Specific Taste

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Summary

We all had a preference, a specific taste of sort with food, style…and even with sex. Adalyn certainly agreed with this and she catered different tastes through her writing. As Simone she wrote steamy best-selling novels that centered on different tastes for her readers to explore. Despite being single, she found various ways to deliver the hottest scenes to keep her reader's toes curled. Contented with this she did not expect the appearance of two of the renowned and most eligible bachelor CEOs, Sylas Black and Zequi Greenwald, in her life when she was adamant to avoid the press. Who will satisfy her specific taste best? Will they ever learn her secret? Or will it be too late?

Genre:
Erotica / Romance
Author:
Mikaela Michelle
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
3
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter One

“I can satisfactorily fuck myself, thank you very much,” she said, proudly smirking as she watched the insult land on the male reporter. His face soured and sneered at her as he slumped on his chair, but she just arched a brow, challenging him to talk more. When he did not react anymore, she put her brow down and put on a neutral face.

A man like him made women consider eradicating them from the world. They think women need them for everything.

“Maybe you’re writing such erotic stories because you need someone to… you know, Simone”, she mocked the reporter’s question in her head. Rolling her eyes and making faces internally while making sure she kept her face neutral.

“Ah… uhm, anyone else with questions?” the host asked the crowd but no one else raised their hands.

“Alright! That’s all for tonight!” he said overly enthusiastic, forcing a smile before turning back to her. She mentally cringed.

He then continued, “Thank you Simone for your time.”

She smiled sweetly and nodded once then said, “My pleasure.”

The crowd clapped while she stood and posed for pictures with the host. The crew started to step in the stage and modestly, she slipped to backstage where she met a pair of black eyes with stern glare from a very annoyed Gia Foster, her manager and personal editor, who was sporting a newly trimmed black hair that fell just an inch above her chin. Her lips, painted with nude coloured lipstick slightly darker in contrast to her light brown skin, were pressed in a hard line. She smiled, as innocent as possible, as she walked to her.

“What’s with the face?” she asked, waving her hand around her own face.

Gia arched a brow, “You know why, don’t play innocent with me Adalyn Simone.”

Ada mentally swore, whenever Gia calls her with her complete given names, it meant one thing she’s displeased—utterly displeased. She opened her mouth to respond but her eyes found the black puffy and frizzy hair restrained with a durable black hair tie in a ponytail among the crowd backstage. A distraction.

“Nola!” she called instead, completely ignoring Gia. The girl swirled and her black eyes found Ada, she smiled.

“Good, you’re ignoring me,” Gia mumbled but Ada just kept her smile and placed her hands on her shoulders to turn her to Nola’s direction.

“Ada, you really need to stop antagonizing the press,” Gia reprimanded, Ada put her left arm around her shoulders while her right hand let go of her left shoulder, stepping beside her. Thankful for her heels, she was able to properly drape her arm on Gia since she was taller than her without the heels.

“If they stop being an arse, I might reconsider that,” Ada replied, looking at her with a smirk but Gia chose to roll her eyes on her.

“I am sorry, I had to take a call,” Nola said as soon as she reached Ada and Gia.

“It’ fine, dear,” Ada said, and Nola smiled, brightly before stepping beside her.

“Let’s go now and we can have dinner in the hotel,” Gia said, and Ada just nodded in agreement as she let go of Gia’s shoulders.

As they approached the exit, the security escorted them outside and there were few readers of Ada’s book who lined up for her autograph which she graciously entertained before following Gia and Nola in their limousine.

They were already halfway through the drive when Nola gasped and Ada had to pray that she did not forget anything because by how Gia looked, she can—and would—eat her alive.

“What is it, Nola?” asked Gia, staring intensely at Nola who was sitting on their left.

“Read,” she replied, turning her mobile to them and there it was the entertainment news for tonight.

Best seller author, Simone, spotted with the CEO of the Nixon Industries, Fredrick Nixon, being cosy together.

Ada snatched the mobile from Nola and skimmed through the article. The further she read the more her face scrunched up in disdain.

“Huh. This is bunch of baloney,” Ada stated with a disgusted tone as she finished skimming through the article and handing the mobile back to Nola.

“Let me see,” Gia said carefully, taking the mobile instead. Gia started reading the article, Nola watched her while Ada looked out of the car window as she admired the bustling streets of London. No, she was not admiring anything. She was ignoring the blasted article and distracting herself.

However, she cannot ignore it long enough because Gia spoke, “Are you dating Fred?”

