After Nate left, I sat down on the bed watching Artemis sleep. My heart kept clenching and unclenching as I continued to memorize his beautiful features. God, why couldn't he have been an ugly guy then maybe this wouldn't be so hard.
Tears filled my eyes and spilled over, I knew I was only lying to myself because there was so much more to him than his good looks. The attractive qualities that couldn't be seen were many.
One of my favorites was his calmness. He usually didn't get easily frustrated and I loved that about him. He would be my rock who could keep me grounded when I was about to freak out.
Unfortunately, he couldn't be my rock in this particular situation. More tears came and I sniffled loudly.
Another quality was his intelligence. He seemed to know everything. There was never a time where I asked him something and he didn't know the answer. I didn't know how he did it but he must've cheated somehow.
And lastly, how he made me feel—happy, content and safe. Obviously, I was not close to being happy right now. However, even as my heart was bleeding, I still felt safe with him. Odd, I know but I couldn't explain it as though my gut knew something that my heart and brain didn't.
"Don't cry." He said softly and reached out to wipe a tear away.
"Sorry, I thought you were sleeping." I apologized as I wiped at my face.
"I couldn't sleep with your loud sniffling every few minutes." He teased as his lips curved. His eyes lost their brightness and seemed glossed over due to the alcohol.
"Oh sorry." I sniffled again and that made him chuckle.
My heart skipped and I realized how much I had missed this sound.
I got up to leave and he seized one of my wrists. "Please don't go."
His pleading completely stopped me in my tracks. "It's late." As if that was the real reason why I was leaving. I saw the clock on the nightstand and it said 11:00 p.m.
"Please stay." He begged again. He wasn't the type to beg so I knew it was the alcohol talking. As I was having internal battles with myself on whether I should stay or not, he added. "I need you." That simple statement destroyed my resolve to leave.
I sat back down as he tried to sit up and lean back against the headboard. I stood up as I grabbed the lapel of his suit jacket with one hand and the end sleeve with the other. "Here, let me help you take this off so you'll be more comfortable."
He moved away from the headboard so I could take the jacket off and leaned back again once I was done. I took off his shoes as well.
"My sweet wife." He said tenderly as I sat back down. That comment was supposed to make me happy but it actually made me mad instead.
"Don't call me that!" I said angrily.
"Why?" He asked with the most innocent look like a child who couldn't understand why he couldn't have a cookie before dinner.
"Because..." My tone dripped with frustration as I stood up for the third time.
"Because why?" He asked, completely oblivious.
Ugh. I wanted to punch him.
"Because you hurt me!" My voice rose higher as I glared at him.
"How?" He still had on the same clueless look and was unaffected by my irritation.
Oh my god! Was he for real? He wanted me to spell it out for him to humiliate me further?
"Because you cheated on me, you jerk!" I spat out full of venom.
He visibly flinched at my outburst. "That wasn't me." He answered nonchalantly and smoothly.
Wait. What?! Was he so drunk that he was delusional?
"If that wasn't you then who the hell was it?" I hissed.
"And who the heck is he?" I mocked. "Your long lost twin brother?"
"No. My doppelgänger." He answered easily.
"Your What?!" I was speechless. Even in a drunken state, he still managed to have an answer for every damn question.
"My doppelgänger: someone who looks like me but isn't related to me." He explained indifferently.
Like someone had pressed the slow motion button on a remote, I found myself slowly sat back down on the bed.
"I wanted to tell you but I didn't know how. You were still so angry and I didn't know how much to tell you." He explained stoically as he grabbed one of my hands. His thumb rubbed the top of my hand back and forth as my brain absorbed all the information.
After a while, all I could muster was, "But how?" And then added, "How did you guys meet and why was he here? Why did he...and Samantha..." I couldn't bring myself to finish the question since the pain was still raw.
"We happened to meet at the hospital 3 years ago when I had my appendix taken out. He was there taking care of his mother after a major brain surgery. At that time, he was working 3 jobs taking care of his family. I decided I could use him as my doppelgänger in the future so I offered to pay all the medical expenses. Afterward, I offered him a job as my shadow—to flirt with women and go on dates with them when needed in order to build up my playboy facade.”
His free came up and combed through perfectly neat hair.
“I knew he would come in handy since my greedy paranoid great uncle wouldn’t have let things go easily. As if he was sensing that I had been planning on taking back the company, he had sent a spy to watch my every move. Samantha popped up a year ago trying to get close to me. My investigative team and I found out she was the one sent by my uncle. That old sly fox.”
A smirk appeared on his kissable lips.
“I pretended to be charmed by her but I let Theo do all the major work—taking her out to fancy restaurants and dates, and buying her expensive gifts. I couldn’t stand her let alone let her touch me. However, I couldn’t alert her or else my uncle would send a new spy and we would be back at square one trying to figure out who it was.”
He leaned his head back and closed his eyes as if tired from everything that had happened.
“I would let Theo use my office once a month so Samantha wouldn’t get suspicious. I told Theo to do whatever it took to make her trust him but I didn’t realize you might end up seeing the result of it.”
His head straightened and his eyes were back on mine. His free hand reached out to lightly touch my cheek, like a feather, soft and gentle. “I’m sorry.” He said sorrowfully.
I covered his hand with mine, still processing everything he just said. It was so much to take in. Finally, I whispered, “But he looked just like you and sounded just like you.”
He gave me a half smile and my tummy did a flip. “Well, his hair and eyes are different colors from mine but those are easy to fix—hair dyes and contacts. As for sounding like me, he had to practice over half a year to get that right. He even had to practice his gait so he’d walk like me.”
“Just like identical twins, if you know them well enough, you would know which one is which. But since I barely associate with those women and they mainly know of Theo, things are easy to keep consistent. Also, Theo would inform me everything so I would never be caught of guard.”
“So that’s why you told me that things aren’t what they seem even though usually seeing is believing.” I said thoughtfully as he smiled and nodded approvingly.
“No wonder when I saw them having...uh doing that...” I waved my hands, “in your office, Theo looked confused and scared when I told him I’m your wife.” I sounded like a prude trying to recount the situation.
He let out a low sexy laugh and my insides somersaulted a couple times. “Yeah. He knew he was in trouble.” He pulled me into his arms and held me tightly as my forehead touched his jaw.
“I’m glad you’re drunk or else you would never have told me any of these.” I mumbled into his chest.
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