Rated: PG or K+
Genre: Romance/ Humor
Summary: A modern day fairy tale about a pessimistic young man falling in love with a woman with fantasy-prone personality.
A/N: Here I am again! This time I'm promising a very light-hearted romance with lots of comedy. I want to dedicate this to my friend Amanda, Happy (way) Belated Birthday! I finally got around in writing this! Hee hee.
As a side note, fantasy-prone personality was something I learned in my psychology class. I have done some research where arguments were done about whether or not this does exist. But for the sake of the story and fiction, I'm saying this does exist. It's defined as:
Fantasy-prone personality—someone who imagines and recalls experiences with lifelike vividness and who spends considerable time fantasizing. (Psychology 6th Edition by David G. Myers, 2001)
I appreciate all comments, but flames are not tolerated. Don't like, don't review it's that simple. Thank you and enjoy!
Chapter 1- Once Upon a Time…
The grandfather clock struck at eight o'clock, the chords bringing a noisy group into the den. Leading the pack was an older man with soft, gray hair; his face filled with warmth and wrinkles from years of laughter around his eyes and mouth. His stride was smooth, demanding that never changed from his younger years. Running past him were five children, ranging from ages three to twelve.
He took his seat in his usual armchair, the focal point in the room. The children anxiously sat around in a circle at his feet. The oldest, a girl with thick, curly raven hair and striking ice blue eyes, laid her hand on the armrest, gazing upon her grandfather with adoration.
"Grandpa, tell us a story please?" she begged. The rest chimed in. "Yeah!"
He chuckled. "Isn't it time for you to get ready for bed?"
The kids all giggled and ardently shook their heads. "Come on Grandpa! A story! A story!"
"Stworie!" the youngest, a darling angel with golden tresses, said aloud.
The old man grinned as he leaned down to ruffle the toddler's hair. "I suppose a story before bedtime would be all right. As long as you don't tell your parents or grandma."
The children answered their agreement in a chorus. Resting against the back of the recliner, the older man rubbed his chin in contemplation. "Now, what sort of story should I tell?"
Looking to the oldest child as spokesperson, the girl replied eagerly, "Tell us about you and Grandma!"
"How come I didn't see that coming," he laughed. "Aren't you kids tired of hearing that story?"
"I am," announced a light brown haired boy. He received a punch in the arm from his older sister.
"No one asked you Erik!" the sable haired girl said.
"Now, now Monica. Don't hit your brother," the grandfather chastised softly. "I know plenty of wonderful stories. Another time I will tell—"
The other four children groaned. "We want to listen about you and Grandma!"
The grandfather glanced over to Erik; the eight-year-old was still rubbing the spot where his sister hit him. At last, he relented. "I guess I would like to hear it once more."
Cheers broke out. The older man smiled brightly at his grandchildren. "All right. Next time Erik picks the next story." This statement brought a smile with two missing front teeth. "Let's see… how should I begin?"
"Once upon a time silly!" Monica told him.
He nodded. "Once upon a time there was a young man who lived like a prince. However, despite all the money he had, he was miserable…"
"What do you mean Japan wants to back out? Listen, this is the deal of the century and if they want to miss out on a chance to make a million more, then tell them be my guest. But this program will be bigger than Amazon and EBay combined!"
The lid of the cell phone snapped shut as emphasis. A couple seconds later the cell started to ring. "Go," was the curt greeting. "Wonderful. Bye." Japan decided to invest. Smart move.
Erik Williams, thirty-five, businessman and heir to the ever vast and popular growing Wizard search engine where one can "search for anything by the touch of a magic wand". He was a cold customer in dealings, ruthless in negotiations, and never once lost sight of any task he put himself through.
But his wealth didn't just come from the company. The stocks were a hobby of his, which Erik had the talent of quadrupling money earned. Even if he went gambling and lost a couple million, the loss still couldn't make a dent in the Williams fortune.
He was also the number one bachelor proclaimed by every magazine in existence. Women literally threw themselves at his feet, flaunting over his looks and wallet. The latter being the enticement, however, his appearance was an added bonus for the greedy gold-diggers.
Coming in at six four, jet black curls going past his ears, blue steely eyes, and the body of an Adonis—Erik Williams was every girl's fantasy. And he would be lying to say if he didn't use that to his advantage for a woman's company. It never bothered him, nor did it hurt him. His assistants and employees would vouch that Erik Williams had no feelings on the account he had no heart.
It was true in a figurative sense.
He could manipulate, threaten, or argue without a fleeting thought of regret or remorse. He was dour, always a frown marring his countenance, and stiff as a board (contributing to his intimidating posture). He rarely smiled unless there was a good reason. A pessimist in life and in regards to love.
To Erik Williams, love was a silly childish fairy tale. There was no such thing as love. No one could feel so passionately towards another human being. It wasn't possible. Nobody could be selfless to sacrifice their happiness for another. It was unethical, unbelievable to have no control over your own life without thinking of the other.
