The billionaires promise, p.1
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       The Billionaire's Promise, p.1
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         Part #3 of An Heir At Any Price series by Holly Rayner
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  AIDEN

  The day after Holly found out that I’d been talking to Cecile, I felt like an ass all day. I kept picking up the phone to call Holly and apologize, but she deserved better than that. If the tables had been turned, and I had found out she’d been seeing her ex behind my back…I doubt that I would have believed it was innocent. I would have been blinded by jealousy and I couldn’t honestly say that I would have been able to forgive her. Yet, I expected her to do all of that for me. I knew I was going about it all wrong when I did it, and yet I’d done it anyways. In my heart I thought about it as doing what was best for Mark. In my head, I knew that no matter how little Cecile meant to me, it was a betrayal to Holly for me to see her behind her back. It was an insult and a shock to have Cecile show up on the doorstep like that I’m sure. Like I said, if it were the other way around, I would have taken it like a slap in the face. Yet she still didn’t throw her out…she didn’t throw me out. Sometimes I wonder if she’s too nice for me. She always tries to look at the positive side of every situation and she somehow always saw the best in me even when I was acting like a world class ass and a phone call wasn’t going to fix that.

  Instead, I got on the phone and called the florist. I ordered an arrangement for Holly with all of her favorite flowers in a giant red vase, her favorite color. Then I called my jeweler and told him what I needed. He promised me he would have someone bring samplings over before five. Then I called our favorite restaurant that normally doesn’t deliver and asked them for a favor. It was going to cost me, but I didn’t care and they were happy to oblige. Lastly, I called Rose. I knew with this one I was going to have to eat a lot of crow, but I felt better about admitting to her that I was an ass than I did admitting it to Holly’s mom who would have been my other choice to watch Eric for the night.

  “Hi Rose, it’s Aiden,” I said when she picked up.

  “Aiden? Is Holly okay? Is it Eric?” I laughed; Rose was a good friend to Holly. Sometimes I thought she was more a surrogate mother.

  “Holly and Eric are fine,” I told her. “I’m the one with the problem.”

  “Uh-oh, what’d you do?” she asked.

  I had to laugh again. “What makes you think I did something? Maybe I’m just calling for friendly advice.”

  “Honey, you don’t get to be my age without knowing about men. I can hear it in your voice and if you’re calling me for help…well, I don’t think that means all is well in paradise.”

  “No, you’re right, all is not well. I’m an ass and I’ve hurt Holly. I’m going to go home pretty soon and try and make it up to her. I hope she can see her way to forgiving me.”

  “You didn’t cheat on that beautiful girl, did you?”

  “No Rose, I didn’t cheat on her. I would never do that, Holly is all I want and need.”

  “Well, that’s good at least. Most other things can be forgiven, and I don’t have to kick your ass. What did you do?” she asked.

  I told Rose then what I had done. She knew that I’d been married before and she also knew the woman had taken my child. I wasn’t trying to make excuses but I wanted her to know how afraid I was that this would be my one and only last chance to have any kind of contact with Mark. To her credit she listened in silence until I’d finished.

  When I was done she said, “Wow, you are an ass and you’re kind of stupid too if you thought you were gonna get away with all of this.”

  “And you Rose, know exactly how to pump up a guy’s self-esteem.”

  “When you deserve pumping up, call me. I’m just a straight shooter, honey. I don’t see the point in lying. The truth always comes out anyways.”

  “You’re right, I don’t deserve it. I hope that even though I don’t deserve it, Holly will forgive me. What I wanted to ask you Rose is if you might be available to watch Eric tonight so we have a chance to talk this out?”

  “Of course,” she said, without hesitation. “I hate to say I’m happy about anything you did right now, but watching that little boy is a treat for me. I’m glad you asked.”

  “Thanks,” I told her. “I also wanted to ask if you’ll call Holly and offer to keep him. She may say no if she’s still really angry. When Eric’s there, he’s a buffer for us both because we don’t argue in front of him. If that happens, I’ll think of something else.”

  “Don’t worry, honey. I’ll talk her into it. Don’t forget to take flowers home with you.”

  I laughed, “Ordered them already, and the jewelry. This was too much for just flowers.”

  “You’re right,” she said. “I hope you got her something expensive.”

  “Thank you, Rose,” I said before hanging up.

  “You’re welcome, kid. Just so you know, I still think you’re a good kid, even though you’re an ass.”

  Laughing, I thanked her again and hung up. I think everything was ready. I just had to attend one more meeting today and then I was heading home. I had my fingers crossed and was saying a prayer that Holly hadn’t already decided to pack up and leave.

  HOLLY

  I was just heading down the hallway with my sleepy little man to put him down for a nap when my cell phone rang. I thought about ignoring it, but I was still surprised that I hadn’t heard from Aiden at all today so I went back to get it, just in case. I looked at the face and felt a little bad that I was disappointed it was Rose.

  “Hey Rose, I was just going to put Eric down for a nap. Can I call you back?”

  “Oh, I was calling to see if I could come and get the little guy for a few hours…or the night.”

  “Come and get him?” I asked, confused. Eric hadn’t really spent much time away from me at all since he’d been born, and when he had, it was always with my mom.

  “Yes. Young couples need their alone time and old ladies like me need babies to spoil. We’d be trading favors.”

  I felt the sting of tears in the corners of my eyes and fought them back. I doubted that Aiden and I would need any time together any time soon. I hadn’t even heard from him today and it was after two o’clock.

