Good morning! At least for some of you 🙂 I spent the weekend at the Colorado Renaissance Fair, and it was great. I’m afraid I have no pictures because I was just there hanging out and getting a much needed creative recharge as I shift into stories after The Beautician and the Billionaire.
Speaking of Shifting…I’ll post news tonight about Shifting into Love. I’m going to start posting twice a day on weekdays again and once on the weekend days. Please follow me so you don’t miss a post! I imagine a lot of you will be sound asleep when I post in the middle of the night 🙂
And now on with the last episode of The Beautician and the Billionaire:
Conor gripped Charisse’s hand as they walked through the hospital. Everything was going so well that he feared this visit with Roy would fuck it up.
The doctor had said Charisse was healthy and there was no reason she couldn’t carry to full term. They still had to wait for the blood tests, but the happiness on Charisse’s face after the checkup had been priceless.
He’d heard from his jeweler that the earrings and ring would be delivered to Ma Charisse in the morning before opening. And his lawyer had even called with a plan for China.
The only problem left was the matter of her family. At least he had Marie on his side. She was making the flower decorations for Charisse’s grand re-opening tomorrow.
They stopped outside of Roy’s room, and Charisse took a deep breath. “Don’t mention Josh, or the baby, or that we’re moving in together. When he’s well, we’ll tell him everything.”
“I know. I know. We’ve discussed this.”
They stepped in, and Conor noticed right away that Gianna wasn’t there. Thank God. Roy would be enough trouble.
Roy had an IV in his arm and a device on his finger to monitor his pulse. He sat up when they walked in.
Charisse’s voice sounded tight as she spoke. “Hi Daddy. Are you doing better? Did you get the test results back?”
Roy stared at Conor instead of Charisse, like he was measuring Conor. “I’m fine, fine. They want to monitor me some more, but I think I’ll be going home tomorrow with a ton of medication and diet restrictions and all that crap.” He finally turned his eyes to Charisse and said, “How are you?”
“I’m great. I’m looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Conor and Letti have some sort of party planned, but they won’t tell me anything about it.”
Roy stared at Charisse’s arm, but she’d worn a black blouse with long sleeves. His gaze returned to Conor, and he said, “Well, Conor can certainly afford to pamper you.”
Conor kept his expression neutral. He could feel a showdown coming his way.
Roy said to Charisse, “Could you go get me a soda from the cafeteria? They won’t let me have coffee right now.”
“Well, you probably shouldn’t have caffeine at all…”
“Root beer’s good. Thanks princess.”
Conor squeezed her hand and kissed her. “I’ll be okay,” he whispered. “And so will your dad.”
With a reluctant glance towards her father, she headed out the door.
Roy said, “What happened to her arm? I want the truth.”
Conor wished he’d worn a suit instead of the blue jeans and button-down shirt he’d chosen. Even though Roy was in a hospital gown, the father card he was playing trumped everything.
Conor said, “I threw a welcome back party for Becca and found out way too late that Josh is her fiance.”
The monitor beeped faster. “Charisse’s Josh?”
“The bastard who used to beat her Josh.”
The beeping accelerated. Conor was sure a nurse would be rushing in at any second, but it was time Roy knew what had happened to his daughter.
“He used to beat her? How could you know that?”
“I think you should calm down before I tell you anything else.”
Roy closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. The beeping slowed, though it didn’t go back to where it’d been when they’d walked in.
Roy opened his eyes. “Go on.”
“Aside from watching her shove him down the stairs after he bruised up her arm, she had a meltdown when we first started dating. I had to call a doctor to my apartment.”
The beeping accelerated again, and Roy’s face reddened. “I paid that bastard to leave and never come back. I would’ve had him sent to jail instead if I’d known.” He closed his eyes again until his pulse settled. When he opened them he said, “I’m sorry for the investigator. I’m sorry for the lies. Can we put all this behind us?”
Conor nodded. “Yes, I would prefer that.” He shifted and widened his stance. That went better than he’d expected.
“So I have a favor to ask,” said Roy, settling back against the pillows.
Shit. He should’ve known there’d be something more. “What’s that?”
“Could you invite Gianna to this celebration you’re holding tomorrow? Marie told us about it. It didn’t exactly go well when Charisse and Gianna saw each other yesterday, and I think it might go better on a happier occasion.”
“I’m not touching that,” said Conor. “I went out to Puerto Rico, and Gianna kicked me out of her cafe. I don’t want her to ruin Charisse’s party.”
“Gianna just doesn’t handle surprises well.”
Conor wanted to roll his eyes. It didn’t sound like Gianna handled anything well. And she certainly had no problem springing a surprise visit on Charisse.
Roy went on, “But she really wants to reconcile with the girls.” His eyes got misty as he continued to talk. “I never thought she’d come back. She was too scared of what the girls would think. So I guess I owe you for bringing her back.”
“Why don’t you just be honest with Charisse from now on, and we’ll call it even.”
“Is everything okay?” asked Charisse, arriving with a cup with a straw.
“Everything’s great,” said Roy. “Thanks for the soda. Tell me about your plans for the salon.”
Conor smiled as Charisse sat in a chair by her father’s bed. He placed his hands over the curls at the back of her neck. At least the news of the baby might be well received now. He wished he knew when Gianna was leaving. By the way Roy was talking, Conor wondered if she was looking to stay.