“We talked. It was really nice. He’s really just a normal guy. It’s easy to forget they’re human, you know? T
he elite. The ones we wait on and clean up after. But he really is just normal like any other guy.”
“Alexander Reigns is a God. Ask the cover of any tabloid in the city. And since his wife left him, he’s been seen in the company of more than one model.”
“I know. I’ve seen him in the company of them first-hand. But he wasn’t like that with me.”
“I’m not being facetious now honey but he obviously did talk you into something. Am I right?”
“It wasn’t like that though. We talked and I had two glasses of wine and he was just so sweet. He kissed me and then he actually apologized. He told me he would stop there if I wanted him to. I didn’t want him to…”
“Wow, and you spent the whole night?”
“Yeah, I fell asleep in his arms. It was sweet and romantic though, Liz. It wasn’t sleazy at all.”
“Oh honey of course not. I know you. I’m having a hard time imagining you sleeping with him at all… but I know that you wouldn’t have done it unless there was some real emotion there. I just like to tease. You know that.”
“I know. I’m feeling a little sleazy myself actually and projecting that on you I guess. When I woke up this morning, he was gone. Now I’m scared to death. What if I screwed up my job?”
“Why would he fire you? He came on to you, right? You could easily sue him for sexual harassment.”
“Oh I wouldn’t ever do that. That wasn’t how it happened. It was completely consensual.”
She smiled, “I can tell that by the way you’re defending him. My point is that I really think even if he didn’t want to pursue this any further he wouldn’t be willing to take that kind of risk. The wrong person in that situation could take him for millions.”
“I never thought about it that way. I hope he knows that I’d never even consider anything like that.”
“I don’t know how well your boss knows you, but those of us who do know you well enough know that. I am a little worried about your heart though.”
“You seem awfully sad that he left during the night.”
I shrugged, trying to be nonchalant about it. The truth was, just talking about it brought a deep ache to my chest. “I’m sure he had business to attend to or something. I hope.” Liz smiled and reached over to pat my hand. It’ll be okay, honey. You want some breakfast?”
“No thank you. The coffee was great. I’m going to shower.”
“Don’t worry yourself sick over this.”
“I won’t. Thanks Liz.”
“Thank you. Your night at the mansion is the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in months.” I laughed, hugged her and headed for the shower. I got really lucky in the roommate department. When I couldn’t stand living with my mother and her endless string of “dates” any longer, I answered an ad in the Orange County Register for a female roommate. That was three years ago and Liz has grown to be my best friend. She’s a little older than me. She just turned twenty-nine. She’s a beautiful woman with shoulder length dark hair and really intense green eyes. She models for some local catalogs and she does character work as a Princess at the major theme park in Anaheim. She broke up with her boyfriend of two years a few months ago because she found out he’d been cheating on her for almost an entire year. The first two months, she swore off men completely. I could tell now that she was coming back around.
After talking with her and taking my shower, I felt slightly better. Then she did leave to go to work and I was left with my own swirling thoughts in my head. By the end of the day I had myself not only fired, but tarred, feathered and strung up in the town square with a giant “A” on my chest. After all… even if none of the other sins were great enough to punish myself for, he was still legally married.
I woke up Monday morning with the largest butterflies in my stomach in history. I was due at work at seven. I had no idea if I still had a job. I had no idea if any of the other staff knew about what Alex and I had done, and I had no idea what he was thinking of me. How was I going to face him? I’d never had to face anyone after an afternoon tryst that was going nowhere before. I didn’t have a choice however. I had to go into work and face the music one way or the other. I was a big girl who had made a stupid decision. Everyone does it at least once in their lives, right? I needed to suck it up and if necessary, suffer the consequences.
I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower. I stepped in and stood under the showerhead, letting the water beat down over me in steamy rivulets. I closed my eyes and leaned my head into the cool tiles as the heat soaked into my skin. I tried to visualize the stress being washed off me and sucked down into the drain… disappearing into the ocean somewhere and leaving me renewed. It didn’t quite work that way, but by the time I was finished showering and I had dressed in my crisp uniform and put my hair into a neat bun, I at least felt strong enough to face whatever came. I’d been through a lot in my life. I could handle this.
