Page 25 of Not My Billionaire

I don’t know if what I’m doing is right, but I do know that it’s better than doing nothing.

Chapter Eighteen

Alexis

I want nothing more than to talk to James alone, perhaps even go for a walk on the beach, but every time I look out the peephole to my door, there’s a guard standing there. It’s not just the one, either. I’ve got people keeping an eye on me all hours of the day, so there’s no way for me to sneak out and talk to him. Maybe I shouldn’t have shut the door in his face, but I didn’t want to talk in front of the guard I don’t know.

I wait for him to text me. I know he’s a busy person, and I’m not sure if I’m even allowed to leave. I expect to hear back soon, but it’s just radio silence.

For two days, I don’t receive a single text, but I do get other things.

When the first gift arrives, I balk. A hundred roses is absurd, and I don’t even like the color red or the smell of roses.

Next comes more designer clothes, which were clearly picked out by his assistant just like the first batch. I don’t even open the bags, just set them on the floor of my wardrobe.

The tennis bracelet is what really sets me off, though. It’s in a minty green bag indicating the high-value store, and the diamonds are obnoxiously huge. I think of my job back at the marine rescue, and I let out a humorless laugh at the idea of wearing something like this in the water whilst trying to help a stressed-out, thrashing sea turtle.

I leave the bracelet in its velvet box, then yank the front door open. The guard looks at me with a wary eye, and I realize that he’s young, probably fresh out of the military, or, based on his thick, stocky build, the WWE.

“I need to talk to James,” I say, my voice hard. I will not take no for an answer. Sure, I haven’t texted James, but he could have tried to get a hold of me instead of just sending me all this pointlessly expensive stuff.

“Of course,” the guard says, walking with me to the elevator and pressing the button. When it opens, he glances inside before allowing me in. He takes this job far too seriously, considering I was living in a ramshackle apartment with a bucket in the corner to deal with the roof’s incessant leaking.

“Thanks,” I say, my tone perhaps a bit too harsh. He’s just doing his job, after all. I don’t need to be rude to him just because I’m annoyed with James.

“No problem,” he mumbles, pressing the button to James’s floor and then putting a code into the keypad.

When the door opens, James isn’t waiting for me like last time. I spot him out on the balcony, arguing with someone over the phone. I decide that I can wait while he deals with that. I’ve already waited for two days, after all.

I wander the living area of the suite, tracing a finger over the intricate detailing. When I was staying here the first time, I looked up the nightly rates for this penthouse and regretted it immediately. Who spends five grand a night for a hotel room, anyway?

When James walks in, I’m looking at a painting. I can’t decide if it’s an original or just a really convincing print with raised details, but either way, it looks more expensive than the generic hotel art I’ve seen in the past.

“Alexis,” he says, his voice filled with surprise.

I turn to face him, and his shock is clear. The guard didn’t warn him I was coming, which warms me to the stranger just a bit. I wanted to surprise James the way he surprised me, even if just a little.

“The gifts have to stop,” I say, my voice hard even though my resolve is wavering at the sight of James in front of me. He doesn’t look great, and I wonder what he’s been dealing with the past few days.

Confusion hits his features. “Do you hate them?”

I frown. “I have no opinion other than the fact that they’re way too expensive.”

His eyebrows scrunch closer together. “Oh,” he says simply. He shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve made it very clear that I don’t need his money, but he doesn’t seem to be listening.

I stay where I am, unwilling to walk closer. If I get too close, I’ll want to touch him, and touching leads to kissing, which leads to me forgetting why I’m here.

He clears his throat, and I cross my arms. “What?” I ask, exasperated and angry that he has nothing else to say about the past couple of days.

“I had one more gift, if that’s alright,” he says, stepping forward. “I think you’ll like this one.”

I tilt my head, and my curiosity gets the best of me. “What’s that?” I ask. Maybe it’s an actual apology, or an explanation as to why he’s been ignoring me.

Instead, he takes another step toward me, reaching into his pocket. When he pulls out a small velvet box, my heart stops.

Oh no. Oh no, no,no. This can’t be happening. When he gets down on one knee, alarm bells start screeching in my head. He can’t possibly think this is a good idea. Nobody is that dense, right? After ignoring me for two days,thisis what he came up with?

When he opens the box, a hideous, gaudy ring stands out. The diamond is massive, surrounded by smaller yet still absurd diamonds.


Tags: Beth Grey Billionaire Romance
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