Her Millionaire Boss

By: Jennie Adams

‘Clues about what?’ He shook his head. It wasn’t important. The only things that mattered were Henry’s health, and keeping the company in good order. Those, Nate could work on. If Henry would trust him with them.

‘Never mind. Look, if my grandfather’s condition isn’t temporary—’

‘Of course your grandfather’s condition is temporary.’ She said it with such passion that his body hummed in response.

Unnerved, he raised an eyebrow, feigning an indifference he didn’t feel. ‘Surely nobody can be sure of that at this stage?’

‘I don’t understand why you would say such things. Henry has to get better. Completely better. I refuse to contemplate any other option.’ On those heartfelt words, she opened the door of the hospital room, and entered.

Nate followed. His grandfather looked awful. Tubes and monitors covered Henry. His long frame seemed defenceless beneath the hospital-issue linens. Henry appeared to have aged ten years since Nate had seen him, not six.

This sick, vulnerable man would never run a company again. Henry was seventy years old, should have retired years before. It hit Nate hard that he should have seen that need when Henry asked him to come back. He would never have returned here, but he should have made Henry agree to retirement.

‘Gramps.’ The word caught in his throat. Hadn’t been used since Nate was a child and Henry had taken him in when his mother opted out.

Nate reached out a hand to touch Henry’s where it lay against the covers. Without raising his gaze, he said in a low voice to Chrissy, ‘Sit down. You’re feeling the strain more than you realise.’

‘How did you know?’ She sat abruptly.

How had Nate known? He had simply intuited her feelings, had felt connected closely enough to her even at opposite sides of a hospital bed that he just knew.

‘Surprised…you…came. No…need.’ His grandfather’s voice was slurred, his breath laboured, the words themselves full of the years of separation and hurt.

Nate closed his eyes and tried to block the pain. ‘I had to come.’

I had to come, but I don’t want to make things worse, so please don’t think I’ll stay past making sure you’ll be OK.

Chrissy clutched Henry’s other hand in hers. ‘You’re speaking. I’ve been so concerned. I’ll look after everything at work. You don’t need to worry—’

‘I’ll do it.’ Nate spoke over her, over rash promises she couldn’t possibly keep. His gaze sought his grandfather’s. ‘I’ll make sure everything is taken care of.’

‘Don’t…need….’ Henry stopped to draw a breath.

‘You can trust me.’ A muscle worked in Nate’s jaw. ‘I’ll fix things so it’s all right.’

Did his grandfather understand that he hadn’t wanted to hurt him six years ago, or three years ago? That he never wanted to hurt him?

I can give you this much, Gramps. Help when you need it. It’s all I have.

‘I’m sure Nate’s welcome to stay for a short time.’ Chrissy’s tone said the opposite, although her expression was bland enough. ‘But I can manage in your absence. The important thing is that you be free of worry and stress. Your only focus should be to relax and get better.’

‘I agree.’ Nate kept his tone calm and even. ‘But I’m more qualified to take control than your PA.’

‘Run…own…blasted…business,’ Henry grumped. ‘Sign…out…today…if…wanted to.’

Chrissy’s mouth trembled before she firmed it. At the sight, Nate’s frustration drained away.

‘You’ve had a stroke.’ Her voice trembled, too, just the tiniest bit. ‘If you don’t look after yourself, it could happen again and the next one could be much worse.’

She took a deliberate deep breath, then leaned forward to whisper, ‘Who’d test cryptic crossword clues on me then? Or take me out for lattes on Thursdays or argue with me about the different football teams?’

‘I…like…the…footy.’ Henry’s mouth turned down.

Her voice softened to warm affection. ‘We’ll be watching the footy matches on your big-screen TV again before you know it.’

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