My rise to the upper echelon of Solar society was meteoric. At sixteen a dropout from unfashionable Old Manhattan; by twenty-five I had offices on four planets, plus a vacation home on Ganymede. Trillionaires marveled as my stock surged. What was my secret?

It was her.

Rebuffed repeatedly in school, I wanted desperately to prove I could be somebody. So I spent my youth engrossed in market research, backroom deals, and schemes to be in all the right places at precisely the right times. Always dreaming of the fiery redhead girl who set my heart aflame.

When I returned to Earth, I showered her with treasures from across the Solar system. Neptunian diamonds sparkling like stars. Crystalline water from the Fountain of Youth on Europa. Martian trilobite fossils.

If only I had known: all the wealth in the universe could never buy her heart.

A story written for Flash! Friday vol. 3-36, inspired by the themes and characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Photo prompt is a public domain image from the film “Four Walls”.


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