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Chapter twenty-eight

Abbey was on the phone with her mother for over two hours.  There were tears.  Abbey started hiccupping at least twice.  Mary began booking a flight home for her daughter.  It took a lot of convincing to make Mary shut down the travel website and turn off the computer.

Abbey recounted the past six months to her mother.  She realized, after her tale was over, that she glossed over Sloan’s lie and spent most of her time dwelling on Michael’s theft and betrayal.  Even more amazing was that Mary didn’t call out Abbey’s discrepancy.

As Abbey finished her call with Mary, promising to call more often that she did before, she heard the French doors open.  She watched as Sloan strode from his office with his wool trench coat in his hand.  He left the penthouse without a word.  Abbey told Mary she loved her, said goodbye and ended the call.

Abbey glanced around the empty penthouse.  She was alone – no Sloan, no henchmen.  Her eyes rested on the end table and she smiled.  There had been no Christmas for Abbey this past year.  She grabbed the laptop and plugged the cord into the wall.  Abbey plopped onto the sofa and opened the screen as she powered it up.  It looked like she would be celebrating tonight!

Abbey was in awe.  This laptop was no hand-me-down from Sloan.  It even smelled brand new.  The processor was insanely fast.  It was loaded to the hilt with programs from word processing to voice recognition software to systems Abbey didn’t have an idea what they were.  She giggled at the background her husband had chosen for her desktop – a graphic of the album cover to the Beatle’s Abbey Road.  The man thought of everything.

Abbey looked up as the penthouse door opened again.  Sloan stepped in from the foyer, shaking the winter chill that blanketed him.  He dropped the large paper bag he held in his hand on the coffee table next to Abbey.  He disappeared into the kitchen.  Abbey’s stomach growled viciously as the delicious aroma drifted from the paper bag.

Sloan reemerged from the kitchen with two white ceramic plates balancing two forks in one hand and a glass of chardonnay and bottle of beer intertwined in the fingers of the other.  He set one plate and fork and the glass of wine before Abbey and the other plate and fork and the bottle of beer in front of the overstuffed chocolate colored leather couch.  He slipped off his wool trench coat, tossing it on top of Abbey’s ski jacket.  Slowly Sloan reached into the paper bag and withdrew several white Chinese pint sized paper containers, each emblazoned with a red stamped oriental scene.  He set one after the other side by side across the coffee table following then with translucent wax bags full of crab meat rangoons and egg rolls.  Finally he tipped the bag upside down.  Out fell a half dozen cellophane wrapped fortune cookies and two pairs of chopsticks.

Sloan picked up a pair of chopsticks and handed them to Abbey.  “Supper.”

Abbey took them from him as she sat up and turned to face the coffee table.  Sloan took her plate.  He opened each container and, using his own fork, scooped some of the contents from each container onto Abbey’s plate.  He set the plate in front of her again then served himself.

“I have a question,” Abbey began as she watched Sloan navigate a pinch of shrimp lo mein from his plate to his mouth. 

Sloan swallowed then cleared his throat.  “What is that?”

“How are you back here in the US?  I’m guessing the INS wouldn’t take kindly to you overstaying your visit.”

Sloan chuckled as he sat back in his chair.  “I’ve reapplied for my visa.”

Abbey smiled.  “You are that confident you can pull off us being married?  Or is there another Mrs. Sloan O’ Riley I don’t know about?”

Sloan shook his head, still very much amused.  “I applied for another investment visa.  I’m investing in a multi-million dollar retail/residential/business complex in San Francisco.”

“So you and other investors are sending money for them to build it?”

“Not exactly.  I own the building.  My investors are managing the property for me.”

Abbey’s eyes grew wide.  “Really?”

“Aye, Luv.”  Sloan took another bite of lo mein.

Abbey nibbled at her egg roll as she stared at her plate.  It all looked incredible and smelled delicious.  She hadn’t had Chinese food in what felt like forever.  Abbey bit down on a forkful of sweet and sour chicken.  It was better than she remembered.

“Gordon gave you the key?” Sloan asked.

“Yes, thank you,” Abbey replied.

“Good.  You also have clothes here.”

Abbey stared at him, a quizzical look on her face.  “I didn’t leave clothes here.”

Sloan’s lips tuned into his sexy grin.  “No, you didn’t.  But I brought home your clothes from Miami.”

“My clothes?”  Abbey flew to her feet in excitement.  Sloan laughed as he pointed down the hall.  Abbey skipped down the hall as she peeked into one bedroom then the other.  In the second bedroom on the bed sat the suitcases she left in Miami.  She opened the first, examining each article of clothing in joy.

Abbey floated on her own little cloud back to the living room and sat back down on the couch, clenching her favorite pajamas in her hand.  A very content sigh emitted from her lips.  “Thank you, Sloan.”

“You are welcome, Abigail.”

Sloan stood, putting the empty containers back in the paper bag.  He carried the bag into the kitchen to dispose of it.  Abbey watched him as he walked away.  Who was this man who seemed to rescue her every time she fell into trouble?

And evil glimmer twinkled in her eye.  Abbey rubbed her finger across the mouse pad of the laptop to wake it.  She clicked on the web browser to bring Google up on the screen.  She paused then typed “Sloan O’ Riley” into the search engine.

Her heart fell.  This was a bad idea.

Sloan had his own Wickapedia page.  There were references to some bomber in Europe with the same name.  Abbey found it was common when you Googled someone.  Abbey Googled herself once and realized she shared the same name with a nun in Massachusetts that made award winning pies.

Sharing the same name as a terrorist didn’t bother her.  What bothered her were the photos – page after page of photos – of him with a different beautiful woman on his arm.  The women were perfect – perfect faces, perfect bodies, perfect hair, perfect clothes.  And their eyes pleaded with him to strip them naked and keep them up all night.  His sexy smile confirmed he probably did just that.

“Did you find anything interesting?”

Abbey looked up from the screen to find Sloan hovering over her.  Abbey angled the laptop screen towards herself then took a drink of her wine.  “Nothing important.”

Sloan settled back down in his chair.  “So how is the story coming?”

“Still not there.  Maybe after some sleep.”

“Certainly.  Gordon will drive you home.”

“Great.”  Abbey powered down her laptop and stood, tugging her jacket on.  She tucked her pajamas into her purse.

“Should I get your suitcases?” Sloan offered.

“Do you mind if I leave them here for awhile until I can get a dresser to store them in?” Abbey asked.

“Of course.”

Sloan escorted Abbey to the door, pressing the cell phone into her hand.  He pressed a kiss to her forehead.  “Good night, Abigail.  Sweet dreams.”

“Good night, