The billionaires obsessi.., p.7
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       The Billionaire's Obsession, p.7
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         Part #1 of An Heir At Any Price series by Holly Rayner
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  After that was all taken care of, I went by to see Joe. I went through the back and of course, found him in the kitchen.

  “Hey Holly. Isn’t this your day off? You just can’t stay away from this place can you?”

  I smiled, I really liked Joe. I was going to miss him. “Actually,” I told him. “I came by to give you my notice.”

  He was holding a spatula and dropped it when I said that. He looked down at it for a second and then back up at me.

  “Why? Did something happen? Is someone bothering you? If it’s about that drunk the other night, I won’t make you close up alone any longer. That was completely my fault.”

  “No, Joe. Everything’s been great, and the obnoxious drunk was not your fault. I got another offer and it’s just a lot more money. I’m sorry. I love it here, I have been very happy.”

  “Oh, well I guess you can’t pass that up. What will you be doing?” I knew he would ask and I also knew Rose and Myra would ask. I had a story ready.

  “I’m going to be a personal assistant,” I told him.

  “That’s cool,” he said. “I think you’ll be good at that, you’ve always been good with the details.”

  “Thanks Joe and I’m sorry about leaving you. Hopefully you can find someone before my two weeks is up.”

  “When do they want you to start the other job?” he asked.

  “Right away, but I told them that I’d have to give you notice.”

  “Nah, Rose and Myra and that new little waiter I hired as relief…what the hell is his name? Trent? Taylor?”

  I laughed, “It’s Trenton.”

  “Oh yeah, anyways, he’d love the hours and I think he’s pretty well trained by now.”

  “Are you sure, Joe? I don’t want to leave you in a bind. You’ve been so good to me.”

  “Nah, I’m sure. We’ll be fine, and quit that lying. You know I haven’t been good to you at all. I’m an old grump.”

  I hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheek, “You are an old grump, but I love you anyways.” He looked embarrassed, but he hugged me back. Rose and Myra were busy and I thought it would be better if I called them anyways. They’ll ask fewer questions on the phone. I wasn’t prepared to tell them just yet what I was really doing.

  I stopped at the grocery store on my way back to the apartment. I got food to make dinner for Aiden and me. I liked to cook, and I wasn’t crazy about the idea of eating out every night. When I got back to the penthouse and stepped out of my cab, the first thing that happened was Aiden’s driver who was seated in the podium area got up and said, “Miss Valentine, you don’t have to pay for a cab. Mr. Scott left me here in case you needed anything. You just beat me out this morning. If that ever happens again, you are welcome to call me.”

  “Oh, okay. I’m sorry I’m just so used to calling a cab. Old habits die hard.”

  He laughed and said, “Yes ma’am. Just call me next time.”

  I told him that I would, but the truth was, I didn’t want anyone who was connected to Aiden to know about my mother. I wasn’t ready for Aiden to know about her.

  Once I got to the penthouse I unpacked my groceries and set everything up to start cooking dinner. I had the chicken browned and was just adding the vegetables to the wok when Aiden got home.

  “Hi,” Aiden said, looking at me strangely when he came into the kitchen.

  “Hey,” I said with a smile. “I hope you don’t mind that I’m using your kitchen, I’ll clean it all when I’m done.”

  “Of course I don’t mind, Holly. I want you to think of this as your home as long as you’re here. But, you don’t have to do that. There are about a dozen restaurants around here that deliver and you can get good nutritious foods from most of them.”

  “I know. I like to cook though. If I’m not going to be working I’ll have to find other ways to spend my time. I can’t just sit around.” Aiden smiled.

  “Okay, you do as you like,” he said. “Do I have time for a shower before its ready?”

  “Yep,” I told him. “It will be all set up when you get out.” I went about my cooking and setting the table, humming as I did. I was happy, for the first time in a really long time, I was truly happy. But that was a problem in itself, wasn’t it? I was setting myself up for how bad I was going to feel when this was all over. Lost in my own thoughts, I searched the kitchen for some simple water glasses. I found a lot of cups and wine glasses and champagne flutes, even juice glasses, but no water glasses anywhere. I opened the one cabinet that I hadn’t looked in yet and finally saw them there on the top shelf. I stood up on my tiptoes, but they were just out of my reach. I was just thinking that I was going to have to get a chair when I felt Aiden’s hand brush past mine and pull a glass off the shelf for me. As he reached up for a second one I could feel the heat from his body. He smelled clean and masculine from his shower and whatever he’d put on afterwards. I was suddenly intoxicated by it.

  I lowered myself down off my toes and looked at him. He’d dressed in a casual pair of Levi’s and a white long-sleeved cotton t-shirt. The white of the shirt really offset his dark hair, eyes and soft tan complexion. I felt myself flush with heat from my head to my toes and I could visualize throwing myself into his arms, kissing and hugging him as I feasted on his luscious lips. I didn’t do it though, I maintained my professionalism and after clearing the world’s largest lump from my throat, I said, “Dinner’s ready.”

  “Do you want wine?” he asked.

