The Billionaire Saved My Life - PART 2 (5 page)

BOOK: The Billionaire Saved My Life - PART 2
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Chapter6

 

Catherine sat in front of her mirror and applied another coat of shocking pink lipstick. She had already selected the right outfit to wear. It was a shocking pink dress that Kurtis had picked out on a trip to the Paris Fashion Week. She was never sure about the color against her skin but wore it because it pleased Kurtis. She blotted her lips with a tissue but decided another coat of lipstick should just seal the deal. All she needed was an opportunity to see Kurtis alone and she couldn't wait.

In her highest heels she tottered down to the ground floor and walked out onto the street and hailed a cab.

“Reed Records, please,” she said and settled into the back seat. She took out her compact mirror and checked her face every few minutes, smiling at what she saw and planning in her head what she would say to Kurtis.

When she arrived at the building, she was met with lots of surprised looks and stares from security and from the girl on the enormous reception desk. The girl on reception was called Trudy and had worked there four years. Her mouth remained open as she watched Catherine walking towards her.

“I remember you, Trudy,” Catherine had a big white smile. “You remember me?”

“Of course, Catherine. I-er heard about you not being, about your...”

“...Rise from the dead? Amazing, isn't it? I'm here, fit and happy and I'd like a security pass please.”

“C-certainly.” Trudy's hands shook as she handed Catherine a pass and said nothing as she watched Catherine saunter over to the elevators and press a button. Catherine looked back over her shoulder and waved before climbing in.

On the top floor management suite, Catherine caused another commotion as she exited the elevator, waved to the girl on reception and made her way purposefully along the corridor to the end office that Kurtis occupied. Just outside his office, his personal secretary, Edith, sat at her desk. Edith knew Catherine well and looked stunned to see her walking up to her with such confidence.

“Hello, Catherine. I should I say, welcome. I was so happy to hear we hadn't lost you.”

“Really,” Catherine said flatly and went to open Kurtis's door.

“He's not here,” Edith told her but Catherine opened the door all the same.

“Well – where is he?”

“On business.”

“Where?”

“Come on Catherine, you can't expect me to tell you that. Kurtis has filled me in on the situation.” Edith tried to carry on with her work.

“Situation? What situation? Look I need to see Kurtis. He'll be expecting me to want to see him. Surely, you understand that? Come on, Edith. Don't tell me you don't remember what we had? What my relationship with Kurtis meant?” Catherine leaned across her desk and glared at Edith.

“Do you mind? I'm terribly sorry, Catherine but I have work to do.”

“Oh, don't let me stop you.” Before Edith could say another word, Catherine had pulled the diary off Edith's desk and was flicking through the pages until she arrived on the current date. Edith stood up and came around to Catherine's side of the desk.

“Hand that back to me right now, or I'll call security,” Edith demanded.

“No need,” Catherine said and tossed the diary back onto Edith's desk. “I'll see myself out. I must say I'm surprised at you Edith. I thought you were my friend.”

Edith said nothing but watched Catherine saunter away back towards the elevators. As Catherine did so, she had a wry smile on her face. She had gotten what she needed and had to get herself ready for a trip to Los Angeles. From Edith's diary she had not only found out that that was where Kurtis would be for the next few days and also what hotel he would be staying at.

***

Hours later Catherine arrived in Los Angeles and went to book herself into the same hotel as Kurtis.

“Oh, I'm supposed to be meeting a friend who is also checked in here,” she said to the receptionist.

“His name is Kurtis Reed.”

“Oh yes, Mr. Reed always stays with us when he's in LA.”

“Yes, I know, he recommended the place to me.” Catherine smiled sweetly and looked around the reception area as the woman on reception searched for a room for her.

“I can get you on the floor below Mr. Reed if you'd like, but how many nights will you be staying?”

“Just for tonight.”

“Could I take your name?”

“Tanya Herman.”

“And how will you be paying, Miss Herman?”

“Cash.”

“Should I book you a table for dinner?”

“I'll probably be eating with Mr. Reed, I'll decide later, thank you.”

“That's not a problem. That will be $360 dollars, please.”

The receptionist looked Catherine up and down as she counted the bills onto the desk. No one paid by cash these days unless they had something to hide. But the guest was paying and her job was to take the money and not make any other comment.

