The billionaires obsessi.., p.3
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       The Billionaire's Obsession, p.3
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         Part #1 of An Heir At Any Price series by Holly Rayner
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  “Um…I still don’t know what to say,” I said. I don’t believe I’ve ever been at such a loss for words. He was right that surrogacy was a legitimate thing, and I had even been so hard up for money that looking into it had crossed my mind. I’d never got around to looking into it, or maybe I didn’t look into it on purpose because I didn’t think I could do it…

  “Just tell me you’ll go on a date or two with me, give it the week and think about it. That will also give you time to research it. I know that I’m asking you to use your body here, and it would never be the same after, so you should do some research on that too.” He was looking at me with those deep, sexy eyes…what else could I do? I agreed to think about it for the week. As far as dating him, I told him we’d play that by ear.

  After our “date,” I wanted to take a cab home, badly. I really didn’t want Aiden’s twenty foot limousine to drop me off in front of my crappy little apartment. My neighborhood wasn’t terrible, but it was definitely working class, and my apartment complex was definitely of the low rent variety. He insisted, however and it was getting more evident that this man hated the word, “No.”

  I gave the driver directions and I said a little prayer that Mom was inside and not out for her nightly cigarette when we got there. She was staying with me for a few days while the plumbing was being worked on at hers. When we pulled up the complex was quiet. No sign of Mom or anyone else. Aiden wanted to walk me to the door and I drew the line there.

  “I’m fine, really,” I told him. “I do this all the time.” He relented on that one but stood at the door of the car and watched until I got to the bottom of the stairs that led up to my apartment. I waved at him and he waved back. As I slipped in my front door, he was still watching.

  “Holly? Is that you?” I heard my mother’s voice as soon as I walked in but I couldn’t see her. The apartment was completely dark. I reached over and flipped on the light. She was lying on the couch and when the light came on she threw her skinny arm across her eyes and said, “That’s too bright!”

  “You shouldn’t be sitting here in the dark, Mom. What are you doing?”

  “I’m just resting, I’m really tired today for some reason.” Maybe because you stayed up all night last night with your friend, Vodka, I thought, but I didn’t want to fight with her tonight, so I didn’t say it aloud. I didn’t even know it for a fact. I was asleep before she was, but she could have just been watching TV.

  “Well go ahead and rest,” I told her. “You can go home tomorrow, right?”

  “Holly,” she said in that tone she used when I knew she was going to ask me for something that I couldn’t afford.

  “What, Mom?”

  “I know I told you that I needed to stay here for a couple of days so my neighbor can work on the plumbing…”

  “But?” I asked. I had already figured her story was baloney, they usually always all are. Plus, she still lives next door to, “Grandpa,” who was really up in years now. I had a hard time picturing him taking apart pipes. I just hadn’t had the energy to discover what the truth was this time.

  “But…my electricity’s been off for…a while and my water too.”

  I dropped down in the chair across from her and asked, “How did that happen, Mom? I paid those bills.”

  “Well, you gave me the checks and I planned on paying them…but I must have forgotten. You know how bad my memory has gotten….”

  “What did you do with the checks, Mom?” It was one of those questions I didn’t really want to know the answer too.

  “I must have misplaced them,” she said. I shook my head. I wasn’t sure if her alcohol soaked brain really didn’t work anymore, or if she thought I was stupid. I knew she was lying to me though. She wouldn’t look me in the eye.

  “Oh good then, I’ll just cancel those checks and I’ll go down and write new checks to the electric and water company when I get off work tomorrow.”

  “Oh, you mean call the bank?” Now she was nervous. I’d had enough of this game and her pathetic attempt to hide the fact she was once again stealing my hard-earned money. My father left her a house, I paid all the rest of her bills except for a couple hundred dollars in food stamps she got from welfare every month and I give her a small allowance. Yet, she still steals from me every chance she gets. I usually go directly in to pay her utility bills because there was no way I was going to trust her with cash, but I hadn’t had time to get down there this month. I thought it would be okay as long as I didn’t give her cash…obviously I was wrong.

  “How did you manage to cash them?” I asked her. “They were made out specifically for those bills.”

  “Honey…maybe I lost them and someone else got ahold of them and cashed them.”

  “Stop it!” I yelled at her. I didn’t usually. I wasn’t a yeller, most of the time I was just a big pushover and that’s why my own mother as well as others sometimes took advantage of me. But, she just told me that two bills I thought were already paid this month weren’t. Setting aside the fact that she just lied to me, changed the payable to on the checks and spent every penny on alcohol, I would have still been pissed. “When are you ever going to realize that you’re wasting your life? You’re wasting my life…you’re killing yourself and you’re killing me in the process.”

  “Holly, I’m sorry, honey. I’m going to try harder…” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that in my life, I’d be richer than Aiden Scott. I thought about Aiden and I wondered if he would still want me to mother his child if he knew about my mother. Alcoholism has a big genetic component to it, a big reason why I don’t drink very much, and why I am always careful not to have too many.

