A Billionaire's Love Bargain
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"BE my pretend girlfriend!" Holden said to me out of the blue while we were eating. I raised an eyebrow in surprise. "What a joke!" I replied and continued eating. I was enjoying the food in this fancy restaurant. It was probably my first time eating here. "I'm serious, Lie!" He spoke again. I stopped eating completely and glared at him. "Don't call me that!" I snapped at him. ————— Rosalie Bennett, a chef with a heart full of dreams, finds herself at a crossroads when her beloved little restaurant faces foreclosure. Desperate to save her dream place, she embarks on a daring bargain with Holden. He offers to save her restaurant in exchange for a temporary fake relationship that involves marriage.
"Marriage?" I exclaimed in surprise. I almost choked on my food.
Holden kicked my thigh under the table. I winced. This man is incredibly annoying.
"Is there something wrong?" Mrs. Hudson asked me with concern.
I forced myself to give her a sweet smile. "Nothing, Aunt," I replied and then glanced at the person beside me, giving him a discreet glare.
"So going on, when are you planning to get married? I'm excited to meet my grandchildren," Mrs. Hudson continued.
I felt like I was in the hot seat now.
"Grandchildren?" I exclaimed in surprise for the second time. What did I get myself into? Should I back out of this?
Mrs. Hudson just looked at me with confusion.
"Hon, don't pressure your future daughter-in-law," Mr. Hudson told his wife.
I looked at Holden with a threatening gaze. Just you wait, mister! You'll regret this. He didn't mention that this was part of his plans.
I can't imagine myself marrying a stranger just for the sake of my dream place. I'm not that desperate!
'Aren't you? Well, let me remind you, Rosalie, you agreed to be in a relationship with this billionaire just to save your little restaurant! Without even thinking about the consequences.'
And here I am, facing the consequences of my impulsive decision.
THE landlady shouted at me, saying that I have one week to settle my balance or I won't be allowed to stay here anymore. She was angry and disappointed, and I understand her feelings because I feel the same way about myself.
Then she turned away from me. I gathered my clothes and cried the whole time. My knees were weak, and I sat on the dirty street with my belongings containing my clothes.
My father ruined everything! How long do I have to pay for a mistake that I didn't even want to happen? I didn't want my mom to die giving birth to me.
Since then, I grew up with my dad. He treated me like I am someone else. Luckily, my mom's parents were still alive at that time, so I was raised properly. But they have already passed away many years ago.
I chose to live far away from my dad. Even though I want to understand his situation, I can't. I'm also a human. I have the right to get tired and hurt. He hated me so much. He always told me that he wished I was never born.
But my dad would always find me. He never stopped. And now, he takes all my money to pay for his gambling losses. I couldn't do anything because he was still my father.
As a result of my weakness, I can no longer afford to fully pay for the restaurant space that also serves as my home. Everything gets worse. And now, I ended up on the streets. And my dream of having a restaurant, which I worked hard for, might have to close.
How can I get 1.3 million within just one week? I've been renting that land for over a year. I promised the landlady that I would pay the full amount for the land after three years. She was kind enough to agree. I offered to pay the rent every month, even if it was a small amount, because I needed a large sum of money to renovate the restaurant. And if I fail to pay the full amount by the end of the third year, according to our agreement, the restaurant will belong to her.
Minutes and hours passed.
I was still sitting on the side of the road, being passed by cars. I stared into nothingness. I couldn't even eat. I'm so tired of this life. Should I just stand up and go to the middle of the road to let a vehicle run over me?
But I can't do it. There are still many things I want to do in my life. And no matter how my dad is, I still want to keep an eye on him. I know he still needs me. Taking care of her husband is the only way I can make it up to Mom.
As the minutes passed, all I could do was stare at the sign in front of my restaurant. It says "CLOSE!"
"MOM, what is this?" I asked Mom sharply as I pointed to the woman inside my office.
We were currently outside my office. How dare that woman make a move on me!
"I'll arrange the two of you in a marriage!" Mom replied without hesitation.
I forcefully ran my hand over my face.
"That slut?!" I struggled to hold back from shouting. Luckily, there were no employees around us at the moment. They were all in a meeting in the conference room with Dad.
Mom pointed at me. "Don't call her that! Besides, she is the daughter of my friend. I can sense that she will be a good mother to my grandchildren and your wife."
I slapped my forehead. Is Mom blind?
That woman is really a slut. She tries to make a scandalous move on me. She reached for my thighs and slowly slid her fingers towards my private parts. But before she could reach there, I immediately slapped her hand away from me.
But she really has some nerve.