“Thank you Miss Herman, here's a receipt. Do you have any baggage?”

“No, I'm traveling light. I wonder, though, do you know anywhere where I could by some classy lingerie. I didn't pack a night dress and thought I'd buy myself something nice, something a bit sexy.”

“Sure, why don't you try Maxine's just across the street? Here's your key and I hope you have a nice stay.”

Catherine left the hotel to head straight for Maxine's. She found the perfect slinky nightdress to wear. It was white, floor length and completely see-through with a thin lace bodice that revealed every part of her. On her way back to the hotel she checked to see what time they were expecting Kurtis back.

“Oh he's eating here tonight, his table is booked for nine thirty,” the receptionist said.

“Perfect,” Catherine said.

She went up to her room and began to prepare her plan. At about eleven thirty at night she went down to reception.

“I wonder if you could help me. I've come from New York especially to see a very close friend of mine and I want to go in, surprise him and ... well ... you know.”

“I see, and how can I help you?”

“I just wanted a key to his room.”

“Oh that's not how we...”

“Please, you have no idea how important this is to me.”

“I'd need to ring up and ask him, Miss ...”

“Herman, Tanya Herman. But you'll spoil the surprise.”

“It's hotel policy I'm afraid.” The receptionist was ringing Kurtis's room before Catherine could say another word. “Sorry to disturb you, Mr. Reed, but I have a Miss Tanya Herman in reception. Is it all right if I send her up with a key to your room? Okay fine.”

“Well?”

“Well he did sound surprised and he said to go right up.”

Catherine went to her room to put on the see through nightdress and wrapped a hotel bathrobe around her which she dumped at Kurtis's door before letting herself into his room. She looked around and saw that he was not in the bedroom but the door to the bathroom was slightly ajar.

“I'm in the bath, honey,” Kurtis called from the bathroom. “Why don't you come and join me?”

“I don't mind if I do.”

Catherine stood at the doorway and weaved her hips from side to side as she made her way to the sunken bath where Kurtis, with a look of shock on his face, looked up at her.

“What the hell...?” he gasped. There was no part of her he couldn't see and she had stepped one foot onto the edge of the sunken bath.

“Surprised?” she smiled at him.

“Catherine, was that you? Did you tell reception you were Tanya?”

“Neat idea, don't you think. I didn't think you'd see me otherwise. You sounded pretty final when we spoke the other day.”

“That's because I was. Now get out of here will you?”

“Relax, Kurtis, don't cause a scene, I just want to talk.”

Before Kurtis could protest against it, Catherine had stepped one foot into the large bath and then the other.

“Catherine...don't do this. It's over between us.”

“It's not over for me.”

Catherine sunk her body against his and tried to kiss him. He turned his face away. She tried to stroke his chest but he grabbed her wrists and held them apart. She rubbed her breasts into his face, shimmying her body up and down him.

“Catherine, quit fooling around. I don't want to have to get physical with you.”

“But that's exactly what I want you to do, Kurtis. Touch me. Kiss me. You'll see...you still love me. I know it.”

All the time she was trying to free her wrists from his hold and trying desperately to kiss his lips, but failed.

“Damn you!” she shouted. “I hate you.”

“Catherine don't do this to yourself. I can't watch you do this.”

She collapsed in tears against his chest. He released her wrists and tried to comfort her, patting her back and shushing her.

“I hate seeing you like this,” he said quietly. “You were always so strong and positive. It's one of the things I...”

She looked up at him.

“One of the things you loved?”

“Yes. I did once but...”

“But not now.”

She pulled herself out of the bath. The water clung to the nightdress and she appeared to be naked. She could see that Kurtis was looking at her wet skin. He had always loved her body, adored it in fact. She was glad to have kept in shape while she was out of his life. Slowly she peeled off the sodden garment and put it into the sink and stood in front of Kurtis once more.

“Are you really going to turn me away from your door like this?” She stood with her hands on her hips. Kurtis looked down at the water. “Kurtis, I'm turning you on, aren't I? I can tell. I can see what's happening under the water.”

“You're wrong.” Kurtis leapt from the bath, grabbed a towel, wrapped it around his waist and headed for the bedroom. He stood with his back to Catherine.