Such strong beliefs were kept by being a witness of love's non-existence.
He wondered if they even liked each other since they barely had spoken to one another without contempt. There was no playful banter, no loving looks, stolen kisses, or "dates" that wasn't an expected social event. Yet, despite it all, Lucille and Edward Williams did procreate—Erik and Victoria.
Jus the thought of his sister put a ghost of a smile on his lips (she was always a good reason). Over ten years his junior, Victoria, or Vicki as she insisted, was Erik's pride and joy. To the rest of the world he may appear as a robot, but when it came to his baby sister, the gears would melt into a vulnerable human. Erik adored her, doted upon her more like she was his daughter rather than a sibling. In truth, he was as close as a father (and mother) Vicki ever known.
Their parents were killed in a car crash where alcohol and the Paparazzi were involved. Erik had just turned eighteen and Vicki was two-years-old.
Through it all, Erik managed everything in increasing the shares and profits of his father's company while raising his sister. And he did a fine job as pride surged through him. She was entering as a junior at the age of nineteen. All those years of Advanced Placement classes paid off for her to gain credits for the graduation requirements. Vicki was majoring in European and Mediterranean Studies and a minor in Dance.
Yes, he thought. We've done well. We we're better off without them.
His reverie was cut off by the 1812 Overture. Annoyed, Erik flipped it opened and barked, "What is it now!?"
"Well, hello to you too big brother." Vicki's singsong voice poured from the tiny speaker.
"Vicki? Sorry, hi," he said. "Uh, what's up?" He inwardly winced at the slang. Ever since she was a teenager, Vicki was trying to help loosen him up. It was a loss cause for Erik, but she insisted he sounded more like a brother than an overbearing father.
"Nothing. Just wondering if you're close to the library."
Erik stopped, looked over his shoulder to see the good old public library. Unfortunately, Erik could not lie. It was pre-wired in him that he could never get away with a single false word around his sister (who had a problem with lying) and who knew this very well.
He sighed. "Yeah I am."
"Yes! Could you pick up…?"
She rambled on the titles and authors of four books she needed for a paper in one of her dance classes. When she was done reciting them, he grumbled, "Why aren't these in the library on campus?"
"They were all checked out. Please Erik? I will forever be indebted to you."
"You're already forever indebted to me," he said. "I'll be over in an hour and a half with your books."
"Thanks a million!"
He chuckled to himself as he climbed the steps to the entrance. No matter what kind of mood he was in, Vicki could brighten his day.
A blast of cool air greeted him as he walked across the marble tile floor. He cringed as a group of young children scampered past him, nearly running into him. There was hardly anything he would do for his sister, even braving the public library for her.
Erik loved books, he loved to read. He read whatever he could get his hands on, but he preferred doing so in his private library. In there, the books and papers are touched by him, only him. He dared not think about the different hands and places the books went through in a public library. The idea was downright frightening.
He went past the information desk to another flight of stairs that led to the first floor. He spotted the directory on a pillar, but rallied against using it. If he was caught looking at it, then someone would assume he was lost and in the need of assistance. And, frankly, Erik wanted to do this chore as quickly as possible without dragging another person into it.
He noticed the first floor was for references and newspaper articles, so he located the next staircase and hurriedly rushed up them. As he walked around, he discovered the aisles were listed by call numbers and genres. Vicki never gave him the numbers, only the titles and author names.
Great. Just great. How will I ever find them? Would dance fall under History? Humanities?
So much for being quick.
"May I help you?"
Erik froze. Just what he needed… a know-it-all librarian who thinks he doesn't know a thing about books. Well, he could give any bossy old lady a run for her money. And he would, except, the bossy old lady turned out to be a boy about the same age as Vicki. Coming up to Erik's shoulders, he was skinny, with light brown hair spiked with gold tips and tawny eyes. He flashed Erik a friendly, pleasant smile.
"No, no. I don't need help," Erik replied. "But thank you."
"Oh? I thought you did since you've been walking around in circles." The boy replied, a tiny smirk touching his lips.
Erik narrowed his eyes at the teen. "I am quite capable to find what I need without assistance. Now, if you would excuse me—"
"Pardon, sir. I didn't mean to undermine you or anything," the boy said swiftly to remedy the situation. "I just thought you were lost."
Normally, Erik would have given him or any other person a stiff nod as dismissal and leave. He was about to walk away, but something forced him to stay. The kid was only trying to help and since he already wasted enough time wandering, he might as well let the boy help.
"I'm looking for…" Erik told him the titles.
The boy's brows rose up his forehead. "Dance? Oh, um, sure. It's not in the Children's Section that you're currently in. Follow me."
Erik glanced over his shoulder to find a giant rainbow and a bunch of zoo animals smiling happily with a rhino winking at him. It sent chills down his spine. "Right."
