Home > Tycoon(7)

Author: Katy Evans

I don’t know why the concern in his eyes got to me, enough I thought I’d sort of lose my cool.

I’m sure he wanted to know more about what happened, and maybe even if I was okay. He could have hardly missed the news shortly after my parents’ death: that our department stores defaulted and had to declare bankruptcy. They were taken over. Everyone thought I had money from my parents that I could use to recover it. I didn’t. Now the Kelly stores belong to a huge conglomerate—someone who doesn’t have Kelly as their last name.

It hurts to lose the store your family built so shortly after you lost your whole family. I remember how I would work in the warehouses every weekend…open the stores with my dad every morning…But despite the good memories, I know that Kelly’s would have held me back in Austin, and now I have an opportunity to start something new.

I didn’t really lose Kelly—all that I learned from it is still with me.

It’s been six weeks since I arrived in New York. I’ve done things I’ve never done in my life—and I’d never have been able to come this far if it hadn’t been for the hard work and dedication that my parents instilled in me when I was young. I feel confident that I’m becoming my own woman, that my life has something better in store.

I wanted to tell him that, but I was afraid my voice would betray me—and the last thing I want is Christo’s pity. I want his help, but I’d die if I saw pity in his eyes. He would have hardly known that the pain in my voice would have been due to the loss of my parents, not the loss of the business they’d built. Because losing Kelly’s opened up opportunities for me I’d never seen before, and I’m learning to see the loss as a blessing.

When I arrive at my apartment, I hear sniffling and I peer into the small living room and find Sara on the living room couch, her hair a mess, another mess of used tissues on the side table we use as a small coffee table. “What happened?” I ask.

“I got fired.” She looks up from a tissue, her face breaks. “I had no idea they’d start making cuts and I’d be the first to go.” She blows her nose and tosses the tissue down in a ball to join the others. “What am I going to do?”

I grab a wastebasket, toss in all the tissue balls and the empty box of tissues, and set a fresh box before her. “You’ll get a new job.” I sit down beside her.

“It’s not that easy—”

“You can walk dogs with me.”

“That’s your gig.”

“I’ll split it with you. I won’t be able to dedicate as much time to it as I want to—I’ll be too busy working on the startup.”

“Really? How are you so confident you’ll get the money?”

“Because I saw him again tonight. And I’m hoping I can wear him down.”

“It’s not wishful thinking? Sorry to break it to you, roomie, but half of the city wants this man’s backing. Everyone thinks they have a genius idea or wants someone who’ll help them make their stupid idea genius.”

“Maybe. But I still mean to wear him down.” I grin, pour two cups of tea, and then hand one over to her. “You okay?”

“I don’t know,” she says, smiling wanly at me, as if thankful I asked. “I just can’t figure out what’s gone wrong with my life.” She rubs the tissue along her nose and crumples it up only to get a new one. “I went to ballet school. I broke my ankle just before graduation. So with ballet no longer an option, I tried Broadway. Two years and nothing. So I become a concierge, and even then, something supposedly easy, I fail.”

“You didn’t fail, Sara. It wasn’t your end game, it was your in-the-meantime job.”

“Yeah, well.” She hikes up one shoulder in a sad shrug. “I’m starting to wonder if most of us aren’t destined to be stuck in our in-the-meantime.”

I don’t know what to say. I wonder that too. “I may agree,” I say. “But then you see someone, someone who had it worse than anyone, and who made it big. Not because he got lucky—he worked for it. It makes sense that if we work hard enough, we can go somewhere too.”

“You really like this guy,” she says, eyes flaring as if it’s just dawning on her that I really do know Christos. And like him, like she says.

“No. I mean…” I quickly interject. “I admire him. We were in high school when we met, and I admired his gumption. I suppose I liked him too,” I finally admit, “but I could never understand how he made me feel. I guess I liked him enough that it confused me.” I shake my head violently. “But enough about that. I’m excited about the startup. If this takes off and you don’t have a job, I’ll hire you.”

“When do I start?” she smirks.

“Who knows? Call God’s number and ask?” I show her Christos’s card, then notice the surprise on her face and laugh.

“Give me that,” she says when I pry it back.

“Over my dead BOOTY. It’s my Golden Ticket and I’m not giving it up even to you. I’ll give you some of my chocolate, though.” I pull out the Godiva chocolate I have stashed away in my nightstand and toss it in her lap. Sara groans happily. “Do we have any ice cream?”

“Anything else?” I ask as I pull out an ice cream tub from the fridge and bring it over, along with two spoons.

“Yes. Can I adopt you?” she asks as she sits straight when I join her on the couch.

“Come on. I’m two years older than you are.” I roll my eyes and we sit together, eating ice cream while she thinks of her job, and I think of Christos.

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