I needed $250,000.
Preferably in two weeks’ time.
I can’t get so much money in just two weeks’ time. My family was on a dead end. I need to help them. I wasn’t supposed to know that my dad’s company - Peyton Tech Industries will be closing down if we can’t get the $250,000 in two weeks’ time and everything that dad built up will be gone just like that.
Putting away the red letter that was left on my father’s study table, I stared at the photo of Harper and I beside the desktop. It was taken four years ago in Idaho before we moved down to LA. She was wearing a black beanie, covering her loss of hair, holding little Cory in her arms and I remembered putting blush on her cheeks to give her some color to her face.
That was three days before she was gone. Harper was a fighter. She was diagnosed from Lung cancer. No chemo could save her. No matter how much money we tried to help her, Harper’s body wasn’t able to take it. So, when she fell unconscious, we pulled the plug. It was done and over. Just like that.
After clearing Harper’s hospital fees, the Peyton had to go through another roller coaster. Quinn Peyton, my mother, got into an accident.
It was the tough times. Dad assured me everything’s fine but now I know, Dad have been using Peyton’s fund to save his family.
I could have go to my best friend Keira McQueen and asked her for help. Keira’s family owns the biggest club house in LA. But I don’t want to ask any favor from the McQueens anymore.
When Harper was around, she owned a bookstore in McQueen’s clubhouse and McQueen decided not to close it down, passing the bookstore to me without taking any profits or rent. I’m taking care of the bookstore and also taking my online school on creative writing. The profit in bookstore isn’t enough to help Peyton Tech.
This was why; I’m walking into Eaton Corp and was directed by Declan Eaton’s receptionist, Laura. Eaton Corp is an international best technology corporation. They basically work with government to provide weapons and they contribute half of the advanced technology in this world.
Laura’s heels clicking on the marble floor, her blouse leaving zero imagination for the males; She knocked on the door and I heard a deep and hoarse, “Come in,”
Laura put on a small smile for me and said, “Go on,” She scrutinized me from head to toe for the fifth time and turned back to her desk. I took a deep breath and entered the office.
Sitting behind the desk was Declan Eaton. His suit was hanging behind his chair. The only gesture toward relaxing was his sleeves were rolled up to his elbow and he wasn’t wearing a tie. He looked just as good as the last time I saw him in Derek’s cocktail party.
He lifted his blue-grey eyes from the paperwork in front of him, plastered a business-like smile on his face, “Hello, Thea.”
“Thanks for seeing me,” I walked towards him, feeling slightly nervous but I have to get things done.
After I saw the letter in my father’s study, I received Declan’s call. He wants to offer a deal with me. It’s about Peyton Tech. I agreed, knowing Declan Eaton was the only one who can give me $250,000 in such a short notice.
I sat right across him, he laced his fingers together and stared right at me, “How are you?”
“Good,” I answered, “Look, how about we save all these questions and just jump right into it?”
“Trust me,” My breath hitched at the thickness of his voice, “I will jump into it when the time is right,”
“About the offer,” I brushed him off, hoping he didn’t notice my voice broke a little.
He raised his eyebrows and shrugged, “I need a wife who doesn’t want a relationship and treat this marriage as a business venture. She needs to be independent, intelligent and able to socialize since I’ve got a lot of events and party.”
“Sounds exactly like a robot,” I said under my breath. “Why do you need a wife?”
Declan chuckled, looking amused, “It sounded like a wife who is capable of standing beside me for public events. In order to make sure my stakeholders and future partners trust me. Most of them are family oriented. My dad earned their trust by settling down. The only way to stop any negative rumors is to get a wife. Derek told me you needed money,”
“Derek’s right,” I said. Derek - Keira’s boyfriend, who went around looking for Declan’s potential wife for these past few days. He was walking around the club house, looking for targets.
He overheard my conversation with the bank, asking for a loan and decided to hook me up with Declan. “I need $250,000 next week,”
“If I’m going to give you that money, which really isn’t a problem to me,” Declan smirked when I narrowed my eyes at him. “I need to know what you are going to use that for,”
“You don’t have to know,” I argued, “It’s my problem. I can do all your terms but I have mine too,”
Declan nodded for me to continue, leaning back his seat. “Go on,”
“I need the money once we got married. We need to have a wedding; it’s just a show for my parents. You don’t interfere in my business and I will do the same to yours. No kissing or hugging unless needed. Don’t engaged with any sexual activities with other women,”
“What about my needs?” Declan arched his eyebrows, “Are you going to have sex with me?”
“If you give me your word that it means nothing, then yes.” I said honestly, thinking about the hot and heavy sex with Orion McQueen. Orion will learn the news from the media. He will get the message that our sexual activity is over.
I shifted slightly in my seat and continued, “Are you fine with the wedding?”
“I don’t intend to have it. But if you want it, then okay. I will have to inform the public about my engagement, are you fine with it?”
I know what I’m getting into when I agreed to come to Declan. I nodded and asked, “Does your family know about this agreement?”
“No,” Declan said without revealing anything, “They will be notified the same with your parents. This marriage will last for a while. After that, we will separate due to different personality. Nobody needs to be involved and get hurt.”
“Do you have a contract?” I asked. Declan pulled out a folder from his drawer and passed it to me, “You can bring it back and ask your lawyer to look through and I can asked my lawyer to change anything,”
“No need,” I looked at him and back at the contract, all the things he said are in black and white, “I just need your words,”
“You have my words,” Declan reassured, he looked at me while I signed it.
I looked at my signature and back to the gorgeous guy in front of me, “When do we start?”