  “No, thank you. I’ll have water.” He waited for me to sit down and then he sat too.

  “It smells great,” he said. “Looks good too.”

  “It’s one of my…my favorites of the things I can cook,” I told him.

  He took a bite and said, “Wow, great job, Holly. It’s delicious.”

  “I’m glad you like it,” I said. We were both silent for the next several minutes as we ate. Aiden commented once more on how delicious it was as he dabbed at his mouth.

  After we both finished, he actually helped me with kitchen clean-up duty and I put on a pot of coffee for myself and he took a beer out of the refrigerator. We both went out into the living room, and Aiden asked if I’d like to listen to some music.

  “Sure,” I said.

  He turned it on and a sweet old “oldies” tune began to waft out. He started to change it and I said, “Oh leave it there, please. My dad used to listen to these old songs while he worked in his garage. I love them.”

  Aiden smiled and said, “Me too.” We sat silently, listening for a minute and he surprised me when he broke the silence by saying, “I think we have a lot in common.”

  “Sure we do,” I said. “We’re both millionaire mogul CEO’s and we both own swanky penthouses and our very own limousine.”

  Aiden laughed and said, “I didn’t say we had everything in common. I haven’t always been what you call a “millionaire mogul” you know.” He had laughed, but he almost sounded offended, as if that was all I thought of him.

  “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to offend you. Of course I know there’s a lot more to you than that.”

  He smiled again and said, “You didn’t offend me, Holly. I do get tired of the labels that we attach to people. Now, I’m the millionaire mogul and people bow at my feet. When I was a teenager I had different labels. I was the “bookworm,” I was “the nerd.” It’s amazing how money can change people’s perceptions of you, and themselves.”

  I was staring at him, gaping I suppose. Finally he said, “What?”

  “I’m sorry; I just can’t picture you as a nerd. Being smart is usually one of the qualities so yes, I see that…but you’re much too attractive to be a nerd.”

  He laughed and I think I blushed. I’m not sure what I’d meant to say, but it wasn’t that. “Well, thank you for that. Sometimes I still feel him in there, that nerdy kid who everyone picked on and made fun of trying to get out. What label did you have in high school, Holly?”

  “I don’t think I had one
,” I lied. I was one of the outcasts, one of the groups of kids whose home life was so miserable that they were practically invisible anywhere else they went, because that was easier than making friends and then telling them they can’t come to your house, or no, your mother couldn’t drive them home from school.

  I could feel Aiden scrutinizing me, but he let it go. He turned to another subject, “Tell me why a beautiful woman like you is still single, and why such an obviously intelligent woman is working at a dead end job.”

  My stomach lurched a little. I didn’t want to talk about all of that with him. What difference would it make in the long run? “I just haven’t found the right man yet,” I said. “And I was actually saving for college,” I lied. “I’m going to get there soon. Maybe that’s what I’ll do with the money that you’re paying me.”

  He reached out and touched my face sending tiny little chills running down my arms. Then he said, “I think there’s a great deal about you that I have yet to discover.” I wondered if that was just an abstract statement, or if that meant he really wanted to know me. He answered that question with his next one, “What was it your father was tinkering on in the garage when he listened to his oldies?”

  I had to smile at the thought of my dad. He loved to work on things. By trade he was a sanitation engineer, a garbage man for the city. He loved his job, and I always thought it was because he got to find ‘treasures’ that he would later be able to bring home and fix up. “Everything,” I told Aiden. “He would find things that people had thrown out and bring them home and then when he had time, he would restore them, or make completely new things out of them. He was good too. Much of what was in our house were things that he made or as he used to put it, ‘brought back to life.’”

  Aiden was smiling, “Did you lose him long ago?” he asked.

  “When I was fourteen. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, stand and watch them put the man I loved so dearly into the ground.”

  “I know what you mean,” Aiden told her. “My parents were killed in a car accident when I was twelve. It was earth-shattering. I was lost for most of my teen years, just wondering where I belonged.”

  “Oh Aiden, I’m sorry to hear that. Did you have other relatives who took you in?”

  “I did, but none of them could keep me for long for one reason or another. My aunt took me in first, but she already had four children and when she found out she was expecting her fifth, she sent me to live with my grandparents. They were good to me, but they’d lived in another state much of my life and we didn’t really know each other. They were a lot older too. It was like living with strangers. When my grandfather passed and Grandmother had to go into a nursing home I was sixteen. I emancipated myself then and I’ve been on my own mostly since. I’m sure all of that has to do with why I crave my own family so badly.”

  “I’m sure it does,” I said. “No brothers or sisters?”

  “No, I was an only child.”

  “Me too. My parents lost one after me. I think they were afraid to try again.”

  We sat quietly again, listening to the music. It was a comfortable silence, one that comes from being content. I had my head leaned back into the sofa and I felt Aiden reach over and touch my hair softly. I looked at him and he said softly, “You’re so beautiful, Holly.”

