The Cold Wife: Deleted Scene #7

This scene came right after the one I posted yesterday.  Today’s scene is the final deleted scene I’ll be posting for the book.  In the original version, Carrie gave Justin a much harder time to win her over, but in the end, what she really needed was a really good kiss.  I don’t know how many of you have seen the movie or read the book Gone With The Wind, but I often think of the part where Rhett tells Scarlet, “You need to be kissed often and by someone who knows how” (paraphrasing).  😀 BTW, I’ve seen and read Gone With The Wind, and every time I did, I had to add my own “ending” to the story because the two should have ended up together in that book.  LOL

Without further ado, I’ll post the scene for today.  It’s longer than what I usually post, but I’d like to get to another book for next Sunday.

the cold wife

Justin didn’t have long to wait to find out that he had, indeed, made a mistake.  He thought that Carrie had been overdoing it with her insistence to get out of the marriage before but that night, she went all out in her quest for an annulment.  She decided to wear a red dress, which wasn’t done for dinner parties.  He grimaced.  His most important clients were going to attend the dinner party that night, and she chose this night to go out of her way to embarrass him.

He quickly took her by the elbow and led her up the stairs.  “You have to wear something else,” he told her.

She crossed her arms and put her chin up in the air.  “And if I don’t?”

“Carrie, this is a very important night for me and my uncle.  The presentation is due this Wednesday, and this dinner party is to set the tone for that night.  In light of what the Grants are doing, this isn’t a smart move on your part.”

“I don’t care.  Perhaps Lisa will, but I don’t.”

“Carrie, don’t do this.  Not tonight.”

“You’ll have to make me change.”

Even for her usual antics, this was overboard.  “I will,” he decided.  He picked her up and took her into her room.  He set her down and held onto her arm so she couldn’t run down the stairs while he went through her closet to find a suitable dress.

The doorbell rang and Geoffrey announced that the first guest had arrived.

He found a dark blue dress and took it off the hanger.

The doorbell rang again and this time two guests had arrived.

He gritted his teeth and glared at her.  “You timed this so I wouldn’t be able to change your outfit.”

She shrugged as if nothing was bothering her.

He threw the dress on the floor and took her out of the room with him.  “Don’t do anything else to embarrass me,” he ordered.

The fact that she didn’t say anything should have calmed his nerves but it only made him more tense.  He couldn’t shove aside the bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.  He forced himself to smile and kindly greeted the guests as they arrived.  Though they were too polite to say anything, they did give Carrie a strange look for wearing red.

He noticed that his uncle came alone.  When he asked him about it, Jonathan replied, “She had to help her father with a client.”

“Who are you two talking about?” Carrie wondered as his uncle went to mingle with some of the men who were in his parlor.

He ignored her and greeted Mr. and Mrs. Walker.

After they went to the entertainment room, she said, “Is your uncle interested in someone?”

He still didn’t answer her.

“Where’s Mary?” she snapped.

“Not here,” he quipped.

“I gathered that much.  Didn’t you invite her?”

“She was invited but is unable to make it.”

“So I’m going to be stuck entertaining women I don’t know?”

“You know Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Tobias, Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Edwards.”

“But they aren’t my close friends.”

“I can’t help it if you’re unpopular.”

Brad entered the house with Debra Maxwell.  When he saw his sister, he sighed.  “Why didn’t you just wear the funeral dress again?”

“Why would I?  It didn’t work before.  It certainly won’t work now,” she retorted.

“My condolences, Justin.” He rolled his eyes at Carrie and escorted his date to the entertainment room so they could dance.

“I don’t need to put up with this.” She abruptly walked off.

Justin didn’t see where she went because Mr. Tyndall arrived with his son.

“I must admit that Miss Duff is the finest billiard player I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Tyndall told Justin.  “I heard she even has good business sense.  Who thought such a thing was possible with a woman?  Anyway, I brought my son along so he can get better acquainted with her.”

“Unfortunately, she had to help her father with his own client tonight,” Justin replied.  His uncle would most likely be relieved she wasn’t able to attend after all.  His uncle didn’t mind competition when it came to business, but he wouldn’t be happy to know that Mr. Tyndall wanted her to be his future daughter-in-law.  Justin decided he would have to warn his uncle after he was done greeting the guests.

The rest of the guests did arrive, and some wondered why Carrie wasn’t there to greet them as well.

Justin glanced around him and noticed that Carrie was outside with Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Edwards.  “Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Edwards wished to speak with her, so she had to see what they wanted,” he lied.

