Fake Marriage with the CEO(67)

By: Amanda Horton

“I know,” she answered softly back.

He seemed hesitant to come near. Miranda sat stiffly on the bed. Ace approached and sat next to her. “You must have a lot of questions in your mind right now,” he said.

“How did you know about everything you said back there?” Her curiosity was appropriate, since she lived with James for 7 years and never knew. “You had him followed?” she added.

Ace nodded and confessed, “I have a man on my payroll. He used to work for the FBI. His talent lies in looking so ordinary you’d never think him a danger to anyone. He walked into the store and pretended interest in a particularly expensive piece of hardware. It was James who attended to him. James bragged that the item he was interested in was unlicensed but since he had connections, he could get it in a matter of days. And that’s how it all started.”

“But why?” Miranda persisted.

Ace took a deep breath and answered, “It’s all part of who I am. When I enter a business deal, as I did with you, I make sure the future holds no surprises. When I offered you the arrangement to marry me and help me get control of the company, James represented a complication, an obstacle I didn’t want.”

“So… all this,” Miranda waved her hand in the air, “is just an arrangement for you?” Miranda accused. Disappointment welled in her chest. Then she added, “Well…of course it is. I knew that from the start… but I was hoping… I’m so stupid to even think that…” She couldn’t finish the rest of the sentence. Her disillusionment was complete.

Ace held her hand and said, “There’s more.” He reached into his breast pocket, drew out a thick envelope from within, and handed it to her.

“What’s this?” Miranda asked curiously.

“Open it and see,” Ace replied as Miranda noted his excitement.

It was a document several pages thick transferring all rights, control, and ownership of Masterson’s Conglomerate, signed by the old man, sealed and delivered to Ace.

Her hands trembled as she folded the document, slid it back inside the envelope, and handed it over to him. She couldn’t blame him for feeling ecstatic and triumphant. But to Miranda it simply spelled that it was over. Her fairy tale life had come to an end.

“It’s over, then,” she whispered sadly.

“Yes, it’s over.” Ace assented.

Miranda wanted desperately to save some vestige of pride as she clung desperately to self-control; but it wasn’t enough, because tears started to roll down her cheeks.

“I’m happy for you, Ace,” she said in a tremulous voice, as she wiped away her tears.

Ace gazed at her intently. He was uncertain if her tears were still the result of the ugly scene with James, or because she was really happy they had finally won.

“Why the tears then?” He asked gently.

“Because we no longer have to pretend,” Miranda answered simply. She vowed silently that no matter how much it hurt and how terribly she would miss him, she would manage somehow with Sadie.

Then Ace did a totally unexpected thing. He stood up and faced her, then went down on one knee. He held her hands tightly in his, gazed intently into her eyes and said, “Miranda, I know that our marriage started as a farce. But our friendship is real. We have no secrets between us. I never proposed to you or asked you to be my wife. You became one because you signed a contract saying you will. You honored all the terms of our agreement. When I hold you, or kiss you, or make love to you, let it not be because of a piece of paper that you signed. I am asking you now. Please be my wife in every sense of the word because I have fallen totally in love you, Miranda Masterson.”

Miranda gulped, like she had difficulty swallowing. She looked comical with her eyes opened wide in amazement and her mouth agape.

“You love me?” she asked foolishly.

“You love me,” she repeated the words, lost in disbelief.

“You love me!” It was a shriek of jubilation as she hurled herself at him and threw her arms tightly across his neck. Ace toppled backwards, with her on top of him. They rolled on the floor as their laughter filled the room.

They weren’t sure when the seeds of love first sprouted between them, but they were absolutely certain their love would be true till the end of time.



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