  I felt myself blush and thankfully before I could spit out my silly, “Thank you,” he pulled me into him and covered my mouth with a kiss. His tongue snaked in between my lips and joined mine in a beautiful tango. We kissed for a long time and even though I started to feel like I could hardly breathe, I didn’t want it to end. When it did, he only pulled back slightly and I could feel his breath on my face as he said, “Would you mind if I join you in your bed again tonight?”

  I smiled, I’m sure it was a giddy smile because that’s how I felt. “Not at all,” I told him. He stood up and reached out for my hand. I took his and followed him to my new room. The curtains were wide open so that the twinkling of the fairy lights across the city cast a soft glow over everything. We didn’t bother closing them, we were on top of the world, and no one would see us here.

  ~

  Chapter Ten

  ~

  I woke up alone again the next morning. The night before had been magical. Aiden was a skilled and tender lover, without a doubt the best that I’d ever had. Not that I’d had that many, but enough to know that the way he concentrated on my wants and needs and unselfishly brought me pleasure was not the norm. I wondered if he left the moment that I had fallen asleep. Was that to keep himself distanced? Was he trying to not have feelings for me, or did he really not?

  I stretched out in the comfortable bed and told myself not to think about it now. There would be plenty of time to figure that out while we work on conception and then spend nine months awaiting the arrival of his miracle. I shuddered again at that thought and made myself change tracks. I had to take my mother to rehab today and then meet the contractor at her house and discuss with him what needed to be done there.

  I threw back the sheet and climbed out of bed. I put on my robe and slippers and wandered through the big, empty apartment to the kitchen. I found myself looking around as I poured my coffee, but there was no note today. Yesterday’s was a fluke, just to orient me to my first day. He wasn’t my husband, or my boyfriend. I was his employee and he was under no obligation to tell me where he was going, when he would be back, or to wish me a good day.

  I took my coffee out on the balcony again and as I sat there and sipped it in the cool morning air I reminded myself that Aiden wasn’t the only thing I needed to be careful of not getting overly attached to. The lifestyle could be addictive as well.

  After finishing my coffee I showered and dressed. I was just getting ready to leave the apartment when my cell phone rang. It was Rose.

  “Hey girl! What on earth is going on? Joe said you quit.”

  “Yeah, I went in to give him my two week notice. He told me I could just go and you all would be fine. I was going to go out and talk to you but it was the lunch rush and you looked awfully busy. I’m sorry.”

  “Why did you quit? Is it your mother? Is she giving you a hard time again?”

  “No…well yes, she was. I’m taking her to a rehab facility out in Scarsdale today. Hopefully it will stick. That wasn’t why I quit though, I have a new job.”

  “Doing what?” Rose asked.

  “I’m a personal assistant, of sorts.”

  “Wow! I didn’t even know you were applying.”

  “I wasn’t,” I told her. “Sometimes it tracks you down and presents itself.”

  I held my lips closed and said something completely unintelligible. I really didn’t want to tell her.

  “I’m sorry, what did you say?”

  “I said, Aiden Scott,” I repeated.

  Rose actually gasped, “Are you kidding me? The Aiden Scott? The one who has the giant hots for you?”

  I laughed, “He does not have the “giant” hots for me,” I said, trying not to blush as I thought about all of the things he did to me the past two nights.

  “Honey you’re either lying, delusional or in denial. I always knew he had it bad for you. Now it’s just confirmed. Is he paying you good?”

  “Better than you can imagine,” I told her. She went on again about how he “wants me” and then she let me in on some of the gossip going on around the café. When I finally got off the phone, it had been an hour conversation from start to finish. I felt bad not telling my friends the whole story, but I just didn’t think any of them were going to understand. Some days, I wasn’t sure I understood myself.

  I had to wait another hour when I got to the hospital for them to get Mom and her things ready. We finally headed out to Scarsdale around eleven-thirty. She complained the entire way and I was trapped on the train with her.

  “Holly, I want to go home. I want to be in my own house in my own bed…”

  “We’ve already had this conversation, Mother. I
f you leave this facility before you’re deemed ready to go by the staff, that’s it for us, do you understand me? If this is how you choose to live your life, I can’t stop you. It is not how I choose to live mine, and I can make the choice to not live it that way.”

  My mother didn’t have anything to say to all of that, but she didn’t refuse again, but even if she did, she’d have to wait now and get on the train back to midtown when we got to Scarsdale.

  We got to the train station and she still hadn’t said a word, so we got a cab to the rehab facility and she sat silently on that ride too. She thought she was punishing me, but I definitely preferred it to the incessant whining. She refused to speak to the admissions worker as well, so I answered all of the questions. She did sign the paperwork which I was thankful for. When I got ready to leave I said, “I’m sorry that you’re angry with me, but I’m only doing this because I love you.”

  She wouldn’t even look at me. I kissed her cold cheek and told her to call me if she needed anything. She stared straight ahead with no response. I left with tears in my eyes and allowed myself to cry all the way home. Then once I got there, I told myself that was it, there was nothing left to cry over, she was on her way to being well, and I was on my way to financial freedom, at last.

 
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