Read 2 Big Apple Hunter Online

Authors: Maddie Cochere

2 Big Apple Hunter (10 page)

He put the jacket back on the bed and picked up the suit. “You can never go wrong with a classic
black
suit, and this
one is perfect,” he said. “
This will look awesome on you with your blonde hair.”

I looked at my watch again. “What time do I have to be ready?” I asked him.

“Bernardo said they would send a car for us at 7:30. Can you make it in time?” he asked.

“Yep. Give me shower time first?” I asked as I started moving toward the bathroom.

“Go
ahead,” he said. “I want to look over a couple of notes from today while they’re still fresh in my mind.”

I took a quick shower and emerged from the bathroom wrapped in a comfy hotel guest robe. “Your turn,” I told Darby as I rushed over to the powder room to start blow drying my hair. When m
y hair was done, I went back t
o the bedroom to
gather
clothing and my purse. Darby was in the shower. I padded back over to the powder room to do my evening makeup and get dressed.

I
hadn’t had
time to tell Darby about my
lost jewelry
or my bus trip, but would do so
over dinner later. I assumed we’d be having a late dinner, and I was going to be wearing some serious cranky pants if we didn’t. A little breakfast, too much wine, and a few snacks weren’t going to get me through until breakfast tomorrow.

The cashmere deserved the best, so I put on my sexiest lace under
wear
. The effect of the push up bra under the sweater would be fabulous, and the lace panties wouldn’t leave any lines on the skirt. Black open-toed dress shoes with 5-inch heels and an ankle
strap went on next. I stood in front of the mirro
r
in great underwear and heels. Racquetball is fabulous for toning, and I liked what was looking back at me in the mirror. I had worked hard to get this body.

“You can’t go to the theater like that,” Darby said as he peeked around the corner.

I threw my brush at him. “Get out! I’ll be ready in a few
minutes,” I said laughing
.

I slipped on the cashmere sweater and skirt. Oh my gosh! This felt sooo good. I couldn’t even stop my own hands
from running
over my hips and up and down my arms. This was a killer outfit.

I wished I had one of the new necklaces to wear, preferably th
e morganite. It would have been
beautiful and feminine against the gray. Ooh, the jade piece! I still had it in my purse. I pulled it out and put it on. The silk cord was beautiful and the black jade was striking against the light gray cashmere. The bottom of the jade dipped to the top of my cleavage creating an enticing impression on the sweater. I felt like a million bucks.

I walked into the living room. Darby looked me up and down and wolf-whistled. “Wow, Susan,” he said, his eyes shining, “that’s sexier than the underwear and heels.”
Only in Darby’s world
, I thought.

“It is pretty great, isn’t it?” I asked him with a big smile on my face. “Come here, you have to feel this.”

He came over and rubbed my arms. “Hmmm.” He let out the satisfied sound and then rubbed his check on my shoulder. “I don’t think I should let you out of the hotel in this. I might lose you forever.”

I lightly punched him on the arm and l
aughed. It was
then
I
noticed
he was dressed in casual clothes. “Why aren’t you ready?” I
asked trying to hold back a
frown.

He
seemed
tired
and said, “About that. Armand is the brains behind the business and the financial aspects of the store. I’m working closest with him. Bernardo works more on the acquisition and inventory of the merch
andise. Armand sent a text
a few minutes ago and wants me to bypass the theater and meet him for dinner so we can go over some more ideas. This will be our only face-to-face for several months, so he wants to cover as much ground as possible.”

“Am I coming with you?” I asked. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do without Darby for the evening.

“Armand said to send you off to the theater when the car comes
,” he said.
He handed the two tickets to me that he had been given earlier in the day. “Here you go. One for you, and one to scalp.” I couldn’t help myself, and I
gave in to a
little frown.
“I’m
kidding,” he laughed. “Do whatever you want with the extra ticket, but if you give it to a homeless
guy on the street, just remember he’ll
be sitting next to you all evening.” He
laughed again at his own wit
. “Bernardo will be
attending the performance with a guest
, so you won’t be alone, and he’ll be sure you get to the car to come back to the hotel afterward. You’ll be in good hands.”

I put the tickets in my
purse. I was disappointed we
wouldn’t be sharing the evening together. I was nervous to be out in the city by myself at night.
What if Bernardo didn’t show?

We walked out of the hotel together. The Lincoln Town Car was waiting, and the driver opened the door for me. T
he doorman flashed a big smile and tipped his hat to me
as he hailed a cab for Darby.

I slipped into the car, and I was off for Broadway – by myself!

 

Chapter Seven

 

The driver dropped me in front of the theater. New York at night was amazing, and I had an excited anticipation for the evening. I stood on the sidewalk and
looked
around. There were plenty of tourists on the streets. People going into the theater were dressed from casual to quite overdressed. Most had dressed for a nice evening out, with men in suits and women in dressy attire.

I stepped into the box-office lobby. It was busy with people trying to buy last-minute tickets or picking up pre-purchased tickets at the Will Call window. I moved into the shortest line. When it was my turn, I slipped my extra tick
et under the glass
and said
to the clerk
, “My friend couldn’t make it tonight,
so I have an extra ticket
. You might want to sell it again.”

