The more time that Thornton spent with Alana, the more his admiration for her grew. She was lovely, intelligent and had a very charming personality. He was having a difficult time believing that David was cheating on her.
“Thornton, you know a lot about me, but I don’t know much about you.”, Alana said.
“There is not that much to know. I grew up in Bridgeport and met my ex-wife there. She wanted to live in a smaller town, and so we moved here a few years ago. We should never have married because we had different goals in life. She has since remarried and moved to Riverview with her husband. I stayed here in Sunset Valley.”, he said.
He left out the fact that Morgana had wanted a family, and he hadn’t. That was a major reason for their divorce. Although when he looked at Alana, he felt that maybe a family wouldn’t be too bad after all.
“Thank you for taking me to lunch, Thornton.”, Alana said smiling for the first time since they had met. When she smiled at him, Thornton felt his heart melt.
“It was my pleasure.”, he told her. Their hands touched as they reached for their glasses at the same time, and Thornton’s pulse began to race. He quickly took a sip of water.
He could not believe the effect that Alana was having on him. He prided himself on being in control of his emotions, but Alana seemed to take all of that control away.
“I guess that I had better get back to the hotel.”, Alana said.
“Don’t you have family here in town that you can stay with?”, Thornton asked.
“Yes, but I would rather not stay with them. They would ask questions, and I don’t feel like talking about it now.”, she answered.
“Alana, I have a big house out on the point. You are welcome to stay with me as long as you need to.”, he offered, shocking himself as the words came out of his mouth.
Alana looked at him, surprised. Although they had just met, Alana felt that she could trust Thornton. He was a well known, respected attorney in town. That was why she had selected him, but she was still surprised that he had offered her a place to stay.
“Thank you, Thornton. I really appreciate the offer.”, Alissa said. Since she was five months pregnant, she doubted that there would be any gossip about her staying with Thornton. Thornton paid the bill and then they stopped at Alana’s hotel to pick up her suitcase.
The more time that passed without me speaking with Alana, the more frantic I was becoming. “How could I have let this happen?”, I asked myself.
By the time that they arrived at his home, Thornton could tell that Alanna was tired. He took her things upstairs to the master bedroom.
“I can’t take your bedroom, Thornton!”, Alana protested.
“I’ll be fine in my office. I have a bed in there that is quite comfortable.”, he told her. “Alana, you need to let David know where you are.”, he said.
Panic came into her eyes. “I can’t talk to him. It hurts too much right now.”, she said.
“How about if I call him for you.”, Thornton suggested.
Alana was relieved. “Yes. Please call him for me.” She knew that David was taking good care of the children, but right now she could not even handle that. She gave him David’s cell number. Thornton left the room to make the call, and Alana collapsed onto the bed exhausted.
I rushed to answer my phone, hoping it was Alana.
“Hello, Mr. Fermin?”, the caller asked.
“Yes.”, David answered.
“My name is Thornton Wolff. I am calling in behalf of your wife, Mrs. Fermin. I am an attorney, and she has hired me to represent her.”, Thornton told him.
David felt as though his heart had stopped beating. “Represent her in what capacity?”, David asked.
“I am not at liberty to give you that information. She has asked me to call and let you know her whereabouts.”, Thornton said.
“I want to see her. Where is she?”, David said.
“At the present time, she does not wish to see you. She is staying with me at my home for a while. That is all the information that I can reveal to you at this time. We will be in touch. You have a good afternoon, Mr. Fermin.”, Thornton said and disconnected the call.
I stood holding the phone in my hand, feeling crushed. There was only one reason why Alana would have hired an attorney. She was divorcing me! Why was she staying with her attorney?
I wanted to find out all that I could about Thornton. I called my father. I had not told him what had occurred between me and Alana, but decided that it was time. When my father answered, I told him what had happened the night before and about the phone call from Thornton today.
“David I don’t believe that Alana would ever divorce you! You two love each other too much. You just need to sit down together and talk.”, my father said.
“I agree Dad, but her attorney said that she doesn’t want to see me. She is staying at his home.”, I told him.
“It is odd that she is staying with him. I know that Thornton Wolff has a good reputation. He and his ex-wife moved to town after you and Alana left. He lives in that big house out on the bluff.”, he told me.
“I’m going out there and try to get her to see me. Thornton can’t keep her from me! Can I bring the kids over there?”, I asked.
“Why don’t you pack some things for them and let them stay with us for a few days. That will give you and Alana a chance to work things out.”, he suggested
I dropped the children off at my parents home and then headed over to Thornton’s house. Ordinarily I would have appreciated the beautiful views of the ocean from its cliffside location, but my mind was on my estranged wife. I rushed up the stairs to what I hoped was the front door and rang the doorbell.
After getting Alana settled at his home, Thornton had gone back to the office to see his next client and update Alana’s file. This was a short day of appointments for him. He usually stayed after his appointments were done and updated all of his current case files. However, today, he decided to go home early. He knew it was because Alana was there.
As he pulled into his driveway, he saw an unfamiliar car parked there. He gathered his things and started up the stairs to his front door.
I saw him approaching. “Are you Thornton Wolff?”, I asked.
“Yes, I am. I assume that you are David Fermin?”, Thornton replied.
“Yes, and I am here to bring my wife home.”, I said.
“Mr. Fermin, I am sorry, but as I indicated to you on the phone, Alana doesn’t want to speak with you right now.”, Thornton said. He winced when he realized that he had used her first name instead of calling her Mrs. Fermin.
I noticed his use of Alana’s first name and combined with the fact that she was staying at Thornton’s home, I had a strong feeling that Thornton’s interest in Alana was more than professional. I knew how vulnerable Alana had to be right now, and I did not want Thornton taking advantage of the situation. However, if Alana would not even speak to me, I did not know what to do.
“Maybe you should explain to me why my wife is staying here with you.”, I told him.
Thornton smiled. “I suggested that she stay with a friend or a relative and she refused. Because of her pregnancy, I thought she would be more comfortable here than at a motel.”, he explained.
My instincts were telling me that it was more than that, however I had no proof. I had to accept Thornton’s explanation for now.
Alana was sitting in the living room reading, when she heard the doorbell ring.
She went to the door and looked out through the peephole. David was standing there. The sight of him caused her to begin sobbing again. She didn’t answer the door. She collapsed into a chair in the living room.
“I’m here to see Alana.”, I told him firmly.
Thornton’s expression hardened. “As Mrs. Fermin’s attorney, I have already informed you that my client does not wish to speak with you at this time.”
“So it’s Mrs. Fermin, now!”, I thought to myself. I had a strong temptation to smash my fist into his smug face, but I regained my self-control. I knew that punching him would only make the situation worse.
Instead, I told him, “I’ll accept that for now, but please tell my wife that I need to speak with her as soon as possible.” Then I turned to leave.
David’s attitude had gotten under Thornton’s skin. If Alana wanted a divorce, he would no longer try to discourage her. “Mr. Fermin!”, Thornton called to me.
“Yes.”, I answered.
“You need to hire an attorney!”, he said. Then he went through the door into his house.
I got into my car and drove away with a heavy heart.