The guests accepted it but when it was time for dinner and Carrie purposely avoided talking to him during the meal, they began to whisper among themselves.  He had little consolation in knowing that the people outside weren’t aware of what was going on in the dining room.  Couldn’t she at least feign interest in him when they were in front of other people?

“I think electricity is one of mankind’s greatest inventions,” his uncle told Brad.  “I applaud Thomas Edison for coming up with the light bulb.”

“Light bulbs are like candles that never melt,” Justin said.

Carrie laughed.

He looked at her and realized that she had been laughing at him at the other dinner parties when he discussed investing.  Only, this time she wasn’t hiding it.

“What are you going to say next?” she asked.  “That automobiles are miniature trains that don’t need tracks or motion pictures are books you watch instead of read?  Here’s one for you.  A letter is a conversation that you have without actually speaking.  Your analogies get more and more ridiculous the more I hear them.  You would do better to stop and think before you speak.”

He didn’t think.  He jumped up, picked her up and put her over his shoulder.  He had had enough of this!  He ignored the fact that his guests were struggling not to laugh as he carried her to his parlor.  He forced himself not to dump her in the chair, though it took all of his willpower to do that.  She got ready to speak but he shot her a furious look.

“Not one word, Carrie,” he demanded in a low growl.  “If you say one more thing or if you leave this room before I tell you to, I’ll tear that dress off of you and make you go outside naked.  Do you understand me?”

Her eyes were wide but she didn’t say anything.

He had never been so angry in his entire life.  How could she purposely set out to humiliate him in front of everyone?  He was going to be the laughingstock of the town.  It wasn’t bad enough that she wore a red dress and snubbed him up during the main course of the meal, but she also had to insult him in front of everyone during dessert?

“I’ll deal with you later,” he seethed before he stormed out of the parlor.  He slammed the doors shut.

When he turned around, he saw that most of the guests had already left.  He found Brad and his uncle politely ushering people out of the house.  Despite the fact that he was greatly upset, he put on a casual smile and apologized for his wife’s behavior.  Once the guests were gone, he turned to the two men.

“Do I make stupid analogies?” he asked.

Jonathan and Brad exchanged wary looks.

Finally, his uncle spoke up.  “Well, they may come off as a little silly.”

“What?” So Carrie had a point in criticizing him?

“We hardly even notice them,” Brad added.

“Why didn’t one of you tell me sooner?” How long had people been laughing at him behind his back?

“No one wanted to hurt your feelings,” his uncle explained.

“I have to go,” Brad said.  “I need to take Miss Maxwell home.  Don’t worry about it, Justin.  It’s not a big deal.”

“Mr. Monroe,” Geoffrey interrupted.  “There is a delivery for you.”

He groaned and turned his attention to the man at the front door who brought in neatly pressed suits.  “I apologize for the delay in delivering your new clothes to you,” the man stated.  “The tailor was an inch off around the waistline.”

“Just put them over on that bench.  I’ll get them later,” Justin replied.

“She bought you clothes?” his uncle wondered.  “That was thoughtful of her.”

Justin let out a low growl.

“Well, it was,” his uncle insisted.

After the delivery man left and he was alone with his uncle in the hallway, Justin was ready to confront his not-so-sweet wife.  “I trust you know the way out,” he told his uncle.

Just as he was about to go to the parlor to talk to her in private, the other man stopped him.  “Go easy on her.”

He couldn’t believe his ears.  “Are you kidding me?  She insulted me in front of our most important clients.”

“True,” he slowly admitted.  “But she’s resisting you because she’s falling in love with you.”

He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  His uncle really didn’t understand people as well he thought he did.

“Think about it.  She wants you to get so mad at her that you’ll annul the marriage.”

“Fine.  I’ll gladly do it.”

“Wait a minute.” His uncle grabbed his arm before he could walk past him.  “It’s only been three weeks since your wedding.”

“Right.”

“And she’s getting more and more unreasonable.”

“Yes.”

Jonathan smiled.  “She wants to be with you.”

“She has a very irritating way of showing it.”

“Look, I know you don’t believe me but it’s true.  She’s afraid of her feelings for you.  My recommendation is for you to kiss her.”

The last thing Justin felt like doing was kissing her.  He wanted to hand her the annulment paperwork and send her packing.

“Trust me on this.  The harder she resists you, the more she loves you.  You have to watch her carefully and figure out what she’s really saying.  Go in there and kiss her and see what happens.  I guarantee you that you’ll like what you discover.”

