The Billionaire's Second Endeavour



Fate never goes easy for anyone, especially those who lose faith in it. Perhaps that’s its way of teaching people how everything has a purpose. My mother passed this understanding of fate and life on when I was nothing but a child of twelve. Her words of wisdom had a way to get to me. But fate was the one thing I couldn’t force myself to believe in. Until I met her. She became my purpose, my love, and everything I could ever want in a person.

I stared at myself in the mirror, my black hair gelled back, the collar of my white shirt pinned. The expensive Hackett tuxedo fitted my body perfectly. All I needed was a bow tie to complete the look.

"How are you feeling?" I asked Jordan, the tall figure beside me with dirty blond hair. His fidgeting hands over the lapel of his blazer indicated anxiety.

‘Perfection is everything’ had been our motto for as long as I could remember, although sometimes we both wished it hadn’t. The thing about perfectionists—they wound up perfecting things to a level they often forgot how to enjoy life and its little surprises. Not that Jordan and I were deprived of many joys.

Jordan here found the one thing men like us didn’t have, and that was love.

"I’m pissing my pants right now. God, I’m fucking nervous about how this day will turn out.

“Why would you be nervous?

“Why wouldn’t I be?” He asked in an obvious manner. “It feels like life was much easier when we were . . . who we used to be. Now I’m just scared—no, terrified of ruining this.

“So you’re not having second thoughts?

Jordan let out a long exhale to calm down before putting on a phlegmatic smile and answered, "I’ve never been so damn sure about anything in my entire life, V. It really is hard to find women who don’t see you for your bank balance.

“But you want to coddle her with that balance?

He shrugged. “What’s the use of being a billionaire if you’re not going to spend the money on your family? You do it for yours, so you get the drill.” He patted my shoulders. “Now all you need is a wife."

I choked on the air and twisted my head toward Jordan, raising a brow. He knew why this topic knocked the air out of my lungs. I was not okay with a ring on my finger and a leash around my neck. Not by just any woman.

"Not everybody has a good love fortune like you, pal. Even the fucking universe has stated I should stay away from that atrocity people call love."

I laughed, hoping Jordan would too, but he didn’t. “You’re a grown-ass adult, V, almost thirty-three. I, your best friend, shouldn’t have to tell you why you should look for a woman to settle down with. It would be better for you and your mom and—"

I cleared my throat as loudly as possible before he could use his only weapon of emotional torture against me. "Jordy, it’s your wedding. Let's not talk about my life and, for once, focus on yours instead. I’ll grant you the honour of lecturing me some other day."

“Fine, but we’re not done here.

Beau walked into the room, already dressed and looking like a tired old man, despite the top-notch suit and tie he wore. His exhaustion was clear on his face because of the dark circles around his eyes and his sunken cheeks. The latest case he had been in charge of investigating had taken away his goodnight sleep.

“Beau, you can crash here,” Jordan said, jerking his head to the sofa in one corner of the room.

“And miss your walk down the aisle of demise? Not a chance in hell.” He rubbed his nape and said, “Just hurry with your vows.

We headed out to the venue. While Beau and I sat on the second row of Jordan’s side of the aisle, Jordan walked up to the altar and took his place, with his brother, Jason Sykes, his best man. Jordan’s face scrunched at something Jason said.

“He must have joked about marrying Aubrey in his brother’s place,” Beau whispered.

“Which would make it the twentieth time he’s said that?

“Twenty-fifth. Do we blame him, though?

Both Beau and I sniggered.

Aubrey Evans was a stunning woman. Not to mention she was exactly the opposite of the usual type of women Jordan went for. Aubrey was smart, hardworking, prideful, stern and kind—all of this combined into the opposite of who Jordan was as a person as well. She was the first of Jordan’s women all of his friends liked, so that was a plus. She knew how to light up a room.

Beau’s head twisted toward the bride’s side, probably to find someone to devote his evening to, to not feel tired. I sensed him yank in his seat. He snapped his head toward me and I held a palm to his face.

“Don’t even think about dragging me into shit. You know promiscuity days ended long ago.

He grunted. “No, you fucking idiot. Look!

I peered at where he had not-so-discreetly pointed his fingers and my brows creased. Not with surprise, though. I wasn’t sure what to feel.

Sitting in the same row on the bride’s column was Kimberly Moretto, my ex . . . girlfriend? We didn’t have a proper name for our relationship. At first, we were fooling around for almost a year, but as soon as I realised she was falling for me, I let her go. She was better off without me.

Because I couldn’t make myself feel half of what she had developed for me.

Kimberly had only been a distraction from two of the biggest mistakes of my life. One was the woman who shan’t be named and the other I didn’t know the real name of. I was attracted to Kim because she reminded me of the latter, though. Joy, a pseudonym for the actual disaster.

