The maid clearly tried to ignore me as I walked past, both of us eager to try and forget the entire thing. Strolling over to my guest room, I pulled out a change of clothes, and then stepped into the refreshing, soothing relaxation of the shower.

I took the time to try and really enjoy the hot water as it cascaded down my body. Cole had gone out of his way to supply a number of beauty care products – he had probably hired someone to pick them out and have them delivered. It was a nice, gracious touch, even if I was totally pissed at him for his dismissive departure this morning.


After the shower, I dressed myself in the prettiest dress that I owned. That was when I realized that I was probably trapped here until he came back, considering that I lacked a key to the private elevator.

Grumbling furiously to myself, I started unpacking my clothing into the furniture of the guest room. It was only when I was storing my socks away that I noticed something glimmering in the light on a shelf near the door. Temporarily preoccupied, I walked over and snatched up a key on a ring, a note, and a guest credit card with a microchip.



Dear Key,

Here’s a little something to get by if I need to pop out for a little while. Enclosed is a private key to the elevator – DO NOT LOSE THIS – along with a credit card exclusively for your use. The credit limit is fifteen thousand per day, so don’t go too nuts.

I smiled to myself.

Cole had apparently never learned that the last thing you do with a woman scorned is arm her with money, although a) he probably did this yesterday and b) fifteen grand a day, to him, was very likely the equivalent of pocket change.

Still, I happily took the card and the key, depositing both in my purse before pausing on the unpacking front. After all, I now had not only a “Leave as you please” pass, but enough money that I could actually touch to finally take Aiswarya up on some libation-based merriment!

I whipped open my phone and sent her a text – Hey girl, let’s get drinks!

Deciding to go ahead and clean up the mess of my open trunk while I waited, I giddily tossed the clothes in their respective drawers and hung up a few dresses, blouses, and miniskirts before she finally texted back:

I take it you’re back in town. Free at 6PM.

“You know,” I spoke aloud to myself as I glanced at my open suitcase, “I really didn’t pack enough clothes to last me however long I’m staying here…I mean, I couldn’t have, anyway. There’s no way my wardrobe was fitting in these suitcases…”

My eyes fell on the open closet. It’s so empty.

“I have the resources…might as well throw myself on Cole’s generosity…I mean, it would be rude not to, right?”

With a smug glance in the mirror, I snatched up my purse and high-tailed it for the private elevator. My little patch of embarrassment with the maid was totally off my mind as I confidently powerwalked past her, my heels clicking on the tile.

I am going to MAKE this day awesome.

Chapter 19

Kiona

The first thing on my agenda was breakfast. Cole had left in such a hurry that he hadn’t bothered to think of how I was going to feed myself, so I thought I’d start by treating myself to the fancy restaurant I’d passed on the street for years – Adlebaum’s.

Adlebaum’s styled itself as an ostentatious little spot in one of the most happening streets in my almost day-to-day life. Formerly known as Harry’s, then Harry’s Cuisine, the proprietor had eventually stepped up his branding game by going with his weird but somehow posh surname. The menu, itself, experienced some sharp turnover with the name change – formerly known for somewhat uninspired and unfulfilling meals, he’d invested in an infamously difficult but inspired top chef, as well as some quality line cooks for support.

The result was a complete one-eighty in not only the quality of the menu selections, but the clientele themselves. In two weeks, the place went from barely scraping by to one of the surprise hits of the winter restaurant season, and the success only started to pile on top.

That, of course, brought along an extravagant, across-the-board rise in prices, firmly placing the esteemed establishment beyond what I could ever comfortably afford.

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