During the winter of 2115, storm after storm dumped piles of snow until Paris Nelson thought she’d never see the green grass again. She vowed she was taking a vacation at the first sign of nice weather, somewhere far from her office. To work from home seemed like a dream but it also had her working longer than normal hours. Day or night if she wasn’t working she was thinking about work, and the fact that her office was adjoined to her bedroom made it hard to separate life from work.
She leaned back in her leather office chair and looked out at the beautiful mountains with their snow covered caps. Even through the latest snowstorm, the mountains called to her. When was the last time she’d gone skiing, or snowboarding? Too long. Since the world had changed, the family’s dating company—Beyond Monogamy—had taken off. People had lived the lifestyle in private, but now they were going public and seeking help to find the perfect match. Good for business, bad for her life outside the office.
It was amazing to think her fathers were on the battleground to make all of this possible. They’d fought for the rights to live a polyandry lifestyle, the right for one wife to have multiple husbands, as well as polygamy—one husband with multiple wives. Her father, Mathew, was one of the lawyers fighting the legal grounds while Paul had taken other routes to make the future possible. Making their relationship public while it was still illegal had given her parents a rough start, but they made it possible for Paris and her bother London to live this life if they chose to. Not to mention the countless other couples and future generations they paved the way for.
“Paris, we need to talk.” Paul, one of her fathers, stood in the door frame looking stressed.
“What’s wrong? Is it Mom? Something happen at her doctor’s appointment?” She sat up straighter in her chair, giving Dad her full attention.
“The doctor ordered another round of the chemotherapy and radiation to begin immediately.” Her father stepped into her office until he stood just in front of the large cherry wood desk. “You’ve been cooped up in this office working too much.”
“What are you getting at?” Her forehead creased with suspicion as she watched her father lead into something. It had to be something big for him to go through all that trouble.
“We’ve been thinking it’s time for you to get out more. I have a client I was supposed to meet with in Thermopolis, Wyoming, but with your mom’s treatments and Mathew working on that murder trial, I need someone to take my place. These are very important clients, and they’ve asked that someone come to them.”
“Why not send London? He’s the one who normally deals with the face to face stuff; I’m the matchmaker behind the scenes.”
“This client is special.” He tipped his head and looked at the stack of paperwork she was working on. “It’s better than what you’re working on here, and these can wait until you’re back, or you can give them to London to complete. Plus, you deserve to get out of this office once in a while. Point is, I really need you to take this trip for me. I don’t want to leave your mom right now. The chemo has been bad enough but with radiation, it’s going to be worse. Mathew and I both need to be with her.”
“Who’s the client?” She relented without much of a fight because she understood her parents needed to be together. Cancer was a bitch, and her dads wanted to be there for anything Mom needed. She leaned forward to the computer to pull up the file she’d need once he told her the client’s name.
“You won’t find him in the system. I’ve been keeping this one close to the vest because of who the client is. I didn’t need London finding out because he’d want to deal with it and that’s just not happening. Oh, that boy.” He shoved his hands into his pockets and shook his head.
“London isn’t that bad, he just likes to party a little too much. There’s never been any problem with him and the business. He shows the clients a good time when they need it. It’s more than the rest of us do.” Even if her baby brother got on her last nerve sometimes, she still felt the need to defend him. “Maybe we should all take a page from his book, we work too hard. I know you and Dad laid back a little since Mom’s been sick, but maybe once the treatments are complete you should think about taking her away for a few days. She could use it.”
“None of this has been fair on you.” He leaned against the edge of her desk. “My little girl, running the company while we care for Mom. You rarely ever leave the house unless it’s for work. What kind of life is that for you?”
“I love my work and wouldn’t change that. You know if there’s anything you need, just let me know and you can consider it done. You need to focus on Mom, she’s top priority. I can handle Beyond Monogamy…and even London if I need to.” She grabbed her notebook and pen. “Now who’s this secret client?”
She gasped, certain she’d heard him wrong. “Not Aiden Dalton, the former pro-football player?”
“The one and only. He received my number from a colleague and contacted me directly. Now you understand why I can’t have your brother take this and why it needs to be kept quiet. I’ve got the basic information he provided on this.” He dangled a jump drive from between his fingers until she took it. “None of this can go into the system. For now, it’s just between us, Mathew, and Mom. Don’t say a word to London.”
“Oh, believe me, now I understand why you didn’t want him to take this client. He’s always been a huge fan of Aiden’s, even after he blew out his knee and had to give up playing.” She looked at the drive and wondered what she’d find on it, while her mind had already jumped to conclusions of its own. “How many wives is he looking for?”
“My sweet daughter, you’ve got it wrong. He’s only looking for one…and before you ask why he’d used our company if not for multiple partners, it’s because he’s partnered with two other men and they’re looking for one wife.”
“One wife?” The question came out lighter than she had expected it.