Ada snorted and said, “No.”

“Well, the press sees differently,” she replied, willing Ada to look at her but she didn’t do so and chose to just shrug at her.

“Press always shows whatever they want to show even though it’s not true.”

“So, you’re not dating Fred?” Gia asked again and Ada needed to resist the urge to roll her eyes at her.

“No, Gia. Fred is already engaged. We’re friends though,” Ada said matter-of-factly.

“Engaged?” Nola asked and finally, Ada looked back at them. She realized her mistake. Her jaw clenched before she let out a defeated sigh.

“Yes, he is engaged but it’s not yet out to the press for personal reasons,” Ada elaborated but it was not really helpful because Nola still looked confused and Gia is looking at her quizzically.

She waved off their looks and said, “Just trust me, he’s engaged so that article is shit.”

“I never heard that he was exclusively dating someone,” Nola said her thoughts aloud and Ada sighed.

“His fiancée is a very private person and I hope that explains everything,” Ada said dismissively and turned back to the car window to absently watch the people crowding the sidewalk.

They soon reached the hotel they are staying in and the ever efficient and reliable Gia, she already reserved a table for us ahead with the correct estimation of time—Ada’s delay with the fans included, how she did it nobody knew. The maître d’ led them to their table and provided them their menus before leaving to give them time to choose.

They fell in a companiable silence as they look for their preferred meals. Gia called a server after a considerable time. Ada let Gia and Nola give their order first before she did. A sommelier approached them with their chosen red wine and served them.

“What are your plans tonight?” Gia asked and Ada knew it was for her.

“I might visit a pub,” she said as she casually sipped her drink.

“Our flight is at one in the afternoon,” Nola reminded them.

“Don’t worry I won’t drink much,” Ada said with a wink to Nola before downing what was left of her drink. Nola’s mouth curled to suppress an amused grin since Gia is currently glaring at her. Gia’s annoyance with Ada’s drinking rooted from a time that she caused them to almost miss a flight. To be fair, Ada was not drunk at all, she just overslept and was able to manage to move their flight.

“Better be, Ada,” Gia warned and Ada smiled at her. Before she can respond their server came to their table with their food.

Dinner passed with quiet small talks and long sips of wine until it was time for desserts. They parted ways, Gia and Nola went straight to their rooms while Ada decided to visit a pub near the hotel. Ada shrugged off her blazer and turned it inside-out, thankful of her reversible blazer, changing it from beige to black.

She had removed her contact lenses and put on her thin metal rimmed eyeglasses then released her hair from the braid she sported earlier thus leaving her dark auburn hair slightly wavy and fell just on her waist. She decided to walk from the hotel to the pub, enjoying the London spring air. She pushed her hands through her fitted black trouser pockets and her face instinctively wore an indifferent expression. Her black ankle boots made silent thuds on the pavement as she strode.

The lively music from the pub can be heard from a distance and few people came and went as she approached. Ada walked in just after a man strolled out of the pub and went straight to the vacant stool in front of the bar. The place was full but not crowded. Many were from their work to unwind and ready to start their weekend off. Ada ordered a whiskey on the rocks and was nursing her drink. She watched the amber liquid swirl around.

You can just have one drink, savour it.

“You look lonely, why don’t I keep you company?” A man’s voice reached her and in her peripheral vision the woman shifted in her seat on the table near her.

“No, thank you,” she said firmly and looking away from the man who sat beside her. The man was somewhat older than the woman. He was tall and portly, crowding the woman’s space.

“Oh, c’mon, I’ll be fun,” he insisted but now his fingers grazing her forearm and she was cringing.

Ada observed the people around the woman, they seemed unaware of what’s happening or probably ignoring the situation. She sipped her drink, watching more intently. The man was starting lean into her and she was recoiling to the edge of her seat. She tried to swat her hand away from her though subtle, Ada saw the man grab her wrist rather forcefully and she grimaced.

Shit.

She downed her what’s remaining of her drink in one go, grimacing as the liquid burned its track from her throat to her stomach, giving her a warm feeling. She then left the tumbler with a tip below it. She straightened her blazer and strode purposefully to the woman’s table. On cue, a number of people started watching her movements.

“I believe the lady is currently uncomfortable with your presence, if you’re smart enough, you’d leave,” Ada said as soon as she stopped behind their chairs.

The man quickly looked back at her and his lips curled into a sneer but she just looked down at him like he’s some kind of low-life being. He then scoffed at her.

