“Surprised you?” I asked.
“Yeah. I guess I didn’t expect—”
“An escort to have manners?”
His brow furrowed as something inside of me popped. I didn’t know what happened, and I was helpless to stop it. Because the second I felt that anger flood my veins, it went straight to my mouth and dumped right at the foot of his stature.
“I get the perception most people have about what I do, Phillip. They assume I sit there, look pretty, then lay myself out on a bed to be toyed with for a while. Are you shocked I’m not flashing my tits at everyone on the streets of Vienna?”
“That wasn’t what—”
“Are you surprised that I didn’t fuck your nemesis—as you so aptly called him—when I had the chance?”
“I think you’ve misunderstood—”
“I’ve misunderstood? Then tell me, Phillip. What is it about me that has shocked you? Is it the fact that an escort is nothing but a cocksucker, so it shouldn’t matter how many languages I speak? Does it shock you that I have other hobbies besides getting down on my knees for a man? Like playing the piano? Or enjoying fine art? Because this entire week, I’ve only showed you the fact that I have a life outside of escorting. At least, I had a life outside of it. But time and time again, you seem to think that the only thing I’ve ever done in my life is fuck men for money and smile at their sides.”
“I didn’t mean to insinuate—”
“I’m glad you came to Vienna and got your mission accomplished.”
“Elizabeth, wait. Elizabeth!”
I stormed off the balcony, gripping my robe closed. Tears burned my eyes, and as I made my way to my room, I figured out why I was so upset. I didn’t want to leave. I was angry that I had gotten a taste of what my life used to be—of the joy it used to be filled with and the beauty it used to hold—and I was disappointed in myself for getting attached. I was disappointed in my mother for losing herself and spiraling out of my reach, and disappointed in my father for ruining our lives for the sake of nothing but selfishness and greed.
I slammed my bedroom door behind me and fell onto the bed, sobbing openly. For the first time since I’d buried my father six years ago, I audibly sobbed. I hated my life. I hated my world. I hated the things I had to do to keep myself fed and groomed for the only lifestyle on the planet that didn’t give a shit about who I was. I wiggled underneath the covers, soaking every inch of the mattress as I slid against it. I placed my cheek upon the silky soft material, relishing its feel against my skin.
Because in twenty-four hours, I’d be pressing my cheek against a pillow that didn’t have a covering to it. In twenty-four hours, I’d be back to eating beans from a can and scraping by to afford twelve-dollar salads at the small restaurant down the street from my apartment. In twenty-four hours, I’d be back in Rhonda’s office with yet another assignment I would have to prepare for, and Phillip would be nothing but a distant memory.
Vienna would be nothing but a distant memory.
My former world, nothing but a damn distant memory.
Well, that didn’t go as planned.
I gritted my teeth as she slammed her door closed, and for a second my blood roiled. Who the hell was she to talk to me like that? I was her boss, and no one I hired addressed me like that. I looked back into the penthouse suite and listened as soft sobs drifted down the hallway. And once they graced my ears, my anger turned to sympathy. I understood that type of sadness—the kind so overwhelming one could no longer contain it. She was right in all the things she had accused me off. At least, partially. I hadn’t treated her well the entire time she was in Vienna, and that was one of the company’s number one rules.
I sighed as her sobs grew stronger. Elizabeth had done nothing but try to give me what I wanted. She did nothing short of what she had been hired to do and, in the end, was the only reason I accomplished what I had come here to do. Not only had Justin been right, but she had been perfect for the job. And I had insulted her and berated her more with my words and insinuations than I had anything else.