspicious and didn’t want to get caught.
“I think he’s scared,” she said. “J-“ Gianna closed her mouth tight then, distracting herself with another glass of wine, despite her getting slowly drunk evidently making it hard for her to focus. She hoped that Lexia hadn’t noticed her little slip up. “I think he doesn’t want to hurt her, but he had told me he loves me.” Of course those words were most mentioned during the passionate bits of lovemaking between the couple, but there were times when James would text her how he missed her, how he wanted to be with her. The nights he slept at her apartment and how he cuddled her. It felt like love, like wanting and it was a whole different feeling she experienced with him than when she was with Mark.
“I want to tell his wife,” Gianna said then, the waitress coming over with their meals. She had decided to eat, knowing she would have to sober up before she could even drive home, though this would make for a great excuse to have James come and get her. Maybe then she could convince him of the mistake he was making.
“I just don’t know the right way to go about it,” she admitted, looking up from her food as she watched Lexia. Surely the woman wasn’t an idiot. Whether she knew if it was Gianna or not, there had to have been signs of the male cheating on her. Was she deliberately choosing to ignore it?
Lexia wanted to be a good friend to Gianna, even if they hadn’t spent that much time together since the wedding but she had grown suspicious of her a few weeks ago when she saw how many texts she was sending James in the evening. He had claimed that it was just about work but she could tell my the sheer amount of them and the way he had blushed a few times that it wasn’t about work at all, yet she didn’t question him about it because deep down she didn’t really want to know that James was having an affair because that would break her and right now she couldn’t afford to break when she had to take care of herself and the baby.
Lexia sipped her water and listened to the woman carefully as she poured herself another glass of wine and started to drink it as though it was soda. This was about a man and she couldn’t help but feel a little bit bad for her since Mark hadn’t exactly been good for her before. It seemed that she had chosen someone else with a bit of a complicated background and she wondered whether there was truth in what she was saying. She let Gianna finish talking before she came up with a reply, not wanting to cut the woman off or interrupt her in any way.
Some time during her confession their food was brought over and she had started to eat. [b “Has he gone back to his wife?”] She asked curiously, looking the woman over as she found herself cautious because she had been drinking. [b “I think it’s hard to say what to do honestly Gianna. I don’t believe you can be in love with two people. He’s either in love with his wife and wants to make things work with her or he’s in love with you. Quite frankly it sounds like he needs to make a choice. He can’t have both of you and you are worth so much more than that. Don’t be second best. You need to make it clear to him what he will be losing if he leaves you and if he still chooses her, I promise you he wasn’t worth it in the first place.”]
A baby boy. James hadn’t even bothered to tell her about the child and the gender. She raised her brow at the woman and nodded, rolling the wine around in her mouth as she nodded. “Right,” she said. “That’s so exciting. I’m glad everything is working out.” Gianna smiled as she watched the female with a smile.
“Just good?” she asked her. Gianna had finished the wine before the waitress had returned with their meals. Gianna was trying to think of what to say, not sure if she wanted to admit to the affair she had with the male – James, Lexia’s husband. She could tell her now and have the woman leave him, allowing James to come back to her as he would be alone.
“Everything is fine,” she had said. “Just don’t you know how hard it is with men, so hard to read them and their actions.” Gianna had poured herself another glass of wine.
“The man I was seeing is trying to leave me,” she finally admitted. “He had a wife, they’re separated.” She had lied, not finding it in her heart to give Lexia any clues. James would come back and then, she knew he would feel guilty enough to confess himself. She didn’t want to be responsible for breaking up their home, especially if James didn’t love her as he so claimed.
“I just think he’s too caught up in this woman, I don’t know – I thought he loved me, the way he held me J-John,” she cleared her throat and busied her busy mouth now with food. “He’d said he loved me. What do you think I should do? I don’t want to let him go.”
