Read 2 Big Apple Hunter Online

Authors: Maddie Cochere

2 Big Apple Hunter (6 page)

My stomach flopped over, and I felt
as though I might throw up. We all knew
someone from
corporate offices
could come thro
ugh at any time
to see how the center
s run, how we treat our members, and how we sell our programs, but I never really expected it to happen
and certainly not this week when everything seemed turned upside down.

“Oh my gosh,” I said slowly, with my heart sinking into my flip-flopping stomach. Not only was she going
to chastise me for
yelling at Mrs. Colter
when she peed on
the floor, but she had spent at least two hours with me this week which was plenty of time to pick me and the center apart. I barely heard what she
was saying to me now

“Susan, being in your center this week has been a treat. You’re number one in the division in sales, satisfaction of
customers, and results.
I can see why. Your numbers haven't escaped Corporate, and I've been sent to make an offer to you.”

It finally g
ot through to me
she wasn’t here to yell at me; she was here to praise me. I was relieved to hear her kind words, but the sick, flip-flopping stomach was still with me.

Betsy Ann continued, “We want
you to come to the corporate offices in Las Vegas for a week in
January. I'm sure you know
we’re going to do a
major overhaul of the centers and
incorporate a men's program,
there’s so much more.
We want to do more online and with websites, too. There's a lot to be done.”

“But what does this
have to do with me?” I asked
, still confused

Her smile broadened, and she
said, “We'd like to take you out of the center and have you work out of the division office where you’ll
on a regular bas
is to all
the centers in the
. You can evaluate each one, see where they need help, and then give it to them. We’d also like you to set up training classes for new employees to the company.”

This was not what I was expecting today, and my mind
whirling. It was too much to take in. “I don't know what to say,” I finally managed to utter.

Betsy Ann laughed.
“Well, you don't have to say anything right now. You’ll have plenty of time to think it over. Why don't you let
me know by Thanksgiving? That will
give you
plenty of
time to be sure of your decision, but still leave us time to choose someone else if you decline.” She paused before saying with a dramatic flair, “But Susan, I'm a
lso authorized to tell you
the job carries a 50% salary increase, a company vehicle, and travel expenses.”

I'm sure the shock registered on my face
. Betsy Ann stood
d held out her hand. I stood
to return h
er handshake
and managed to find my voice,
“Thank you
, Betsy Ann. I never expected this at all today.”

“I know,” she said
with a smile
. “That’s what makes my job fun. It was a pleasure to meet you, Susan, and I hope to see you again in Las Vegas.” She picked up her purse, turned, and left the center.

Stunned, I sat back
down in the chair. Las Vegas, traveling, training, more money. More money! Oh my gosh! More money! More shopping! I could quit working at the racquetball club and play more. Would I really quit working at the club? I actually enjoyed it a lot. But if I was driving all over Northeast Ohio, would I have time to work at the club?

The stunned feeling was starting to leave, and even more questions came to mind. What about the center? Could Angela take over? Well, she should be able to; after all, I'd been training her to manage the place for over six months now. What about the members? I'd promised
our members that
I would be here to help them. But a
ll of the other girls were
as good about helping and counseling
as I was
. Unless something stopped me, I was going to Las Vegas in January!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The Reuben sandwiches were almost ready, and Darby would be over
a few minutes. I didn't have to work at the club tonight, so we were going to have sandwiches and crash in front of the television for the evening. I was still in a state of euphoria over the job offer today.

st as the last sandwich was placed
on the platter, there was a knock at the door, and I opened it to a grinning Darby. Sometimes he just looked so doggone adorable. His sandy-colored hair was always in a tousled state, he was lean but not skinny, and he looked like he belonged on a California beach surfing rather than in Ohio. He had on a great looking pair of jeans with a soft brown pullover v-neck sweater. No shoes tonight, he was wearing his favor
ite pair of brown slippers
he had ordered from Australia.

By comparison, I had come home at 5:00, soake
d in a bubble bath for
an hour, and slipped into a pair of soft pajamas. They had a pretty pink and purple swirl design on the pants, and the top was a solid pink tank. I wanted to be comfortable if we were going to be on the sofa for the evening.

He came in and stood by the dining room table. His
seemed even bigger
. “What are
you grinning about?” I asked

“I have some really good news,” he said, and I could tell he was excited.

My face lit up. “I have really good news, too. Want to flip for it?”

“Sure,” he said. He pull
ed a quarter out of his pocket
and said, “You call it.” He sent the quarter into the air.

“Heads, of course,” I said. I always called heads.

He looked at the coin on the back of his hand and said, “Tails.”

“Of course,” I said with a smile and a shake of my head. “It's always tails.” We sat down at the table and proceeded to inhale the Reubens. Darby was mumbling through mouthfuls about how much he loved the sandwiches. He said the same thing every time he ate them.
As usual,
we were washing them down with raspberry iced tea.

“Well,” I prodded him, “spill it. What's your good news?”

“Have you heard a
bout a new shopping plaza
going in over by the racquetball club?” he asked.

