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Billionaires in Paris Cynthia Dane 2022/8/3 13:56:23

To be fair, everyone back home knows about Marilyn Alison’s infamous nervous breakdown that led to her separating from her husband and moving to Europe, rarely to be heard from again. My own mother wouldn’t stop gossiping about it when it happened. Gossip that went beyond “We used to be good acquaintances at the country club and joked about you and Kathryn getting married one day!” Which I doubt.

“I like to think of myself as family by this point.” My voice is jovial, but inside I’m shaking like no future son-in-law has the right to. You would think I was having dinner with Spencer Alison – something I’ve done more than a few times, ranging from mediocre to rousing success – and expecting him to slice my dick off for coming within five feet of his virginal daughter. (The thought of Kathryn ever being described as virginal is pretty hilarious. By her own account she was her most promiscuous in high school, when I first met her. I don’t think I’ve ever known the Kathryn Alison that was a virgin.)

“Yes, Spencer has told me about you.” Marilyn sighs. “Kathryn too, of course. Seems you’re a popular man, Mr. Mathers.”

I’m not sure if I should be flattered or frightened.

Marilyn orders nothing more than an appetizer, so I do the same. No sense in filling up on food if there’s a chance I’ll eat with Kathryn later. You know, the ridiculously confident woman I left half an hour ago. The last thing she whispered in my ear was, “I look forward to your return.”

Do you think Marilyn has any idea what kind of woman her daughter really is?

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There isn’t much for us to talk about. Marilyn isn’t forthcoming, and I’m at a loss for how to break the ice. So after the waiter leaves, I say, “I wanted to meet you because Kathryn is very important to me. We’ve been together for over a year now.”

Her eyes narrow. Does she know what direction this is going in?

“Anyway…” Not even business contacts who permanently have sticks up their asses make me this uncomfortable. “It’s good to finally meet you. I had hoped to meet you before now, but I suppose it wasn’t in the universe’s master plan.”

“No, I suppose not. I don’t go back to America very often.”

Kathryn doesn’t come to see her hardly at all. Every time I bring it up, my girlfriend says she would rather pick up cat vomit.

“I know you met with her the other night. She came back to our room fairly upset.”

I’m playing with fire here, and I know it. Why not blow some hot air all over it?

Sure enough, Marilyn leans back in her seat and clears her throat. “She told me some rather upsetting things. Like how you and her eloped in Vegas.”

Well, then! Was Kathryn ever going to share that detail with me? Even my father knows about that now. The only one who doesn’t is Spencer, my would be father-in-law, and I intend to keep it that way. That would get him to hack off my dick. “I hope she also told you that we had it annulled. No harm done to either of our images. Or incomes.” I know that’s what she cares the most about. Marilyn didn’t spend the first part of her married life ensuring her daughter’s fortunes for nothing.

“She did. Still can’t say I was pleased with that, Mr. Mathers.”

“To be sure. There’s a reason your husband doesn’t know. We hope to keep it that way.”

“Your secret is safe. The last thing I want to talk about is our daughter’s nuptials.”

“Speaking of…” Boy, it’s getting hot in here. “Kathryn and I are discussing possibly getting married sometime in the future.” Far into the future, I’m sure. We’re still having petty squabbles over who should move in permanently with whom, or if we should buy our own place together. She doesn’t like the idea of having to sell her place, and I’m not crazy about moving into her abode. I don’t mind staying there half the week, but full time? Too much. She’s got lace curtains everywhere. My cat would eat them.

“She mentioned that too. Not sure why you’re talking to me about it. Kathryn is well aware of my position on the matter.”

Marilyn glares at me over the rim of her wineglass. “If there is one thing I’ve wanted Kathryn to learn from me, it is this: never get married. Have all the fun she wants, but marriage is like selling your soul to the devil himself.”

Holy shit. Where does one begin unpacking that bullshit? Did Spencer do something to her that neither Kathryn nor I know about? No wonder my girlfriend has some fucking issues!

“I thought she was on the right track. My daughter and I aren’t close, this is true, but she is a smart and capable young woman. Don’t you think so, Mr. Mathers?”