The Miracle of You
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Michael McGregor is one of the most prominent and successful businessmen in the country. He is also one of the most sought-after bachelors in the city. Both men and women wonder why he remains single and unmarried in his thirties. In truth, for fourteen years, Michael McGregor has never stopped trying to find his first love back in high school, the beautiful and intelligent Hailey van Gowen. When he finally locates her one day, he’s in for the shock of his life. Hailey has changed her identity and is now going by the name of Camille Parker. Not only that, but she is also the personal secretary of Christian Callahan, Michael’s strongest competitor in the shopping mall industry. Later on, Michael discovers that there’s another secret that Camille’s been hiding, one that ties her personally to Christian Callahan…
“When are you going to get married?”
The lively dining table went silent in an instant, and there was a lingering anticipation in the air that did not go unnoticed by anyone in the room.
Michael McGregor could hear his father’s voice loud and clear, but he chose to ignore it, focusing on the meal before him.
It was a question that he had grown accustomed to over the years. There was no need for him to give a verbal response. After all, his answer would remain the same.
Around the table sat five individuals overall: the Chairman of Haynes-McGregor Industries, his wife, Michael, and the latter’s two siblings, namely William and Joanna.
John McGregor sat at the head of the table with a scowl, obviously displeased by his son’s blatant lack of response. He slammed his fork down on the plate, making a loud noise that caused the others to jolt in surprise.
“I am talking to you,” John said, his eyes narrowing in anger. “When are you going to stop refusing marriage prospects and blind dates? You are not getting any younger, Michael. It’s time for you to find a wife and have her give birth to a son. An heir.”
“And you’re sticking to your traditional beliefs as always, Father,” Michael said indifferently as he took a bite out of the steak. “I am still young enough to avoid settling down for the time being.”
“There have been many rumors going around about you,” John said, his tone filled with displeasure. “What do you keep waiting around for? Do you fancy men, or is there a woman that you secretly favor but is already taken?”
“None are correct,” Michael said calmly.
Michael’s mother, Diana, turned to him with a concerned expression on her face. “Son, is there really no one who has ever caught your attention? Your father and I are just worried about you. You’ve never shown the slightest interest in any of the women we’ve introduced you to.”
Michael’s two siblings, William and Joanna, remained silent, knowing better than to interfere in the same old discussion that had been going on for years.
Michael was the only one in the family who wasn’t married. Will had married a beautiful and obedient woman his parents had arranged for him while Joanna had given birth to her second child last year.
They both worked hard in the family business at Haynes-McGregor Industries, Will being the COO and Joanna running the branch office in another city. She was just here today to visit her family for the weekend.
So, whenever they had family dinners like this, the conversation would eventually come back to one point.
Michael’s lack of interest in women and marriage.
Since Michael was the current CEO of the company, the family had high expectations for him. At first, Will was the one that John wanted to inherit the CEO position. However, when Michael suddenly showed tremendous growth over the past few years, it eventually became clear that he was the one who was best suited for the job.
Will, the most mellow and rational son of the family, did not take it personally and supported his brother in any way he could. He didn’t really care about the position and stepped out of the way when Michael began to prove himself to their father.
Joanna, on the other hand, disapproved of Michael’s way of doing things. As the eldest daughter and sibling, she couldn’t understand why Michael tended to do whatever he wanted and whenever he wished. Because of her father’s strong personality, she had unconsciously adopted his traditional beliefs, believing that every life had a proper process that would guarantee success.
“I don’t understand what the big deal is with you refusing to date or get engaged to someone at least,” Joanna suddenly spoke up with a raise of an eyebrow. “If you don’t want to get married or have a relationship, just say so. Don’t keep stringing Mom and Dad along with your carefree tendencies.”
“Joanna,” Will said calmly with a warning tone in his voice. The two of them were twins, born in the same year, with Michael being the youngest. If there was anyone who could keep her in line, it was him.
“Don’t keep defending him, Will,” Joanna snapped. “He’s been really arrogant lately. He keeps making big decisions on a whim without informing any of us, and he never even tries to ask our opinion when it comes to business matters. It’s like he doesn’t have a family!”
John frowned, but said nothing.
Diana, on the other hand, looked aghast as she tried to remedy the situation.
“Joanna, your brother just has his own way of doing things,” she said. “I’m sure he means well and has plans for himself that we don’t know about.”
“That’s great, then. He can tell us exactly what those plans are,” Joanna said, turning to Michael with a glare. “Enlighten us, dear brother, as to why we seem to no longer exist in your life.”
