Bianca Benjamin was in big trouble. Nibbling on her thumb nail as she paced the floor, she racked her brain to come up with an explanation that would appease her husband. She didn’t have much time. According to her calculations, he would be home any day now. As much as she missed her man, she wasn’t quite ready to face him just yet. His reaction to what she had done might very well be the breaking point of their marriage, which was already, on shaky ground.
She was a freshman in high school, when she met the twenty-year-old Wesley at her best friend Shelly’s home on a cold Thanksgiving Day morning. She had dropped by to pick up Shelly so they could get to the football field early to get decent seats. It didn’t surprise her to see Donald, Shelly’s older brother. He’d always come home for visits, whenever possible. But what did take her by surprise was the visitor named, Wesley, he’d brought home with him.
The second they stepped foot out the door she began to question her friend about Wesley. “Dang! You so nosy, Bianca!” She had teased.
Nudging her friend, she shot back, “Am not!” The entire time praying Shelly would give up the info on Donald’s friend.
Grinning, Shelly never passed up an opportunity to gossip, no matter how trivial. Bianca listened as she told her how the guys became really tight during basic training. “I don’t think he has any family that’s why Donald asked Mom and Dad if he could come home for Thanksgiving.”
A wave of sadness filled Bianca for the stranger she’d just met. “That’s a shame.” Immediately, something inside of her was drawn to him.
For years she’d been crushing on Donald. She fantasized about how they would have a big wedding and she’d wear a white gown fit for a princess. And after they were married they’d have at least three babies. But when she set eyes on Wesley, all her childhood fantasies went up in a puff of smoke.
Her new crush was six-three, dark chocolate, ruggedly handsome, and powerfully built. At a mere five-feet two inches, she had to tilt her head back to look up at him to say hello. Yup, they would marry and have beautiful, chocolate babies.
Of course he didn’t pay her an ounce of attention the day they met. After all, she was just a teenaged, ugly duckling with a terrible case of acne. It wasn’t until he returned home with Donald a few years later, shortly after she and Shelly had graduated high school that he had taken notice of her.
Bianca had morphed into a beautiful swan with clear skin the color of creamy milk chocolate with a hint of cream. And her petite frame held curves in all the right places. She knew Wesley was hooked the second she caught his dark, predatory gaze scanning her from head to toe with pure male interest. Flattered by his heated gaze, she blushed, shyly looking away.
She was a bundle of nerves when he sauntered over to her, striking up a conversation about, of all things, the yellow butterfly tattoo at the center of the nape of her neck. If she could have, she would have kissed herself for wearing her hair up in a sleek bun.
Before leaving the cookout at Shelly’s parents’ home, the two exchanged numbers. She didn’t think he was serious when he promised to call her the following day. Bianca felt like the luckiest girl in the world when he followed through on his promise. That night they stayed up until dawn on the phone getting to know each other.
With him living several states away it was difficult for them to date like a traditional couple. But they didn’t let that stop them. It was Wesley’s idea for them to rent the same movie, watch it and then have a lengthy discussion afterwards. And it was Bianca’s idea for them to Skype as they ate dinner. On Saturdays they would go for early morning walks, talking on their cell phones, as they made plans to see each other again.
Afraid of the tongue lashing she would get from her mother, Bianca kept their budding relationship a secret. The few times Wesley had come to town to visit her, she would lie and say she was spending the weekend with Shelly. Unfortunately, one of her mother’s nosy friends spotted the couple having dinner at restaurant across town. The old bat had a nerve to come charging over to their table with threats of calling Bianca’s mother.
Seeing the terror in her eyes, Wesley had been adamant about going home with Bianca to face her mother. Outraged by the fact that her daughter had been sneaking around behind her back with some man she didn’t know, the woman had forbidden Bianca to continue seeing Wesley. This only fueled their passion, ending up with them running off and getting married.
