Breaking Away

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Chapter Three

“Take it easy? Who has the time to take it easy?” Miranda glared up at the doctor who hovered over her bed.

“Well, you’ll just have to make the time, Miss Kingsley. This heart attack was a warning.” His eyes narrowed as her blonde intern, Alice, rushed into the room with several folders and a stack of mail in her arms. “Keep that up and the next one won’t be mild.”

Alice froze, suddenly looking sick and Miranda rolled her eyes. “Alright Dr. Elliott, I’ll figure it out. When can I leave?”

“As soon as you provide me with your home rehabilitation plan.”

Miranda gaped. “What? You can’t do that!”

“Sue me, I don’t want to see you back in here next month.” Dr. Elliott shrugged and walked out.

“What a jerk!” Alice huffed.

“Forget it, what do you have for me, Alice?”

“There’s some forms from HR they need you to fill out and I picked up your mail.”

“You didn’t bring my case files? Alice, I’ve wasted a week in here already and I need to play catch up.”

“Um, well, no you don’t really. Mr. Jenkins split your caseload among the other lawyers a few days ago.”

“He did what?”

“Miss Kingsley, your heart!”

“My heart is fine.” She argued though a funny little flutter made her sit back against the pillow and will herself to be calm again. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“Mr. Jenkins asked me not to. He doesn’t want you to have a relapse.”

Oh yeah, that weasel-faced turd was real concerned about her health. Miranda had been his intern, once upon a time, and he didn’t take the news of her promotion over him too well years ago. He’d even quit for a few days before the partners managed to coax him back. The old goat hated the unmitigated success she’d become and he’d been gunning for her job ever since.

Miranda sifted through the bills and junk magazines Alice handed her and stopped at the cream-colored envelope bearing the name of the most prestigious law firm in New York embossed in gold.

“Hmm.” She said, then opened and read the letter. “Huh.”

“Are you alright, Miss Kingsley, should I get the doctor?”

Miranda waved her off as she studied the letter. So, the deadbeat finally croaked and left her a hotel. Why on earth would he do that?

“Did you bring my laptop?”

“Right here.” Alice struggled with the pile in her arms before dropping the whole load on to the tray table, wincing as she drew the laptop from the bottom. “Sorry.”

Miranda gave her a disapproving look before opening it and searched for Peyton’s Place, San Sebastian. Her eyebrows rose as she clicked through. Images of white sandy beaches and clear viridian waters gave her heart a little flutter though not as much as the pictures of the expansive coral colored building that now belonged to her. She nodded at the shots of white marble fountains, colorful tiled flooring and smiling guests dancing at “one of the island’s many festivals.” Of course, she knew these shots were staged but the overall impression Miranda got was that her father knew his way around the business.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Her doctor insisted she take time off and her caseload had already been dispersed among the vultures at the firm. She could go to San Sebastian, check out the hotel and see how much she could get for it. She made a mental note to call one of her realtor friends.

Tapping away on her laptop, Miranda said, “Call the doctor, Alice.”

The intern was next to her in two strides and looked flustered. “Are you alright, Miss Kingsley?”

Miranda resisted the urge to roll her eyes at the eager little thing. Had she ever been so young and naive? “I’m fine. Tell Dr. Elliott I have my home rehabilitation plan.”

#

Keira found herself holding her breath as she approached her father’s hotel in her rented convertible. The large building was bathed in a sepia tone of pinks and oranges by the setting sun and the sight made her feel at peace. She didn’t know he even owned a hotel in the Caribbean but the paperwork said he’d bought the place shortly after her mother’s death, most likely with the insurance money. She’d been having issues with Spencer around that time as well. She’d suspected him of cheating; having picked up on subtle hints but he vehemently denied it saying she was simply overwrought about her mother’s death. Keira snorted. It seemed Spencer was at his absolute worst when she was grieving the loss of a parent.

First his suspected infidelity while she was mourning her mother, then the nationwide footage of her faithful husband on stage holding a gigantic check beside her best friend and the two children they apparently shared. In hindsight, she should have followed her instincts and ended their engagement six years ago.

Keira gave herself a mental shake and pried her fingers from the steering wheel she hadn’t realized she’d been gripping. No, she was not going to think about her husband now. She had to get this thing with the hotel and her supposed sisters taken care of first. Then she’d figure out what to do with the bastard.

The cavernous lobby echoed with the click of her sandals on the tiles and the cooing of birds settling in for the night in the rafters high above. She wondered about the threat of bird poop landing on hotel guests but the floors looked spotless and the lobby was empty.

The front desk manager appeared in a deep blue head wrap and black and blue striped dress with silver bangles adorning her earlobes and wrists.

“Good evening Miss, how cya mi help you?” She flashed Keira a warm smile.

“Good evening,” said Keira, returning her smile, “are you Mrs. Edwina Renouf?”

“Yes.”

Keira held out her hand. “Hello, I’m Keira Peyton.”

Edwina lit up even brighter than before and she crushed Keira’s hand between her own. Then she came around the desk and nearly squeezed the life out of her as she folded the young woman into a firm embrace.

“Such a pleasure meeting Mr. Peyton’s daughter at last!”

When she pulled back, her hands on Keira’s arms, there were tears in her eyes as she said, “Him did such a good man, we all love him dearly.”

Tears sprang to Keira’s eyes. “I’m sorry, Edwina. If I’d known how much he meant to you I would’ve had the funeral here or invited you to come.”

“S’alright child,” the woman replied, dabbing tears away with her kerchief, “we had services here as well.”

Edwina brought Keira to her father’s apartments in the back of the building and she noted he lived comfortably despite the condition of the rest of the hotel. She would ask the manager about the nature of the deterioration but first she wanted to wash the plane off before touring the property on her own. The thought of doing anything right now filled her with exhaustion and she sat on the bed with her eyes closed, willing herself the strength to rise again.

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