As soon as I slammed the front door, I rested my head back against it, taking deep breaths. I was determined not to break down. I didn't know what to believe, I mean, of course he would say it was the first time. How could I know for sure?
I hated the fact I couldn't trust him, that he had possibly destroyed my ability to trust in any man ever again. When the person you had felt you could rely on with your life betrays you, where do you turn? Was I now destined to remain alone, bitter and cynical because the man I loved had forsaken and deceived me?
His answers and excuses were pitiful and they fed the storm of rage that was swirling in my gut. He had no fucking right to treat me that way. I may not have been perfect, but I didn't deserve to be cheated on. The bastard deserved everything that would come his way.
I roughly shoved his letter in my bag, kind of wishing I'd told him to stick it up his ass, and was about to slip my key under the door, when a better idea came to me. A muchbetter idea. Bitch Bella had appeared on my shoulder, and she fucking ruled.
I took the elevator down to the parking lot beneath the building, checking it was clear. Fortunately the Volvo, covered in a layer of grime from not moving for weeks, was positioned away from CCTV. Not that I cared.
I took the key of my old apartment and with a twisted smile on my face, took immense pleasure in indenting the bodywork, scratching deep all the way along the side of the car. I was like a kid in a candy store once I'd started; I slashed and gouged with all the anger I possessed, carving the words 'CHEATING ASSHOLE' on his precious baby.
If I'd had a baseball bat, I would have smashed the windows, but I made do by taking my kick-ass heels to the bonnet and the lights, then sweetly slipping my key under the wipers.
I was panting and sweating by the time I'd finished, my heart thundering with adrenaline, and it felt so fucking good to take my anger out.
I knew now I could give in and go back to Alice's apartment, crawl into bed and hide, or I could listen to Bitch Bella. For once, the decision was easy. The spirited little devil on my shoulder had a list of errands a mile long, as if she were reading from a 'what-to-do-when-you-catch-your-husband-cheating-o n-you-in-your-own-home' manual. Maybe, after all this mayhem was over, I'd sit down and write one.
My husband and I had three accounts; a joint one from our earnings, my personal one with the money I'd received after my father's passing, and one with some money he'd moved from his trust fund for 'emergencies'.
Naturally, I took out the black card for the latter and headed straight for Fifth Avenue, to Saks where I bought the most beautiful, most expensive Hermès tote I could find, and gave away the Chloe bag I had received for a birthday present from He Who Must Not Be Named to someone passing on the street. It meant nothing to me anymore.
From Tiffany & Co. I got a new pendant to replace the one hebought me, this one a diamond swan to emphasise my maiden name that I would soon reclaim in law. I got a black and white diamond-encrusted skull ring that screamed 'don't fuck with me', and would come in handy if I needed to punch someone, namely by soon to be ex-husband. I even got the top of my ear pierced with a hoop like I'd always wanted, but had been too scared to have done. I wasn't scared anymore; I was a fucking tornado, and anything in my path would be destroyed.
I changed the number on my cell, so he couldn't bother me with texts or calls. I would change my email address as soon as I got back to Alice's as well as my screen saver and desktop background with photos of us as a happy couple.
I called Carlisle to arrange to meet with the lawyers dealing with my breach of contract, and made enquiries about divorce proceedings. I wasn't a doormat; I could talk for myself, and I would fight my own battles. The rational side of me said I being rash in my actions, that I should think about this more, but she soon shut up when Bitch Bella threatened her.
I made a discreet call to my usual Manhattan salon, admittedly using some of the sway I still possessed to get an immediate appointment. Well, that and the fact my attitude was probably quite terrifying. If they were shocked by my reappearance into the world, they didn't show it.
Drinking expensive champagne, I was pampered and preened. My long brown hair that hehad always loved lost three inches, had layers and sweeping side bangs added, and some very subtle highlights and lowlights gave it an extra boost. My nails were painted scarlet with black jewels embellishing them, ready to scratch and claw if need be.
I was on a roll. Getting ready for my last stop of the day, I climbed into a cab feeling like I was flying from the adrenaline rush. When the cab came to a stop outside the skyscraper, I wiped my increasingly sweaty palms on my shorts, and marched through the heavy doors and across to the reception desk, plastering a fake smile on my face.
"Mrs. Cullen," Gianna said, frowning. "How can I help you? I do hope Mr Cullen is okay; we're all very worried about his leave of absence."
