Trust is the easiest thing in the world to lose, and the hardest thing in the world to get back.
~R. M. Williams
Hannah was trying her best to walk elegantly, donning a brand-new outfit, teetering her baby belly on high heels, getting as close to sexy as she could muster in her current condition, despite the fact that she felt mostly like a beached whale.
She had taken the rest of a pretty slow work day off, leaving the restaurant in the capable hands of her assistant manager, to go surprise her husband Sven at the gym where he worked, a quick drive-by intended to get him hot & bothered for the evening she had planned for them, a nice dinner followed by a romantic date night. Maybe not exactly like it used to be without a big third trimester baby bump, but as close to X-rated and as far away from child-safety ratings as they could get.
After parking her Mini Cooper in the parking lot of the gym where Sven worked, giving her carefully applied makeup another once over in the mirror – and after three attempts to make it out of the car into a standing position – Hannah tried for a sexy walk again, but as soon as she entered the gym she spotted Sven – and froze in place.
Yep, there he was in all his glory – her beloved husband and soon to be father of her daughter – with a woman who was obviously suggestively whispering into his ear while it very much looked like he had his hand on her rear end, keeping both of them too occupied to even notice Hannah standing there like a statue.
Hannah was too shocked to speak, too shocked to move, just stood there, frozen in place, staring at her husband’s hand on another woman’s butt who continued to whisper into his ear, him grinning like a deranged clown.
Sven never even looked up to see Hannah. Too busy fondling the woman, and probably suffering acute lack of blood circulation to his head.
At least the one that would be able to recognize his own wife standing there about to loose her mind.
Finally Hannah unfroze, turned around and ran back out to her car, jumped in and drove off.
Instead of home, she steered the car out of Willow Creek and soon along the Brindleton Bay shoreline promenade and up the long driveway to Ewan’s home.
After he had buzzed her in at the gate, he didn’t even try to hide his surprise.
“Hannah-Banana! I wasn’t expecting you sight for sore eyes today. Please don’t tell me something is wrong with the baby!”
“Seriously?! Why would I come see you and not go straight to the hospital then?”
“I don’t know. I played a doctor in “Hospital Affairs”. Maybe you got confused.” Ewan smirked as she was waddling up the walkway to the front door.
“I am here because I need someone I can talk to, whom I can trust. Are you alone?”
“I am, you have my undivided attention, beautiful. Is that a new outfit? Va-va-vooom! You may be double-stacking those babies when your personal viking sees you like that.” Ewan flashed his charming smile, well aware that women at this stage of pregnancy needed compliments like air.
“Oh my God, you would notice such things. Yes, new, and thank you, I really needed to hear that now more than you would ever guess.” she nearly threw herself into hugging him.
He embraced her, frowned as he noticed her sniffle into his shoulder right away, he let her for a moment, before plucking her off him.
“All righty. I know this is more than just hormones running amok. Since you cannot have a stiff drink, how about some coffee. I mean, you still kinda qualify as a Cameron. And then you will tell me what’s REALLY going on. Cos, darlin’, this is a lot of things but not a social call.”
“You’re right – and for your information: I am ALL Cameron. Maybe never in name, but I take after my Mama and she was a Cameron by birth. I am every bit as Cameron as you and I eat coffee grounds with a spoon!”
Both laughed, he sat her down, with coffee, she took a sip, closed her eyes.
“Okay, I have to tell you something that will make you really angry, but I need you to keep calm, promise me not to do anything stupid, okay?”
“Don’t tell me that fucker screwed around on you again!?”
“Ewan … ”
“I am right, though, aren’t I?! I am going to ..”
“No, you’re not! And I don’t know anything for sure, just a suspicion. Well, maybe a little more, considering I looked at his hand firmly planted on some other chick’s ass from less than five feet away.”
“What a waste of skin that guy! So why are you telling me this, after the ‘Ewan keep calm disclaimer’, knowing that I am not a fan of that dumbass to begin with? What am I supposed to do with this information if not pile-drive his ass straight into the ground?!”
“Ewan, I love you and you are awesome, but in a fist fight with Sven, you wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. In case you forgot, he makes a living by being athletic. No, I want from you what most people want from you, sorry, not sorry. Totally gonna use you. That’s the type of person all this has turned me into now.”
“Uh – Hannah … I am happily married with child and you are VERY pregnant!”
“Not THAT, you one-track gutter mind! Money! You are the wealthiest person I know, you won’t miss the cash, I need to borrow some, and will pay you back, slowly, but I will. You cannot tell anybody though. Not even Ava. Or Eric.”
