The billionaires romance, p.5
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       The Billionaire's Romance, p.5

         Part #2 of A Winters Love series by Holly Rayner
 
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  “Then don’t give it to me. Get Hal in here…now!”

  When she closed the door I closed my eyes and clenched my jaw. I willed Robyn out of my mind. She had come into my life like a tornado…turning it all upside down. Work was the antidote to her power over me…it had to be. I couldn’t go on with nothing but her on my mind….my company couldn’t survive it.

  Hal was in my office with the numbers within fifteen minutes. In that short amount of time, I’d decided that I was a complete ass…to Janice, to him and most especially to Robyn. I couldn’t do this; I couldn’t pretend to ignore the fact that she was hurt, no matter how minor. If I didn’t go see her myself, I’d drive everyone around me crazy over it. I pretended to go over the numbers with Hal…quickly and then I apologized to Janice and sent her home. I told myself to get some rest and go see her first thing in the morning.

  Trying to rest had turned out to be pointless. Finally at five a.m. I gave it up and went for a run. By the time I got home it was a decent enough time to shower and go see her. I could only hope that she’d even let me in the door. When she did, I realized that I was a bigger ass than even I had thought.

  As I listened to her story I realized that this “accident” was entirely my fault. Flowers and candy were in no way going to make-up for what she’d been through. I’d called the police department when I was in the kitchen and asked to talk to the commissioner. I told him who I was and what I wanted. Over the next two hours I got two phone calls, one from the Mayor’s assistant and one from the Mayor himself. He’d had the commissioner bump the investigation up to high priority. From the description Robyn gave them, they thought they already had a suspect. He was someone who was well-known to them for petty-theft and purse-snatching. Pushing her in front of the car was out of character if it was who they thought…but escalating behavior amongst criminals was not uncommon.

  The mayor wanted to see me right away and so I told Robyn I was “arranging a surprise” for her and left. She seemed unhappy with me again, but I’m sure she’ll be thrilled when she realizes that I was intent on tracking this guy down and seeing him brought to justice.

  I went straight to the police department when I met Robin. The mayor and the commissioner were waiting for me. They briefed me where they were in the investigation and told me what they were doing to find this guy.

  “What’s his name?” I asked the commissioner.

  “Aaron, I can’t tell you that…”

  “Really? Then maybe my checks to the Policeman’s retirement fund will be smaller.”

  “That’s not fair, Aaron. It’s blackmail, actually and very unlike you. You need to trust me to do my job. We’ve been friends for a long time….”

  “Yes, and this is the first time that I’ve asked you for anything in all that time. You said it yourself, this is unlike me. Obviously it’s very, very important.”

  The mayor and commissioner exchanged looks and the mayor finally said,

  “His name is Gregor Vivaldi. But Aaron, you have to promise me you’re not going to go all vigilante on us.”

  “Of course not,” I told him, “But I will have my security team looking for him. When they find him, they’ll bring him in…safely.” The commissioner didn’t look happy so I said, “I promise you that no one will be playing cop or hero. They follow my orders, very closely. Look, I know you guys are understaffed. I’m not saying you can’t do your job. I’m just saying there’s nothing wrong with a little help, right?”

  He finally, reluctantly agreed. He didn’t doubt I’d find the information on my own anyways. I was pretty determined when there was something I really wanted. Before I left the station, I had the suspect’s last known address and list of know associates. I took that information directly to my head of security and told him that I wanted it to be their number one priority until the man was found. That weekend, I spent my time mostly on the phone helping them follow up on leads. The guy wasn’t at his last known address so it was a matter of finding out who his relatives and associates were. With enough money and resources you can find out anything about anyone these days.

  Meanwhile, I told Robyn that I was still working on her surprise. I was talking to her on the phone, so I didn’t see her face, but I got the feeling she was very unhappy with me. I knew that would change soon though when early Monday morning I got a call from the commissioner that they had arrested him. The idiot still had Robyn’s I.D. and credit cards on him when they picked him up. I asked him to email me a picture of the guy and I went to work ecstatic, I couldn’t wait to tell her.

