Part 31

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31. Arya

Alex twists around to look at me as I enter the lounging area of the apartment sized hotel room. He smiles and waves me over to him. He's sitting on the expensive looking white leather couch and in front of him there's an assortment of breakfast dishes displayed on a glass coffee table. Pancakes, waffles, eggs, toast, croissants, fruit salad. My eyes bulge at the sight of all this food in front of me. Alex must think I look ridiculous as he starts laughing at me and tugs at my sleeve to pull me down next to him.

"Coffee?" He's already pouring the black steaming liquid into a gold rimmed porcelain mug before I get the chance to nod my head. There's a tiny smile glued to his lips. "You're not used to this are you?"

"Not exactly, no. Thanks again," my voice is muffled by the coffee mug that I slowly bring to my lips. Even without milk and sugar this coffee tastes heavenly. A satisfied noise escapes my throat before I can stop it, earning me a chuckle from Alex.

"Not bad, huh?" There's a flicker of something more, something inexplicable in his eye so I simply smile, blowing at my steaming coffee and lower my eyes. "Now let's dig in. We probably won't be able to make time for lunch. There's too much work and not enough time."

The breakfast is absolutely delightful but I can't fit quite as much of the delicious food in as I would have liked. All the excitement and anxiety of the situation has my stomach in knots, my fingers shaking and my thoughts buzzing through my head at a hundred miles per hour! Especially after my second cup of coffee, I feel like I'm bouncing off the walls.

Once we're done having breakfast, Alex announces that there's a driver waiting for us outside. My body is on autopilot as I grab my purse and coat and slip into my heeled ankle booties. Maybe it's a risky choice of footwear considering that I'll probably be on my feet all day but I want to look my best. I need to make an impression. A good one at that!

When I'm ushered into a sleek black car with the tinted windows, I almost feel like a celebrity. The car starts driving the second Alex slides into it and shuts the door behind him. Immediately I am astounded by my surroundings. Since I didn't get a lot of sleep at all, I am tired but the coffee and my own excitement are keeping me on edge. With my palm pressed against the window, I try to take in as much of my surroundings as possible.

"This is absolutely amazing. The city is beautiful," I declare excitedly.

"It truly is, Arya. Here, have a look at this for a moment, please." When I turn away from the window, Alex holds out his phone to me. It's almost ridiculously huge and expensive-looking so I carefully take it into my own hands. On the screen there's a to-do list for the day. I furrow my brow as I slowly read everything we'll have to do today.

"I don't think we'll have much free time today. So we might not actually be able to see much of the city. It will be exciting nonetheless. We are expected at the gallery in fifteen minutes. You will meet with one of our biggest clients, Beatrice Montavon. She requested to meet you as she likes to meet the artist before the exhibition. She doesn't quite trust me," Alex explains.

"I haven't heard of her," I admit making Alex chuckle. I hand him back his phone.

"Of course you haven't. She is not one for public relations. She likes to stay 'under cover' so to speak. You'll see."

The fact that I am not going to see much more of the city is obviously unfortunate but in the end, I have to remember what I came here for. Not for the city, not for the sights but for work and work only. When we arrive at the gallery, I slip out of the car and am immediately astounded by what's in front of me. The gallery has a glass front and you can see inside even from where I'm standing. There are two brass statues at either side of the entrance but I barely get the chance to study them as Alex already has his hand on the small of my back and is ushering me inside.

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