Introduction to Veterinarians Date with a Billionaire

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

my thoughtful, funny, handsome, silly, strong husband.

Im lucky that the dog rested his head on your chest

You are more amazing than anyone I could dream up.

Jason looked at his watch and sighed. His dad was late, as usual. He tried to focus on the menu and decide on lunch, but he kept catching himself looking around the restaurant instead; he was worried hed been followed.

Nobody looked suspicious, and truth be told, he didnt know what he would do if there was someone suspicious. It made him nervous nevertheless.

After what felt like an eternity, Marty Make it Happen Brash finally arrived.

Sorry Im late, his dad said in a low voice. I have to be extra careful these days.

Marty was out on bail, and in a few short weeks he would stand trial to answer for decades of financial crimes and fraud.

Jason wasnt sure how to feel. Part of him hoped that his dad wouldnt show up to lunch. Then the only time hed have to face him would be at trial.

Whats new with you? Marty asked, sitting back casually.

What an absurd question. They hadnt seen each other in three years, yet he acted like they were just catching up.

Jason decided that it was best not to drag it out. There are some things I need to tell you.

Its fine, Jason said, crossing him arms. Nothing exciting. He couldnt stand faking pleasant conversation with his dad, pretending that everything was okay.

Marty continued. Whats good here? Do you think the turkey burgers are decent? Im supposed to watch my cholesterol.

What lonely soul even came up with turkey burgers? his dad mused.

Now Jason knew that he was stalling on purpose. Theres something I think you deserve to know. Youve hurt a lot of people. And Ive agreed to testify against you at trial.

Marty didnt react right away. He kept looking at the choices in front of him, eyes scanning back and forth. After a moment, he set the menu down. I know, son.

Jason sat back, surprised. Hed dreaded having to say that out loud for the past few weeks no, actually it was a dread hed had for years.

When he was younger, he didnt realize that his father was actually a conman. At first, Jason was even unwittingly part of his fathers schemes.

It started when he was in high school when his dad needed help with the computer.

There are always problems with these computers, hed say. How am I supposed to get anything done?

Jason showed him how to use a word processor and spreadsheets to keep track of things, including expenses, payments, and business partners.

Jason had no idea what any of the numbers or names were linked to. At that age, he didnt quite understand what fraud was. He didnt know that his dad was the go-to guy for white collar crime. All he knew was that it took his dad forever to do anything on the computer, so he had to keep track of everything for him.

As he got older, Jason learned that none of his dads businesses or banking deals were legitimate. He quickly removed himself from anything to do with the family business. He was ashamed that he was ever involved. After dropping out of college, Jason got an apprenticeship as a carpenter. He never looked back.

It wasnt until FBI agents showed up at his door that he truly understood the stunning depths of his dads crimes. Jason wasnt in any trouble, and while that was good news for him, it made the agents worry it was a long shot that hed say anything against his father.

When they showed him how much money his father stole, and how much it hurt innocent people who were too trusting with their savings, Jason was disgusted. He agreed to cooperate and offer any information he had. He couldnt live with himself otherwise.

Yet he didnt expect his dad to be so calm about it.

Marty sighed. No. Im not angry. Not with you.

Jason didnt know what to say. Did his dad understand the seriousness of the accusations against him? Did he understand that with the evidence the FBI had, he would probably be in jail for years?

Marty continued. Things got out of control, you know, out of hand. When you were little, and you dont remember this, I was just like any other guy working at a bank. And when I saw that there were chances to make more money, I couldnt resist. I figured that we werent hurting anybody just a few suckers. I know its hard to believe now, but everything I did, I did because I wanted a better life for you.

Jason gritted his teeth. Was his dad trying to guilt him now? That would be a nice touch on their already delicate father-son relationship.

Part of the reason that Jason offered to help his dad in the first place was because he wanted to spend more time with his dad. He was always working, and Jason wanted to learn from his father and follow in his footsteps. He wanted to make him proud.

Jason shook off the memories. He was an adult now, and he couldnt let his dad play mind games with him. Is this some sort of a trick?

