Chapter Fifty-Six

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"You'll see, it's a surprise."  

As we came to a stop, the elevator doors opened. There was a large open space with a couch on one side, a large tinted mirror on the other, and a door in the centre. I led her to the door and inserted my key into the lock. 

"Are you ready?" I asked. 

"Ready for what? What's going on?" 

"Ashley, before I reveal what is behind this door, I just want to tell you I haven't been completely honest with you... but I hope you understand." 

I swung the door open to reveal my posh 6300 square foot penthouse suite.  

"Ashley, welcome to my real lifestyle." 

Ashley did not say anything at first; she just stood there in complete shock. 

"Come in, take a look around. Of course, we can get new furniture if you feel it's too 'bachelor paddy'." 

"So, you live here?" she finally said. 

"Yes... when I'm not hanging out with you." 

"How... wait, why... no wait, how...?" she stuttered. Perhaps two big surprises in less than ten minutes were too much for her to process. She was dumbfounded, but not upset, which was good. I gave her a minute to gather her thoughts. She walked around the apartment in awe. She walked over to the large floor to ceiling windows and checked out the magnificent view. When she was ready, she spun around and delivered her questions more succinctly. "Trevor, why do you have two apartments?" 

"When I moved back into town, I was renting the apartment downstairs. Then after a while, this place became available so I bought it." 

"So you pay rent on one apartment and own another, in the same building, and you live in both of them?" 

"Sort of, I actually own that apartment too." 

"How do you afford to own two apartments?"  

"Actually, I own the whole building."  

"What? How?" 

"You know the company I work for?" 

"Yeah." 

"I actually own it. I started it when I first moved into town." 

"You own it? Is that why you didn't call me?" 

"I told you I was busy."  

"I don't know what to say..." 

"Are you upset?" 

"No, I mean, I'm sure you had your reasons. So what else do I need to know about you?" 

"Um, well, let's see... you know that restaurant we went to when we just started hanging out again?" 

"Let me guess, you own that too?" 

"A fraction of it." 

"So why did you lie about it all?" 

"I needed to know you'd still be with me if you thought I was broke." 

"Of course I would, I met you when you were poor."  

"Yes, but money changes people. I needed to know if your feelings for me were still pure and this is the only way I knew how to do it." 

"I guess I'm not one to talk, I did the same thing to you," she said with a smile.  

"Yes, exactly, Ms. Brand-new-BMW-X5!" 

Her eyes scanned the room, then eventually ended up on the ring on her finger. 

"Oh, and don't lose that, that cost me a fortune." 

"So this is where we're going to live?" 

"It's up to you. I don't mind living downstairs in the one bedroom if that makes you more comfortable." 

"No, that's okay, I think I could get used to this place." 

"Don't get too cozy, I plan on building us a house. Well, I won't be building it of course, but I'll hire someone to build it." 

"I don't know what to say, this all seems surreal." 

"I'm really sorry I had to keep this from you. And don't worry about calling your parents and telling them the good news, they already know." 

"They already know what?" 

"I asked your father for permission to marry you and I assume he told your mother." 

"Really, when did you talk to my dad?" 

"A couple days ago. His firm actually represents Unity Inc. He couldn't tell you of course, you know, attorney-client privilege." 

Ashley looked around again, this time something caught her eye. I spun around to see what she was looking at. It was a copy of Force Magazine, which was lying on my coffee table.  

"Is that you on the cover?" 

"Yes, it's not the best picture I know, but they were able to edit out a lot of my imperfections." 

She read the title article aloud, "The Richest Under 30. Did you make the list?" she asked.  

"Yes, but I'm not number one. They put me on the cover because of my recent and rapid success. In fact, I have to go to New York tomorrow for an interview with the American News Network. I'm going to appear on their program, In the World of Finance. Do you want to come with me?"

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