The Billionaires SubBy: M.S. Parker
I was almost disappointed when I arrived at the airport and didn’t see sunshine or celebrities. Well, the sunshine might’ve been there, but it was outside and seeing it through the large windows wasn’t the same as feeling it on my face, the sure way to confirm to myself that I’d really arrived, that being here wasn’t a dream.
I did see a few men in black suits and dark glasses crowding around someone presumably important, but I couldn’t tell who she was. If it hadn’t been for the sheer difference in the size of airports, I could’ve convinced myself that I’d arrived back to the place I’d just left.
Zanesville, Ohio. Close enough to the southern part of the state that I had a bit of an accent, but far enough from the bigger cities for me to have been raised in a fairly sheltered environment. Not naïve, just...protected. Between my parents and my older brother, I’d been shocked they’d let me out of their sight long enough to go to college. And even then, I’d wondered if they’d agreed because I had an aunt and uncle only twenty minutes from Ohio State University.
My family was a large part of the reason I decided to fly to the other side of the country just a week after graduation. I had an MBA, and had graduated near the top of my class, so finding a job wouldn’t have been a problem, even if my family hadn’t owned their own business. My dad’s grandfather had started the auto shop, and even though we’d never gotten rich, our family had been rich enough that we’d never needed to pinch pennies.
I sighed as I picked up my suitcase off the carousel. I’d told my parents that I was helping Juliette out while she looked for a business manager to replace the one who’d quit. A bit of a working vacation reward for having done so well in school. While that was the general truth, I hadn’t told them that, if Juliette liked my work, she planned to offer me the position permanently.
We were sisters, but she was just as much a businesswoman as I was. She wouldn’t hire me if I weren’t a good fit. She would, however, help me find another position on the West Coast if I wanted to stay anyway.
Juliette was five years older than me, twenty-six to my twenty-one, and it’d been almost that long since I’d last seen her. I stepped onto the escalator, lost in my thoughts. I hadn’t really thought about it, but Juliette was my age when she’d come home for Christmas, only to tell our parents that she’d be moving to Los Angeles permanently after graduation. If our parents had been upset when she’d chosen to go to Berkley instead of OSU or Bowling Green, it’d been nothing compared to the explosion that’d happened when Juliette made that little announcement.
I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the windows as I walked toward the baggage claim. I’d cut my blue-black curls short when I went to college, a style similar to the one Juliette had been sporting the last time I’d seen her, though her hair wasn’t curly. I wondered how much we still looked alike. We both had light violet eyes, similar features. We were both tall, with Juliette topping out at almost six feet, four inches taller than my own five-seven. I hadn’t filled out until I was in college, but I was fairly sure Juliette and I were even built the same way – curvy.
At least she wouldn’t have any problem recognizing me, I thought wryly as I stepped outside.
A blast of heat greeted me and I tipped my face up to the sun. Southern Ohio wasn’t exactly cool in June, but there was something different about stepping out of LAX compared to walking out of the Columbus airport.
This was California heat.
I took a slow, deep breath, feeling all of my tension bleed away. I was miles away from home, from my parents, with only one suitcase and a carry-on, with no real plan other than trying my hand out at managing my big sister’s catering company.
I’d never felt so free in my life.
I loved my family. Loved my parents. Loved my older brother, RJ, and his wife, Abbie. I didn’t even really mind Zanesville itself.
But I needed to get away. I thought I’d have the chance at college, but my parents had been notorious for ‘popping in’ to see my aunt and uncle at least once a month. And, of course, they’d had to come visit while they’d been ‘in the neighborhood.’ It’d been annoying when I tried to act like a normal college girl, go to a party or two, get some alone time with my boyfriend. Then he’d dumped me over winter break freshman year, citing that he couldn’t do the whole long distance thing. After that, the only thing my parents had interrupted had been my studying.
This was would my time to explore, spread my wings, figure out all of those lovely clichés that meant I was getting to be an adult for the first time.