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Excerpt for Free Me by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Free Me

Clean Billionaire Romance

Author: Sheri Egan


© Copyright 2018 by Sheri Egan

All rights reserved.

In no way is it legal to reproduce, duplicate, or transmit any part of this document in either electronic means or in printed format. Recording of this publication is strictly prohibited and any storage of this document is not allowed unless with written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.Respective authors own all copyrights not held by the publisher.


This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person,

living or dead, is purely coincidental.


From the Author:

2 Special Bonus Stories INSIDE!

Thank you for purchasing this book.



Table of Contents


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Free Me

Description

How many times can fate and true love put your life upside down in the span of two weeks? Patrick White is taking his father’s place as the owner of the largest car agency in town. His first brilliant idea is to buy all the mechanic workshops around. But halfway through his plan he comes across a beautiful young woman who is not afraid to turn him down. But Olive Waters might not be able to deny the feelings that the handsome billionaire ignites in her heart. The second they meet, Patrick and Olive start to go through a roller coaster of emotions that leaves them anxiously waiting for what the next day brings. They won’t have a second to rest as love keeps surprising them every time they try to escape. They’ll have to reconsider their own desires and all the things they’re willing to give up for love.


Chapter 1

Not a single day goes by without that lingering sensation of relieving the day prior. At least not for Olive Waters, the eldest daughter of James Waters, owner of Waters Mechanic Workshop. The place had gone through its ups and downs, good days and bad days, so much character it had that it seemed like just another family member. A good old uncle, with health issues and economy issues and always complaining about no one visiting him. But even with no clients in, the place was never empty. There was always James, fixing the unfixable in cars that came and went as well as the ones that looked like they had been in that workshop for years. But there was someone else there, Olive. She was the heart of the place. To be fair, she was the beating heart of the workshop, the family and maybe the entire street.

James had married his wife, Mary, around thirty-five years ago. They had been childhood best friends but lost touch for more than ten years. Once James had reach the top of the family hierarchy and took over the workshop, and Mary had earned her college degree in economy, they ran into each other one fateful Friday. Come Monday and the cute couple got married. Everyone thought it was a senseless decision, they gave them two years tops. But more than thirty and they were still very much giddy teenagers trying to make up for lost time. Their story charmed strangers and their own children, some more than others. But no one loved the story more than Olive. Was she a hopeless romantic? Not at all, actually. She almost listens to the story as if it were a fictional fairy-tale, not buying it for a second even thought she was hearing it from the lips of the protagonists.

In any way, James and Mary got married and a couple of years later, Olive was born. She brought immense happiness to the couple and after three years they decided they wanted more kids, and more and more. Olive has two sisters, young but married already. And a brother serving in the military. It hadn’t been her intention to be the one to stay home, not really. She blames her siblings. Jane was too beautiful and talented, of course a handsome man ten years her senior would fall head over heels for her, marry and take her to New York to support her on her theater dreams. Then there was Cate. Sweet and unproblematic Cate met her girlfriend Sarah the first day of college and they seemed destined to be a perfect couple until the end of time, in their cozy apartment and their sweet dog named Kevin. And finally her little brother, always courageous, always clever. Andy was a knight in shining armor to the eyes of his sisters.

For Olive, things were different. Boys avoided her in high school when she’d show up with car oil on her sleeves. Men at college simply ended up too drunk, too high or too hung up on another girl to matter to Olive. She had been blessed with a really alert mind. She was aware of who she was, she was comfortable in her skin and never insecure about her emotions. She was the perfect example of an emotionally strong woman who terrified most men. But there was a trick, a small fluke. The one thing Olive never quite figured out… her greatest dream. All her ambitions, her goals, her plans and dreams… she had no idea what those were. Sure, she loved the workshop, but just because it was part of the family. She couldn’t care less about cars if she were to be honest. All the oil, the metal pieces, the smoke, the noise…

“Excuse me…”

It was the voice of an angel, Olive thought. No, no, angels don’t come down from the heavens and go into mechanic workshops. But that sweet voice came from a man who looked pretty much angelic.

“You were deep in your head a second ago. Looked like you were plotting a crime. Need a partner?”

Oh no, he’s really pretty, look at that perfect smile, Olive was thinking again, just a second before finally waking up from her daze.

“Hello, sorry. Good afternoon, sorry. Morning. Hi.” Olive was stumbling through her words as if she had just learned them all, it made her frustrated for an entire second, until the handsome stranger laughed. He seemed so delighted by her sudden mess that she couldn’t help but smile back at him.

“My name’s Olive Waters. My father is the main mechanic and owner of the place. What can I do for you?”

And it was a genuine question. That man looked not only like an angel but like an extremely wealthy one. He had the softest looking blond hair, and the sweetest looking light blue eyes. His smile was tender and looked too genuine and happy to be on the face of someone who wore suits on Fridays. Who wore a suit on Fridays? And out of everyone who wore suits on Friday, why would anyone that important show up by himself at a mechanics workshop? Surely he would have people to fix his cars for him by just clapping his hands. Maybe he didn’t fix his cars at all, rich people probably just bought new cars immediately…

“Hello, Miss Waters, it is a tremendous joy to be in your presence this beautiful morning.” He then took her hand and gave a slight nod of his head. “My name is White, Patrick White. And I’m here to make you the most exciting offer you’ve ever heard.”