I nodded, feigning sympathy. "Yes, I know. My poor husband has been working so hard," I said sweetly, though the words were like poison on my tongue. "I'm just here to get some bits he requires from his office. Is it okay if I go up?"
She hesitated for a split second before smiling back at me. "Of course. Please pass on our regards to Mr Cullen."
"Thank you, Gianna," I said, and headed off up to the elevator. Fortunately there was no one else in there, so I took some deep breaths and composed myself. My heart was thumping in my ears as the numbers above the elevator doors rose higher.
When it pinged and the doors opened, I headed straight for his office, the key of which I fortunately still had on my fob.
I hadn't been to his office many times, but everything looked the same. Our wedding photo was still sitting in pride of place, and I wasn't sure whether that pleased me or not. On one hand, if he had put it face down, it would show signs of premeditation in his adultery. On the other hand, it felt disrespectful that he would keep this here in the place he had obviously been flirting with someone else.
Part of me was kind of expecting a desk swept clean in a moment of passion. After all, they did kiss, and I assumed from his confession earlier that it had been when he was working late. While I was sitting waiting for my husband to come home to the romantic meal I had prepared and a night of hot sexing. I shuddered.
I walked around his desk, noticing the magazine, themagazine lying open, a provocative picture of myself from the FHM Lake Como shoot. So, he'd seen it. I felt a twinge of something, possibly guilt, in my stomach, but I soon buried it. It's not like I'd cheated. Guys may have seen me half naked in photos, but my husband had had his cock in someone else's mouth. I think he wins the prize for the more despicable behaviour.
I tossed the magazine in the bin just as a quiet knock sounded on the door. "Edward?" came a voice I recognised from my nightmares. I turned around and saw the low-life that had stolen my husband, and just the man I was looking for.
I'd hated him from the moment I met him, intuitively knowing what a manipulative bastard he was, with a hard-on for my husband, I might add. But I'd at least tried to be civil. All bets were off now.
His face turned from false unsure anticipation into a cocky smirk. "Well, if it isn't the infamous Miss Swan," he said, coming inside and shutting the door. "I'm happy to see you. Tell me, how is your husband? We're all so worried."
"Cut the bullshit," I said. "You don't give a fuck. You are nothing but a home-wrecking man-whore who just wants to get his dick wet, and you don't care who you hurt in the process!"
Still the cockiness didn't disappear; his smirk grew and he shrugged unrepentantly. "I can't help it if you can't keep your man satisfied. It's a shame you didn't stick around that night; I could have taught you a thing or two. That man of yours is quite the performer."
I felt sick, but my fury was still burning and I was sure the embers were sparking from my eyes. "You saw me," I said slowly. "You knew I was there and you carried on."
He laughed. "Yes, sweetheart, I knew you were there. It only added to the thrill, believe me."
Any second now I'm going to puke, I thought, but he continued, walking to pick the magazine out of the bin.
"Have you seen this?" he asked. "I think it was this magazine spread that was the last straw. He was so upset over the men that would be seeing you like this." He sighed dramatically as he circled me, like a predator with its prey. "And you leaving him behind again... especially on his birthday... it really was easy to get him where I wanted him."
I whirled on him, jabbing my finger in his chest.
"What kind of a man goes after someone else's husband? Are you so useless you can't find someone available? Instead you have to manipulate to get into someone's pants!"
"Oh, honey, it really wasn't that difficult," Riley said, coming forward to whisper in my ear. "What can I say? I like the challenge. Your husband happened to be gorgeous, and he was so upset by your behaviour… I mean, where the hell were you? You were always gone…" He winked.
"You sicken me," I said. "You played on every doubt my husband had!"
He chuckled. "Well, maybe I fed them a little, but he was an easy target. Now it will be even easier."
Molten lava was rolling in my belly, ready to spew out. "Riley?" I whispered.
"Go fuck yourself," I hissed, and kneed him in the balls with all the strength I possessed. He buckled over in pain, gasping for breath as he held his groin.
"And stay the fuck away from my husband!" I yelled. I didn't know why I was defending Edwardbut to know he had fallen for the mind games of this asshole made it impossible to not want to stake my claim, even if I didn't want him anymore.
I turned on my fuck-you-fuck-me heels, and left the bastard writing in pain on the floor.