“Money? Hannah, I’d give you every cent I own, and don’t worry about paying me back, but you would have to tell me what for though. I cannot be involved with you putting a hit out on that viking. That kind of PR won’t ever wash clean again. Don’t like to get typecast into the bad boy roles permanently.”
“Oh so funny – not! No, Ewan, seriously now, I want to hire a private eye. I want to know for sure what Sven’s deal is when he feels unwatched. I want to have someone tail him whenever he thinks I am at work, and make sure what he does all day really is kosher. I could maybe forgive a stray hand on another woman’s booty – ONCE while she whispers raunchy shit in his ear, but not if it’s habitual and definitely not if anything he does involves unwrapping his magic wand. Can you help me with that without telling a soul?”
“Okay, Hannah, I am going to be a better friend than I want to be a man right now, because the man in me wants to beat that idiot into the pavement like a chalk drawing. But the friend in me has to say this: if you already have so many doubts, some of which partially confirmed, do you think a private detective is going to make a real difference anymore, no matter the outcome? Worst case scenario, you get your heart broken bad, and in your condition I do not think that is such a splendid idea. Best case scenario you’ll know for sure that he keeps his junk in his pants and reserved solely for your pleasure, but if he ever finds out you spied on him, it won’t be pretty and you have to ask yourself if your relationship doesn’t need a lot more help than paying someone to snoop around. And ask yourself if it wouldn’t almost be better to start over without the constant doubts.”
“Are you suggesting I leave the father of my unborn daughter NOW? Go from the power couple ‘Svannah’ – ahem – ‘Hannven’ – huh, never mind that, anyway you want me to be a single mother running a restaurant? How am I supposed to swing that on top of the avalanche that is about to unleash upon me, if – or should I say when – my marriage blows up in my face?”
“Hate to break it to ya, but you wouldn’t be the first single mom entrepreneur. Your parents and brother would help. Ava and I would help. And maybe don’t leave him. Maybe couples therapy? I don’t know Hannah. All I know is that I couldn’t forgive what they did to us back then. Once upon a time I loved Cassandra, but when I caught him pounding her in my own living room it pounded the love straight out of my heart along with any inch of respect I may have had for Sven. Looks like you are having a much harder time moving on from that shit than you let on. Maybe we should see if Eric can …”
“NO! You promised.”
“Hannah, it’s Eric. The level headed one, who always keeps his bearings about him and has the best advice. Eric. Since when do you distrust Eric?”
“I don’t distrust Eric! He can’t know about this, because back when you were off skedaddling around the desert meeting your Miss Right, during the rehearsal dinner for my wedding, we had an incident similar to this one. Eric and I walked in on Sven flirting with a girl from the catering company, after giving him a piece of his mind, Eric sat me down and told me to call off the wedding – and the relationship, when I refused, he said I needed to make sure I could live with all this, because statistically cheaters often are repeat offenders. I got super-defensive of Sven and my relationship, basically told him to mind his own bees wax, he gave me one of those Eric stares, said not to come crying to him later on when it happened again. And he said Sven was an ass and officially on notice with him. Have you never noticed the looks Eric throws Sven sometimes? If I told him now, not only would I get the ‘told you so’ spiel, but he’d probably kill Sven too.”
“Not the worst idea, plus he’s the inside man who would know how to pull off the perfect crime, seeing how he is a cop. Good to know I was completely kept out of that loop though, thanks. What the hell, both of you?”
“Don’t be mad at Eric, just add that to my tab. I swore him to secrecy – knowing how you felt about Sven to begin with – and you know how loyal Eric is. For what it’s worth, he protested bitterly.”
“Okay Hannah, do you not see what Sven’s repeated BS does to the trifecta? You, Eric and I were a thing looong before we ever knew about any Svens and Cassandras. We told each other everything, always, total transparency and trust, and now suddenly keep secrets because of him? Maybe Eric would come and help us get rid of Sven’s body after I stoned him to death with crisp bread and then the three of us find you someone worth your while!”
“Very funny. But you’re right. I hate having secrets from you and Eric because of Sven. Something has to give.”
“Look Hannah, if you think this will help you, sure, I’ll get you the private eye. I think it’s best if we run it all through me to lessen the chances of Sven finding out. Just know what you are getting yourself into. I do not want something to happen to my … however the hell your baby is related to me – because you got so aggravated if your suspicions prove founded. I’d never forgive myself.”
“Nothing will happen to Blakely and nobody would ever blame you, Ewan. But you think he could be cheating on me, don’t you?”
“Hann – please don’t ask me what I think about your viking, cos there is not much good I have to serve up here. Please let me call Eric. We really need him here.”