At that point, Olive’s head was moving at a dangerous speed. First she felt enchanted by his greetings, started to consider that maybe he was royalty from some place far away. Then she had enough time to blush at the touch of their hands and from embarrassment of her silly greeting at him. But then everything in her mind turned into a mess. Because she had seen that name before, just moments ago. Effectively, she looked down at the forgotten newspaper on her desk and saw the small headline “New Billionaire in Town, The White’s Heir.” And she had read the article, oh she really read the article.

The text talked about the sudden death of Malcolm White, the arrogant, fat, annoying billionaire who constantly made it to the news for scandals and fighting with anyone on his way. He was the owner of a quickly growing car agency, in fact, it had become the largest one just a month ago. Maybe the social and economic pressure, maybe just his uprising blood pressure, but something had made his heart stop before he got a chance at updating his will. He was planning on giving the company to his youngest son, Taylor, a passionate business men with big, ambitious ideas. But he wasn’t quick enough, and the will, at the time of his death, said his company, along with the billionaire status, went right in the hands of his eldest son, Patrick.

And he was standing right there, in front of Olive and her messy desk, dirtied overalls and suddenly stone cold face.

“Oh, so you’re the new rich in town. Oh, now it all makes sense. What do you want? Do you think you can come in here, offer a ridiculous amount of money and then leave us in the streets to see if we make it out alive?” The newspaper article mentioned Patrick’s big plans of buying every little mechanics workshop he could get his hands on to transform into a brand new, shiny White’s Vehicles Workshop. “No, sir. This is not a place you can take with a few green pieces of paper. This place is my uncle! Now please, if you don’t have a sad little truck you need to get fixed, leave my workshop.”

Patrick didn’t even try to conceal his dropped jaw. His past clients had never anticipated his plans. They all heard the deal he offered. They all accepted. Then there comes this girl of wavy, wild bold hair atop her head, angry green eyes, and attractive red lips, and she throws him of his throne in the blink of an eye. Patrick lets out a small, bitter laugh that sounds a lot like a whimper, then admonishes himself for that display of weakness and starts pouting. Until he realized he is, in fact, pouting. Then he simply lets out a grunt moves away and out of the workshop without another word.

Olive stays unmoving for another minute, her cheeks still blushing, from the anger at the mere idea of selling her precious workshop to a wealthy stranger, and a part from simply the memory of Patrick’s cute smile.

“Whoa! Did you see those big guys wearing all black and standing outside our place? Sweetheart, did you get me bodyguards?”

That was Olive’s father speaking after just entering the place. Of course Patrick had his bodyguards waiting outside for him.


Chapter 2

Patrick woke up that Saturday still with a headache from the day before. First, he stayed in bed thinking about how he had been dealing with headaches more often now. He finally felt the pressure of his age, his forties now seemed a day away instead of four years. Then he stayed in a little longer, overthinking about his conversation with the girl at the old and worn down mechanics workshop that refused to sell even before he got the offer out. But lastly, he spent a few more minutes in his king sized bed, just daydreaming about that beautiful girl named Olive. She gave him a headache and a continuous smile. And he would be lying if he said he didn’t want more. So the next Monday, he was there, bright an early. He was wearing a different, more expensive suit, and a smaller, smarter smile.

“Good morning, Miss Waters. May I have a word with you?”

“I’m sorry, the place is not up for sale and if you don’t have a car that needs fixing, we have nothing to talk about,” Olive said, far more confident that day. She was doing a great job at pretending she didn’t spent the entire weekend daydreaming of scenarios where the beautiful smile belonged to someone else, someone she didn’t despise by just hearing his last name.

“Well, that’s the thing. I brought my sad, little truck to get it fixed.”

Patrick spoke with the mischievous smile of a little kid while his bodyguards drove a dusty, old truck into the workshop. Had he bought a dying truck just to talk to her? She felt a spark inside her. Then she remember that he could probably buy an infinite amount of those trucks and that he only wanted to talk about business.

While her dad worked on the truck, Patrick actually surprised her, bit by bit. He asked her about cars, and she naively admitted she didn’t know a thing, but closed off before he could get any more information. He then seemed genuinely curious as to why she called the workshop her uncle. She sort of stuttered an explanation and his answer left her speechless for a second.

“I see. You can’t sell family members, can’t you? It’s family…”

He then drifted off. He looked like a different person. So far Olive had described Patrick as sweet, charming, childish, arrogant, careless, selfish, and more words that she actually imagined, she didn’t knew him at all. Yet she felt conflicted when she saw his eyes flash to a different darker place. Olive felt tempted to ask him what had just happened to him, but she held herself back. She didn’t care about him. She had no right to ask. No matter how badly she wanted to bring the light to those pretty blue eyes. So she said the first thing she thought of.

“So, you drive a rusty, old truck now, huh?”

“What? You expected me to move around in a fancy limo surrounded by two big cars full of bigger bodyguards? What kind of billionaire do you think I am?”

And there it was again. The smile that light up the entire country. The glint in those eyes that were superior to the brightest of stars. Olive smiled and despite herself, let out a tiny giggle. It didn’t hurt to have him there, she thought. If she was so sure about not selling the workshop, then his company couldn’t cause any harm, did it? He must have noticed the shift in her face the second she remembered his real intentions, or what she thought they were. Because a second later he spoke again, in the softest tone she had heard out of him so far. He leaned his face slightly closer to her, his expression softened and on his soft-looking lips there was a trace of only the tiniest of smiles.

