Fake Marriage with the CEO(2)

By: Amanda Horton

Kyle had taken refuge inside his car with the engine running. Miranda quickly climbed into the passenger seat.

“I’m taking it,” she announced.

Kyle shook his head and glanced at the dilapidated structure. His nostrils flared in disgust.

Miranda felt her heart sink. “C’mon, Kyle. Throw me a bone here.”

Kyle gave a long drawn out sigh. “I just don’t understand you. Who wants to spend their time fraternizing with – with homeless people? Your job at the restaurant with the Senator’s wife? Now, that is what I call potential. You’ll get to meet celebrities and people with power. Your friend, Noelle, can bring in that kind of clientele for your catering business. Why gamble and add a soup kitchen into the mix? People who live on the streets are like leeches. They’ll never leave you alone once they get a freebie.”

Miranda blinked. Her hands broke into a sweat, her heart in overdrive. She cast a look at him out of the corner of her eye. With every word Kyle spoke, he came dangerously close to quashing her dream. If he knew why... but how can I tell him?

Kyle glanced toward her, and his expression softened. “As it happens, I want to talk about us.” He placed his hand over hers. “Do you like me?”

Miranda felt her mouth go dry. “Of course!”

“‘You trust me?”

“Y-yes, of course. Why do you ask?”

Kyle looked her straight in the eyes. “I feel like you have a secret and you don’t trust me, even after all the time that we’ve spent together.”

Miranda said nothing. She couldn’t look up, ashamed to meet Kyle’s gaze.

“So, I was right. There is something.”

“I’m sorry.” Miranda found her voice at last. “I’m — well, I’m afraid. If you knew my past, you wouldn’t feel the same about me.”

“Miranda.” Kyle squeezed her hand. “There’s nothing you could tell me that would change how I feel about you. I love you.”

Miranda was silent. I’ve heard that before — believed it, too. Did she dare trust Kyle? She turned, meeting his concerned gaze. Miranda realized that she had no choice. If I don’t trust him now, I never will. “You mean that?”

Kyle’s smile was cocky. “Try me.”

Miranda took a deep breath. “You mentioned Noelle and how she started me on the restaurant industry?” As Kyle nodded, she continued, “I told you she saved my life. I mean that literally.” She paused. “When Noelle found me I was living on the streets—”

“You were...homeless?”

Miranda winced. She kept her gaze on their entwined fingers, knowing that if she looked up she would risk losing her nerve. I must do this. Otherwise I’ll never know for certain how far his feelings go. “I spent several months on the streets. I had to scavenge to survive — it wasn’t pretty, or easy. But I had nowhere else to go. My family—”

“I can’t believe this.”

Miranda’s head whipped up.

Kyle’s handsome face was distorted with disgust. He dropped her hand as if it was polluted. He exited the car. “I wanted to introduce you to my boss.” As Miranda climbed/stepped out of the car, his lip curled. “A street bum? I’d be a laughing stock!”

Miranda was glad for the vehicle that separated them. Disillusionment and anger was a formidable combination. She felt capable of murder. “Don’t worry. I have no desire to be with your kind of person.”

Kyle glared at her. His handsome face was an angry red. “I was planning to ask you to marry me! My god — I could have married a hobo!”

Miranda narrowed her eyes. “You can’t talk about hobos! I’ve seen your apartment before your cleaning lady arrives. And having lived on the streets, I’d prefer being homeless to living with you.”

“No wonder you kept it a secret. All this time, I wondered about your frivolous dream of a soup kitchen. But now I get it. You can’t let go of who you really are. A lowlife at heart. You’ll never find a guarantor crazy enough to support your stupid idea.”

“A lowlife is nothing compared to the callous pig that you are. You care more about your possessions than about people.” Miranda dug his apartment key out of her purse. She tossed it across the car to him. “Strip away your car and your expensive suit, and you’re nothing.” She whipped around, striding down the street with her head held high.

Kyle yelled after her, but Miranda didn’t turn back. She shook with fury, her hands formed/clenched into tight fists. I’ll show you. She’d find a guarantor for her loan, and make a success of her combined business. Then you’ll see — you and all the assholes like you.

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