Pretend Daddy(10)

By: Amy Brent

“And what if I don’t get married? Then a third of the company will just be in limbo forever?”

“No,” Hank assured. “The fourth article of that clause states that if you die without an heir, those shares will be divided equally through the members of the board.”

It took a while for the information to sink in. Once it did, I tossed my glasses and the will over Hank’s desk and stood up. Pacing back and forth, I tried to calm my mind, but it was impossible. I brought a hand to the back of my neck and tried to massage the tension away, but it was also a losing battle.

“I understand that my father wanted to make sure I was okay after he died, but marriage, Hank? I’m a forty-three-year-old man, if I’m not married yet is because I know it won’t make me happy. That was him, not me.”

The exasperation in my tone must have been so apparent that Hank got up as well, filled two glasses with bourbon and brought one of them to me. I downed the contents in one gulp as I listened to him say, “I know, and I told him that, but he was adamant that you at least give family life a shot. That’s why the marriage has to last only a year.”

Hanks words shined on me like a light at the end of the tunnel. They also brought Pam and the story of her mother’s last request back to my mind.

This whole time I had thought that to fulfill my dad’s last wish I would have to forgo my bachelor ways and commit myself to a woman for life. However, if all my father wanted was for me to try marriage for one year, there was a way for me to give him what he wanted while also keeping the freedom I needed and the life I loved, just as Pam had given her mother revenge without actually feeding her father the ashes. I just had to make sure my brewing plan would work before I put my foot in my mouth.

“And if I give marriage a try and it doesn’t work out, will I lose the company?” I asked Hank in my leveled and business like voice.

He tilted his head at me knowing I was up to something. “No. If you make it to a whole year of marriage and then get a divorce, the shares and the company will remain yours. But I must warn you that article five says that before you can completely take over, the board and I have to make sure she’s actually a wife and not one of the gold-digging floozies you hang out with. She’ll have to live with you, attend events and prove that she’s a part of your life and not just a prop.”

With a real smile forming on my face for the first time in weeks, I said, “C’mon, man. I’d never marry a floozy. I’m not a moron.”

“But you will marry?” Hank asked with a raised brow.

I shrugged, placed my empty glass on top of Hank’s desk and patted his shoulder as I prepared to leave. “That is yet to be determined. All I can say is that I’ve recently met a woman who would fill that position perfectly. I just have to get her to say I do.”

Chapter 5 — Pam

“Do you think it would be a bit much if I went down and kissed the tarmac?” I asked Gina, one of my crewmates for this trip, as we finally finished cleaning the aircraft.

She laughed at my comment while retrieving our suitcases from the crew cabinet. “Maybe, but that all depends on how long you’ve been away from home.”

“If you don’t count the whopping five hours I had at home last Monday before I hauled my ass back to a plane to cover for a friend, I’ve been away for eleven days.”

“And how many flights?” she asked with a raised brow.

I sighed and stole a glance at her as we finally exited the plane and stepped foot on LAX. “Nine.”

Gina’s eyes widened a bit, and her voice sharpened. “Okay, kissing the tarmac sounds about right. I can cover for you if you want.”

We both laughed as we made our way to immigration. This was our first time flying together, and I had thoroughly enjoyed it. She was younger than me but still very competent, funny and had a knack for nicknaming annoying passengers, which was my favorite kind of job humor. Working with her was almost like working with James but with less drama and someone to share the paperwork with.

“Thanks,” I said still giggling. “But I think I’m just going to be grateful I’m back and run home before someone decides to put me on another flight.”

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