COOKIES

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Chapter 4

3rd Person POV

Greetings with a Smile

As Alexis pulled up the long winding driveway that led to the stately two-story Contemporary designed home. She parked her little red car at the end of the driveway, where an elderly looking couple was standing. The gentleman introduced the two as Mrs. Salvatore’s maid and butler, Gerald, and Lydia Todd. At the request of Gerald, Alexis handed over the keys to her Audi so that he could park her vehicle in the guest garage behind the house. Without so much as a wave of her hand, Lydia Todd motioned towards Alexis to follow her into the imposing home of Nina Salvatore.

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Alexis’s POV

Walking through the massive home of Nina Salvatore left me fascinated, to say the least. The white marble flooring sprawled throughout what appeared to be the entirety of the home’s main level. A few black carpet runners complimented the pale grey walls and a few adornments that decorated the walls and modern furniture. I made sure to take a mental inventory of the home’s interior decoration while on my journey to meet with Mrs. Salvatore in the patio room at the back end of the luxurious estate. Once we reached the room, I noticed that the so-called “patio room” turned out to be an entire room encased in glass, giving it the illusion of being outside while still remaining in the confines of the home itself. Not going to lie; I kind of thought it was a bit odd to create a room such as this, considering we lived in sunny southern California, but I opted to hold my opinion to myself. By the perplexed look on Mrs. Todd’s face, I can only assume she was trying to read past my poker face to gauge my opinion of our current locale. Not leaving any room for small take, Mrs. Todd directed me to go ahead and make myself comfortable while I await Mrs. Salvatore’s arrival. She then quickly departed the room, leaving me alone to get myself set up for the interview. A few minutes later, the graphite-colored wooden door opened, and in walked Nina Salvatore. She was closely followed by Mrs. Lydia Todd, who was pushing a small metal dinner cart that held an elegant coffee set and a small assortment of appetizers.

As my eyes quickly scrutinized the elusive business mogul, I had to admit, Nina Salvatore was not as I had expected her to appear. Honestly, I had expected someone elderly, almost grandmotherly, really, but Nina was quite the opposite. Maybe it was just my own silly association of grandmothers and cookies, I couldn’t say. But my preconceived beliefs were dashed in an instant. Nina Salvatore was probably a couple of inches taller than me. She was of average size, built with shoulder-length chestnut hair that held Fuschia highlights and amber-colored eyes. She appeared to be around my age and had a friendly air about her.

I was drawn to this woman’s presence at once.

I made sure to stand up from my seat and smiled at Nina’s approach towards the chaise opposite where I had been seated. A warm smile spread across Nina’s lips as she held her hand out towards me in greeting.

“Mrs. Salvatore, It’s so amazing to meet you finally. May I say that I cannot thank you enough for granting me the honor of interviewing such an esteemed person like yourself.”

A slight giggle escaped her lips at my words. “Oh please, Ms. Tremaine, call me Nina. Mrs. Salvatore ages me far more than I care to be. You’re about to delve deep into my own personal life’s story; the least we can do is enjoy each other’s company in an informal setting, wouldn’t you think?”

“I agree wholeheartedly, Nina, and please, call me Alex.”
“Wonderful, Alex. Now, before we proceed, is there anything Lydia can get you … coffee, tea, water?”

“Um, coffee would be lovely, actually.”
“Of course. Lydia …”
“Yes, Miss Nina.”
A minute later, I was handed a delicate china cup filled with warm coffee. I stared at the pale tan liquid then looked up at my hostess with questioning eyes.

“Cream and two sugar, correct?”
“Uh, yes. How … how did you know?”

“Why, Alex, you didn’t honestly think that I wouldn’t have done my own research on you prior to this interview, did you?”
I was speechless for a moment as I sat there with my mouth agape like a fish out of water. Mark this moment in your calendar folks, this was the first time yours truly was caught off guard. Usually, those I have interviewed could have given two shits about the interviewer but not this woman; for some reason, her nonchalant regard for looking into how I prefer to drink my coffee made me feel a little unnerved.

Curious.

I decided to brush off the little alarms ringing in the back of my head and smiled as I settled back into the plush leather chair and took a sip of my perfectly prepared beverage.

“Delicious. Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about how I enjoy my coffee.” It was a little jab, but I masked it with my warm smile.

“Of course. It’s the little things, in my opinion, that allows you to really know what kind of person someone is.”
“I couldn’t agree more. So, tell me, Nina … what kind of person did you find me to be from all of your research?” I don’t know what prompted me to ask her, but I felt a strong urge to hear what skeletons she had unearthed from my well-protected closet.

“Oh, Alex … isn’t this interview supposed to be the other way around?” She challenged as she arched her well-groomed eyebrow and looked at me.
I cleared my throat. I couldn’t let this woman deter me from my main objective. She was right, this was my interview, and I was running the show. I needed to regather my wits about me and get this interview underway. The sooner we started, the sooner we’d be done; and for some reason, my instincts were telling me that getting the hell out of here as quickly as possible was a good idea.

That’s right, my friends, this would be the first and last time I ever ignored my instincts.

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