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The Reformed Bad Boy's Baby:A Pregnancy Romance
To Ivy for her structural genius and magic — without her, the book wouldn’t be what it is today.
I was almost back to the Fairfield when someone held a gun on me. I wasn’t looking around the street. I had plenty of street smarts from growing up in LA, but Singapore was basically a different world. It was exceptionally clean, and there were almost no guns here. That’s why I was surprised to feel the barrel of a gun pressed to my back as I passed a dark alleyway.
“Don’t make any noise, or you’ll be paralyzed for life.”
“What?” I couldn’t believe that this was happening in Singapore.
“I said don’t make any noise.” The barrel dug in a little harder.
“Listen, my wallet is in my jacket pocket. Just reach in, take it, and we can both be happy, okay?” I carried a decoy wallet on me. It had a bunch of bills, but they were small bills for tipping. I used it for day to day stuff. I carried a Centurion card in my shoe; it was crazy to think that I used to be awed by the Centurion cards that my clients had had in the old days. Now I was one of them, cleaned up and polished into another billionaire scion.
Mr. Flanagan had set me on the path to becoming a billionaire off of the sweat of others, and he and his friends had profited handsomely from it as well. Mr. Flanagan’s shares were still under my care, except the profit would go to Trouble. There weren’t many kids with 10-digit net worths; I had my own, so I didn’t worry about drawing down Trouble’s cash. There were accountants who kept the books, and I kept an eagle eye on it. I didn’t spend much time around my son who had my dead wife Adeline’s face, so I got a lot of help to deal with him. The only thing that I did was make sure that he stayed on the path to go to college. I kept a very close eye on his grades and made sure that he never slacked. The wonder of technology meant that I could look at everything that he was doing through ParentConex, which meant that I would send over sheets of paper to be put by Trouble’s bedside when he missed an assignment. He would have the academic success that Adeline would’ve wanted and that her parents had made a condition of his inheritance. I hoped by the time that Trouble was 30, he’d be mature enough to handle all of it on his own. Really, almost everything ran on autopilot. His maternal grandparents, the Flanagans, had been quite conservative in their investments because they were older, and I didn’t move much around. Trouble would never worry about money, not with his own trust fund and my wealth. He’d never count all the cash he could find before he went to the grocery store and hope that his mother hadn’t already spent it all on booze. Trouble had every material comfort that could be bought.
And if I stayed away from him, that was on me. I saw him every now and then, surprised by how much he’d grown. I lived in San Francisco half the time with a trip to Singapore every month or two. I spent very little time in Los Angeles, though my company headquarters were there, and I hired nannies and drivers to take him around when he insisted on dedicating a lot of time to swimming. I wasn’t into sports growing up — just cars — so it was a mystery to me, but he had the best equipment and private lessons that money could buy.
I’d given him everything that I’d grown up without, but now all of that was in jeopardy if I didn’t make it home. Unlike the Flanagans, I’d never thought about what would happen to my son if I died. He would have his college degree soon, and I was supposed to be on a flight in a few hours to make it back to LA in time to attend his college graduation.
“Hands behind your head. Move slow.” The accented English meant that my mugger was a native Singaporean. I put my hands up slowly, and he reached inside of my jacket to get the decoy wallet. He opened it and saw the thick stack of bills. He grunted.
Light from headlights of a car came around, and the man tucked his gun into his waistband and went running in the opposite direction. The car kept going, and I walked the last block to my hotel.
My younger, hot-headed self would’ve cleaned the thief’s clock before letting him take anything from me. In my neighborhood, we had a zero-sum mentality outside of the gang. Something was yours or it wasn’t, and there were finite resources.
But my billionaire self said that there were things much more important than money. I should know. I had more than enough money for a lifetime. I could spend all my time surfing on the beach in LA, raising my son by myself. We’d never go hungry.
I didn’t want that life. It went against everything I was to just sit and paddle a boat leisurely. I’d had a hunger in my stomach from a young age, a hunger that Adeline had bullied me into turning into success, the kind of success that came with a big house, a car, and a family.