The Millionaire's True Worth

By: Rebecca Winters

She needed medicine fast!

Luckily the sign for the convenience store was in Greek and English. Alpha/Omega 24. Translation—everything from A to Z. That was a clever name for the store. Its interior looked like “everywhere USA.” There was a caution sign saying Wet Floor in both languages as you walked in.

She tiptoed over the newly mopped floor in her sandals to the counter. The male clerk, probably college age, helped her find the over-the-counter medicine section for headaches.

After picking it out plus a bottle of water, she followed him back to the counter to pay for the items with some euros. While she waited, she opened the water and took two pills. On her way out, the clerk asked her where she was staying. Raina told him she was just passing through and started for the exit. But somehow, she didn’t know how, she slipped and fell.

“Whoa—” Pain radiated from her ankle. The clerk rushed from behind the counter to help her get up. When she tried to stand, it really hurt. Hopefully the medicine would help tamp down the pain.

He hurried into a back room and brought out a chair so she could sit down. “I’m calling the hospital.”

“I don’t think there’s a need for that.”

He ignored her. “This is the store’s fault. You stay there.”

She felt the fool sitting there while there were customers coming in and out. The other clerk who’d mopped the floor waited on them. In a few minutes an ambulance drove up in front. By then she’d answered a few questions the clerk had asked in order to fill out an incident form.

Because she was incognito, she gave her grandmother’s name with her information so no one would pick up on her name. To her dismay there was a small crowd standing around as she was helped outside. Great! Exactly what she didn’t want.

“Thank you,” she said to the clerk before being helped into the back by one of the attendants. “You’ve been very kind and I appreciate it.”

Two hours later her sprain had been wrapped. She needed to put ice on it and elevate her leg to cut down the swelling. The ER doctor fitted her with crutches and sent them with her in the taxi, letting her know the bill would be taken care of by the store where she’d fallen.

After the wedding reception, Raina would make certain her insurance company would reimburse the store. After all, the accident was her fault.

For the time being, she needed to lie down and call room service for her meals and ice. How crazy was it that she would have to go to the reception tomorrow evening on crutches. No matter what, she refused to miss her dear friend’s celebration.

After flying all this way, how even crazier was it that all she could think about was the man she’d come close to colliding with earlier in the day. She’d never experienced anything like that before. The streets of Athens were crowded with hundreds of people. How was it that one man could rob her of breath just looking at him?

* * *

With a champagne glass in hand, Akis stood at the head table to toast the bride and groom. “It was a great honor Theo Chiotis bestowed on me when he asked me to be his best man. No man has had a better friend.” Except for Vasso, of course. “After meeting and getting to know Chloe, I can say without reservation that no man could have married a sweeter woman. To Theo and Chloe. May you always be as happy as you are today.”

After the crowd applauded, other friends of the bridal couple made their toasts. Akis was thankful his part in the long wedding-day festivities was officially over. When he felt a decent interval of time had passed, he would slip out of the luxurious Grand Bretagne Hotel ballroom unnoticed and leave for the penthouse.

To love a woman enough to go through this exhaustive kind of day was anathema to Akis. No man appreciated women more than he did, but his business affairs with thirty-year-old Vasso kept him too busy to enjoy more than a surface relationship that didn’t last long.

Though he congratulated himself on reaching the age of twenty-nine without yet succumbing to marriage, Theo’s wedding caused Akis to question what was going on with him and his brother.

The two of them had been in business since they were young boys. To this point in time no enduring love interest had interfered with their lives and they’d managed to make their dream to rise out of poverty come true. Besides owning a conglomerate of retail stores throughout Greece, they’d set up a charity Foundation with two centers, one in Greece, the other in New York City.

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