Her Billionaire Widower

By: Cher Etan


“Hey,” she called tentatively knowing she was in trouble.

“Mama!” a little bundle of energy threw itself at her almost toppling her over. She smiled happily, leaning down to wrap her arms around her child.

“Hey Nadya, how are you?” she asked.

“Great. Grammy led the singing at church today and she let me go up with her to the stage,” she said, eyes still shining with excitement.

“That’s wonderful, did you sing too?” Angela asked with a smile.

“Yes, I sang Amazing Grace and Onward Christian Soldiers with the choir. Grammy was the lead. She was great,” she said excitedly.

“I’m happy for you,” Angela said as her eyes turned a little sad. Another thing she’d missed that she’d never get to see. “Did you record it?”

“Yeah. I told Uncle Simon to put it on his iPhone. Wanna see?” Nadya asked watching her mother with a little too much knowledge in her nine year old eyes.

“Of course!” Angela exclaimed and went willingly when Nadya dragged her into the living room. Her brother Simon was lounging on the couch, eyes on his phone; probably instagramming the shit out of everything.

“Hey Si,” she said a bit breathlessly. She’s bought him the iPhone so they were cool; but she was all too aware that he was the only one who accepted her ‘bribes’ at face value. Her mother simply looked at the gifts she brought and sighed, while Nadya exclaimed in all the right places but then left them on the table to go help her grandmother serve lunch. Angela sat with Simon and watched the videos listening to his running commentary with half an ear. She was losing her family. She felt it in her bones. But she didn’t know what to do about it.

*****

David Ambrose shut down his laptop at last, exhausted from a long night of writing. He didn’t have a deadline for this work; being your own publisher had its advantages after all; but just at the moment, he wished he had someone to push him. It wasn’t even writer’s block because the words were there. He just couldn’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to write them. He got one paragraph done and then found himself looking for a distraction. Procrastinating on the internet. This time, he had spent hours looking up exotic locations. It was supposed to be for the book; but then it became about mapping all the places he’d like to go…just as soon as Callum was old enough to appreciate it all. His son was just four years old; old enough to be a nuisance when daddy was trying to write but not old enough to have the attention span to really take in the beauty around him. It was just the two of them; Callum’s mother having passed away when he was just two years old in a plane crash. Many times David had contemplated getting a nanny to bring him up. But then he would recall his own life filled with an endless parade of nannies and distant parents. He remembered being in boarding school as soon as he turned twelve and vowing that he would never treat his own children this way.

He knew it was standard operating procedure in the circles his family traveled in. After all, if 1375 people died at the same time, he would be next in line for the English throne. His father never stopped reminding him of the fact. It was one of the reasons he’d migrated to the States using the pretext of college; and just never went home. Not that he hadn’t wanted to attend Stanford; sunny skies all year round, skimpily clad California girls…what was not to love? The fact that it was five thousand three hundred miles from home had nothing to do with it.

He’d met Antonina at college and they had fallen in teenage puppy love almost at first sight. He was in his last year reading literature and English while she was a second year biology major. They were together ten years and had just resigned themselves to the prospect of never having children when Nina found out she was pregnant. It was a happy enough occasion for David to contemplate getting in touch with his parents to let them know they were going to be grandparents. It didn’t go well. They viewed Antonina as trash.

Worse.

Gold digging trash.

They’d bribed her to have the baby and run; cut her a huge check to give incentive. The fact that she thought about it before turning them down drastically affected their relationship. It never quite recovered and if it wasn’t for Callum, they might have broken up right away. David didn’t know what hurt more; the fact that she was considering taking money from his parents to break up with him, in spite of everything he’d told her about them…or the fact that his parents were right about her.

He wrote his first (fictional) full length novel on the subject and it sold fifty million copies worldwide. The second book in the series did even better; probably helped by the fact that the woman it was so obviously based on got on a plane and went down in the Andes mountains due to bad weather. Her body was never found and David was left a widower with a small child. A billionaire widower; but that only seemed to make him more attractive and sympathetic rather than less. Perhaps because it proved that money didn’t buy everything. David didn’t know. He cared even less. All he wanted was to bring up his son, write his books and find some happiness. It wasn’t as easy as it might have sounded. He was Callum’s whole world but sometimes he felt so inadequate as a father that he wanted to throw it all in; get lost in some Glenvilet Single Malt Whiskey and call it a life.

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