  ROBYN

  By Monday morning it had been two days since I’d seen Aaron. I was beginning to think that he was avoiding me. The up and down of this relationship had started to make me feel like I was riding on an out of control rollercoaster and I wasn’t certain how much longer I could do it. I cared for him deeply, but at some point I was going to have to start thinking of myself.

  He’d called me on Sunday night and said he was still “working on” my surprise. I couldn’t imagine what it could be, and I couldn’t want anything less. Anything that kept his attention away from me this long really wasn’t something that I wanted.

  I was ready to go back to work Monday morning. I was tired of laying around. I got up and showered and dressed, feeling good enough for the first time in several days to not take any pain medications. When I got to work, Max greeted me first. He hugged me and told me how happy he was that I was okay. Then Gary came in not long after that. He hugged me too and looked so upset that I felt bad for him. I felt bad for me too…the man that I wanted to care that much about me just didn’t seem to.

  I tried to shake the weekend off and get right to work. I had some website things to work on, but since I hadn’t been in the office for a while, I decided to check my email first. I had about fifty of them, but the only one that caught my eye was from Aaron. It had been sent early this morning and simply said,

  “Robyn, when you have a moment, can I see you in my office?”

  I was suddenly excited again, and a little mad at myself for doubting him. I had it in my head all of a sudden that he was going to tell me that we’re announcing that we’re dating. Later, I’ll wonder where I got that idea, but right at that moment I was excited and sure that’s what it was. Maybe sometimes my positive outlook on things crossed a line into fantasy….

  I poked my head in Max’s office and told him I had to run upstairs and would be right back and then I took the elevator up to the tenth floor with anticipation building with each light of the button. When the elevator stopped and the doors slid open I stepped off to see Aaron’s assistant, Janice at her desk. She looked at me and said,

  “Good morning, can I help you?” She didn’t know who I was. I guess she saw hundreds of faces a day, hoping to get in and see the Wizard. Hopefully, today he would be ready to go public with our relationship and she would get to know me well.

  “Hi, I’m Robyn Hurst. I’m here to see Mr. Winters. I think he’s expecting me.”

  Janice didn’t look convinced, Aaron obviously didn’t tell her that he’d asked me to come up. She picked up her intercom and I heard her say,

  “Mr. Winters, there’s a Miss Hurst here to see you.” After a beat she said, “Yes, sir.” She looked up at me then and smiling, she said, “Go ahead in.”

  I thanked her and went in to find Aaron sitting behind his desk looking as amazing as ever. He waited for me to close the door and then he stood up. I thought he was going to come around the desk and hug me or kiss me….I felt really foolish when he laid a photograph of a mug shot down on his desk and said, “Look!”

  I looked at the photo and then back at him. He was smiling broadly, obviously proud of himself. “That’s the man who mugged me.” I was confused. What was Aaron doing with a photo of the man who mugged me?

  “Good!” he said, ecstatic. “All they needed was your positive identification. I’ll take you down there right away….”

  “Wait!” he
stopped talking but looked at me, shocked. I’d never used such a stern tone with him…but I was suddenly very angry. “Just wait…I’m trying to process this. Is this…? Oh my goodness…This is what you’ve been doing? This is my surprise?”

  He smiled again, but it was a confused smile. He had no idea why I seemed upset. Hesitantly he said, “Yes, they’ve caught him, with the help of Winter’s security detail. He’s going to be brought to justice. I wanted to make sure that happened…for you.”

  “Did you bother to ask me what it was that I wanted, Aaron? Because if you had, the answer wouldn’t have been bringing this petty thief to justice. It would have been spending time with you. That’s all I want…that, and for you to not be embarrassed to be seen with me in public. If you don’t get that, then maybe this relationship is just not going to happen.”

  “Seriously? I did this for you. How could you not want this guy in jail?”

