I'm His Lover
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Alyanna Savi Romero is a beautiful young woman who lives with her dad and loves him dearly, but he has a dirty little secret he's been keeping to himself that he’s afraid Yanna will discover. Yanna believes in love and aspires to be able to find it in the future. What happens if she meets Mark Thaddeus Hernandez, a husband material and a CEO? What is going to happen with their lives as they change from strangers to husband and wife in a glimpse of an eye? But what if after everything settled she faces a tragedy that she didn't see coming? Will she be able to make it?
CHAPTER 1: THE BET
Friday evening at 7:00. I'm in my Advanced Calculus class, physically present but mentally drifting. Since I've already grasped the material, I let my mind wander as I doodle in my sketchbook.
I start daydreaming about the upcoming summer. My plan is to backpack across Europe, meet new people, and perhaps find romance. I also contemplate my future at school.
My dad mentioned that the small business he'll be passing down to me will soon be under my management. I'll inherit it when I turn 21, and I'm currently just shy of 18. It's funny how I brought up "The Sound of Music" movie. In less than two weeks, I'll be turning 18, coinciding with my high school graduation. Quite fitting, isn't it?
"Ms. Romero, Ms. Romero. Ms. Romero!" Mr. Martian's urgent voice pulls me from my thoughts, even raising towards the end.
Quickly, I close my sketchbook and look up at him. "Yes?" I'm not sure what this is about, but I'm about to find out.
"What did you learn?" He asks with urgency. Fortunately, I recall him discussing the week's plans on Monday, and his assignments rarely change, so I feel prepared.
"Yes. It's covered on pages 10–12, and we're supposed to work on problems 5 and 6 from our workbook," I recollect everything clearly. Back when I was just 5 years old, my mom left wearing a navy blue sweater, packing her belongings and driving away. I remember her asking our neighbor, Miss Kay, to look after me until my dad returned. I recall watching her car leave the driveway and how it made me cry. Her departure also brought tears to my dad's eyes. I'll always remember the last time she tucked me in for bed. There are moments I wish I could erase, but they're etched in my memory.
"Oh, that's all for today," he says as he returns to the front of the classroom. "Class dismissed." Finally, freedom.
I rush out of the classroom, collect my things from my locker, and head to my maroon truck. Once home, I change out of my uncomfortable uniform and slip into comfy sweats.
I dive into my homework, tackling English after finishing math, which sounds way easier than calculus. I complete an outline for a research paper, but I decide to take a break since it's not due until Wednesday. At that moment, Charlie, my best friend, calls. I reject their call and opt for a FaceTime conversation instead.
"Hey! What's up?" I inquire. Charlie lives in a different state, having moved when we were 15. Despite the distance, we've managed to stay connected and talk daily.
"Not much," Charlie replies after a momentary pause and a glance away from the camera. Something seems off, like they might be feeling down. "I'll be staying at your place for a week, so get ready!"
I'm taken aback. "Seriously? You've got to be kidding!" But Charlie doesn't seem down at all.
"I'm dead serious. Cross my heart." They place their hand over their heart and raise their hands for me to see.
"When are you coming?" I ask.
"In about a minute. Should be there by midnight." That's five hours away. Oh no.
"Alright. I'll let you go then. Can't wait to see you!" My excitement is evident in my wide grin.
"Same here, Yanna." We end the call, and I head to the kitchen to find something to occupy myself until dinner.
As I make my way to the kitchen, a text from my dad arrives.
Dad: I'll be late tonight. Have fun with Charlie.
Yanna: Okay, Dad. What's the plan? Late-night escapades?
I'm playing cards with the guys, says Dad.
Yanna: Just don't do anything too crazy, Dad.
Dad: I promise. Love you, Yanna!
Yanna: Love you too, Dad.
Since I won't be having dinner with my dad, I whip up some chicken and mac and cheese after our short text chat. I decide to eat it right away. When Charlie arrives, I might have something different. I'm not certain yet.
When everything's ready, I carry it all to the living room and put on my favorite movie, Spider-Man Homecoming. After the movie and dinner, I start watching Captain America. I fall asleep, and then my phone rings. I look at it and see "Charlie" on the screen.
"Hello?" I'm still a bit sleepy and not fully awake.
"Did you fall asleep?" they ask.
"What? No. What's your address?" I change the topic, rubbing my eyes.
"I'm outside your house." Suddenly wide awake, I rush to the door. I shout and hug Charlie as soon as I open it. "Hi there," they chuckle, hugging me back.
"I'm so glad to see you!" I nuzzle into their neck.
"Me too, Yanna. Can we get some rest now? I had a long journey," they put me down, and we head inside and go to bed.
The next morning, I wake up late. I didn't expect to wake up early, but noon surprised me too. My dad left before I woke up, so I didn't see him. Charlie was still asleep beside me, but I got up and started preparing breakfast. Well, lunch is a more accurate term.
As I made my way downstairs, I noticed a note from my dad. It read, "Yanna, I'll be back before you. We're having guests over. Marlee will cook dinner for us tonight. A business partner and his son will be joining. I believe you'll do well. Love you, see you later. -Dad."
I muttered a reluctant "Great" to myself.
"What's going on?" Charlie entered the kitchen, startling me. I handed him the note, and he quickly scanned it, saying, "Oh, come on, it might not be that bad. The son could be someone you like."
"Yeah, right," I retorted, feeling cynical. Probably some wealthy kid who always gets what he wants. I'm sure he's thinking the same about me.
