I’d watched Harry hurriedly leave the penthouse to talk to Cisco before immediately calling Laurie. I didn’t know how to deal with the feelings I currently had and knew I had to try and talk about it with someone who knew me well. Laurie was practically family and would help me with anything if she knew something was wrong.
Once she’d agreed to come and meet me, I changed into one of my new dresses and headed downstairs to the lobby to wait for her.
“Look at you and your fancy duds!” Laurie exclaimed from behind me, giving me a huge hug. “Damn, girl.”
“Thanks,” I said with a little laugh. I showed her the way to the sitting area outside where we sat down at one of the empty tables on the veranda.
“So when does he leave?” she asked me urgently. “When’s your job done?”
My brain held the question in my head for a little too long: When’s your job done. It hurt inside to remember that this whole thing was work. Harry had even asked me in the beginning clearly stating it was a ‘business proposition.’ But after… what he said to me last night, I had been thrown for a loop.
“Tomorrow,” I tried not to sigh.
“Get to keep the clothes?”
“Okay, what’s going on here?” Laurie asked, leaning in closer to look at me.
“What do you mean?”
“Oh no…” She shook her head.
“ What ?”
“You kissed him on the mouth, didn’t you? I can tell!”
“Well, yes , but-”
“-I knew it! And now you’re all off . See, this is why we have the rule.”
“He told me he loved me last night,” I confessed, watching her mouth open a little at the information. Laurie was silent for a minute, taking it in.
“He did what? Dude, I knew he was crazy since you first told me about him,” she went on, “I mean, who falls in love with a hooker? No offence, but I mean-”
“-We had sex.”
“Well yeah, no shit. That’s what we do.”
“Except it was more than just sex,” I tried to explain. “He made love to me.”
Laurie’s face scrunched up. “Ew, gross, don’t ever use that phrase again.”
“I’m serious . It was… on a whole other level than anything I’ve ever experienced, Laurie. There’s no other phrase for it.”
“So, are you saying you have feelings for him too?”
“I do… but I can’t accept them because I just know he’s going to break my heart.”
“How do you know that?” she asked.
“Because! He’s a rich, smart, attractive man who has rich, smart, attractive women practically throwing themselves at him - yeah, I’ve seen it in person! - And it’s just… he’s going to eventually see that I’m not like them, that I never will be. And that’ll be the end of everything. If I continue to pretend this is all business, and that I get to go home after this, and never see him again, it would be less of a blow than having him say to my face he doesn’t want me.”
Laurie sat up straighter. “Have you talked to him about this?”
“No. I’ve been afraid to mention it. Besides, what’s the point if we’re going to go our separate ways in the end, anyway?”
“(Y/N)... I think that if you’re this worked up over the guy, it’s probably worth looking into.”
I exhaled. “I don’t know.”
“Well, I tried!” she said, throwing her arms up in the air and slapping her knees. “Now, how do I go about asking you for a loan, Miss Rich Lady?”
I shook my head and smiled.
“How many times do I have to tell you, L, you still owe me !”
I’d been wandering around the suite for what felt like hours after Laurie left. I’d been packing, putting all of my things out near the door so that I was ready to go. But I still hadn’t decided where I would be going to.
I kept imagining what a life with Harry might be like - never having to worry about making the rent by sleeping with some sleaze, being with him after he came home from his Labs of an evening, finding something I actually wanted to do as a career. But then this perfect vision would always end with him leaving me…
I’d done this before, followed a guy to a new place, only to be left broken when he found he didn’t really want me.
I couldn’t, wouldn’t , let myself feel like that again.
My frantic thinking was interrupted by the doorbell ringing. I didn’t know if Harry was expecting anyone, and I knew I certainly wasn’t, but I wandered up to the door and peered through the peephole.
It was Jack Calhorn.
He was literally the last person I wanted to see, but then I started thinking. Odd… isn’t he supposed to be with at the office with Harry?
I didn’t know what was going on, so I took a deep breath, put a reluctant smile on my face, and opened the door to the man, however much I seriously didn’t want to.
“Jack. I didn’t expect to see you here,” I said, keeping the door as closed as I could get away with.
“Is Harrison in there with you?” he asked forcefully, sounding pretty annoyed.
“No, I haven’t seen him since he left for the meeting. Isn’t he with you?”
“No, I’m sure he’s getting all buddy-buddy with Ramon right about now,” Jack huffed, pushing past me and into the suite. Rude. I hadn’t even motioned for him to come in. Great. The man walked up to the room’s bar counter and poured himself a drink.
