Not only that, but the grandfather’s mother came from a family who could trace their roots back to some of the country’s founding fathers. There was a great deal of history and prestige in Miles’ family.
Now I understood what he meant when he said that I could benefit from his name after this marriage of convenience ended. His name would definitely open a lot of doors for a nobody like me.
How was it I had never heard of him before?
I continued to click through the articles and links that had come up in the Google search. There was a lot that showcased his parents, his sister, Lila, and his brother, Robert. His sister was beautiful, the kind of woman who had the right amount of curves and the right balance of dark hair and pale skin. She was the kind of woman I’d admired and wanted to be when I was a teenager. And Robert…he and Miles could be twins. The only difference I could see was that Robert was slightly shorter than Miles and there was something different, darker, in his eyes.
I found myself wondering if Miles was close to his siblings. One of the articles said that both Lila and Robert had recently married, and both still lived in Massachusetts near their parents’ home. It made me wonder why Miles had chosen to move thousands of miles across the country to begin his new business—in a state that was as different from his home as the desert is from the Bahamas.
As I made my way through the links, I found many, many pictures of Miles with a variety of women. He seemed to have a type—tall, rail thin, blond women. Like Lisa. As opposite from me as possible. And each one seemed to have a name that meant something, if the way they were written in each article meant something. A few of them I recognized. There were a couple of actresses and the daughter of a well-known business man. And then I stumbled across an engagement announcement:
Miles Thorn, son of Jackson and Elena Thorn, has just announced his engagement to Claire Watson, daughter of Stanley and Amelia Watson.
I knew who Claire Watson was. She was a supermodel who’d appeared in everything from Vogue to Sports Illustrated to a multitude of album covers and internet ads. Lisa always pointed out her pictures, claiming that Claire was the perfect woman and we should aspire to be like her. I never really saw it, personally, but I always agreed with Lisa to appease her quiet obsession. If she knew that Claire Watson’s fiancé had just asked me to marry him…
But why would he want to marry me when he had someone like Claire?
None of it made sense to me. He was a man who could have anyone he wanted. Why would he need to get himself trapped in a marriage of convenience? What could be happening in his life that would require a wife of a certain type? He’d said that I was perfect for his needs—I was intelligent, quiet, unassuming. Essentially, I was boring. And he thought that was something he needed right now? It just didn’t make sense.
But who was I to argue when a man wanted to hand me a million dollars and the right to use his influential name for the rest of my life? I mean, hell, it was a win-win situation for me. I marry a hot man for six months and I’m set for life. Well, at least for a few years.
I couldn’t see a good reason not to do this. If he could save my aunts’ house and give me the money I would need to make sure they were never alone, that was worth six months of my time. But there was this side of me that still felt the sting of the realization that he hadn’t asked me out on a date and that he wasn’t really interested in me as a romantic partner. He wanted me to play a role, and then he was going to toss me aside like it didn’t matter. Even though I didn’t know him, even though I knew he was out of my league, that idea still hurt.
Could I do this and remain emotionally whole? Could I spend six months pretending to be something I wasn’t and not lose who I am?
I wasn’t confident I could. Yet, I kept coming back to the idea that this would fix everything for my aunts and I couldn’t walk away from it. I couldn’t turn my back on the one solution to all my problems.
I set the computer aside and curled up against my pillows. It was insane. But how could I make my aunts go to an assisted living facility when I had the opportunity to keep them in their own home for the rest of their lives? After everything they’d done for me—giving up so much to care for a child—the least I could do was give up six months of my life for them.
I would do it. But he had to live up to his end of the bargain first.
“What does this mean?”
Miles leaned close to me to look at the documents I had spread out in front of me on the conference table. He smelled like wood and spice, his expensive cologne washing over me every time he moved. And he was so close to me that I could feel his breath against the back of my neck when he spoke.