Read 2 Big Apple Hunter Online

Authors: Maddie Cochere

2 Big Apple Hunter (7 page)

After about an hour, he excused himself and told me to have a nice evening. I was proud of myself. I h
ad left the room, it went
well, and I was feeling much braver. When I returned to my room, I opened the door, and there on the floor was a card
which
had been slipped under the door. I picked it up. It was the hotel manager’s business card. On the back
had been
handwritten
,
Room 217. Please join me.
I bolted the door, jumped into bed with all of my clothes on, and pulled the covers over my head.

Hunger drove me from my room on Saturday. Keeping an eye out for the manager, I sneaked down to the hotel dining room for a late breakfast. I couldn’t stay in the room for another 24 hours, so over breakfast
,
I tried to whip up some courage. Crossing the lobby to head back to my room, I noticed the hotel concierge was behind her counter. I stopped and asked for some assistance as to what I c
ould do for the short time
I would be in the city. She suggested the theater, of course. She could get a ticket for me that evening at The Palace on Broadway for
Legally Blonde, The Musical
. I held my breath and said “Yes.”

After hiding out in my room all afternoon, I forced myself to get dressed and not wimp out on the theater. Jumpsuits were
back in
fashion, and I had a lovely belted one of thin cotton in pastel hues of pink, yellow, and green with a fold-over collar and
a
button-down front. I left the first several buttons unbuttoned. Tan suede sandals with an ankle strap and 4-inch heels followed the jumpsuit. I may have been a
fraid, but I was confident
I looked good enough to venture out into the city. The doorman hailed a cab for me, and I was on my way.

At the theater, my ticket seated me next to a married couple about my parents’ age. Stella and George seemed to take
an
interest in me, and
they were shocked to hear
I was in New York City alone. We
chatted for about twenty minutes
before the curtain rose, and Stella peppered me with questions about myself, which I wasn’t shy about answering.

The show was fantastic. It was tongue-in-cheek, inf
antile, and bubbly
. I loved it, as did the rest of the audience. I love musicals, and this was a fun, feel-g
ood musical. I was
glad I had left the confines of the
hotel room for the performance.

After the last curtain call, I started to feel
some
panic. I had never hailed a ca
b before, and the concierge
told
me to be sure to get one
quickly as once the first rush of them was gone, it could be a while before another showed up.

Stella and George asked
what
my plans were, and I told them
I was going to try my hand at hailing a cab. Stella pooh-po
ohed the idea and insisted
I go across the street with them for
drinks,
and they would run me back to my hotel afterward. They didn’t seem like predators; they seemed like protective parents, and I welcomed the idea of not having to deal with a taxi at night.

We walked across the st
reet to an upscale bar and sat
at a small table with stools. Stella and I ordered Cosmopolitans while George ordered a
scotch, neat. The bar was
crowded, and we were continually jostled by people walking by. After several minutes of idle chatter, Stella began rapidly
sending texts on her phone.
George was already ordering another drink.

Twenty minutes later, three frat-boy types walked into the bar and h
eaded
to our table. Stella stood up to kiss one of them. Unbeknownst to me, she
had been
texting her son, Dale, to come to the bar because there was someone she wanted him to meet. She was trying to play matchmaker!

It was o
bvious
all three of the guys
were already intoxicated
when they ordered a pitcher of beer. Dale positioned himself on one side of me, and his friend Jack stood on the other side. Skip stood across the small table next to Stella.

The wait
ress brought the beer, and
as she was reaching past me to set it on our table, she was bumped from behind. The entire pitcher of beer spilled down the front of my jumpsuit. I gasped at the shock of it as well as the coldness of it.
All three guys yelled
, “Nooooo,” and the next thing I knew Dale had his head buried in
my lap trying to suck up beer, and
Jack was shaking his head while slurping beer off my chest.

I stared
at Stella with my eyes wide, but I think her eyes were wider than mine. George was cussing a blue streak. The waitress
was in
tears and trying to say how sorry she was. George cracked both guys assaulting my body in the head. I stood up and looked down. The thin cotton of the jumps
uit clung to me like I had
entered a wet t-shirt contest. Stella rushed me out the front door, and we waited while George went to retrieve the car. Stella was apologetic and tried to be nice on the way to
the
hotel, but George was
swearing
under
his breath the entire way
and mumbling something about hating coming into the city. I high-tailed it back to my room and bolted the door.

All I could manage the next day was a walk up 7th Avenue to Central Park. I sat at the Pulitzer Fountain across from The Plaza Hotel and watched people until it was time to go back to the Sheraton for my luggage and a cab
ride
to the airport.

My first trip to New York had been exciting, but it bit me in the butt, too. This time I
was going to show the city
I could handle anything she threw at me, and I wasn’t going to be afraid.

I glanced
over at Darby again. He
was still
lost in thought. I closed my eyes; we’d be landing soon.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Darby and I
entered
Angelo Brothers Jewelers at exactly 10:00 A.M. when the doors opened, and my jaw dropped. It was beautiful, and it was pink! Well, it wasn’t entirely pink, but there was a lot of pink
,
and it was gorgeous.