“Mind your own business,” he spat and this time Ada sneered at him. He turned back to the woman and tried reaching to her again.

“To tell you to leave her alone is my business,” Ada spoke and he growled. He gritted his teeth so hard that veins popped on his temple and his neck and face flushed.

“She’s my girlfriend!” he snarled, spit flying from his mouth to the woman who had a look of disgust before her eyes gazed at Ada. Ada gave her a glance ever so slightly that the idiot didn’t notice her then the woman shook her head in the smallest movement she can manage.

She smirked, “You’re pathetic.”

The man abruptly stood up, Ada stepped aside, the chair falling backwards merely missing her foot. He towered over her. This is the time that I hate the fact that I am short. She kept her smirk on and inched a brow up. Then he started chuckling. So, we got a crazy one today.

“Ah, I know now…” he trailed off, lifting a hand and reaching out to her. She eyed his movement suspiciously and widened her stance slyly. “…you want to join us.”

She did not let the tips of his fingers reach her instead he grabbed his wrist tightly and in swift movement she spun, putting her back to his front and her other foot sliding backwards for leverage. Summoning all her strength she flipped the man over her head. The man landed on the floor with a loud thud and an audible groan from the man if she was not so ecstatic, she might have believed that the building shook a little.

She pushed her eyeglasses up the bridge of her nose and the smirk she had become smug as she looked down at the grunting man but she quickly took her attention away from him and turned to the woman.

“Hey, you’re okay now?” she asked as soon as she reached the woman.

She nodded and quietly said, “Y-yes. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Ada replied with a smile and suddenly she heard a growl and grunt. They both turned and saw the man struggled to get up, his face was fully flushed and he looked like he’d explode any minute, gritting his teeth.

“You’re a bitch!” he snarled, stomping his way to her. She straightened herself and prepared for his attack. On second thought, maybe he could just…

Ada pulled the fallen chair near her with her foot and swung her right leg back and before the man reaches her, she kicked the chair hard enough making it slide right to him with enough force that he toppled over and fell face first on the floor with another thud and now, she realized the ground actually shook a little. The man grunted and before he pushed himself up, Ada decided it would be fun to stride to his side and put a foot between his shoulder blades and pushed him back down with a groan. She stooped down, putting more pressure on her foot on his back.

“I suggest you leave this place already, yes?”

He grunted in response. Ada, pressed harder on his back, gaining a louder grunt.

“Yes?”

He wheezed, “Y-yes.”

“Good, no more theatrics,” she warned. She stood up and cautiously stepped back from the man who gingerly pushed himself up. Ada walked around him and picked up the chair she kicked earlier. Once he was on his feet, he glared at her over his shoulder but Ada just inched a brow up. Do something stupid and I will fracture your bones for real.

He left then and her appetite for another drink was gone. Gia will be so happy to know that she was not drunk tonight. Ada gave the woman one last look and she smiled appreciatively to her, she nodded in acknowledgement. She turned her heels and found many were watching, which was expected, she kept her brow inched up as she scanned the room and changed her mind, she might need more than one drink but not in this pub maybe she can just stay in hotel’s bar. She pushed back her right sleeve and checked the time on her wrist watch. 9:45, I can still grab a drink before it closes by 11 in the evening.

Ada walked to the door and odd enough, there was one person looking intensely at her despite others resumed their drinks and conversation. He blended in the crowd but his height made him stand out plus his tousled black hair and his eyes do not leave her movements. She ignored him at first but few steps away from the door she held his gaze. His blue eyes to her brown eyes. Ada ceased the connection as soon as she held the door handle.

She welcomed the London outdoor air again. She then saw the man again but this time he hailed a cab and left for the night. She did not linger for too long and started to walk back to the hotel, wearing again an impassive look on her face.

Ada reached the hotel bar, warmth from her previous drink now gone, and was glad to see that there are fewer people in this place than the pub. She made a beeline to the bar and settle in one of the vacant stools, the bartender approached her almost immediately.

“One whiskey on the rocks please, just add it in my tab, Blewitt.”

The bartender only nodded. Once he handed her the drink, the bartender went ahead and add the drink in her tab. Unlike in the pub, the hotel bar has continuous smooth jazz music to accompany their customers. Ada was again savoured her drink, taking leisurely sips which lessens the grimace to the bitter taste, feeling the burn pass through her throat and the warmth settled in her stomach.

She’s almost done with her drink when the stool beside her creaked when a weight was added on it and heard someone ordered something with the bartender. She did not look up; she just watched the ice move around along with the amber liquid in her tumbler.

