Chapter 5 - Aldrich
I stare at my computer screen, wearing a grin. I have been watching the most hilarious videos. Having a day free from work has allowed me to relax and ignore the situation with Karolina. However, despite my newfound freedom, I don’t feel free. I don’t feel the happiness I would feel if I were not worrying about what happened. Karolina took advantage of my characteristics.That guy she had said was bothering her? All a lie. A set up to get back at me for ending our relationship over a year ago. I still can’t believe she went to such drastic measures to get back at me.
I am about to start a new video when my phone dings with an alert. I sit back in my chair as I pick it up. The moment my eyes see the name ‘Danica,’ I nearly jolt out of my chair. She’s replied again. My heart starts racing in my chest as I tap the email. I read too fast the first time. The second time I read slower, but it is when I read it for a third time that I really grasp her words.
March 30, 2016
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Aching Heart
I think you are entitled to your questions and I am more than happy to answer them. I receive lots of emails concerning my books. Many involve questions, but I have a feeling none of them will be quite like yours. I do not see it as a bad thing. I encourage you to ask me anything. If it is something I do not have an answer for, than I will be sure to let you know.
Forgive me for asking, but when you say you were detained . . . I don’t know, maybe my imagination is too wild, but I just have this feeling you meant to say that something . . . happened? I think I should warn you that I am a rather curious kind of girl . . . erm, woman. I keep forgetting that I am no longer a teenager. Anyways, send me those questions.
Danica Kensington - Author
P.S. I am currently on a plane to New York for an event. I saw your email as I was boarding.
I smile and glance at the piece of paper under my computer mouse. I had written down my questions in the event that Danica would allow me to ask them. I hadn’t wanted to ask all of them at once in my first message to her. I didn’t want her to feel obligated to answer them. However, now that she has given me the green light, I’m going all in. But I don’t want to send all my questions in one email. No, I want to talk with Danica for as long as possible. I set my phone aside and open my email in my web browser. I might be typing my reply now, but I am scheduling it to be sent in a couple of days. I don’t want Danica to think I am so desperate to talk to her although I really am quite desperate. Desperate to know more about ‘Aching Heart’. About her life. I am probably aiming at a broken target, but Danica seems eager to answer whatever questions I have.
What surprises me most is how Danica cautiously asked me if I was actually detained. And for some reason, I want to tell her everything. She seems to be the kind of woman who would listen and not make judgments based on appearances. But at the same time, I don’t know if I want to tell her. I don’t know her. Not personally anyway. However, if asking these questions helps me get to know her better, perhaps I will be more open about telling her.
Heaving a sigh, I start my reply. Danica will understand if I don’t want to talk about my situation just yet. I am sure of it. Something about Danica is familiar. Precious even. I am not sure why, but it’s what I sense. In a frenzy, I start a new email thread. Personally, I like keeping topics separate from each other. Perhaps some would think I enjoy control, but that’s not the case; I’m just extremely organized. Clutter doesn’t work for me.
My reply to Danica is short and sweet. Extremely. Straight to the point, even. I even read it over a couple times before scheduling the sending date. Satisfied, I close the window and open a new video to watch. I’ve nothing else to do anyways.
Work becomes less and less enjoyable as the days go by. Karolina deliberately goes against the court order. Rather, the order against me. I am not allowed to come within one hundred feet of her . . . conquest. Karolina has been bringing him to my father’s hotel ever since my father’s lawyer diffused the situation. Every time she arrives, and he is with her - which is every single, damn time - I have to step away from my duties at the valet station and remain indisposed until they leave. It’s unnerving.
My father has made attempts to get me to change jobs, but I prefer being at the front of the hotel. People like to know they can trust a stranger to park their car. I have their trust. They always smile and thank me as they come and go. The regular visitors know and trust me. Just as they trust my father for the best customer service in the hotel. That is why this hotel is the best in the city.
“Karolina and Michael are here,” my co-worker, Jordan, says as he comes to stand by the valet station. “You had better leave before either of them sees you.”
“Thanks,” I mutter as I turn on my heel and hightail towards the hotel entrance.
I hate when I have to do this. It makes me look like I am . . . I don’t know. A coward maybe? Whatever the case, I don’t like having to hide in the safety of my home away from home. I pass the concierge desk where my father’s good friend, Alana, works. She gives me a concerned smile, Most likely questioning my entrance.
“Oh,” she says, nodding as though she now understands. “She’s here again, isn’t she? What is wrong with that girl?”
I nod, sighing as I head towards the office door behind her desk.
“If it’s any consolation,” Alana says, touching her hand to my shoulder before I pass. “I think you made the right choice to end things with her. She would have made your life miserable . . . and it was honorable of you to defend her, even with how things turned out.”
“Thank you, Alana,” I say, smiling softly before entering the office. “That means a lot to me . . . I just don’t understand why she continues to treat me like this.”
“Just ignore her, do as you are required. She’ll get tired of it eventually.”
I nod and enter the office. This office is usually empty. The only people who use it are me, my father - occasionally - and Alana. I sit in the brown-leather spinning chair behind the desk. The computer is on. I may as well do something while I sit here. I open a web browser and find my email provider. I haven’t checked it in a few days, and I know Danica will have seen my email and replied by now . . . I hope. My hearts pounds in my chest when I see the ‘New Message’ flag in my inbox. I click on it and immediately read my email before reading Danica’s reply.
April 3, 2016
Subject: Question 1
My first question, perhaps, is the most common among readers.
What was your inspiration for the plot?
P.S. I hope you have a safe journey to New York. :)
I grin when I see Danica’s reply. Her email is not short and simple, like mine. It’s not pages long but still longer than my email.
April 3, 2016
Subject: Re: Question 1
That is, indeed, a rather common question. However, no one has asked me this about ‘Aching Heart’ yet.
My inspiration came from a mere thought a friend had. His parents were going through a hard time and he was pouring his heart out to me. They were able to work out their differences, but I wondered what it would have been like if they hadn’t reconciled.
From there, I took my conversation with my friend and expanded it. Most people expect a ‘happily ever after’. Most of my works are romances, so I chose to stay away from the subject and just make it about Adam’s journey to healing.
Danica Kensington - Author
P.S. I understand why you disregarded my question about what happened.
P.P.S. Thank you, it was a smooth flight. :)
I smile thoughtfully at Danica’s answer to my question. Whoever Danica’s friend is, he must be someone important in her life. Her postscript causes my smile to become a bit of a frown. In choosing not to tell her what happened, I am, perhaps, trying to protect myself. Protect myself from what? I sigh and shake my head. I bring out my phone and open my notes. I have my questions saved in them in the event I am not at home.
On the computer, I begin to compose a new message to Danica. This time, I will be more clear to her about why I have not explained my situation. I still believe that she is an understanding kind of woman. Of that, there is no doubt in my mind.