"Give him a chance," Charlie suggested.
I didn't care much for Charlie's opinion at the moment; I'd rather focus on cooking some eggs and bacon.
After rewatching Captain America from the start, I checked the time and realized, "Darn it, I need to start getting ready. You too. Remember everything?"
"Yep. We'll see you at ten," he replied.
"More like 20 for me. This takes time," I gestured to my face. We both laughed and headed to our separate showers. Just so you know, each shower is on its own floor.
Getting ready seemed to take me closer to 30 minutes. When Dad returned, he looked somewhat upset. "You alright, Dad?" I asked as he entered the living room wearing jeans and a nice polo shirt.
I was relieved it wasn't one of those dress-up dinners. Not that I don't like dresses; I just prefer not to wear them. They're often uncomfortable, itchy, and not very practical. Still, sometimes I do like them.
"Yeah, I'm fine. They should be here soon." Almost immediately, the doorbell rang.
"I'll get it," I said as I headed to the door. Upon opening it, I saw a man about my dad's age and a younger guy who seemed around 21 or 22. "Hey there, welcome. I'm Yanna. Come on in," I greeted them with a slightly robotic tone.
I couldn't help but stare at the young man. He looked impressive. His icy blue eyes seemed to peer right into me, causing me to catch my breath. He shouldn't have that effect on me. That's not possible.
Since my dad and Charlie were in the living room, that's where I guided the guests. "John, it's nice to see you again. We're glad you could make it," my dad stood up and shook hands with himself and each of his guests. "Can I offer you a drink before dinner?"
"I'll have a single malt. Care for anything, Mark?" John responded. Mark. I quite liked that name.
"Not really. I'm good," Mark said. His voice matched his appearance – deep and robust, just like his physique. His arms seemed strong, and his jawline was sharp.
I settled into a chair beside the couch where Mark was seated. "So, Mark, how's college treating you?" my dad inquired, yet I sensed that something still troubled him.
"Thankfully, I only have one more exam left before I graduate," Mark answered, glancing at my dad and me. He offered a smile and then shifted his gaze. I felt myself blush even at such a small display of kindness. Why does this guy have this effect on me?
"So, you're in your final year of college, right?" I asked, my guess pretty close. He must be around 21 or 22.
"Yes. My last exam is on Monday," he confirmed.
"Lucky you. I've got two more weeks of school."
"I know," Mark looked at me and gave a wink. Why? That's the question on my mind. From the corner of my eye, I saw my dad tense up and put on that anxious expression again. Marlee walked into the living room just as dinner was about to be served, signaling us.
Mark and I made polite conversation. John and my dad headed back to the house to discuss something else. I could tell it was somewhat heated even though I couldn't quite hear it.
Dinner unfolded as planned. We chatted a bit about our future plans. Charlie seemed to enjoy talking to Mark. Most of the time, Dad and John engaged in their own conversation, leaving me somewhat isolated.
I was desperate to find an excuse to leave. "I'll take care of the dishes," I announced. I quite enjoyed doing the dishes.
"Honey, it's not necessary," Dad said, looking at me. It appeared he wanted to have a word just as I was trying to escape.
"It's fine. I'd like to help. You've met me," I replied. John smirked – or at least it looked that way – and Mark seemed somewhat puzzled. Charlie knew too much about me to be of any real assistance. I headed into the kitchen and started washing dishes.
About 20 minutes later, Mark enters the kitchen as I'm drying the last dish. "Hey," he greets.
I turn to face him. "Hi. How was the food?" I attempt to make conversation. Just his presence makes me feel uneasy, but I do my best not to show it.
"It was good. This is actually one of my favorite meals," he replies, contributing to the casual banter.
"Great." I turn toward the cabinet after spinning around. There's something behind me. I don't jump or startle; I try to act normal. I'm good at maintaining composure and hiding my fear.
As I reach up to put a plate away, Mark wraps his arm around my waist. Before I can react, he says, "So you're the lucky girl I'm going to marry." What! I'm so taken aback and bewildered that I drop the plate.
"What!" I exclaim. "What on earth makes you think I'd marry you?"
"Haven't you heard about the wager?" he asks, his eyes appearing rather wide.
"No. What wager?" I inquire, running my fingers through my hair.
"Wow, your dad didn't tell you," he replies, evading a direct answer. My dad, John, and Charlie walk into the kitchen.
"Dad, what's he talking about with this wager?" I demand, a mix of anger, confusion, and frustration coursing through me.
"Honey, let's head to the living room and talk."
"What's going on?" This can't be anything good, no matter what it is.
CHAPTER 2: WHAT IF
Charlie came into my room, and we had a hushed chat about what was going on.
I felt completely out of the loop. While Mark, my dad, and John seemed to have all the facts, I was left in the dark. Mark had filled me in, and it seemed likely he got the details from his dad due to their recent bet. My head was pounding.
As everyone else discussed the situation, I struggled to concentrate. Despite my efforts to stay focused, it felt like being in my Friday math class, where I couldn't answer anything correctly. My dad gently shook my arm to get my attention, but I couldn't snap out of it.
"Yes?" I replied, my eyebrows still furrowed in confusion.
"How much did you catch of that?" My dad inquired. I shook my head, feeling slightly embarrassed because he probably mentioned something to me. John looked annoyed, but Mark just chuckled. "Well, I made a bet with John here, involving my business, or more precisely, your inheritance. He
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