The Billionaire's Indecent Proposal/C2 Chapter 1: How Did You Get My Number?
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The Billionaire's Indecent Proposal/C2 Chapter 1: How Did You Get My Number?
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C2 Chapter 1: How Did You Get My Number?

I was at my breaking point a few days later. I had already sent a total of twelve emails after the original one. I had yet to receive a response from any of them. There was no copy-paste response… this time, there was radio silence. It was even worse than before. Lory had given me Mr. Rowe's phone number—which may or may not have been illegally obtained—but, I had been hesitant to use it until that point. It felt too intrusive to use the number... like it was solidifying a criminal act I had committed.

However, desperate times called for desperate measures. And I was beyond desperate.

I was finished with my final exams and our graduation ceremony was a week away.

The clock was ticking and I had no other option. It was now or never.

I sat on the dining table, the timer on the oven keeping me company in the empty house. I stared at the empty message box with Mr. Rowe’s number on the top. I had never been so jittery in my life. Even though I had expansive notes on how to approach the conversation and made a reactive diagram for all the possible responses he could give, I didn’t feel prepared. I had a sinking feeling that I would put my foot in my mouth the second he answered his phone.

He would definitely cut the call when he realized I was a complete lunatic. This was if he answered the call from an unknown number.

I knew I was deferring the inevitable and hoping it would never happen. The longer I contemplated, the worse my mental state would be.

Finally, I put my foot down and sent a text message. It was better to start out with written words. I typed out a short message and my thumb hovered over the send button for an awfully long time before I couldn't stand it any longer. I closed my eyes and prayed to all the higher beings as I hit the send.

[I need to talk to you.]

In my deranged mindset, the message was just creepy enough to spark some interest. He wouldn’t automatically ignore it. It also didn’t give away enough information that he would block me immediately. I set the cellphone down on the table and barely breathed as I begged him to respond.

I almost burst into tears of joy when my phone buzzed with an incoming message five minutes later.

[Who is this?]

I gulped. If he was intentionally avoiding ‘Willow Taylor’ as a nuisance, he would block any further texts that I sent after telling him my identity. On the other hand, he would definitely block me if I remained cryptic and didn’t give him a name. I mulled over what I should do before realizing he could search my name on a call app easily. There was no harm in answering truthfully. I would have to reveal myself at some point.

[Willow Taylor]

It didn't take long for a response to arrive.

[I think you have the wrong number.]

I blinked in surprise. I was almost sure he didn’t recognize my name from the emails. It made me suspicious if he had ever seen them in the first place. It was not a far-fetched idea.

Either way, he couldn’t brush me off this time around. My fingers thrummed over the screen at lightning speed. I was scared to be a second late and miss the chance to carry on the conversation with him. He was a busy man, who knew how long he had to text with a stranger.

[I have the correct number if I reached Mr. Nicholas Rowe.]

I started to worry after five minutes without a response. When the phone buzzed again, my shoulders sagged with relief. I must have been holding my breath all the while.

[Miss Taylor, do I know you?]

I quickly wrote a response.

[I wouldn’t say so, but it is imperative that I speak with you.]

Before I could add more words, he had already responded.

[I don't have time for this. I'm late for a dinner meeting.]

Was he ancient? He couldn’t multitask? What kind of a boss was he? I rolled my eyes before answering him.

[May I call you, then?]

I jumped out of my body when my phone rang. I hadn’t expected him to call me directly. He was definitely a man of action. I felt nauseous as I sucked in a deep breath and answered.


"Hello, Miss Taylor. Can you tell me what this is about?" he asked.

My anxiety erupted like a volcano at the sound of his low and confident voice. My tongue felt like lead in my mouth and my limbs were cold with fright. "I… uh… I…" I wanted to bury myself in the misery of being unable to speak without stammering.

