The Stubborn SuitorBy: Alexa Wilder
I cannot lose her, she thought. I will not allow Ken to take her away from me!
Yes, Cami worked full-time. But even on the days she worked, she was always home in time to bathe her daughter and tuck her into bed. The only times that Madison went to bed without a goodnight story and a kiss from her mother were the nights she spent with her father. Ken was wrong. Her own mother was wrong.
“I’m a great mom,” Cami said out loud. “I am what’s best for Madison!”
Eventually, Cami’s stomach began to rumble, so she made her way to the kitchen to microwave something easy for dinner. After a quick meal of frozen burritos, Cami settled on the sofa to relax with a generous glass of red wine and all of the TV shows she’d been meaning to catch up on.
Cami was just getting into the latest episode of The Voice when her phone rang. She’d completely forgotten that Maggie had promised to call her after the family dinner. Cami was exhausted and considered not answering the phone, but decided that a conversation with Maggie may be exactly what she needed.
“Hey,” she said, picking up the call. “How was dinner?”
“Meh. I’ll tell you all about it in a minute. What’s up with you? You said you had something you really needed to talk to me about.”
Cami exhaled. For a moment, she’d hoped that Maggie had forgotten all about that, and that they could just spend some time chatting about superfluous stuff. But it didn’t seem like that was the case. Maggie was quiet, waiting for Cami to speak.
“I talked to Ken today,” Cami divulged.
“Yeah? He isn’t trying to cancel with Madison this weekend, is he? Because I have plans for us, girl.”
“No, actually,” Cami began. “He…he um…he wants more custody of Madison. In fact, he wants primary custody.”
“What?” Maggie asked. “He can’t even handle the custody he has now.”
“I know,” Cami replied with a bitter laugh. “But he and Natalie are getting married. I guess he thinks that Madison will be the icing on the cake of his perfect little life. Natalie wants to be a stay-at-home mom.”
“Well, then she needs to pop out some kids of her own.”
“Apparently, she can’t have kids.”
“That doesn’t mean she can have yours!” Maggie said angrily.
It warmed Cami’s heart to hear Maggie jump to her defense. “I know. But he has lots of money and amazing lawyers and, now, apparently a stay-at-home wife. I work full-time and can’t even afford the crappy attorney that represented me during my divorce.”
“You’re a great mom,” Maggie said.
“I know that. You know that. I don’t know if I’ll be able to convince a judge of that.”
“He’s not going to take Madison away,” Maggie said confidently.
“How can you be so sure?” Cami asked, feeling the stifling fear from earlier that day sinking back into her chest. “He wants to meet with me and my lawyer next week. I don’t even have a lawyer.”
“Relax. We’ll get you one. I’ll talk to my dad. He knows lots of lawyers.”
“There’s no way I can afford any of the attorneys your family knows.”
“I’m sure they’d be willing to pro-rate their fees. I’ll explain the circumstances. We’ll figure something out together. We will not allow that rat bastard to steal Madison!”
Cami wanted to trust Maggie, but she knew that her best friend was overly idealistic. She meant well, but Maggie didn’t have a lot of experience with the way the world worked outside of her privileged upbringing. Still though, Cami couldn’t help but smile. It was good to have someone in her corner. Someone other than her well-meaning but condescending mother.
“How was your dinner?” Cami asked, trying to change the subject.
“Ugh… if I had taken a shot every time my mother mentioned that I need to lose weight, I’d be shit-faced right now.”
For the first time that day, Cami found herself giggling.
“I know exactly what you mean,” she said. “My mother gave me a talking-to today, too. I’m pretty sure that her exact words were, ‘if you lost weight, you’d be able to catch yourself a man.’ Catch a man…as if they are fish. As if I need a man to rescue me—to take care of me.”
“Shoot, girlfriend, you don’t need no man,” Maggie agreed.
“Damn straight. And the thing is… I have no trouble attracting men. Neither of us does.”
That was the truth. Whenever the two friends went out, they always had guys falling all over themselves to buy them drinks. Lots of men actually wanted a woman with curves on her body.