“Then, Miss Olive Waters, I must bring a rusty, old truck to you every day until you allow me the great pleasure of enjoying your company outside of this place.”


Chapter 3

Oh did Patrick kept his promise. Every day that week, without fail, he showed up to the Waters’ workshop with a different damaged truck, a different suit, a different joke for Olive. Olive would think about this moment every night before falling asleep. She would often feel bother by Patrick, wasting his money in used trucks just to get to talk to her for a few minutes. But then she considered that those trucks were probably really cheap, not only for a billionaire. He could’ve swarmed her with flowers or any other kind of expensive gift. But no, Patrick wasn’t like that. She asked for a sad, little truck and he gave her five, one every day of the week.

She would consider the fact that he really was just trying to buy the place, steal it, and just snatch it out of her hands. But he could’ve sent a lawyer, anyone clearly more experienced with negotiations. He could ask to speak to her father, the real owner of the place. He could have mentioned the sale of the place at all, but he didn’t. That part left Olive clueless. Every time she would repeat “the place is not up for sell,” Patrick would look confused for a second, and the he would adorably blink repeatedly as if he was waking up from a dream. She found it endearing, and she also found herself blushing every time, unable to push away the thought that she was part of that dream the handsome man would lose himself in.

Olive obviously discussed the situation with her parents. But not as much as she had planned to, for once she started talking, it seemed that she couldn’t stop talking about Patrick and everything about him, nothing about the deal. So she mostly kept to herself. She would revisit her entire day at night, making a lengthy pause at the moments spent in the company of Patrick. Come the next morning, she probably wouldn’t admit that she fell asleep with a happy smile on her face.

Tuesday, for example, Patrick’s suit was blue and his dusty truck wouldn’t start. He talked to Olive about the cars he saw on the way there, mocked her about her lack of knowledge and let her believe “The Red Penguin” was a real car. Until both of them burst out laughing. On Wednesday, Patrick wore a gray suit that fitted him perfectly. So unlike the dying, old truck that barely moved behind him. That day, as much as Olive tried not to, she was the one to make conversation. Her family had been too busy the entire day and someone just had to hear what had happened to her that morning.

Turns out that Olive had ran into a tiny, baby bird, helpless on the street. She had taken him inside, read countless of articles online giving her instructions on what to do, and now had the innocent creature resting on a comfortable pile of old t-shirts on a corner of her office. To her delight, Patrick was ecstatic about the story. She still felt incredibly distrustful of his intentions. But come on, no one could fake being that excited about seeing a little bird. Patrick really was a little kid trapped in a suit filled with hundred dollar bills, Olive thought. He was smiling, talking to the bird, laughing to him and suggesting silly names for the little animal.

At the end of their time together, Patrick said goodbye to Patrick Junior the Bird and Olive, and then he went back to his awaiting limo. He watched as one of his bodyguards took the rejuvenated truck somewhere else and then a voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Dude, you’re done for.” It was his brother, who had been waiting in the car the entire time. “You’re a kiss on the cheek away from dropping everything to work for that girl instead of buying the place.”

They were headed for a meeting after that. Patrick needed his brother there with him, as guidance, as support, as someone who actually knew what he was doing. Luckily for everyone, Taylor had not taken it personally when the entire company went straight to the hands of his older brother. They all knew that it wasn’t meant to be, that everything would crash and burn if Taylor let Patrick to his own devices, and that sooner, rather than later, Patrick would end up drowning in the pressure and letting Taylor be the face of the company. It would be just paperwork, basically, because Taylor was already making more decisions than his brother.

However, Taylor not only knew about business, he also knew his brother batter than anyone else. He had noticed the insistence with this particular workshop. He heard about his gentle, well thought-out approach and he arrived to the only conclusion possible. Patrick was going crazy for a girl, and there was no one in this world that could stop him.

“Taylor, Jesus Christ, you should have seen her today. You should have seen her! She looked so beautiful today. Her lips were this pink color that looked like... I don’t know. She had her hair up in a ponytail. I had never seen in her hair in a ponytail!”

“Yeah it’s not like you’ve only seen her four times.” But Patrick wasn’t listening at all.

“And she had this little bird, the thing was adorable, dude. She picked up the bird and she looked so freaking angelic, it was crazy. She’s out of this world, I mean it. You should have seen her rant about the animal, it was the best thing I’ve ever seen.”

Patrick then let out a big sigh and rested against the leather seats of the car. A content smile was firmly in place on his face, he was relaxed, he was at peace, and his mind was somewhere far, far away from there.

“So, what I take form all of this is, is that the sell is going well, right Patrick?”

It was not a lie that a hundred and one emotions went through Taylor’s voice and expression. He was a concerned brother, already thinking about the complications that his brother’s infatuation with this girl would be. But he couldn’t hide his excitement at seeing his brother so overjoyed with something. It was not a secret that even though both brothers were not very emotionally attached to his father, his death affected their lives greatly. And the stress and responsibilities that came along with owning the entire company were obviously taking a toll on Patrick, slowly but surely they were eating him away by the second. Patrick, someone who had never looked his age, was suddenly ageing more every day. That worried Taylor. But there was no denying that Taylor was not only a brother but also a business man. He genuinely cared for the company and what was best for it. And he couldn’t lie to himself. Patrick pursuing that workshop girl, was not the best thing for their company.

Though Taylor did immediately regret his words. Because not only he never received an answer, but he also watched as his brother painfully fell from cloud night and crashed into the inside of that car with a frown and rigid shoulders that weren’t there a second ago.


