“So no sex dungeon?” Swaree asked, a pout on her face.
“Not a single nipple clamp to be seen. And as for the morning… He ran out on me,” I replied, my laughter fading as I felt a tinge of sadness.
“What do you mean, ran out?”
“I don’t know, he just picked up and bolted in the morning. He was being super evasive of my questions and insisted that I don’t come along with him.”
Swaree thought about this for a moment. “Well, I mean, the guy is a billionaire. Maybe he had some stuff to run and take care of. Like with his company?”
“Maybe,” I remarked. “Didn’t seem like it though. And he said it wasn’t a business trip specifically… Maybe I pushed things too far. This was supposed to be a business arrangement…”
“Well, look, you should probably just give him the benefit of the doubt,” she tried to console me. “I mean, he married you. I was there. Obviously, you two are together through this for the time being, until your little document thing comes back into play.”
“Yeah, don’t remind me about that right now,” I chided her, sipping from my drink.
“Wait…you don’t…oh my god. I know you had sex but Key, do you like this guy?” She gave me a sideways glance, her eyes widening. “Oh good lord you do! You totally like him!”
“Of course I like him!” I mock-snapped. “He’s a bit standoffish, but he’s kind, he’s sweet, he’s caring and nurturing in his own way…but he just won’t let me in, and I don’t know why. I kept putting obvious signals out, and we only just started sleeping together last night…”
“Well, maybe that’s a bit of a problem…”
“Yeah, you think?”
Swaree and I sat in silence for a moment, drinking our drinks, before she perked back up.
“But hey! Maybe you can win him over with your womanly wiles, right? I mean, did he seem really into the sex?”
“…Yeah, I’m pretty sure he was. He was all over me.”
“Perfect,” she nodded matter-of-factly. “You’ve got him. All you’ve gotta do now is play a little coy, a little hard-to-get…so, this guy’s used to getting everything he wants, right? I mean, he literally bought his way into a relationship with you, even–”
“That’s not the po–”
“–Even if that’s a little beside the point,” Swaree continued. “Look, he’s shown you that he’s into you, right? Maybe those walls are gonna come crumbling down, and you’ll get in, huh? Just approach this thing with an open mind, and I’m sure you’ll totally make it work. You’ve improvised your way into tougher scrapes than this.”
“You really think so?” I asked pensively, taking another sip of the drink.
“Honey, I know so.”
* * *
A short while later, after Aiswarya had given me a hug and a cheek-kiss goodbye, I triumphantly marched back towards the penthouse. She’s right, I thought to myself. I just need to play a little hard to get…really show him who he’s dealing with.
A small, smug smile crossed my lips.
Just you wait and see, Cole Andrews.
I hadn’t given any consideration to how I was getting past the lobby staff, which had undoubtedly changed over since my departure that morning. Luckily, Samantha was working again, and she recognized me on sight.
“Back to see Mr. Andrews again?” She asked as I produced the private key.
“Why yes, he is my husband.” It was odd to say it aloud – in all honesty, I hadn’t even given the thought any consideration, but it was true now. Cole was my partner, yes, and this was all pre-arranged…but he was my husband for the foreseeable future.
Samantha gave me a strange, bemused look. He had clearly neither told her, nor anyone else on the apartment building staff. “Mr. Andrews isn’t married…”
“We married a few days ago, and just came back from our honeymoon,” I told her confidently. “That’s why I was here last night. I’ll have to have him confirm it with all of you, so that I can come and go as I please.”