“I need to mail out the packet–”

Joe let out a sneeze just as Beth finished, “–to Mrs. Sutherland.”

“Yeah, that’s right,” Joe muttered, having caught the last word the temp said.

In the process of asking if she had indeed gotten that one right, Beth changed her mind instead, saying simply, “I’ll work on these then, sir.” After putting the receiver down, she cast a final look at the notes she had scribbed for today’s to-do list.

Damn, Beth thought with a wince. She really had the most horrible handwriting. She couldn’t even tell if she had written Mr. or Mrs., but since Mr. Gilmore had said she got it right…

Mrs. it is, Beth thought as she called for the law firm’s in-house courier.

A guy about her age came up to her desk minutes later, and she handed the packet towards him, saying, “Please make sure Mrs. Sutherland personally gets this. Mr. Gilmore has classified this as urgent.”

“Gotcha.”

And so exactly thirty-four minutes later, a frowning Thomas accompanied the courier to the living room, and Bee ended up with an unexpected packet in her hands.

“Mr. Gilmore says it’s urgent,” the messenger thought to emphasize.

“Um, thank you. I’ll make sure to read it right away.” And so she did, waiting only for her visitor to leave before tearing the brown envelope open. The first thing that fell out was a handwritten letter, and it was addressed to her husband.

I still don’t think this is a good idea, but I’m a man of my word and I take my oath seriously. That’s the only reason why I’m giving you this.

I know Danny might have tricked you into marrying her so, yeah, I can see that’s not the best foundation for a marriage. But it could be worse, you know?

And about the pregnancy…yes, you didn’t get the contract clause wrong. Tabitha Sandler had agreed to be on the pill for at least one month prior to meeting you, and you – or rather Danny – was supposed to be the one to provide those pills.

I managed to track the deliveries, and as it turns out, your boy’s exceptionally good at this whole con thing. The packaging used for the pills was for a well-known contraceptive, but what Tabitha actually ended up taking was just vitamins.

Which means neither of you had protected sex, and that’s how babies are made.

Anyway…I found the loophole you’ve asked for. It’s highlighted in the contract, and you can use it to get out of the marriage without having to worry that Danny might get sued for forgery or fraud.

But if you want my advice – both as your lawyer and as someone who’s known you your whole life – give yourself more time to think things through.

I know she’s nothing like the women you’re known to date, but she isn’t all that bad either, is she?

Let me know if you need anything else.

~ Joe ~

Bee’s fingers shook as she took the rest of the documents out. She flipped through them, reading the lawyer’s comments page after page after page, and it was like having her face slapped, with every issue Mr. Gilmore believed would help Nicholas’ case as he sought out of their marriage.

And the more she read, the number she became until she felt dead inside.

Oh, dear God.

She should have known things were too good to be true, should have known there was no possible way for a man like Nicholas Sutherland to actually want to be her husband. Everything just made more painful sense now. The way Nicholas had looked at her the first time they met, and it was as if he had a strange creature suddenly dropped on his lap. The way he had chosen to go along with the deception, just to ensure that his son wouldn’t be sued for forgery or fraud.

It all sounded more plausible, she thought dully, than insisting that this was all a mistake, and Nicholas really did want her as his wife.

Her phone rang, and a hysterical laugh escaped her when she saw it was Nicholas calling.

How ironic was this, she thought helplessly. She hadn’t heard from him when she wanted to, and now he was calling her, when even the mere thought of hearing his voice was no longer bearable.

Nicholas exhaled his breath in relief when he finally heard his wife pick up the phone. “Tabitha?”

Silence.

Tension seeped into him, and he involuntarily tightened his grip on his phone. “I know you have every reason to be mad,” he said quietly. “But I promise you, I can and will explain everything as soon as I get back. I have Daniel with me now and—”

“Nicholas.”

He stiffened.

“I…know.”

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

“Tabitha—”

“There was some kind of miscommunication. Your lawyer had documents for you, and they ended up addressing it to me. So that’s how I know—”

“Whatever it made you think,” he said fiercely, “it’s wrong. Everything’s changed—”


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