Authors: Helen Cooper
“Nope.” I stretched out and sighed. “They still live together; even though both me and my brother have left the house.”
“What? Why? For money?”
“No. My dad’s a lawyer and my mom owns her own boutique.”
“So why then?”
“Because they are soulmates.”
“Soulmates?” Harry looks at me in confusion. “But they got divorced?”
“Haha, it’s confusing. Basically, my dad and mom met in high school and got married before college. My mom had me when my dad was in law school and then my brother right after he graduated. They were happily married until my dad boinked his secretary.”
“Well that will ruin the happy part.”
“Yeah. So my mom found out because the secretary thought she got pregnant.”
“Yeah. Only it was a lie she told my dad to get him to leave my mom. Only it backfired because he realized he still loved my mom. However, my mom couldn’t get over his cheating and so she divorced him. Only they still love each other.”
“So they are together but just divorced?” Harry looked confused again.
“No, they aren’t.” I sighed. “My mom is dating a doctor and my dad is dating a Salsa teacher.”
“And their partners don’t mind that they live together?”
I shrugged. “I dunno.”
“You don’t know?”
“I’ve never met them.”
“It’s a long story.” I played with my hair and stared up at the ceiling. “I just wish they would get back together. I know they still love each other. My dad still buys her anniversary gifts.”
“Do they still sleep together?”
“It’s not always about sex, Harry.” I turned over to face him. “Sometimes two people are just meant to be together. It’s fated. God made them for each other. They are two parts of a whole.”
“Whoa God? That’s a bit heavy, isn’t it?” Harry raised an eyebrow at me and I stared at him earnestly.
“No. It’s true. Everyone has a soulmate. Someone that just gets you and loves you for who you are, forever and always.”
“Forever and always?”
“Yeah. Someone you can just lay with and not say anything. Someone who knows what you’re thinking.”
“Oh someone with ESP?” Harry’s lips twitched and I frowned.
“No. And I don’t think it’s nice to make fun of me. What’s your problem?”
“I don’t have a problem, Sarah. I just don’t want you to be disappointed.” He came and lay down on the bed with me. “You’re still young. I don’t want you to waste your life away waiting for some perfect man to come riding along on a white horse. Real life is not like that.”
“Just because you’re not like that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.”
“Edward Cullen is a fictional character, Sarah.”
“Isn’t that who all you youngsters love now? He’s not real.”
“Never.” I rolled my eyes at him. “Plus, I’m team Jacob anyway.”
I laughed and rolled into him. “Do you always have to act your age and not know anything I’m talking about?”
“Maybe.” He smiled at me gently and stroked my hair.
“So tell me again why you don’t believe in love?” I paused. “Your parents are still together, right?”
“Yes, they are. They’ve been together for forty years now.” He smiled wistfully.
“And while they infuriate each other, they do seem to have something real.”
“So why don’t you believe in love?” My voice expressed the confusion in my brain.
“It’s not a real emotion, Sarah. Humans are selfish beings by nature. No-one will love you more than they love themselves. Which means that ultimately they will always do what benefits them the most.”
“That’s not true.”
“Yes. Yes, it is.”
“Your parents are still in love.”
“I don’t know if my mom would have loved my dad if he was poor.” His voice cracked and he looked away from me.
“What? What do you mean?”
He sighed and looked at me with sadness in his eyes. “When I was sixteen I saw my mom in bed with another man.” He paused. “It was my father’s best friend, our butler.”
“Yes. John is his name. He’s a good man. Anyway, his father had been our family butler and so he and my father had grown up together. My mom had met John first and was actually dating him when she met my father.”
“She promptly left John and was married to my dad within six months. But it seemed that it was John that she really loved.”
“Wow. She told you this?” I felt horrible for John hearing Harry talk.
“No. Of course not.” He sighed. “But I heard them talking. She apologized to him and told him she was sorry and that she would always love him.”
“Oh wow.” I pulled him close to me. “I’m sorry, Harry.”
“That’s okay.” He sighed. “But that was when I knew. If my own mother, who everyone thought was deeply in love with my dad could pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, then anyone could. If John had been the one with the money she would be married to him now and not my dad.”
“You don’t know that for sure, Harry.”
“Women are attracted to the man that can best take care of them, regardless of love. They will leave the man they think they love for the man with power.”
“Not all women.”
“I’m not willing to take the chance.” He frowned and trailed his hand across my breasts. “Besides, I like meaningless sex with different women. It’s a lot more exciting.”
“Yeah, I guess it is.” I smiled weakly at him, trying to not let him see how much pain his words had caused me I didn’t want to be the girl he had meaningless sex with. I wanted to be more special than that.
I was scared to meet Harry’s family. I wasn’t sure what they were going to think of me. I knew what I would think if I was a family member of his. I’d think that I was some young gold digger who was just after his money. I mean, I was really really starting to like Harry. More than I wanted to admit but I knew most people wouldn’t think we had much in common. And in reality, we really didn’t. But we were comfortable together and while he laughed and shook his head at my kookiness, he didn’t act embarrassed to be around me. I didn’t see him making weird faces when I started acting goofy and I appreciated that. I had never had good luck with guys and my most serious boyfriend wanted me to change who I was. I’d never forget when he told me to grow up and act like an adult when I had pretended to be royalty in a restaurant. He’d gone beet red as I had spoken in a French accent. I’d thought it was really funny because everyone knew there hadn’t been any royalty in France since the French Revolution but he didn’t seem to get the joke.
