“Absolutely. It’s part of the reason I love…”
“Then why would you want to tear that down?”
I am at a total loss for words. What the fuck, Marilyn Alison.
“I can tell from the look on your face that you’re shocked I would say such a thing. Do I doubt your intentions for my daughter? Not really. I don’t know enough about you to make that call. I do know, however, that one of the worst things a woman can do for herself is get married. No good has ever come from beholding one’s self to a man.”
Alpha Asshole Ian would like to make a joke about gay marriage being legal, so Marilyn is totally in luck, but I shall refrain. “Kathryn would never be beholden to me. The extent to which I wish to take care of her is purely emotional and, yes, physical. Not financially. I know she’s fine in that department.”
“I can assure you that I am a man of my own fortune. Should we get married, she would be the first to insist on a very harsh prenup.”
“Then I have taught her well.” Why is she smiling? Oh my God, I am in deep shit and I don’t know how to swim out of it! “Perhaps there is hope for Kathryn after all. I know she is a lovesick kitten. It happens to the best of women. But I also know you men. You may think you love her now, but it’s only a matter of time before you cast her aside. You should know quite well, Mr. Mathers. Your parents are your first examples.”
“Kathryn and I have a very happy and healthy relationship. My respect for her is unmatched by any other man’s.” My hands are curling beneath the table. “I assure you, Mrs. Alison, I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to ensure her happiness.”
Marilyn leans across the table, her transparent cheeks pinking the closer she gets to me. “Then don’t marry her. You want her to be happy with you? Never put that pressure on her. I’m sure you think you’re quite the catch, Mr. Mathers. Most men assume they are. How else would your egos continue to persist? Unfortunately, reality is a harsh mistress. I know about your history as a womanizer. I also know about the other things.” Her voice turns into a bitter sneer. “I could see it in my daughter’s eyes when I saw her. She’s changing because of you. For the better? Probably not. She was more nervous and more unsure of herself than I had ever seen. This is what happens when a woman begins to serve a man. It will end with her completely losing who she is and…”
“What do you know about her?” I ask. “You left her. You left her. You know why she’s such a wreck around you? Because she blames herself for your leaving.” Kathryn has never said this outright, but I doubt my gut is wrong. “You know what else? She’s afraid of turning into you. We’ve spent the past year unboxing her issues. Most of them regard you. I don’t know what you’ve heard about me, and I don’t care. I’m not going to tell you I’m a changed man. The only thing that’s changed is that I’m devoted to no one but her. That doesn’t scare me. Monogamy has never frightened me. Until I met Kathryn, though, I hadn’t met a woman who deserved such an honor in my life. Now I have. She’s the only woman I want for the rest of my life. If you can’t see that much worth in our relationship, then I don’t know what to tell you. All I know is that I want to be there for her until the world deems it’s time for me to go.”
Marilyn studies me, demeanor unchanged. “I’m sure you believe that, Mr. Mathers.”
“I’m sure you know a lot about my lifestyle. I won’t deny any of it. I won’t tell you that Kathryn and I don’t have that kind of relationship. We do. You know what else?”
“No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.”
I can’t with this woman. Absolutely cannot. She’s so twisted in her own head she only sees warning signs everywhere she goes. I’m sure I’m the biggest warning sign of all, flashing right in her face.
“Your daughter isn’t any different from me. How do you think we got together? Our deviancy goes both ways, Mrs. Alison.”