When I got to work, I parked in the lot next to the cook, Gregory’s Mercedes. He was a retired Wall Street millionaire who had gone to culinary school because he was bored. I only knew that because Manny told me. He said that Gregory wouldn’t take any money for working for the Reigns. All he asked was that he be allowed to take what was left over in the kitchen with him each day to share with the homeless shelter he sponsored. Manny also told me that Alex not only agreed; he also gave the shelter a monthly stipend of his own. That was another point in his favor, not that I was looking for them. I knew rationally that our tryst was just that and even if Alex had wanted to make more of it, I’m sure it would be completely unheard of and unacceptable in his position.
I walked into the service entrance, put my purse and sweater in the locker there and then went through the kitchen on my way to pick up my housekeeping cart. I was stopped in my tracks at the sight of Alex, sitting at the table doing some kind of drawing of a landscape on his laptop. Alex’s landscaping designs were brilliant, and although his parents had been wealthy I read somewhere that the only money he took from them was what he’d used to start his business. Since then, he’d amassed his own fortune thanks to his hard work and talent.
He must have felt me looking at him because he turned all at once and smiled. “Good morning, Vicki.” He was smiling. He was still calling me Vicki. My stomach stilled a little bit and against my better judgment, my heart gave a little flutter.
“Good morning Mr. Reigns.” I wasn’t naked in his bed. I knew enough about professionalism to know that during the day with the cook standing not three feet away now, he was no longer Alex.
“Good morning!” Gregory’s voice boomed as he stepped out of the walk-in freezer. “Are you hungry Victoria? I was about to make Mr. Reigns some of my magic waffles before he leaves for his trip.” His trip? He was leaving? Why did I care? Oh Vicki! Pull it together!
“No thank you, Gregory. I should get to work.”
“Aw, come on Vicki, I hate to eat alone. My room is pretty decent today.” Alex was still grinning at me and his tone was teasing. It wasn’t unusual for him to invite any of the staff to eat with him. It was well known around the house that he really did hate to eat alone.
“Okay sir, thank you,” I said. I noticed that today, he didn’t seem fazed at all by my use of “sir.” I wondered if that meant he no longer had any desire to kiss me. I wished that I felt the same. I had to keep reminding myself not to look at his lips. I sat down and Gregory brought me a cup of coffee. Alex continued to work on his project as I tried to nonchalantly study his profile. He was so gorgeous that it should be illegal. This morning he was clean-shaven and wearing a perfectly tailored dark gray suit and light blue tie. He looked good enough to have for breakfast. When he seemingly finished what he was doing, he looked at me and said, “So how was your weekend, Vicki?”
I glanced over at Gregory. He was running the blender and oblivious to our conversation. Not that we were saying anything wrong,
I was just still feeling a little anxious about it all.
“It was relaxing,” I told him. The truth was, I tried hard to relax but I hadn’t been able to. I’d driven myself crazy over it all weekend. The good news was, I did a deep clean of the apartment and everything was squeaky clean now.
“Good,” he said. “I worked all weekend. I’m going on a trip to Texas today. I’ll be gone for at least two weeks, maybe three.” I hated that my chest hurt when he said that. What was wrong with me? We had sex, Vicki! We’re both adults. Get over it!
“Texas? That sounds fun.”
He laughed. “Not really,” he said. “It will be lucrative though. My company won a contract to design a large public garden there. I’m going to go down and get them started. The whole job is likely to take a few months, but my part should hopefully only be a couple of weeks.”
Gregory served our breakfast then and while we ate, Manny came in and Alex invited him to join us. I was both happy and confused. I was happy I still had a job and that Manny was doing the job now of keeping the conversation going. I was confused that Alex hadn’t alluded at all to our time together on Friday, or why he’d just left Saturday morning with no word. I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad, but I tried to make myself believe that since I still had a job, it was the best possible outcome.