“No way.”

“Do you love her or not?  Sometimes when you want something you have to fight for it.  Not all clients are easily won over.  You almost won her once.  You can do it again.  Now my recommendation is for you to take five minutes to calm down.  Then remember what it is you like about her and go in and see her.”

He sighed.  “Alright.”

His uncle patted him on the back.  “Remember how difficult Mr. Martin was to get as a client?  Well, he’s our most loyal customer now.  He was worth the effort.  She will be too.”

He watched as Jonathan left the house.  He sat down on the bench by the parlor door and closed his eyes.  He wanted to be with Carrie more than he had ever wanted another woman.  Could his uncle be right?  Was it possible that she was resisting her feelings for him?  It was true that he had handled difficult clients in the past.  Just when things looked impossible, it worked out.  Perhaps the same would happen with her.  He hated to think of her as one of his clients, but it was probably the thing he needed to do.  At least, it would keep him focused on his goal.

“Everything is cleaned up.  Is there anything else you’ll be needing?” Geoffrey inquired.

He glanced at his butler.  “No, Geoffrey.  Thanks for asking.”

The butler nodded and left the hallway before retiring to his house for the rest of the evening.

Justin let out a long sigh and rested his head against the wall.  To be sure, he had dealt with difficult clients in the past, but none were as hard to win over as his wife.  He only had one week left of their agreement.  If they didn’t consummate the marriage in that time, she would be heading on a train to live with her father or living in an apartment in the town on her own.  Now that his anger was dying, he felt sad.

Up to that point, he had struggled to be upbeat about the situation.  It was difficult to keep a happy facade going when he worried that he was going to lose her.  What am I doing wrong?  What is so offensive about me?  He shook his head.  If a client treated him the way she did that night, he would simply smile and act as if nothing was wrong.  He would proceed with his work to the best of his ability.  Clearly, it was time to do that with her.

Taking a deep breath, he stood up and straightened his tie.  Then he smoothed his suit jacket and cleared his throat.  “Alright, Mrs. Monroe.  Let’s see what you got.”

He walked to the parlor doors and opened them.  He wasn’t sure what he would find when he went in there, but he was surprised to see her standing in the room with her arms crossed.

“I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to send me away tonight,” she said.

He raised an eyebrow before he closed the doors behind him.  He took his time in walking over to the table.  He lightly drummed his fingers on the oval table as he walked around it.  She stood at the other side of the table and watched him.  She seemed startled by the silence he greeted her with.  She must have expected me to yell at her.  When he reached the end of the table, he didn’t continue to walk around it.  Instead, he left it and went over to the fireplace.  He blew out the candles above the mantle.

“What are you doing?” she asked, sounding concerned.

Looking at her wide brown eyes, he suddenly got the image of a lion stalking its prey, and he was the lion.  It was an image he often used when trying to take control of a meeting with a competitor.  Play it cool.  Be deliberate and casual.  He turned to her, aware of how wonderful she looked as the moonlight poured in through the window and spilled onto her face and dress.  Ever since he learned of their engagement, he longed to take her in his arms and kiss and touch her in a way a man ought to kiss and touch his wife.  Tonight, he would make his move.  No more playing around.  It was time to melt her icicles.  Just don’t let my desperation show.

He smiled at her.  “Red is your color,” he softly said.  “It brings out the color in your cheeks.  But I find the way the dress fits you to be much more seductive than anything else.  And I must confess, the neckline is low enough to give me a glimpse of your beauty while hiding enough to make me curious as to what you look like under those clothes.”

“But…it’s a red dress,” she stammered.  “It’s not a good color for business dinners.”

He recognized her shock.  He had caught her off guard.  That meant her defenses were down.  It was the perfect time to make his move.  “I was wrong earlier.  It was a most lovely choice,” he replied.

She stood still as he walked over to her.  Each step was careful and calculated.  She shook her head.  “Surely, your clients aren’t impressed.”

He smiled at her.  “But I am.”

She looked away from him.  She was completely unsettled and didn’t know what to do about it.  He recognized that look.  He had seen it before.

He stood in front of her.  He lightly brushed her cheek with his fingers.

She looked up at him, appearing surprised by his action, but he noticed that she didn’t back away nor did she protest.  She simply stared at him out of curiosity and wonder.

