The Billionaire's Instant Bride

By: CJ Howard

Sitting on her bed, looking over at her computer, she decided to call for some backup help. Picking up her cell phone, she pressed her best friend’s number, and sighed as it rang. Raina had been her best friend since the second grade when Callie had traded lunches with her on the first day of school. They had bonded from there and the years had only made them much stronger.

Raina answered with a smile that could be heard over the phone. “Hey! I was just thinking about you. How are you all doing? What’s going on?”

Callie closed her eyes and tried not to let the emotions roiling around in her erupt. “It’s not good, Raina.” She began, taking a deep breath.

Raina knew there was something wrong and concern sounded in her voice right away. “It’s not your grandma is it? Is she okay? What is it?”

Squeezing her eyes shut to hold in the tears, Callie sniffed and covered her mouth with her hand. “It’s the house… I guess my grandpa was behind on the taxes and now there’s a lot of money that’s owed and grandma and I can’t pay it. Well, the city is giving us a deadline of the end of the month before it has to be paid or they are going to take the house and make us move out!”

“No….” Raina drew out. She sounded aghast.

“I didn’t tell grandma yet that we’ll lose the house, I just told her that we have to find the money by the end of the month. She doesn’t know how bad it will get. Raina, I have called so many places looking for help. The city isn’t going to let us make payments, and we don’t have the kind of money they’re looking for. We don’t really have any options. We have to figure something out fast.” Callie opened her eyes and looked around her room. It had always been her room for as long as she could remember, though the décor had changed over time. She couldn’t imagine losing it. It felt like it would always be there for her.

“Is there anyone who can help you? There must be someone. There has to be someone who can do something. She’s an old lady! She’s a senior citizen. Isn’t there some kind of government funding or some organization that helps little old ladies stay in their houses?” Raina sounded as if she was ready to call the governor himself to get it fixed.

Callie sighed. “I don’t know if there is or not. I’ve been looking online for hours, and yesterday I called everyone I could find in the phone book. I’m not getting anywhere.”

Raina wasn’t about to let it go. “Well, text me some of the details and I will do some checking around too. There has to be a way to fix this. We can’t just let her lose her house. You know I’m here for you. I’ll do whatever I can to try to help you. Heck, I grew up in that house almost as much as you did. It’s like a second home to me. It can’t be taken away from her. Don’t feel down. I know it’s hard, but keep your chin up, and keep your grandma’s chin up, and we’ll find a way to make it work. Just keep looking and I’ll start checking everything I can on this side. Okay?”

There were many reasons that Callie loved Raina, but Raina’s dedication to their friendship was one of the biggest ones. “Thank you so much, I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have your help and support. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” She sniffed and wiped at the corner of her eyes.

“You’re never going to have to find out what you would do without me.” Raina said adamantly. “Now, get back to finding something, but send me the details first, and I'll start looking on this end to see what I can find. There has to be something that we can do.”

“Sounds good. Thank you again.” Callie smiled a little and ended the call, grateful that she had a friend like Raina.

She sent the information Raina wanted, and then she sat back down at her computer, determined to find a solution that would work for them. She searched again and found several possible avenues for help, and she applied to each and every one of them, hoping somehow one of them might come back with an option or a saving grace for her. She knew that each one was a long shot, but she also knew they were worth it, just in case even one of them had any kind of help available at all.

She worked long through the day, only stopping for lunch, and by dinner, she had exhausted every possibility in her city and in the communities surrounding San Jose. She decided she would branch out further the next day. Raina texted back that she was checking corporate and federal funding programs.

Dinner with her grandmother that night was quiet again, though not as quiet as the night before. She brought up the garden outside and asked her grandmother about taking out a few things and putting in some new and different kinds of plants. The change in topic to a subject Calista loved so much did seem to brighten her a little, and Callie was grateful for that.

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