The Beautician and the Billionaire 6: Scene 1c

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Charisse cringed as Raul made no attempt to hide his shock. He’d been leaning against the car but stood up as soon as he saw them, gaping openly at Charisse. She wanted to turn and run back into the building, but Conor placed his hand in the middle of her back and nudged her forward.

At least there weren’t many pedestrians to gawk at her, though strangers would’ve been easier to take than someone she knew as a child seeing her dressed only in a man’s shirt and coat.

When Raul finally managed to slide his servant’s expression across his face, he said, “Good evening Mr. Grishin, Miss LaRouche. Do I need to drive you to your penthouse before I take you two to the Plaza?”

“No, you can drop me off there and then take Charisse back to the penthouse. She’s going to be staying in the guestroom until I determine her ex won’t be a threat to her anymore. She’s had a long day, so I imagine she’ll be keeping to herself.”

Well, it could’ve been worse. She didn’t know if he was taking pity on her or just sticking to their agreement that no one would know she was his possession except the two of them. Still, he could’ve offered no explanation at all.

Raul didn’t reply. He turned away from them and opened the back door. Conor gestured for her to get in first. She uncrossed her arms and tugged down the back of the jacket so no one got a free show as she climbed in.

When Conor got in and Raul closed the door, Conor rolled up the privacy window. Charisse wanted to curl up into a ball, but she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. She sat up straight as if wearing men’s clothes that were too big was the latest in fashion.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him watching her. She stared straight ahead. The car pulled out into the street.

He said, “You’ll keep to your room, the front room and the kitchen. I’m busy tomorrow, so you’ll go into work. It’ll take about an hour to get there, so wake up early. Remember to keep the salon locked up when it’s closed.”

She watched the buildings pass by out of her window and didn’t answer. She always preferred New York at night. The darkness hid much of the ugliness the day showed off. But at the moment she wished she were far far away from it. Maybe in Puerto Rico. No. Conor wanted to go there with her. Maybe Greenland. Neither one of them had mentioned Greenland as a favorite destination.

“Do you understand?” he asked.

“Yes.” She scooted closer to the door, trying to get further away from him.

“Is something wrong?”

She shoved her hair out of her face. “You know me, I make deals that are never what I think they are.”

“And how is our deal different than what you expected?”

She turned and glared at him. She’d hated walking through the building and outside, but it was nothing compared to him going on a date right in front of her. “I thought monogamy was implicit in the agreement, but apparently I’m the only one expected to be monogamous.”

“Not just expected but required.”

“You’d better wear a condom with me every time,” she said.

“It’s a little late for you to be making demands.”

She returned to staring out the window and seethed. They drove the rest of the way in silence. At least he didn’t try to touch her. He probably didn’t want to mess up his suit for the date. The car pulled over to the curb and stopped. She heard Raul get out.

When Raul opened Conor’s door he got out and took a moment to say something to Raul that she couldn’t hear. Then he walked towards a model she recognized from a perfume ad. She was of course tall, blond and thin—all the things Charisse was not. She wore a gold dress that was most likely one of a kind with a neckline that dove down to her navel. Probably a Versace. Unable to stop watching, she continued to gawk after Raul closed the door. Conor greeted the model with his hand on her waist and a kiss with full lips that lasted for at least five seconds. The model smiled, and they turned to go inside.

Rat bastard.

Rat bastard.

Rat bastard.

The privacy glass rolled down. Raul said, “I keep Scotch in the car for Mr. Grishin, would you like some, Miss LaRouche?”

The formality made her cringe. He was probably trying to make her feel better, but it just made it worse. “Just Charisse. And no thanks on the Scotch. What I could really use are some clothes. Could you take me to my apartment?”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Grishin told me to take you straight to his place. I’m to obtain clothes for you after.”

She leaned back. “I’ll go ahead and have that Scotch.”

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