Chapter 4

The next day was a cloudy and cold Thursday. Some people loved the weather and some simply didn’t mind it. Olive’s parents were as cheery as ever. Sadly, the same couldn’t be said for their daughter. Olive had slept terribly the night before. She was busy relieving her time spent with Patrick, overjoyed with his reactions, drunk on his eyes, enamored with his smile. But then it hit her. What had she done? Had she shown vulnerability? Had she been too nice? Surely she had embarrassed herself, she thought. The idea worried her so much she felt sick to her stomach. The next morning she felt embarrassed, awkward and dreading the moment that Patrick would walk through the doors.

She didn’t imagined that on the other side of town, her prince charming was going through a similar situation. Patrick had a bad afternoon that Wednesday. After being the happiest ever because of his time spent with Olive, he had to endure the most boring and embarrassing meeting he had ever been a part of. Not only had he almost been caught falling asleep, but he also had to go through the upsetting experience of his little brother answering every question for him. He felt useless, he felt unworthy of the company and undeserving of his last name. The worries were eating at him until late at night. The next day he felt uncomfortable and awkward in his black suit on the way to talk to Olive about the deal, again. As if it would change her mind. That girl, he knew, was capable of saving fragile birds and giving them a home, as much as she was capable of letting the world burn just for the sake of being right.

So that day was mostly that, uncomfortable small talk, empty business talk, denied offers and sad frowns. But something good came out of it. Olive and Patrick both realized something. Olive saw in Patrick, that day, a man that hated business. She understood why the company was supposed to go to his brother. Not only that. Now that she had seen the business side of him, she realized that he was being honest, the other days. He was sweet, he was funny and he was too full of life to live trapped inside a suit for the rest of his life. But perhaps the most important thing she realized was that no matter what his last name was, how much was in his bank account and what he was supposed to do, she really wanted to see him again. She wanted to see the childish Patrick of the huge smile that shined for her brighter than the sun. She was openly looking forward to seeing him again, and she was ready to be herself around him. She just needed to see him again, it was a feeling new for her but she was loving it.

Meanwhile, Patrick had come to similar realizations. There were dozens of other mechanic workshops in town, but none of them had the prettiest, most confident, courageous and kind woman he had ever seen. He was ready to leave his plans behind, he was ready to ignore one or two duties, he was going to see this girl again and he was going the make her the happiest she could ever be.

So that Friday, Olive watched with a genuine smile as Patrick entered the workshop as usual, but also in an entirely new way. He was wearing what for him were casual clothes, which was basically his suit, minus the tie and jacket. But the white shirt made him look like an angel to Olive’s eyes. His blond hair looked softer, his blue eyes looked as inviting as ever and his smile, well that was one thing that never changed, but it was all the more endearing to see him smiling at her again. She was terrified that he would never come back to her, at least not in his sweet and relaxed self. But she was wrong, she was so wrong, and she noticed it by just the way he was walking. With his hands in his pockets, his stare at her a little shy but his big smile betraying him.

Patrick was surprised as if he had seen a ghost the moment he reached Olive. He had noticed she was smiling at him, sincerely smiling, and that was already one of the best things that had ever happened to him, he felt. But he would have never expected to be received into that place with a big, warm hug. Just a week ago, Olive had basically thrown him out of the place with razor sharp words and the coldest stare he had ever seen. But there she was, just a week later, with her thin arms wrapped snugly around his waist, her beautiful face briefly resting on his strong chest for a second, the most delicious second of Patrick’s life, before she went back into her senses and pulled back.

“I’m happy to see you here again Mr. Waters. Mr. White, I mean. I mean Patrick. White. Hi, White… I mean, hello Patrick, how are you?”

It was the greatest joy for Patrick to see that magnificent woman not only happy to see him, but ecstatic enough to fumble with her words like the moment they met. Patrick saw Olive like some kind of powerful earthy goddess that could destroy his life or maybe the entire world by just uttering a couple of words, maybe with just a look. But there he saw her, stuttering like a little girl. He didn’t feel any more powerful, but he felt so close to her. So close, as if she were an illusion and he was a mad man. So he had to reach out and take her hand, even if just to make sure she was real.

“Olive, it’s a pleasure to see you again. I have a really, really sick truck with me today. I don’t think that poor guy is going to make it. It might take a while for your wonderful father to be done with it. Please, Olive, give me the honor of taking you out to eat some ice cream. Will you?”


Chapter 5

If either Olive or Patrick were to retell that story one day, neither of them would miss talking about the way Olive laughed when Patrick finished talking. Ice cream, out of all things was what the mighty billionaire wanted to buy for the girl he was crazy about. But in his defense, the little ice cream place he had found more than ten years ago was nothing short of perfect. It was like heaven, and that was exactly where he wanted to take Olive.

So she laughed, but she kept her hand linked with his as they leaved the mechanic workshop. The drive there was full of nerves. After all they had gone through in a week, after being cold, after laughing together, after denied business offers and ever after that fantastic hug they shared, suddenly they were shy with each other. Their hands had been separated while getting inside the car, and they didn’t find the strength to bring them back together. The couple was full of shy glances, small smiles and sparkly eyes. The small talk seemed so superficial, but they simultaneously realized it was a first for them, so they enjoyed every word. Talking about the weather and their days never felt so good. Olive was blushing as if she was talking to her high school crush and not a grown out man, inside a limo, surrounded by four or five body guards.