At first everything was pure bliss, until Wesley had begun to slowly reveal who he really was. It wasn’t that he was a bad, or a physically abusive man. The problem was he had so many inner demons that she was not equipped to deal with as a nineteen-year-old bride. Because of his demons, he had a need to control every aspect of not only their marriage, but her life as well. For the most part, she would concede to his way of doing things to keep him happy and to keep the peace in their marriage. However, what he didn’t know about his seemingly quiet and timid wife was that she had a stubborn streak that would strike out every now and again.
Their first serious argument had been over Bianca wanting to go to college to get her degree in social work. He was adamant about her being a stay-at-home military wife. But she wasn’t having it, and became terribly angry arguing with him over the matter. She was completely out done, when he offhandedly quipped, “Go to the nursing home and volunteer a few hours a week if you’re bored.”
His arrogant and dismissive suggestion to her complaint about not having anything to do while he was away serving his country, had grated on her last nerve. Slamming the grocery bag on the table, bruising the plum tomatoes in the process, she angrily glared at him. “Why do you get to have a career going around the world saving your country and I can’t go to school to become a social worker?”
With smugness oozing out of his pores he shrugged a broad shoulder. “Because I said so. I’m your husband and that’s how it’s going to be.”
He had the nerve to grin at her and then flex his pectoral muscles. Any other time that sexy grin and the flexing of the muscles would have had her panties wet, and he knew it. But not that time. He was too busy being a jackass for her to respond.
Stunned, her eyes rapidly blinked to keep the tears from falling. I’ll show your smart behind. She didn’t mumble a single word as she put the groceries away like a good little wife. Ever since she was a little girl she wanted to be a social worker. It was one of her life’s dreams to have a career, where she could help people and make a difference in their lives. And now because she was a wife, his wife, he was telling her she couldn’t have a career too. Did he think they were still living in the early twentieth century?
Not giving into his unrealistic demands, she patiently waited three months, until he was away on his next assignment, and drove herself right down to Methodist University in Fayetteville. By the time he returned home, she was enrolled in fall semester classes.
That little stunt resulted in her husband giving her the silent treatment for a month. Every time she tried to plead her case, he’d walk away not caring to hear a word she had to say. Even though it hurt her to her heart that the man she loved acted as if she didn’t have a choice in how she lived her life, Bianca didn’t cave in. Because if she had given into his demands, she would have withered into a shell of nothing, becoming what he wanted her to be. Instead she poured herself into her studies and patiently waited for her husband to come around.
Bianca stopped her pacing as the tears welled up in her eyes. Taking in a deep breath, she tried to steady her emotions. Every time she relived that night, she always questioned whether she made the right decision by staying. Although she hadn’t left her mother’s home on good terms, after she and Wesley had their first big argument, she called home crying to her mom for help. A soothing voice is what she’d been looking for to calm her rattled nerves. Instead she got something else. She remembered having to hold the phone away from her ear, afraid her ear drum was going to burst from her mom’s squawking rant. “That’s what you get for running off with him! You’re lucky he ain’t start beating your simple behind. I told you he was no good! He probably got another woman running around town and that’s why he doesn’t want you leaving the house! Girl, bring your silly tail home!”
Though her mother’s words were harsh, she had considered taking her advice, packing up her things and going back home. Although he was being unreasonable with his demands, her heart wouldn’t allow her to leave him. Going with her gut instinct to not give up on her marriage had been the right thing to do, because things had gotten back to normal between them. Thankfully, she had allowed love to rule her decision and hadn’t listened to her mom. After much discussion, the couple had come to an agreement that if school interfered with her taking care of their home, she would quit and go back to being a full-time housewife.
She had held up her end of the bargain, tending to their home while he was away, and being the dutiful wife attending to his needs when he returned home. All while managing to graduate magna cum laude. Things remained good between them even after she took a job as a social worker at a birthing center. Wesley hadn’t even balked when she had begun taking online classes to get her master’s in social work. Mostly because she had promised to only take one class at a time during the fall and spring semesters.
Flopping down on the sofa, she dropped her head into her hands. Why was life so complicated? Why was he so complicated? Their marriage had survived their falling out over her wanting an education and fulfilling a childhood dream. And now they both were happy in careers they loved. However, the next major challenge they faced, still until this day, continued to drive a wedge between them.
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