“Simone, isn’t it?” a woman asked prompting Ada to gaze to her side. The woman had a blonde hair tied in a high ponytail, blue eyes and red painted lips and was wearing a tight blue blouse complete with plunging neckline to show her cleavage then paired with figure-hugging black skirt. She was smiling too much for Ada’s liking.

“Yes, and you are?” she asked with a flat tone, almost bored—she might actually be bored. She looked damn familiar.

“Oh, I am Carolyn Robbins,” she said eagerly, extending her hand to her. Ada looked down to it, eyes slightly squinted. Carolyn Robbins. Then, it clicked now. Shit.

“What do you need from me?” she asked, lifting her eyes to her again. She retracted her hand, an offended look passed on her face but was gone as soon as it came. She kept her smile.

“Oh, of course, always business first even drinking on a Friday night.”

“I know you’re aware that I am not the friendliest to your kinds,” Ada said, looking back down to her drink as if the conversation was over. Carolyn quietly took a sip of her drink.

“I am aware, yes, but I just want a quick conversation,” she spoke after a short while.

Ada downed her watered drink and put the tumbler down. The bartender was about to refill her drink but she shook her head before she turned back to her unexpected company.

“I am not interested, Carolyn. Good night,” she said, giving her a curt nod and slid down her stool.

She barely heard the growl from Carolyn as she passed by her. She was few steps to the door when she heard clacking of heels on the marble floor. Ada internally groaned. She paced faster.

“Simone, just answer a few questions.”

She carried on walking out of the bar then she heard the nearby lift chimed then the doors opened, “Simone… Sim—.”

People exited and Ada hastily took the lift, almost bumping someone, or she did bump that person, she did not care. She turned around and found Carolyn was already talking with someone else, a man, completely forgetting her. All she caught was his white Oxford shirt and the back of his head with wavy blond hair before the lift doors closed. She pressed the number ten button and sighed, crossing her arms across her chest. A soft instrumental was played within the lift while she waited for it to reach the floor where her room was. She hummed along with the instrumental, nodding and tapping her right foot in time, as much as possible, with the beat.

The lift stopped and chimed as the doors opened. She strode out of the lift still humming as she pulled her key card from her blazer’s jacket. Once she reached her room, she walked in, kicked the door shut and put the key card in its place. She then turned to lock her door then stripped her clothes for a quick shower before sleeping.

♦♦♦

The room was bathed with morning sunlight that stirred Ada awake. She wrinkled her nose and groaned, pulling a pillow to cover her face to sleep again however, someone’s incessant knocking decided she did not deserve to extend her sleep. She groaned on the pillow before she threw it behind her. She pulled off the covers and climbed out of the bed, rubbing the heel of her palm on her left eye.

“I’m coming over, please stop knocking!” she shouted as she grabbed her night robe from the wingback chair in the sitting area. She pulled on her robe and opened the door, a shock of bushy hair greeted her, her face blurry in Ada’s sight.

“Nola, what do you need?” she asked, her tone irritated and Nola had the audacity to look sheepish when she was knocking incessantly earlier.

“Gia wants you down in the restaurant for breakfast since it’s already eight….”

She grunted, “You could’ve just called me.”

“You’ll just end the call…that happened many times before.”

“Fine, fine. I’ll be there, give me thirty minutes,” she said, waving Nola off.

“Alright, good morning by the way, Ada,” Nola replied with a smile but Ada just rolled her eyes with a slight upward twitch of her lips.

Ada closed her door when Nola started walking away. She locked her door and went straight to the shower. Wrapped in a towel, after a lengthy shower, she made her way to the vanity table in the room and squinted while groping for the container of her contact lenses. Once her vision cleared, she removed the towel from her hair and slung it on the back of a chair near her. She combed her hair, grimacing every time she encountered a tangle. Damn, long hair. I’ll trim you soon.

It took some time for her to finish combing and changing into a black round neck shirt tucked in black trousers that cut just above her ankles that’s held on place with a black leather belt. She then paired it with black D’orsay heels. Ada left her room with her purse and mobile.

