The elevator opened onto the ground floor, and Katherine rushed out, running straight into Chad Simon, who was just entering the elevator with two cups of coffee and a sack full of donuts. The coffee splashed over the side of the cup. Katherine jumped back, narrowly avoiding soiling her new Armani suit. She attempted to sidestep Chad, apologizing as she made to brush past him. He deliberately stepped in front of her.
“Whoa, what’s your hurry, Katherine?”
Katherine stepped back, looking Chad over. She narrowed her eyes at him, irritated by the way this stranger so casually addressed her. Slowly, recognition set in, but the name eluded her.
“Chad. My name’s Chad,” he said, a slight tartness slicing his voice, “from 1073. We met last night in the elevator. You were in a hurry, and I held the door for you.”
The elevator door closed. Chad stood between the doors, preventing them from closing, still blocking Katherine’s way.
She nodded and gave him a cursory smile. “Oh, yes, I remember. You were complaining about the speed of the elevator.”
He raised his eyebrows and tipped his head slightly. “And you were going to talk to your father.”
She frowned, shrugging her shoulders. “Oh. I’m sorry about that. I forgot.” She pointed at the coffee. “I’m sorry about the coffee, too. I hope it didn’t burn you.”
She gestured toward the doors. “Do you mind?” She expected him to move for her, but he held his ground.
“Actually, I was just on my way to see you.” He held up the coffee and donuts. “I brought breakfast.”
She glanced down at the cups of coffee and the bag of donuts. She grimaced. “Well, that’s considerate of you. But I’m afraid I don’t eat donuts, and you can’t get up to the Penthouse without a key card.”
He shrugged. “I didn’t know that. Well, you’re here now. Perhaps we can go back up, or if you prefer, we can sit in the lobby and eat.”
“No thank you, Chad. I really am in a hurry this morning.”
He smiled, gritting his teeth so his anger wouldn’t show. How dare she? Who did she think she was? Did she think she was too good for him? He tried again, trying to brush off the rejection. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
“I agree, but I already ate my breakfast.” She glanced down at the bag again. “And it wasn’t donuts.”
She sidestepped him again, but this time he didn’t attempt to stop her.
He watched her exit the building, step into a Jaguar convertible, which sat waiting at the curb, and give the man behind the wheel a peck on the cheek. He had seen the man before, but he wasn’t sure who he was. Seething with anger, he walked up to the doorman and inquired about his identity. The attendant cast a casual glance at the departing automobile and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. John somebody or other.”
“Does John have a last name?” Chad asked with sarcasm.
“Look, man, I don’t know what the dude’s last name is. I’ve just heard her call him John.” He lowered his head and narrowed his eyes at Chad. “Why do you want to know?”
Chad just turned and walked away. He pushed his way through the glass doors with such force they shook.
The attendant watched him leave. For a moment, he was concerned, but then he shrugged his shoulders and returned to his work.
A moment later Chad returned and stalked off to the elevator. The attendant barely acknowledged him as he passed. He pushed the button several times to summon the elevator, tapping his foot in frustration while he waited. Less than twenty-four hours into his plan and already things were going sour. He would have to come up with an idea for damage control.
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