Truth being told, I was flattered, and perhaps more than a little scared. All the features that made me choose her – her impulsiveness, adaptability, raw talent for blending into a role – were remarkably attractive to me. But I hadn’t counted on how her natural charisma and beauty would only accentuate these features, making her the perfect companion. In another life, maybe I’d have taken the time to get to know her a little deeper. Maybe we could have been together without a Swiss bank account and a stack of annulment paperwork.
It’s a shame that it just can’t be.
I wanted to destroy the contract and keep her on my arm. All my life, people who wanted to take advantage had surrounded me. I grew up a child who would give the shirt off of his back, sent to the wrong public schools on a technicality – and finding myself in a den of thieves. When I embroiled myself in my schoolwork and managed to switch to a more esteemed high school, I was able to pull everything together, secure the notice of Yale, and win several powerful scholarships that made attending the school somewhat of a possibility.
But then, I was singled out for my aptitude. Naturally introverted, whatever attention I drew from my peers was almost exclusively to belittle me, undermine me, or try to earn the praise of our professors by being associated with me.
Everywhere I went, surrounded by sharks.
Of course, building a small, lucrative empire did nothing to help. It had never been in the design to become a billionaire, and the success only snowballed with the passing years. I was too tenacious, too dedicated to fulfilling that role. One day, I turned back on everything that I had built, realizing for the first time that I had gone from young university dropout armed with ideas, a promise to keep, and a few hunches…to a self-made man with a staggering net worth and almost no time in the world.
Before I could sit back and reap the benefits of my hard work, I was hit with the diagnosis.
Maybe I was a fool, but I felt like Kiona could learn to love me. I could learn to love her. Both of these were indisputable facts to me, and I wondered what the possibilities might be. But what had originated as a way to teach myself to force everyone out – just to keep myself safe from those who would try to take advantage of me – became a defense mechanism, preventing anyone from getting too close.
I didn’t want to leave anybody hurt.
My partner wasn’t attached yet, but she was a survivor. An opportunist. With the right resources, she could build upon my foundation, starting something extraordinary of her own. That’s why I had lied to her. I wasn’t going to pay Kiona fifteen million dollars for her efforts here. There was no way I could organize my charitable legacy in the short time I had left. I needed someone detail focused and driven. I needed someone adaptable who could fall into the role of conservator for my estate.
Maybe I just wanted to shock the world, one last time.
I’d already made the decision. To hell with the fifteen million. I was leaving her almost everything.
* * *
The flight back was somewhat uneventful. Drained from a long day of cramming in the last few sights we could fit, we relaxed in our window-side chairs of my private jet, bound back for New York. I was rather pleased with myself for taking a bad situation and turning it around, especially concerning my somewhat temperamental partner.
Speaking of Kiona, she had fallen asleep with her face near the glass. As I stood up to stretch my legs, I glanced over at her, admiring how the light bathed her sweet mocha skin. I fought the craving to stir her from her slumber, guide her over to the comfortable bed in the back of the small jet, and explore her body with my tongue.
No, I thought to myself sternly. You know you can’t.
With a tremendous sigh, I cursed my sex drive and my strong sense of morality. What kind of billionaire can’t fuck his pretend-wife at ten thousand feet?
Pushing my feelings down, I considered quietly locking myself in the bathroom and masturbating…but decided, no, I am not going to jack off in an airplane bathroom like some sort of uncontrollably horny teenager. Instead, I pulled out my laptop and reviewed sales figures, answered some emails for the first time since Monday morning, and tried to ignore the tremendous bulge in my pants.