He decided not to say anything else.  He would let his actions speak for him.  He cupped the sides of her face with his hands and gently kissed her.  She didn’t pull away, so that was a good sign.  He chose to press his luck and kissed her again, only this time he deepened the kiss.  She, in turn, surprised him when she slid her arms around him and returned his kiss.  Her response greatly encouraged him.  His feelings of awkwardness every time he kissed her in the past ebbed away as his desire for her slowly spread through him.  He pulled her close to him so there was no space between them and his erection pressed firmly against her stomach.  She had the most amazing body in the world.  He took the pins out of her hair so that it fell softly around her shoulders.  His hands slid to her breasts and cupped them.  He was hungry for her.  He desperately wanted to make love to her, to be one with her.

As much as he hated to end the moment, he knew it was necessary if he was to get her properly inspired to want more.  Part of business was knowing when to postpone negotiations.  It usually led to more successful agreements in the long-run.  Despite his shallow breathing, he backed away from her.  She was just as breathless as he was.  Her lovely brown curls framed her face and her beautiful eyes looked up at him.  Carrie, I love you so much.  What will it take for you to love me?

She frowned as he quietly walked away from her.  “What are you doing?” she asked, sounding bewildered.

He had to softly clear his throat so he sounded normal.  “I can’t interfere with the annulment.” He turned back to her before he opened the doors.  “I don’t wish for you to be stuck in a marriage you don’t want.” He quickly opened the doors and shut them.

The bright lights in the hallway brought him back to his senses.  One more minute in there and he wouldn’t have stopped.  He smoothed his clothes and straightened his tie.  He couldn’t afford for the servants to misunderstand what happened in the parlor.  If she was determined to get out of the marriage in one week, he didn’t want to compromise her virtue with rumors.

“May I help you, sir?” Constance asked him.

He turned to her.  She had just left the dining room.  He nodded.  “Yes, Constance.  I’m going to take a brief walk.  Will you draw me a cold bath?”

“Cold?” she wondered.

“Cold,” he repeated.  He left the house to go for the walk so he could regain his equilibrium.

 Chapter Seventeen

 Carrie paced back and forth in the entryway.  Justin had a lot of nerve.  He couldn’t kiss her like that and just leave!  As she paced, she thought of what she would tell him.  She had the entire lecture planned out and ready to go when he returned.  She stopped pacing, put her hands on her hips and got ready for a fight as soon as he entered the house.

            He didn’t even blink when he saw her.  He simply took his hat off and set it on the hat rack.

She cleared her throat.

He glanced over at her and said, “Good night, Carrie,” before he walked past her and up the stairs.

“Oh no you don’t!” She angrily followed him.  Since she had to lift up the lower half of her dress so she wouldn’t trip on it, she couldn’t catch up with him.  It was unfair that women couldn’t wear pants.

By the time she reached the top of the stairs, he had already shut his bedroom door.  If he thought she was going to be easily deterred, he had another thing coming.  She was ready to bang her fist on his door when he suddenly opened it.  She stepped back, startled.

He jerked back for a moment.  “Do you want something?”

She noticed the nightclothes in his hand.  She also noticed that he had taken off his suit jacket and shoes.  “I want to talk to you.”

“Alright.  Talk.” He walked over to the bathroom.

“I can’t talk to you through the door.  People will overhear what I want to say.” Since she fully intended to let him have it, she didn’t want anyone to witness the words she planned to use.

“Then come in.” He left the door open and put the clothes on the counter.

“Don’t think for a moment that I’m too timid to do it.”

“Fine.  Go ahead.  I’ll listen.” He took his shirt off.

“You think I won’t go in there and say what’s on my mind?”

“I don’t care if you do or not, but I need to take a bath and you won’t stop me just because you’re having your female hysterics.”

“Female hysterics?” she shrieked.

He gave her a ‘need I say more’ look and took off his belt.

Though she would never dream of entering the bathroom when a man was in it in the past, she was too upset to care about propriety.  She stomped into the room and crossed her arms.  “I have every right to be upset with you, Mr. Monroe.”

“Justin.”

“What?”

“My name is Justin.  It’s not Mr. Monroe.  If you’re going to see me naked, you’ll have to call me by my first name.” He walked by her and shut the door.  “I go by Mr. Monroe to the servants.  They aren’t allowed to see me without my clothes on.”

“We know that you aren’t going to get fully undressed.  So, that brings me to what I was saying before.  What right do you have to be seeking out other women while we’re still married?”

He took off his socks.  “I’m not seeking out other women.”

“Then what was all that talk this morning with Lisa and Sarah about?”

