Let Me See Beneath Your Beautiful
Let Me See Beneath Your Beautiful
When Pete woke up the next morning, there was his boss standing in the door way – a vision in purple and black.
"You want me to take advice from a man who can't find his way to his own hotel room?" Helena asked her tongue as sharp as her outfit.
"No, I mean yes," Pete said sliding back up the wall to stand. He didn't want to tell his boss he was there for a reason. "I was really tired," he tried.
"Aha. Please do freshen up, Mr. Lattimer and then get Ms. Donovan and meet me for breakfast. I am interested in seeing what a tea barista actual does," Helena said moving past him to the elevator.
Pete waited until Helena waved goodbye or was it get going, and then he pounded on Claudia's door. "I hope you have a tea barista downstairs for real – or this won't be a good start to our day," he said.
Claudia was not worried. She had slipped the appropriate amount to bribe the right people into agreeing their highly trained 'tea barista' was on duty and ready to bring her the tea. In fact, it was one of the kitchen's staff who happened to be English and understood the importance of brewing the tea correctly. Pete showed and shaved quickly and joined Claudia to go meet their boss. She was in fact, smiling as she sipped the tea in the dining room.
Claudia looked at her well-dressed her boss was and then down at what she was wearing and became very self-conscious.
"How far a drive is it?" Helena asked taking a small bite of a scone.
"Forty minutes at most," Pete said, and the laid out what he thought was the best plan. "There's a coffee shop across the street. We'll wait there until her parents leave for the matinee and lunch and then you can go over and 'do your thang,'" Pete said.
"I wanted to 'do my thang'- as you so incorrectly stated last night, but deferred to your wishes to conduct this event today," Helena pointed out.
"Yes, and I think it would be good to go over what ….we," Pete said pointing to himself and Claudia, " …have observed."
"Do tell, Mr. Lattimer, do tell," Helena said slowly.
"Yeah, okay so Myka Bering quit her job after – you know – what you did. Then she came home – to here – so that makes us think she's trying to think things out. So we don't think it would be a good idea to pressure her in anyway," Pete said and braced himself.
"OK," Helena agreed. "No pressure."
"You get fifteen minutes in the store," Pete said and both women said – "What?"
"Yeah – if you can't get her to agree to something in fifteen, we need to regroup and you need to back off," Pete said. Helena narrowed her eyes but didn't say anything.
"I cannot believe I am agreeing to this," Helena said and only said that to act like she was. She didn't think she needed the advice, but she did admit Myka wasn't responding to her the way people she pursued usually did.
"Fine, fine, fine," Helena said and instructed Pete to get the car. "Excellent barista," she said to the dining room manager who winked at Claudia.
Myka wasn't going to mention the forgery to her parents. They were going off to a luncheon and matinée and would be gone most of the day. She would explain to the buyer that there was a mistake, and then put the money in an envelope so her parents would be none the wiser. She had decided she ignore the fact that it was a counterfeit and keep the book in her room after buying it. It was still a first edition. Her parents were getting ready upstairs and Myka was busy putting the order that came in that morning away.
She had no way of knowing she was across the street from the woman she had dreams of strangling for ruining her book.
Main Street was busy with shoppers and patrons, but none dressed to the nines like the woman who sat in the booth with her staff. Dressed in a black stretch jersey dress with a bateau neckline that hugged her toned body, Helena stared at Pete as he tried to suggest strategies. Long shapely legs wrapped around each other and ended in black pump shoes that added three inches to her frame. The waitress could not help herself and actually touched Helena's deep purple Ralph Lauren Kayden jacket sleeve. Helena slowly stared at the woman who quickly removed her hand. "It's beautiful," she said.
"Look, I think she should…..," Pete was saying to Claudia whose laptop was open as she pressed keys.
"This is ridiculous," Helena said, grabbing her matching purple soft Ricky bag and left the diner. She was halfway across the street when Pete and Claudia tried to jump up at the same time, spilling iced tea everywhere.
"The Eagle has launched!" Pete yelled into his phone to Artie.
"What eagle?" Artie asked.
"THE Eagle," Pete said emphatically.
"I told you, no code names," Artie yelled.
Irene took over and tried to get her fellow staff members to calm down and speak English. She assured them they had done all they could - and now, it was up to their boss.
"Oh I can't watch," Pete said staring out the window as Helena entered the store.
"How does she walk in those things?" Claudia wondered out loud.
Helena didn't remove her dark glasses as she made her way into the store. Warren and Jeanne were on their way out and the two of them stopped in their tracks. They couldn't remember seeing a better dressed woman in their store. Made sense to them that the buyer of the expensive book would dress so well though, they thought.
"Oh yes, Ms. Lake, I spoke to your office on the phone," Warren said.
"We're on our way out, but my daughter Myka will service you," Jeanne said.
Helena pulled her glasses down just the slightest bit and grinned ear to ear at Jeanne choice of words. "That would be lovely," Helena said in her faux American accent.
"MY-KA! Ms. Lake is here for her book," Warren yelled and the couple walked out the door. Helena turned the sign in the door to 'Closed' certain no one would mind.
Pete had his face pressed up against the glass when he saw the Bering's leave the store.
Myka heard her father call her while she was high on the ladder, putting books away. She slowly came down the ladder, yelling "I'll be right with you." She had rehearsed what she would say and tried it in different tones, finally deciding on friendly.
"I am so sorry my father didn't get your phone number when you called yesterday, Ms. Lake because I could have saved you the trouble of coming all the way here," Myka was saying as she made her down the steps. "It turns out that we just found out the book is a forgery. Of course, we'll make a full refund," Myka said apologetically. "Ironically, I actually know who the person is who did this…," Myka said loudly as she made her way up the aisle.
The buyer had her back to her, her arms on the counter, but even at that distance, Myka could see she looked like she just stepped out of Vogue magazine. Myka hesitated, looking down at her dusty blouse and jeans. She pushed her hand through her hair to get it out of her face. Then she noticed the familiar perfume.
"…and I wish I could ask her why, but unfortunately I can't. Hi, I'm Myka Bering," she said extending her hand to the woman at the counter.
Helena removed her sunglasses and put them in front of her and turned around. "Hello Myka," she said taking the hand stretched out to her. She pulled the stunned Myka in just a little, much the same way she had done with Sam the first time she met him.
"Of course you can ask me why," Helena said in her sultry voice.