"Could you hand me some more of the fried rice?"
"Of course," Derek replied, grinning.
The two of us were sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, eating Chinese takeout for dinner after a busy day at work. Thankfully, tomorrow was the weekend.
The months had flown by and already, it was September. Last Friday, Charlotte had thrown me the biggest surprise baby shower at her place. She'd ordered a three-tiered cake and splurged on the favors and decorations.
You'd think I was the duchess of Cambridge or something.
In just a couple of weeks, Derek and I would welcome our child to the world. Neither of us could contain our excitement. He'd been trying his best to go to as many doctor's appointments as possible, and on some nights, he'd even read aloud to Derek Jr. so that he could grow to be "smart like his mama."
During his free time, which was very rare, Derek browsed through parenting guidebooks, and back in August, he'd even started designing the baby nursery. We easily could've hired someone to do it for us, but it just wouldn't feel right.
So far, we'd decided on an animal theme and had the walls painted light green with jungle canvases as decor. Now, all we needed was the furniture.
"You sure you can still go to work?", Derek asked, taking a bite of his egg roll. His eyes were trained on my huge belly.
"Yup. At this rate, I'm probably gonna work until my delivery date. He's a good boy and hasn't caused me any trouble." I smiled.
"That's good to hear."
"Definitely. Wanna see what our fortune cookies say?"
Derek dug in the bag and pulled out two, handing one to me. He stretched out his long legs and began to open the wrapper. It'd been a while since we were able to just relax like this. Back in July, my hours at the office had become permanently extended, and Paul Williams- my boss- said that he was paving the way for a future promotion.
Of course, it'd have to be upon my return from maternity leave. I wanted to care for Derek Jr. myself during his first eighteen months, and then we could send him to a daycare after that.
"Hmm, this is interesting," Derek remarked as he stared at the white slip of paper in his hand. "Here, read it."
I swallowed my food then looked at his fortune.
"In your lifetime, you will have loved and lost."
"That doesn't sound very exciting, does it?" He frowned slightly.
"No. But who even believes these things? If anything, your fortune should've been meant for me."
Derek was silent, but he knew I was referring to how I'd lost my dad and Nick. Curious as to what my own fortune said, I opened my wrapper then cracked the cookie in half, pulling out the strip of paper.
"Life is too short to be anything but happy," I read out loud.
He made a deflated sound.
"Seriously? That wasn't even a fortune. God knows how many times I've heard that line before." I said.
"Right? This company obviously needs new quotes."
I nodded my head in agreement then eyed the untouched cheese wonton on Derek's plate. My mouth was practically drooling, and I'd already had four.
"Are you gonna eat that wonton?"
"Let me guess, you want it?"
He smiled then picked the wonton up with his chopsticks, holding it to my mouth, and I opened wide, moaning in delight as the crispy, creamy goodness hit my tongue.
"You sure love these."
Soon, we were both finished with dinner, and after throwing everything away, we watched a movie together on the couch with a blanket wrapped around us.
Halfway through, our baby decided to make his presence known and began kicking inside my stomach. Beaming with excitement, I tugged on Derek's arm to get his attention.
"What's wrong?", he asked.
"The baby's moving! Wanna feel it?"
His eyes lit up in amusement, and he slipped a hand underneath my tank top. Unfortunately, that was when the baby decided to stop kicking.
"I don't feel anything." He knitted his brows in confusion.
"Maybe I should lie down on my back."
"Oh, yeah, I read something about that. It should make the baby kick."
Derek scooted towards the end of the couch, and I lay down with my head resting on the pillow. He lifted up my top and put his ear on my belly.
"Hey little guy, Daddy knows you're in there."
I couldn't help but laugh. Derek was honestly just so adorable. To my surprise, he began to blow a raspberry on my stomach, and I wriggled on the couch, giggling.
He grinned at me and suddenly, I felt a kick in my belly. Bolting upright, my eyes widened in fascination at the sight of Derek Jr.'s foot pushing the fabric of my tank top up.
"Did you see that?", I asked.
"Yup. He's probably getting restless in there."
"I can't wait til the day he's born."
Derek hovered over my body, pressing a kiss to my forehead.
"I love you, sweetheart," he murmured.
"I love you, too."
For the remainder of the night, we finished our movie while playing with the baby, and then I fell asleep in his arms on the couch.
Just when I thought Derek was done with making random trips to unknown places, I came home Sunday after having brunch with Charlotte to find an empty space in the garage where his car was normally parked.
It'd been going on for the past several months now. Once every couple of weeks, he'd leave the house without telling me, and whenever I asked him where he'd gone, I always got the same responses. Either he had to "pick up things for the baby nursery" or "meet up with business partners".
But the weird thing was, he'd often come home empty-handed after saying that he had to go "pick up things".
Sometime this week, I planned to get to the bottom of this. I had a right to know whatever was going on in his life. If he was having issues with his job, we could work through them together, but I highly doubted that was the case, though.
...What if he was secretly seeing someone?
As soon as the thought popped into my head, I mentally scolded myself. Derek wasn't a cheater, and we'd been through too much for him to just toss our marriage to the side.
However, there was a woman I recently met at my in-law's annual charity golf event who seemed to take an extreme interest in Derek. Her name was Tanya, and the way she'd flirted with him and touched his arm made me think of Ashley. In fact, they both even had the same dirty-blonde hair.
Then the worst possible conclusion came to mind- Derek was still seeing his ex after all these months.
