Bad Boy vs Millionaire

By: Candy J. Starr



If there had been clouds in the sky, they'd have parted to let the sun shine though when he smiled. Then the birds would sing and maybe fly around him and woodland creatures would romp at his feet, just like a Disney movie but in the middle of freaken Shinjuku. That's how epic his smile was.

I shook myself to come back to my senses. I was there to sort out things with Dad, not to go nuts over some random guy's smile. Even some random guy who might possibly be a prince sent from heaven to rescue me.

“Come on,” he said, putting away that deadly weapon smile.

I followed him. Finally, up ahead, I thought I could see the sign for the hotel. It was just at the end of the street. I could make it. That sign meant coffee and shower and bed. In that exact order.

I walked into reception, a big swanky reception area made of black marble. Water flowed down an enormous water feature in the middle of the reception area, gurgling and churning like a river leading into a freaken lake. Seriously, it was like a freaken lake in the middle of this hotel. In the middle of the marble lake, on a marble island, sat a grand piano. Why would someone make a lake with a piano island in it? Especially in the reception area of a hotel.

I was so busy processing that that I didn't see my father waiting for me.

“Hannah, you made it. Get ready, we have to go shopping.”

That was my father. No “hello”. No “how are you going”. Straight to the point. He looked so different from the last time I'd seen him. He had on a good suit and the life had come back into his face. The downtrodden look had disappeared so completely that I wondered if I'd just imagined it.

“We are having dinner with Tamaki and his father tonight. You need some new clothes. Let's get out of here.”

“I need a shower.”

Dad looked me up and down.

“You really do. And what's with that outfit, Hannah? You look like a hobo. It's a wonder Tamaki recognised you at the station. I really expect better from you.”

Then he turned to Tamaki who still had my suitcase.

“Thanks for your help, Tamaki. I'll see you tonight.”

Who was this Tamaki character and why were we having dinner with him? I sighed and headed to my room. Not that I minded shopping but I really, really, really wanted to sleep.



***

Designer stores are designer stores the world over but I wasn’t used to Dad shopping with me. He’d never cared that much about my clothes before. Now it’d become a thing for him like he’d taken me on as some kind of project. I wondered if this in some way related to why he wanted me to come here. Maybe he’d got me work as a model. I always thought I’d be good at modeling on account of having awesome posture.

Dad went through the racks and handed me outfits to try on. While I wasn't complaining, I did wonder where he got the money from. Maybe that talk of him having money hidden away when he was supposedly broke had been true. Which just made my months of scrimping and saving and having to go to desperate measures to live even worse.

“I think the black dress will be best for dinner tonight.”

“It's a bit severe,” I said. “I like the red.”

“This is Japan. Red is not good here. You don't want to look too flashy.”

I glanced at the other women shopping in the store. Most of them wore pale pink and beige. They wore lots of lace too and little flouncy ruffles. Were they women or little girls? And all of them carried handbags emblazoned with logos. Why was that not flashy? I loved my designer labels as much as the next person but there was no need to be a walking billboard.

“Wow, is shopping with your dad a thing here? I've never seen so many girls out shopping with their fathers.”

Dad rolled his eyes. “You are being a bit naive, Han.”

It took me a minute to register. Sugar daddies? But some of those girls looked like they were just in high school. That was so wrong. Then I realised that — OMG, maybe that's what they were thinking of me. I wanted to rush around the store, telling people, “he really is my father.”

“Hannah, are you trying these dresses on or not?”

“Sure thing, DAD. It's so nice that my FATHER is taking time out of his day to go shopping with me. You are the best FATHER ever.”

“Remember, we need to make a good impression for dinner tonight. Tamaki’s quite a guy, huh. Good looking, rich, cultured. It’s unbelievable that he’s still single. A guy like that must have women swooning over him.”

“Do you have a man crush on him?” I’d often wondered why my father had never had a serious relationship after Mum died. Was he trying to tell me something?

“That’s not funny, Hannah. I just meant you should cultivate a friendship with him.”

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