He sighed.  “If you must know, I was trying to make you jealous.  They came up with the idea and I figured it was worth a shot.  I’m not interested in either one of them or any other woman.”

“Why were you trying to make me jealous?”

He started to unbutton his pants.

She felt the heat rise in her cheeks.  He wasn’t actually going to completely undress in front of her, was he?

“Isn’t it obvious?” he asked.  He sounded as casual as if he were discussing investments as he took his pants off.  “I want you to realize that you want to stay married to me, so I thought if you saw that another woman was attracted to me, then you might find me worthwhile as well.” He took his underwear off.  Glancing at her, he said, “I told Constance to make the water cold, so you’ll notice some shrinkage.”

She could only stare in shock as he got into the tub and started bathing.  She couldn’t believe he actually got undressed in front of her.  And there he was taking a bath as if it was the most natural thing in the world for her to watch him like this.

He took the washcloth and soap and started cleaning himself.

She fought the urge to stare at him, to note the male part of him that intrigued her, and turned her attention to the wall.  “So, you don’t want an annulment?”

Though she wasn’t looking at him, she knew he was rolling his eyes.  “I’ve been saying that all along.  You’re the only one I want to be with.  I wouldn’t undress in front of anyone but you.  You’re the one who wants the annulment.” He washed his face.  “I still can’t figure out why you’re in here with me.”

She looked over at him.  “I will not be intimidated by the fact that you’re bathing.  I have some things to tell you.”

“Oh.  Then proceed.  I’m listening.” He washed his hair.

As she watched him, thinking that the masculine form was very attractive, she realized that she couldn’t remember her speech.

“Is the trip to the Davidsons still bothering you?” He rinsed his hair.

“I just don’t want to go through that again.”

“I know.  I’m sorry about leaving you alone with Mrs. Davidson.  I won’t put you through anything like that again.”

“You’re right because I’ll never allow myself to be put in that situation again.”

He frowned.  “Is that because you won’t stay with me or because you know I won’t let that happen again?”

“Sometimes I wish you didn’t have the job you do.” She shook her head.  “I know Mary can accept the demands that the job requires since her father has to deal with similar situations.  She grew up in that world.  She doesn’t mind entertaining the clients’ wives or daughters or sisters, but I’m not like her.  The dinner parties are fine because at least then I can bring my friends over too.  I’m sorry, Justin, but your work isn’t something I can handle.”

“What if I never went on another business trip like that?  I do have the ability to set down such boundaries with the clients.  If they don’t like it, then they can take their business somewhere else.”

“Is that really an option?”

“Yes.  I can make sure that I only work during regular business hours, but I will have to go to dinner parties and host dinner parties.”

She thought it over.  “I could deal with that.”

He finished his bath and asked, “Will you please hand me my towel?  It’s right behind you.” He stared at her and waved his hand to get her attention.

She blinked and concentrated on his face.  “What?”

He grinned.  “I need my towel.  It’s on the hook on the door that’s behind you.  I need you to hand it to me.  That is, unless you want me to stand up and get it myself.”

“Don’t be silly,” she quickly replied.  She turned around and got the towel for him.  She held it out.

He looked amused.  “My arms aren’t that long.  You’ll have to walk over here.”

She loudly sighed and slowly walked toward him.

“At the rate you’re going, it’ll be Christmas by the time I’m out of this tub.”

She picked up the pace.  “Here you go.” Her heart raced with a mixture of apprehension and excitement.  She wasn’t sure what was going to happen once he got out of the tub but wanted to find out.

To her surprise, he grabbed her other hand and pulled her toward him.  She lost her balance and ended up kneeling by the tub.  Her face was close to his and he gently held her hand.  Her other hand still held the towel.

“Say my name, Carrie,” he softly requested.

“Justin,” she whispered.  The very nearness of him was making her weak.

“Say it again.  I like hearing you say it.”

“Justin.”

He smiled.  “I love you, Carrie.”

“I love you too, Justin.”

“Then will you come to my bed?”

“Tonight and for the rest of our lives.”

He kissed her.  She responded to the softness of his lips, forgetting all about the cold water in the tub or her embarrassment at being with him while he was naked.  He reached up and drew her into his arms.  She parted her lips and he slid his tongue into her mouth.  The butterflies in her stomach fluttered as his tongue touched hers.

When he pulled away, he whispered, “Let’s go to bed.”

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to www.ruthannnordin.com or check out https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com.
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