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Black Veil

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Haven Thornton-Mills stood in the obscure shadows outside the upscale Rosewood Resort, her refined features set in a stony mask as she watched her husband of twenty-seven years emerge through the extravagant brass doors with his latest whore draped across his arm. His boyish grin and swaggered stride left no doubt in Haven's mind what had just taken place behind closed doors. Brett embraced the woman who appeared half his age while the valet attendant brought his car around, a car which damn near cost Haven a fortune. Yet, the woman slid into the passenger's seat as if she owned the car and the man. Brett's despicable, profligate lifestyle had not only cost Haven money, it tarnished her name, left her pride bleeding like a wounded animal and self-confidence minuscule at best. But tonight, it was about to stop.

Drawing the mauve sweater around her slender shoulders to ward off the evening chill, Haven returned to the awaiting limo. Just as she settled into the soft leather seat with her long legs crossed and champagne in hand, the driver parted the center window. His golden gaze trailed appreciatively over her black dress and sheer hosiery. For a fleeting moment, she forgot Brett and his floozy, and allowed herself to indulge in a man's appreciation of her declining beauty. Although the tanned, muscular driver was much too young and she would never cross the line with employees, he still gave a boost to her libido, which she had declared legally dead.

"Follow him?" he asked.

Haven's lips stretched into a tight line. She simply nodded and set her gaze upon the resort's pristine property, its sloping, lush landscape and novelty shops quickly faded from view as the limo pursued Brett at a safe distance.

Prior to Brett's countless affairs, the black hole in Haven's heart had once been filled with endless love. Having been sheltered by her wealthy father, Wendell Thornton, and her inexperience with men, she was taken by Brett's deceitful charms the moment she'd gazed into his piercing green eyes. Within six months of meeting him and at the defiance of her father's wishes, they were married.

In a small town like New Lisbon, Wisconsin, rumors spread like wildfire, and it didn't take long to discover his insatiable taste in women and fine living. At Haven's expense, Brett carried on with his affairs, obtained three degrees from the best Universities in the world, and now at fifty-six, he still didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. What pained her most was his refusal to have children and now that her biological clock had long since taken its last tick, it would never happen. Through it all, she loved him.

However, tonight, as she looked ahead at the lover's silhouette under the night's sky, Haven only felt loathsome contempt for her husband. She imagined Brett between the woman's legs, foaming at the mouth, riding her like a dog in heat, oblivious of his sacred marital vows and the wife who'd given him everything. A renewed fury rose from the pit of her soul, blinding her with rage, consuming her with revenge. She hurled the champagne glass into the side window, shattering it to pieces. How dare he? Who the hell did he think he was?

"Is everything okay?" the smooth voice asked over the intercom.

Haven's insides shook so fiercely, she felt ill. Taking an unsteady breath, she retrieved her make-up compact from her purse and powdered her nose.

"Mrs. Mills?"

"I'm fine, just drive the damn car."

She reached out and took the bottle of champagne from the crushed ice, tilting it to her lips. The bubbly liquid swished around her mouth, the effects drifting to her head. She tilted the champagne for a second helping, but her entire body went still when the limo coasted to a stop on a dark, ominous street. She slowly set the bottle aside, her gaze followed Brett's car. Had her money been used to purchase this home? An iron gate parted, allowing him access to the impressive, well-kept property, nestled between collages of sugar maple trees. Brett parked in the circular driveway, climbed from the driver's seat and went to assist the woman out of the car. They giggled over a private joke and kissed passionately before he took her hand and disappeared through an arched entrance covered with climbing roses.

After what seemed like an eternity, Haven glanced at her diamond studded watch--only an hour had passed. She tugged at the blonde wig with gloved hands, making sure her chestnut hair didn't spill out.

It was time.

She pushed the limo's door open, stepped out and walked toward the residence. Her heels clicked softly against the cobblestone road. She pulled the gate and was pleasantly surprised to find it unlocked. Slipping through the small opening, she hurried to Brett's car and waited.

Fifteen minutes later, Brett finally strode out of the home, whistling. The closer he got, her heart grew heavy, knowing their life together would end tonight, and it weighed even more knowing he'd used her in every way possible.

Startled, Brett gasped and stepped backwards. "Haven, wha--what are you doing here?"

The wind carried the faint smell of a woman's perfume, considering it wasn't hers, Haven made the only sensible assumption. "I should be asking you the same question. What are you doing here?"

"I'm dropping off a friend. She was stranded ...."

"Brett, don't insult my intelligence since we both know she's just another whore in your lifetime of lies."

He moved toward the car; his eyes blazed with anger. "We'll discuss this at home."

Haven's patience snapped. "You don't have a home. All you have is what's on your back and be thankful for that." She reached into her purse and extracted a paper and pen. "Sign," she said harshly.

He chuckled. "Do you really think I'm that stupid? It's going to take a lot to get rid of me. I'm used to a lucrative lifestyle and I expect it to continue whether we're together or not. So, go home where you belong. I'll meet you there."

"This is your last chance. Sign and I'll give you one hundred thousand dollars and a quiet divorce."

"You're pathetic. No other man will ever want you."

She had never detested him more. "You're right. To marry a loser like you, I am pathetic. As for another man, many are waiting to take your place, even the one you call your best friend." She placed the paper back in her purse. "My offer has expired."

Brett's face paled, his lips twisted into an evil snarl. "You're a dried up hag, Harold wouldn't have you."

"He already has." She turned on her heels and walked down the driveway. Although she'd lied about sleeping with Harold, the stunned look on Brett's face made up for the pain he so easily inflicted.

Brett called behind her. "This marriage has run its course. Besides, Carol and I want to be together.

Two million dollars, I'll go away quietly." She did her best to ignore him, but hearing him refer to the other woman by name pierced her heart.

Haven returned to the limo, taking one last look over her shoulder at Brett as he got into his car. "Drive to the next block," she ordered the driver. Once they were in position, she removed a flat silver device from her purse. Her finger paused, contemplating her decision one last time. The humiliation, pain and anger, gave her the courage she needed. She pressed the button. A deafening explosion rocked the calm of the neighborhood as a ball of rumbling fire ripped through the sky, dispersing into multiple pockets of fire, thick smoke trailing in its wake. The ground beneath the limo vibrated; a street light flickered before casting them into total darkness. The limo sped forward.

After traveling a short distance, the driver asked, "Where to?"

Haven lifted her face from her lap; tremors still ricocheted throughout her body. "Home. I want to be in bed when the police arrive to tell me of my husband's misfortune."

The driver's gaze met hers in the rearview mirror, and his words left no room for misunderstanding. "After they leave, would you mind me comforting you over your loss?"

Haven smiled. "I would like that very much."

 

Bio: Cassandra Jones has written across a number of genres and has had her work published in numerous highly esteemed journals and magazines. You can find her at:

www.cassandrarobertsjones.com

 

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