Greek Tycoon, Wayward Wife

By: Sabrina Philips


‘I’M AFRAID, Mr Delikaris, that you are still behind Spyros in the opinion polls.’

Orion glared at the bar chart projected on the wall, and then at the pessimistic expression of his campaign manager, who sat beside him at the long, highly polished table. A nerve spasmed at his jaw in disapproval. Orion never allowed himself to contemplate failure. He expected the members of his team to think the same way. That was what he paid them for.

‘We have made progress,’ the man continued anxiously, sensing Orion’s displeasure, ‘Especially since the campaign has focussed on how much you are willing to invest in both affordable housing and the new hospital. It’s just not quite as much progress as we had estimated.’

He clicked the button in his hand and the image on the wall changed to a far more positively weighted graph, which only served to irritate Orion further, since it proved that his team’s predictions had been wholly inaccurate.

Orion pinched the bridge of his nose. ‘So, despite the fact that our policies are exactly what Metameikos needs, a man who is as corrupt as his father was before him is still the most popular candidate?’ He looked down the table at the rest of his team. ‘Would anyone care to volunteer a reason why?’

A long, uneasy silence followed.

Finally a voice came from the opposite end of the table. ‘Perhaps people are wary about voting for you.’

There was a collective intake of breath. Rion slowly raised his head to see who had spoken. It was Stephanos, an assistant press officer and the newest member of his team. He was also the youngest. ‘Go on.’

‘People see you as a billionaire bachelor who has decided overnight, or so it seems to them, that you want to be their leader.’ Stephanos paused, awaiting Rion’s condemnation, but it didn’t come. It gave him the courage to elaborate. ‘Your promises may be what people want to hear, but these results show they clearly don’t trust you’ll deliver them. Perhaps they think you’re simply running on a whim—to try and prove that you can succeed at anything you choose—or perhaps they think that if you do get elected you’ll be too tied up with your business in Athens to devote the necessary time to the role. It’s not true, of course, but they don’t know that. People would rather vote for the devil they know.’

Orion studied Stephanos thoughtfully. The boy had guts. He liked that. It reminded him of himself. He also understood that politics was different from business, that people voted with their hearts, not necessarily in conjunction with their heads. Orion had always understood that too, but it hadn’t occurred to him that people would instinctively stick with what they had rather than take an outside chance. He would always have taken the chance.

‘So, what would you have me do?’

The rest of the men around the table exchanged astonished looks. His campaign manager looked affronted.

Stephanos took a deep breath and continued. ‘For people to trust you they need to be able to relate to you, to see that your concerns, your values, are the same as theirs—good old-fashioned Greek values.’

Orion grimaced. His values were good old-fashioned Greek values—always had been. ‘I grew up in Metameikos,’ he said gravely. What had happened there had made him who he was.

‘Then convince them you still think of it as home,’ Stephanos replied animatedly. ‘That the house you’ve bought there isn’t just another property, but that you plan to settle down there.’

‘And how do you suggest I do that?’

‘Honestly?’ Stephanos paused, a note of hesitancy entering his voice for the first time, ‘In my opinion, the best solution would be to return to Metameikos with a wife.’

The receptive look on Rion’s face immediately vanished and his expression grew dark, ‘Then I hope you have an alternative solution,’ he ground out, ‘because that is not an option.’

Libby stared at the huge three-dimensional Delikaris logo rotating hubristically in its own fountain, at the enormous revolving glass doors which formed the entrance of his state-of-the-art office, and told herself again that this was the right thing to do. It was the same thing she’d been telling herself ever since she’d discovered that she’d be required to cover the Greek tours for the duration of Zoe’s maternity leave.

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