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The Private Serials Box Set

By:Anie Michaels

Part One



Chapter One


That was the noise which brought me out of my fuzzy, morning fog.  Putting my coffee mug down, I looked at the granite countertop to see  the envelope that had just been tossed there. I looked around to see if  he was anywhere near me still, but all I caught was his back as he  walked out of the front door. I sighed and glanced at the rectangle  staring back up at me. My name was scrawled across the front, hastily  written, slanted and sloppy.


I was hoping we could just ignore the significance of this day. Hoping  we could just continue to live in comfortable silence and not draw any  more attention to the marriage that was so completely and utterly  failing.

Every day I woke up wondering which emotion would rule me. Would I be  sad? Sad that the man I'd once loved was more like a roommate than a  partner? Would I be angry? Angry he'd physically and emotionally  abandoned me, both of which he'd vowed never to do? Would this be the  day I was happy? Happy that I wasn't tied emotionally any longer to a  man who obviously couldn't fulfill his obligations as my husband? Most  days I managed to make the rounds and visit every emotion humanly  possible, slowly fading from one to the next.

Today, unusually, I was filled with sorrow. Reminded by the greeting  card sitting on my counter, today I grieved the loss of my marriage. For  seven years we'd been married, and if I was really being honest with  myself, we'd only been happy for about two of those.

I picked up the envelope and slid my finger beneath the lip, trying to  open it without tearing the paper. I pulled the card out and read the  sentiments pre-printed inside. None of the words meant anything to me;  didn't evoke any emotion, because they were empty. He bought this card  because he thought he had to. He hadn't even written anything on the  inside. No personal note, no words to make me believe or hope that  perhaps there was still something of our marriage to salvage. Nothing. I  put the card down and exhaled slowly.

Seven years ago I married my college boyfriend and I remembered being  replete with love and excitement. I met Derrek during my sophomore year  at a frat party. I hadn't been a part of the Greek system and felt  overwhelmingly out of place, having been dragged there by my roommate,  Samantha. I stood in the corner of the room, holding up a wall, slowly  sipping on some sugary, fruity drink in a red cup.

While I looked around the room, trying not to seem as uncomfortable as I  felt, I noticed a guy staring at me. Our gazes locked and I was  immediately stunned by the deep blue of his eyes. Being caught off guard  by their beauty, I hadn't noticed them coming closer, or who they  belonged to. When they were suddenly right in front of me, returning my  gaze, I was forced to acknowledge the person they were attached to. Not  surprisingly, the most beautiful eyes I'd ever seen belonged to the most  beautiful man I had ever encountered. How convenient.

He was smiling, his full lips sliding over his white teeth, as he leaned against the wall next to me.

"I've never seen you here before," he said, still smiling. His voice was  deep and playful. Nothing about him was off-putting. Everything about  him screamed perfection. That should have been my first indication to  run the other way. Instead, I leaned in a little closer.

"That's probably because I've never been here before," I answered,  talking loudly to be heard over the music and other party noises.

"Well, welcome then."


He reached his hand out to me. "My name's Derrek. It's nice to meet you."

"Lena," I said, taking his hand. His grip was firm, but not  overpowering. He held on to my hand longer than necessary, his smile  never wavering as he slowly shook it. When he finally dropped my hand,  it had immediately felt colder and a little empty.

He spent the rest of the evening chatting with me. He was very  attentive, never paying attention to any other girls, only saying a few  words to his friends who occasionally passed by. He seemed to be fully  interested in spending the night talking to me, which was more  flattering than I ever expected. At one point, the music and laughter in  the house made it difficult to hear each other, so he'd asked if I  wanted to go for a walk. My stomach fluttered at the thought of spending  time with him completely alone, but something about him, which I  couldn't exactly pinpoint, made me comfortable.

"Let me go and tell my friend I'm leaving," I said, smiling at the thought of going with him.

"Great. I'll meet you out front when you're ready."

Samantha had given me the obligatory best friend lecture about going for  walks in the dark with strangers, and she'd been right; I was about to  break every rule we college girls had been warned against. But I had a  cell phone with a good battery charge and I also had pepper spray on my  keychain. I was confident I would be fine.

And it turned out that I would be fine  –  for a while.

We walked around campus all night, continuing our conversation from the  party and talking about so much more. By the time the sun came up, we  were holding hands and strolling toward my dorm. We walked up the  concrete stairs and stopped by the door. Both of us made some comment  about how much fun we'd had, and I thought my heart would melt when he  leaned in and kissed my cheek.

After that night we were inseparable. We found ourselves in an instant  relationship. It had seemed so natural, and everything about it was  perfect. We had similar backgrounds and our lives almost seemed to  mirror each other's.

Both of our fathers had started their businesses from the ground up, and  both had become immensely successful CEOs, so both Derrek and I were  familiar with the lifestyle of the upper class. We'd played different  roles, but they complemented each other. Derrek was being groomed to one  day take over his father's role in the company, while I was expected be  a wife to someone just like him. I hadn't planned on becoming someone's  arm candy  –  I would have my own life and my own career  –  but I was  expected to make a good match for someone important one day. My parents  would not have been happy if I had married a starving artist. I was  expected to marry someone who would fit nicely into the life my parents  had made for me, and honestly, up until a few years after I was married,  I had no problem with that notion.

But there I was, seven years into my marriage, and I was anything but happy.

I pulled myself out of the memory of meeting Derrek and slowly walked to  the garbage, dropping the anniversary card on top of all the other  trash inside. I didn't understand why he'd given it to me, other than  perhaps he was trying to stave off an argument. But we hadn't argued in  forever. To argue, one had to communicate, even if it was angry, loud,  harsh communication. The most we said to each other over the past few  weeks had been stilted, forced conversations pertaining to upholding our  appearances. We still went to functions together, still played the part  of a happily married couple, but when we came home, we separated.

I always found myself alone in our king-sized bed, and he always found  himself asleep on the pull-out couch in his office. We could go days  without seeing each other if we tried, and sometimes I did try. I tried  to pretend as if he wasn't there, as if I wasn't trapped in some  loveless marriage any longer, but even that was depressing. If I wasn't  married to Derrek, I was living an empty life in an even emptier house.

Something needed to change, and in that moment, I decided, perhaps, it had to be me.

I had loved him once, a long time ago, when careers and expectations  hadn't been on our radar. When we'd been young and, in many ways, free.  When love hadn't been a means to fulfill the wishes of our parents, but  had been born out of our inability to stay away from one another. Truth  be told, I still loved him; loved the idea of him, of us. But that need  for him had disappeared. I wanted it back  –  desperately.

I made the decision in that moment to try to fix us. To do whatever was  needed to make my marriage work again, and not just be a roommate to my  husband. I wanted to be his wife again.

Chapter Two

When I heard the front door open that evening, it signaled Derrek was  home from work and also signaled the beginning of my attempt to win my  husband back. My heart nearly stopped and I had to talk myself down from  the proverbial ledge. I was nervous to be alone with my own husband,  apprehensive about putting myself in the line of fire. But something  needed to change;

something had to give. I'd been ambitious my whole life  –  a doer. If I  saw a problem at my job, I fixed it. In all other aspects of life, if  something needed attention, I focused until I was the victor. I was  determined to make my marriage work and not be miserable for the rest of  my life.

"Derrek, is that you?" I heard his footsteps falter. He'd been making a  hasty retreat to his office, as he did most evenings upon arriving home.  My question caught him off guard.