The moment she had sat down she started to look over the menu whilst also listening to Gianna talk. She could tell that something was a little off before she even admitted that she had been rattled. Lexia frowned a little. While she was still on edge about having lunch with Gianna, she wasn’t an awful human being and she did care about the fact she seemed disheveled. When the waitress came over she offered her a smile in thanks for the olives and started to eat a couple of them. Lexia had already decided what she wanted to eat but Gianna hadn’t even looked at the menu yet so she wasn’t surprised when she sent the waitress away.
[b “It’s going well! Thank you. Aside from the morning sickness and low blood pressure everything else is going well. I suppose I can tell you that we are having a little boy. We decided we didn’t need a gender reveal party.”] She was smiling with her hand over he bump then. It was something that happened naturally now whenever she spoke of their baby, a sign of her growing love for the child. When she looked back up she noticed that Gianna was smirking and her cheeks had turned red, but she didn’t know what had caused it but she didn’t have time to ask before the waitress was returning and she put in her order of carbonara and waited for Gianna to finish ordering.
Lexia wasn’t one to judge but Gianna had almost finished a bottle of wine already and she had just ordered her second. Something was definitely wrong with her. However, before she could ask if she was alright, she was prying into her relationship with James and there was that suspicion surfacing again. She was upset that James would talk to her about their relationship but wouldn’t talk to Lexia about what was going on but she had to remember that they had talked things through last night and things were on the right path. She wasn’t going to give Gianna any indication that something was or had been wrong though.
[b “Things are good, thank you for asking.”] She intentionally kept her reply short and she looked to the bottle of wine as the waitress brought her wine over. [b “Gianna, is everything alright?”]
Gianna felt a pang of jealousy in her chest, watching as Lexia had come their way and damn the woman was glowing from the pregnancy. She eagerly swallowed the glass of wine in it’s entirety, refilling it as she had asked for the bottle to left at the table. She put on a fake smile as the woman had managed to get to their table, puling out her chair to sit opposite of Gianna.
“Hello Lexia,” she said to the woman then. “Glad to be of help, even I needed a day off – was a bit rattled earlier.” It was weird that James would let Gianna have a day off on the busiest day, a day when he needed everyone of his staff, but she wouldn’t admit that it had been James who had caused the woman to be emotional.
The waitress had come over then, placing a bowl of olives in front of the menu. The blonde had grabbed her notepad from the pocket of her apron.
“Are you ladies ready to order or would you prefer a few more moments to look over the menu?”
“We need a minute, thank you.” Gianna smiled up at the woman who had nodded in understanding and walked away. Gianna had reached for her glass, taking a sip. “How’s the pregnancy going?” She inquired as she then grabbed the menu and started to look over. She had been here once with James. He had missed the doctors appointment with Lexia because he had been with her instead enjoying a nice breakfast before he had his way with the woman in his car in the alley next to the restaurant.
Gianna smirked at the memory, cheeks aflame then. The waitress had returned then to take their orders, Gianna ordering a light pasta dish and another bottle of wine. “Are you and James doing better?” She tried to cover her tracks then, “James has expressed to me that he felt like things weren’t the same lately. He seemed a bit distant, sometimes I can barely get a hold of him,” she said.
This restaurant was a nice place and she was actually rather looking forward to fulfilling her appetite here, remembering how good the food was here last time that she had eaten here and her craving for olives hadn’t subsided and she knew that she could get some as an appetiser here. She checked her appearance in the mirror and then climbed out of the car, smoothing down her dress as she started towards the restaurant, her pregnancy bump showing through the maternity dress she had chosen to wear for comfort. When she arrived at the door she was greeted by a friendly waitress.
[b “Hello, I’m meeting a friend here. I don’t know if she is here yet. Gianna?”]
[i “Ah Yes, she arrived not so long ago. I’ll take you to your table.”] Lexia smiled and followed the woman and before she arrived at the table to turned to the waitress.
[b “I know that I am not sat down yet but...could you bring some olives to the table while we wait to order.”]
