Authors: Nelle L'Amour
Table of Contents
SEDUCED BY THE PARK AVENUE BILLIONAIRE
Part 3: Final Destination
Copyright © 2012 by Nelle L’Amour. All rights reserved.
First Kindle Edition: December 2012
Cover and Formatting: Streetlight Graphics
All rights reserved. This eBook is licensed for the personal enjoyment of the original purchaser only. This eBook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this eBook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are a work of fiction or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Dedicated to those who dream…
Sometimes a single encounter can stay with you forever…
COULDN’T SLEEP A WINK. I was in a state of shock. I just couldn’t believe Catherine was Ari’s ex. The mother of his child! I couldn’t stop thinking about the awful things she did to the two of them. My mind wandered into even darker territory. The thought of her fucking my beloved Trainman --in his bed--sent an endless stream of bile to my chest. I shook violently. What was she like? And what was he like with her? Did he hold her in his arms and make her explode like me? Don’t go there, I told myself. Easier said than done. I finally forced myself to imagine that she was as frigid with him as she was with me.
I tossed and turned. Dizzying questions spun around in my head. How was I going to face Catherine? Was she going to fire me? Should I tell Ari? And the one that weighed on my heart the most and made me sick to my stomach: Should I stop seeing him?
When my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m., I did not want to get out of bed and pulled the covers over my head. I dreaded facing Catherine. The thought of calling in sick crossed my mind, but I feared if I did that, she would retaliate and not let me take off Friday to visit my mother. Or use it as ammunition to get me fired.
I forced myself to get up. I made myself some coffee, fed the cat, and got dressed, eschewing one of Ari’s sundresses for something of my own. I skipped my usual neighborhood jog; I was just too distraught and doubted it would give me the clarity I needed. Having left my skateboard yesterday in my cubicle, I was going to have to walk to work. Perhaps some answers would come to me on my way downtown.
When I got to my cubicle, a huge vase of exotic multi-color flowers was waiting for me on my desk. I could smell their intoxicating fragrance all the way down the hall. Yesterday, when I saw my roses and found out whom they were from, my heart leaped with excitement. Today, my heart fell into my stomach. Taking a deep breath, I opened the note that was inserted in the arrangement. It was written in French; I recognized the bold handwriting immediately. I turned on my computer and typed the words into Google Translator. It read:
My Pretty Princess~
Blooms from the South of France. Inhale the flowers and dream. I’ll collect you in front of your office building at 6:30 p.m.
“More flowers?” The familiar shrill voice sent a chill down my spine. Catherine had gotten here abnormally early, primed for a confrontation. She puckered her blood-red lips and narrowed her sinister smoky eyes. “Sarah, get into my office right now.”
The note fell out of my shaking hand. I followed her into her sprawling, antique-filled corner office. My heart was thudding so loud I could hear it. A mixture of fear and loathing raced through me.
“Take a seat,” she snapped, standing tall behind her gilded Louis the Who-ey desk.
I sunk into one of the two large armchairs that faced her. I felt like I was three-feet tall.
She glowered at me. Venom was pouring from her eyes. “Here’s the deal. If you want to keep your job, you stop seeing
A sharp pain shot through my heart. I was shaking all over. I could barely look at this woman who had once shared Ari’s bed and then marred him.
“Now, get back to work.” She shooed me away with a dismissive wave of her manicured hand. “And I want to see all those flowers gone by the time I come back from lunch.”
When I got back to my desk, there was already an email waiting for me with a list of all the things she wanted me to do, most of them her personal crap, like setting up facial and hair coloring appointments along with breakfast, dinner, and lunch reservations and a top-priority meeting with someone named Frederick Allyn of Allen & Allyn. She also wanted to see the preliminary boys’ toys ideas I had come up with right after lunch. Crap! I hadn’t given them any thought. While she was out for lunch, I’d brainstorm with Fernando and come up with some ideas. The intoxicating scent of the flowers dizzied me. My mind was mush. What was I going to do? No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my Trainman out of my head.
The phone rang. “Boys’ toys.”
The rich, sexy voice on the other end made me shiver.
“Saarah, tu aimes les fleurs?”
Even though I didn’t speak French, I knew what he was asking. “Yes, they’re lovely but I’m very busy and have to go.” I spit out the words and hung up the phone. My heart was heavy, my stomach one big knot. I stared at the flowers and then at the cheerful photo I kept on my desk of my mother and me taken the year before she fell ill. I knew what I had to do. I had no choice. Tears brimmed in my eyes.
The phone rang again. With hesitancy, I answered it.
“Saarah, that was rather rude.”
“I’m sorry,” I murmured.
“Do I have to punish you again?”
Instead of responding to his unnerving question, I blurted out, “I can’t see you tonight.”
I slammed down the phone.
The phone rang again. My heart raced. I didn’t answer it.
And then it rang again. It was even harder this time not to answer it. Desire fought the despair that tore through me. In my heart, I knew I was making the right decision. With my mother about to lose her medical insurance, there was no way I could afford to lose my job. It wouldn’t be easy to find another one. Jobs were hard to come by. Even Ike’s Tikes had recently initiated a series of cutbacks; I was lucky I still had mine and knew that heads were still rolling.
