What You Can’t Have
When Adam and I decided that we’ll give our marriage another chance, we had arranged for a few things… Well, more like he demanded a few things for me. For one, he asked me to have breakfast with him everyday.
“I do eat breakfast with you!” I told him. His request made me feel like an absolute terrible wife! Sure, I was…quite terrible. I got mad so easily, and my first reaction whenever something wrong went my way was to run from him. Getting hurt was fine… God, since I was young, pain was all I ever really felt. My family shot me down when I was at my lowest. And I was fine with that. I was used to that. But Adam hurting me? I was not fine with that. I was not used to that.
And I didn’t want to get used to the feeling of getting hurt. I didn’t want to numb myself until I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I didn’t want to relive the life of my parents…
That wasn’t what I wanted.
“Yes… but I wanted our old breakfast. I wanted to talk about your day, your opinion about everything, how annoyed you are with the people who keep on having sex in the library… Those things. I missed those things, Bree,” he said, looking straight at my eyes. I wanted to stray my eyes away from him but I couldn’t. And I didn’t want to.
I wanted to bring back the familiarity.
I wanted to remove all traces of uncomfortable.
“Well… okay. Brace yourself because I’m gonna whine a lot… especially now that I have a pretty demanding job,” I said and he just smiled.
“I’d love that.”
“We’ll see,” I said and he just smiled at me.
We continued eating and Adam asked me about couple of things. I gleefully answered each one of them. I was just too happy that he’s happy. I missed his smiles. I missed making him smile. I missed our happy life together… And if things would just continue to go down this road, I was pretty sure that we’d be back soon enough.
Back to the time when Bree and Adam were a happy couple. God, I missed that.
When we were done, I got my things. Adam told me that he’d be dropping me off in front of the building that I’d be working at. It was just a few blocks away from his building. Because of that, he kind of demanded that I had lunch with him everyday. And I was fine with it. It was one of the things that we agreed to do together. And it wasn’t as if I didn’t enjoy eating with Adam. Because I did. A lot.
“I’ll pick you up later,” he said when the car pulled over.
“What time’s your break?” he asked.
“12? I’m not yet sure. I’ll send you a message later,” I told him. I was told that the briefing would be done today. I also asked Maya about this thing with paralegal since this wasn’t exactly what I had planned for myself before… Back then, I had always envisioned myself to become a lawyer. This was close… but not really. It was more like going in an unchartered territory. A vague distinction between knowing and not knowing.
And it was only freaking me out more. I didn’t want to ruin this. I really wanted this to work.
“Alright,” Adam replied. “Good luck, babe.”
I looked at him and smiled.
As much as I didn’t want to make this morning uncomfortable because we had, so far, a great morning, I didn’t know if I should kiss him… or kiss his cheek, perhaps? Or maybe hug him? But I knew I shouldn’t shake his hand! God forbid if I did that! But I wasn’t exactly sure if I should just go for the kill and kiss him. It wasn’t as if we hadn’t done it before. We already had sex before, for heaven’s sake!
This was making my head ache!
But then he leaned in and kissed my forehead.
“They’ll love you,” he said with a warm smile that made my insides twice as warm. I smiled back at him.
This. This was the reason why I couldn’t just let him go.
Adam insisted on waiting until I get inside the building before he left. With knees wobbling, I managed to get inside the building. I gave my ID for identification purposes since my company ID wouldn’t be given until I sign some papers, as I was told. After that, I went to the HR department and met with Meg, whom I talked with on the phone. She briefed me about what was expected of me and to be honest, I felt the thrill… I had longed for this. I loved being Adam’s wife, yes, but I really believed that I was meant to work. I loved the environment. I thrived in this kind of setup.
Apparently, Zach requested for his own paralegal. And since he’s a favorite of the senior partners, they let him get one… hence, my employment. I was basically his assistant. And I already signed the contract so this was it for me. But Meg said that if I performed well, I’d get a better position. And I was hoping that if I did well, maybe I could go to law school… but that was a farfetched thought.
I just had to live in the moment and let future worry about itself.
After that, she just instructed me to go and have my picture taken for my ID, then to go to Zach’s office. I almost forgot that it was him I would be working for.
“Thank you,” I told her after I was done being briefed. I finished all tasks and then quickly went to Zach’s office. I knocked twice but no one’s answering. I looked around but everyone looked busy with their respective works. I tried waiting outside but I could hear faint voices from inside. I figured that each rooms were soundproof so that each and every meeting would have privacy… but since I could hear their voices, maybe they were shouting.
And somehow it felt weird. I never pegged Zach as the shouting type. He struck me as the laid back kind of person. I knew that we didn’t spend that much time together but he really didn’t look like the shouting type… Or maybe I just didn’t know him that much.