The waitress chuckled and looked to her stomach. [i “Craving I assume? Not a problem at all, I’ll bring you some over. She’s just over there.”] Lexia thanked her and looked to Gianna, noting that she had already started on the wine.
[b “Gianna!”] She smiled as sat opposite her, letting out a sigh of relief. “Thank you for bringing me to lunch. I think I might have broken my back hunched over my desk otherwise.”] Although she wasn’t exactly too far into her pregnancy, she was already aching all over and she knew that was only going to get worse so she would work as much as she could now while she could stand it.
James had tried to compose himself, knowing that he didn’t have the time to think about Gianna. He had some trust in the woman and figured above all she would remain professional. She wouldn’t let this get between them, they both knew it couldn’t last long. He had been married to Lexia and he loved her, why would he further risk losing her? It was time he became the man he had promised to be for the woman who would soon be the mother of his son. How could he teach a boy to be a man when he couldn’t even practice what he preached?
James had moved form the bathroom then, greeting his staff and getting them to prepare for the lunch the Mayor would be having, a tasting of the meals he planned to serve at the event.
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Gianna had read Lexia’s message through tear filled eyes, a snort befalling her as she replayed James’ words in her mind. He didn’t love her and didn’t want to continue their [I relationship]. She knew it was wrong, knew that James and Lexia were in love and married. He had a child on the way. She knew though that James needed her, a woman who had control not someone so needy and desperate like Lexia.
She started the car then, fixing herself up in the mirror before she began away from the restaurant. She couldn’t bear to be around James right now. It took the whole ride there for Gianna to think of a plan. She didn’t want James to leave her, she couldn’t bear the idea. Maybe if she got Lexia to think he was cheating on her, she could slide in. She wanted to feel the woman out though, get an idea of whether or not she even had any idea her husband was sleeping with another woman every night, of course deciding not to out herself.
Gianna had pulled up to the restaurant, a little Italian place. She got out and booked them a table, not ashamed to order herself a glass of wine. She knew it would disappoint James, but she had no intent on going back to work, so getting a bit wasted wasn’t terribly a bad idea. Maybe he’d learn to miss her when she wasn’t available and she knew whatever he was getting at home was nothing like what he could do for James. Their love making was unmatched, she was sure of it. James loved her, he was just afraid.
Lexia spent some time catching up with her mother on the phone, exchanging stories about morning sickness and random cravings while she told her of the experiences she had when she had been pregnant with her. It was nice catching up with her but she was sad that she hadn’t seen her in such a long time. She had been so caught up with her marriage to James that she had been neglecting her mother but she knew that she would understand.
[i “And how are things with James? Any better?”] She could tell that her mother was fishing for something to hold against James, always being the one to give him a hard time about how Lexia deserved more romance and attention. She wouldn’t give her the bait, especially since she didn’t want to hear her moaning about him when she went to visit next week.
[b “Things are good Mom. He came to the scan with me yesterday and he’s going to come to more of them. We have talked everything through and I really think we are going to make this work.”]
[i “Last time we spoke you said you thought that he was cheating on you.”]
[b “I know but...I was wrong. I shouldn’t have assumed that. He’s just been putting a lot into his restaurant. He has his meeting with the Mayor today and I know he’s been really worried about that so I think once he knows that’s all good he might pull back a little.”]
[i “Hmmm we’ll see.”]
[b “Alright Mom, I need to finish this jewellery and then I’m going to lunch with Gianna.”] Soon after that, she ended the phone conversation and finished some of her pieces before checking the time and sending a text to Gianna.
[i I’m just about to leave. If I get there first I will get us a table. You do the same. Looking forward to catching up with you!]
She grabbed her keys and left the house and climbed in the car and drove to the restaurant. She would be lying if she said that she wasn’t nervous about meeting Gianna. They were friendly with each other but they didn’t have much in common so she wasn’t sure what they would talking about. She pulled up soon after that.
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