Matthias POV

three weeks (present time)



''Sir, you have the meeting with Josephine later today," Lena, my receptionist said. "Do you need her file?"

I shook my head. "No."

The phone rang, and she answered it from my own desk, which felt a little strange, but she would have slapped my hand away if I tried to answer my own phone.

"Just a moment please," she said, pushing a button and returning the phone to its cradle.

"Who is it?" I asked.

"Your father's attorney. He says it's important."

I groaned. That couldn't be good. "Thank you, Lena."

"Good afternoon, Bob," I said, picking up the phone.

"Matthias, we need to talk."

I let out a long sigh. I already knew what he wanted to talk about. It was more pressure about getting married.

"I know about the clause, Bob. I'm still trying to figure out how I want to proceed. You know how I feel about this."

He cleared his throat. "I was reviewing the will, which as you know, was extremely detailed. Your father had some very specific instructions."

I chuckled, thinking about my dad and his strict adherence to rules. "I know he did, and I understand them."

"Actually, you don't. I didn't know until recently."

"Know what?" I asked, almost afraid to hear what he would say.

Bob wasn't the kind of guy to beat around the bush. The fact that he was hedging put me on edge. I leaned forward, putting my elbows on my mahogany desk with the phone pressed to my ear.

"This is something I'd like to discuss like now,'' he said, I knew he was serious.

"What's going on?" I asked.

He was my father's oldest friend, and I had known him since I was young. I didn't feel the need to keep things overly formal.

"Matthias, I was rereading your father's will, making sure everything had been carried out as he asked when I saw a note about an additional clause. Now, I want you to know this is his doing, not mine, but I am legally and morally obligated to uphold his demands when it comes to his estate."

Then I knew for sure he was about to tell me something that was going to be hard to digest.

"Spill it, Bob."

"As you know, you must be married or engaged by your birthday to inherit "Old news."

That's exactly in nine months. October's finest... huh.

Bob cleared his throat. "It isn't just the inheritance you stand to lose. He owned a majority share in your company. If you don't meet his requirements, he has demanded the company be dissolved, with stockholders getting their investments back."

My mouth fell open. "It's my company!"

Bob sighed. "Your father was a silent partner. He put up the capital and still owned a majority of the company. I mistakenly believed his shares reverted to you on his death. They have not. You will lose the company and your inheritance if you do not marry within the next nine months or be close to marrying by then."

"Bullshit," I argued. "I built that company. His investment wasn't even a fraction of what the company is worth now."

"Which will make some shareholders very happy when they get a fat check. Their investment will have proven to be a worthy one."

I shook my head. "He can't do this. It's my company."

"Your father knew you wouldn't marry just any woman. He knew how stubborn you were and had high hopes the woman you chose would be the one for you. His goal is to change your way of thinking. He wanted you to look beyond the pretty surface and start thinking of the future."

I nodded my head. "No one can demand I fall in love, not even if it makes me rich. Even I know that."

"No, they can't, but you can try to find a woman that makes you happy instead of flitting from one to the

next. You don't realize this now, but you are truly missing out on one of the best things life has to offer-the love of a good woman."

"And if I don't, I'm forced to be poor the rest of my life," I snapped. "Poor or miserable is not the best options to choose from."

Bob chuckled. "Life is what you make it."

"Anything else?" I growled.

"No. I went over every page of his rather extensive, detailed will. "

''Fine, I'll find a woman to marry and I'll handle this shit later. Now get off of my dick and have a nice day,'' I hung up the phone.

The decision had already been made for me.

My dad was running my life from his grave. I had always known he was a powerful man, but the current situation was ridiculous.

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