No, no, his father replied hurriedly. Not this. This is real. Ive had a lot of time to think about everything how I ended up here. Why I ended up here. I lost sight of whats important. I have a lot to be ashamed of. He paused to rub his forehead. Long story short, Im not angry at you at all. Im only angry at myself.

Jason took a deep breath and sat back. His dad could charm his way out of almost any situation, but it really didnt seem like he was spinning a tale this time. It seemed genuine.

Jason studied his face. For the first time in his life, his dad looked tired. He had bags under his eyes. His posture was slumped. Hed always been full of life, full of schemes. Today, he looked defeated.

How long had he been like this? For the past few years, Jason pulled away from anything that had to do with his dad, so he hadnt seen him at all. He spoke to him occasionally, for holidays and birthdays. After years of trying to convince him to stop with all the schemes, he finally gave up. Eventually, Jason knew that his only chance at a normal life was to leave it all behind, his dad included.

Okay then, Jason finally replied. He had no choice but to believe him.

A waitress stopped at their table. Jason put in an order for coffee and his father ordered a soda. She asked if they were ready to order and they looked at each other, wide eyed, doing that universal shrug as if to say I am if you are!

The exchange seemed so normal, so casual, that Jason couldnt help but note the absurdity of it all. No one from the outside would be able to see the cracks in their relationship. They looked like two guys having a relaxing lunch, ordering a pair of bacon burgers.

As they waited for their food to come out, Jason answered what felt like a barrage of questions about his work and his life. It was like his dad was trying to make up for the last few years when all he seemed to care about was making more money.

When he was twenty, he would have loved for his dad to be so interested in his life. But all of this interest was about thirteen years too late.

After twenty minutes, their burgers arrived, stacked high and crowded with french fries. Jason looked around the restaurant it didnt seem like anyone was watching them. The FBI agents warned him to be careful, but perhaps hed taken the paranoia a bit too far.

Now Jason, Marty said, squirting some ketchup onto his plate. I know that Ill probably be going away for a bit. Could be the rest of my life, who knows how many years I have left.

Jason cringed. It was one thing to think about his dad living out the rest of his years in prison, but it was an entirely different thing to hear it said out loud.

He cleared his throat. Yeah. Thats what I heard.

Marty dipped a french fry in ketchup. And I know that you dont agree with how I did it, but like I said, everything I did was for you. I dont want you to have to wait until I croak to get the money Ive saved.

Hear me out, he said, cutting him off. Theres nothing shady about this. I talked to my lawyer and I can leave you everything. You wont have to work as a carpenter anymore.

I love being a carpenter, Jason replied. And I dont need the money.

Marty shoved a clump of fries into his mouth, chewing as he spoke. Jason, I dont think you realize how much money Im talking. He dropped his voice. Two billion dollars.

Jason crossed his arms. It was more than he expected, but it didnt sway him. The higher the number, the more people his dad scammed. I wont accept any of it.

Marty shook his head frantically, pointing to his throat.

Are you choking? Jason asked, hearing the panic in his own voice.

Jason didnt know what to do. He stood up, darting to his dads side, trying to remember what the procedure was in a situation like this. His mind was totally blank. He stood there, mouth open, gaping at his father with no idea how to help him.

Out of nowhere, a cascade of long hair crossed in front of Jasons sight. The next thing he saw was a pair of arms wrapped around his fathers chest, the hands folded into a fist that thrusted under his sternum.

Alright big guy, the woman called out. She continued speaking between thrusts. We are not going to let you choke!

A soggy clump of french fries flew from Martys mouth onto the floor. He gasped for air and the woman patted him on the back.

See? she said with a smile. I told you I wouldnt let you choke.

Jason stood there, his mouth still hanging open. His mind was too slow to catch up with what happened. He still felt panicked, even though he could see that his dad was breathing no, laughing.

Yeah, yeah, Im fine. He dabbed at his forehead with his napkin. Just tried to shove too many fries in at once, I guess.

He laughed and the woman laughed with him. She even let out a little snort.

Im glad youre okay, she said. Does anything hurt?

Not at all, Marty replied, patting his belly. Ive been saved by an angel.

