Shawn and Catherine were on edge a week later, after their extravagant wedding, they slept separately, ignored each other, and rarely spoke except during office hours. Catherine was fine with it; at least she wouldn’t have to hide her situation from him. Thankfully, she had been having mild morning sickness.
Today it was Monday morning and Shawn had been swearing, yelling at his laptop while doing a Zoom meeting online. However, looking at the man who was wearing his favorite white shirt and navy suit… that was a problem. Not because he doesn’t look good in it. He absolutely does. For Catherine, Shawn was the hottest guy in existence, and she was not saying that as his wife. Like, objectively, she didn’t think a better-looking man existed. And he looked good in anything. Swim trunks, which were her favorite, sweats? He totally killed it in those khakis-he was a walking catalogue model. But when this man put on his designer suits, it was dangerous. Seeing him now, with furrowed brows and a furious face, it was clear that he was a force not to be taken for granted.
As it was, Catherine was having a tough time controlling her libido, blaming it on her pregnancy hormones, which was still a secret, by the way, as she groaned at the sight of that wool and silk-blend jacket stretching across his broad shoulders. The crisp white shirt was unfastened at the top to reveal the strong column of his throat.
But the fact that Shawn was wearing his special occasion suit and had arranged for a romantic lunch at the garden later tells her she has probably messed up something. Big time… Yet, of course, it was still ten in the morning, and their lunch would be around twelve, and now, she couldn’t help but think about what the hell his intention was.
Did she forget something? Did she mess up his schedule? Meeting? Planner? What occasion was she missing, d**n it? She didn’t think it was their accidental anniversary either, although that date was trickier to pinpoint because, well, she was trying to forget those dates when they h****d up for the first time, which she didn’t count. After all, they were both so drunk. Granted, they were not that drunk to know what they were doing. Personally, she considered their accidental anniversary the first time she became so naive and stupid, which then her heartaches occurred a few days after Jason’s cheating episode. Either way, neither of those dates were promising.
“Catherine,” he yelled. “Are you listening? I need the Japanese contract now!” Shawn wailed and went back to his meeting. Of course, she scampered around, went to the cabinet, and rampaged through the list of contracts. A minute later, she found it, walked to his area, and slammed it on the table. He raised his brow and stared at her. She ignored him.
“What the hell was that?”
“That is the contract you yelled about.” She answered, which was when she realised it had been nearly two silent minutes of her lost in her thoughts, trying to figure out why they were having dinner. She was so absent-minded lately or her libido was talking.
“Seriously?” His highness just smirked at her. And then, because she was always honest with him, she clasped her hands on the side table and sat in the front chair, mumbling,” What’s with the lunch, Mr. Richmond?”
He pressed a button on the laptop and looked at her, “Well, Mrs. Richmond, what is that all about? Why? Can I have a romantic lunch with my wife?”
“Cut the c**p!”
Amusement flickered in his blue-green eyes. “Okay, how so? I’m just asking for lunch. What’s wrong with that?”
“I don’t know why for!” She wailed and sighed, as if bitten by a thousand giant ants, “I know you well enough. You won’t go into telling Eddie to arrange the garden like you were about to propose, because FYI, we‘ve been married twice already.”
He chuckled. “What is so surprising about that? It’s just lunch, it’s no big deal?”
“No, I mean there in the f*****g garden, decorated with expensive flowers and a table covered with yellow thingy… Those aren’t just for lunch, Shawn! You better tell me now or you are going to eat there alone with your koi fish!”
He smirked and headed to the window, where he watched as Eddie and his team were busy managing the tables and decorating according to his instructions.
Catherine closed her eyes and breathed. She was running out of patience, “Eddie instructed me to meet you there and informed me that it was a special occasion and that I should dress appropriately. And now I’m wearing this dress, and we’re having an argument, and I don’t know why. Is this for the spring bank holiday?”
“Spring bank holiday?” His forehead creased. “Hmp, no but… I mean, I didn’t think about that… but we could start celebrating that if you want.”
Catherine huffed out a hopeless breath. “Are you planning to murder me in the garden?”
“What?!” Shawn widened his eyes and his mouth fell open. “Why on earth… what? Why the f**k would you think that?”
