“Would you like a bottle of water or a soda?” she asked.
I shook my head and wrung my hands together.
“It will be okay.” She smiled again. “Just follow me and we can get started.”
“Sure,” I agreed and followed her into a large office, where she nodded at me to sit down in a chair in front of her desk.
“When we spoke yesterday, you said that you were wanting to file for divorce. Is that right?”
“Yes,” I whispered, and then I looked at the door, wanting to make a run for it.
“Can I ask you why?” she probed.
I looked at her then back at the door. “I think I made a mistake,” I whispered.
“I think a lot of women feel like that,” she muttered.
I started to laugh hysterically until tears were falling down my cheeks. It took a minute to get myself under control, but when I did, I looked at her and found a smile on her face.
“I needed that,” I told her, wiping under my eyes and relaxing into my seat. After that, the rest of the meeting went by quickly, and when I left, I felt like I had not only made the right decision by filing, but that I had done the right thing as far as stopping all the lies.
Tammy had told me that she would get the papers prepared and have Kai served. She’d also explained that, if Kai didn’t agree to sign them, we could proceed without him because I wasn’t requesting any of his assets that had rightfully become half mine when we’d married without a prenup.
I come out of my thoughts when I hear voices coming from Kai’s office. Since he’s been gone, no one has been in this part of the house, so I’m surprised to hear the hushed tones of men speaking behind the closed door. I tiptoe across the hall, careful not to make any noise. I slowly put my ear to the door and my hands around my ear so that I can zero in on the sound.
Weight and warmth press me harder into the door.
“What are we listening for?” is whispered in my ear.
I scream as strong arms wrap around me.
“Easy,” says an all-too-familiar voice, causing my body to instantly react and pain to compress my chest.
“No,” I whisper as Kai’s office door is opened and Pika’s and Aye’s eyes land on me. I tilt my head back, praying I’m wrong—that Kai isn’t home—but my eyes collide with his.
“Let me go,” I whisper, bucking against his hold.
His eyes go soft as he whispers, “Makamae,” tightening his arms around me almost as if he doesn’t want to release me.
“Let me go,” I repeat a little louder this time.
“We must talk,” he says calmly.
“Ha!” I lean my head back and scream at the top of my lungs. “Well, then, if you say we must talk, Kai, by all means, let’s talk.”
“I know you’re upset.”
“No, Kai, I’m not upset.” I franticly shake my head back and forth, knowing I probably look insane.
“If you’ll just listen for a moment, I can explain everything.”
My body stills and I force myself to relax as his hold on me tightens almost painfully. “Okay,” I breathe, wanting to hear what he’s going to say. I so badly want him to make this right, to make me understand so the pain in my chest will go away.
“I needed the people who were trying to harm you to believe we were no longer together.”
My gut twists, and I know that, even if that were the case, even if he was doing it as a way to protect me, no one would have known he’d left me a note. No one would have known he told me that his lawyer would be in touch. No one would have known I cried for hours, alone, in our bed, surrounded by his smell. He could have spoken to me, could have told me what he wanted to do, but he didn’t even give me a choice in the matter. He left me without so much as a “fuck you.”
“You did a good job,” I say snidely.
“You have to understand,” he says quietly, giving my waist a squeeze.
I jerk away and turn to face him. “I understand I told you before that I needed you to be up-front with me about everything.” I accentuate the last word. “I understand that you could have talked to me, but you chose not to. And I also understand that what we had was never real, so the fact that it ended shouldn’t really hurt.” I shove past him and head towards the kitchen.
“Myla, I’m not going anywhere!” he shouts down the hall.
I turn to look at him. Words get stuck in my throat, so without another word, I turn away and head towards the kitchen. There, I grab a glass of water before making my way down to the beach, where I sit staring off into the ocean until a chill fills the air and I’m forced to go inside.
I get out of bed, pulling on a pair of shorts and a hoodie before heading to the kitchen, finally giving up on getting any sleep. I have tossed and turned for the last hour, unable to turn my brain off. I finally decided I would just get up and bake something.
Since I was young, baking has been an escape for me, and I know it’s the one thing I can do right now that will help me clear my head. I make it to the kitchen and turn on the light. Then I pull out all the ingredients I need to make pineapple cupcakes with rum cream frosting. Just as I begin to crack eggs into the bowl, I see movement out of the corner of my eye. My belly does a flip, expecting to see Kai, but instead, my eyes connect with Pika’s.
“I see you,” I tell him, going back to putting the ingredients into the bowl.
“How are you feeling?” he asks, coming to sit on the counter next to me.
I think about his question for a moment then think about the way my stomach felt every time I thought about Kai, and I honestly didn’t know how to answer.
“I don’t know.” I shrug, pull out a baking pan, and fill the holes with cupcake liners.
“I have known Kai for a long time.”
I swallow but don’t look at him.
“I know you don’t want to hear this right now, but he was right in his actions.”
My head lifts and my eyes meet his. “You don’t think he should have told me something? Anything? At least given me some kind of clue he was coming home and we were not over?” I feel the pain in my chest expand. “I’m sorry, but I cannot imagine being with someone, caring about them, and then leaving them without a backward glance…without even a proper goodbye.”
“Myla, think about where he’s coming from. You meet this girl, and out of nowhere, your life changes and she becomes someone worth fighting for, worth protecting. Think about the kind of guy you know him to be, and then tell me he wasn’t doing the right thing.”