At least, it's not as real as what I can give her.
She can't see that money and expensive things don't equal happiness. Jenna isn't allowing herself to see what she can have here with me. The life she's made for. The life that will accept her with open arms and never let her down.
If she did lose everything, no one would stand by her side, no one would swoop in and save her from falling. Not one of her so called friends would come to her rescue. That's not how it works in the world of the rich. Without the cash flow, you're out. Period.
Dropping into the chair by the window, I lay my head back as I wait for the man to get out of his car. This has to be the guy Troy sent to replace her. He's dressed in an black suit like he stepped off the set of Men In Black. His hair is slicked back, shining like plastic.
He's on his phone, probably getting orders from Troy about how to win me over. Her step-father thinks she couldn't do it, that she failed him because I rejected his offer. He has no idea that she won me over years before he was ever in the picture. Troy stole her from me, and now he thinks he can steal the only thing I have left of my parents.
Not a chance in hell.
I haven't worked my ass off to have some corporate suit take it and turn it into condos or another big chain shopping store. My father built this farm up with his bare hands. That's more impressive than Troy's bank account. I don't care how much money that guy has.
But what if his offer is enough to bring her back?
The thought lingers, making me question myself. With enough money, I could do anything. I could put Melody through school. I could buy a small place for myself, and never have to worry about the bills again.
And if I'm lucky, maybe Jenna will come back to me too. If I can provide for her, and give her all the things she thinks New York can, why wouldn't she come back?
Desperation to keep this place alive for my father isn't doing me any good if I'm not happy. Jenna makes me happy. Everything about her makes me smile from the inside out. Melody is doing her own thing, living her life like she deserves to.
So why am I fighting for something that doesn't make me happy?
While Jenna was here, I felt more alive than I had in years. I love this place, but I love Jenna more. There's no doubt in my mind about that.
We're meant to be together. She was created for me and I was created for her. If my father were still alive, he'd smack me upside the head and tell me to go after her. I just know it.
His dream was for me to take over, but what good is living if you're not happy? He had my mother, and he knew what it felt like to love and be loved. He'd never want me to miss out on that.
She's gone. I'm going to have to live with her choice. Jenna chose money over me.
It stings to think she only knows success as green pieces of paper and ornate jewelry. She's been conditioned to think being rich is more important than being happy. But love can't be bought or sold, it can't be packaged or designed.
I'll never be happy without her. Her being here has shown me that. I never got over her. I never let go of her. And after having her, after holding her and kissing her, it'll never wash away.
'Do what makes you happy.' My father's voice plays in my head.
Running my thumb over my bottom lip, there's a knock at the door. From the window I can see the man fix his hair in his reflection on the glass storm door. He licks his fingers, brushing a few strands back into place. Adjusting his suit, he straightens his back, trying to look taller.
These people will never go away. They're like sharks constantly circling prey. They'll keep coming back over and over again. If it isn't Troy, it'll be someone else the next time. Another corporation, another rich asshole whose greed will outweigh their humanity.
Do what makes me happy. Jenna makes me happy, and there's only one way to get her back.
Forcing myself up, I crack the door. “Yeah?” I ask.
“Yeah, that's me.”
“I'm Craig Vernon from Blackstone Reality,” he says, holding out his hand.
Pulling the door open wider, I push the storm door out and take his hand. “What can I do for you?” I ask.
I know what he wants, but I'll let him do his thing. I'm sure he spent the entire morning running what he's going to say through his head over and over.