The Beautician and the Billionaire 7: Scene 8b


Conor walked across hardwood floors towards the tables by the windows in the back. The scent of coffee and bread filled the cafe, making him hungry. After he sat down, she walked around the counter, grabbed a menu and headed toward his table.

Easy going. Quit staring at her. He forced his eyes away from her face and gazed out the window. He needed to be casual and not scare her away. He had no idea why she’d abandoned her kids to Roy. He hadn’t brought Charisse for fear Gianna never wanted to see Charisse and Marie again. But he had a hunch she did want to be reunited with her daughters, and he always followed his hunches.

“So, what brings you here,” she said, slapping the menu on the table in front of him. Her voice didn’t exactly sound friendly, but he wouldn’t say she was being rude.

“I’ve never had a cafe con leche as good as yours,” he said. “I came for another one of those.”

“Do you come to the island often?”

What the hell? He was supposed to be grilling her.

“Uh, no. Actually the last time I was here was several years ago. I usually like my coffee black, but my driver, Raul, made me a cafe con leche recently, and I wanted to see how his stood up against one from here.”

He thought her eyes widened a fraction at the mention of Raul, but there was no other sign that she might know him. Raul was a common enough name, there was no reason she should think his driver was anyone she knew.

“I’ll get it started while you look at the rest of the menu.” She turned around and he had to say thank you to her back.

That didn’t exactly go great. It could’ve been worse. She seemed wary of him, but he didn’t know why. Surely she had several repeat customers of tourists staying awhile.

He watched her fixing his coffee and averted his eyes when she glanced up at him. He stared steadily at the menu as she walked back to him.

“Did you decide?” she asked as she set his coffee on the table.

He looked up. She was frowning now.

“The Cuban, please,” he said and turned away to stare at the ocean. She stayed a second and then walked back, yelling something in Spanish towards the kitchen. He presumed it was his order. This was not going how he wanted it to go. She’d been friendly enough yesterday, but now she seemed suspicious. He didn’t like that. He should just bail and go back to The Hamptons to see Charisse. Getting Gianna to come around was going to take longer than a few days.

His phone buzzed, and he pulled it out of his pocket. Charisse.

“I discovered a tree where you tied a bouquet. I’m sure they were lovely when you first picked them.”

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