“I'd like you to leave,” he said through gritted teeth.

“You want me to walk out of here with no clothes on? Is that what you want? For people to see a naked woman leaving your room who isn't your fiancée? The newspapers would love that but I'm not sure Tanya would.”

Kurtis swung around. “Are you threatening me?”

“That's not why I came here, Kurtis.” She rushed towards him and put her arms around him. She was trembling.

“You're freezing, Catherine.” He pushed away from her and went to the bathroom. Coming back with a thick bathrobe he put it on her and tied it up at the waist.

“You still care for me don't you, Kurt?”

“I care but not like it was before. I don't want to see you hurting, Catherine. I just want you to get on with your life...”

“The way you've gotten on with yours?”

“Yes. I want you to be happy.”

“Well, I want us both to be happy and that's why I have to say something to you that you may not want to hear.”

“Is this about the time you spent away? The bad times you went through when you had amnesia?”

“Oh they were bad times all right, but nothing like the bad times you're setting yourself up for if you marry her.”

“Tanya, her name is Tanya.”

“I know what her name is and I see how she blinds you with her beauty, that innocent down to earth gal who works hard for her money and...and” Catherine burst into floods of tears. Kurtis did not know how to react. She seemed to have had another switch in character.

“What are you talking about?” He said, not knowing if he should hold her or not. “What do you know about Tanya?”

“In the short time I've been here, I've learned a hell of a lot,” Catherine talked between sobs.

“Catherine this is ridiculous. You need to calm down. We can talk about this later...tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?” She looked at him through her fingers, she had covered her face with her hands.

“Yes, tomorrow.”

“I'm sorry, Kurtis. I'll go now. Can I meet you for breakfast? You have no idea what I have to tell you. It's going to be difficult to hear as well as difficult to say.”

Chapter7

Tanya was walking on air. She had just left the boutique and was on her way to meet one of her clients for whom she was a personal shopper. Her client was a middle-aged woman who had been married three times and was just going through her third divorce. She told Tanya that she needed a dress for a party she was throwing to celebrate the offloading of her third husband.

“But aren't you just a little bit sad?” Tanya had asked her.

“Not in the slightest,” she'd said when she'd called Tanya to book the appointment. “Out with the old and in with the new I say.” And she'd hung up.

Tanya had considered this at the time but now, as she was sauntering down the street without a care in the world and looking forward to Kurtis returning from his trip to LA, she couldn't help but feel sorry for her client.

Tanya couldn't imagine ever wanting to leave Kurtis. In fact, the last thing they'd talked about was setting a date for their wedding. She hadn't mentioned this to either of her girlfriends because she wanted to treasure their little secret for now. She felt that it made her closer to Kurtis than anyone could ever be. She shared a secret with him that no one knew about.

The thought of Catherine showing up at their wedding crossed her mind and she shivered at the thought. She hoped that by the time the day came, Catherine would be well and truly out of the picture.

Tanya was just about to call Kurtis to say how much she was missing him and couldn't wait to see him on Saturday but her cell rang just as she pulled it out of her purse.

“Dad!” she said. “This is a nice surprise.”

“Hey, darling, I just wanted to see how my little girl was getting on. I know you and Kurtis weren't seeing eye-to-eye and I was just hoping everything was all right. I have a lot of time for Kurtis but if he should hurt you...”

“You'll do what, Dad? Challenge him to a duel?” Tanya laughed and stopped outside a large shop.

“Don't laugh at me, young lady. I'm not too old to whoop someone's ass. I won't have anyone messing with my little girl.”

Tanya laughed. He was never happy about her moving to New York City. But she'd proved herself by finding work, an apartment and now she was on her way to getting married.

“Tell you what, Dad, you really have no reason to worry about me. And after the weekend, when Kurtis gets back from LA, we might have a little announcement to make.”

“Oh really?”

“Can't say anymore. I've got to see a client. I'll call you.”

“Bye, honey.”

Just as Tanya clicked off her cell, she turned around and found that she had stopped in front of a bridal shop and the dress in the window made her heart skip a beat. Her cell rang again and she thought it would be fate to buy this dress if the caller was Kurtis.

She looked at the screen. It wasn't Kurtis. Instead, it was her client.

