Baring Mia

By: Kallista Dane

Kids, or rather a handful of super-rich kids, already owned the tiny ear buds he built that allowed them to fly miniature drones powered and guided only by their thoughts. That device was already in mass production. It would be in stores by Christmas, selling for less than the latest generation PlayStation. He’d rake in countless millions more.

Medical marvels, children’s playthings – – they were all the same to him. Nothing but opportunities to dream and make those dreams come true, no matter how wild or outlandish they seemed to others. But tonight, he couldn’t seem to concentrate. He was on edge. His shrinks would have called it anxiety.

He dismissed that thought as quickly as it came into his mind. There was nothing Jake Harmon had to be anxious about. Except maybe…tomorrow’s interview?

Steven Taylor, CEO of Millennial Metals, one of the companies he worked closely with, was the closest thing Harmon had to a best friend. Taylor had arranged for him to meet that woman tomorrow, the one he’d seen last spring when they attended Cabrera’s lavish affair at Vizcaya.

Harmon spied her across the room as soon as he walked in. She was attractive, but so were hundreds of other women who threw themselves at his feet, desperately vying for attention from – what was it TIME magazine had called him? “The modern Midas…everything he touches turns to gold.” This woman had something special about her.

Harmon wandered into his fully outfitted gym, determined to work out till he sweated away this strange mood. He decided against summoning Marcus, his personal trainer, from his quarters on a lower floor, preferring to be alone.

He stripped off his shirt and got down to business. Setting the weight at 220 pounds, he did squats. Three sets of ten, with short breaks in between. He’d increase the weight with each set.

Getting into the rhythm of the workout allowed him to focus, clearing his mind of all other thoughts, demanding maximum performance from his body. Harmon loved that feeling. He understood now how people could get hooked on endorphins. Sweat poured off him as he took a break, gulping down half a bottle of water.

Without the diversion, his thoughts wandered back to the past. All through school, Harmon had been the classic geek – never invited to parties, ridiculed by the popular kids. He didn’t date, never had any real friends, spending all his time immersed in a self-made world of tech marvels. He’d been slender, pale, with the stereotypical thick glasses that made playing sports difficult.

Once he’d gotten rich, Harmon set about changing all the things that made him feel inferior. Lasik surgery did away with the need for glasses within an hour. Thanks to his home gym and Marcus, who was on call 24/7 to fit his erratic schedule, he’d bulked up.

To his surprise, he discovered he enjoyed the physical challenge of lifting weights as much as he enjoyed the mental challenges he set for himself. He was soon hooked, rarely missing a day. Jake Harmon never did anything half-assed.

He gave himself a critical appraisal in one of the full-length mirrors that lined three walls of the room. His dark wavy hair was a bit long, prone to falling in his eyes while he worked. But that was due more to his tendency to lose himself in a project for days on end, too distracted to arrange for a hairdresser to come in, than it was to adhere to any current fashion trend.

His bare chest glistened with sweat, setting off the abs he’d defined with hours of hard work. His body was lean and toned under the casual jeans and T-shirts that made up his usual attire. His habit of taking a break every day for an afternoon swim in his rooftop lap pool gave him a perennial Florida tan. In short, the Jake Harmon staring back at him looked every inch the part of a fabulously wealthy, slightly eccentric, but oh-so-eligible bachelor.

But he’d never learned the skill of conversation, those casual exchanges that grease the wheels of first meetings, whether between business contacts or potential dating partners. And he had no patience with vacuous, buxom beauties unable to string together a group of words into an intelligent sentence. Like King Midas, he was trapped in a prison of his own design, alone in his castle with his vast wealth.

The woman he met at Vizcaya – – Mia Thorne – had been the first to catch his attention in a long time. He could still remember everything about her. She wore a floor-length white gown that night, Grecian in style, with her long dark hair pulled back into a sleek knot.

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