Page 23 of Claiming Cinderella

His eyes narrowed again. “Your mother didn’t leave you with prospects? Surely, she had clients that would help you. Her jewelry is worth quite a bit of money.”

“I’m afraid most of her clients are a little leery working with me. Considering my name is Ford, too, you’d think I’d have an advantage, but I’m not sure if they respect me trying to ride her coattails. I do have a few of her exclusive pieces that I’m going to use for security.” I held my chin up and smiled. “I’ll be okay. Mom worked her way up. I can too.”

“It doesn’t seem like you should have to. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a whole lot to do for my father’s company, and I can appreciate you wanting to pave your own way, but you should at least have the security of your mother’s work to get you there. I supposed it’s good you’ve got those pieces. Have you thought about selling them?” I wondered if he was going to offer and I shook my head.

“No, not anytime soon at least. There are a few I’ll never part with. They mean too much to me.”

“I can respect that. Some things are not replaceable.” I felt a bit closer to him knowing he’d lost someone to, and knowing that in my mourning, those phases were something he’d be able to relate to.

“I could introduce to a few people if you like. Some would be very eager to work with you knowing your mother. She was well-loved, and I know my mother was very heartbroken by her passing, and she even attended the memorial service.”

“Considering her guest list, perhaps she wouldn’t be that impressed with me.” I gave a little laugh. He’d made it quite certain his mother only saw the wealthy as worthy.

“I wouldn’t be so sure, Ella Ford. I think she’d be more than impressed. I know I am.”

“What if I wasn’t Ella Ford? What if my name was Ella Smith or Ella Jones?” I wondered how important namesake was to him and his mother.

“I was interested in you when your name was just Ella, so, I hope that answers your question.” He stepped a bit closer, and my heart soared as he took my hand and led me to the bench.

Chapter 12

Aiden

Something wasn’t sitting right with me about Ella Ford and her predicament, but I figured I’d take things much slower and get to know her before I said anything. The fact that her mother had left her without anything was mind-boggling, but then again, I didn’t know the entire situation.

I sat with her on the bench outside on the balcony and looked into her eyes as she glanced up at the stars as if she had a million thoughts in her head and they held the answers. I slipped off my mask, but she left hers in place.

She dropped her chin and glanced in my direction. “What about you, Aiden Prince? What’s your passion?”

The question took me back a bit, but only because no one had ever really asked me. Most people assumed to know me and from they did know, they assumed all I cared about was money and how to spend it.

“You really want to know?” I gave a little chuckle and raked my hand through my hair. “My dad was in real estate, and he used to take my mother’s clients out and show them the island property he had for sale by taking them on plane rides around the island. Every now and then, he’d let me go along. Especially if it was someone I really liked. I met a lot of famous people that way, but then after a while of hearing them talk about what kind of floor tile they want or how many bathrooms, the celebrity wears off, and you realize that they are just like anyone else.”

“So, you stopped going?” She narrowed her eyes as if trying to understand.

“No, but it stopped being about who was with us and more about the planes and the pilots. I met some of the best, and that’s when I decided I wanted to learn how to fly.”

“You want to be a pilot?” Her smile spread so wide I could count all of her teeth. “I’m so scared of those little planes. I would never go on them. My mother used to take me on bigger planes, but I’d throw a fit if we had to board a small one.”

“I am a pilot, actually. I finished my hours right before my father’s death and since I haven’t been up much. I’d like to change that though. And the small ones aren’t that bad. Maybe if I took you up sometime, you’d learn to love them.” I thought about having her in my plane, how intimate of a space it would be, and then I realized I’d never taken a woman up with me, and nobody else had ever cared to know that I could fly a plane, just that I owned one.

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