Read 2 Big Apple Hunter Online

Authors: Maddie Cochere

2 Big Apple Hunter (8 page)

“Don’t be silly,” I told him. “We know each other well enough to share a bed, and it’s not like we haven’t ended up in the same bed before anyway.” I checked the closet and found extra linens on the shelf. I tossed a sheet and blanket to Darby and said, “We’ll use separate bedding.
It
’ll make things easier and more comfortable.”

After a good night’s sleep, we
had no trouble getting showered and dressed without bumpin
g into each other
. The extra po
wder room was a godsend and
allowed me to take my time with my hair and makeup without rushing or keeping Darby out of the bathroom. I chose to wear a simple dress for the day. It was a
long-sleeve, cobalt blue,
silk dress with a scoop neckline. It was short, at least four inches above my knee, and just the slightest bit floaty. Black tights and comfortable black ankle boots finished the outfit. My blonde hair provided a nice contrast against the blue dress.

Darby
was
smashing in a long-sleeve
, navy blue, gingham shirt
left open at the neck, and a simple navy blue blazer, dark blue jeans, and loafers. We turned quite a few heads as we walked through the hotel lobby.

Angelo Brothers Jewelers was within walking distance of the St. Regis. On our way out of the hotel, I grabbed several New York City attraction brochures from the concierge desk and shoved them into my purse. Now, sitting in the café, I intended to browse them, but I first wanted to look at the jade necklace again. I took it out of the bag.

It wasn’t a particularly expensive piece, but it was pretty. My mother loved jade and had a small collection of mostly green jade figurines. She would be deligh
ted with this lovely black oval
she could wear o
r display. She always said
the Chinese word for jade was used to describe beautiful and pure women. I wrapped the necklace back in the tissue and slipped it into my purse. If I came across a post office during the day, I would pack
age the necklace and put it in
the mail for Mom. She and my dad were in San Antonio for several days visiting friends, and she would be surprised to come home to a package from New York.

I took the other two necklaces out of the bag and had to hold back a squeal. The morganite piece was one of the prettiest th
ings I had ever seen. It was bright, and it
screamed
look at me
! I would definitely try to find something special to wear with this today. The mother-of-pearl necklace had a daintiness about it, appearing to be delicate although it wasn’t. I let out a small giggle. Of course I had chosen two pink pieces for me. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I did love pink, and it was a good color for me. I put the necklaces back
in the Angelo Brothers
bag.

I pulled the brochures from my purse. One was for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The museum
was definitely on my list. I was looking forward to their Edgar Degas and Rembrandt collections. Hippie Aunt Charlotte had introduced me to Degas with his
Singer with a Glove
, and I loved it. I was further delighted with his ballerina paintings. Rembrandt was quite the opposite with his dark, sometimes brooding paintings, and I was first drawn to his self portraits. I set the
m
useum brochure to the side.

I also had brochures for Central Park, Greenwich Village, Ellis Island, Times Square, The Empire State Building, and a small stack of others. I didn’t really know what to do, so I decided to
start with shopping.
I was sitting on Fifth Avenue
after all
.

As I shoved the brochures back
into my purse
, one slipped out onto the floor
. It was for a bus tour of the city. Ooh, I could get into
a bus tour. My mom and dad
dragged me on loads of one-day bus tours when I was a kid - tours to historic cities, shopping and dining tours, fall foliage tours, and even manufacturing tours. I
perused
the brochure and saw
a bus was leaving at 2:00 in the afternoon for a four-hour tour. That would put me back at the hotel before 6:30 to catch up with Darby and get ready for the theater. I made the quick phone call to the tour company and booked a seat.

I took the last couple sips of my tea while watching people walk by the window of the café. I stood up and reached down to pick up my jewelry bag and purse. As I looked
out
the window again, I just barely caught sight of a man walking out of view of the window, and I could have sworn it was the man with the Indiana Jones hat from earlier
in
the jewelry store.

A
second later, he popped back in fron
t of the window and stood
staring at me w
ith his mouth hanging open
. He was a middle-aged man and
looked
rather silly in the hat. I smiled and gave him a little wave
. H
is eyes widened, and he ran off. I couldn’t help it, and I laughed out loud. I didn’t know if the woman in the store was with him or
not, and I wondered if she
caught him taking a peek at me.

I left the café and continued south on Fifth Avenue. I had to force myself to keep walking when I passed Fendi, but
I
couldn’t resist crossing the street to
run into Juicy Couture. I shopped
quickly through the stor
e, but didn’t see anything
I wanted for my new position. I purchased a cute pair of black sunglasses with white spots and wore them out of the store. Crossing the street again, I hurried the remaining three blocks to Saks. If I was taking a bus tour, I wanted to maximize my shopping time and see as much as possible in one store.

I
entered the store
and was
immediately
in shopping heaven. Cosmetics and fragrances were on the first floor, and the variety of scents from testers and samples greeted you the minute you walked through the door
s
. I stopped for a second and took a deep breath. It was lovely.

There were
several
floors and so much to see, but
I shopped quickly thinking
I
w
ould
come back tomorrow if I had
time. I avoided the floor with shoes altogether for fear I would miss the bus tour. By the time I had shopped my way through the store and was on the first floor again, I had purchased two major items for my new wardrobe and one indulgent item for me.

