“You’re looking all sorts of romantic and girly tonight, Mama,” Mariana dabbed some blush on her mother’s cheeks. “Where’s Daddy taking you out tonight?”
“We’re going to Spago,” Linda squealed with delight. “I’ve never been and I’ve always wanted to go! Your Daddy surprised me this morning with the news. We have a driver picking us up and we’re going to drive around town after dinner.”
“Sounds very romantic, Mommy!” Mariana eyeballed her mother’s face. She needed just a little more mascara.
“And what are your plans with Bernard, Lollipop?” Linda patiently sat still as her daughter applied the makeup. “Anything special?”
“We’re going to Sentiment,” Mariana replied, hoping the sadness wasn’t apparent in her voice, “and I don’t know where else.”
“You sound excited,” Linda picked up Mariana’s tone.
“It’s no big deal,” Mariana shrugged.
Linda opened her eyes and turned to the nearest mirror. Her daughter had once again done an incredible job on her face, making her look regal and not clown-like. She then turned to Mariana. Ever since her breakup with Scott almost a year prior, and a sudden new relationship shortly afterward, it was clear Bernard was a rebound and Mariana was trying very hard to like him. Sure, Bernard was a great guy and he got along with everyone in the family.
But Linda knew when a couple had chemistry, and it was clear there was none between the pair. “It’s no big deal because you’re not into Bernard as much you thought you would be?”
“He’s a great guy, Mommy.” Mariana defended. “He’s really sweet, he’s a great conversationalist, and we both have the same taste in music.”
“That’s great and all, but you didn’t answer my question, Mariana Lilian.”
“I’m into him, yes.” Mariana stuck her tongue out. “I thought Daddy was the detective, not you.”
“How’s Scott doing these days?” Linda asked.
“Um… uh… I guess he’s doing well,” Mariana stammered.
She knew he was doing well. Real well.
It seemed their breakup had made him look more gorgeous than before. He’d shaved the beard off and was completely clean-shaven, making him look more youthful than his thirty-six years. His dark hair was neatly trimmed and sometimes he showed up to work with a little bit of bedhead, which added to his allure. His suits outlined his muscular frame and the thought made Mariana’s panties moist with want for their afternoon quickies in his office.
What killed her, though, was how fluid Scott was towards her, as if they had never dated at all. There was nothing reminiscent in his eyes that they were ever intimate. Instead, he was friendly, maybe a bit too friendly. He asked her about her weekends, if she had seen any good movies lately… the typical small talk a boss would make to their employee or any other person in the office.
No preferential treatment. No casual requests to grab a cup of coffee together. No secret signals for a morning blow job underneath his desk. No codes for a hot BDSM scene while he was on a call.
Instead, everything boiled down to a friendly ‘hello’ and sometimes a ‘goodbye’. Sometimes. Mariana was lucky if she even saw Scott leave for the day. When he traveled for business meetings, Mariana stalked her cell phone to see if he would send a text letting her know that he’d arrived safely, or if he would complain about how bored he was during a meeting and was playing with an app on his phone instead, pretending to look busy.
She had to wait in the background and watch several of her colleagues try their best to fulfill the role that she left, though really, she was pushed out by Scott. Everything about Caprina was old news and her name wasn’t even mentioned any more. She mistakenly thought that would be the signal for Scott to return to her, to make things right with her, with them. That they would finally get married and she’d have his babies.
Then, nothing happened. Then, everything happened.
Over the years, Mariana couldn’t remember what she did on her birthdays. It all seemed to blend in with each other. But last year’s birthday, she would never forget, despite how much she wished she would.
Her fling with Bernard turned into a full-blown relationship. Scott moved on to a woman that Mariana was neither impressed with nor intimidated by and had the most peculiar name she’d ever heard.
She wanted to hate him. She tried very hard to hate him. She couldn’t and she wouldn’t. Mariana hated that her brain loathed Scott but her heart was still in love with him.
Why couldn’t she hate her ex like other normal women?