After a little while they had reached the place. It was far from the center of town, far from Patrick’s main office. Maybe that was one of the reasons he loved it so much. In fact, he mentioned it. While they waited for their ice creams, Patrick made sure to list the best things about the place. The original flavors, the traditional recipe, the kind family that ran the place, the small park that was just outside where they go to walk and eat their ice creams. But as Patrick talked, something specifically caught Olive’s attention. Sure, she was enamored with the way Patrick spoke about the place, as it was his best friend. But Olive also realized it was a family owned business, it had probably been there for generations and had no intentions of going away. Olive saw in that small ice cream place all that she was risking, all that she could lose by getting too close to Patrick.

Luckily for him, all her worries went out the window the moment she tasted her ice cream of chocolate chips cookies.

“Oh my God! Patrick this is great! This is, oh my God, it is the sweetest thing I have ever tried. But, it’s crazy! I had no idea ice cream could taste so good.” “That’s the sweetest thing you’ve tried? Come on, try this one, triple chocolate just for you.”

Olive was scared the moment would be awkward, that they were going to turn shy with each other again, or worse, that she was going to turn into a mess eating ice cream. But, no. Everything went smoothly and she tried his ice cream.

“Jesus Christ, Patrick. Now, that’s too sweet. Delicious, but too sweet. How can you eat that much sugar?!” He just winked at her in response, his big smile still in place. But Olive was ready to throw him off, as she was realizing she loved to do. “Aren’t you a little too old to be eating like this?”

Then it was Patrick’s turn to be surprised. He stopped walking, for a second. It was just enough time to look at Olive’s smug smile and to see her glorious figure start to walk away from him slowly. Then he caught up with her, and explained.

“Look, I’ve been coming to this place for, I don’t know, more than twenty years. And after all this time, this is still the best flavor they’ve got,” he said, prompted by Olive’s smile and apparent interest he kept going. “I was sort a problematic teenager. I didn’t like staying at home. But I also hated having my dad’s bodyguards following me around.” At that point Olive looked around and realized that, without noticing before, there were bodyguards everywhere. Sure, she noticed the couple in front and behind them. But they were all walking around the small park, on every corner she looked she could find one. “So I would run away, quite often,” Patrick kept talking, “And one time I ended up around here. Pretty cool place to be around if I say so myself.”

As Patrick would point out things around, Olive would notice that it was really a nice place. It was a nice neighborhood, but not an expensive one. Olive watched attentively how Patrick eyes would linger on certain houses, on the families passing, on the things that looked so ordinary but that he probably never enjoyed when he was younger. Olive could not imagine growing up surrounded by bodyguards, spending more time with those strangers than with her father. Before she got too caught up thinking about her lovely father and the precious workshop that was being threatened by a beautiful stranger, she changed the subject. But before she started talking about something probably boring, she spotted a little bird hopping around on the grass close to them.

The small animal immediately captivated Olive, and by addition, captivated Patrick, too. Because he couldn’t, even if he tried, take his eyes off her. He was smiling so much as she talked that his cheeks were starting to hurt, but he simply found her magical. She had been so bold and self-assured when they met but then she turned so incredibly soft and cute the second she saw a bird. It was endearing. And Patrick couldn’t help but ask.

“Olive, don’t take this the wrong way… but what’s your obsession with little birds? It’s adorable, don’t get me wrong, but it’s driving me freaking crazy that you just flip a switch on your personality when you spot one of those guys.”

“Well, look at you, Mr. Billionaire. You’re dropping your fancy language with me, finally.” Olive was teasing him. And he just gave her a huge smile in return. Some might say the smile was too big for his face, it was like a little boy smiling, but Olive was feeling her heart go crazy with the sight. “Well, if you have to know… it’s not really just birds. I love animals. All of them. See, in a mechanic workshop you don’t get to see a lot of cute animals. One dirty old dog here and there. But we never took them home with us. I reached my thirties and I have never had a pet, can you believe that?”

“Olive! You have to meet my dogs! Oh God, you will love them!”

That was a spark that kept them going the entire afternoon. Patrick was so relaxed, he seemed to not notice that he was still a billionaire surrounded by his multiple bodyguards. And after a while, Olive forgot as well. All that matter to her in that moment was Patrick by her side and the promise of two cute golden retriever dogs that she’d meet soon. The sun was setting behind the tallest trees, the families of the block got used to the presence of the bodyguards and the park was feeling more and more alive as the lampposts started to light up one by one. The setting was dangerously romantic.

“Hey, Patrick. I’ve had so much fun, really. But I think it’s time for me to go back home. Maybe we shouldn’t have had that second round of ice cream.” Olive laughed, despite herself. She really didn’t want to leave Patrick’s side yet.

“Oh… Well, if you really have to I can take you there. But I was hoping that I could also invite you out for dinner.”

Patrick’s reply came in the softest tone possible that Olive’s has come to associate with him and just him. Everything about him that second was striking, enchanting, and Olive would run out of words before she got to describe what his perfect smile made her feel.

Chapter 6

That Friday afternoon, Olive and Patrick left the park together, but went straight back to the workshop where Patrick left Olive. She declined his dinner offer, she thought she would regret it. But, regardless of their complicated situation, she was starting to accept that she really liked him. She liked his manners, his child-like excitement and spark, his delicate figures and his muscular body that she was dreaming of getting to hug again. So, she decided that even if she were to give him a real chance, she would play a little harder to get. It was a pleasure seeing that young billionaire racking up his brain trying to come up with the right words and the right actions to impress the girl he liked.