“Hello, Tanya? Tanya it's me, Gloria. Change of plan. Roger wants to talk reconciliation. He wants to come back to me. Can you believe that?”

“Well that's wonderful. Should I say congratulations?” Tanya continued, staring at what might be the perfect wedding dress.

“I'll say,” her client said. “Now, I'll re-schedule an appointment with you. I might need a dress to celebrate re-taking our wedding vows. I feel so young again. Bye, Tanya.”

Tanya barely breathed her answer, she was too busy looking at the dress and finding her feet were already heading to the door and she was going in.

“I saw you looking at that dress,” the shop assistant was hot on her heels the moment Tanya walked in the door. “So? When's the big day?”

“Oh,” Tanya said, “we haven't named the day but would it be all right to try on the dress?”

“Absolutely!” Another shop assistant appeared from nowhere with a tape measure and before she knew it, Tanya was stepping out of the dressing room wearing the dress she'd seen in the window just minutes earlier.

Both of the shop assistants stared open-mouthed at Tanya.

“You look so beautiful,” one of them said.

“Your groom will fall in love with you all over again.”

“You like it?” Tanya asked. She turned to look into the full-length mirror.

She did look amazing, even if she thought so herself. She wished the girls were there and she knew that as soon as she and Kurtis named the day, she'd have both Mae and Kaya come with her to see the dress. She knew they'd love it.

“This is the first dress I've tried on and it feels perfect,” Tanya said. “It seems a bit too good to be true.” For some reason Tanya shivered.

“What's the matter?” one of the assistants said when she spotted the change in Tanya's demeanor.

“I just felt a bit weird for a moment. Like someone walked over my grave. Maybe this is all wrong. Maybe it's a bad idea to even try on a dress until we've named the day.” Tanya put her hands to her cheeks and looked down at the dress. “I better take it off.”

The shop assistants looked at each other. Tanya tried to unzip the dress. It didn't want to budge.

“A little help,” she called and both girls came rushing to assist.

“There you go,” they said.

As Tanya was about to leave the shop one of the girls said to her, “It did look beautiful on you, but when you're feeling better then come back and we'll see if we can find something else.”

“I will,” stuttered Tanya and rushed out of the shop. As she walked along the sidewalk, she couldn't help having the feeling that somehow she had messed with Fate and she didn't feel good about it.

*

“I'm glad you agreed to meet me, Kurtis.”

It was the morning after Catherine had tried to seduce him. He couldn't take any more drama and told Catherine to go back to her room and sleep it off. Telling her he would meet her for breakfast in the hotel restaurant. She willingly agreed and left his room wearing just a bathrobe in the middle of the night. What Kurtis didn't know was that in the bathrobe she had discarded on her way into his room, she had left her cell phone. She picked it up and took a cheeky picture of herself outside Kurtis's door so that the number of his hotel room could clearly be seen. She forwarded the photo to James with a message saying: “My part of the plan is almost there. C x.”

At the breakfast table, Kurtis took a seat opposite Catherine.

“I just want you to know that I'll never pull a stunt like that again,” she said. “I guess the whole amnesia thing did something to me. Made me an exaggerated version of myself. I must have seemed scary. A bit of a bunny boiler, right?”

“Well, I have to admit it was pretty scary. I've never seen you like that. It was like seeing a whole other person. But I'm glad we can let go of the past now.”

Kurtis smiled at Catherine who lowered her eyes in a coy way and glanced at the menu. They both knew why they were there. Kurtis was not convinced that Catherine really knew anything about Tanya. How could she, when she'd been out of the city for so long and didn't know anyone Tanya knew. All the same, he wondered what his ex would say about the woman he now loved.

They made nothing but small talk for a good half hour until Catherine let out a loud sigh.

“I'm glad we've come to an understanding now, Kurtis. It will make what I have to say a bit difficult now that you know that all I want is your happiness. I know you love her and you're engaged and everything, but what I have to tell you might make you glad I came back.”

“Well it's best you just come right out with it, Catherine.” Kurtis shifted in his seat, put down his cutlery and placed his elbows on the table.

Catherine cleared her throat. “For one thing, Kurtis, do you know she had a meeting with James?”