  “Aw, that’s sweet, Rose. I just don’t know if Eric would be comfortable sleeping anywhere but in his own crib. I know that’s my fault. I don’t let him go anywhere…but he’s kind of set in his ways already.”

  Rose cackled and said, “Oh, look out world when that boy gets older. Honey, you’re the parent. You sound awfully tired. Why don’t you let me help you, and more importantly, let me spend some time with that wonderful boy? I promise you, if he gets upset at all, I will bring him straight home.”

  I didn’t want to tell Rose what was going on. I wasn’t ready to talk about any of this yet since I hadn’t even talked to my husband yet. I kind of wanted Eric home so that when we did finally talk about it, we would be encouraged to keep it civilized. She sensed my hesitation and she hit me right in the guilt center then by saying, “Do you not trust me?”

  “Oh Rose, of course I trust you. I would trust you with this boy’s very life. I’m just not having the best day…”

  “Then Eric doesn’t need to be there, honey. Kids sense these things.”

  I knew she was right, Eric had been fussy all day and I’m pretty sure he was just feeding off of my mood. Aiden was likely to be in the same kind of mood if and when he came home. I felt like a terrible mother as I said, “You’re right, poor guy. Okay Rose, I’ll get him ready and run him over.”

  “Nope, you get him ready I’ll run over and pick him up. When I do, I’m bringing you one of Joe’s fancy bottles of wine that he saves for his best customers and you’re gonna pour yourself a glass and take a bubble bath as soon as you’re alone.”

  I chuckled. Rose was a piece of work, but y
ou had to love her.

  “Yes ma’am,” I said. I hung up and looked at Eric. “You want to go see Auntie Rose and Uncle Joe tonight?” He smiled happily and babbled. I took that as a yes. Instead of a nap, he got a bath and a snack and when “Auntie Rose” got there to pick him up; he was wide awake and ready to go.

  “I’m sorry,” I told her, “This is the most active he’s been all day. The bath really must have woken him up.”

  Rose took him out of my arms and kissed his cheek. “What are you sorry about?” she said. “I like him awake. We’re gonna play and make cookies and play some more. We’re gonna keep Uncle Joe up all night long with our partying.”

  “Good luck with that,” I told her. “He’s used to being in bed by eight. He doesn’t wake up again until around six a.m. as long as he’s feeling okay.”

  Rose grabbed the overstuffed diaper bag out of my hand and said, “Yadi, yadi, yadda. We got this.”

  I was nervous. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust her, I did, implicitly. I was just so used to him being here at night…I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to sleep without him.

  “We’ll be fine, honey. I promise. I sat the wine there on the counter, you take care of yourself tonight, okay?”

  I nodded. I felt silly, but I could feel tears welling up in the corners of my eyes and I was afraid if I spoke they would bust loose. I kissed my baby again and gave Rose one on the cheek. They had just made it to the elevator when I realized I hadn’t put his favorite blanket in the bag. I ran after them and Rose took the blanket with a smirk. I got to steal another kiss from my little man.

  When I got back inside the apartment I looked around and it suddenly seemed so big and empty. With a sigh I started picking up Eric’s toys. After I finished doing that, I was contemplating the bubble bath when the buzzer rang.

  “Hello?”

  “Hi Mrs. Scott. This is Allen the doorman. I have a delivery here for you.”

  “What kind of delivery?” I asked.

  “It’s a really big vase with some really big flowers,” he said with a laugh. “I reckon Mr. Scott is trying to show off how much he loves you.”

  Flowers? Really? I mean it was a nice gesture, but hopefully Aiden didn’t think that was all it was going to take.

  “Okay Allen,” I told him. “You can send them up.” A few minutes later the most stunning flower arrangement in the prettiest vase I’d ever seen arrived at my door. It wasn’t going to make up for everything he had done, but I had to admit now that I saw them, it was a good start.

  I signed for them and the courier said, “I was supposed to tell you that there’s an envelope attached here that you should open.”

  He brought the flowers inside for me because I literally couldn’t lift them. I thanked him and tried to tip him but he said, “Mr. Scott” had “taken good care of him.” When he left, I pulled the manila envelope off the vase and took it into the den. It didn’t just feel like a card or a note. There was something square and solid inside. I slid it open, very curious to see what it was. I reached in and pulled out a flat, rectangular white velvet box and a note on Aiden’s office stationary. It was written by hand in Aiden’s handwriting. I sat back and read his words:

  Dear Holly,

  I’m sure you looked at the flowers and thought, “I hope he doesn’t think I’m this easy.” I had to pause there and smile. He knew me well, that was another point in his favor. I read on:

  I know that you’re not, and honestly it’s a big reason why I love you so much. Your independence, your strength, your determination, it all translates to a fiery passion that makes you so incredibly sexy and desirable. I know that you’re not the type of woman that will take gifts in exchange for putting up with my bad behavior. The gifts are for me, I know that I’ve been an ass and I know that nothing I can do or say can take that back, or excuse me for it. All I can do is try and tell you and show you how much I love you, and promise you that I will never be dishonest with you and pray that even if it’s not today, that someday you will forgive me. You and Eric have completed my life. Before you came along, people thought I had everything, but in truth if someone told me I had to give it all away in order to get you and our beautiful son back, I wouldn’t even flinch as I wrote the checks. I adore you, Holly. I’m so very sorry. You can expect dinner to be delivered around six. If it’s not too much to ask, I’d love it if we could eat together and discuss this the way I should have talked with you about it before.

  I Love You, Holly

  Aiden

 
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