- 44.4K words
Zachary Anderson, CEO and billionaire from the outside looks as though he has everything. A super model fiancés, money, and looks. One thing he hasn’t been able to achieve was happiness. An accident three years ago had him missing six months but nothing seemingly important happened and only deals with the slight headaches that came with it. Until he starts to remember. Remember a woman. A woman who saved his life. Evelyn Harris turned out to be far more than what he originally remembered. Can Zach keep his life together while dealing with this mystery woman? Or will everything he built over the last three years go down in flames?
“Can I? Can I really, Zack-y?”
I choked down a cringe at Jennifer’s nickname, but forced a smile on my face as I looked at her. Her 5’9’ thin frame with her perfectly placed hair and five hundred dollar outfit, with her bright blue eyes staring at me with glittering anticipation over the prospect of spending my money.
“Of course, darling. Have fun.”
She lifted up on her tip toes and kissed my cheek. Her hand slid down my back and into my back pocket. Grabbing my wallet out of my pant pocket, she scurried off to the store we were standing in front of and started ordering the store associates to help her.
“Sir, there is a call for you from Mr. Galliara.”
I looked over at my assistant, who was leaning forward, my phone in his hands. Sighing and running my hands through my hair, I took it from him.
“Mr. Anderson, I’m glad I was finally able to get ahold of you. I know you are a very busy man.”
“I am, Mr. Galliara. How can I help you?” My voice was curt but professional. I don’t like being called on my personal cell when I wasn't in the office.
He chuckled on the other end. “I would like to meet you in regard to a different project. One that doesn’t involve the Anderson and A. Wright Group. I figured it would be best to speak with you in person about it.”
“If you are looking for involvement from my other company, DV Holdings, you would need to speak with my brother, Adrian Anderson, as he is the one who handles the projects for that company, Mr. Galliara.”
My eyes shifted to the store where I could see Jennifer pulling outfits off the racks and creating her own rack of clothing. Thousands of dollars she was going to waste today but at least it will keep her quiet for the next week. I might be able to actually get some work done at home instead of her barging in every day wondering why I don’t pay enough attention to her.
“I understand, but I would like to speak with you about this matter, since I have had dealings with you before. I know you still are the co-owner, and you can speak with your brother in regards to the decision you make for this project. It’s…” He paused and I wondered if he was going to say that it’s related to my father’s underhanded business he used to run out of the company before I took over. “…it’s been a dream project of mine. One that I have wanted to complete ever since I set my sights on stepping into this business tycoon world. I wanted to get it done before I retire and my son takes over.”
Honestly, I was shocked. I refused to let it show on my face or in my voice, but for a man like Fernando Galliara to say something personal was rare. Even more rare that this pet project seemed to need a hand from my other holdings company. I waved my assistant forward and he handed me my tablet. My fingers scrolled through the calendar for the next month.
“I am available on the 15th at 2pm or we could do dinner on the 19th.”
“Thank you, Mr. Anderson. Dinner on the 19th sounds lovely. I will bring over the folder that I have with the information. Bring a date. I’ll send you the information for a wonderful little restaurant I know.”
I penciled in the dinner with Mr. Galliara. “I will see you then. If there is anything else…”
“Ah, yes yes. Have a wonderful day, Mr. Anderson.”
The line disconnected and I handed both devices back to my assistant. I looked back at the store to see Jennifer yelling at one of the poor sales associates while she was wearing one of the outfits she picked out. Sighing, I walked into the store and the whole store turned to look at me. Immediately, Jennifer started to whine and raced up to clutch onto my arm.
“Can you believe the nerve of this girl! She said I needed to go a size up because the zipper wouldn’t close on the skirt. Who does she think I am? It’s her stupid stores’ sizing that’s off! How dare they insult me!”
I raised my eyebrow. “Darling, it’s not the associate’s fault. You shouldn’t be yelling at her. If something doesn’t fit, don’t get it. There is no need to go further than that.”
Plopping down on the couch outside the dressing rooms, I waved the associate off and smiled at my fiancé. “Show me what you are thinking of buying. Maybe I can help tell you what looks good and what doesn’t.”
She smiled brightly and skipped back to the changing room. The whole rack of clothes that she chose earlier was in there with her. I knew I blocked off two hours for her today because she finally complained to my mother that I was working too much, but this was going to be the death of me.
“Th-Thank you, Mr. Anderson.” The store associate whom Jennifer had been berating bowed to me.
I nodded and looked back at the changing room doors. While my dear fiancé had actually gained weight over the past few months, it was not my place to say. I figured eventually her modeling company would say something. But I would be the last person to tell her she needed to get into a size small rather than an extra small.
“How does this look?”
I looked up at Jennifer and eyed her in the skin tight dress. She looked good. I nodded and motioned her to spin around. Slowly, she turned, her hips swaying a little more.
“Get that one.
Her smile was bright and she jumped off the platform and back into the dressing room.
“Funny meeting you here, son.”
I inhaled sharply and plastered a smile on my face. Turning, I looked at my mother, surrounded by her assistants and bodyguards.