Kimberly and Joy looked nothing alike. The former had black hair while Joy was a blonde. What drew me to Joy was her passion for literature and books and stories, something that Kim had too, being a writer herself. They both were lively and knew what they wanted, even when they were lost and out of love with themselves.

But however long the fooling around phase had been, I did Kim wrong. She didn’t deserve to be chosen as someone else’s shadow.

“Are you gonna say somethin’ to her?” Beau asked as I slumped back in my seat and pulled my eyes back to where Jordan was with his hands behind his back. “You should apologise, V. What happened between the two of you was messy, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

“I’ve tried to apologise to her countless times, Beau. If anything I’ve learned in my thirty-two years is that when a woman doesn’t pick up, take the hint.

“Well, after what you did, it’s not surprising that she didn’t pick up.

“Do you think I don’t know that?” I whisper-yelled and tried to hold my composure. I didn’t need him to remind me of the terrible mistakes I’d made in my life, which was all he did. “It’s been a whole-ass year since that messy break-up. She’s probably already moved on.

“She’s without a plus one,” he said in a matter-of-factly tone. “You could’ve had a wonderful future with her if you had just tried hard enough. She was good for you in so many ways than I can explain. Certainly better than Liv and that godforsaken chick you met in Paris.

“I didn’t love her. And giving her false expectation, knowing exactly the kind of woman she was, I couldn’t do it.” I shook my head, my gaze deadly serious.

“Oh, screw your lame reasons. You didn’t love her because she wasn’t blonde enough.

“What is that supposed to mean?

“Don’t you see your pattern?” I arched a brow to which he explained, “Liv was blonde. That girl from Paris was blonde. You have an obsession. Whenever a blonde’s in question, you lose your shit.


“Or is it just because of Olivia that you run after the likes of her?

I was about to snap some snarky reply at him, but the sound of the bridal music stopped me. I took a deep breath and stood up with everyone else.

Jordan’s six-year-old twin niece and nephew were the first ones to descend the aisle, one sprinkling white rose petals on the carpet while the other carefully carried the ring. The next one was Lola, Aubrey’s bridesmaid.

I twisted my head to look at Jordan. His anxiety had risen to a whole new level. It wasn’t just anxiety but impatience as well. But as soon as Aubrey’s accession began, his face lit up.

Aubrey walked down the aisle with one of her hands wrapped around her father’s arm while the other gripped the bouquet of white roses tightly, the white gown she wore dragging behind her, sweeping the petals along with it and her face covered with a netted veil that hid her expression. I knew for a fact that she too was scared, but she had nothing to worry about.

Seeing Jordan’s face, anyone could tell how smitten he was with her. And he would die before he let anything happen to her.


Beau had been right. I couldn’t walk past it. I couldn’t ignore the small inkling in my chest that yelled at me to talk to Kim. We would never be back together, which was given since I couldn’t give her what she wanted, but I still wanted to know if she was doing okay.

I nodded at Beau and strode toward the bar where Kim was with a friend, her back turned to me.

After the vows and the dance, I was tired enough to leave for home, but I could either do this or go home feeling guilty to myself forever. This wasn’t only for her, but an acceptance of what I had done. It was time I said it out loud.

I paused behind her and took a deep breath.

It was funny how I had changed in merely five years. The earlier version would’ve laughed if he saw me here, standing and preparing to ask for forgiveness for breaking a woman’s heart. I’d broken plenty of hearts to the point where I was sure they would all curse me to hell.

I never denied the man I had been, and neither had I insulted the man I had become.

I wasn’t born promiscuous. Instead, I had planned to be devoted to one woman my entire life. But when that fantasy broke, and she disappeared, looking for physical attachments became easier than emotional ones.

“Kimberly,” I called, and evidently watched Kim’s shoulder tense.

She recognised me by my voice. But as she turned around, she wasn’t who I noticed first. Standing with Kim, the friend she had been chatting with, looked so much familiar that it almost knocked my breath away. She reminded me of the woman who had beguiled me five years ago in Paris, the one whose scent still haunted my dreams every night.

I lost every word I had planned on blurting to Kimberly as I blinked repeatedly to make this mirage disappear. It was bothering the heck out of me.

Kimberly and Joy only shared similar passions. But this woman had more. Her blonde hair rested on her shoulder, blowing on her face with the soft breeze, reminding me of the way I had slowly tucked Joy’s hair behind her ears while standing on the top floor of the Eiffel Tower. Kim’s friend had a button-nose and vibrant eyes just like Joy’s.

Oh, how much I wished I remembered Joy’s face clearly. She and I had built more chemistry in just twenty-four hours than Kim and I could grow in the year that we fooled around. But all I had on her was her sweet lavender scent and her humour—how she made me laugh.