Michael sighed quietly as he set his utensils down on the table. Then, very calmly, he said, “If being in this family means that I have to obey every single thing I’m told to do and report every detail to all of you, then I don’t need it. I am no one’s puppet, and I am certainly nothing like you, Joanna.”
A stunned silence met him as a response.
Diane gasped in shock. Will closed his eyes, already dreading the outcome of this conversation.
Meanwhile, a deadly scowl painted John’s face while Joanna’s expression twisted into something even uglier.
“What did you just say?!” she shrieked. She slammed the knife and fork down on the table, the loud noise echoing off the walls.
Will reached out and tried to get her to sit down, but she wouldn’t let him. She pointed at Michael accusingly with a fierce glare.
“You’ve become quite brave ever since you took over as CEO. But I hope you haven’t forgotten what you did in the past,” she snapped. “We did our best for you, yet this is how you repay us. If that’s the way it’s going to be, then just get the hell out of here and never come back!”
“Joanna!” Will exclaimed, shocked.
“I will take my leave now,” Michael said calmly, getting up from his seat and turning around.
“Michael Noah McGregor, if you take one more step, I will make you regret it!” John’s booming voice echoed through the room.
Michael, however, paid no attention to his father’s warning and simply walked out of the mansion without another word.
But just as he was about to get into his car, he heard the sound of panting coming from behind him as well as rapid footsteps approaching.
Michael turned around to find himself face-to-face with his older brother, Will.
“Mike, wait,” Will said, taking a deep breath before reaching out to clamp a warm hand on Michael’s shoulder. His eyes were as gentle as ever, ones that suited him as a caring older brother. “I know I’ve already told you this a hundred times already, but…”
“I know,” Michael said evenly. “Mom and Dad are just worried about me, but they don’t know how else to express it. My sister is just annoyed that I keep doing things my way without consulting the rest of you. They say that I’m an ungrateful child because they did everything for me, so I should just let it go.”
The deadpan in his tone made Will wince.
When he said it like that, it did sound bad.
Will felt the guilt in his heart grow even more. He didn’t know how to handle this situation peacefully, but he had to try. Otherwise, the constant conflict would only tear their family apart.
“Sometimes, people say hurtful things when they’re angry. Please don’t take it to heart, okay? You should think more about what you said, too. It really shocked Mom,” Will said softly. “I’ll talk to Joanna later and make her apologize. She was out of line. Make sure to eat breakfast before going to work tomorrow, all right?”
“Okay.” Michael sighed. “I’m sorry, Will.”
“No need to apologize, little brother. I’m sure that things have been tough for you recently, especially since you still have to close the deal with an important client. The board of directors has been breathing down your neck lately, too, right?” Will smiled at him reassuringly. “But… about what Father said earlier…”
“No, I’m not here to nag you about it. Don’t get me wrong. But… Mike, are you really waiting for someone?” Will asked in concern. “What are your plans for the future? You’re not getting any younger, you know. You’re already in your thirties.”
Michael said nothing in response, so Will continued.
“Everybody’s just worried about you, Mike. You’re really good at the business, but… is this all you’re going to do for the rest of your life?” Will said, his tone filled with worry. “Don’t you think it’s time you found someone to fill that empty hole in your heart? Haven’t you ever… you know… longed for someone to be by your side?”
To Will’s surprise, Michael gave him a soft smile in response.
“I am waiting for someone,” Michael answered. “In fact, I’ve been waiting for her for fourteen years already.”
Will’s eyes widened.
He did not expect that at all.
“What? For that long? Why?” Will asked, completely caught off-guard. “Who is she? When did you first meet her?”
Michael tilted his head skywards, watching the clouds drift lazily across the black night sky. The moon shone brightly, casting an ethereal glow over the surroundings.
“I was a freshman in high school when I first met her,” he said softly. “Her name is Hailey, and she’s my first love.”
[Sixteen years ago, in the city of Lenford…]
A single petal floated in front of his eyes.
It was a cherry blossom petal, one that signaled the beginning of the tree’s full bloom in spring.
It was the first thing Michael McGregor saw before a girl about his age suddenly walked up to him, her hand tightly gripping the strap of her shoulder bag.
She was a pretty girl with long dark hair and striking olive-green eyes. She had an intelligent look about her that gave off elegance and beauty, catching the eyes of some of the boys who passed by. Her hair was loose and long enough to reach her waist, letting the wind blow the strands behind her.
It was like a picturesque moment that could have been a little romantic if it weren’t for the words that came out of her mouth the next moment.
“What are you doing with that cigarette?”
At 15 years old, Michael McGregor had just arrived for his first day of high schoo
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