The first was a Phillip Lim, collarless, textured jacket in winter white. It was beautiful and wou
ld look fabulous with every
thing. The cobalt blue dress I
was wearing
today was Phillip Lim, and I loved his clothing.

The second item was a classic black wool suit with a pencil skirt. It had the thinnest of pin stripes running throughout. It was sleek and smooth, and fit like a glove.

Finally, there was
so much
cashmere
to choose from
, and I couldn’t leave without something sumptuous. I chose a
matching sweater and skirt
in a light gray color. The skirt came to just below the knee, and the top had long sleeves, a smaller version of a crew neck, and was shorter than most sweaters
,
but not quite cropped. The entire outfit covered all of my skin from my collar bone to my calves, but because it was snug, and so very soft, it was incredibly sexy. I
suppressed
yet another squeal when I saw how it looked on me in the dressing room
.
I had to have it.

My treasures safely in bags, and my shopping bug satisfied for the moment, I once again crossed the cosmetics and fragrance floor on my way to the front doors. I was almost
to the exit
when a woman bolted around a display of Bon
d No. 9 fragrances and tackled me
. I fell backwards onto my rump, my legs splayed,
with
the
wind knocked out of me
. M
y purse
opened, and the contents scattered.

The woman
fell
on top of me, but managed to upright herself quickly. She didn’t attempt to help me up
,
but did try to gather my bags and pile them
beside me
. She mumbled, “I’m so sorry,”
before
running
for the doors, and rush
ing
out of the store. She wasn’t a young
person
. She seemed to be about mid-50s, and I thought I detected a hint of an English accent in her voice.

“Are you ok?” asked a
female
clerk
who rushed
over to offer assistance.

“I think so,”
I said still feeling dazed. “My purse? My bags?” I look
ed around in time to see my
lip gloss rolling under a makeup counter.

I was starting to feel embarrassed as everyone in the vicinity was
staring at me. I quickly clapped my knees together and took the hand of a
male
clerk who helped me to my feet. Thankfully, I had
worn the
tights with my short dress, or I would have presented even more of a spectacle.

As she was gathering the contents of my purse, the
female clerk asked
,
“Did you know that woman?”

“No,” I told her. “I’ve never seen her before. I can’t imagine what she was doing to run into me so hard.”

The male clerk tried not to laugh, but
couldn’
t hold back a
chuckle and said, “S
he should play for the
Jets. That was a perfect tackle.”

“Elliot!” the female clerk admonished him sharply. “Help her with her bags.”

She handed my purse to me,
and Elliot thrust the bag handles into my other hand.

I thanked the clerks and hurried
out the door. I didn’t have
time to
walk the five blocks back to the hotel with my packages, so I stepped to the curb and hailed a cab. I was making progress.

During the short cab ride back to the hotel, I
checked
my bags. I had three from Saks, and my sunglasses were back in the bag from Juicy Couture, but my heart leapt into my throat when I realized I didn’t have my Angelo Brothers Jewelers bag. I was positive I had it when I paid for the cashmere outfit, which was the last item I purchased. I had gathered all of my packages at that time, and everything w
as accounted for. I
headed for the front exit, and the woman ran me down. She must have done it on purpose
.
She stole my jewelry! I had been mugged in New York City!

 

Chapter Six

 

I wa
s heartsick over the jewelry
. The
stunning morganite piece was the most
painful to lose, and I felt
violated. I contemplated calling the police when another thought popped into my head. When I fell, the bag might have been thrown f
a
rther than the others and was simply under a rack or a display. That particular section of the store near the front doors had been crowded with merchandise. I pulled out my phone to call Saks, but the cab was already pulling up in front of the St. Regis.

“Please wait,” I told the driver. “I’ll be back in two minutes.”

I ran up the stairs, through the doors, and into the lobby. The concierge was at her desk. With a generous tip, I asked her to please hold my packages until I returned later in the day. There wasn’t enough time to run up to the room
with the bags
or to change my clothes. I was back in the cab within the promised two minutes, and I gave the driver the tour bus company’s address on 8th
Avenue. I could only hope
I would make the bus in time.

On the ride over, I dialed Saks and asked to speak with someone in security
. I explained what
happened in
the store and was promised
not only would they look for my lost bag, but they would review the security tapes to see if they could spot anything unusual about the woman. I gave them my cell phone number as well as my room number at the St. Regis.

My
phone back in my purse,
I
grabbed my brush and ran it quickly through my hair. I pulled out
a small mirror
and achieved a quick freshen of my make-up even though the cab ride was anything but smooth. I was satisfied with the finished look.

The incident at Saks had upset me, but I wasn’t carrying the worry on my
face. Hippie Aunt Charlotte
taught me a long time ago to be careful about frowning
,
because it would lead to unattractive wrinkles later in life. I was an impressionable ten-year-old when she imparted most of her pearls of wisdom to me, and I had wanted to grow up to be just like her. The seven-hour-sleep rule and the frowning rule were just two of her many rules that had stuck with me over the years.

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