Even when she said no, she said so with a smile. Olive spoke with the teasing tone that Patrick was just starting to feel familiar with. It took him a few strikes to his ego, but he soon realized that he wasn’t exactly being made fun of. It was a positive thing. And he was living for it. But still, before reaching Olive’s house, Patrick couldn’t stop himself from speaking again.

“Olive, I have to ask you something.” His eyes were sparkling, his smile was mischievous. He was looking as handsome as ever. “Don’t you want to kiss me?”

“Oh, I don’t know Patrick.” The first sentence broke his heart a little, a small from slowly descended on his features. But then he notices how Olive smiled as she kept talking. “Are you sure your decayed trucks are worth one of my kisses?”

“There’s not a treasure in the world that would compare to that honor, Olive.” It was truly the first time he heard him speak with such seriousness and conviction in his voice.

“Ask me next week. Maybe.” And they just smiled at other for the rest of ride back home.

One of the best thing that came out of that ice cream date, was that finally, Olive and Patrick exchanged phone numbers. By Saturday afternoon, they had been texting non-stop and they were both thinking that it was the best decision they had ever made. Not only were they talking to each other, getting to know each other. But they were also uncontrollably talking to their friends and family about the other one.

“I know, I know I’ve mentioned his smile a million times. But trust me, it just is the most perfect thing ever! It’s so bright and so genuine and it makes his face look adorable! But he has this really soft voice, this delicacy with his words, I swear he’s some kind of charming prince. It’s just so amazing getting to see someone with his expensive suits and his expensive cars getting all excited about chocolate and puppies. And don’t, don’t even get me started on his eyes. I had no idea eyes could do those things! They’re so light, so bright, and so magical. But like they kind of sparkle. I know I’m not making any sense… but they do sparkle!”

And this brought a hundred and one different answers from Olive’s family. But of course that this lovely rant about the man that had her daydreaming like a teenage girl, it came in different versions. To her parents, sisters and brothers that would give different answers each.

“Is he really that beautiful? Girl, you found a Greek God, don’t let him go. Oh my God, what if you both ran away together. You could go somewhere far away! Away from his responsibilities and your family and… wait I’m your family. Anyway he probably has enough money to give you both fake identities to go live in a romantic farm in Iceland.” This was her hopelessly romantic sister Jane. “And please come visit! New York and I miss you. Oh my God, bring your billionaire boyfriend!”

“Is he really a billionaire? As in a billionaire person that has billions of dollars?” That was her other sister, Cate. “Sarah asks if you’ve made sure he’s the real Patrick White. Someone could’ve stolen his identity and you could be in danger. Oh my God do you think we should call the police?” Then Olive just overheard her discussing the situation with her girlfriend on the other side of the phone.

“Well darling, what can I say? You met him a Friday. Good men impress their women on Fridays, that’s all I know.” Incredibly so, that was the first piece of advice Olive’s father gave her. He was a romantic at heart and never missed a chance at talking about his own chance at getting the girl of his dreams.

“I’m happy for you, my baby. I really am. But you can’t blame your old mother for being worried, can you? I mean, he literally stepped inside here with the intention of buying our little place. This place is not for sale, you made that very clear. But, what if he’s just trying to convince you to sell?” Olive’s mother, with her sweet, soft, quiet voice, was actually the one with the smartest head for business in the entire family. “Oh don’t look at me with those sad little eyes, young lady. Though you’re not that young anymore, sweetheart, are you? Oh sorry, I’m saying all the wrong things now. But look, I can be a romantic too! He hasn’t mentioned the sale at all again, has he? He hasn’t even given you a real offer. That has to mean something.”

It seemed everything had to mean something. Olive talked more about physical appearance and his chivalry to her sisters. To her parents, she tried to be shy, tried to keep it to herself. But the words would just slip out of her mouth whenever they had dinner together. However, she was smart enough to try her hardest at being calm and presenting Patrick as just “a nice, friendly, good-looking man.” And finally there was her brother, her little brother. Andy was always too smart for his own good. And even though Olive was simply unable to hide to anyone the uncomfortable situation that had brought her and Patrick together, she only completely opened herself to her brother.

“Listen, Andy. I had never met any man like him. He’s the only one who has really made me want to try. I want to try to get to know him, spend time with him, looking farther into the future with him. But he just had to be this billionaire with a haunting company behind him that wants to eat our little place. I just don’t know what to think. What if the next time I see him it’s not even him? I mean, that past Thursday it was as if I was talking to his entire company. I could almost see the weight of it on his shoulders. You can’t fake that, Andy. He seems just so genuine.”

“All right, Olive, you just have to slow down. Sure, the circumstances aren’t exactly perfect but you can’t just guess his real feelings, you know? He’s a man; he’ll need you to ask him these questions. The poor guy probably has no clue of what he should say to you. What do you even know? Maybe he forgot about the deal and everything.”


Chapter 7

Olive’s brother couldn’t have been any more wrong. Patrick’s phone spent the entire weekend blowing up. He had meetings over meetings and more meetings, even on Sunday. He thought that was just cruel. Turns out that he had been avoiding more than one or two responsibilities at the company just to be at the Waters’ workshop every day that week. And it was taking a toll on him. All the important executives were unhappy as well. On Monday, after forty-eight hours of continuous stress, he obviously woke up with an evil headache that felt like his head was being split in two. And through the day it wouldn’t get better. If any, things would get worse. He barely had any time to think about Olive, let alone text or call her. He was terrified of what she was thinking of him. But after sending her a quick, sweet text that morning, he stepped into one of the worst meetings he had ever attended.