T
he clerk slipped an envelope
out
to me and said, “Write your name on the envelope. If we sell the ticket, we’ll put the money in it, and you can pick it up tomorrow.”

“Really?” I asked. I was surprised. I didn’t expect the theater to scalp the ticket for me.

“Sure,” the clerk responded. “You paid for the ticket, and we already have our money, so you can get your money back if someone else buys it.”

I p
ut my name on the envelope and slid
it
back to him. “Thank you
,” I told him and turned back to the lobby. I stepped to the side and looked around.

On
e of the men I had seen in the office of the jewelry store was standing on
the opposite side of the
lobby
. I assumed it was Bernardo. He was talking with two people, but I could only see one of them clearly through
the crowd. The man was tall with Italian features like
Bernardo
,
and was
wearing the
same type of dark,
double-breasted suit
.
They both looked
as though they
had just
stepped out of a movie and had been playing gangster roles. They seemed out of place with the more festive theater goers. I almost laughed out loud.

As I made my way
across the lobby
, I stopped short. The second man
Bernardo
was talking
with
was the man wi
th the Indiana Jones hat. I
made him out to be a pervert
earlier today, and I had forgotten I
originally s
aw
him in the
office at the jewelry store
. Uh-oh. Derek
locked him in a c
onfessional at St. Patrick’s. Would he
connect me to th
e
stunt
?
I lost sight of the men for a few seconds as people moved past me and into the theater. When I saw them again, Indiana Jones was gone. I moved closer and overheard snippets of the intense conversation. “Shipment … Singapore …
bitch … river.” I
stood
directly behind the two men
, and heard Bernardo say, “Armand doesn’t know.”

Two men, also dressed in double-breasted suits and looking like old-school thugs, moved from the shadows toward Bernardo and the other man. Bernardo put his hand out toward them as if to stop them and whirled around to face me. He looked me up and down and said, “You must be Susan. How long have you been waiting?” He had a smile o
n his face, but his tone was less than
friendly.

“Hi, yes, Susan Hunter,” I said almost stammering, and I was definitely uncomfortable. I was sure they knew I had been eavesdropping. “I just got here,” I said.

The thugs retreated
into the shadows. Bernardo didn’t introduce me to the other man who was now staring at my chest. I wanted to say, “
Hey, Buddy, eyes up here
,” bu
t I kept my mouth shut and
let him stare. Something was wrong, and I didn’t want to cause any more tension than was already in the air.

Bernardo grabbed my elbow firmly and started to propel me toward the doors and into the auditorium. The man with him
started
to say something, but Bernardo silenced him by putting his hand up and uttering one word under his breath, “Intermission.”

I too
k my seat and was grateful
Ber
nardo and his companion weren’t
seated directly beside me. They were in the same row but to my right by
seven
seats. Directly to my right was a couple. The girl was seated beside me
,
but
she
was leaning into her partner. She wouldn’t be looking my way at all for the evening, so the arm rest was mine. The seat beside me that would have been taken by Darby was vacant. The
theater
probably w
asn
’t going to be able to sell just one ticket. Who would go to a Broadway show by themselves anyway? Oh, wait, I did that once. I smiled at the memory and wondered how Stella and George were doing. I wished I had their last name and phone number. It would have been fun to look them up.

My thoughts were interrupted by a guy dropping into the seat beside me. He was nice looking and appeared to be in his late twenties or early thirties. He had short dark hair, glasses, and was dressed nicely in a blue dress shi
rt with classic, pleated,
tan slacks. I smiled; the ticket had sold.

I wasn’t looking at him, but he surely saw me smili
ng. He leaned forward
, looked past me at the couple, and then looked at me and said, “Hi
,
I’m Rick.”

“Hello,” I said
with a smile
. “I’m Susan.”

He nodded and smiled. “Are you alone?”

I nodded back
. “My friend had to work and couldn’t make it. There are some bus
iness acquaintances down the row
,” I pointed in Bernardo’s general direction, “but they’re stuffy and not very friendly. Are you alone?” I asked him.

“No,” he said. “I came down from Boston to visit
a
friend from college
. We used to work on Wall Street together, but I mov
ed to Boston, and he moved on
to real estate. We decided on the spur of the moment to see a show, and the only tickets available split us up. I think he’s back on the mezzanine somewhere.”


It was nice of him
to give you the best seat,” I told h
im. We did have great seats
mid-center and close to the stage.

Rick
wasn’t shy about openly looking me over, and he produced a big smile.
“Oh
,
he certainly did give me the best seat
. You have to come with me at intermission to meet him. He’s going to love you.”

I wasn’t ent
irely sure what he meant
, so I ignored the comment and asked, “What do you do for a living now?” I asked.

“Car salesman,” he said with a laugh. “But I work in an upscale dealership specializing in foreign models. I love cars, and it’s a great way to earn a buck.”

It was time for the curtain to go up. Rick sent a couple of quick texts and turned off his phone. I let him have the armrest, and we settled back to watch the performance.

The show was familiar, and I loved it. I had seen
Anything Goes
with my parents at our local Carbide Dinner Theater many years ago. The show was full of madcap antics aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London. I smi
led the entire time, and I
loved the Cole Porter tunes.

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