Raymond called for his assistant immediately he got to work, anybody who saw him knew that he was angry and so no one tried to get in his way. A knock on the door startled him before he composed himself "come in."
The door was pushed open and a young man entered, he has a sandy blonde hair and light blue eyes, he was carrying stack of documents and snappily walked to Raymond's desk and dropped them "you...you...you sent for me sir?" He asked nervously.
Raymond stared at him coldly "Morris, why did it take you five minutes to get here?"
"Em...sir, I was still on my way to the office when I received your call, so I hurried up to meet you. I'm sorry if I kept you waiting."
"Kept me waiting? Which assistant stays at home until his boss arrives at the officer before him?" Raymond bellowed.
"I'm so sorry sir but the company resumes by eight hundred, it's still seven fifty five sir. I didn't know you will be here early" Morris tried to defend himself.
Raymond eyelashes lowered and he stared at Morris coldly "so now you tell me when my company resumes work?"
"No..no...no..no...sir, I was just" he paused and took a deep sigh "I'm sorry sir, it won't happen again."
After receiving his apology, Raymond looked away from him "a new uprising arose in my grandparents home this morning" he paused and pinched the bridge of his nose "they are giving me condition."
"What condition sir?" Morris asked.
"I am to be the sole owner of the Baldwin Empire only after one year of my marriage."
"What!" Morris exclaimed.
"Yes" Raymond stood up from his desk and walked to the floor to ceiling window, his hands in his pant pockets "now this is a really big problem. I don't see myself getting married soon and even I am to be, one year is way to long. I must be the CEO of the Baldwin, I must."
Morris was silent as his thoughts run wild "hmm, as far as I know old boss Desmond, he will do as he say."
"Exactly" Raymond turned to look at him "why do you think I'm worked up about this? He even said he will put it like that in his will" he walked to his desk, his hands on his chair with his brows creased, he was thinking really hard "something has to been done. I must own it before the anniversary next year because of that membership to the World Club, I can only be accepted if I own the Baldwin since they only accepts Legendary companies. I can't join with any of my own, it's not be long I set them up. The Baldwin has been around for a hundred years, I can only get Raymond Corp and the rest into the World with the Baldwin as their umbrella. So you see, I have to get married this year" he looked at Morris.
"So what are you going to now?" Morris asked before a new idea struck him "wait a minute, how about you fake a marriage?"
Raymond looked at him with confusion evident in his eyes "fake a marriage? Is that possible?"
"Of course. You just need to find a girl, tell her about your plans, offer her some money which she can't refuse and you get yourself a wife."
"Hmm" Raymond considered the idea until a sweet smile graced his lips "offer her money, ladies can't refuse money. I just need to hire a priest, fake the certificate and get a contract with the girl, once grandpa makes me the owner of the Baldwin, we will claim to have issue and request for a divorce. Grandpa and grandma will remain in the dark, I will pay the lady and she goes, life goes on for me" he laughed.
"This is why you are still by my side Morris, your brain is really why you are here" Raymond smiled and sat down on his chair.
Morris don't know whether to accept his comment as a compliment or an insult but he still said "thank you sir."
"Now, the problem now is to find a suitable bride" Raymond said.
"You have had a lot of flings sir, can't you choose one from your exes?" Morris suggested.
"No, no, all of them wants to marry me. None of them will agree to be Mrs. Baldwin for a year and let go, they might expose me to grandpa because they will like to remain my wife for good. I need to find a new girl, an innocent one who is only after money and not fame" Raymond looked thoughtful and a move at his office door knob caught his attention. He stood up and quietly walked to the door.
Morris stared at him confusingly "what..." He wanted to ask when Raymond placed a finger on his lips.
Raymond opened the door abruptly and an older woman fell into his arms. The woman stood uprightly immediately.
"I'm so sorry sir, it's... Its...it's not what you think" the woman apologized immediately.
Raymond stared at her "what brings you to my office Mrs. McCarthy?"
"Em...em, this letter arrived and I just wanted to pass it to you" she fumbled with her cloth and passed an envelope to him nervously.
Raymond took the envelope from her "okay."
"I will return to my desk now sir" Katherine turned to walk away.
Raymond stared at her leaving figure with his eyelashes lowered "I think she heard everything sir" he heard Morris whispered behind him and he nodded "I know" he replied.
"What should I do sir? Do you think she can keep her lips sealed?" Morris asked.
"I don't know. Even if she will, I don't trust her" Raymond answered "doesn't she has a niece?"
Morris thought about it "yes she does. The daughter of her late brother, she has been taking care of her since she was little."
"Hmm. I'm I not in need of a bride at the moment Morris?" He looked at him with a sly smile.
Getting his hidden meaning, Morris smiled "yes you are sir."
Raymond smiled "you can leave now, tell McCarthy to come to my office during her break period."
"Yes sir" Morris nodded and left the office while Raymond shut the door and walked back to his desk, a sly smile playing on his lips.