“Fine – call Eric then.”
“That’s my girl! I’ll be right back.” he kissed Hannah on the cheek and ran into the next room. Sure he could have called from right there, but wanted to prime Eric a little without rubbing more salt into Hannah’s wounds.
Within just minutes Eric showed up, since Charlotte, Jamie and he had been over at the Beach House next door visiting his parents. Hannah clued him in briefly.
“Okay – so why am I here? I am a cop, not a private detective. I don’t have time to tail Sven, plus he knows me. I am good, but not invisible.”
“Ewan thinks I am either fine, just hormonal overreacting, or alternatively thinks I married a sex-addicted brain-amputee and wants me to go straight to the divorce attorney. You’re here to sort out which we’ll go with.”
“What?! No! I never said that!” Ewan protested.
“I am sure that is NOT what Ewan said, for two reasons: A) not enough words to have originated from that motormouth, and B) you are clearly NOT fine. So have Sven investigated then. Better the devil you know, I guess. I mean, he is a personal trainer, he is buff, easy on the eye, usually in some state of undress in a place where most people are sweaty – perfect setting for some women’s naughty fantasies to get carried away. Some men may not know how and when to stop going along with it. I am sure Ava has a comparable problem with all of Ewan’s groupies wanting a piece of him. And I know men look at Charlee and I know I married way out of my league. It is what it is.”
“Puh-leeeze – and I know about all the girls drooling over you, especially when you were still a regular cop. Men in uniform. Yum.”
“Yeah, right. Especially the disfigured ones – real hit with the ladies. So glad I no longer wear a uniform and don’t need to carry that stick around anymore to beat them all off of me.” Eric smirked.
“Seriously Eric?! My husband may be cheating on me and I have to sit here and blow sugar up your deflated ego, by reminding you what a prime specimen of manhood you are, even though Charlee probably moans that in your ear nightly. You are at best rugged – not disfigured – with your scars.” Hannah smiled at Eric, who was shaking his head, smiling, slightly blushing.
“Uh – want me to put two mints on the pillows in the guest room for you weirdos so you can take it to the next level?” Ewan groaned.
“Aww, little Ew-ey so so sad because he isn’t the center of attention for once? I think I may have one of Jamie’s binkies in my pocket for ya.” Eric grinned across the table at his cousin, who un-gallantly flipped him off.
“Get near me with any pacifier and I’ll turn it into a butt plug for you rugged pretty boy!” Ewan told him.
Hannah started laughing, commanding the attention of her cousins, as she now smiled at them.
“You guys are the best medicine for anything that could ever be wrong with me. I am so glad I have you two! Seriously, whatever happens, trifecta forever! Fuck Sven and the rest of the world. And sorry for keeping secrets. Never again. Full disclosure from now on forward.” she told them.
“All right, so here is how all this is gonna go down. A proper observation is going happen. First thing on Monday I’ll get in touch with a good private detective I happen to know pretty well, and I will spearhead this whole thing. No need to have Ewan foot the bill, the guy owes me big, and I am sure he’ll be extra-eager to do a thorough and free job for us. But – if Sven comes back clean, you both will lay of the spy novel crap for good and act normal, acknowledging he is just the flirty type. If you cannot deal with that, Hannah, you need to have that talk with him. Way I see it, he’s gonna stop working soon anyway, once the baby comes, and trust me Hannah, caring for a newborn does not leave you the time or the energy to even WANT nookie from anyone, wife or not. Becoming Mr. Mom full time will cure him of any kind of promiscuous behavior he may have been itching with.” Eric said with determination.
“Speak for yourself. I have been – and always will be – willing and up for it, even if we were to have ten babies at the same time. Ava may not feel that way, but who made the rule that the girl needed to be fully conscious for certain between-the-sheets shenanigans?” Ewan grinned deviously, obviously trying to get a rise out of Hannah.
“That’s disgusting!” she told him.
“It’s also not true. As if Ava would stand for that. If he even dreamed about that out aloud she’d have ripped his Twinkie off and beaten him into next week with it.” Eric laughed.
“Moreover, I would never do that because I love my wife and am a perfect gentleman.”
“Oh yeah, I cannot wait until the high school reunion comes up and we can listen to all those girls you were such a perfect gentleman to.” Eric chuckled.
“Hey – you weren’t any better than me. I specifically remember us making bets involving girls and naughty stuff.”
“No arguments here, I was the worst scum back then, just like you. Not talking anything pretty here, you and I were awful.”
“Guys … you are awesome, you were then and only got better with age. I already feel a lot better. Thank you.”