I almost jumped when the door suddenly swung open. An angry man went outside, his forehead seemed to be in a state of permanent crease. It made me wonder what transpired inside the office that made him looked so… murderous.
“Good business, Mr. Woods,” Zach said.
“I’m paying you good money so do your job!” the guy said.
“I’ll do my best, as always,” he said and then looked at me. “Oh, you’re here.”
I opened my mouth to say something but for some reasons (still strange to me), nothing came out of my mouth. Zach bid farewell to the guy and then faced me. He was wearing a goofy smile on his face. He didn’t even seem fazed with all the shouting that happened back inside.
“Were you standing outside all this time?” he asked.
I pursed my lips.
“Well, yeah… But I tried knocking.”
He nodded his head and then motioned for me to follow him inside. Upon going in, I couldn’t help but check his office out. The place was a mixture of black and light brown fixtures. It was minimalist at best like his place. It was rather contradicting to his personality. I was expecting… more colors? He’s just too positive for the life of me!
“Meg already briefed me,” I told him. “Do you have anything that I need to do first?” I asked him because I was about to check his pending cases but if there’s something that needed to be done immediately, then I’d be on it.
“Well, yes, as a matter of fact,” he said and then looked for an envelope from the pile of things on his table. He handed it to me and I took it. “The guy earlier filed for a divorce. Again.”
I nodded. Divorce was just too typical in this country. But I didn’t want to add to the ever growing statistics. And this reminded me that I should’ve asked for lunchtime… but I worried if that would put me in a bad position.
“For your first task, I need you to find something nasty about his wife,” he said.
“Open the envelope and see for yourself.”
I did as I was told and my mouth parted with the amount of obscene pictures, copies of receipts from different hotels, tickets abroad and even itineraries! This looked bad! Really, really bad!
That was my only reply. No wonder the guy was fuming mad.
“Yeah. Oh,” Zach said. “They had a prenup and funny because I was the one who drafted that. Irony of life, huh?”
And I was reminded again of Adam. We didn’t sign a prenup. He vehemently told me that he didn’t want one because he had no plans of spending his life without me. It was only my first day here yet my realizations were hitting all the right spots.
I really needed to ask about lunch. I didn’t want Adam to think that I abandoned him again. I didn’t want him to develop a fear of me constantly leaving… I did enough damage. I didn’t want to worsen it.
“Since he cheated and he’s stupid enough to get caught, he’s about to lose his entire estate,” he explained but that’s pretty much a given. I mean, even if there’s no prenup, his wife was already guaranteed a portion of his wealth. But with the evidence? He’s really about to lose it all. Cheaters, really… They deserved it but who was I to judge?
“But,” Zach continued, “As his divorce lawyer, I’m obligated to save his sorry ass so you, my lovely assistant, will have to find anything that we can use against Mrs. Woods.”
Hah. I was like a detective, apparently. And I was obliged to help that cheater.
“I know, I know, he’s a cheating bastard but he’s a client,” Zach said when he saw the judgment on my face. “And he worked for whatever he has. Don’t you think it’s a bit unfair if everything will go to waste because he’s just too stupid to cheat?”
I bit my tongue to prevent myself from answering. I didn’t go here to argue my thoughts. And this was my job, for heaven’s sake! I needed to suck it up.
Zach instructed me to do a thorough background research about the wife and prepare a presentation asap. He also tasked me to do interviews with the people close to the couple and to draft the initial legal document. He was very serious while he was telling me everything that I needed to do that for a second, I questioned myself if it was still Zach who was in front of me.
“Got everything?” he asked.
I nodded, carefully listing down everything he said. I didn’t want to miss a thing. This was my first task and I wanted to do this properly.
After that, he went outside because he had a working lunch with one of the VIP clients of the firm. It made me wonder if rich people often get divorce because judging on the amount of works piled up in Zach’s table, I was guessing that the answer was yes. But why would they even? Divorce meant alimony and all that child support… And most rich people were really stingy. I still didn’t get them most of the time.
When Zach left, I began my work. I first did an online research about Mrs. Woods and checked all her social networking sites. Thankfully, she was very active online! And she’s quite young! And beautiful! If I hadn’t known that she was the soon to be ex-wife, I wouldn’t even think that she’s Mr. Wood’s wife because Mr. Woods wasn’t quite a looker… and his wife was beauty queen type—complete with the blonde hair, perfect body, and legs that never seem to end.
After I listed down the names of her friends and places she usually frequented, I began with the legal leg work. I must have been too engrossed with what I was doing that I didn’t even notice that Zach’s work lunch was done and he was already back.
“Hey,” he said. I looked up. He was smiling and holding a paper bag. “I hope you like Chinese.”
I was about to answer when my phone vibrated.
Are you done? I’m outside. Will wait for you.
I smiled at him and said, “Thank you but I’ll be having lunch with my husband.”
“Oh,” that was what he said.