They might not work in the same building anymore, but that couldn't prevent them from getting together. I knew Ashley, and she wasn't one to give up easily. Her ultimate goal in life was to be with my husband, and god knows what she'd do to make that happen. Just thinking about her made my blood boil with rage.
I only prayed that Derek hadn't seen her since the day he'd fired her. But even if he did, he wouldn't succumb to her acts. I knew from the bottom of my heart that he was a faithful man.
The sooner I could clear all of these suspicions out of my head, the better.
On Friday morning, I sat in my office at work, analyzing Wells Fargo's monthly financial reports when my cell phone rang. I debated answering it since I was busy, but as soon as I saw Derek's name, I picked up.
"Hey, sweetheart. Do you have any plans for lunch?", he asked in a leisurely tone.
"Not really. I was just planning on maybe grabbing a sandwich from the deli next door."
"Well, then you should come eat with me."
He laughed softly.
"A guy can't have lunch with his wife on the weekdays?"
I scrunched my nose.
"No. It's just that I've never had lunch at your office before."
"True. But hey, there's a first for everything. I'm having some Italian food delivered here at noon. Sound ok?"
"Italian? God, now you have me drooling."
He laughed and then after saying a few more words, we both hung up.
I worked for a couple more hours, writing up recommendations for the company's stock based on current trends and updating spreadsheet data. It was tedious, but I was used to it.
When noon came, I grabbed my coat and purse then drove the short distance to Derek's building since I didn't feel like walking in my heels.
After parking my car, I took the elevator up to his floor and just like the last time I was here, his secretary directed me to his office. Only this time, there was no Ashley in there with him.
"You made it." He stood up from his chair, striding towards me.
"Yup." I smiled and let out a tiny squeal when I felt his arms lock around me in a tight embrace, momentarily lifting me off the ground.
"Dang, you're getting heavy now."
"Blame your son." I playfully punched his shoulder, and he smirked.
We went to sit down at his desk, and I made myself comfortable, slipping off my heels and coat. There was a plate of seafood linguini for me and lasagna for him.
"How's your day going?", he asked.
"Fine. It got better, though, as soon as I saw your face."
"I could say the same about you."
He smiled, and I couldn't help but admire how completely edible he looked in his gray dress shirt. The sleeves were rolled up, revealing his tan, sinewy forearms, and his tie was loosened at the collar. I suddenly had the urge to jump him but decided against it. We could reserve that stuff for later tonight, not here in a professional work setting.
Besides, my giant belly would knock him unconscious.
I was about to ask him if he had any upcoming business trips when his phone began to ring. He grabbed it out of his pocket, and a strange look crossed his face as he glanced at the screen.
"Excuse me, sweetheart," he said, getting up. I shrugged then continued eating my pasta.
He went to stand at the opposite end of his office next to the windows, and the first thing I heard him say was, "Hey, are you alright?"
The rest of the conversation was inaudible because he'd lowered his voice. I hated eavesdropping, but something in my gut was telling me that Derek was involved in some kind of trouble. I made a mental note to talk to him about it tonight.
"I'll go see you after work," he spoke into the phone before hanging up.
"Is something wrong?", I asked.
"Everything's fine, babe." His expression was unreadable.
He could go wherever he needed to after work. But tonight, I was expecting answers.
When we finished eating, I went back to my office, feeling more unsettled than ever. It dawned on me that Derek might not even be truthful if I asked him what he'd been up to these past months.
There was only one way to find out.
I was going to sit in my car after work and wait for him to leave his building.
Then I'd follow him.
As his wife, I'd been nothing but honest with him, but if he wasn't going to share anything with me, I had no other choice. Besides, this feeling of not knowing was eating me alive.
At six, I was parked across the street from Derek's building, and about an hour later, I finally saw him step outside.
As soon as his Range Rover emerged from the parking ramp, I began to follow it, making sure there was always at least one car in between us, so he wouldn't see me.
We entered the freeway, and I weaved through traffic until I was able to spot his car again. Fifteen minutes later, we took the exit for Del Mar, entering a nice, upscale neighborhood by the beach.
Who could he possibly be visiting?
At the end of the street, he finally stopped and parked in the driveway of the house on the left. It was medium-sized but had really nice landscaping.
He got out, briefly glancing over his shoulder, then strode up to the front door. Meanwhile, I was parked on the other side of the road across from the neighbor's house. That way, I'd be able to get a clear view of him without worrying about being caught.
I watched him ring the doorbell, and immediately, my palms grew sweaty with anticipation as the door slowly opened...
Revealing none other than Ashley Lawrence.
A shocked gasp escaped my lungs, and instantly, it became hard to breathe. I was gripping the steering wheel so tightly that my knuckles were starting to turn white.
Just when I thought my heart couldn't possibly bleed anymore than it already was, Derek wrapped his arms around her, and they hugged.
"I should've known...," I muttered in utter disgust as I took one last look at the man who'd betrayed me.
Betrayed our son.
I wanted to cry, shout, and punch the steering wheel, but my body just felt so...numb. All I knew was that I needed to drive home immediately and pack my things to leave.
This time, however, I wasn't coming back.
A/N- Sorry for the cliffhanger guys, but hey, I bet some of you were expecting Ashley to make a reappearance. Any ideas as to what's going on between her and Derek? On a different note, my senior prom is tonight and I'm super excited! I don't know when I'll be able to update again since AP tests are coming up, but until then, like and comment!