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Dear Ella,

I just wanted

That was it. Three hours at a desk and that was all he had. His gaze flicked over to the liquor cabinet. Then the clock. He clicked his pen once, then twice.

It's just an apology.

But he had his doubts. Apologies were supposed to be liberating. He felt leaden, fatigued. A yawn gripped him. He pushed his seat back, then he stood and began to pace in front of the window.

He surveyed the marina. His marina. Tenants crawled up and down the docks with their things--hauls, lures, coolers. He'd always taken a perverse glee in assigning dock space to people. It wasn't like renting out plots of land. Rather, in a technical sense, it was a permanent claim to any water that entered an imaginary boundary next to the dock.

It was silly to think about, but in truth, he'd temporarily owned trillions upon trillions of water molecules in his time. And he'd charged tenants a healthy markup for the same privilege.

"You can't own everything, Donald." That's what she'd said. He found himself replaying the previous night's argument yet again.

He'd gone to such great lengths to make himself invisible, haunting the corners of the party and locking in on his phone whenever possible. No matter. She cornered him within minutes of making her entrance.

"Hello, Donald."


She had a look of self-assured cunning on her face, the same look she'd worn when she had first pursued him. He'd been drawn to that look then; this time, though, he loathed it.

"How are things?"

He arched an eyebrow at her, prompting her to correct herself.

"With the acquisition, I mean. Have you had the papers drawn up yet?"

Ah. She was going to make him say it. "No, Ella, I haven't. To be honest, I'm reconsidering the sale."

She frowned. "Oh? Why?"

"Certain conditions have changed, and it seems to be a ... a less attractive arrangement now."

He could see her bristle. "Hm. I see." She seemed to consider letting it go for the time being, but then she redoubled her efforts. "If I may speak plainly, I don't think you should let what happened the other night impact the nature of our agreement."

"It hasn't."

"No? Then what other conditions have changed? What has you so spooked all of a sudden?"

He let a cruel grin surface for a second. "Oh, you know, just the whims of a businessman. A bad feeling about things, you know? I think I'm going to pass for now."

"No, I don't know. This isn't acceptable." She screwed her mouth up before pinning him with a furious expression. "You know what I think?"

"Probably, but go on."

She thrust an accusatory finger in his face. "You're scared. You've shown vulnerability to someone and it's frightened you, so you're backing out of the deal. But listen: I need this to go through. You agreed to it. We're moving forward. So you need to figure this thing out for yourself and get over it. Unless you want to face legal action, that is."

He laughed. "Threats already?" Then he felt his irritation sharpen into something more severe. "Look, it's simple, Ella. You're trash. Your family's trash. I'm not letting my marina get overrun with trash like you, not for any price. So, you know, get lost."

She was so offended by this that she stormed off immediately, which was a welcome development. He could only handle so much amateur psychoanalysis from someone as entitled as Ella. Plus, she was way off base.

It wasn't anything she'd done on their date, or anything to do with intimacy. No, she'd made her mistake before all that had happened, when they first talked about the sale of the marina.

You can't own everything, Donald. And then she laughed. That was when he'd made his decision. The rest ... well, that was just for amusement.

Donald stalked over to his desk and picked up the letter he'd been working on. With a sense of purpose, he stepped out of his study and found his way to the railing. He looked it over one last time.

Dear Ella,

I just wanted

The letter made a satisfying crackling noise as he balled it up in one fist. Then he let it go, watching as it tumbled gracelessly into the marina.

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