“Not a meeting,” he shook his head. “She ran into him. That's all.”

“Oh no. It was much more than that, much, much more.”

“Tanya told me she only bumped into James by chance and he started that whole business about the photograph. He's a sick freak.”

“Yes, but Tanya didn't know that about him when she agreed to meet up with him.”

“I don't believe she arranged a meeting with that guy. Why would she?”

“James is not an unattractive man, you know. A lot of the women in New York are chasing after him. They were always chasing you until you were taken off the market. Remember?”

Kurtis pulled his lips into a thin line.

“Well,” she continued. “He called her up and said he wanted to talk to her and she said yes, willingly.”

“Nonsense.”

“It's not nonsense. James has an apartment in Villiers and there's CCTV footage of her entering the building. If you'd like, I could arrange for the security group responsible for that apartment complex to send you over a copy.” She continued, “You see, Kurtis, there's more to her than meets the eye. It's strange she should go there don't you think? I mean, you don't have any idea why she would meet up with James and yet, to everyone else it's quite obvious.”

“What is?”

“Oh Kurtis, you're so naive. She was obviously having doubts about you and her, and when she went to meet up with James she was practically coming on to him.”

Kurtis shook his head, leaned back in his chair. “And you expect me to believe that?”

“No, I don't, because you love her, you're blinded by her and everything about her. But think about it, Kurtis. Why was it so easy for her not to trust you? In my book, that tells me only one thing. A person who has no trust is always up to something themselves.”

“I'm not going to listen to any more of this...this rubbish. James has invented all of it and he's even gotten you fooled.”

“Well the CCTV can't lie, and if you called her right now she'd admit she met him. Go on, call her.”

“No. I won't call her. I'll see her face to face. Saturday – for breakfast, like we agreed.”

“It's charming the way you hang on her every word. But not every word out of that pretty little mouth is a true one. One thing I never did when we were together, Kurtis, was lie to you. Are you sure you want to go into a marriage with someone who can lie to you about their whereabouts? Think about it.”

“I am thinking about it and none of it makes any sense. Tanya has no reason to lie to me nor to doubt me. We made that clear to each other.”

“All right, but don't say I didn't prepare you for what's to come.”

“What's to come?”

“Well, there's only one way this can go, Kurtis. Don't you think? I'd like to think that if we can't be a couple any more than we can at least be friends. So from one friend to another,” she reached out and put her hand on his, “just be careful. But I'm always here.” Catherine stood up. “I checked out from the hotel now, it's time. My flight back to New York leaves in a few hours. I look forward to seeing you some time. When do you fly in?”

“Friday afternoon.”

“Perfect,” she said and walked away.

Kurtis put his head down. He'd lost his appetite for breakfast and he was even contemplating not going to his next business meeting. He was in a turmoil; surely he shouldn't be listening to Catherine of all people? Wasn't this just another plan to get him to change his mind about Tanya so that she could try to work her way back into his affections? But Catherine seemed balanced now, not trying to get him into bed, not crying hysterically. Maybe there was some truth in it? No. He couldn't accept that of her – not Tanya.

He sat through his afternoon meeting, still contemplating what Catherine had said. She'd flown back to New York and left him unable to concentrate on the business meeting. He was missing valuable information from the rest of the people in the boardroom. Important points were raised and when a vote was needed he had to excuse himself and go out into the hallway.

He called Tanya. “It's me.”

“I know it's you,” Tanya replied. “What's up?”

“I just want to ask you something and I want you to tell me the truth.”

“Sure.”

“Did you meet up with James in an apartment on the Villiers complex?”

There was nothing coming back from Tanya.

“Well?” he said.

“Well, yes it's true but...”

“So you admit seeing him there?”

“Yes I did. I know you said you didn't want me having anything to do with him so I couldn't tell you where I really saw him.”

“Right. Fine.”

“What's that supposed to mean?”

“It means that no-one seems to understand the concept of complete honesty these days.” He clicked off the cell and went back into his meeting. His cell rang as soon as he entered the boardroom. It was Tanya. He switched the cell to silent and put it into his jacket pocket.

“I'm sorry. I just had to take care of something. I'm ready to continue.”

BOOK: The Billionaire Saved My Life - PART 2
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