“You have to be willing to lie,” was the first sentence Ari used informing Kelly of his get rich quick idea.
“That bodes well,” She sighed, sinking further back into the couch, “I feel like I should already go ahead and say no to this for legal reasons.”
“Oh, no, it’s completely legal. Trust me, I’ve done all my research on the legality of it. It’s just a social lie you’re going to have to tell. Well, we’ll have to tell. It’s good money, Kell.” Ari leaned towards her, pulling her hands towards him. Kelly still looked skeptical, but Ari pressed on, “At least hear me out before you disregard me completely.”
“Okay. Fine. Lay it on me, Ari. What is this plan? And what lie am I going to have to tell?”
“Well, you’ll just have to say you love me.” Ari said simply, letting go of Kelly’s hands.
“Aw, Ari, I do love you,” She grinned, reaching out to ruffle his hair like she might have done with a much younger boy, “You’re one of the most loveable guys I know.”
“Thanks. I think,” Ari sighed, swatting her hand away, “but no. I mean like, Love Me, love me. As in we’ve been secretly dating and now we want to get married kind of love me.”
That caught Kelly off guard. It took her a while to realize that the appropriate response to that should be, “and how in the world does this get us a lot of money?”
Ari adjusted his seat, and Kelly knew she was in for a long explanation. She supposed that was fair. She didn’t really want a short explanation to the plan that involved apparently a shit ton of money, and a fake wedding. “You know the Pennsylvania grandparents that I told you about? The ones where I have to break out the ties and Jackets every time that I go to visit them and make sure to hide that tattoo on my chest?”
“The ones who make your dad want to swear every time you have to go visit them? And we always have to go out and get shit faced when you get home?”
Ari nodded through her questions. “Those are the ones. Well, I don’t know if you realized this, but they are fucking loaded. Like, crazy loaded. Like at least nine figures in their portfolios alone. They didn’t give anything to my Mom because they think that she’s made a lot of mistakes in her life, such as having a job, marrying my dad, and having me. But, apparently, I can’t be blamed for the sins of my parents.”
Kelly was still unsure how this got them any kind of money for getting married, so she took her best guess. “So—what? We get them to pay for our fake wedding and then take the money and run?”
“No, not exactly. See, we’d have to get legally married. We’d have to convince my grandparents we’re in love. Apparently, they set up a trust in my name, to be awarded to me and my bride following our wedding. I did the research, and it’s not illegal to take the trust as long as we’re legally married. We have to make Grandmother and Grandfather believe we’re in love so they don’t change the trust before the wedding, but from a legal stand point, we don’t even have to be friendly as long as we are married.”
“For how much?”
Ari couldn’t even hide his smile when he thought about the money, “Five and half million dollars.”
Kelly let out a slow whistle. “That is a lot of money, Ari. A lot a lot of money.”
“Yes. Yes it is.”
Kelly gave him a once over. He was holding out still. “What’s the catch? It can’t be as simple as getting married. There has to be something you’re not telling me.”
“Well,” Ari sighed, “Catch number one is you’d have to stop working. They are wrong, but they think it’s obscene for a woman to be working, especially if she has a man to support her.”
“You mean I have to quit Starbucks to spilt five and half million with you? Twist my arm, why dontcha? No, Ari, what is the real catch?”
“Okay. Fair enough. Catch number one, take two: We’ll have to play our part really well. I know that the grandparents are going to want us to stay with them for a while before and after the wedding—which is also going to have to take place in Pennsylvania, so sorry if you had your heart set on your first wedding somewhere else.”
“Well, I supposed that’s fair enough. If I were giving someone millions of dollars, then I would want to make sure they at least seemed happy together.” Kelly knew better than to relax though, Ari had this tendency to save what he considered to be the worst for last.
“And, the last part,” Ari started, visibly tensing, knowing well aware this was the make it or break it part of the whole situation, “Is the breakdown of the payments. We’d get a million and a half on the day of our wedding, two million on our third wedding anniversary, and the last two million on our fifth wedding anniversary.” Ari flinched, like he was expecting Kelly to hit him.
“So—what you’re telling me is that—to get this five and half million dollar pay off that you’re dangling in front of me, is that I’d have to be married to you for at least five years?”
“Probably closer to six at least, actually…I think if we divorce right after our fifth anniversary, then the grandparents are going to get a little cross and might try to take us to court. I do not think for a second that they would be above suing their own grandchild for everything I’ve got.” He stopped, and for a second I swear he looked shy, nervous. “Why? Is that a deal breaker?”
Kelly considered it. She hadn’t known Ari for long, but she did like him. If somebody had descended from the heavens and told her that Ari would be the man that she married, she would have believed him. True, this wasn’t the ideal marriage, but he’d be good to her, and she’d be good to him. In addition, five and a half million wasn’t anything to sneeze out. Six years with him as a husband would easily be worth that—less even.
“I have one condition,” she finally declared.
Ari looked up timidly, “Oh? What’s that?”
“You’ve got to take me out, something real nice. You’ve got to come up with a proper proposal, something that I can tell my parents and gush about with my sister. Woo me, Mr. Harris, if you want me to be your bride.”
Kelly had never seen Ari smile the way that he did just now. It wasn’t an ideal courtship, but, hey, at least there was mutual attraction here. That had to count for something. “Fair enough. I’ll make it the best date you’ve ever been on.”