Written By Fate

By: Aubrianna Hunter


"I'm just done, Ashlynn! I didn't sign on for this."

"What, and you think I did? That I somehow knew, that at not even thirty years old this is where I was going to be? That I enjoy being in a marriage with a man I can't depend on, a man who is never there, a man who would just as soon yell at me as touch me? Yeah, Dave... this is exactly the life I dreamed of!"

Ashlynn screamed out all the words she had been biting back for months. Words that honestly should have been said years ago. Somehow tonight it was just flowing out. Like venom spewing from a snake.

"Go to hell, Ash! I've been there for all of it. Every step of the way. I've watched you graduate at the top of your class, snag a job at a top marketing company right out of school. I've been there to cheer you on for every promotion. Don't tell me I haven't been there."

Ashlynn was irate! Once again they were arguing over her success. He just didn't get that being in the same room wasn't actually showing support. A concept she had never been able to make him understand. "You're right, Dave. Absolutely right. You've always been there. In the room. And while everyone else was cheering me on, wishing me luck, you've been insulting me, popping off with snide one liners, little digs to make sure I knew I wasn't any better than you. You and your passive-aggressive anger have always been there."

"Oh, here we go with the passive-aggressive bullshit again. Same old argument. You know what... I don't have to listen to this. I don't have to put up with this! It's not my fault that you're going to have to put your precious career on hold to take care of your son."

"My son? My son? Seriously! And you actually think I give a flying fuck about my career? You know what? You are absolutely right... you don't have to put up with this, and neither do I!" Ashlynn tried to control her screaming. Her beautiful son, Aiden, was sleeping just down the hall. She didn't want to wake him up, didn't want to deal with the crying and screaming that would surely follow at having his routine disrupted.

"Flying fuck? Nice language, sweetheart," Dave said, sarcasm dripping off every syllable.

"Oh, get off your high horse. I know what you say when you think I'm not around." She dropped her voice, using a hushed tone that she hoped still conveyed her anger. She smacked her long dark brown hair out of her eyes, wishing for a moment she had thought to tie it back in a knot or something. She had thought they were going to bed. Or at least she was going to bed. Clearly, Dave had other ideas.

"I do a lot of things when you're not around. I'm happy when you're not around. That must be the difference you're hearing."

She felt that like a stab to the heart, though she refused to let the pain form into tears. It wasn't the first time he'd said something like that. It shouldn't surprise her... shouldn't hurt anymore.

"Yes, Dave. I realize that your miserable life is entirely my fault." She sighed. "Are we done here? I'm really just too tired to do this tonight, and you know I will probably be up at two when Aiden has his nightmare. I just want to go to bed."

"Yeah... yeah, we're done. In fact, we are totally done. I don't need this... don't need you. I definitely don't need the defective child you've managed to create. I'm going to a hotel tonight. I'll come and get my things tomorrow. I want a divorce."

Twenty minutes later, and Dave slammed out the front door. She didn't even bother trying to stop him. It wouldn't have worked anyway.

She kept waiting for the pain to hit. Or at least fear of being on her own. Oddly, all she felt was relief.

That was far more telling than she really cared to admit.

Chapter 1

Seven years later

Ashlynn heard the alarm and smacked a hand out to hit Snooze. She knew she needed to get up even though it was Saturday. Despite the fact she had been at a book signing and after party until the wee hours of the morning. Oh well, if she wanted to keep things running smoothly, she had to stick to her schedule. Plus, the thought of hot, fresh coffee was already tempting her to rise.

She rolled out of bed, stretched a little, feeling the snaps and pops that she was sure hadn't been there in her twenties... Which was merely a month or so ago.

Smiling at her own little joke, Ashlynn quickly washed her face and brushed her teeth before attempting to tackle the chaos that was her hair. She dyed it these days, to cover the twenty or so gray hairs she had coming right off the crown. A quick inspection told her she needed to pick up some black color next time she was in that area.

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