Chapter 14: Mystic Pizza

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Kate ducked her head and let her hair swing in front of her face as she and Aidan made their way past the doorman at the front entrance of the Beverly Hilton hotel. She recognized him as the same doorman who helped her get a cab after she checked out this morning, and she silently prayed that he wouldn’t remember her.

“It’s an honor to have you stay with us, Mr. Sands,” the doorman said to Aidan.

Good, Kate thought. No one was going to notice her with a celebrity at her side, attracting all the attention. She lifted her head, breathing a sigh of relief.

“Welcome back, miss,” the doorman said.

Aidan turned his head and glanced at the man in surprise, but he kept walking. “Have you been here before?” he asked softly in Kate’s ear as they made their way inside.

Kate forced her face register a look of innocent surprise. “No.” She shook her head. “Must have  me confused with someone else.”

She held her breath as they headed across the lobby, but she didn’t recognize the hotel manager who met them at the bank of elevators to escort them to their suite.

“Your personal assistant was just here with your things, sir,” the manager was telling Aidan. “Everything should be ready for you.”

They came to the suite door and Kate was just congratulating herself on making it inside without anyone else recognizing her when a bellman stepped out of the bedroom. “Thank you, Freddie,” the manager said.

The bellman nodded to all three of them. “Your luggage has all been taken care of, sir,” the bellman said to Aidan. “Welcome back, miss,” he said to Kate

She froze, feeling Aidan squinting at her suspiciously as the bellman and hotel manager left them alone in the room. She was starting to dislike this hotel intensely. Way too hospitable for its own good.

“Did he confuse you with someone else too?”  

She shrugged, and then clapped a palm to her forehead as if she’d just figured out the mystery. “I know,” she said, “I must have met them last night, when I was out clubbing!”

“You met the bellmen from the Beverly Hilton out clubbing?”

She let out a laugh and turned her back to him, pretending to look around the room. “It was some divey bar,” she said over her shoulder. “I don’t even know how I ended up there. I think it must have been the bar where all the hotel people go to party after they get off work.”

She snuck a look at him to see if he was buying her story, but he didn’t seem to be paying any attention. He had his forehead scrunched up and he’d started rubbing his eyes with his fingers. “Sounds like a good time,” he said vaguely.

“It was fun,” she agreed, going over to him and pulling his hand away from his face. “Is your head hurting again?" she asked. "Why don’t you go in the bedroom and lie down?”

He nodded and let her lead him into the next room. She glanced around at the surroundings as she helped him ease himself down onto the bed. Someone had brought her suitcase from his house, she saw with relief. Her phone too. It was on the bedside table, plugged into its charger.

Aidan had his eyes squeezed shut, and she heard him let out a groan.

“It hurts, huh?” she asked. “The nurse said you can’t have another pill for a couple more hours.”

“It’s OK,” he muttered, turning onto his side and curling up his knees toward his chest.

She sat on the bed next to him and gently ran her fingers through his hair to soothe him. “How about a cold compress?”

He reached up and lightly took hold of her wrist. “No,” he said, without opening his eyes. “Keep doing that. That feels good.”

She kicked off her shoes and settled next to him on the bed, pulling his head into her lap and massaging his scalp with both hands. “Mmmm,” she heard him murmur against her leg. “That’s nice…”

She bent to kiss him on the forehead, when a brisk knock interrupted them.

“Stay here,” she said. “I’ll see who it is.”

She eased his head out of her lap and fluffed up a pillow for him to rest against before heading over to answer the door. There was a room service waiter with a food trolley standing on the other side.

“Is that for us?” Kate asked. “We didn’t order anything.”

The waiter began wheeling the trolley into the living room. “Please accept this bottle of champagne as a small token of welcome from Mr. Humphrey, the General Manager.”

Kate followed the waiter over to the dining table, where he had started to set up an ice bucket and two champagne flutes. “That’s fine, thanks,” she said. “You don’t need to open it now.”

“Very good, Ms. Morgan.” He left the champagne bottle in the bucket and placed two plates onto the table, whisking off the silver covers with a flourish. “Our executive chef also took the liberty of sending up two slices of the Mystic Pizza, since he saw that you enjoyed it last night.”

Kate winced, sucking in her breath through her teeth.

“Sounds good,” she heard Aidan’s voice say from behind her. He ambled into the room and held out a twenty dollar bill for the waiter. “Put up the Do Not Disturb sign on your way out, would you?”  

How much of that had he just heard? Kate bit her lip and turned hesitantly to face him.

"Pizza, huh?”

She raised her eyes to meet his. “Shouldn’t you be lying down, Aidan?”

“Let me guess,” he replied, ignoring her question. “You were out partying last night with the executive chef?”

Kate opened her mouth to speak, but thought better of it. She felt her cheeks starting to heat up, and she knew she must be blushing furiously. “Aidan—“

“D’you always go by Ms. Morgan when you’re out clubbing, Kate?” His voice was starting to rise as he spoke over her. “Do you? Or maybe only when you go clubbing with bellhops!”

“OK,” she interrupted. “You caught me. I’m sorry. I was here last night.”

“What the fuck?”

“I didn’t go clubbing, OK? There was no clubbing. I just left and came here.”

“You have got to be kidding me.”

“Whatever, Aidan. What do you care? You were otherwise occupied.”

“What do I care? What do I care? I was going out of my mind trying to find you!”

“Please.” She rolled her eyes at him.

“What exactly is that supposed to mean?”

“Come on, Aidan.  I saw you dancing with that model.” She spun around and headed back into the bedroom. He followed behind her, grabbing her elbow.

“Is that what this is about? That Lola—or whatever the fuck her name was?”

“It’s fine.” Kate shrugged her arm free of his grasp.  “It’s not like you and I are together. No comment, right?”

He shook his head in disbelief. “That’s how you think I spent my night?”

“Aidan, I honestly don’t care how you spent your night.”

He strode over to the nightstand and picked up her cell phone, jerking it free from its charger and turning to fling it toward where she was standing on the other side of the room.

Kate brought her hands up just in time to catch the phone in mid air, blocking it from hitting her in the chest. “What is this for?”

“You want to know how I spent my night?" he asked, his eyes flashing menacingly.

She shook her head, but he plowed on. "Go ahead, Kate," he said. "Your phone's all charged. Why don't you go ahead and check your messages?”

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