Katherine walked back to her desk with her heart in her throat, what did she just hear? The boss grandparents refused to hand over the family company to him unless he is married? And what is his solution? He wants to fake a marriage and lead his grandparents under the nose?
Katherine shuddered, all these rich families and their problems. She sat on her desk and switched on her computer when a thought suddenly hit her, oh my God! The boss is not a fool, it's a must he knew she was eavesdropping on his discussion but he just let her go? Did he really do that?
Oh God, please help her, please save her job for her, what if the boss decides to put her off her duty? What is she going to do? How will she and little Felicity cope? This job is their only source of money. Oh heaven, she hope the boss will really let her go this time, just why did you eavesdrop on his discussion Katherine? She chided herself, just pray he let's you go this time.
She put in her password and logged into her computer, just as she was about to get busy, someone knocked on her desk, she looked up and her heart missed a beat when she saw Morris, the boss personal assistant, 'Oh God' her heart screamed.
"Katherine McCarthy, the boss wants to see you in his office during your break, you better not keep him waiting" Morris said and walked away.
Katherine stared at his leaving figure with her heart in her mouth, "looks like he didn't let you go this time Katherine" she mocked herself and tried to concentrate on her work but it was not helping with her believing, today might be her last day at work.
Katherine walked into her boss's office nervously, she looked at the younger man who was sitting on his seat like a king seated on his throne, her heart shuddered and her lips quivered, her gaze strayed to Morris who was standing beside the man with an expressionless face, she gulped and took a step forward "you sent for me sir?"
Raymond looked up from the papers in his hands, a soft smile graced his lips when he saw her "ah, yes. McCarthy" he closed the papers and relaxed in his chair, his right hand propped under his chin as he studied the older woman looking like she was about to pass a death sentence "you were in my office this morning."
Katherine felt her heart missed a beat "yes I was but that was to pass over the letter to you sir."
"Hmm" Raymond's lips curved in a faint smile "you stood at the door for who knows how long and was not ready to come in if I hadn't opened the door on you."
"Not really sir, I just...arrived."
"Really? Why did you look like you had seen a ghost when I opened the door?"
"I just wasn't expecting you to open the door sir" Katherine gulped, she could hear her heart beats loud in her ears.
Raymond looked at Morris and they both communicated silently with their eyes "no need beating around the bush McCarthy, I know you overheard my discussion with Morris this morning, so what do you have to say for yourself?"
Katherine opened her mouth to speak but no words came out, she thought of a lie to tell and decided to just come clean, Raymond is not the CEO of four different companies for nothing "I'm so sorry sir, I didn't mean to. I promise you, what I heard will die with me."
"Hmm, that's an interesting promise but would it hurt you if I say I don't believe you?" He raised an eyebrow.
Katherine bit her lower lip and looked at her feet "what will you have me do then sir?" She asked in a whisper.
Raymond stared at her pitiful figure, the corner of his lips curved up in a sly smile, he has her just where he wants "like you heard, my grandfather promise to give me our family's company after one year of marriage but the thing is, I don't have any intention of getting married soon and even if I do, I don't have a suitable bride. So I have decided to rent a bride but I'm also finding it difficult to find a nice girl, do you have any referral McCarthy?" He raised his eyebrow at the end of his question.
Katherine looked up at him and looked down immediately when she saw he was looking at her "no...no, not really sir. I don't have any referrals."
"Hmm, is that so?" He looked at Morris who nodded and handed him a document. Raymond flipped through the pages of the document while looking at Katherine who still had her head bowed, "it says here that you have a niece" at that, Katherine's head sprang up looking shocked "Felicity Amelia McCarthy, the daughter of your late brother. Oh, and she has come of age, twenty four, that's nice. Don't you think she is a suitable candidate McCarthy, hmm?"
"No, not really sir, she is just a child" if there is one thing Katherine will not do, is to give her innocent naïve niece to this ruthless womanizer in front of her.
"Just a child?" Raymond looked at Morris "is twenty four years just a child?"
"Not at all sir" Morris answered.
"Please sir, she is but a child in your presence sir. If I'm to calculate correctly, you are eleven years ahead of her" Katherine protested.
Raymond's countenance darkened "are you calling me old?"
"No! Of course not, why would I do that? I'm just saying she is still inexperienced like the women you use to have" Katherine denied nervously.
"Are you calling me a womanizer?"
"What! Oh no, I'm...I'm.." She stuttered, looking for a better word to pacify him, in as much as she doesn't want to give her niece to him, she still can't afford to offend the devil "sir, please understand. My niece, she is different from other girls."
"Really, how so?" Raymond leaned closer to his desk, his two hands propped under his chin.
Katherine looked around, searching for a way to save her niece from the devil clutches and also to not annoy him and to save her job as well "em, after her parents death, she has been affected in her brain, even though she is twenty four, she is still a child at heart."
