I didn't know how cold I had become until I met Scarlett. I never thought of myself as a bad guy, but when you do my line of work, you have to delude yourself into thinking that you are the hero.
My grandfather is a very rich man. By contrast, my father was a very poor man. Since the two never got along, my pops left home and joined the marines so that he could send paychecks to his new bride. When he died, my grandfather extended an olive branch to my mother who said that he could visit us and that we could spend weekends and holidays together. Hell, he could walk me to the bus stop or pick me up from school if he wanted, but he was out of his mind if he thought we were going to be accepting his charity.
As I got older, I started to see why my father had to leave to become his own man. Everything with my grandfather came with a condition. Besides, my parent's world seemed more down to earth and rewarding, while my grandfather's world had tedious customs and was run entirely by money. Somehow, I still became his beneficiary, probably because I was his only grandson. My second cousins were probably suited more to the throne than I was.
I guess if you're going to inherit the Julian estate, you have to be a specific kind of man. He clearly wanted me to go to an ivy league school, like my cousins, and at the very least, learn enough to be able to manage all of his charities. After all, it didn't matter if I could run his company. Ownership would be transferred to me regardless.
But I wanted to be a man that my dad could be proud of and to me that met doing the exact thing my grandfather did not want me to do. Join the marines.
I didn't stay there very long. The military wakes you up pretty quick and I saw the benefits of college where I got a degree in computer science before joining with a private military company.
I avoided my family when I got older. My mom would trick me into seeing them sometimes, because she said I couldn't have no family when she died. This was usually after she expressed her disappointment that I hadn't had kids yet, or gotten married, or had a long lasting relationship in the last five years. It wasn't that I was angry at my grandfather, but the more I was around them, the more disappointed I was. They were such high achieving people who could be so much more than they were, but they didn't give two fucks about each other. Just living the wealthy lifestyle they were entitled to and earning money.
My grandfather didn't want most of the family to know that he was sick, even though he, very publicly, demanded I get married before he died so he would know who was going to inherit his property. He said if I wasn't married by thirty, he was going to give it to my oldest second cousin, the kid who would probably be CEO of grandpop's company when he died. I didn't really care, until I heard everything my cousin was going to do to the estate. Our family had lived there for generations and he thought it was the perfect place for a high class resort and spa. This was the only thing my grandfather and I had in common with my grandfather, it was the last physical connection between my late father and I.And he wanted to put in a hotel.
I remember leaving that function before the dinner actually started. I popped a few appetizers- sorry, hors d'oeuvre- in my mouth and finished my pre-dinner cocktail, wishing it was a long necked bottle instead. My mom had tricked me into coming, saying it was going to be a private, intimate affair for my grandfather's birthday. Not only did she not show up herself, it was definitely the opposite of a private, intimate gathering with my second cousin introducing me to business men from countries I was a little too rustic to be able to pronounce. When I confronted her about it later, in the same leaky-piped house she had lived in for the past twenty-five years, she shrugged and claimed she was innocent, because she agreed with my grandfather that it was time to get married.
From the function, I made my way over to the metro. I got on and sat down in one of the seats that stretched lengthwise along the car, right in front of girl who was curled up in the first seat of one of the regular seats that stretch along the width of the car. She was pretty, though given the ugly personalities I had just been around, anyone would have been modelesque. She looked forlorn out the window and I couldn't blame her given the dismal view of the underground platform she had to gaze upon. Such pretty eyes should get to look at something equally as beautiful, like the pond on my grandfather's estate.
Though social convention dictates that we must all avoid eye contact and sit spread out until there are enough people on the metro that we have to double up our seating, I turned to her and leaned in to say, "Bad day?"
Without looking at me, she nodded. Maybe social convention would forgive our communication if she didn't actually look at me.
"I lost my inheritance, what about you?" I said.
"I'm going to die," she whispered, her breath fogging the glass for just a second, throwing her words back at her. Still staring out the window, she said, "We're both having quite the day. We'd make a good couple, since misery loves company."
"Then do you want to get married?" I asked. I had said it as my own private joke. I know, I should have said I'm sorry, or something positive, but it just slipped out. I guess my family had rubbed off on me and I didn't realize how much until I spoke to her.
"I guess my schedule is open," she returned. Finally, she turned her eyes on me, the corners of her mouth tugging into a smile, despite her grim circumstance. "Can we get a drink first?"
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Book / Romance
Book / Romance
Book / Romance