There’s a Starbucks in my Hotel, but it does not have free wi-fi 😦 So I’m going to hopefully pipe this post through the hotspot on my phone. I really didn’t want to skip today because:
- I have a lot of international readers and
- I neglected BB while I released Thankful Hearts and Veteran Hearts.
So if this actually works (my connection is very slow) and if you read this Thanksgiving Day post and leave a comment below, I will put the names of the commentors in a hat and draw one out to receive a $5 Amazon Gift Card. The Flash Giveaway will last until November 27 at noon Pacific Standard time. That’s a little less than 24 hours. Please comment on the story and Good Luck!
Charisse spent the next few days as a hollow husk. Outwardly she kept up appearances at work, speaking nothing of Conor owning the salon. She wore designer jeans with her favorite Manolo Blahnik pumps and sheer blouses with cami’s underneath. Her make-up was perfect and her curly hair pulled up. But inside she felt nothing but the chill of abandonment.
Marie spent her time either away from the apartment or locked in her bedroom. She wouldn’t even return Charisse’s texts during the day.
Opposite from Marie, Charisse’s father was anxious to talk to her. He called and texted almost every hour. But Charisse ignored him the way Marie ignored her.
The only welcome contact was from Conor.
The day after the blow-up in his office, Conor sent Charisse a single yellow rose. The card with it said simply, “I’m sorry.” Her heart thumped faster as she touched the soft petals. She hated the contract between them. She hated that he signed it at all. But who would’ve her father eventually sold the salon to if Conor hadn’t taken it as payment for the ships? One of the men Marie had dated for him?
The next day, another yellow rose arrived with a card saying, “The salon is yours when you want it.” Anger welled up that it was his to give, but it was directed more to her father than to Conor. Conor, seemed so genuine in his regret when she’d confronted him in his office that her ire towards him ebbed quickly.
On Saturday, he sent a full bouquet of peach roses with red tipped petals and sprays of forget-me-nots. The card said, “I hope next week is a new start for us.”
Letti stood next to Charisse by the desk when the roses arrived. She leaned over and whispered, “You know peach roses with red tips means he’s looking for romance, right?”
Charisse blushed. Mei sat across from them pretending the computer screen was the most important part of her life, but Charisse saw Mei’s eyebrows rise.
Charisse whispered, “I thought that was red.”
“Red is for love.”
She shoved the card in the back pocket of her jeans. She wanted to talk to Letti about the situation, but she didn’t want Letti to worry about Conor taking control of the salon like the contract said he could. “It doesn’t matter. We’re business partners and that’s all I want.” She could feel Letti staring at her as she walked towards her station, carrying the new bouquet. Both of them knew she was lying.
Thoughts about the contract whirled through her head as she readied her station. She didn’t feel right just taking the salon back from Conor. She wished she could. Marie would take it and probably give Conor a black eye for signing the contract to begin with.
Charisse should’ve read the contract. It always came back to her naivety whenever she thought about it. But it was so hard to reconcile with the fact that she could no longer trust her father. What was naïve and what was trust?
All her life she’d owned her mistakes, and not reading the contract was a huge one. She knew in her heart that she wouldn’t feel right unless she paid Conor for the salon. Getting the money was a whole other issue. She’d do it right. She’d do her research.
As she rearranged the flowers on her vanity, the door jangled and her first customer for the day walked in: Tanya.
“The place looks gorgeous with the white roses!” exclaimed Tanya. “What a great touch, and the music too.”
Classical music galloped in her ears as she smiled at Tanya. “I’m glad you like the white roses. Mei, would you get Tanya some coffee while I wash her hair.”
Tanya walked to the vanity and said, “You have extra roses at your station. Who are they from?”
Shoot. She hadn’t thought what to say about the roses. No other customers asked where they came from.
“A new friend,” she said and led Tanya back to the sinks.
The day passed well enough with her stomach twisting every time she remembered it was Saturday. Tomorrow she’d be alone with Marie in the apartment cleaning and doing laundry. Maybe they’d finally talk. Maybe they could sort out what was going on with Daddy. She still couldn’t believe Marie had agreed to an arrangement where she smoothed business deals over with the men Daddy worked with.
She pushed back at the constant questioning and tried to listen to her customers. When the last one left and her lady luvs had gone home to enjoy their weekend, the bells jangled. Marie stood inside in a scarlet Anne Taylor work dress and black pumps. Her make-up was surprisingly conservative, and her hair was pulled back in a knot at the base of her neck. She glared at Charisse as if their fight was still fresh and hadn’t been shoved to the back burner all week.
“Well,” said Marie, “Do you have time to shampoo my hair, or is that just for Conor these days?”