Raymond lowered his eyelashes and thought about it "hmm. That's okay, she won't be required to do anything after all. She just needs to stay at home and be Mrs. Baldwin."
"But sir..." Katherine wanted to protest again.
"Name your price McCarthy" Raymond interrupted "you won't be giving her to me for free. I will be renting your niece for a year."
"She is not a property!" Katherine retorted angrily.
Raymond smiled "oh don't worry, no one else apart from the three of us in this room will know, of course, she as well when you tell her, making us four. Her dignity will remain intact."
"But sir" Katherine frowned, he is giving a nice offer, she and Felicity are actually in need of money at the moment but putting Felicity in his care, can she really do that?
"I only need a bride to rent for a year McCarthy, after one year I will return your niece to you with every part in her body intact" Raymond smiled.
Katherine frowned when she understood his hidden meaning, it was also the reason she didn't want to give her to him "can I be given some time to think about this?"
Raymond sighed "of course but I must warn you, I'm a very impatient man, don't keep me waiting."
Katherine nodded and turned to walk away. Raymond looked at Morris and he shook his head at him, he turned to Katherine immediately "I will pay you two million" Katherine froze in her track, what? She wanted to look at him but decided not to be greedy, this is her niece they are talking about after all "five million with a promotion" this time she turned to look at her boss who was calling out money like he was in an auction house.
"What do you think?" Raymond asked when she looked at him.
Katherine bit her lower lip as she contemplated, five million is a huge amount of money and a promotion? She had been dying for a promotion. Will her late brother be angry with her if he finds out she is trying to sell his daughter? Her mind was still calculating in her thoughts when she heard "I will give you one million the day of the wedding, one million six months after the wedding and three million the day the deal ends and of course, you will get your promotion even before the wedding" she looked at her boss who was smiling like he had win her over.
"Think about it McCarthy, what respect and fame will it bring to you among your colleagues when you become my aunt in law? It will be the beginning of power for your family don't you think? And imagine that you are going to will that power for one year" Raymond kept filling her brain with his talks.
"Does it mean after the contract, you will take away my promotion?" Katherine asked doubtfully.
"Of course not, what ever you earn during the period will be solely yours. Your promotion will remain your promotion, nothing will change" he smiled.
Katherine bit her lip as she considered his offer, it's just for a year, Felicity will return back to her unharmed, will she? "You promise not to hurt her?"
"You have my word, it will be written in the contract if that will put you at ease" he agreed.
"She won't lack anything? She has the behavior of crying if she doesn't get what she wants."
"Do you think she will lack anything in my home?" Raymond asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Of course not" Katherine agreed, she had actually forgotten who she was talking to.
"So what do you say McCarthy?"
Katherine sighed "fine, I accept but in two conditions."
Raymond frowned when he heard the word 'condition' well, what condition can she possibly give him? "Ask away."
"You are to pay me ten million. Two million the day of the fake wedding, three million six months after the wedding and five million the day the contract ends."
Raymond smiled, ah, women with money, well too bad for her and too good for him because if there is one thing he has in excess is money "deal. What's your second condition."
"You must not make her fall in love with you. She is too fragile."
Raymond laughed softly "that is not in my power McCarthy, love is one thing one cannot control. It comes when it wants to, so if your niece falls in love with me, I am not to be blamed. After all, it's not my fault I am born with the charm and looks to make a woman fall in love with me. You should pass that warning to your niece, as for me, I'm not going to fall in love with her, rest assured."
Katherine sighed, he is right though, it won't be his fault if Felicity falls in love with him so she has to tell Felicity not to "then I will tell her. You are to pay me ten million and a promotion."
Raymond smiled, he knew he would get her "deal."
"Fine then. I hope boss will give me some time to get my niece to agree."
Raymond furrowed his brows "get her to agree? Can't you make the decision?"
"No, she has every right to decide for herself. Although your offers are tempting, I still won't force her to agree for my selfish reasons, I don't want to control her."
"Okay then" he sighed "how long do you need?"
"Isn't that too long?"
"Not really, I don't want to force her."
"Fine, take your time and yes, it must not exceed seven days and by the way, I will be expecting a positive result."
"But sir, that will depend if she agrees."
"Then make her agree, positive result, nothing more."
Katherine opened her mouth to protest but Raymond waved her off "you can go now, your break is almost over. Go do what you want to do, I won't give you an extra minute."
"Yes sir" she nodded and turned to leave.
"One week McCarthy, seven days" Raymond reminded and she nodded and left the office.
"Well played sir, she is definitely going to agree" Morris praised.
"Of course she will, where is she going to get ten million and a promotion? Even if she worked for five years without resting, she is not going to get such amount" Raymond said in full confidence.
Morris nodded "then we shall await the good news" he smiled and left the office for his own.
Raymond smiled as he watched the closed door, 'don't worry grandpa, I will get you a granddaughter in law soon' he thought.