Chapter 11

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"Where are you?" I asked.

"D-d-downstaaairs."

What was KY Kathryn doing downstairs in my apartment building, coming to see me because her fiancé was cheating on her? Oh wait, that story sounded vaguely familiar.

"I'll be right there."

As I turned away from the intercom, the dryer buzzer sounded, signaling that the coffee casualties were clean and dry again.

Phelps made a face. "That's probably my cue to head out."

"Sorry." I gestured at the door. "I need to go down and get her."

"Only builds the anticipation," he said as he pressed a soft kiss to the corner of my mouth. "I'll see myself out."

I lifted up on my toes and gave a kiss of my own. "You're the best."

While he headed for the laundry room, I grabbed my keys and opened the door.

"Oh, and Lydia," he called without turning back, "I am taking you to Italy."

The door closed behind me with a whooshing click and I sighed. There was something about Phelps Elliot that made a girl quiver. On the inside and the outside.

Now if only I knew whether that was a good thing or not.

On the ride down in the elevator, tissue box in hand, I mentally ran through all the possible reasons that KY Kathryn had come to me, of all people.

Not only were we not close, but we had never even had a complete conversation. She had her perfect life and her perfect friends and didn't need me, a thrown-over fiancé with no ring on my finger and no Barnard on my transcript.

The only answer I came up with was that I had once played the role of jilted fiancé.

The elevator doors slid open and I entered the tear-fest. Kathryn looked worse than I had ever seen a KY look. Her hair hung in ratty strings around a face free of makeup except for black smudges beneath tear-reddened eyes. Unlike the polished Kathryn I usually saw at work, this defeated Kathryn wore a holey Barnard t-shirt with half the letters rubbed off and a pair of well-worn sweatpants. This was a picture not of an elegant, vengeful KY, but of a downtrodden and heartbroken woman.

Kathryn looked up at me with all the haunting desperation of the world in her eyes. And broke into a fresh round of wails.

"Come on, Kathryn." I patted her awkwardly on the shoulder in an attempt at friendly sympathy. "Let's go upstairs and you can tell me all about it."

Handing her the box of Kleenex, I guided her to the elevator. She only sobbed harder.

"Tell me what happened," I encouraged as we entered my apartment, hoping the ride had given her time to get control enough to actually talk to me.

She plopped inelegantly into my chofa and wiped at the tears and mascara smudged beneath her eyes. "Victor is cheating on me."

"Did you catch him?" I grabbed the basket under the end table and pulled out the pristine package of Belgian chocolate seashells. Serious situations call for serious sugar.

Kathryn plucked a dozen tissues and blew her nose like a foghorn. "He said he was working late and I called the office and they said he wasn't there."

"Maybe he had a business dinner," I proposed as I held out the box and she took a marbled seahorse from the selection. "Maybe he-"

"No," she said around a mouthful of chocolate. "I called his driver. He was at that new dinner club in Midtown."

"It could still have been a-"

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