“Well, because I’m running out of ideas and reasons… oh, is it Girly’s birthday?”
“No and why the f**k would I celebrate a cat’s birthday?” Shawn asked and went to his
table to sit and shook his head.
“Well… fine, I’m totally lost here.”
Two hours later.
They were now settled in the garden shed. The poles were covered with an exaggerated display of tulips, daffodils, and carnations that made Catherine gasp at the over-the-top decoration. “Is this necessary? I mean…. I felt like I was about to be buried alive.” Catherine grumbled as she scanned the food on their table. And yes, it felt like it. “This felt like my last meal…” and yet Shawn ignored her never-ending complaints.
The far east side of the garden was bordered by a beech hedgerow that was deeper than her meager self and arms stretched wide. In it nested a community of birds, taking shelter and doubtless finding food there too. Yet that hedge waited until early June to become fully green. “Catherine, can we just enjoy our lunch, please? It’s not for any occasion, but can you relax and stop thinking about morbid things? Look, I got your favorite garlic bread.
He managed to get her favorite things. There was a gross amount of pasta on the table. Well, her hormones say she hates it, though she loved it before getting pregnant. Grilled zucchini and mushrooms over fettuccini alfredo. Penne and spinach-stuffed chicken baked in mozzarella-laden tomato sauce. She was supposed to love all of this stuff, but all she ever wanted was to puke over the smell of tomato and cheese. She heaved as she tried to decide what she wanted to ignore first. Normally she wouldn’t allow herself to think and eat those loads of carbs, but it was different now, “Oh god, the smell… the garlic…” she covered her nose.
“What’s wrong? Do you not like it?”
“Yes, no! I- I C-couldn’t stand the smell… It stinks so bad I want to-” And yes, right there and then, she emptied her stomach in the beautiful garden, and Shawn was stunned, and even Eddie and Lendy unexpectedly halted on their way to deliver more of the food.
“Oh,… Are you OK? What’s wrong? I thought it was your favorite.” Shawn grumbled under his breath and asked Eddie to get some warm water and some extra napkins as he patted Catherine in the back and held her hair.
“Arrgggh! Please take the garlic and everything away… arrrggg!” Catherine said, with another heave. T-the smell.. I can’t handle it.”
Shawn gestures to the servants to take the food as Eddie and Lendy look at each other, and the woman smiles as if she knows the reason behind Catherine’s horror that made Eddie crease his brow. Urgently, the two scampered around and removed the food, and clean the mess.
from the table when Catherine stopped puking and breathing deeply, “Drink this warm water… or would you like some wine?” Shawn offered.
“NO!” Lendy and Catherine answered together and made the two men look at each other. “I – I’m fine now,” Catherine murmured. “Sorry about the mess, Eddie… I’ll help you clean up later.”
“No, worry Catherine. We can handle this… how are you feeling?”
“I’m OK now and”
Shawn stood and yelled, “Is there something wrong with the food?” Shawn exclaimed at Eddie and Lendy as he went to their table and frowned at the butler, “You better tell me now or I swear I-”
“Shawn, stop, it’s my fault… It’s not E-Eddie’s food, they look delicious…. but… I-d-don’t feel too well.” Catherine intervened as she took more napkins and wiped her lips. She hasn’t eaten since the morning, and Shawn said to make sure she has an appetite. Looking at the empty table as her stomach growled, she blushed when Shawn raised a brow? “So what do you want to eat for lunch?”
“Can I have fish and chips? And tuna salad? With lots and lots of lettuce and some ube ice cream and mango juice?”
He gawked, “Are you sure?”
Lendy smiled and winked at Catherine as she blushed.
“You heard the wife… I want it ready ASAP or you risk being devoured by her anaconda who doesn’t stop growling.” Shawn added and sipped his wine.
Did the man just make a joke? Weird.
Ten minutes later, Catherine digs in, piling food on her plate and eating the ice cream at the same time, while Shawn doesn’t follow suit. Instead, he watched her eat until she finally shifted in discomfort. “Why aren’t you eating?”
Shawn just stared at her and watched the almost empty table. “Are you just going to sit there watching me eat? That’s weird you know.”
“What’s weird about it? Besides, it’s not like I can eat all those weird combos you had.”