I sat in the car with Harry and pretended to be asleep, although I was peeking at the houses through my eyes. His family lived in some town in Connecticut and as we kept driving the houses got bigger and bigger. When he finally pulled into a long driveway, I thought my eyes were going to pop out. I mean, I knew he was a billionaire but I had never had any reality of what that meant. But staring at the grand mansion that looked bigger than Buckingham Palace, I was beginning to understand.
“Wakey, wakey, sleepy head.” Harry gently shook my shoulder.
“I’m awake.” I sat up straight and tried to talk without too much awe in my voice.
“This is huge.”
“Welcome home.” He smiled. “So you ready, Marilyn?”
“Yes, Mr. President.” I grinned back at him. “I ezz ready and so is Jiminy.” I spoke in my favorite French accent.
“Uhm who?” Harry frowned.”
“You know, let you conscience be your guide.” I started singing.
“Sarah, this is not…” Harry broke off as an older couple walked out of the house and started towards the car. “Here come the ‘rents.”
I peered out of the car curiously, my heart beating fast. I was scared that they were going to either hate me on sight or just not believe me. I was surprised at their appearance. I had been expecting to see some sort of glamour couple but they looked normal. In fact, they looked more down-to-earth than my own parents. I would never have guessed they were rich.
“Harry.” Mrs. Green ran up to him and hugged him as we got out of the car. I stood there awkwardly watching him hug his mom and then his dad. They both peered at me curiously with slight smiles on their faces. “And who is this?”
“Mom, Dad, meet Sarah.” He paused. “My girlfriend.”
I swallowed hard. I was already confused. I had expected him to call me his fiancée but then I remembered that he wasn’t going to propose until later on, at his cousin’s wedding and that was when we were going to break up.
“Sarah, it’s so nice to meet you.” His mother beamed at me and shook my hand warmly. “I’m Daisy.”
“Hi Daisy.” I smiled shyly.
“Give me a hug, young lady.” His dad drew me close to him and hugged me. “I’m glad to finally meet one of Harry’s girlfriends. I’m Donald.”
“Nice to meet you, Donald.” I smiled, immediately liking this white haired man. He looked like an older version of Harry and his blue eyes sparkled with mischief.
“I hope the drive was comfortable?” Daisy smiled at me and linked arms with me as we walked to the house.
“Oh yes, it was fantastic. Thanks.” I paused. “This is a really nice area, I’ve never seen such big houses before in my life.”
“I thought you were sleeping?” Harry looked at me with a frown.
“I was…kinda,” I responded and Daisy laughed.
“She just needed a break from you, Harry.”
“I doubt it, Sarah can talk up a storm.”
“Hey, no fair.” I poked Harry in the stomach. “I think you’ve kept me up most nights trying to talk, while I just wanted to sleep.”
“You wanted to sleep for other reasons, my dear.” Harry kissed me and swatted my ass and I blushed.
“Oh dear, don’t embarrass the girl.” Daisy laughed and I saw her exchange a smile with Donald.
“Sarah doesn’t embarrass easily, trust me.” He grinned.
“So how goes the company, son?” Donald changed the subject and Daisy groaned.
“Not now, Donald. They just got here.”
Donald laughed and winked at me. “I’m sorry, Sarah.”
“No worries.” I laughed and stared at her surroundings in awe. “Wow, this is beautiful.” I was surprised to see hardwood on the floor, I would have thought they would have sprung for marble flooring for their grand entry. I had expected an informal looking museum type of house but this place was homey and welcoming. I walked over to the wall and studied some of the paintings. “Wow, these are really cool. Who painted them?”
“Harry did, my dear.” Daisy beamed at me and patted Harry’s arm.
“No way.” I turned around with wide arms. “You’re joking, right?”
“No, she’s not.” Harry looked at me with a smile and I walked over to him and poked him in the stomach again.
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you were an artist. These are great. Consider me impressed.” I beamed at him, happy to be seeing into this other side of him.
“They aren’t that great.” He laughed.
“They’re wonderful.” I spoke earnestly. “Really wonderful.” I lifted my hand up to his face and brought it down for a kiss. I stilled for a moment when I realized what I had done. Harry’s eyes had looked into mine in surprise and confusion, but I didn’t have time to explain anything to him because Daisy and Donald were standing there staring at them. I resolved to myself that I would tell him later that the kiss had been part of my act, even though I knew that wasn’t true. All of a sudden, I wished that I hadn’t taken this job. I was starting to develop real feelings for Harry and the lines between real and fake were starting to blur.
“Do you want to take Sarah up to your room, Harry?” Daisy smiled at me. “We’re not terribly old-fashioned and so we don’t mind if you stay in the same room.”
“Oh.” I felt her face grow red. “Thanks.”
“Well won’t you look at that, the girl’s blushing.” Donald laughed and smiled at her sweetly. “No need to be embarrassed girl. We know our Harry.”
“Dad!” Harry’s voice was sharp and bemused. “Come on Sarah, let me show you my childhood bedroom.”
“Donald.” Daisy chided her husband as Sarah and Harry walked away. “You mustn’t say such things.”
“Well, it’s not like he’s ever brought another girl home before. She’ll be the only one he’s knocked boots in there with.”
“Come on Daisy, you should be happy, this might mean we’ll be getting grandkids soon.”
Harry smiled at me as we walked up the stairs. “Now didn’t I tell you my parents are crazy?”
“They’re not crazy.” I laughed at him. I was surprised at them though. From what Harry had told me, I had thought his mom was going to be really cold and distant; pining away for John the butler. But his mom really did seem to love his dad and she hadn’t seen the butler anywhere. Maybe his mom was an even better actress than she was. Or maybe Donald had found out about the affair and banished John from the house. Now that would be crazy.