Her Tiger Billionaire(2)By: Lizzie Lynn Lee
It took a good fifteen minutes for the news to sink in. She was surprised, happy, and then deeply concerned. She was glad she would receive some money that could be used toward her brother’s medical costs, but the joy quickly dissipated when she learned she had to marry a stranger for a year.
Uncle Seymour’s strings were a tall order for a reserved person like her.
The lawyer added that the married part was important even it was only a pro forma. By becoming Torvik’s wife, her position as chairman would be backed by Torvik’s credentials and influences. The board of directors and Dune Industry investors would have to think twice before they could plot something sinister to oust her from the company. Apparently, there had been constant struggles between Seymour Dune and the others for the past few years. Uncle Seymour had hoped Sven’s invisible presence would smooth out the tide for Annalise to sail on.
She focused her attention on the document before her.
The marriage registration had been prepared in advance. Some requirements had been waived due to the urgent nature of the business. All Annalise needed to do was to sign on the dotted line.
Still, she wasn’t sure that this was what she wanted to do. It didn’t feel right, marrying someone for money—even if it was money she desperately needed.
Her guests saw her reluctance. She hadn’t been given an opportunity to sleep on it at all. Torvik must have expected her to say yes on spot; therefore the city clerk was brought to her home.
Torvik glanced at his lawyer, but didn’t say anything. After a minute of awkward silence, Abbott cleared his throat and offered a sympathetic smile.
“Do you need more time, Ms. Conrad?” he asked in the creamiest drawl.
“Just…just for a few more minutes, please.” Annalise scrutinized the document for the thousandth time.
I can’t do this. I don’t know this guy. What if he turns out to be a homicidal maniac? Handsome rich men don’t just come to my door step and want to rescue me from my problems…
Annalise pursed her lips. Her hands trembled.
But I must do this. These men are the only ones who can save Robby…
“If I sign this, my brother can stay in the hospital, right? He won’t be transferred into the county hospice?” she had to be sure.
“You have my guarantee. I even have the power to admit Robert into the best state-of-the-art facility. He will be treated by the best doctors in the country,” said Hill Abbott.
His reassurance made Annalise feel a little better. The main source of her woes was her little brother’s health. She and Robby were very close, especially after they became orphaned. Robby had always been an active child. But a year after their mother’s untimely death, Robby was diagnosed with leukemia. Then his kidneys started to fail. At fifteen, Robby spent most of his days in and out of the hospital. Money from their parents’ estate, and more recently from the sale of their house, all went towards the medical bills. And still, it wasn’t enough. Annalise had been working part-time to supplement the family income since she was in high school. She now worked full-time in a diner downtown. Five times a week, she also picked up a waitressing gig at a local dining hall. And still, even with all her hard work, she watched as her little brother slowly died.
Annalise put the document down and picked up the pen. Despite the reassurance from the kind lawyer, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was about to pawn her soul to the devil. But she’d be damned if she’d just sit around and do nothing. She would do anything for Robby. She had promised Mom she’d take care of him.
Annalise signed the document.
Hill Abbott and the city clerk looked relieved. Thompson checked the document and pointed out where she needed to put her initials and additional signatures. After he was done, he put his stamps on the document and declared that Sven Torvik and Annalise Conrad were officially husband and wife.
The attorney congratulated them. Sven smiled a little, then his expression slipped back into unreadable mode. Annalise couldn’t force herself to look happy. She was too nervous. The uneasiness didn’t go away after the city clerk gave her a copy of her marriage certificate.
She wondered if she had just made the biggest mistake of her life.