After the third attempt to reach me, Ari gave up. I guess he went by the saying: “Three strikes and you’re out.” I was at once relieved and terribly sad. I busied myself with Catherine’s assignments, but had a hard time staying focused. All I could think about was my Trainman. My gorgeous, sexy, insatiable Adonis who had made me feel like no other man had. Another deep wave of depression washed over me.
West Side Story’s
Maria couldn’t have Tony; now I couldn’t have Ari. Nothing good was going to come out of this relationship. A tear escaped my eyes. I quickly wiped it away when Catherine née Cassandra shot out of her office.
Her eyes clashed with mine. “I want your file of boys’ toys concepts on my desk by the time I return from lunch. And remember, those flowers are to be gone.”
Dressed in her usual head-to-toe Chanel, she marched down the hall to the elevators. I stared wistfully at the flowers gracing my desk. The red roses from yesterday and the exotic French assortment from today. I inhaled deeply, allowing their rich, intoxicating aroma to rush up my nose and arouse every part of me. I began with the roses. One by one, I tossed them into my wastebasket. I pricked my thumb on a thorn, and a droplet of blood fell to my desk. Oh, how love hurts! Tears streamed down my face.
Chiquita, qué pasa?”
It was Fernando.
I stopped tossing the roses and burst into sobs. “It’s over,” I choked. “It wasn’t meant to be.”
He came around my desk and gave me a big hug. It made me feel a little better.
Grabbing a tissue, I blew my nose and gazed longingly at the flowers. “Fernando, these flowers are too beautiful to throw out. You keep them.”
“Are you sure?”
I nodded. “I’m sure. I’ll help you bring them to your desk.”
Each taking a vase, we headed down the hall to Fernando’s cubicle. After setting the flowers down on his desk, Fernando offered to buy me lunch. I didn’t have much of an appetite but agreed to it anyway.
“Do you want to talk about it?” asked Fernando as we shared a Chinese chicken salad in the busy commissary.
I shook my head. I wasn’t ready to tell Fernando that my evil boss was Ari’s evil ex-wife. I might never tell him; Ari’s private life meant too much to him, and he meant too much to me. “I need to come up with some ideas for boys’ toys for the bitch by the time she gets back from lunch,” I said instead. “My mind is a total blank.”
By the time we finished the salad, we had six solid ideas. My favorite was one I had come up with: Combat Wombats… a team of marsupial superheroes from Way Down Under who fought to save the environment from evil polluters. I had a hunch Ike would like the catchy name and latch on to the environmental/educational element. I almost threw in a Brain Train concept, but I wasn’t going to give the bitch something else that was mine.
Fortified and confident, I returned to my desk. Secretly hoping that Ari had called again, I checked my messages. Not one. My heart sunk. I quickly hung up the phone when Catherine returned.
“Your desk looks much better,” she smirked. With a snap of her fingers, she ordered me into her office. I grabbed the file with my toy ideas.
“Let me hear what you’ve come up with,” she said as she stood before her gold leaf mirror, brushing her waist-length, jet black hair.
She said nothing as I explained the six concepts, except “next” after each one. When I was done, she sat down at her desk and glared at me.
“Well, Sarah, I’m a little disappointed that you could only come up with six ideas. Thankfully, there’s one I like—Fancy Fellows. I’ve always thought there should be a complete line of boys’ fashion dolls. Little boys need to learn how to dress up at an early age. Maybe we could name each of the dolls after a famous fashion designer… hmm… Yves, Calvin, Alexander, and Oscar.”
As depressed as I felt, I had to hold back laughter. Fernando threw that one in as joke.
She dismissed me from her office. As I slumped toward the door, she called out to me. “Sarah, subsequent to our little tête-à-tête this morning, I can assume you will not be testing out any of these concepts on
son! The child whose life she almost ended! Rage rushed through my bloodstream. It took all my willpower not to shove the file of ideas down her throat. I stomped out the door, slamming it behind me. By the time I reached my desk, my rage had dissolved into grief. I was never going to see Ari—or Ben—again.
I spent the rest of the afternoon heavy-hearted, typing up the toy concepts and doing the bitch’s ridiculous tasks. One eye stay riveted on the phone. I wanted him to call. I desperately wanted to hear his voice. Hear my name roll off his tongue. The only call I got was from Catherine’s facialist, letting me know that she had an opening on Friday. My lungs burned as I hung up the phone. The hatred I felt for this woman was suffocating me.
At exactly six p.m., Catherine flew out of her office, her Chanel briefcase in hand. She never left her office one minute later than six.
“I expect you’ll be working late tonight with all the assignments I’ve given you,” she hissed. She stomped off before I could say or do anything I regretted. She deserved to be punished for hurting Ari and Ben and for making my life so unbearable.
The truth was, I’d already gotten most of her stuff done. But there was no way I was going to leave any time before nine p.m. I had a gut feeling that Ari would be waiting for me downstairs on the street. As much as I longed to see him, I couldn’t face him. It would be too easy to fall right into his arms. I closed my eyes remembering how good it felt to be in them.