I nodded. “Martin told me about it on Monday. The entire plaza is supposed to be high-end stores from New York, right?”

“Yep,” he acknowledged. “And I’v
e been trying to contact all
the incoming tenants to see if I could do some web or marketing writing for them, and I heard back from Angelo Brothers. They’re a big jewelry store on Fifth Avenue, and they
liked the samples I sent
. We had a good conversation on the telephone today, and I’m leaving tomorrow night for New York City for the weekend.”

“Oh my gosh! Darby, that’s so exciting!” I squealed in delight for him.

“I know. Isn’t it?” He was grinning from ear to ear. “
Most of the work will be done when they open the store
here in Carbide City, but to get the ball rolling, we’re going to brainstorm in New York this we
ekend. I’ll be able to see their
store, the type of merchandise they offer, and hopefully
sign a contract with them.”

“Wow! T
awesome,” I said sincerely. “I know you’ll do a fantastic job; you always do. I envy you going to New York.”

“Well, about that,” he said looking extreme
ly mischievous. “I figured
since I’m supposed to be babysitting you for Mick, you’ll just have to come with me so I can keep an eye on you. We leave tomorrow night, and we’ll be back Sunday night. Piece of cake.”

“You can’t be serious,” I said incredulously. “I can’t go to New York.”

“Why not?” he asked. He didn’t seem fazed at all by my reaction. “You’re not doing anything this weekend. You already said you only hope to play a couple of games of racquetball with Samantha. Admit it, you’re open. Besides, I could use a traveling companion.” He waited for a response from me.

“Darby, I don’t know,” I told him with hesitation. It wa
s such short notice, and I
didn’t know if I could make it work.

“Well, I do know,” he said matter-of-factly. “I already called for a room for you, but the hotel th
rothers booked for me is completely filled. That’s not a problem if you don’t mind sharing a room with me. There are two king-sized beds, so we’ll have plenty of room.”

I looked into his enthusiastic eyes. New York City. What a tempting offer. It wouldn’t be the first time Darby and I had taken off together. I could go
shopping. A light bulb
went off over my head. I would be making more money soon, so I could go shopping!

My eyes lit up, and I practically yelled, “Oh my gosh! Darby, I was so excited for you, I almost forgot to te
ll you about the promotion
I was offered today.” I quickly filled him in on all of the details and finished w
ith, “I’m
e I’ll take the job, so
shopping in New York City
will be perfect. I’ll need some
new clothes for my new position, and I can go shopping while you’r
e in meetings.” I rubbed my hands together
and squealed, “You’re the best babysitter ever!”

He threw his head back and laughed a belly laugh. At least we were both happy about our jobs tonight. We cleaned up the kitchen and headed for the sofa with refilled glasses of tea. I handed the remote to him. I was surprised when he didn’t settle back with a cooking show, but tuned into
The Mentalist
instead. I was fine with the decision. That sexy hot and handsome Patrick Jane was practically a Darby clone, only older. I took my spot on the
sofa. It was going to be
good to have the diversion of New York fo
r the weekend. It would help take my mind off
the unresolved issues of love and sex with Mick.


hapter Five


By 8:00 P.M. Friday night, we were on our way to The Big Apple. The flight would be less than two hours, and we were scheduled to land at 9:30. I
glanced at Darby and saw
he was lost in thought. This was a big weekend for him, a
nd I didn’t want to disturb him
by trying to chat.

I was excited to be going to New York City. I had only been
in the city
once before about four years ago. My hippie Aunt Charlotte on my dad’s side had run off to New York with a man, and after spending the weekend in the city, they decided to fly on to London for an extended stay. Her passport was at her home in Ohio, so I jumped at the chance to fly into LaGuardia
drop it off for her. My parents had a conn
iption when they found out I
didn’t turn around and come right back home, but instead took a cab into the city and checked into the Sheraton Hotel. Why would I come home on a Friday afternoon when I could spend the weekend in New York City? Besides, Aunt Charlotte slipped $300 to me to add to my own pool of money.

I settled more comfortably in my seat, put my head back, and smiled to myself remembering that first trip.
. . .


I was awed by the city, and my first cab ride was quite an experience, but I didn’t mind even if I was almost
thrown to the floor
several times. I checked in, went to my room,
at the
view - and terror set in. I was alone in New York City. I wa
s too afraid to leave the

:00 that evening, I finally talked myself into at least going down to the hotel bar and relaxing with a glass of wine. I changed into my one and only little black dress that was just above the knee and had a square cut neckline with squared cap sleeves. The dress was close fitting and sexy. If I was going to venture out, I might as well look good. I slipped into a simple pair of black peep-toe heels.

I had only been at the bar for a few minutes when a much-older-than-me, very well dressed, bald man sat down beside me. Not everyone can
wear bald well, but he was
handsome. He introduced himself as the hotel’s general manager and struck up a conversation. We engaged in typical banter such as where are you from, how long will you be with us, and what do you do for a living. In return, I asked him about running the hotel. It was an easy, enjoyable conversation.

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