“Nothing else. Nothing new.” The most important member of the executive team at White’s Vehicles was speaking as he simultaneously threw files upon files on the meetings table. “This doesn’t work for us. This won’t calm the investors. Not enough earnings for the company, son.” Patrick stopped himself from requesting that old man that he wouldn’t call him “son,” his real father was gone and he didn’t want a reminder. “Not only you spent an entire week trying to buy one meaningless workshop downtown, forgetting all your other promises to the company. You didn’t even buy the damn thing!”

As the old man spoke, his face got redder and redder. He was visibly shaking and his breathing was hard. Patrick worried the man was going to have a heart attack right there and then. He also wondered why it mattered so much. They didn’t even lose money, did they? It couldn’t be much anyway, he could surely fix it before noon and still visit Olive that afternoon.

What Patrick didn’t expect was that when his brother tried to step in to settle down things in his business sort of way, another man stopped him. While the first, old and mighty man addressed both brothers.

“No, no, Taylor. You don’t get to fix your brother’s mess this time. Son, you’re the face, the owner, the name of this company and you’re going to be responsible for it. You’re not some elected president that can get away with fake promises. You got this job, you said you would expand the company to take over the city’s mechanic workshops. And you’re going to make that happen.”

After that, the meetings went more or less smoothly. Not enough for Patrick to be able to visit Olive. But at the end of the day he had the opportunity of sitting down at the company’s private bar with his brother. The place closed for everybody else. One of the privileges of being the owners.

“God, what am I going to do? I’m not letting that dusty, old piece of trash believe that he won over me. He’s right Taylor, this is my company. I can’t just put it aside, can I? I just, I wanted to look him in the eyes and fire him, right there, in front of everyone else. But you know that I wouldn’t have known what to do with a vacant on such an important position. I think this company needs that annoying, wrinkled thing more than it needs me.” “Listen, brother, that’s not all true. You are important here, even if you don’t know a thing about the business. You know your cars, and that’s what we’re about. And you have great ideas. Yeah, maybe a pretty face got in the way and you’re having trouble getting things done. But buying the mechanic workshops of the town was brilliant. Look, if this girl is as awesome as you make her out to be, she would sell that place for you. Just, try again, make the best offer possible and you’ll be a happy man again.”

Taylor was smiling, confident that he had given his brother a great piece of advice. But after a second too long lost in his thoughts, Patrick’s answer sort of surprised them both.

“She’s more than a pretty face. She’s does have a pretty face, the prettiest, actually. But she’s capable of being terrifying, too. She seems so powerful with those green eyes of her…” Patrick was clearly about to start daydreaming again. “And also, she’s not ‘this girl,’ her name’s Olive. “

The next time that Patrick and Olive have some time together is on Wednesday morning. He’s extremely nervous about actually showing up to the workshop without a broken truck. But Olive promised him that it was all right that he wanted to visit just because of her. However, Olive’s family had different plans. Turns out that not ten minutes had passed of Patrick visit when Olive’s brother showed up at the door of the place.

The youngest member of the family, Andy sure knew how to make an entrance. It was a surprise and the family rushed out to greet him, leaving the billionaire feeling tremendously out of place in the middle of a family reunion unlike anything he had ever seen. Olive’s sisters arrived not long later and once the entire family was there, Patrick found no way of quietly slipping away. And when Olive’s hand found his and she asked him to stay for lunch with the sweetest tone he had ever heard in her voice, he simply couldn’t deny.

Once the entire family had sat down at the table of the cozy home hidden next to the workshop, that’s when Olive allowed herself to over-think the situation. What was she thinking? It had been years since the last time she brought a man to meet her family, and this particular man not only wasn’t her boyfriend, they hadn’t even kissed yet and to make everything worse… he was the face of the company trying to buy the family’s business


Chapter 8

If there was something Patrick White never expected, was to meet a woman and less than two weeks later finding himself sitting at her house, having dinner with her entire family. But there he was, deep in conversation with her brother, after successfully making her father genuinely laugh at a joke and charming every other woman in the room, that last part was pretty easy if he must admit it. The food was delicious, everyone was kind and they all resembled Olive, physically or in their personalities. That is, her mother was fantastically ready to switch from menacing to adorable in a second. Her father was this confident man, all in control of himself and seemingly in control of everything around him as well; but he melted like a little girl with every sweet story someone else told. All the girls had the same blond hair as Olive, but only her brother had his eyes of the same hypnotizing green color.

Patrick couldn’t help but feel overjoyed at the fact that his billionaire status was barely mentioned. And it only happened as Olive’s father asked everyone about their jobs. They really cared, Patrick noticed. And he wasn’t exactly asking about how successful things were going with his children’s job, some of them were clearly struggling financially. But he was asking if they were comfortable, if they were still enjoying what they were doing, if he could help them in any way. It was a dynamic that Patrick had never experienced first-hand. All of it put a knot on his throat.

