The hotel Zara picked is elegant and classy, just like her. She paid for the whole thing, so I’m just along for the ride.
When Johnny and I stay in a hotel, it’s usually a three-star at best, nothing as extravagant as this.
Blowing my hair out of my eyes, I scan the lobby to find a check-in desk when Zara catches my eye, a broad smile on her face.
“Hey, Jenna! What’s up?”
I indicate the bag that’s slumped against my feet and grin.
“I was going to check in.”
“Oh.” Zara laughs, her eyes sparkling with amusement. “I did that already. Online?”
I nod, biting my lip as I glance around us.
“So, which room am I in?”
“You’re rooming with Bethany. She’s super nice.”
Rooming with a stranger?
Sensing my discomfort, Zara leans forward, lacing her arm through mine.
“She’s gorgeous and such a sweetheart. You’ll love her.”
We head into the bar where Zara orders limitless champagne, adding it all to her tab.
The perks of being rich.
Sipping on the fizzy liquid, I look up to see someone who looks like a supermodel striding toward us, her long dark hair flowing around her shoulders like a waterfall.
Almond-shaped brown eyes meet mine, and a warm smile lifts the surgically enhanced lips I wish I could afford.
“Hey!” the girl chirps as Zara sweeps her into a hug. “I’m Bethany.”
My heart sinks.
There’s no way this creature is seeing my flabby flesh, nor my stretch marks. I knock back the champagne, feeling underdressed and frumpy in my skater dress and leggings.
My best skater dress.
“This is Jenna.” Zara waves a hand at me, turning to smile. “Cute, isn’t she? She’s an old friend.”
I smile meekly.
“Oh, there’s Hannah and Grace! Be right back, girls!” Zara sings, marching toward the lobby.
Bethany smiles at me and flops down on an oversized chair brimming with cushions.
“I like your dress.”
My cheeks flush as I look at her outfit, skintight leather jeans and an ice-white shirt that clings to her curves in all the right places, the arms flowing out as she moves.
Her skin looks like she’s been in the Caribbean sun, and her teeth are so white they’re blinding.
“Thanks,” I mumble.
“This should be fun. I’ve not been on a girls’ weekend in so long,” Bethany says with a pout.
“Yeah, me neither.”
Bethany nods at my wedding ring.
“Married?” She sips her drink, eyeing my empty glass warily.
“Yes, for fourteen years now.” I push my glass away, wondering whether I should refill it.
Bethany’s eyes widen.
“Shit! That’s half my age!”
“We met when we were young.”
My heart skips a beat at the memory of Johnny striding up to me in a bar, telling me he was going to marry me one day.
“One, Jodie. She’s twelve.” At the mention of our daughter, I smile. “She’s amazing. She loves art—”
“And you know Bethany, right?” Zara’s voice dominates the room, and Bethany glances up with a squeal.
Two women stand there, one looking like she’s been on the vodka all day, the other just as beautiful as Bethany.
“Yes! Oh my God, we were in New York together last week,” the woman gushes. “That was such a long day.”
“Right?” Bethany grins. “My feet ached so bad after trying out all those heels.”
“How do you think I felt? I had to wear that stupid corset all day!”
I tune out, wondering if Bethany will want to hear about Jodie’s violin lessons.
Johnny said it sounded like a cat was being drowned.
My lips tug into a smile at the thought of my husband, and I imagine him curled up on the sofa with Jodie, watching “her shit” that he “couldn’t stand.” He’s such a good father.
“The new Viktor and Rolf one?” Bethany frowns. “I turned it down. I’m so wiped right now; my schedule is packed. Seriously, I need this break.”
My eyes take in her bright eyes and glowing skin, the absence of bags under her eyes or wrinkles at the corners. No crow’s-feet for her. This is what she looks like exhausted?
“And this is Jenna, an old friend.”
The gaze of the immaculate woman turns to me, and she smiles icily.
I should have gone to the hairdressers and had a blow-dry. Dammit, I should’ve gotten a whole new wardrobe and gotten my nails done.
I didn’t know we were slouching around with supermodels, for God’s sake.
Zara sends me a grateful look before dashing off again.
“Tamara! Claire! Over here!”
Grabbing the champagne bottle, I pour the contents into my glass until it’s brimming, then a glass clinks against mine.
“Fill her up for me, would you, darling?”
It’s the other woman.
What’s her name?
“I’m Grace, but call me whatever. I’ll be too drunk to remember your name in twenty minutes.”
