I sat on my bed and pulled up his number, but before I could send anything I stopped myself and instead sent the message to Katie.
Let’s have lunch.A few seconds later, she replied.
“Oooo where?I smiled slightly.
You choose.Her reply was instantaneous.
Mr. Chow.I typed back.
Done. 1pm okay with you?I didn’t have to wait long for her reply.
See you there. Btw when is your contract over again?I stared at the message, a dull ache in my heart that almost left me feeling numb. I couldn’t bear to write the words down. I typed the four letters with a frown on my forehead.
Soon.Her reply was quick as a flash.
Are you ok?Mine was just as fast.
Yes. See you at 1pmI thought that would be the end of it but another text came through.
I want to get my nails done before lunch.I texted back.
I’ll come with you.She took a little while longer to respond, no doubt she had to deal with a customer or something.
At the mall? Onora’s?I replied.
Sounds good. Will you book or shall I?Her reply came back with five angry face emojis.I will but gotta go. Bitch client. Ugh. See you there.With a smile I tossed the phone on the bed and collapsed next to it.Chapter 42SkyeAn hour and a half later I arrived at the chic nail salon at our favorite mall. Katie was already there and having an animated conversation with the staff. They were all from Thailand and good friends of hers and always applied great discounts whenever we went together. It felt strange to think I didn’t need those discounts as much as I used to.
“Skye” she called and got to her feet to rush over to me
I smiled at her, but her expression twisted with concern. “Hey, are you okay?”
“Yeah,” I croaked. “Why?”
“Your eyes are sunken, and you’re deathly pale. Have you eaten today?”
“I have, I’m fine,” I said and reached up to slap some color into my cheeks.
“Well, you don’t look it,” she muttered. She stared at me, an amused frown digging into her forehead. “What’s happening? You’re not pregnant, are you?”
My eyes widened. “Don’t be silly.” Even the idea was ludicrous. “I’m on the pill.”
“And you’re sure you haven’t missed a day?”
“Not a single day,” I said firmly.
“In that case, come on.” She pulled me with her into the salon. “We’re having a nibble. Sushi. It’s amazing.”
I opted for a simple pedicure and settled into the low seat. The girls began to work on us and the intimate space echoed with their friendly chatter and laughter. Thankfully nothing whatsoever about me came up so I just listened to the other girls as they spoke about their lives; their work, their kids, and the reprehensible men in their lives.
As I listened to them it seemed to me every one of them had a solid grasp of their reality and where they were going. Whilst I on the other hand felt as if I was in a dream. The fever that was Luca Messana was burning wildly in my heart, but even a fool knew every fire must come to an end.
When our nail session came to an end we began to stroll through the mall towards Mr. Chow
“So…” Katie began. “You’ll soon be done with your contract. How do you feel?”
I couldn’t hold back anymore. My throat constricted as I tried to stem the tears but she had already seen them. With burning eyes, I stared down at my feet. We were both still wearing the throwaway sliders from the nail bar and my beautifully pedicured nails looked blurred.
Katie positioned herself in front of me and waited for me to get myself back together. She didn’t rush me. She just placed a hand on my shoulder and waited.
When I could eventually get the words out, they were delivered in a whisper. “I already miss him so much it hurts.”
I was afraid to see her expression. Afraid she would laugh at me being so idiotic. Who fell in love with a man like Luca? It was like an ant that dreams of driving a car. It was just so dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
I could feel my tears run down my face and splash on my slides.
“Oh, Skye,” she muttered, and pulled me into a hug.
I held on tightly and cried my eyes out. Right there in the middle of the mall with all the people moving around us.
“It’ll be okay. You’ll see, it’ll be okay.”
“I feel so ridiculous. How could I have let myself fall in love with him? I am a nobody.” I sobbed.
“Look at me, Skye,” Katie said firmly, pulling away.
I looked into her kind eyes. “How could you not have fallen for him? It was the classic Beauty and the Beast scenario. You sacrificed yourself for your father and went to live in this big lonely castle, where you fell in love with the beast. I think I would have done the same, especially since he’s such a sex-on-a-stick type of beast, and he’s been showering you with all the lovely things you never had in your life. If I were you, I would go back to your castle and enjoy the time you have left. I’d live intensely, and make every precious moment count. And when it was time to leave I would then start to grieve. I wouldn’t spoil my time now with sorrow for what might not happen.”