The showroom was modern with white sculptured walls dividing the room into sections. The backdrop of the cases along the outer walls was pink and was the predominant color in the room. A pastel teal color was the accent color in several of the cases. The floors were a beautifully patterned dark wood in what
appeared
to be
a
rich
walnut. The room had a sensual, romantic feel to it. I almost squealed out loud upon taking it all in.

“Wow,” Darby said looking around the room. “This place is spectacular.”

His appointment
wasn’t until 10:30, but we
decided to go in
a little early and take a look around. There were four clerks at the ready to assist customers. A door at the back of the showroom was open
,
allowing a peek into an office. Two men in business suits were talking
earnestly with a man in casual, somewhat sloppy
dress, and I swear the man was wearing an Indiana Jones hat. It was brown, wide-brimmed, and even had the dark brown Grosgrain ribbon hatband. He seemed completely out of place in the jewelry store. I could see a pair of stockinged legs and high heels, so I knew a woman was seated to his right.

Darby and
I
moved
in different directions to peer into cases. He walked toward watches, and I started with the case of engagement rings. I didn’t intend to look at them, but they were
only
a few steps in front of me, and I couldn’t help but to do a little wistful browsing. There were so many amazing shapes and settings, but my eye kept being drawn to a
one and a half carat,
simple but elegant, class
ic, round solitaire
. After the heartache of cheater
Louie, and the roadblocks
I kept
throwing
up now, I wondered if marriage would ever be in the cards for me.

A nudge to my shoulder broke the moment. “Planning on getting married soon?” Darby asked with a big grin on his face.

I could feel the red creeping into my face. “No,” I sort of snapped at him,
and
then said softly, “There are just so many beautiful rings here.”

“Let me guess,” he said as he started
browsing
the case
.

Y
ou like this one.” He point
ed out the most opulent,
garish, ring in the case, and
I knew he was teasing me.

“Actually, I like this one” I said and pointed out the elegant solitaire.


It’s beautiful. It
looks just like you, Susan,” he said warmly. He put his arm around me and gave me a light squeeze. “Maybe someday,” he said.

Sometimes I think Darby and I shared the same brain waves. He knew me so well and could easily tell what I was thinking most of the time. I leaned my head agains
t him for
a second
before asking
, “Are you ready? Do you know how you want to pitch this?”

“I’m definitely ready,” he said confidently. “Especially after seeing the showroom, I’m
convinced
I’m on track with what they want.” He looked at his watch. “Susan, you have a good day and stay out of trouble.” He kissed me on my nose. “I’ll leave my cell phone on. If you call, I’ll know it’s important, and I’ll answer; otherwise, I’ll see you back in the room no later than 6:30. Don’t forget, Bernardo and Armand have tickets for all of us to see
Anything Goes
on Broadway tonight.” Bernardo and Armand were the Angelo Brothers.

“I won’t forget
,” I said smiling
.

I’m sure I’ll find something new to wear in my travels today.”

He walked toward the office, and I noticed one of the clerks motioning for him to take a seat outside the door.

I con
tinued to look around in
the cases. I liked jewelry but didn’t usually wear more than simple earrings or an occasional bracelet. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to w
ear jewelry, but playing racquetball
as hard as I did didn’t lend itself to being adorned, and I disliked taking it off and putting it on all the time.

The cases of necklaces were next. Some of the pieces were stunning. I could definitely use a
necklace or two to add
style to plain winter sweate
rs. The prices ranged from
reasonable to off
-the-
chart unaffordable.

“I’d like to see this one,” I said to the clerk as I pointed to a
pretty necklace in white gold with a swirled geometric shape for the pendant. Within the white gold swirl, following the same lines, flowed pink mother of pearl. It was lovely. I definitely wanted this piece.
“I’ll take it,” I told her with a smile.

Another clerk brought a box to the counter and started removing more necklaces to be added to the case. Two pieces jumped out at me right away. One was an exquisite pink morganite with several dark, lime-green peridots worked
around the gem and
into the white gold chain necklace. It was vibrant and gave the effect of a flower and petals. There was nothing else like it in the case, and I wondered if it was custom-made and one-of-a-kind.

The other piece was a simple oval of black jade with a 24-carat gold symbol of an ancient Chinese musical instrument on the front. It was hanging on a multi-colored silk cord in dark shades of blue, green, and pu
rple. My first thought was
that
my mother would love it. I placed it with the other two necklaces and
said happily, “I’ll take all three.”
I only flinched a little when I was given the final price.

Darby was still sitting by the office door when I was ready to leave. I gave him a little wave and a smile as I walked out the door and into the big city - by myself.

I walked
one block south on Fifth Avenue
and noticed a café on the corner. I
entered
, ordered a steaming cup of white tea with jasmine, and sat down to plan my day.

We
had
checked into the St. Regis hotel around 11:00 P.M. the night before and could barely believe the amazing suite we were ushered into. It had a spacious living room, a large bedroom, and a full marble bathroom. There was even a separate powder room off of the main entryway. The bedroom h
ad one king-size bed. Darby
looked at me and said, “Oops. I’ll sleep on the sofa in the living room.”

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