The Billionaire's Romance

By: Holly Rayner

“Everything is so lovely!”

“Thank you,” she said. “Tom and I have been bickering over it all week.” She laughed and said, “We work best that way.”

“Yes you do,” I said, in awe of all they’d done to pull the party together. Melissa and Chris saw us and came over. After hugs and greetings, Melissa looked around and said,

“Where is he?”

“He had a work thing that he couldn’t get out of,” I told her. She made a face and said,

“On New Year’s Eve, really?”

“Yes, he’s an executive and they have a big party that he just couldn’t get out of. He regrets having to miss tonight.”

“Well he should,” Melissa said, “You look gorgeous.”

“Thank you, so do you,” I told her.

“So why didn’t you go with him to his party?” Nadine asked, “We would have understood.”

“I wouldn’t have missed your party for the world,” I told her. It was mostly true. I was happy to be here with my friends, but if Aaron had wanted me to go to his party I would have gone, happily, after begging off with Nadine.

“Well, if you want to leave early and join up with him before the stroke of midnight, we’ll understand,” Nadine told me, sweetly. I love my friends.

I made the rounds, talking and laughing with people that I hadn’t seen in months or in some case even years. I danced with Tom and Chris, as usual being the life of the party while feeling like a third wheel on the inside. We played a white elephant game and I ended up with a beautiful candle and flower arrangement and after that, Melissa pulled me aside and said,

“I’m sorry, but I have to ask…is he married?”

“No! Oh no! I would never do that.”

“Whew! I told Chris you wouldn’t, but he said it’s just so strange that it’s your first New Year’s Eve together and you’re not together.”

“He’s right, it is strange. I do want to be with him, it’s just….”

“Just what, honey? Go look at yourself in a mirror. Any man in his right mind would rather be with you tonight than a bunch of “business associates.” Maybe he’s feeling hurt that you’d rather be here.”

“That’s not it,” I told her, feeling the need to be honest and bounce my concerns off my best friend. “He didn’t really invite me to his party tonight.”

“Why?” I could see Melissa’s instant look of concern. I knew it was safe to voice my own concerns to her. She would never judge me.

“I don’t know, I’m afraid maybe he doesn’t want to be seen with me.”

“Don’t be silly! He’d have to be crazy. Is he crazy?”

I laughed and said, “Um, no. Not that I’ve noticed.”

“Then that can’t be the reason,” she said. “Did you tell him about this party before he told you about his?”

“Yes, but…”

“That must be it then. He probably felt like he’d be tearing you away from your friends. You’re always so positive. I hate to see you doubting yourself, honey. Do you know where his party is at?”

“Yes, I saw a purchase order for it at work. It’s at The Omni hotel in Manhattan.”

“Then go to him, Robyn. You’ll be sorely missed here, but everyone will understand. I’m sure he’ll be delighted you showed up. Go quash this silly idea you have that any man in his right mind wouldn’t be so proud to have you at his side.”

She had me thinking. Would he be delighted? He was always so serious, but I did have a way of bringing him out, making him less reserved….

“I think I’m going to do it!” I told her with a smile.

“You go girl! Call me tomorrow with all of the details.” I hugged her and told her I loved her and then made the rounds to say my “Thank you” and “Good-Bye’s.”

I took a cab to the hotel in Manhattan. We arrived there in about an hour; traffic was thick because of the celebrations that were taking place. It was just after eleven when I got there, plenty of time to be kissing the man I cared about at midnight. I walked through the opulent lobby decorated in three shades of champagne from light to dark. In the center of the room was a sculpted granite fountain that they had lit up from underneath the water with a silver and gold graceful arch of water coming out of the center. I wanted to stop and make a wish in the fountain, but I didn’t think this was the kind of place where that would be seen as appropriate.

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