I approach the side door, the one I used as an intern, and instinctively reach for the keycard that I no longer have. I recognize the door man and put on a smile.
“Ms. Evans,” he greets, his face giving nothing away. Maybe I can play this off. Each second makes my desperation to see Dom grow. I’m so coiled with it that it feels like something is about to snap inside of me.
“Hey, Rup. Mind letting me in? I don’t have my—”
“Juliet,” he says apologetically. And I know. I know he’s going to deny me. “I can’t let you in. I’m sorry.”
“Five minutes.” God, it’s desperate, but I can’t help it. He shakes his head and looks away, dismissing me. What do I do now?
I’m about to try and sneak in the front, when I hear Ray’s voice behind me, talking to someone on their way out.
“Have a good afternoon, Mr. Rexford.”
I whirl back around. It’s Dom. My knees get weak and I want to crumble from relief. He’s looking at his cell phone as he walks, his long legs clad in black pants, a pale blue button down open at the top, suitcoat over his arm. His hair is perfectly tousled as usual and I want to dig my fingers into it. He heads for the sidewalk, where his car is waiting.
My chest squeezes but I find the strength to move toward him. He looks up as I approach. Our eyes meet and warmth floods me. Surprise crosses his beautiful face, and I think, for just a moment, that he’s happy to see me.
His face twists. “Stalking me now?”
“I need to talk to you. Please, just a few minutes.”
“I don’t make time for whores.”
I stumble back like I’ve been hit. He sounds furious.
“Dom, please –”
He seems to war with himself for a second, but then his tone comes out harsh. “You took away the only thing that mattered to me, Juliet. The hotel.”
Deep inside, I feared this was going to happen. My dream that he’d listen, that he’d forgive me, crumbles. But I have to know.
“Didn’t I matter?” I ask.
His face is a mask. Unreadable. “What do you think?” Slipping into the car, he slams the door. The car drives away and I’m left alone on the sidewalk with his words ringing in my ears.
I know he’s angry, and thinks I set him up, but there’s no excuse for speaking to me like that. I didn’t know the truth when I got into the situation, and he wanted it just as much as I did. But that was the beginning, when it was simple. All sex. Then things got deeper – and way more complicated.
I take a deep breath, and slowly walk away, already thinking about what the hell I can do to make this right. I can’t wallow. I can’t hang on and hope. He wants me to disappear like a bad mistake, but I’m not letting him call the shots anymore – or destroy my career before it’s even begun. I have to figure out a new plan.
Fumbling with my cell phone, I pull her card from my purse and dial.
“Lillian? When do I start?”
I’m going to throw up on my two hundred dollar power suit.
Standing outside the Rexford, I clutch my shiny briefcase. I’ve been chewing Mentos until my teeth hurt in attempt to stay calm. Executive Liaison to Lillian Rexford? (Yeah, she kept her married name.) In crisp, professional clothes, with subtle highlights in my salon-fresh hair, I look I like I belong. I had just the weekend to whip myself into shape for this new gig, and on the outside, I did. On the inside, I still need a little work. I left this place in a cloud of scandal, and now I’m supposed to walk back in like I wasn’t thrown out the doors. Twice.