Beau was right. Whenever there was a blonde in question, especially ones who looked remotely close to Joy or the she-devil, I lost my shit.



Things between me and Kim had been quavery for the past year. I wasn’t the one at fault, but it appeared I was just as much to blame.

The first time Kim had been the happiest was after a date she’d had. Little had I known who she had been with? But I should’ve told her the truth as soon as I had discovered it was the Vincent Brown, the man I had told her about, the one who had left me breathless and desperate for more.

Five years and he still lingered around me without the slightest knowledge of it.

“I can’t believe she let you off the hook after you refused to be her bridesmaid,” Kim said, tilting her head with a ridiculed look on her face.

“Yeah, you’d be surprised how things changed. But she knows I don’t do very well at weddings. I’m good as a bystander.

Kim stared at me for a while, as if deciding to speak whatever was in her mind. I wished she did. “How’ve you been?” she asked.

The black body-con dress with deep v-neck and spaghetti straps made her look taller and skinnier than she had become. Her ebony hair that she always had styled in a perm was now in waves. She had changed a lot.

I sipped a bit of my champagne and said, “I’ve been good. Busy mostly, since the big deal.

“I’ve heard all about it from Aubs.” She nodded. “We’re proud of you.

“Thank you, Kim.” The first and the last heavy argument that we’d had shattered the strong bond we had. I never wanted it to be that way. “I know I never did this. A part of me was too shocked and scared that you didn’t want to see me again. What happened was—”

“What happened was a year ago.” She shrugged. “Let’s not touch old wounds.

“I can’t bear that we’ve become so distant, Kim. You were one of my best friends. You, me, Lola and Aubrey, we were unbreakable and since our fight . . .

“It wasn’t a fight. It was a fallout, which was unnecessary.

“I should’ve told you,” I whispered.

“Told me what? That the man who left you behind in Paris still had feelings for you? How would you have known?

Vincent had dated her because she reminded him of me. I should’ve been happy, right? The man I liked for the first time in years had feelings for me, too. But it was wrong of him to look for me in other women when he couldn’t even keep his promise to me.

Besides, Kimberly mattered more to me than him, so much that I wanted to forget him.

She shook her head and put on a huge smile. “Besides, a lot happened. You’d be happy to know that I am crushing hard again. God, heartbreak never teaches women like us to fall in line, does it?

“Please tell me it’s not that literary agent of yours.

“Ugh, no. You know I don’t repeat boyfriends.” She leaned in and went on, “I have this neighbour who is super hot and happening. Being within a hundred-meter radius of that man makes me want to jump his bones.

"You're hornier than I remember you to be." I sniggered. “So what stopped Kimberly Moretto?

“I fear he’s engaged.

“And how does that matter?

She put on a mischievous smile, making me laugh. “I’m just waiting for a green light and then I’ll just drop to my knees before him. Perhaps on the elevator we share a ride on,” she whispered the last line.

“Knowing you well enough, I bet you’ve already imagined at least fifty dirtiest and sexiest scenarios in your head of you and this neighbour of yours.

“In my head, we’re practically married.” She let out a snorting giggle. I couldn’t tell her how much I’d missed her. “Just so you know I’m making Aubrey, Lola and you, all three of you my bridesmaids . . . if I ever choose to marry.

“No letting me off the hook?

“Absolutely not.

“Kimberly,” a voice called, and both Kim and I stiffened. A glimpse of Vincent’s broad shoulders behind Kimberly had my senses running for the hills.

He wasn’t supposed to be here. Aubrey had told me he would be out of town for business and wouldn’t be attending the wedding. It was foolish of me to even believe that since the groom was his best friend.

I hadn’t prepared for him. My nerved tightened, making it impossible for me to turn around and sprint, no matter how desperately I wanted to.

For the past five years, I had avoided him. I had tried to never cross paths with him, even though we ran in the same circles. He had a life far different from mine. At least mine was different now. I wasn’t who I had introduced myself as.

I shook my head at Kimberly, but it didn’t stop her from turning around, and the moment she side-stepped, Vincent’s eyes met mine. Those grey eyes. Those thick brows and long lashes. Those orange lips. He stared at me with utter bewilderment.

All those years back when he had introduced himself as ‘V’, I had known who he was. I had only pretended to be clueless for him to be his true self, to see if he truly differed from what the tabloids painted him as.

My insides curled, and I gathered myself together. He was here to talk to Kimberly. Not me. They had spent one year together while he and I had only spent one day. There wasn’t any room left for comparison. He probably didn’t even remember my face.

I patted Kim’s shoulder and said, “I’ll catch up with you later.

Kim’s brows creased, but before she could speak, I whirled around and walked away in those awfully painful stilettos. Vincent Brown was never mine and he would never be.

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