“Hello, Mother.” I stood up and kissed her cheeks. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, I was just doing some shopping for your father and saw you in here. I thought I would say hi and that we could have lunch together.”
A squeal came from behind me and Jennifer bounded forward. She took my mother’s hands in hers and smiled. “Mrs. Anderson, what a surprise! I am so happy you are here!”
My mother smiled and stepped back. “Dear, this dress is lovely on you. It really brings out your eyes. You must get this one. We can go out this week and you can wear it.”
Jennifer nodded, her eyes sparkling. “Did you say lunch? I would love to go to lunch with you!”
“It’s settled then. Finish up with your purchases and we will go to the seafood place on the corner. I heard they have a great lunch special. I’ll make a reservation now.”
I looked at my assistant, who gave me a shaky smile, meaning there wasn’t anything I had on the docket that I could use to get out of this lunch. Jennifer bounded back to the dressing room. I knew she was barely halfway through her rack, but maybe she wouldn’t go through the whole thing now.
“My treat, Mother. It’s been a while since we went out together.” I hoped my smile didn’t look too disingenuous.
“That’s the son I know and love.” My mother smiled and took my hands in hers. “I’ve missed you. You’ve been working so much lately; I never get to see you. Your brother still manages to come over every Thursday, but I’m lucky to get you once a month.”
I chuckled. “Adrian is better company than I am, Mother.”
“Oh, pish posh. I would love to have both my boys home for family dinner. You know that. Bring Jennifer along as well. I think the family needs time with her, since she will be joining the family in a few months.”
“I would think you knew her well enough since you and father were the ones who picked her out for me.” I let too much of an edge into my voice and I saw my mother’s face change momentarily.
The polite smile she held fell and her eyes looked at me harshly. “Zachary Anderson, you have been with this girl for two years. You have put off this engagement and wedding for too long. I understand that you want nothing to do with it, but your father and I know what’s best for you. I will not hear this again.”
“Sorry, Mother. You won’t.”
I bit back my retort that I would never be okay with this union. It was a losing battle. I knew it, my friends knew it, my family knew it. I wasn’t getting out of this marriage. No matter how much I tried. In four months’ time, I would be married to Jennifer Sinclair. Model, Princess of the Sinclair Group, blue blood and the match my mother and father dreamed I would have.
Sure, Jennifer was beautiful, but she was also a shallow, gold digging, spoiled girl. She only wanted to party and model and travel the world, but because of her family’s legacy she was the perfect match for someone of my stature. In my younger years, I would probably have been ecstatic. But now, at 27, being the CEO of two companies, and I would hope wiser than I was, her antics only annoyed me.
“Are you excited for the wedding? Your father will be stepping up while you are on your honeymoon.”
“I would rather Father stayed out of the company.” I grimaced. “He needs to relax. He retired and needs to enjoy it. Adrian…”
My mother scoffed. “Adrian is not ready and will never be ready to handle your father’s company, Zachary. Your father won’t allow it. He will step up for a few weeks.”
I sighed. “The both of you need more faith in Adrian. He handles my other company better than I could. I don’t know why you and father can’t see…”
“Stop it, Zachary. That is the end of the conversation. Your father will step up for a few weeks. It’s fine.”
“Yes, and then for weeks after I will be cleaning up after him trying to restart his old shady business dealings that took me years to break down and remove.” I hissed; my voice low.
My mother seemed taken aback for a moment before her eyes narrowed. “Your father has always done his best to provide…”
I glared at her, cutting her off. “I will not have my company dip into the blood money that Father seemed to love so damn much. My grandfather, I’m sure, was rolling around in his grave with what Father did. I’ve not only rid our company of that idiocy, but I also tripled its profit without those dealings. So don’t come at me like Father couldn’t have raised the company without those, because I did.”
The dressing room burst open and Jennifer drew our attention, a pile of outfits in her hands. She tossed them at the sales associate.
“I’ll take these. Ring me up and put it on this card.” Jennifer flipped open my wallet and handed her the black card.
Taking a step away from my mother, I looked at my assistant who was still ashen from over-hearing my conversation with my mother.
“Derek, if you don’t mind grabbing the bags and putting them into the car. We will head over to have lunch now.”
He nodded and rushed off toward Jennifer. She had snatched the card back from the associate and put it back in my wallet. Jennifer sashayed back over to us, while my mother was still glaring at me but broke into a sweet smile as soon as Jennifer attached herself to my arm.
“Ready for lunch, dear?”
“Of course, Mrs. Anderson! Let’s go!”
My mother’s smile grew more and she glanced at me for a moment. “Dear, call me Mother. Only four more months and we will be family.”
Jennifer’s smile widened as well and she took my mother’s arm in hers. They started to walk out of the store together. “Yes, Mother.”
My smile faltered and fell as I watched the two women walk away. The two women who I wish would just leave me the hell alone. I stared at their retreating figures.
I looked up at one of my bodyguards and nodded. “I was hoping no one would notice.” I flashed a smile at him and he chuckled.
“Sorry, sir. But at least you will fill the quota for seeing Mrs. Anderson for the month.”
I laughed and patted him on the back. “Glass half full, I like it.”
Read novels from various genres