Page 11 of Buying the Bride

His eyes flicker to my breasts, then, reluctantly, back up to my eyes. I feel the slight twinge of pleasure as they harden from the attention. Normally, if someone came over, I would try to hide it. But I like the idea of torturing him a bit.

“No, I’m just stopping by to bring your transportation,” he says.

I’m confused and, for a moment, flirting with him takes a back seat. When he told me I wouldn’t be able to take public transportation during this job, I’d assumed he would send a company car for me like he did yesterday when he sent me home after our meeting/date.

His big body blocks the doorway, so I can’t see what he’s talking about at first until he steps to the side. Sitting in front of my dingy apartment is a sleek black something or other—I’ve never seen anything like it before. I’m pretty sure it’s a car—or maybe a spaceship. I’m certain it’s not something you can pick up off the lot at the auto mall.

“Is that …” My words trail off when he hands me a key fob that has the word Maybach on it. Is he for real? “There’s no way I’m driving that,” I tell him.

His eyebrows come together and his head tilts. “Why not, is there something better you’d rather drive?”

I laugh. I can’t help myself. He puts his hands on his hips, not looking amused.

“Better?” I say. “Is there such thing as a better car?”

“I’m sure there is,” he says.

I shake my head. “No, I don’t think there is. It’s just … I don’t know … a bit excessive, don’t you think? That’s a half-million-dollar car.”

The only reason why I know that is because Mandi is addicted to reality TV and the mother of the Kardashian girls drives something similar.

“You’re my betrothed,” Heath says. “I can’t have you driving around in a Toyota Corolla covered in rust spots. There’s a certain image we have to uphold.”

“How do you know what kind of car I drive?” I ask, taken aback by his knowledge of me.

“I did some research after we met.”

“I like my Toyota,” I say, a little offended by his remark, and a lot offended that he’s been spying on me.

I don’t actually like my Toyota. The thing is a money pit and makes this god-awful squeal as I drive down the road. It’s embarrassing, really. But so is driving around in a Maybach. I don’t want people staring at me. I’ll get self-conscious and end up rear-ending someone, or doing something embarrassing.

“What about a compromise then?” he says.

“A compromise is good. That’s what marriage is all about,” I say.

He gives me a surprised look.

“What?” I say.

“Nothing … I guess I’m just surprised how seriously you’re taking this whole marriage thing.”

“I have excellent work ethic. You’re paying me to be your bride and I plan to be the best damn wife a man has ever had.”

He still looks bewildered, but he shows me a slight smile and continues. “What kind of car would you prefer to have?”

“What about a newer Toyota. They’re reliable, efficient, get great gas mileage. There’s a little used car lot down the road—”

“No,” he says bluntly.

This time I’m the one with my hands on my hips. “This doesn’t sound like compromise to me.”

“You do realize that any other woman in your position would be jumping at the chance to drive a Maybach?”

“I’m not any other woman. I’m me.”

“I’ve noticed. You’re not like the women I’m used to.”

Is that an insult or a compliment? It’s hard to tell with his expressionless demeanor.

“Maybe you should find yourself a different caliber of woman then, because anyone who would ask you for a Maybach cares only about your money,” I say.

He looks at me like a puzzle he can’t quite piece together. “Isn’t that what you care about as well?”

“No, of course not. I mean, well …” I’m getting flustered. “Yes, I care about your money, because I’m doing a job and you’re paying me for my services. But if we were actually dating, your money would have nothing to do with it. My last—” I almost said husband—not that it’s a secret (he probably already knows after spying on me), I just don’t like telling people the reason I’m no longer married. “—boyfriend, worked as a short hall truck driver. Not exactly the kind of job that makes millions. When I’m with someone it’s because they make me happy.”