  “How did you cash them?” I asked her again in a calmer voice. It didn’t really matter now, but I wanted her to have to at least be accountable for admitting what she did.

  “Ronnie at the Liquor King cashed ‘em for me. I changed who it was made out to. I drew a single line through it and put your initials. I’m sorry, baby.”

  “I’m going to bed,” I told her. On the note my mother had just admitted to theft and fraud.

  “I can borrow the money from Benny, to pay the bills. You won’t have to pay them. I’ll go see him tomorrow.” Benny was my Mom’s brother and he’d gotten over her and all of this drama a long time ago. He rarely even called or came to see her any longer and he only lived about ten miles away. He wasn’t going to lend her a dime. He was like me, he’d been taken enough to know that if he gave her money it would all go into a bottle.

  “I’ll take care of them,” I told her. “Don’t bother Uncle Benny with it.” I stood up to head in the direction of my bedroom.

  “Good night, Holly. I love you.” I wish I didn’t feel like there was a knife sticking out of my chest every time she said that.

  “Good night mother,” I said, wearily. I didn’t say it back, I just couldn’t at that moment.


  The next morning on my way to work I went by and paid the electric and water bills for my mother’s house. I called her when I got to work and told her she could go home. I wasn’t even mad anymore, I was numb. It was over a week until payday and I now had ten dollars and forty-two cents in my account. Thank you, Mother. I hope that was some good vodka and I hope the tips are good the rest of the week so I can pay my own bills.

  I went about my work, trying to keep my mind off of my mother. I pretended to talk and laugh with Rose and Myra but my heart wasn’t in it. At about ten-thirty after we’d gotten the breakfast rush cleaned up, Rose pulled me to the side and asked, “What’s wrong, girlie?”

  “Nothing’s wrong,” I told her, forcing a smile.

  “You’re a terrible liar,” she said.

  “Thank you,” I said with a real smile. I had promised myself growing up with my mother that I wasn’t going to be one of those people who had issues with the truth. “I’m okay though, really. My mother’s acting up a bit, but nothing I can’t handle.”

  “Aw, I’m so
rry, honey. You deserve a lot better than the hand you’ve been dealt.”

  I shrugged. Rose had an autistic son and a husband who cheated regularly. I knew this because she told me, but I never heard her complain even though she was in her late forties and still working more than me. We all have our crosses to bear and I just thank God that I have a job and good friends like Rose who genuinely care.

  “Thank you,” I told her. “But it really will be okay. You don’t need to worry about me; you have enough of your own issues to worry about.” She gave me a motherly look that said I couldn’t make her not worry about me even if I wanted to.

  “Well, why don’t you go take a little break anyways before the lunch rush starts up,” she said.

  “I will take you up on that,” I told her. I went into the back and sat down on the old couch Joe put back there for us to relax on during our breaks. I leaned back and closed my eyes; I hadn’t really slept much the night before. A few seconds, or maybe it was minutes went by and I heard the door open. I didn’t open my eyes, I just said, “Sorry Joe, I’m coming.”

  “Did I keep you out too late last night?” I opened my eyes to see Aiden standing there looking at me. He looked delicious in a pair of designer jeans and a red, long-sleeved polo shirt.

  I sat up quickly and said, “Oh, Aiden. I thought you were Joe. No, I just didn’t sleep very well last night.”

  “I’m sorry, was it because of me?” he asked. It was, partially. I looked at him and sighed.

  “Maybe a little. I have a lot to think about. What are you doing back here anyways? Do you own this place too?”

  He laughed, “Not hardly. Joe would never sell to me. I asked your friend Rose if you were working this morning and she told me you were back here. I didn’t ask she just sent me on back.”

  “I believe that, Rose likes to fancy herself a matchmaker,” I told him.

  “I have a meeting to run off to, but I wanted to see what time you’re off today and if you’d like to spend some more time together? I let you get away without getting your number last night.”

  “Oh,” I said. It was a brilliant response, I know. “Um, yeah…I get off at three. What are we going to do?”

  “I’d rather it be a surprise,” he said.

  “I’m just a little self-conscious in my uniform,” I told him.

  “I’ll tell you what, I’ll have my driver pick you up at three and take you home to change. Then he can bring you to me.”

  “I can take a cab…”

  “Nate will be here with the car at three,” he said. “Give me your cell number.” I called it out to him as he put the numbers in his phone. “I have to run now. Have a good day.”

  “Sure, you too…” he was already gone. The man has a way with authority, that’s for sure.

  When I went back out to work, Rose and Myra were both waiting to pounce.

  “You’re meeting in secret with Mr. Dreamy pants aren’t you?” Rose said.

  I laughed and put on my apron, “No, he came in last night as I was closing and ejected a drunk for me. Then he invited me out to dinner…”

  Their squeals interrupted me, “Where did he take you?” Myra asked.

  “An Italian place called Giuseppe’s.”

