I woke up thanks to the early morning sun pressing its way into the room via the skylight. I think I was still smiling. The glow from sleeping in Alex’s loving arms was still flowing warmly through my veins. Then suddenly, the glow was replaced by panic. I sat up and looked around. He’d locked me in… but he was gone. Oh Jesus! What if I’ve made a terrible mistake? I glanced over at the clock… it was only six-fifteen. Thank goodness I woke up before Manny came in at seven! Coming face to face with him, fully naked, would have been the icing on this already mortifying cake.
I gathered my clothes quickly and as I got dressed I wondered where Alex had gone and when. Did he slip back to his own room in the middle of the night out of the fear that one of the other staff would catch us? Did he have a date? Surely he hadn’t already gone into the office. It was so early. Then again, he didn’t go in yesterday, that I knew for a fact. But today was Saturday; my day off, thank goodness again. I wasn’t sure how I was going to face him. I wondered what he was thinking of me and I couldn’t help but wonder what I’d just done to my job. I needed this job. I was set to begin my online classes next semester and I had a big payment due soon. How could I have been so stupid… and for sex? But it wasn’t just sex. I didn’t want to think that. I was trying hard to discourage myself from thinking that but it was the truth. At least on my end, it wasn’t just sex. I’d felt a real connection there, or had I just been stupid once again?
I got into the elevator and pushed the button for the upper floor where the master suite was located. When I stepped off, the first thing I noticed was that my cleaning cart was still there. Alex… or someone had moved it over to the side. The second thing I noticed was that the door to his suite was open. I carefully moved across the upper balcony. All was quiet downstairs. Not even the cook came in before seven. Alex liked it that way. Those were his rules. No staff between seven p.m. and seven a.m. I got to the door and cautiously glanced inside. The bed was made and all looked neat and tidy. I hadn’t made the bed yesterday… I wondered who did. Karen wasn’t usually in on Fridays, but what if she’d come in for some reason yesterday? She liked me, but she was tough and that was why she had the job of lead staff. I’d seen her fire people for less. I looked at the cart again and told myself that if it had been Karen, she would have put the cart away downstairs where it went. Did Alex make his own bed? I guess that wouldn’t be completely odd. He’d done it before.
“Alex?” I called out to the empty room. I advanced a little further inside. The little sitting room with the big stone fireplace was empty as well and the door to the huge bathroom was open and that room was empty as well. I looked at the clock. It was six-thirty now. I had to get out of here before the other staff came in. There would be no logical explanation for me being here in a wrinkled uniform on my day off. Besides, I thought, looking into the mirror on his dresser, I looked like I’d been having wild sex all night. Or maybe that was just the invisible “Guilt” stamp on my forehead.
I guiltily retreated and headed for the elevator. I took it to the main floor and left through the locked service entrance in the back of the large, gourmet kitchen, locking it again behind me. Taking a deep breath of the fresh, salty morning air, I made my way to the employee parking area, got into my car and snuck out like a thief. I realized when I got out to the main road that my heart was pounding hard against my ribcage and my breathing was irregular. I made it home just short of hyperventilating and held my breath even as I entered my own apartment, hoping my roommate Liz had gone to work. I wasn’t going to be that lucky. She was sitting at the little dining room table enjoying her coffee as I stole through the door.
She grinned broadly and said, “Well hello. You look like you had a good night.” I imagine that in my anxious state my cheeks were probably flushed and since I was still wearing my uniform…
“Um… yeah, it was okay,” I said. “How are you?”
She raised an eyebrow and stood up. “I’m going to pour you a cup of coffee while you change. Then, you and I can talk.”
She took a cup out of the cabinet and turned around and looked at me again. She ran her eyes over my uniform and my disheveled state and said, “Why you were out all night and you’re still in your uniform…”
“Oh, that!” I said, trying to sound sincere. I’m a terrible liar, but I was going to give it a shot. “I didn’t have any clean clothes at Jason’s, so I just put this on.”
“I’m shocked,” she said.
“That I didn’t have any clean clothes?” She shook her head. “That I stayed at Jason’s?” She shook it again. “That I’m lying?” I asked, chagrined.
She nodded then with a smile. “Go change and hurry back, I can’t wait to hear all about it.”
I changed into a pair of cutoff sweats and a t-shirt and washed my face, brushed my teeth and pulled my hair back into a ponytail at the nape of my neck. I didn’t feel any better, but I at least looked human. I met Liz back at the table and sat down, taking a sip of coffee.
“That is so good, thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” she said. “Now, tell me where you were all night.”
“I was at the mansion,” I said. I took another sip of coffee. It really was good. “How did you know I wasn’t with Jason?”
“He came by on his way to work this morning.”
I almost spilled the coffee, sitting it down too hard on the table. “What did he want?”
“He just wanted to pick up the jacket he left here a few days ago. Your bedroom door was closed and I thought you were in there sleeping. I started to go get you but he said to let you sleep, he’d talk to you later. Imagine my surprise when I saw you pull up out the window and then come slinking in here looking all guilty.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. At least Jason didn’t know. Not that it should matter to him since we’re on a “break.” But still, I wasn’t sure what I thought of myself at the moment. I was really unsure of what everyone else would think of me. Liz looked amused so far.
“I was really at the mansion all night,” I said again, praying she would leave it at that.
“I thought that yummy boss of yours had a no staff after seven p.m. rule.”
“Then pray tell what were you doing there all night, and don’t leave out any details.”
I stood up and went over to top up my coffee. “You want some?”
She laughed. “You’re bright red. You slept with your boss, didn’t you?”
I looked away and said, “Of course not.”
Still laughing she said, “Look me in the eye.” I turned slowly and looked at her and she laughed even harder. “Oh my God! You slept with a billionaire hunk! Go Vicki!”
“Stop it,” I said, mortified once again. “It wasn’t like that.”
“What was it like?” she said. “Oh please tell me. I haven’t had a boyfriend in three months and I’ve never had anyone like Alexander Reigns.”
I sat back down and said, “Jason broke up with me yesterday in a text message while I was at work.”
“That snake! I always knew I didn’t like him. Oh Vicki, I’m sorry.”
I tried to smile and say it didn’t matter, but the words wouldn’t come out. Instead, I said, “In his defense, he didn’t really say break up. He said, take a break.”
“Same thing,” she said. “Slime ball.”
“Yeah, I guess. I was really upset and I just lost it and I couldn’t stop crying. Alex…”
“Alex, huh? Cozy.”
“Do you want to hear this or not?”
“I do. I’m sorry, I’ll be good.”
“He saw me and he was so sweet. He fixed us a drink and…”
“Okay, okay. Go on…”