We were at a modern glass skyscraper, the sort of high-rise superstructure that I passed every day in Manhattan. Now I knew someone who had enough money to live in a ritzy place like this. "This is the definition of cool-chic." My words spilled from me before I could stop them. "Billionaires own this city."
Tark snickered. "Nobody owns this city. It owns us, which is why I live here. NYC is a rush. And I don't just mean Manhattan. All the boroughs, in toto, organic, irrepressible. Home." He ushered me into the lobby, an open space paneled in light wood, warmly lit and welcoming. We whisked past the security guard and into a waiting elevator with its doors open. Its doors slid shut. Immediately, Tark stepped toward me. He took another step, and another. "I don't want us to be strangers, California Girl." He claimed my right hand, brought it up to his lips, kissing it.
I swooned, but my knees never buckled, not once. I felt like giggling, but I kept my giggles in.
Tark kissed his way up my arm. When he stopped, he was at my shoulder. "Hello."
"Hello," I squeaked, squirming. Heavily, I breathed, "You're surprise, after surprise, after surprise."
"That's a good thing I hope."
I laughed a little nervously. "It's the best. You're the best. And I'm not saying that because you're a rich man, who gives me so much money."
"Making a lovely lady like yourself happy makes me happy," he said, sounding earnest.
I blushed and found it hard to say anything else then.
His hands rested on my shoulders, and he leaned in to gently kiss my mouth. I clung to him and focused on the sensation of his lips on mine. The delicate flick of his tongue and the weight of his body teasing me left me breathless. He eased up on my mouth so his lips were free to suck on the sensitive skin behind my ear.
I almost passed out as the elevator pinged. The doors slid open, and we tumbled out. I expected a hallway, but instead the elevator opened directly into his apartment. We stepped out into a small foyer. I took stock of what greeted my eyes, splendor.
"I'll give you the tour later," Tark promised. "Right now…" He got down on one knee, and when he began proposing, it sounded more like begging. "I need you with me. We always being together, living life as a team. I never thought I'd find someone like you, Glenny."
I never saw that coming… My mouth did its own thing at this point, I had no control over what I was saying, and I just decided to give up and run with it. "You weren't paying me all that money so I'd marry you!"
His eyes darkened. "I got carried away. I knew I…I loved you as soon as I met you. Does marrying me work for you? Please—say yes—say yes—say yes!"
I glanced over at the ceiling to floor window made of the clearest glass I'd ever seen, which showcased and a shimmering view of the Hudson River clear to New Jersey. It was a sumptuous spectacle.
And here I was being proposed to by Sonny Tark, who had to be one of the craziest billionaires of them all. What did I even really know about him, except what I had found on the Internet? He was mad-nice to me, but it was kind of scary. We had a quirky kind of chemistry, but did that translate into love? Was he a crypto psycho? Had I fallen for a sociopath? How many T.V. shows had I watched about sociopaths being extremely charismatic?
"Will you have me?" Tark prompted, holding me close in his sunken, contemporary living room.
What made me think he'd murder me? Just because he was rich, and felt this powerful urge to marry me, did that make him a whack-job? "Have you ever been married?"
"No, never have. Like I said, I've never met anyone, like you, I've ever felt this way about any woman, till you. You're the only woman for me, Glenny."
"Do you love me?"
"Do you love me?" he hit me with pointblank.
I felt like saying, I asked you first. But I didn't hand him that. "I think so."
"I know I love you," Tark insisted, peppering my head and neck with kisses. "I don't have an engagement ring. I thought I'd have you with me so you can pick out our rings together at Tiffany's. Whatever you want—they'll be your pick. I'm good with your choices."
Sophia will knock me silly if I blow this.
My brain bombarded by tornadic thoughts, I stammered, "Th-this is—"
"Nuts. Yeah, sure. But, nuts doesn't mean our getting married isn't a super idea." He cinched my waist tighter. "Take a chance on me. Trust me, please."
"I was going to sound cliche by saying 'so sudden.'" I didn't want to regret missing out on a marriage of a lifetime. But, still I hesitated until my acceptance burst out. "Okay, Sonny. I'll marry you. Your out-of-the-blue proposal and all. You one-of-a-kind sweetheart, you, and I like that. I also like that though I thought our arrangement was, well, kind of strange, you never made it that way. You've never taken advantage of me. Far from it. You gave me the advantage."
"You haven't seen anything yet," he promised, cupping my face, and smothering me with kisses. "I'll love you every day of your precious life, my dear, dear, Glenny."
Overwhelmed, I wrapped my arms around his neck, vowing I'd never let go, and kissed his breath away. As soon as I allowed him to breathe, he rushed his words. "No prenup, not ever, and on the wildly off-chance we don't work as a couple, an annulment isn't out of the question. Attractive enough for you, my love?"
My answer to all that was hard, and swift. I tackled his mouth again until he roared, and made him aware that we would honeymoon in the Maldives. I'd always wanted to go there where the bluest water on earth lived.
"Phenomenal choice!" Sonny raved. "It's the Maldives for us, then. I'll send word to the staff of my private yacht in advance preparation."
"Your private yacht?" I said, gasping.
"But of course...what else?"
Now I fully embraced the true definition of the word whirlwind.