“It’s different, yes, but it tasted so delicious to me! Pick up your fork and eat something.”
Shawn gestured to Eddie, “Get me something.”
Catherine exclaimed, “Don’t you dare give him that garlic pasta and those tomatoes, or I swear I’m going to skin you alive, Eddie. I’m b****y serious. I don’t want to vomit again.”
They just stared at her as she held the fork like she was about to sword fight Eddie.
“Sir?” Eddie stepped back and looked at Shawn. “You heard her. Give me something else.. fish and chips, perhaps.” Shawn said, albeit rolling his eyes while doing it. A while later, his throat dipped as he swallowed a piece of chip.
“Soooo good, yes?” She uttered through a mouthful of chips. “Try dipping it in my ice cream.”
“No!” Shawn was watching her again, this time with hooded eyes.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Except she knows exactly why. Because, maybe, or yes, her mouth was full, and he was entirely picturing her giving him head.
“I’m picturing you giving me a b*****b,” he grumbled when Lendy and Eddie left.
Catherine almost choked on her food from laughter. “Seriously? Is that all you can think of?
“It’s not like you didn’t enjoy it,” Shawn answered, and she blushed.
“I’m just kidding,”
“I know,” she replied, with another spoonful of ice cream. “You don’t have to try to make me feel better about ah- earlier, though. I already told you I’m not sick… I just don’t feel well lately.” “Oh. Yeah. Of course. Are you OK now?”
“Yes, now that I like what I eat.”
“Good.” He halted for about a minute, which made her grow conscious as he looked at her lips?
“What? Did I have something in my face?”
“No, but I’m about to talk about some changes in our contract. I have another proposition…
Where on earth was he going with this? Catherine thought to herself.
Shawn took a small sip of his wine, then wiped his mouth with a linen napkin that probably cost more than half the furniture in his brother’s apartment. It always feels so surreal when she comes to this multimillion-dollar mansion, not to mention that it has an honest-to-God skating rink on the grounds, and more than one pool, aside from the enormous, beautiful garden and lake behind the house, it was a place to die for.
But unease crawled up her spine as she studied Shawn’s face. He was acting odd again.
She would rather like it when he acts like the boss she was used to rather than being this weird.
One of his pale big hands moved from the table to rest at the top of his abdomen as if he was about to slide it down to his pocket and
Oh no. Wait! Not again… How many f*****g weddings does this man have on his bucket f*****g list?
He was not actually going to… right? When he reached into his pocket, she realized, Oh yes, he was. Suddenly, it all clicked in her brain. Fancy lunch in the f*****g garden, with all of her favorite dishes from her favorite spots in the garden. In their fancy dress attire. Shawn’s hand was about to emerge from his pocket when she stopped him with a sharp, “Don’t you f*****g dare.”
He freezes. “Dare what?”
“Is this a fake proposal again?” she demanded.
The sheepish gleam in his eyes was all the confirmation she needed.
“Seriously, Shawn?” It was a warning.
“Why are you doing this? And today of all days?” She asked.
Confusion clouds his face. “Why? because it’s a spring bank holiday? Hell, I didn’t realize you cared so much about-”
Catherine sighed, “I don’t care about that! I care that we’ve had a bunch of conversations about this subject. No more b****y contracts. We talked about it, Mr. Richmond.” Frustration stuck to her throat, making it difficult to speak. Along with it comes a burn of irritation that she knows she probably shouldn’t feel, but… seriously? Had he not listened to a word she said during all those conversations? She told him she wouldn’t accept any compromise again “What the hell are you thinking, Catherine?” Shawn asked and removed a paper from his pocket.
“What is that? Another contract?”.
“Shawn, as I told you, I don’t like any more b****y contract from you. I’m sick of it!”
“Listen, Catherine, this marriage… we both know this was just… well, marriage in papers, right?”
Ouch! Somebody help her. Someone just stabbed her heart with a f*****g sword and cut it down to a million pieces’ again. She just wanted to melt there and sob her heart out. Nevertheless, it never showed on her face.
Shawn saw only irritation in her eyes that made him disappointed. Was he expecting something there?
“I want a child.” he said instead, which made Catherine’s jaw drop.