“What do you mean by that?” As much as I didn’t want to engage with Calhorn, I couldn’t help but ask.
“Harrison just lost me the deal of a lifetime by partnering with Ramon!” Jack rants. “I can’t believe it. It’s so unlike him! Where in God’s name did he come up with that?”
I sat down on the couch, looking away and I smiled to myself so he wouldn’t see. That was my idea.
Harry listened to me.
I caught Jack staring at me when I turned back. I quickly wiped the smile off my face, at the sudden feeling of nervousness.
“Well, Harry should be back home any minute.”
“ Harry ? Home ?”
Jack slowly started to walk over to where I sat, placing his drink down on the table and taking the spot next to me. I shuffled away a little more, feeling very uncomfortable.
“This is just a hotel room, not his home . You aren’t his girlfriend, you know? Not his partner or anything so permanent. You’re a hooker. A good one, I’ll give you that, because you’ve got Harrison wrapped so tightly around your finger that he’s just lost millions of dollars in profits to that kid .”
I moved further down the sofa and wrapped my arms around myself, fidgeting like crazy. I hated the tone of his voice right now.
“But maybe he doesn’t care about that anymore. Because I guess if he gets to screw you every night, why would he? But I do care, (Y/N), and I am pissed ,” he continued, and that’s when he ran his fingers down the part of my thigh that was exposed.
I immediately swatted his hand away, moving as close to the arm of the sofa as I could get, but he didn’t stop.
“Perhaps if I screwed you, and took you out to fancy dinners, I could be as carefree as Harrison seems to be now.”
He put his hand more firmly on my leg, which I pushed off, but then he dove more forcefully under my skirt, his fingers digging into my skin like a vice as I tried to claw him off of me.
“Get off me!” I shouted, managing to pull his hand away, but he was stronger than me and was able to push me onto my back on the couch.
“Stop! Gah! No!”
I shook my head and fought like crazy to get out of his grasp, until out of nowhere, I felt Jack get raised off of me, but my hair was in the way to see how. I pushed it back to see Harry holding Jack up by his shirt collar, face red with pure anger.
“Get off her, you bastard!”
Harry managed to haul him towards the door until Jack tripped and fell to the floor. But when he got back up, he started hurling insults and offensive terms at me, which led to Harry pulling back to lay a hammering punch to Calhorn’s face. I sat there on the couch with wide eyes, brimming with tears as they fought, as Jack was forced closer and closer to the door.
“You broke my nose, goddammit! What is wrong with you?” the advisor yelled.
“ GET OUT !” Harry roared at him. “You’re fired! And don’t you dare darken my door again!”
Jack gave Harry the scariest look I’d ever seen but left before he got his ass handed to him any further. Harry let out a heavy breath while staring at the floor, then turned to me with softened and concerned eyes.
“(Y/N), are you okay? Are you hurt? Please be okay.”
“I’m not hurt,” I said, though I was a little shaken. Harry came to sit next to me on the couch but did not touch me, as if letting me take the lead. I hugged him. I didn’t want to imagine what could have happened if he hadn’t shown up in time.
“Is there anything I can do? Seriously, just name it and I can-”
“I have to go,” I cut him off.
“Go? Go where?”
I kept my answers short with him, not being physically able to say more than I could. I motioned to my packed bag I had set by the door.
“Home…” he echoed. “Sure, right.”
Harry went wordlessly to pick up the luggage at the door. I took it from him though, knowing he would probably try to carry it out for me, but I had to break this off now before I couldn’t. I waited, frozen in thought when he mistook my motionlessness for me wanting payment.
“Oh,” he said despondently and reached into his pocket for the money of which I was owed from our agreement. I accepted it, but I felt like shit. Harry opened the door but closed it again.
“Stay with me,” he said. “No, come with me. Home. To Central City. There’s no money in it, just me. Please.” Harry searched my eyes, begging me, but I couldn’t allow myself to give in to something so unknown.
“I can’t ,” was all I could muster. He looked down with a sad smile as if he knew that’s what I was going to say. Harry nodded and re-opened the door after a moment to let it sink in.
“Then I guess this is goodbye.”
I pressed my lips together and swallowed before saying, “Goodbye, Harrison. There’s no other star like you.”
I went to move past him and debated for a second whether or not to kiss his cheek or anywhere for the matter, just as a final goodbye. But I knew that I’d just be rubbing salt into a wound I’d opened and that he didn’t deserve in the first place.
I left the penthouse and heard the door shut behind me, assuming that he couldn’t watch me walk away.
Holding back my tears, I made my way out of the hotel and back onto the street.
Which was exactly where I’d started.