When she reached the lifts, she punched for the arrow down button and waited for a lift to stop. She busied herself in checking her emails but observed her surroundings in her peripheral where she saw two pairs of leather shoes approached the lifts. The lift chimed and Ada’s jerked her head up and saw one of the lifts was going down. She hurried to the lift but two men walked in ahead of her and the doors started closing so she shot her right hand out, pushing one side of the door effectively stopping the doors from fully closing then causing the lift to chime again. The two men looked at her and Ada automatically noticed the man with wavy blond hair, she believed he was the person Carolyn talked to last night. She cannot remember though if she saw the man who was with him now, he was an inch or two taller than the other man and had dark skin and short shaggy black hair. However, she walked in and turned around, ignoring them completely. Ada was about to press the button for the ground floor but noticed that they already did so she pulled her hand back and pushed it into her pocket.

Ada focused in continuing her reading with her emails and missed messages in her other social media accounts especially from her friends. She quietly hummed along with the soft instrumental that again being played. She’d occasionally look up when the lift stops and chimed just to make sure if she already arrived to her destination.

Once the lift finally stopped for the ground floor and the doors opened, Ada walked out of the lift and strode directly to the hotel’s restaurant. She stopped by the maître d’ and provided her name. She took the menu from the maître d’ before she found the familiar bushy hair of Nola that’s now tied into a ponytail.

“Good morning,” Ada sing-sung as she slid into her seat on the right of Gia and in front of Nola.

“Good morning. No hangover?” Gia asked after sipping presumably her coffee.

“Yes, I told you I won’t drink too much,” Ada replied, opening the menu in her hand. She did a quick scan and waved the server to their table.

“How can I help you, Miss?”

“I’d like to get a mashed avocado with confit tomato on wholemeal toast. And, an Earl Grey tea.”

“Would that be all, Miss?”

“Yes, thank you” Ada replied, giving the menu to the server.

“I’ll be back with your order,” he replied with a small nod and smile before. Then, left their table.

“How was the pub?” Nola asked smilingly which made Ada smile albeit small.

“It was fine.”

“Fine?”

“Yes…”

“What did you do, Ada?” Gia asked now and Ada pursed her lips but did not look at Gia.

“Nothing, really. I just drunk once and went back here.”

“Huh, that’s unusual,” Nola commented but Ada just ignored them, looking around. The hotel’s restaurant has high ceiling, tall tinted windows that offered the view of the street while on the window ledges were decorated with indoor plants. The tables looked immaculate with the white tablecloths and matched with white wooden and cushioned chairs. Above the soft music playing there were quiet conversations around them.

“Carolyn was looking for you earlier. She said that you owe her an interview,” Gia said and upon hearing that woman’s name Ada looked back at them.

Ada’s face scrunched up in disbelief, “What? I don’t owe her anything.”

“Well, that’s what she told us earlier,” Nola said as she poked of what’s left from her pancake.

“What happened?” Gia probed and before she could answer the server came back with her order. She thanked him and when he left, Gia cleared her throat.

“Let me, drink my tea first, yes?” Ada replied, picking up the honey and poured a generous amount before adding milk into her tea. She stirred it in and put down the teaspoon on the saucer before putting the napkin on her lap. Ada made sure to take time sipping her tea while Gia watched her as she waited and Ada was enjoying annoying her a little.

“Ada…what happened?” Gia asked with a warning tone and an almost glare.

Ada put her cup down on the saucer carefully, “Well, I returned here as I have said earlier. I went in the bar and got a drink then she found me.”

“And how did you owe her an interview, then?” Nola probed.

Ada shrugged, slicing her toast in half, “I don’t know, I actually got only one drink and I avoided her like she has a contagious disease.”

She took a bite of her toast and quietly hummed, the food was delicious.

“I am glad you were able to avoid her but I believe you were not nice to her,” Gia commented, sipping her coffee again.

She took another bite of her toast and after a few chews, she swallowed before she said, “I am not always nice. And I barely—barely—avoided that woman. Thank goodness she was distracted.”

“How on earth was Carolyn Robbins distracted?” Nola interjected and Ada chuckled. She put a hand up to her to give her time as she started to eat the other half of her toast. As soon as she swallowed her food, she took a generous sip of her tea.

“So, as I was saying she got distracted. When I got in the lift, I only saw that she was eagerly talking to someone who has wavy blond hair, didn’t see his face,” Ada said then dabbed her napkin over her mouth.

“Wavy blond hair?” Gia asked after she finished her coffee and Ada nodded once then ate what’s left of her toast.

“Huh, is he really here?” Nola muttered, discreetly looking around and Ada quirked her brow up curiously as she dabbed her mouth again with her napkin.

“There are so many people with wavy blond hair, Nola, it can’t be him,” Gia commented and Ada just observed them looking around as subtle as possible while she drunk her tea again.