  “No Aaron, you did this to assuage some sense of guilt that you felt for being so rude to me on New Year’s Eve, and you’re missing the point…I don’t care if he’s in jail or not. I care about you. If you were in an accident I couldn’t have been pried away from your side. The accident was not your fault, but choosing not to spend time with me when I need you, that is. You are so focused on closing your business deals…and that’s what you treated this as, a business deal that needed to be closed. I wish that just once you’d be that focused on being with me…I wish you would have at least just talked to me about it….I think we both need to take some time to think about this before someone ends up getting hurt.”

  I turned around quickly then so he didn’t see the tears in my eyes. I opened the office door and hurried past Joanne and I cursed inwardly that the elevator took so long to get there. Once inside, I leaned against the wall and let the tears fall. I was sure he was the one….I’d let myself believe it. I’d let myself forget that he’d have to know that as well for this to work.

  AARON

  I sat there in silent disbelief of the things that Robyn was saying to me. She thought I was only trying to assuage my own guilt? She thought that I’d rather be closing a business deal than spending time with her? She thought that I thought of catching this guy as a business deal? She was wrong! I felt guilty, yes…but I wasn’t trying to purge my own guilt. I truly wanted the man who had hurt her…put her life in jeopardy, to pay for what he’d done. I honestly wanted to rip his head off, but at least I hadn’t done that. I’d gone about it the right way and I had truly thought that would be what she wanted as well. How could she not know how much I care about her? How is it that she can’t see and feel that when it’s just the two of us alone that the last thing on my mind is business…or guilt? Is it that she expects me to tell her that? Isn’t show better than tell? I rented out a restaurant for her….I celebrated Christmas…for her. All that somehow seemed to make her believe that I was embarrassed to be seen with her. That wasn’t true….but was I too worried about how she’d fit in? Was I so worried about it that I’d made her feel like I thought she was less than?

  I sat there at my desk with my head in my hands. I was so confused. No woman had ever affected me the way she did. The rational side of me kept saying that she was everything I didn’t need…she would never fit in with the men and women I was obligated to spend time with in order to make my business a success. Yet, for the first time in my life I was thinking that maybe…just maybe, making my business a success wasn’t what was most important after all.

  ~

  CHAPTER SIX

  ~

  ROBYN

  I left him sitting there, with nothing to say…I suppose. I don’t know, maybe he had a lot to say, but as usual, he wasn’t saying it. How had he ever expected to have any kind of relationship if he wouldn’t loosen up? Maybe he didn’t expect to have a relationship…maybe that had all been in my mind. I sat at my desk, staring at websites I was supposed to be upgrading on my computer with all of that running through my mind.

  I shook it off and got back to work…for about five minutes. Was I just fooling myself? Wasn’t what I saw in his eyes the same affection I felt for him? Could I have been that wrong? With that thought, Gary walked into my office….great.

  “Hi Robyn! How are you doing today?”

  “I’m good, Gary, how about you?”

  “I’m doing alright. I’ve just been so worried about you. It’s so good to see you back. Did they catch the guy who did this to you?” Leave it to Gary to open the wound without even realizing it.

  “Yeah, they did.”

  He looked relieved, “Good. I was worried that he had your information….Anyways, I’m glad. Did you get to have any fun before that, I hope?”

  “Robyn?”

  “Oh shoot! I’m sorry, Gary. My mind is wandering today. My New Year’s Eve was good up to that point. I spent it with some dear friends. I also enjoyed my time off. How about you?”

  “It was okay. I went to a party that Dan in accounting threw. Good party…good people. But, Robyn….”

  Damn it! He was going to say something that we would both regret, I could feel it. I couldn’t deal with this today. I’d already broken up with one guy…the one I really wanted. I didn’t want to have to hurt this one’s feelings.

  “That’s great!” I told him. “Dan’s a fun guy. I’m sorry, Gary. All this time off has really gotten me behind in my work. Do you mind if I get back to this?”

 
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