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Just One Inch
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Just one inch, I begged. But my sister’s fiancé gave it to me ALL.
We were never supposed to meet.
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A year ago …
“Tina! Wake up! You’re going to miss the exam!” came a screech from outside my room.
I groaned and mentally tried to make the noise go away. I buried myself under my pillow but was rudely awakened when my head bumped against something hard. Damnit! It was the small banker’s lamp on my desk, its green lampshade knocked askew by my clumsiness. I’d fallen asleep again while studying, the sunlight glaring through the window, a branch rattling sharply against the glass.
Groggily, I shook myself awake while Jenna pounded on the door again.
“Get your ass up!” she shrieked. “We’re going to miss the torts exam!”
I sighed, trying to ignore the pounding in my head. Whatever our differences, Jenna was my cross to bear. My twin was born three minutes after me and she’s the crowd favorite. Blessed with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a slim, lithe figure, Jenna always manages to find the spotlight.
Me, on the other hand, I’m curvy like they say these days. It’s a challenge to find tops that fit my bust, so loose flannel shirts are my go-to because they’re stylish without being revealing. I usually wear cute glasses and tight jeans, making sure my shirts cover my rear end, but there’s no hiding the fact that I have a substantial derriere. I have a shelf butt à la Kim Kardashian, complete with dimples and winks.
“Hurry up!” my sister screamed again. Reluctantly, I heaved myself to my feet and opened the door.
“Coming, coming,” I sighed, hoping that my generally rumpled appearance wasn’t too bad. No such luck. My twin never missed an opportunity to criticize my flaws and looked me over with obvious disgust. Of course, she was perfectly groomed even at 8 a.m., so I was a sad comparison having slept in my clothes with my comfy top haphazardly tucked into my jeans, my glasses still askew on my nose.
“You look nasty,” Jenna commented, making a face.
“Just give me two minutes, okay?” I ground out as I brushed past my twin to the bathroom. I scrabbled around looking for the toothpaste, and as usual found it uncapped. I struggled to squeeze out some usable gel.
“Hurry the fuck up!” Jenna screamed outside, pounding on the door again. “Who cares what you look like? I have a career in environmental law on the line. Let’s go!”
With a reluctant sigh, I put down the toothbrush and grabbed my bag, rushing down the stairs to the car. Rooting around for my keys, I unlocked the doors and Jenna was in the passenger seat in a flash, anger clouding her beautiful features.
Sighing, I revved the car and started backing it out of our driveway. You see, I’m Jenna’s driver … all the time. Not a designated driver, but the constant chauffeur, the lady-in-waiting to my twin, who never got her license. Despite the fact that California is car country, my sister always got our parents to chauffeur her around and now that job is mine. Nothing I say, or what anyone says, can convince her to go to the DMV.
“It’s okay,” she’d say breezily, waving a slim hand in elegant dismissal. “Tina loves driving and besides, gas is so expensive that it’s good to ride-share.” Just like that – my sister could twist anything so that she was made of gold. “You know, I’m very environmentally conscious,” she’d confide to whomever, playing on her reputation as a do-gooder.
As a result, it’s continued. We’re at the same law school because she’s a schemer who somehow managed to scam good grades during undergrad, charming the admissions committee. Meanwhile, I’m stuck for the next year, but after graduation I’m out of here, and off to a new life.
I glanced around at the raging party in my apartment. It was cool. I’m a thirty-five year-old tech entrepreneur, worth more than you can possibly imagine. You know that thing called a “unicorn,” a start-up valued at over a billion dollars? Yeah, that’s what Manning Pharmaceuticals was … until today. My baby went public this morning and now I’m officially a billionaire. One. Billion. Fucking. Dollars. Not a start-up mogul whose wealth is based on some wild and crazy VC estimate, but the real fucking thing.
It wasn’t easy. I worked like a dog to get where I am today. Sleeping at the office, showering at the office, flaking on all other commitments until I got what I wanted. It was painful, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. My brothers and I had a ball, and besides girls love the flowing testosterone. Like bloodhounds they’re able to sniff out prey from a mile away, and my brothers and I are easy targets. We walk, talk, and bleed our work, and it doesn’t help that we’re handsome motherfuckers, with the characteristic Manning dark hair and blue eyes.