Oct 18, 2019 2:14 AM
imrainai marries billionaire!lev because pauline has exactly one solution for every problem ever
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Suzanna Teller is dying.

This is perhaps an excessively melodramatic way of putting things. The reaper is being polite today; he announces himself well in advance. Zana has as many as ten years of life left, which is plenty of time to get used to the concept. She'll be a shell by the end of it - they won't even know for sure whether she's a vegetable, since motor functions degrade so badly before cognition does, but the same thing that's going to destroy her nerves is going to destroy her brain, and you sort of need your brain for thinking and being alive and stuff.

There are treatments. Experimental ones. They might work or they might not, but it doesn't matter, because Karen is working three part-time jobs already just to pay the bills, and insurance will never cover it, not for this. It's too expensive and there's too little hope. It's going to take her months just to pay off the cost of determining what was wrong.

She explains the situation to Connor (who is eleven now - Zana might or might not make it that long), and then excuses herself from Zana's hospital room and stands in the hallway and cries.

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"It seems like you need help."

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"Oh - sorry - " She checks whether she's blocking anything. She isn't, she's just crying. "I mean - I'm fine, I just. I just found out my niece is dying. I guess I'm not fine, but there's nothing really anyone can do. I guess."

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"Try me. I specialize in problem-solving."

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"It's just, um - it's this degenerative disorder that affects the nervous system, I already forgot the whole name. I have it written down somewhere. They said there are experimental treatments but there's nothing commercially available, certainly nothing insurance will touch. And they might not work anyway, they're still researching it. It's rare, I guess. So it's just, um. We wait now. And try to, uh, give her whatever fraction of a decent life you can have in ten years when you're slowly losing the ability to move or speak or do anything."

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"That's awful."

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"It's - yeah. Thanks. I'm sure lots of people have problems like this, though."

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"That's why my job is fixing problems." A business card appears between two perfectly manicured fingers. "I can't do anything about the medical side of things but I might be able to help with the financial side."

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" - thanks. Are you an insurance person, or...?"

She takes the business card. 

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"Many wealthy people find that they have particular needs for trustworthy people. Someone to start a business with, or raise their children after their spouse has died, or ward off fortune hunters... I've even found help for one client whose grandfather's will said he had to be married for a year to inherit. So I'm always on the lookout for people who can help make mutually beneficial relationships."

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" - you've been speaking to me for maybe twenty seconds."

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"I also don't like it when adorable children die! I want to help if I can."

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" - OK. Sorry. I just - thanks. I'll - need more information about what exactly this is?"

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"I know you probably don't want to do a business meeting right now, so you can check out our website, okay? And give me an email if you decide you want to talk to us."

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She nods. "Right. OK. Thanks."

So she spends a while getting herself together, and she takes Zana and Connor home, and she tells Zana a story about a brain in a jar that all the other weird future cyborg people still loved even though he didn't have any arms or legs to move, and she looks up the website on the card.

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The good news is that Billionaire Marriage Brokers is definitely a legitimate company that has arranged marriages for many extremely wealthy people! There are interviews with satisfied clients, who are definitely real people who definitely got married.

The bad news is that they pretty much exclusively arrange marriages.

The good news is that Karen would earn ten thousand dollars for two days of interviews.

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Hahahahahaha.

- at least if it has news coverage and stuff then it's possibly not the kind of thing where you go there and then they pull guns on you and you find out that actually this is the kind of sex trafficking ring where nobody marries you, and actually you get kidnapped and sent to some obscure foreign country where you don't speak the language and the authorities are pretty unconcerned with the fact that you have a four-year-old to take care of at home. She's going to tell her cousin to call the police if she doesn't call back within twenty-four hours of going anywhere near any of their offices anyway.

Even assuming that it's about the least nefarious thing that it could possibly be, there is no way that anyone who talks for her for any length of time is going to want to marry her. She has no idea what she would do if they did. Probably die.

But hey. Ten thousand dollars covers the copays on the diagnostic tests.

She writes an email.

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A secretary gets back to her within an hour to schedule the dates!

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Hahahaha this is definitely a scam. A scam that occasionally actually marries real people in vaguely beneficial arrangements, but mostly so that it can cover up its scamminess. But she doesn't have a ton of other ideas, other than 'become JK Rowling tomorrow', so hey.

She gives her cousin very clear instructions about when to check on her and under what circumstances to start putting together a search party.

She calls in sick to work and arrives to the interview twenty minutes early.

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Pauline smiles at her!

"Welcome. How is your niece doing?"

 

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"Better than me, I think. I tried to explain the basics of her and she kept insisting that she'd always be able to move just fine as long as she thought very hard about it."

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"She sounds adorable! Do you help raise her?"

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And the correct answer to this question is - "Mhm! Her mother passed away a few years ago, so I've been looking out for her and her brother, but the whole family helps. They're very sweet."

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"I'm so sorry to hear that! It sounds like you've had a rough couple of years. I hope that I can make them better."

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"Thank you! I appreciate the concern."

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"So I'll walk you through the next couple days. We're going to get a bunch of people in to ask you some questions. Some of them are going to seem kind of weird, but I promise you all of them are part of our process. You should be as honest as you can and not try to give the answers that you think are the right answers. You'd be surprised about how many things aren't dealbreakers in this business! But honesty and integrity absolutely are. We'll be independently verifying as many of your statements as we can, and if we've discovered that you've said something false we won't match you."

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