The Acquisition
by Aura Polanco

". . . it was impossible for Marcus to work as Valentina’s brown suede eyes continuously flashed before his mind . . . For her, he would leave it all behind."

In a New York City immune to the unromantic realities of workplace sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement, Marcus is Valentina’s boss and also loves her. He declares his feelings and offers himself to her in a way that, if he weren’t handsome, rich, and kind, might strike a young woman as creepy but which Valentina accepts as flattering and brimming with potential. In another story, this might be the beginning of Valentina’s quest to be loved for herself and not just her attractive external essence. But here, what Marcus calls love is apparently the real deal, and Valentina must determine whether the feelings are mutual.

Valentina’s world is a sensuous one, described in the kind of rich wordy detail that is timeless. She is presumably a contemporary American millennial, but the language and context of her story could easily evoke another century and a setting decidedly more continental, as it ultimately does when the story’s action shifts to Spain. If young professionals are texting, using Uber, sharing space with roommates, and sipping lattes from Starbucks all through the post-college years, Valentina exists in a separate universe.

Luckily, Marcus is here in this other world with her. Though his love for Valentina enters the story as a pre-existing condition, preventing the reader from falling in love alongside him, his stoic devotion is reassuring and admirable. It would be nice to know Valentina as well as Marcus does, and even nicer to have the opportunity to fall for her too. But short of that plunge, it’s good to know Marcus is out there offering his love to Valentina, making no demands before their time, and letting the road to love runs its course, even if it passes the boardroom along the way.

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