**“Emi baby, can** you come downstairs please.” I closed the novel and placed the bright orange book on my bedside table. Standing up and tying my long blond hair in a neat pony before jogging downstairs. My mom was in the kitchen and my dad was probably in his office.
“Yeah, momma?” I took a seat at the breakfast table and glanced at Tubby, the lazy cat that was always sleeping on one of the chairs. Chuckling and I scratched its head and turned to face my mom. She placed a plate of toast, bacon, and eggs in front of me.
“You need to eat, and your father wants to see you in his office.” I sighed and took a bite of the yummy food. “What does he want to talk about?” I curiously asked, hoping it wasn’t the conversation I’ve been dreading since last year.
My mom glanced at me with that look on her face. Great, it was that conversation. I continued eating in silence. My mom was busy cleaning around the kitchen before Nancy was probably upstairs cleaning my brother’s room. I took my plate to the dishwasher after I finished and kissed my mom on the cheek.
My dad’s office wasn’t that far from the kitchen so it only took me a minute to walk down the hall full of family pictures on the wall. His door was slightly open and I could hear the conversation he was having over the phone.
“Don’t worry, Emily knows what she has to do and she might need time to get used to the idea but she will do what she has to.” I rolled my eyes and knocked on the door. “James, I’ve got to go.” I heard him put the phone down and said ‘Enter’.
I slowly pushed the door open almost too scared for the things waiting behind the door. My dad was a big man. With a long lean body that towered over everyone in the house and intimidatingly blue eyes that always kept me from back chatting. He looked younger than he really was and that was because my mom always made sure he took care of his appearance.
Taking the seat in front of his desk I rubbed my hands together and crossed my one leg over the other. “Dad?” He sighed and looked at me. “We have to talk about it. You know how I feel about you taking over the business and your bother is just too young.”
Let me explain. My dad was a Media CEO. He owned most of the companies that gave you news, good and bad, in a large town in South East London, named Bromley. We were rich, not billions but enough for our 3 story house and to cover my brother's school and my university funds at Oxford. I also got a car at the age of 16 and my brother will get one when he turns 16 in a few weeks.
My brother Jamie was a late baby, 12 years younger than I am. Now by taking over the business my father meant that my mother has been pressuring his to retire. He’s been putting it off for 2 years now but he couldn’t anymore.
My brother was too young to take over the business and so I had to do it. Unfortunately, our town was a bit traditional and in their eyes, a woman can lead a multimillion-dollar company but shouldn’t do it alone. I know, sexist right? So if you add everything together you will understand the next thing my father said.
“You need to get married. I know you don’t want to yet or that you haven’t found anyone special but time is running out. I need to retire and you need to get someone to help you run this business.”
I bit my lip in frustration. I didn’t want to get married to someone I didn’t love, but I didn’t have much of an option. If my father didn’t retire soon, the fights between him and my mother will get out of hand. “So what am I supposed to do dad?” Before he answered I saw the look in his eyes. “Wait, you have someone.”
He hesitantly nodded. “You need to marry, and who is better than your best friend. Before you speak, just let me explain. Rayon O’Kelly is great, he was raised to run a business and wasn’t there a time you have a crush on him?”
I stopped my dad with a glare. “Yes, 5 years ago and then we tried to date because we thought we owed it to each other to try and it failed. We almost lost our friendship over it. We’ve only been okay for almost a year now, and now you want us to get married?”
Rayon and I have been friends since middle school and when you know someone that long you learn to love them and sometimes little crushes as ours grew. We tried dating for a few months and it failed miserably when he told me he loved me and I couldn’t tell him I loved him, which caused him to cheat on me in anger.
That was 5 years ago and things between us were only recently starting to be okay again. I knew he still loved me but I never felt the same. I had a crush on him because he was cute and I knew him but I never could utter the words ‘I Love You’ and mean them in the way he loved me.
“Emi, I know. But there is no one else I would hand my business to, no one I trust as much as Rayon. He loves you, you know that. He will take care of you and he will take care of my business. He is the perfect Son-in-law.”
I could feel the tears prickling at the corner of my eyes. “Does he know? Have you told Rayon that you want us to get married?” My dad looked down at his computer. “James has mentioned arranged marriage to him but your name hasn’t been mentioned. We both thought that maybe you should tell him.”
I loved my dad and knew my mom enough to know that she won’t let him not retire. She would be behind his 210%. I knew that I needed to do this and I just had to suck it up, until my brother was old enough and then bring him into the business and then once and for all end romantic things between me and Rayon. I know it will probably end our friendship forever but that is just how things have to be.
« • x • x • x • »
I knocked on the O’Kelly door. Their house was much bigger than ours. James O’Kelly was a household name in all of London and most of England. They most certainly had more money than my family and that is why Rayon was perfect in my father’s eyes.
Speak of the Devil, Rayon opened the door and a smile overtook his face. He was a handsome man. Strong and muscular, wild blond hair and the deepest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. He was also a lot taller than me and as he hugged me he lifted me from the ground.
“Emi, why does it feel like it’s been months since I’ve seen you!”
**Copyright © 2020 by Grace Write**