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The Billion Dollar Girl

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ῼ Ash Castillo ῼ

A few minutes later, just when I’d gotten impatient of waiting, Ella reappeared at the elevator door, her face pale. But, when she saw my face, she smiled.

Ella was the kind of person that, when she smiled, she made the whole world better. Well, usually anyway. Right now…I don’t know. Her smile just seemed strained…almost like she was forcing herself to smile. But why would she do that?

“Are you okay?” I asked her, standing up. She just nodded, that fake smile still plastered on her face. “Where did you go?”

“Nowhere,” she said immediately, giving a bad laugh. “I just had a sudden rush of vertigo. But now I’m okay.”

She said it all too quickly. It was like she’d rehearsed it. I frowned at her. Ella was such a bad liar it was impossible for her to deceive anyone, but it bothered me to know that she’d just lied to me about where she’d gone. What had she been doing? Will flashed into my mind suddenly. No. I chastised myself. Don’t think of him now. This was meant to be a romantic getaway with Ella. Will couldn’t ruin this.

“Vertigo?” I repeated doubtfully.

“Yes,” Ella said, sounding determined. “Vertigo.”

“Oh. Will you be able to survive for the rest of the dinner?” Her eyes flashed as she heard the mocking in my voice.

“I think I’ll be okay,” she said, trying to laugh casually.

The rest of the dinner passed in silence, our conversation limited to passing comments about the food. I could tell she was enjoying it, by the way she was gulfing it down. I was forcibly reminded of the time we first met. It’d been so awkward then too. I’d thought we’d gotten over that, but apparently not.

I thanked the chef and we left, keeping a safe distance. When we were out of the Eiffel Tower, I opened the door of the car that was already waiting for us and Ella stepped in. I followed her, the door closing behind me gently.

“So…where do we go now?” Ella asked.

“I actually had something planned for us,” I said, flashing her a smile. “What’s the most romantic thing you can do in France?”

“Uh…Have a private dinner on the top of the Eiffel Tower?” she said, a smile on her lips – a real smile this time. I rolled my eyes but was secretly quite pleased she enjoyed it.

“Alright, the second most romantic thing.”

“Uh…” Ella frowned, thinking hard. “Skiing?”

I stared at her, suddenly taken about. “You want to ski?”

She blushed and shook her head. “No,” she muttered. “I just…always thought it would be you know…kind of romantic. You know, the snow and the hot chocolate and the big green trees…”

“Well, then what’s the third most romantic thing you can think of?” I said, mentally taking a note to arrange a quick helicopter ride to my favorite French ski resort, Chamonix. Before she could say anything else that would make my idea less impressive, I quickly interrupted her. “I’ll give you a clue. A carriage in Luxemburg Gardens.”

Ella’s eyes widened and looked out in the direction I was staring in. She pressed her face against the window and gaped at the horse I’d picked out myself, one I’d guessed she would’ve like. It was sleek and black, with a smooth glossy fur so dark it blended into the night. A large carriage was attached to its bridle and the rider was smiling at us, waiting patiently. Nodding in appreciation, I noticed that they sent a woman, just as I’d requested. Whenever I was with Ella, I couldn’t help but be a little jealous of any man who appeared in front of her. “A midnight horse-drawn carriage ride?” she gasped. “That’s…that’s…amazing.”

Proud of myself, I nodded and held out my hand to her.

“Shall we, my lady?”

It was like nothing had changed. It was like she’d never accidently found me in bed with Lucy. It was like we hadn’t had a fight. It was like we were whatever we had been before – husband and wife. I’d spent my life dreading commitment, dreading having to marry some girl who I was sure I was incapable of loving, dreading having to spend the rest of my life with her… but as I gazed into Ella’s green eyes, I realized she’d changed everything.

Ella took my hand and electricity buzzed through our fingertips.

“Of course,” she said, smiling. “My Lord.”

***

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Cast

Ashley Greeneas Ella
Alex Pettyferas Ash
Matt Lanteras Will
Chad Michael Murrayas Zack
Blake Livelyas Lucy

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