"Playing hard to get, I like that. Sooner or later, you'll give in to me. You'll want me!" she said to me in a seductive tone.
I didn't feel any hint of seduction from her. All I felt was annoyance towards her.
"I don't know what to say to you, Mom," I replied, shaking my head.
I was about to turn away from her when she spoke again.
"If you can find someone to marry before this month ends, whoever it may be, I will agree. But if not, I will be forced to marry you off to Elise!" Mom presented a condition to me.
I suddenly felt a surge of confidence. This could somehow work in my favor. An idea immediately popped into my mind.
"WHERE is she now?" I asked my employee who was in front of me.
He handed me a photo.
"She's still sitting on the side of the road in front of her restaurant. She hasn't left yet, and I don't think she's eaten since morning," Mr. Jones informed me in detail.
I stood up from my chair. Is she going crazy?
I took off my necktie and casually placed it on the table in front of me. I quickly left my office and headed to my car. I didn't waste any more time.
When I caught sight of Rosalie in the distance, I stopped my car. I watched her staring blankly like an idiot. I shook my head.
I got out of my car and started approaching her, but she still hadn't noticed me. When I stood in front of her, she finally looked up at me.
Her eyes squinted when she saw me. She rubbed her eyes. What is she thinking? That I'm just a dream?
I kicked her thigh, and only then did she react. She stood up and glared at me angrily.
"What are you doing here?!" she asked angrily.
I smiled at her. "No 'nice to see you again'?" I teased.
She punched me in the chest. This woman is really something. She may be small, but she's brave. More than most men. Well, only at least when she's with me.
"Can you please leave me alone! My day is already bad, and you're making it worse!" she exclaimed in frustration.
I put my hands in the pockets of my pants.
"I'm delighted to see you in such a state. It suits someone like you!" I taunted.
She hit me hard. As she was about to punch me again, I dodged and grabbed her left wrist. She tried to struggle, but I was stronger than her.
"Fuck you, Holden!" she shouted at me.
"Oh, why? Did I start this?" I said firmly to her. Our eyes met.
I could see that she was struggling now. I chose to let go of her hand. I avoided eye contact.
"I have something to tell you," I said calmly after a while.
She pushed my chest.
"You can leave now. I don't care about what you have to say, Mr. Billionaire!" she stubbornly declared.
I faced her. This woman is really stubborn.
"You have no choice!" I said determinedly.
I reached for her belongings. Despite her resistance, she couldn't do anything. As we reached my car, she kept hitting me with her small hands.
"Get in the car!" I ordered authoritatively.
She just looked at me. She crossed her arms over her chest. I suddenly felt embarrassed when I unintentionally glanced at her boobs. What the heck!
"Who are you to order me around?" she stubbornly asked.
I forcefully made her sit in the shotgun seat next to me. She was silent the whole ride. Her face was scowling. I knew she was just holding back her anger towards me.
"Your life must be good now, huh?" she asked out of nowhere.
I glanced at her briefly. There was bitterness in her voice.
I didn't respond. I didn't know what to say to that question.
After a few more minutes, I parked my car in front of a luxurious restaurant. I got out first, and she followed me. We entered the restaurant one after the other.
I sighed in relief as she finally stopped being stubborn towards me.
"Hello, good morning, Mr. Holden!" the waitress greeted me cheerfully.
"Tsss!" I heard Rosalie make a sound.
I knew her eyes were rolling at this moment because of the waitress in front of me. She wasn't jealous, of course! She's just an irritable woman.
"A table for two, please," I said with a smile to the waitress.
Then she left us alone. She swayed her hips as she walked away, making each step sound with her heels.
"Let's eat before we talk. I know you haven't eaten today," I expressed my concern to her.
But what do I get in return? "How nice of you, Mr. Holden!" she sarcastically said, imitating the voice of the earlier waitress. Sometimes I can't help but get annoyed by the woman in front of me.
IT was autumn in Greece. The weather was not cold, nor was it hot. The surroundings were filled with yellow leaves falling everywhere, almost covering the view of the road and parked cars.
But for sixteen-year-old Rosalie, it was the happiest season of the year. She enjoyed eating at a food stall inside their school with her female friends. Across from them was a wide playground where college players were currently playing basketball.
After having her snack, she excused herself from her friends to go to the girls' restroom. She hurriedly passed by the side to avoid getting hit by the ball.
Unfortunately, it seemed to be an unlucky day for her because she still got hit by the ball. Right on her behind. It was an embarrassing incident! She winced and instinctively held her behind, her buttocks to be exact. She didn't care about the eyes staring at her.
Someone get the ball from behind her and she looked at that col
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