Smart, Sexy and Secretive

By: Tammy Falkner


My dad doesn’t want me to go back to New York. He’s wholeheartedly opposed to it. But New York is where my heart is. It’s where Logan is. And we’re in a plane on our way there right now.

I met Logan in the fall. He took care of me when I needed a place to stay, and I took care of him when his brother got sick with cancer. Matt needed an expensive medical treatment, and the only way to get the money was for me to suck it up and take one for the team. So, I did. I went back to California, leaving the only man I’ve ever loved in New York, and returned to my estranged family—the one I’d run away from. Matt went into treatment, paid for by my father, and Logan went on with his life.

I have wanted to contact him so many times. But talking is difficult between us. Logan is deaf, and he communicates by writing. I have dyslexia, and reading is hard for me. So letters and phone calls are not possible for us. The Reed family is poor, and they don’t even have a computer. I considered buying them one and shipping it to them, so Logan and I could talk using sign language on Skype, but they are both poor and proud, which is a killer combination.

It’s been almost three months since I last saw Logan. It has been just as long since I’ve talked to him. I want to look into his eyes. I need to see him. Soon.

The pilot announces that we’ll be arriving in New York in twenty minutes over the intercom. Mom and Dad look over at me. Mom is smiling; Dad is not. Dad’s bodyguard sets his newspaper to the side and buckles his seat belt. My dad has money. Lots and lots of money. My mom spends money. Lots and lots of money. I am so glad my mom married my dad because no other man on the face of the earth could ever afford her.

Dad owns Madison Avenue. Not the street—the upscale clothing and accessory line. It’s a popular line of really expensive items that started in California and has now spread nationwide. My parents have more money than God.

“Are you excited, Emily?” my mother asks as the wheels touch down. I take a deep breath. I can already breathe easier just knowing I’m in the same city as him.

I look directly into her eyes since she knows how much I love Logan, and she’s actually in favor of us being together. “More than you know.”

“I don’t know why you feel the need to go to college, Emily,” my father barks. “You could have just gotten married and lived a life of ease and privilege.”

Last year, my dad tried to marry me off to the son of one of his business partners. That’s why I left California with nothing and took a bus all the way to New York. I didn’t take a dime of my father’s money, and I supported myself by busking in the subways with my guitar for change. My dad doesn’t know everything about my life away from him. Like how I lived in shelters when money was tight. And how I went for days without food sometimes. He chooses to think I lived an upscale life while I was away. But I didn’t. It was hard. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, though. Because it’s what brought me to Logan.

God, I want to see him so badly. I want my parents to go away, too, but they want to see me settled into my new apartment. It’s around the corner from the college I’ll be attending, Julliard. I’ve always wanted to study music, and now I can. That was my mother’s doing.

My mother smacks my father on the arm. It’s a breezy wave, but it gets his attention. “We’ve already discussed this, darling. She doesn’t want to get married. Least of all to the young Mr. Fields.”

I snort. I wouldn’t marry that ass if he were the last man on earth.

“Fields is a fine young man,” my father says. What’s really bad is that he believes it even though Trip is really just an opportunistic asshole who wants to climb the financial ladder, and he wants to use me as the top rung. He’ll never get over this rung, I can say that much.

“Mmm hmm,” I hum noncommittally.

“Fields is an ass, darling,” my mother says. She gets her purse, and we disembark the plane. The limo is waiting for us outside, and we all slide in while someone I will never see unloads the luggage.

“He blows his nose constantly, Dad,” I say. “And he doesn’t shower after he plays basketball.” And he called me stupid in front of all his friends. But we don’t talk about that part.

My dad’s lips twitch. “That boy has a lot of potential. Great vision. He would make a fine husband.”

What he means is that we could combine the two families like a business deal, increasing the net worth of both. I have no interest in being richer. In fact, the happiest time in my life was when I lived with Logan and his brothers. He has four of them—two older and two younger. They live alone since their mom died and their dad left. They don’t have much, but they love one another like crazy.

My parents love me, but it’s not the same thing. Not by a long shot.

“You should partner with him, Dad. Because I never will,” I grouse. I can’t count the number of times in the past few months I have had this conversation.

My dad heaves a sigh. He is a master at business, but he knows very little about relationships.

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