Never in my life…just never, never, never in my life would I have joined dating apps like Tinder. I simply couldn’t, just couldn’t. If you swiped right on a guy, you might as well have told him you found him cute, and oh my God, oh my God…
I bit back a groan as I thought back on all the photos that Kat showed me, a majority of which I had effing swiped right on without knowing.
Shit, shit, shit!
Things like this were only supposed to happen in rom-coms. Romance novels. Or – in my case – otome games. But it was not supposed to happen within the sensible boundaries of reality, dammit. It just wasn’t, and—
I found Kat at her usual place behind the counter and marched towards her determinedly. The younger woman was talking on the phone, her face expressive, and she was making wild gestures every so often even though the other person couldn’t see her.
I planted myself on her line of sight and crossed my arms over my chest. She was so going to get a piece of my mind the moment—
But when she finally noticed me, Kat’s eyes only lit up. “Just the person I need to see.”
“Here.” She shoved her phone towards me, and I took it without thinking. “Talk to him.”
But Kat was already asking her assistant to take over again and had escaped into her private office in the next moment.
I looked down, Kat’s phone still in my hand. What was that she said earlier? Talk to…OH. And before I could even think about it, I had already hit the red button to end the call.
A moment later, the phone started ringing and vibrating, the name BIG BOTHER flashed on the screen, and I swallowed back a nervous laugh. It was so like Kat to name Ioniko like that in her phone book—
I nearly dropped Kat’s iPhone and quickly switched it to Silent when I belatedly noticed the frowns being thrown at my direction.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
I reluctantly answered the call, knowing it was pointless to delay the inevitable. Judgment Day would come whether I wanted it to or not. Taking a deep, calming breath, I said hesitantly, “Hello?”
“Do you know, koukla mou…no woman has ever hung up on me.”
The dangerous softness of Ioniko’s silky voice had me wincing, and I said weakly, “I’m sorry?”
A few moments passed, and then Ioniko’s voice had turned abrupt as he asked, “Is it true?”
I bit my lip.
“About Kat creating an account for you on Tinder?”
“Yes,” I whispered.
“Get rid of it.”
I meant to. Or at least I had…until he said that, and instead I heard myself say, “No.”
Ioniko said something in Greek, and whatever it meant, the savage tone he used told me it wasn’t anything good.
“You really mean to do this.”
Another moment passed, and then Ioniko said, “Come join me in Athens, and we’ll talk.”
This is crazy. Just plain abso-effin-lutely crazy. Crazy, crazy, crazy. But even as the words played over and over in my mind, it still didn’t stop me from frantically going through my meager wardrobe and packing an overnight bag in a frenzy.
Crazy, crazy, crazy.
And yet here I was, meekly thanking a guy in a black suit as he took my carry-on and opened the door for me. The door to a freaking limousine, mind you, because apparently, this was how billionaires typically traveled.
Like I said: craaaaaaaaazy, and it got even crazier when we arrived at the airport. Another guy in a black suit took over from Man in Black #1, and after escorting me through several narrow hallways, I only realized we had already bypassed customs and immigration when the last door we went through had us exiting straight out to the ramp.
The airline’s ground crew greeted me by name and walked me up to the plane, from which the first class cabin crew took over and ushered me to 3A. Although there were 10 suites – my God, SUITES, and not seats – in first class, there were only three other passengers with me: a politician and his wife in 1A and 1B and then a female celebrity at 5B.
As soon as I was seated, the flight attendants fussed over me like I was a toddler about to throw a tantrum.
Would you like to see our wine selection, Ms. Mathers?
How about a shower while on board?
If you’d like to have our in-flight chef prepare you any kind of dish, please just let us know.
It took a while before I had them convinced I truly didn’t need anything, and by the time they left and pulled the door shut, I was completely exhausted and overwhelmed, my jaw aching from all the smiling I had done because I didn’t want them to think I was a hard-to-please bitch.
Crazy, was all I could think of at that moment. This was just over-the-top bonkers, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt I was about to have a panic attack. I shouldn’t have let Kat convinced me to go, I thought hysterically. What the heck was I thinking, saying yes to flying halfway across the world just to spend—