The Beautician and the Billionaire 7: Scene 8c

Have a great weekend!

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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.”

Even though he was sitting, dizziness overtook him. He thought he might fall out of his chair. He put the phone next to the coffee and gripped the edges of the table with both hands. She’d found where Elise had died. How much did she know? Had Raul told her about Elise? She said she’d “discovered” it so maybe not.

He let go of the table and stared at Gianna as she wrapped silverware in napkins. He had to convince her to come back and reunite with her daughter. Then Charisse would be more open and understanding of what happened with Elise. They could move on with their lives as a couple.

Gianna looked up. At first she seemed surprised to find him staring at her, but then she glared.

Fuck. That was not what he wanted.

He looked away, but it was too late. She marched toward his table.

Soon she stood in front of him with her hands on her hips. She said, “You flatter me Mr. New York hot shot with your wistful glances and coming in here for the past two days, but I’m old enough to be your mother and not on the hunt like a cougar.”

Conor wanted to laugh. She may look like Charisse, but she spoke like Marie. He knew the wrong word would blow up the situation. He forced himself to smile and wished her eyes weren’t so much like Charisse’s.

“I’m not here to ask you out,” he said.

Gianna frowned. “But you’re here for some reason other than my amazing coffee.”

He nodded to the empty chair across from him, deciding it was now or never. “I’d really like it if you joined me. Do you have a minute?”

She twisted a strand of curls without answering and walked away. He watched her pour herself a cup of coffee and then return. When she sat down, she said, “Did Roy send you?”

“Oh, God no,” he said without ceremony.

She drew her eyebrows together and wrapped her fingers around the coffee mug. “But you must know him if that’s your reaction.”

He decided he should just cut straight to it. “I’ve been seeing Charisse.”

Gianna’s face paled. “Did something happen to her? Is she okay?”

“She’s fine. She doesn’t even know I’m here.”

“She shouldn’t even know I live here.” Her voice sounded sharp.

“She doesn’t. I hired a private investigator…”

Gianna jumped up. “Get out!” Her next words were in Spanish.

Conor held his hand up. “Please, I’d just like to talk. I don’t know why you left, but I think…”

“It’s none of your business why I left. You go back to New York and forget about me. I am not your business.”

A large man with a white apron on came running out of the kitchen. He shouted in Spanish.

Conor stood up. “It’s not my business, but it’s Charisse’s.”

“Did she send you here? Did she try to find me?”

“No, but…”

“Then go home. I want nothing to do with you.”

Conor stared at her a moment before he turned and stormed out of the cafe. This fucking family. None of them made anything easy.

Outside he turned and walked back towards the beach. The resort he was staying at wasn’t far, but he didn’t want to go there. He kicked up sand as he kept marching towards the water. He should’ve fucking brought Raul. Everything would’ve gone differently then.

He should’ve brought Charisse out here and “accidentally” found the coffee shop. He’d intended on bringing her to the resort he was at anyway. It would’ve been easy.

Fuck. This was not going to be his grand gesture to show Charisse he cared about her.

He stared at the ocean for what seemed like forever. People past in front and behind him. He hated being here without her. He always hated being apart from her. He’d go home and talk to her, really talk to her. Like he should’ve done before they made the deal.

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