Her Billionaire Widower

By: Cher Etan

Chapter 1


“The thing is, Ms. Graham,” the partner – Angela hadn’t quite caught his name – said, “There’s a little problem with your contract. Apparently a number of errors have cropped up in section 13A and 15B. It's nothing to worry about but it might delay your start date with us for a day or two.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. I looked over the contract several times with your representative; it seemed fine,” Angela said almost before the man stopped speaking. Harvey & Dent was her hope of freedom and a fresh start all in one: unbeatable money and a shining glass tower that was a world away from Stanford, and the rest of her past; it was her way out. The partner nodded and folded his hands on the desk, looking smooth and well-off and everything Angela had gone to law school to be.

“We’re aware of that, which is what gives us some confidence that we aren’t risking a breach of promise action by taking you on. Nonetheless, it does present certain … difficulties. You’re a promising young attorney, Angela—I can call you Angela?” He didn’t wait for a response. “The question is whether that promise justifies the attendant risks.”

“Give me a chance,” Angela said, leaning forward. “I’ll prove it.”

“Hmm,” the partner said. His eyes flicked over Angela like knives: the suit whose tailoring Angela couldn’t afford; the clasp that Jeff had given her before it all went wrong — her favourite blouse; the one with the frilly sleeves that made her feel like an eighteenth century heiress…not that she would have been that if she lived in the eighteenth century; more likely she’d have been one of the heiress’s slaves. Her curly hair was slicked back because she didn’t think unruly curls would portray the image she was going for.

“I think you’ll find you made the right choice, joining Harvey and Dent. Given your alternatives. Welcome to the firm, Angela.”

He rose and extended his hand across the desk. And for the next five years, Angela didn’t worry at all about what the hiring partner had suggested about ‘other claims’ and ‘alternatives.’ She was too busy worrying about her clients.

She barely had time for her daughter, Nadya who mostly stayed with her mother. At least she could afford to clothe and educate her in a private school now. Once she was where she needed to be; then Nadya could come back and live with her. She thanked her lucky stars that Jeff wasn’t trying to lay claim to her in any way shape or form. He could cause her a lot of problems if he tried that. However, his new wife wasn’t really interested in having stepchildren around and Jeff was firmly wrapped around her little finger. It made Angela sad for Nadya but those were the breaks.

*****

Angela stowed away the files she’d brought along in anticipation of the possible need. She had a good argument but a little leverage never hurt. Especially when dealing with white collar criminals masquerading as corporate entities.

“Is anyone else unsatisfied with my ruling?” she asked.

There was a brief pause. “No, Arbitrator,” the Pharmaceuticals leader said, and then the Patent representatives were nodding as one (unsurprisingly, since they got everything they wanted). “We thank you for your services.”

Angela shut her suitcase. “You can wire the payment to Harvey and Dent’s account. And if anyone else needs the resolution of the dispute explained, feel free to refer them to me.” A couple of the secretaries were already moving to deal with the paperwork required for signature.

This had been a good job. She would get a bonus for sure for working out the complicated deal she’d offered both sides. And it was a good deal too, especially with the most obstreperous Pharmaceuticals out of the way. Corporate entities weren’t that different from people; at least the ones who came to Harvey & Dent weren’t. Sometimes they just needed problems solved, and if the problems happened to have a weak point, well, it didn’t hurt to exploit that.

*****

Angela was late for Sunday dinner at her mother’s. She’d promised she would make it for mass but a last minute conference call had delayed her. She knew her mother would be mad and Nadya would be sulky so she made sure to come laden with gifts. Her mother still lived in the same house Angela had grown up in. It was a two-story semi storybook house which hadn’t seen much repair since the nineteen eighties. Still it felt comfortingly familiar when Angela came through the door; the crack that ran along the wall like a vein was older than she was. The second step creaked when one stepped on it just so and the rug in the corridor leading to the living room was threadbare but neat and clean as always. Angela had offered to upgrade the place once she started earning real money but her mother politely declined.

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