Then it was time for Olive to be surprised, again and again for the rest of the evening. The first surprise came when Patrick, rather boldly, asked Olive’s father if he could take her out for dinner. But when Patrick used his preciously formal words, who could’ve denied? Not even Olive’s sisters blinked an eye when Patrick, again, rather boldly, suggested that they help Olive to get dressed for their dinner date. Then Patrick simply left the house, said his goodbyes, thanked everyone, and once everyone was satisfied, he went out through the door. Olive was speechless. Everything was perfect and he was leaving now? Why did he wanted her to dress up? What was that guy planning? She was as nervous as she was excited. She knew Patrick was mostly childlike and fun. But when her sisters decided she should wear her most elegant, dark as the deep sea, dress, Olive suddenly remembered, Patrick was also a billionaire.

The family spent so much time together, and talked for so long afterwards that by the time Olive was finally dressed far better than she had been in years, Patrick was already waiting for her by the door of the house. It was simply magical, the emotions that swarmed Olive’s heart when her entire family lead her to the door. There, under the light of a full moon that, Olive swore, was probably jealous, was standing Patrick. He was dressed in the most beautiful suit she had seen in him. It was black and luxurious and made of fabrics that she probably wouldn’t be able to name. He was glowing like a star, and his smile was standing perfectly in place. Behind him on the street, stood waiting an equally as elegant driver, holding the door of a shiny white limousine.

There were no words to describe the evening that Olive and Patrick shared. He had adored her family and every bit of her home that she had been kind enough to show him. He was scared, when he realized he didn’t have anything to show her in return. Where would he take her? To an empty, cold mansion that lacked every bit of life? But then he woke himself up. He mentally slapped himself in the face and realized that if Olive had given her so much, it was because of who he really was, not because of what he had around him. He had a big heart and he was ready to give it all to her. And a little detail that he might have been ignoring, he was a billionaire. He had all the money that Olive would ever need. And that night, more than anything else, he wanted her to feel like the princess she was under his eyes. He wanted her to enjoy the perks of his life.

“I’m so unworthy of you, Olive. Just look at you, under this lights you are something more magical than a dream.” He had paid for the most luxurious Italian restaurant of the city, and he had paid for the entire place. They were completely alone beside the people serving them. “Just finally admit that you’re a goddess from some far away divine land and end my confusion right here and right now.”

“Oh, Patrick, I think you might have had a little too much wine.” Olive laughed a little, but she blushed purposely. Patrick was genuinely looking at her as if she was holding all the starts of the universe in the palms of her hands. “You are the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time, you know?”

The admission made both Olive and Patrick sober up, they were serious for a second, and the silence was heavy on them. But then Patrick smiled, a really soft smile. And his eyes were so kind and he looked so in love. Olive smiled as well. And they spent the remaining time of their dinner absorbed in sweet conversation, sharing dreams, memories and long lost pieces of themselves with each other.


Chapter 9

That was the idyllic time they spent together, until they were in the limousine back home. Patrick was taking Olive back to her house, their hands were linked together and satisfied smiles were on their faces. But if you were to look closely, really pay attention at their faces, you would have noticed the anxiety hidden behind their eyes. Olive was overflowing with excitement, impatiently waiting for the moment that Patrick would kiss her. She was sure she couldn’t be able to stop or deny him this time, not that she wanted to. But Patrick was anxious for different reasons.

“I talked to my brother about you.” He just blurted it out. Olive wasn’t expecting it.

“Oh. What did he say?”

“He’s happy. He’s really happy to see me… happy.” They both laughed. It was weird to see Patrick short for words. “I’m sure he would love to meet you before we complete the sale.”

Something inside Olive dropped the second Patrick spoke those last words. But she refused to lose so easily her faith in him.

“What sale, Patrick?”

“Your place. The workshop. I… My company… We still want to buy.”

“The place is not—”

“I talked to your father Olive. While you were getting ready. I gave him my offer, the best I could possibly offer. Because it’s different, you and your family, you matter and—”

“Oh stop that—”

“He said yes. Your father accepted the offer, he’s selling the workshop to me.”

“To your heartless company! How could you do that behind my back? How could you do that at all Patrick? I told you

“Olive, darling, please listen to my side of the story. There are things that I just have to do.”

Olive took a big breath then, as if inhaling all the strength she would need for what she was about to do next. Her eyes were glassy but her frown seemed made of steel.

“Well I don’t care about anything you do anymore.”

Then she rested her hand on the handle of the door, ready to leave. Patrick tried to put his hand on top of her, tell her she was overreacting. But she shook his hand off and he just earned a couple of words from the girl he was losing now.

“Listen, Patrick. Going behind my back to settle the deal with my dad, was a betrayal to my trust. Offering great sums of money to my dad because you know my siblings need it, it’s a dirty practice. That money means nothing to you, you just want to expand a company or take over the world, or whatever, I don’t really know what you want. I never did. I love that place and that first Friday when you came into my place and I was the first person you saw, that doesn’t mean that I was just the pretty face welcoming strangers to give me their money. That would mean I have something in common with you and I am sure, so sure, that you and I have nothing, absolutely nothing in common now, Patrick. Goodbye.”

The words left Patrick breathless, he couldn’t move a muscle. He was unable to react as Olive started knocking on the windows until the driver stopped the car. Then she got out, slammed the door and started walking the three blocks that were left to get to her house. It had been a full minute of the absence of Olive for Patrick to fully realize his mistake. He inhaled shakily and rubbed his face, taking off the astray tears that escaped his eyes the same way the woman that owned his heart had escaped of his life a minute ago. It was painful, it was shameful, and it was entirely his fault.


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