Pouring the champagne into her glass, I relax a little.
Grace looks almost normal, all things considered. Her shiny black bob frames her pixie-like face perfectly, her wide green eyes closing as she downs the drink in one.
I oblige, wondering if I should do the same.
“Fucking supermodels, huh?” Grace winks, nudging me. “Beautiful bitches.”
Hannah and Bethany are deep in conversation, and the two new women who join us look as perfect as they do.
“I think I’m her only ugly friend,” I say, shrugging my shoulders.
Grace snorts, slapping my back.
“You’re not ugly. They’re just perfect.”
Zara finally sits down, and I eye the other women.
How do such creatures exist? Until today, I thought Zara was the most beautiful woman I knew.
Jeez, Zara looks standard, leaving me a gutter rat.
“I’ll tell you what, if you want my advice.” Grace stretches out beside me. “Don’t ever date a woman.”
Her eyes run over Bethany as she makes a face.
“No matter how beautiful they are.”
Glancing between them, I raise my eyebrows. “You and Bethany…?”
Grace shakes her head, filling my champagne glass to the brim.
“No. But she’s beautiful, that’s all.”
Not that I’d given much thought to dating a woman, but if I ever wanted to, someone like Bethany would be way out of my league.
“Tamara and Claire have kindly paid for our dinner this evening; isn’t that kind? Thank you, ladies!”
The two women smile, but it doesn’t quite reach their eyes.
“Too much surgery,” Grace mutters in my ear as I stifle a snicker.
It’s like a competition. So they paid for dinner; Zara paid for champagne…
I hope they don’t expect me to pay for us all to do anything; otherwise, it’s a bottle of Pinot Grigio from the local store.
Zara claps her hands together and declares the spa is booked for 10 a.m. tomorrow, after a champagne breakfast served to our rooms.
“Then we get to laze around the pool and have beauty treatments if you want them, then I’ve booked the restaurant for dinner.”
I shift in my seat as Bethany swipes at her phone with a frown.
“Excuse me. My agent is calling.”
Zara hands out the room keys—nothing like the plastic keycards I’m used to. These are onyx stones attached to green leather keyrings with the room numbers printed in gold.
“Can you let Bethany know our room number?” I say to Zara, who claps her hand to her mouth.
“Oh, sorry. Bethany bought her own room. She says she can’t sleep, so she’d have the light on all night. Will you be okay on your own?”
Okay? I’d be delighted.
“Oh, sure. What time are we meeting back here?”
Zara frowns, peering at her phone.
“In two hours? Will that give you enough time to get ready?”
I hold back my laughter. Two hours will give me enough time to have a bath, do a full face of makeup, and have a nap.
“See you later,” I say with a smile, slipping away before anyone can make small talk.
Grace seems okay, but she’s now in conversation with the bar staff, and I guess she’ll still be there in two hours.
I use the restroom before locating the elevators, my head feeling fuzzy from the champagne.
I call Johnny, and it goes to voicemail.
Just as the elevator doors are about to close, someone’s hand stops them, and two men get into the elevator bedside me.
The first one barely looks at me as he taps a button, but I can feel the other watching me.
“Hey,” I say into the phone, turning away. “I thought I’d try and catch you before dinner. I’ve got two hours before we meet back up, so call me if you can. Love you.”
As I end the call, the elevator comes to a stop.
“This is me.” The first guy steps out, leaving me alone in the elevator with the other man.
“Third floor?” A silky voice rumbles from beside me, and I turn with surprise to see the elevator doors are still open.
“Uh, yeah. You?”
I lean forward, pressing a finger against the number three that glows at me from its gold glass cage.
The man shakes his head.
He leans forward, his scent wafting around me as I try not to stare at the back of his neck where his dirty-blond hair points downward.
He’s wearing a suit, an expensive one by the look of it, and his broad muscles are evident when he moves.
My attention is drawn to the cufflinks he’s wearing, and I wish I could afford some as nice for Johnny.
The man moves back, his eyes darting to mine and holding my gaze.
I swallow awkwardly as the elevator moves.
His hand extends to mine, and I take it, trying not to stare at his delicious smile.
“Jenna,” I breathe, forcing my attention away from this young pup.
He must be no older than twenty-five.
Wait until he sees Bethany, I think suddenly, a pang of sadness running through me.
The elevator doors ping open, and I rush out, desperate to be away from the man who makes husbands jealous.
This is going to be a long weekend.
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