"By the way, my name's Ethan," he told Erik after a moment of silence. "It's my first day working here and you're the first person I'm helping. Kind of exciting for me."
"Terrific." God, I'm going to be stuck here for hours.
"Don't worry. I know where they're at." The incredulous look Erik gave him sent him chuckling. "I practically live here and I do have a photographic memory." He explained it so nonchalantly like it was a natural thing in the world. "Ah, here you are!"
Ethan pulled out the books and handed them over. Erik was pretty impressed by the boy's knack to recall the exact location of each book. He never met anyone who could keep so many numbers in mind.
"Well, thank you. And my sister thanks you too." He felt he should throw that in.
Ethan grinned. "No problem. That's my job."
"Again thank you." Just as Erik was about to walk away, he raised his head, his breath hitching at the sight before him.
Sitting at a table, not so far away, was a girl. Not just any girl, but the most beautiful girl he ever laid eyes on. Her eyes were downcast, intently reading a book in front of her. She had straight, caramel colored tresses that were pulled into a bun. She wore a pristine white blouse and a long charcoal skirt with black boots. It was a comely outfit, modest; however, she stuck out among the others sitting around in their bright, loud clothes.
Ethan came up to his side, looking at what caught Erik's attention. A knowing grin covered his face. "You can forget it."
"What?" Erik blinked, tilting his head to gaze at the kid.
He pointed to her. "I know all the regulars and you can forget that heartbreaker. You're not her type."
Erik was taken aback. "Not her type? Whoa, buddy, you don't even know me and frankly it's none of your business."
"True," he admitted. "But I know her. I know the kind of men she's into and you're years ahead of what she wants."
Erik glared at him. "I know women too, sonny boy. Believe me, she'll find me irresistible."
Ethan crossed his arms. "Maybe the arrogance she might find attractive. But I think that's all you have working for you."
It took all of his willpower for his jaw not to drop. Did this…boy not know who he was? He was Erik Williams! Multi-millionaire, close to billionaire. He was the embodiment of what women wanted! He could easily get any girl with the mention of his name alone. And some punk thinks he knows everything! Well, he had another thing coming.
"I bet I could get her to go out with me," Erik said.
"I bet you couldn't," Ethan fired back.
"How's twenty sound?"
Ethan didn't have to ponder. "Deal."
"Deal." Erik shook his hand. "Hold these for me and watch."
"Oh, I will."
Erik sauntered over to the girl, quickly noting the titles of the small pile next to the opened book she was reading.
"I'm sorry to interrupt but I happened to be looking for Wuthering Heights and I see you have it," he said, laying his hands on the table and flashing a dazzling grin.
She lifted her head, her startling large doe eyes capturing his. His next words immediately flew out the window. She truly was a beauty up close. There was no touch of make-up covering her visage. She was all natural, something Erik never witnessed in any of his previous girlfriends.
She didn't answer him. Instead, she picked up the book and pushed it to him. Her eyes then dropped to the page she was reading, breaking the spell that had suddenly woven Erik.
"You know, you can keep it if you want. I've read it before and I recommend it if you haven't."
"I've read it twenty times." Her response was short, yet her voice was captivating. So soft, so delicate.
"Then you know how wonderfully written it was."
"Yes." She didn't look up.
Erik swallowed. "I'm Erik Williams."
"It's nice to meet your acquaintance Mr. Williams," she replied, not once breaking a beat as her brown eyes flicked from line to line.
Her lack of a reaction surprised him. She treated his name like it was a name. Nothing more, nothing less. Maybe she didn't catch it.
"Yes, I'm Erik Williams, owner of Wizard."
"Oh. Well, it's still lovely to meet you."
He stared at her in bafflement. Was this some kind of joke? Did she not realize who she was speaking to?
At last, she raised her face up to him. "Usually, a proper form of introduction is needed for two strangers; however, since you are not following the rules of courtesy I shall not either. As you can observe, I am reading and I find it rather obtrusive that you're disturbing me. So, Mr. Williams, it will be awfully kind of you if you would just take the book and leave me alone."
Erik opened his mouth and closed it. The fact she was snubbing him was astonishing.
She didn't say another word and returned to her task, signifying the conversation was over. He didn't pick up the book, but turned on his heels and leaving in stupefied shock.
Ethan had a huge grin plastered on his face by the time Erik came back. "I believe it was twenty dollars we agreed on."
Muffling a curse, Erik whipped out the bill. "You got lucky that's all."
Ethan laughed. "Nice try, though, Mr. Williams. But it's going to take a lot more than your name to impress her."
"Y-You knew who I was?"
"And you still knew that wasn't going to help me?"
Again, he nodded.
Gazing back to the girl, an idea popped into Erik's head. "All right. You said she was a regular. How often does she come in?"
"Every day. Why?"
Erik's lips curled upwards. "I'll see you tomorrow then."