“I’d like that.” I took the card from her, glancing at the print. Celia Werner, Corporate and Private Interior Design.
“Awesome. Give me a call in the morning then.” She paused. “Oh, and if I don’t answer, keep calling. I have a nasty habit of leaving my phone in random places and if you call over and over then I will get to you. And I’ll find my phone! It’s a total win-win.”
I laughed at her method of phone control. “Perfect.”
“Great! Tomorrow then. Give Hudson my love.” She started toward the library door and then stopped and turned back to me, her hand clutched against her chest. “You know, it really is about time Hudson had someone in his life, and I’m so glad it’s someone who loves and understands him as it seems you do.” Her words and actions would seem overly dramatic for most people, yet she was just classy enough to get away with it.
“Thanks. I do. I get him.” Probably more than either he or I knew yet.
“I know you do.” Her face grew serious. “He’s told me things about you, too. I hope that doesn’t bother you.”
She could only be referring to my crazy stalker past. Some of it was quite embarrassing. I’d violated a restraining order once. For that, I had a police record. It was buried now, by Hudson and my lawyer brother, but that didn’t change that it had happened. That I had done that. It was only one of a long list of many shitty things I’d done.
Normally I would have been humiliated to find that someone knew about my history. But right then, with all the good that was going on with Hudson, I didn’t. “No, it doesn’t bother me. Surprisingly.”
“Good.” She smiled. “I won’t tell anyone, of course. I’m glad that I know though. I can see how perfect you are for him because of what you’ve been through yourself. I’m on your side.”
“Thank you. I’m very grateful.”
She winked. “Okay, well, I’m off. Good luck!”
I stood in the library thinking over Celia’s visit long after she had gone and I had programmed her number into my phone. I was looking forward to having coffee with her, and, the truth was, that made me feel twitchy. As sure as I was that she could be a vital source of Hudson insider knowledge, I was also sure he’d be none too happy about it. And rightly so. If I wanted to learn about his past, I should go through him.
Still, could it really hurt to have coffee?
I decided to put my decision off until the morning.
Scanning the dozens of boxes once again, I decided to open some up and start unpacking them on the shelves. Hudson had said to make myself at home, and it would keep me from snooping. Even though I’d gotten permission, it wasn’t the healthiest behavior.
I found a letter opener in one of Hudson’s drawers and, kneeling beside one of the boxes, I used the opener to cut through the packaging tape. Molière was on top, along with a copy of Shakespeare. Underneath, I found several other classics from Dante to Dickens. I sat back on my heels and looked at the shelves, formulating a plan to organize the library.
Hudson hadn’t said it was mine, but I couldn’t help but think of it as such. I loved books—not only the stories they contained, but the feel of them in my hands, the silk of the pages, the words all collected in one place. Hudson didn’t have any interest in physical books. Obviously. His bare shelves were proof of that. He read everything on his e-reader. These were my books. I’d already adopted them and was sure Hudson wouldn’t protest. He’d only ordered them to fool his mother, even though I doubted Sophia visited his penthouse very often.
Also in the stack of lies told to Sophia, Hudson had declared I was moving in with him. How long before that became a reality?
No, I couldn’t plan for that. Like I’d told myself earlier, it was too soon, and we weren’t ready.
But would it really hurt to fantasize about it for a few minutes? To imagine living with him in the penthouse? And more? Me running the nightclub with Hudson at my side. Engagement rings and bridal parties flashed through my daydream. Was it really so bad to hope for?
Yes. It was. I had to stop now because daydreaming could very easily lead to fixation. I needed a substitute obsession. Something else to occupy my mind.
I tried to return my focus to the books, but again my mind wandered to the future—weddings and the club and parties.
That was when the idea hit me. I abandoned my task and found my phone to call Jordan. I needed a ride.
“Bachelorette parties?” David Lindt leaned back in the desk chair and swiveled from side to side.
I hadn’t been sure David would be at The Sky Launch so early in the day, but I’d lucked out. He was the general manager of the nightclub, and since Hudson had relinquished the running of the business to him, he was the one I needed to approach with any ideas for improvement.
Which was why I’d come in more than six hours before my shift started to share my stroke of genius. “Yes. Bachelorette parties.”
“Seriously? That’s your big idea?”
“Come on, it’s perfect!” I threw my hands up for emphasis. This was a good idea, and talking about it calmly had not seemed to have done the trick of convincing David. “It’s wedding season and the bubble rooms are the perfect place for privacy while still being surrounded by the club scene. You know as well as I do the stuff that goes on in those rooms.”
The bubble rooms were, in my opinion, the highlight of The Sky Launch. The ten circular rooms ran the circumference of the second floor. Each room had its own entrance and was completely enclosed to ensure privacy. Or rather, a sense of privacy. It was an illusion since each of the rooms also had a window that overlooked the dance floor below and if you looked across, you could see everything that happened on the other side. Plenty of times, the things that went on in those rooms were rated R and, more often, rated X.
The bubbles, however, had been neglected in promotion for as long as I’d been an employee of the club. I’d gotten my promotion partly on the promise to find ways to better use the unique feature. Promoting them for bachelorette parties—that plan was gold.
David didn’t seem to have the vision I did. “We’ve had bachelorette parties in here before. Not many, but a few.”
“And they always go well, don’t they?”
“The customers are always pleased.” He twisted his lips as he considered.
With his constant fidgeting and weird faces, I wondered briefly how I’d ever thought I was attracted to the man.