I reached for my notes, but in my nervous stupor, my hands shook and I knocked them all over the floor. When I bent down to pick my notes up, my head felt heavy and I dropped to my knees in a humiliating manner. I rolled around on the floor as my phone slipped far away on the floor from the impact. I went crawling to it, wondering what else I could ruin before the end of this call. I was an utter mess.

"Hello? Are you alright, Miss Taylor?"

I grasped the phone in my unsteady hand, deciding it was better to stay seated on the floor than to try to get up and feel the sting in my knees. "Yeah… um… I'm all right. Sorry. I slipped."

He sighed. "Look, Miss Taylor. I must hang up. Please tell me what this is about without wasting any more time." His demand made me straighten my spine and find the resolve I needed to talk. If I didn’t say everything right then, I knew for a fact I would never get the chance again. He would block me ruthlessly.

"I am graduating from Atkins High School in a week’s time. I was informed that I was the recipient of your yearly scholarship but later it was retracted on the account of an error. The scholarship has been since awarded to someone else. The retraction came after I had accepted a spot at QCU and I have already spent all my savings for room and board. I was dependent on the scholarship to attend college and I believe I deserve it. Mr. Rowe, I want you to fund my education as well.”

My breath rushed out immediately after I had said my piece. I crossed my fingers and hoped that he had gotten a gist of the situation.

"You want me to fund your education?" He sounded almost incredulous.

I narrowed my eyes, my previous anger returning in a fraction of a second. "Yes. I shouldn't have to suffer because of your employee's mistake."

I clamped my mouth shut, instantly regretting my inability to control myself. I was trying to placate the man and get him to help me. Still, I blurted out rude and disrespectful things that would offend him. That was certainly not the way to go. He would shut me down because of my incomprehensible and idiotic behavior.

What was wrong with me?

There was only silence on the other end of the phone.

"I'm sorry," I rushed to apologize. "I didn't mean to be rude. But I am in desperate need of that scholarship. It is my last hope of making something of myself, Mr. Rowe."

I refused to work as a cashier at the supermarket for the rest of my life. Just because I didn’t have a conventional family, I didn’t deserve to be kicked away by the world.

His silence was deafening. I counted to sixty, wondering if he was even on the call any longer.

"Hello?" I spoke tentatively.

"I will look into this so-called scholarship miscommunication. I will contact you myself when I have determined the steps going forward. Please wait until then."

It was the best outcome I could have hoped for. I didn’t expect him to jump and tell me I would be funded too. I couldn’t help but be happy even though he sounded displeased with the situation.

"Thank you so much, Mr. Rowe. You have no idea how much this means to me. I've sent you several emails with all my information previously."

He probably thought I was stalking him. And my behavior indicated that I kind of had.

"As I said, I will look into it." He paused for a moment and I held my breath. "I just have one last question for you," he said, causing me to freeze. "How did you get my personal number, Miss Taylor?"

"I prefer to be called Willow," I blurted out, trying to defer answering.

I begged myself to stop blubbering. I dug a deeper hole every time I spoke. He could call me anything he wanted as long as he gave me the scholarship. His tired exhale reached my ear, and I fidgeted, knowing he was beyond frustrated with me.

"Fine. Willow, how did you get this number?” he repeated.

"I… uh…"

"Tell me the truth," he demanded. He left no wriggle room for me to get out of answering.

"I asked my friend to find your information. I am not sure how it was retrieved.” My voice was soft and I wasn't sure he heard me. There was no way I would tell him we had gone through illegal means. And I would not tell him who my friend was, either!

"I will be in touch,” he said before hanging up. He sounded furious and I knew I was done for.

It took me a long time to sort my thoughts and emotions out and get off the floor. I called Lory and relayed the information. Of course, I left out the part where I vaguely admitted to criminal conduct and ratted her out. If she found out, she would smack me. Her excitement was so palpable that I had to put some distance between my phone and my ear.

But not even the little bump in the road could wipe off the grin on my lips. So what if he sounded angry? He said he would investigate the matter personally and give me a response. That had to count for something!

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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