You know, Marty said without missing a beat, I always hoped my son would find a strong woman!

Jason stared at him, horrified. How was it that his dad maintained the ability to completely embarrass him after all of these years? Was it like riding a bicycle, a skill hed never lose?

She handled the awkward comment with grace. That was my workout for the day, so thank you.

Jason wanted to say something, but still couldnt think straight. He was stunned with what happened.

She really was strong. And he was surprised that she was able to get her arms around his dads big belly. She was tall, maybe even as tall as his dad. For some reason, that was all that his brain could focus on.

He continued gaping as she disappeared through the front door. The moment to thank her passed. Jason sat down at the table and focused his eyes back on his dad.

Forget the fries, his dad said, mouth full. This burger is delicious!

Alex rushed to her car. She was already running late before stopping into the diner to grab lunch, and then she saw that guy choking! She couldnt just leave him there. Luckily, it was an easy rescue. It only took a few Heimlich thrusts and the man was back to his burger. Alex stuffed the rest of her donut into her mouth as she started her car.

She got to clinic with just enough time to say hello to the front end staff, wash her hands, and check her schedule for the day. She was excited to see that her first patient was one of her favorites.

Mrs. Higgins! Its so lovely to see you, Alex said as she walked into the room.

Mrs. Higgins flashed a little smile. And its always nice to see you Dr. Small.

What brings you in today? Nothing wrong I hope?

Oh no, you know me. Tough as a bag of nails. A 90 year old bag of nails.

Alex laughed. Yes, of course. But you know that you can always tell me if youre having any trouble.

Mrs. Higgins smiled. I know, kiddo. Thats why I keep coming to see you.

Alex completed a physical exam and reviewed all of Mrs. Higgins most recent blood work. It was all wonderfully normal. Mrs. Higgins had nothing new to report, except for some pictures of her great-grandchildren.

Alex loved baby pictures. She oohed and gushed over their chubby cheeks.

Mrs. Higgins tucked the pictures back into her purse. Dr. Small, you know that I worry about you.

Me? Why? she replied, though she knew what was coming.

You cant be a day over 26, but you wont be young forever. Dont forget to find a nice man to start a family with.

Alex almost corrected her to say that she was 31, not 26, but she stopped herself when she realized that it would only make her situation seem worse.

Mrs. Higgins stood up and fetched a plastic container from her purse. I made these this morning, just for you and the girls.

Chocolate chip cookies. Alex loved Mrs. Higgins cookies, but it made her feel guilty that this sweet 90 year old woman was getting up early to bake for them.

Youre too good to us. You know that we all love your baking, but I dont want you to feel like you have to trouble yourself like that just to come in and see us.

Mrs. Higgins pulled her in for a hug. Oh hush, an old lady likes to feel useful once in a while.

Alex escorted her to the front lobby, carrying the container with her. The rest of the staff spotted the cookies at once and demanded that she open them immediately. Alex obliged; she was happy that Mrs. Higgins could see how much her efforts were appreciated.

The rest of Alexs day flew by; she always liked coming up to this clinic. She was part of a group of doctors who traveled between a handful of the rural clinics in the area, and her schedule at this spot in particular was always packed.

After she finished medical school, she wanted to move back home to be close to her parents. She interviewed at several primary care offices in her hometown of Albany, New York, but none of them felt quite right.

The offices were fine, of course; the other doctors seemed nice and the staff was hardworking. Yet none of them had a mission that inspired her as much as the rural health clinic group the doctors there traveled around to ensure that the people of upstate New York got the care they deserved.

It was a shame that there was such a shortage of doctors in the area. Her interview there felt like a dream come true and she accepted the job offer immediately. Alex was happy to contribute, even in her small way.

Since most of the clinics were north of Albany, she had to live a bit further from her parents, but she didnt mind. The scenery more than made up for it it was an absolutely breathtaking part of the country.

She didnt have a chance to take a break that day until 5 PM when her last patient of the day was a no show. She was surprised; Mr. Willow had never missed an appointment before.

Do you want me to give him a call? asked Jean, one of Alexs favorite nurses.

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