“Do you know someone with wavy blond hair who deserves this kind of interest? Is he that important?” Ada asked after finishing her tea.

“Yes—”

Nola, gasped, cutting off Gia, “He is here.

“No way,” Gia said, her eyes widening. While her two companions gawked at someone, Ada looked at them with furrowed brows, gazing at them like they had three heads.

“Is this real?” Nola said, her voice just above a whisper. Amazement was evident in the way her eyes brightened.

“Pinch me,” Gia said quietly and since Ada did not know why they were acting strange, she did what Gia had said. She pinched the back of her hand hard making her yelp which caused few people to look at their table.

“Ada!” she admonished, glaring at her as she caressed the back of her hand. Ada just smirked.

“You said pinch me,” Ada said, refolding the napkin on her nap and placing it back on the table.

“Not literally,” Gia reasoned, annoyed. Ada bit her lip to keep herself from grinning. She shrugged and when she was sure that there are no bread crumbs on her, she stood up.

“I’ll see you in the lobby by ten, yes?” Ada asked and Gia nodded, now checking her hand for a wound, maybe.

“Yes, we’ll be there. I’ll book the ride,” Nola muttered, sneaking a look to wherever she saw that man they were talking about. Ada sighed.

“Alright, I’ll go ahead and pack now,” Ada uttered as she picked up her purse and mobile. She stepped aside and lifted her chair a little as she moved it back to its place.

She turned and started to make her way out of the restaurant when she found a pair of blue eyes watching her over the rim of his cup. His attempt to tame his tousled hair was almost a failure. He is the one she saw in the pub and right now, he’s with the guy with wavy blond hair and his dark-skinned friend. She held his gaze and a smirk showed up as he put his cup down but she kept an impassive face.

Ada broke the contact when she went pass their table. Neither the two of them noticed that the certain blond quietly watched their interaction with slight interest.

♦♦♦

Ada, Gia and Nola met up in the lobby at exactly ten in the morning just what they agreed on and Nola had a car waiting for them at that exact time too. And just how Gia liked it, they were in the airport, checked in and waiting for boarding an hour earlier than their scheduled flight. They stayed on their reserved seats in the boarding area. Nola was reading her book; Gia was checking her scheduler while Ada was sketching in her small sketchpad.

“A batch of a thousand copies will be sent to you next month, all for signing,” Gia spoke, breaking their silence and Ada only paused in sketching as she went back to the current reality and processed what she had said.

“Did they say when will they pick it up afterwards?” Ada asked without looking up and resumed sketching.

“No,”

“That’s a problem. I don’t want to spend to send those copies back or cram because they did not give me a deadline.”

Gia hummed her agreement.

“Nola,” Gia turned her attention to the reading woman and she looked up, abandoning her reading.

“Yes?”

“Please set a phone appointment with Darcey of Brazen Books.”

“Time and date?”

“As soon as possible and anytime,” Gia’s answer was firm that it did not need any questions. Nola added and pulled out her phone to add the task in her to-do list the continued reading.

Ada finished three sketches before they were called in to board the plane and since they were flying first class, they boarded before the rest of the passengers did. Ada, being a bit of a spoiled brat, she made sure that they get a first-class ticket to a plane with cabins instead of regular first-class seats and she could say it paid off well. The cabin was enclosed, complete with a seat that converts into a bed with television, complimentary canapé and wine, brand new indoor slippers and fresh bath towel—but honestly, Ada was not comfortable using such thing that’s why she always brought her own disposable bath towel. Settling in, putting her hand-carry bag in the designated place, she resumed sketching.

♦♦♦

After more or less ten hours, they reached Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. They picked up their luggage and was fetched by Ada’s driver, Dexter, he was on his late thirties, tall with dark brown hair and brown skin. And now, he was wearing a black suit over white buttoned-down shirt, a black tie paired with black trousers and leather black shoes.

“Welcome back, Miss Blewitt, Miss Foster and Miss Delgado,” he greeted as soon as they reached him.

“Too formal, Dex,” Gia commented and he just gave her his most charming smile. Ada watched their interaction and looked away, rolling her eyes and bit back a smile as she saw Gia blushed lightly.

“I’ll go ahead and take your bags,” Dexter offered and Ada looked back.

“Yes, please,” she said.

“Alright, let me open the door for you first,” Dexter said but Ada hurried and opened the car door instead.