  They squealed again, “Oh my God, girl! Do you know the waiting list for that place is months long? Only the elite go there!” Rose who kept up on these types of things delighted in telling me.

  “Did he drive? What kind of car does he have?” Myra asked. “I bet it’s something low, fast and Italian.” Joe rang the bell behind us.

  “Orders up! I hope whatever kind of car he has can carry all three of you because none of you will be able to make your own car payment when I fire you for all that gabbing.”

  “Speaking of low, fast and Italian,” Rose said. All of the girls giggled. Joe was Italian and it was a very fitting name all the way around. Rose picked up two plates off the warmer and turned back towards me, “Not a word until I get back, I want details.” I laughed and shook my head. I went over to check on my customers and greet one new one. When I came back they were both still dying to hear.

  “He called his driver and had him pick us up,” I told them, vaguely.

  “Pick you up in what?” Myra asked.

  “A limousine,” I said.

  “Are you kidding? Damn girl! You hit the mother lode!”

  “It’s not like that,” I told them. “Now stop it and let’s get back to work.”

  They did, but I could tell by their looks and giggles that they were still talking about me and Aiden. That was okay; let them have fun with it. It wasn’t going to last long whether I decided to have his baby or not. He’d already told me I’d have to basically disappear when the deed was done, and if I said no, I had a feeling he wouldn’t be coming back to the café.

  I made it through the day and when it was time to leave, I was really glad that I’d had the early shift. I love getting out when there’s at least some daylight left. After saying good-bye to the girls and Joe, I tried to slip out unnoticed. It wasn’t like limousines were unheard of in this neighborhood. I worked in a much nicer neighborhood than I lived in. I wasn’t that lucky however, as Aiden’s driver held open the door and I turned to slide in, I saw Rose and Myra’s faces in the window, gawking. My next time on shift was going to be fraught with questions. I smiled and shook my head while Myra was giving me a thumbs up. Explaining the surrogacy deal to those two if I decided to accept was going to be fun. They were both very devoted mothers and it makes me wonder what they might think of me for bringing a life into the world and then just walking away.


  Chapter Five


  Aiden had left a text for me to dress comfortably in jeans. This man was controlling right down to his dates. I was okay with wearing jeans; I just wasn’t sure about the being bossed around part. I wore the jeans though and a long-sleeved t-shirt. The late afternoons and evenings were just starting to cool in the first signs of autumn.

  I had no idea where I was going and I was quite nervous until I looked out the window of the limousine and saw the outline of a stable coming into view. Aiden had horses! Or he was taking me somewhere where they did. I didn’t know, but I was ecstatic either way.

  The limousine parked alongside the stables and the driver opened my door for me. Aiden was waiting with what looked like a picnic basket and a blanket draped over one arm. I felt like a kid on Christmas. It had been years since I’d ridden, and almost as long since anyone had done something so thoughtful for me.

  “We’re going riding?” I asked.

  “Yes, if you have no objections,” he said with a grin.

  “Are you kidding? I’m so excited, this is great!”

  Aiden laughed and said, “Your horse is the tan one with the brown mane. Her name is Snowflake and she’s very tame and easy to ride.”

  I hadn’t seen the stable boy walk the horses out behind me. I went over to pet her on the nose, “Hi Snowflake. I’m Holly. Thank you for this Aiden, this is amazing.”

  He was still smiling as he said, “When you try the skydiving, you’re on your own.”

  Once we were saddled up and ready to go and our picnic basket was secured to Aiden’s saddle we took off.

  “Are these your stables?” I asked him.

  “Yes, this is all my property that we’ll be riding on,” he told her. “I got very lucky to get it.”

  Aiden’s property was far enough out of the city that is seemed like we were in the mountains, but a half hour drive and you’d be in the city. It was beautiful and I found myself wondering if his home was also on this property. I followed him for a while along the thin trail that began with a gentle climb with zig zags for about the first two miles. The pasture around us was lush and green and I could spot a few happy looking cows in the distance. I decided that Aiden very likely didn’t live out here. I couldn’t possibly imagine him living amongst cows. He just seemed way too cultured.

nbsp; Once we’d gotten past the narrow part of the trail, Aiden slowed his pace and dropped back next to me. “Is Snowflake doing okay?” he asked.

  “She’s perfect,” I said. He laughed.

  “I think she would be happy to hear it. Are you having fun, Holly?”

  “This is, amazing. Thank you,”

  “Good,” he said. “It’s a great day for a ride, the weather is just right. We’re going to cross a creek in just a few feet. I know you haven’t ridden in a long time, and I don’t know if you did much water crossing in the past. So, try to relax and just let Snowflake take you. The reigns only confuse her when she’s crossing a water bed of any kind.”

  “Okay,” I told him. When we got to the little narrow creek I did what Aiden said and the horse crossed smoothly. The water was beautiful, clear all the way to the rocky bottom. The rocks had been smoothed into rounded pebbles from years of the water brushing over them.

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