“Sparsely decorated, Your Highness.” Natalie stepped into the empty living room which contained one easy chair, a lamp, and a table.
“This home has but one purpose,” Ethan said, turning on lights as he moved through the living room into the kitchen. “As a storage facility for all of this.” He held out his arm in a grand gesture toward the large dining room filled with stacks of documents, a computer server, a safe, filing boxes, books and ledgers.
“Oh… my… gosh.” Natalie made her way over to the dining room table, glancing at files, opening and closing books, peeking into ledgers. “You’re going to leave this mess for me when you die?”
“Unfortunately, yes.” He cleared his throat. “But you’re welcome to destroy everything once we get all the money distributed. None of this has any real value.”
“You’re worth over a billion dollars, Ethan.” She raised her eyebrows. “I’ve seen your portfolio, remember?”
“Okay, so, I’m worth over a billion, but this junk isn’t.” He picked up a stack of journals. “Other than this. Don’t destroy this.” He handed her the stack of books.
“What is it?” She sat down on a chair, resting the journals on her lap. Opening the top flap, she read aloud. “Complete Sayid family history as compiled by Prince Ethan Sayid. You wrote this?” Her voice held awe and wonderment.
“Yeah, well, I wasn’t sure if anyone else in my family had written down the old stories my great-great-grandfather used to tell me when I sat at his bedside growing up… so, I wrote them.”
“This is fascinating…” After a few moments of reading she looked up. “Can we bring these with us? On our trip? Now this is worth reading. Forget romance novels.”
“Hey, we all need a little romance in our life, right? Don’t discount the romance novels.” Ethan scratched the back of his neck and scuffed the toe of his shoe along the wooden floorboard.
“We can make our own romance,” she said absentmindedly. “This is gold.”
“You really think so?” he cleared his throat.
“You’re a very good writer, Ethan.” Natalie stood, cradling the treasure in her arms. “Thank you for sharing this with me.” She reached up and kissed Ethan on his cheek.
He felt that cliché feeling of never wanting to wash that cheek for the rest of his life and he stood there a minute, trying to catch his breath.
“What’s in the safe?” she asked, not setting down her newfound stories.
“That really is gold,” Ethan said. “Ya know, actual bars of gold. The combination to the lock is in the stacks of information I gave you.” He turned the dial back and forth a few times and opened the safe to reveal stacks of gold bars.
“Oh my gosh, Ethan, how much is that worth?” Her jaw dropped open.
“I don’t know.” He shrugged. “A few hundred thousand, maybe half a million? Sorry I didn’t take the time to liquidate that yet. We can work on that when we get home. You know what? Never mind. Let’s just bring this with us. The best place to liquidate gold is in New York City. I’ll get ahold of my financial advisor and see if he can make the arrangements.” Ethan grabbed a canvas bag and began filling it with gold bars.
“You’re going to bring half a million dollars’ worth of gold in our motorhome?” She took a step back, clutching the books to her chest. Lucky books. He turned back to his task.
“Who would ever look for gold bars in a motorhome anyway?” He tried to lift the canvas bag and realized it was too heavy, so he grabbed another bag and took half the bars out of one and loaded them into the other. “It will only take us about two days to get to New York City, right?”
“Yeah, about two days,” she squeaked.
“Dude, you look like you’re going to pass out. Relax. It’s just a few gold bars.” Ethan stood and held one bag in each hand, testing to make sure they were evenly distributed.
“I’ve never seen this much money in my life.” She shook her head.
“Might want to get used to being around this much money if you’re going to marry a billionaire prince.” He leaned forward to kiss Natalie on the cheek, causing her to lose train of thought just like she’d done to him.
“Very funny, Your Highness.” She chuckled nervously.
“Come on, I’ll show you the rest of my stuff and we can get back on the road. The penthouse in New York City is calling.”