“We don’t have to do that now, Dex,” Ada said climbing in to the front passenger seat, Nola and Gia chuckled. Nola opened the car door and Gia slid in the car and Nola followed leaving Dexter shaking his head with a smile, “These ladies.”

He sighed, taking their luggage into the car trunk then made his way to the driver’s seat.

“You know the route. Nola, Gia then we head home,” Ada said as soon as he settled in.

“Yes, Miss Blewitt.”

He started the car and drove off. The traffic was packed with people going home from their work since it’s six in the evening in Georgia.

“How was your trip?” Dexter asked.

“It was fantastic! London was beautiful as always,” Nola gushed instantly. Ada and Gia chuckled quietly.

“And you Miss Foster and Miss Blewitt?”

“Oh, it was bloody hectic! I was not able to visit any museum,” Gia complained.

Dexter smiled, “Maybe next time.”

“Hopefully!”

“How about you Miss Blewitt?”

“Busy but I had fun,” she replied.

Nola started sharing what they all did and saw during their trip in London until she started talking about this specific Sylas Black and even Gia joined int the topic but Ada was left unaware about this person.

“Can you stop gushing about him for a moment and tell me who this person is?” Ada interrupted them and Gia rolled her eyes while Nola chortled.

“Oh, Adalyn Simone! Sylas Black was one of the most eligible business men,” Nola said it like it was common sense to know this. Ada just scrunched up her face.

“I’m sorry, I have no time to learn about that. So, he was the one you saw in the restaurant?”

“Yes!” Nola exclaimed.

“Too bad we were not able to catch him earlier and maybe meet him,” Gia added with a wink to Nola who giggled.

“Gia?!” Ada cried with feigned incredulousness.

“Oh, hush!”

They all laughed heartily.

“But seriously, we should’ve met him. It was a missed opportunity,” Gia said almost seriously if not for the grin on her face.

Ada snorted, “Yeah, sure. He is a missed opportunity.”

“He is,” Gia insisted.

Ada just shrugged nonchalantly, dismissing the topic altogether but Nola chuckled on how Ada reacted and Gia followed while Dexter’s lips curled inward as he struggled to contain his laughter.

“Let it out, Dex. I don’t want you to die suppressing your laugh,” Ada said with an eyeroll but with a smile on her face. Dexter laughed loudly then, joining Nola and Gia.

Once the laughter died down, they went back talking about the trip then about their plans for the following days. Their conversation went on until they reached Nola’s house. It’s a lovely bungalow house within a village in Decatur. The exterior was painted white that now reflected yellow because of the outdoor lights while the roof was black. The porch had two cushioned chairs and two potted plants situated on each side of a brown double door.

“First stop,” Dexter announced.

“Oh, it was a great time to be with you all, I’ll see you soon!”

“Of course, Nola. I’ll see you on Monday, yes?” Gia said and Nola nodded excitedly.

“Yes!”

Nola climbed out of the car and Dexter already brought her luggage in the porch.

“Bye, Gia and Ada!”

“Bye!” they chorused, waving at her.

She waved back at them before she turned to make her way to her house.

“Thanks, Dex!” she said, beaming at him and he nodded once with a smile.

“My pleasure, Miss Delgado.”

Dexter climbed back in the driver’s seat and drove off. The drive to Gia’s house was short but the conversations they had were more business-like than when Nola’s in the car. They reached Gia’s house at Stonecrest within an exclusive subdivision just after they settled a time to meet after Gia’s conversation with Darcey. Gia’s house was a Southern ranch-style home with white exterior walls and porch that were emphasized by the outdoor lights then black roofing, the same colour scheme as Nola’s exterior. However, her porch was more spacious and was fenced.

“Alright, my stop’s here. Remember about our meeting, Ada,” Gia muttered.

“Yes, I will message Nola to give me a reminder too.”

“Good, you need that.”

Ada chortled and bid her goodbye. By the time she climbed out of the car, Dexter already put her luggage on her porch. Ada watched them interact with each other and mentally put it in her to-do list to ask Dexter if he’s seeing someone and subtly hint that Gia was single. Internally Ada nodded, agreeing to herself.

“Ready to head home Miss Blewitt?” Dexter asked and Ada turned to him.

“Yes, Dex.”

He bobbed his head once and drove off. The drive to her house was quiet and short. Ada’s house was located far from the main road and into a woodland with paved driveway. Her house was a cottage-style manor surrounded by gardens, well-maintained by her mother and few bricked walls were covered with vines. The driveway was lined with hedges and outdoor lights. The entire house was fully lit right now.

