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Billionaire's Inheritance Bride

By: Amanda Horton

It was supposed to be an ordinary day for Miranda Benson. The alarm clock went off at exactly 5:30 in the morning as it always did, five days a week. She knew if she looked out the window, the sky above would still be shrouded in gray while the horizon beyond, or what little she could see from the ground floor apartment, would be bathing in shades of purple as the sun struggled to erase the remnants of the night sky.

She padded softly in worn bathroom slippers to the room next to hers. She opened the door and grimaced as the door hinge squeaked. It sounded like a screech in the quiet stillness and she was anxious not to rouse the occupant in the tiny bed.

But she needn’t have worried. Sadie, her 4-year old daughter, was in deep slumber. Miranda gazed at her intently. The reddish-brown hair spread like a curtain of ringlets around her pretty face. Her eyes quivered slightly under the pink hue of closed eyelids as a ghost of a smile fleeted across tiny rosy lips.

Miranda never stopped thanking the gods for Sadie. It took five years for her and James to conceive and 48 hours of intense labor pains before Sadie made an entrance into this world. From the moment the nurse placed Sadie in her arms, Miranda worshipped her. It was that love that propelled Miranda through the endless hospital visits when Sadie was diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis, the same devotion that made her face the challenges of antibiotics, bronchodilators, anti-inflammatory drugs and pulmonary hygiene techniques to ease her daughter’s discomfort.

The doctor suggested that they move away from the city. Miranda was willing, but James was adamant on staying; business was slow and he couldn’t afford the cost of relocating. As James got more entrenched in business, Miranda was left to fend for Sadie alone. The constant business trips put a strain into their relationship. James admitted feeling helpless around their ailing daughter and, while Miranda took sole responsibility in caring for Sadie, she felt a resentment brewing inside for James, the father who was never around.

Resentment developed into coldness until there was a wall between them so thick that Miranda didn’t know where to even begin mending it. A particularly severe bout of asthma sent her rushing with Sadie to her parents’ home far away from the city. They stayed for a couple of weeks and when they returned, things only progressed from bad to worse between her and James.

He started spending nights at the office, reasoning that it was easier for him to manage the midnight deliveries of electronic equipment for the shop. It didn’t take long for Miranda to hear whispers. He was sleeping with his business partner, a young widow who inherited a small fortune when her husband passed away.

James was furious when she asked for a divorce; then he begged for forgiveness and asked for a second chance. Miranda didn’t know exactly when her marriage had started to fall apart but at that very moment when James was begging her to stay, she knew in her heart it was over.

The divorce was ugly. James wanted sole custody of their daughter, claiming Miranda didn’t have the means to care for her. Miranda threatened to divulge his affair in court. The last two years were hard on Miranda; being a solo parent always was. But, seeing her daughter sleeping peacefully, looking so serene and well, she knew she was doing something right.

Working as a secretary at Masterson Conglomerate, Miranda was part of a pool of secretaries that helped the company executives with their clerical needs. She expected her two year temporary tenure to eventually lead to the job of a private secretary at the main office.

The girls in her department referred to themselves as ladies-in-waiting, always wondering where their next assignment would take them. They had a common dream: to work at H.Q. where all the top executives held office.

Miranda sighed as she stroked her daughter’s cheek. She kissed Sadie on the forehead. “I love you, baby girl,” she whispered tenderly, before returning to her bedroom to change for work. Mrs. Tanner, her next door neighbor, would be knocking any time soon. Miranda was thankful for the elderly lady who volunteered to look after Sadie while she was at work. That, and for the fact that Sadie hadn’t suffered any asthma attacks since moving here.

She kissed Sadie and bid Mrs. Tanner goodbye. The city bus had dropped her off two blocks away from work when she felt her cell phone buzz. She groped inside her purse for the phone and read the text message.

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