The Stubborn Suitor

By: Alexa Wilder

Still, Cami couldn’t help the small pang of jealousy creeping up her spine. It’s not like she wanted Ken back or anything. She was definitely happy to be rid of him. But he had so easily found someone new to warm his bed, while Cami hadn’t even been on a date in over a year. She loved Madison, and being a mother was her number-one priority. Yet she still yearned for someone to share her life with.

“So yeah,” Ken began after an awkward moment of silence. “I just thought you should know, since she’ll be a part of the family officially now. She’ll be Madison’s stepmom.”

That statement made Cami cringe. She didn’t want to imagine that woman having anything to do with Madison, much less being considered a parental figure.

“Well,” Cami replied curtly. “Congratulations. I wish you every happiness. Now, if you don’t mind, I need to get back to my break.”

“Actually,” Ken replied. “There’s something else I want to talk to you about.”

“What?” Cami couldn’t keep the added level of annoyance out of her voice, but she really didn’t care.

“Natalie has put in a notice at her job,” Ken replied. “She wants to be a housewife.”

She just wants to live off your money, Cami thought, but she didn’t say this aloud. If he wanted to marry a gold-digger, so be it. He was smart enough to make sure she wouldn’t get anything in the divorce—same as he had done to Cami. Four years of marriage, and Cami had walked away with a menial monthly child support payment and no spousal support. That’s what happens when your husband comes from a family full of lawyers and has unlimited funds, all while you can barely afford the cheapest lawyer in the phone book.

“Good for her,” is all Cami said in reply.

“So we were thinking,” Ken continued, “since you work so much, and Natalie is going to be a homemaker, Madison could spend more time with us. In fact, I was thinking that it would make more sense if we took over primary custody.”

It took a moment for his words to sink in. Ken had never really seemed to be all that interested in more custody than he already had. In fact, it was often difficult to get him to keep Madison on the weekends he was already scheduled to have her. And now, he was expecting to take over primary custody.

Cami couldn’t help but laugh: it had to be a joke.

“It’s not funny,” Ken replied. “I’m serious.”

“Ken, there is no way you could handle any more custody than you already have. And there is absolutely no way I am giving up primary custody of Madison.”

“You don’t get to decide that on your own,” Ken replied. His friendly tone was gone, and he was beginning to sound angry.

“No, Ken, the lawyers decided that during the divorce. And you agreed upon it.”

“Yeah, well that was then. This is now. Natalie will be a stay-at-home mom. That’s what Madison needs. It’s more than you can provide for her.”

“You have no idea what Madison needs!” Cami was nearly shouting now and she saw a few heads turn towards her in the courtyard. She swallowed and continued in a calmer, quieter tone. “Ken, where is this even coming from? I can’t even get you to keep your scheduled time with Madison. Why are you asking for more now?”

“Things are different now. Natalie and I are getting married. We’re going to be a family.”

“That’s awesome,” Cami replied sarcastically. “Start your own family.”

“We can’t,” he said quietly. “Natalie can’t have kids.”

Cami knew that she probably should have felt bad at hearing such a revelation, but instead she was incensed.

“So what?” she asked, voice rising again. “You think you can just take my daughter away from me to play house with? That’s not going to happen.”

“Yes, it will,” Ken voice was forceful and confident. It made Cami cringe. “I was hoping we could work this out like adults, but obviously you’re being too immature.”

“I’m being immature?” Cami gasped. “You’re the one that thinks he can just decide to take my daughter away from me.”

“Think about this rationally,” Ken said. “Natalie and I can give her things you can’t. You work ten-hour shifts at the hospital. You barely ever see her as it is.”

“That’s not true,” Cami snapped. “I only work those long shifts so I have three days off a week to spend with Madison. You have no idea what you’re talking about. You don’t have the slightest clue what Madison needs.”

“I know she needs security. I can provide that for her. Natalie and I can. We can provide for her.”

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