Dexter stopped in front of the house and Tristan came out, he was one of their house helpers. His height was average, slightly younger than Dexter and he had curly black hair, long enough that it fell on his ear and brown skin.

“Good…,” he trailed off and looked at his watch, “evening, Miss Blewitt.”

Ada chuckled, “Good evening, Tristan.”

“Miss Blewitt, welcome home. Dinner’s ready and Mrs. Blewitt is already in the dining room,” Camille, one of their helpers, said as soon as she walked in the foyer. She was in her forties, taller than Ada and she was standing with her long-sleeved, floor length dress and black flats. She had her blonde hair fixed in a bun and a pair of glasses perched on her nose.

“Thank you, Camille. I’ll be there.”

With a nod, Camille left with Tristan and Dexter who carried Ada’s luggage to her room while Ada went ahead to the dining room.

“I’m home!” she announced as soon as she walked in the dining room making Luciana, her mother, and Felicita, one of their helpers, to look up. Luciana had the same dark auburn hair as Ada but a little bit longer, fair skin sprinkled with freckles, lighter eye colour and thinner than Ada. Felicita, on the other hand, had black hair fixed in a bun and was wearing a dark blue three-fourth sleeved button down, ankle-length dress and black flats.

“I can see that, we expect you today,” Luciana deadpanned and she just chuckled as she took her seat in the other end of the table.

Felicita went ahead and set her plate with garlic fried rice and salmon with spinach sauce paired with a glass of Vidal blanc white wine which Luciana eyed carefully.

“Just one drink, don’t worry,” she said when she noticed her gaze. Luciana hummed in response before she started with her meal.

“I saw the news,” Luciana said after a few minutes of silence and Ada nodded, knowing well what she was talking about.

“It was ridiculous,” Ada commented after she swallowed her food.

“Yes, it is but Fred needs to clarify things. Cassy don’t need this. She’s already stressed.”

“I know. I just cannot do anything yet. I’ll try to reach out to both of them.”

“They haven’t reached out to you yet?”

“Nope.”

“I really think Fred should introduce Cassy now, officially.

“If Cassy agrees… you know.”

Luciana shook her head and they continued eating quietly. True to her promise, she did not refill her wine and moved on with water instead. After dinner they both retired to their bedrooms. Ada unpacked her bags and kept her empty luggage in her walk-in closet. She went on to get a lengthy hot shower after sending messages to Cassy and Fred.

After her shower, she checked her phone and there was no response from any of them. Sighing, she changed into her cotton nightgown and left her room barefoot to Luciana’s room, leaving her phone.

She knocked twice before she took hold of the cold doorknob and twisted it, pushing the door open, making a creak. Ada smiled as her mother looked up from her phone and watched her close the door behind her and walked towards her bed. She plopped on the bed and laid beside her, across the bed and let her feet dangle on the edge.

“You’re going to wet my sheets.”

“That’ll be fine, it’ll dry before you know it.”

“Stubborn,” she replied, returning her attention to her phone.

“They haven’t replied yet. I sent a message around thirty minutes ago.”

“You don’t have to do anything if they won’t reply. The news will die eventually.”

“Right. It’ll die as soon as another news comes up.”

“That’s how the cycle goes.”

“Hmm-hmm.”

Luciana returned reading on her phone and Ada was contented to look up the ceiling and drum her fingers on her belly. They fell into a comfortable silence for a while before her mother chose to break the silence.

“Ada…”

“Hmm?”

“Are you really—?”

“Yes, I am sure. I don’t need it. I don’t want it at all.”

“But there might still be a chance.”

Ada snorted, “We’ll just get disappointed.”

“You really don’t want to try?”

Ada lifter herself up and looked back at her mother, “Nope. I really don’t want to.”

She nodded, defeated, “Alright.”

Ada yawned as she stretched, “I’ll go ahead and sleep now. Good night, Ma.”

“Hmm-hmm, good night.”

“I’ll turn off the lights?”

“Sure.”

Ada climbed off the bed and flipped the switches to turn off the lights as she made her way to the door. Now, only the lights from the phone illuminate the room. Ada watched her for a few moments before she slipped out of the bedroom, closing the door behind her quietly.

As soon as she returned to her room, she checked her phone but there was no message still. She decided then to sleep, putting her phone in silent, she placed her phone back to her nightstand to flip the switches to turn off the lights. Ada climbed to her bed, pulled the covers up to her chin and gradually drifted off to sleep, oblivious of the quiet notifications coming in her phone.

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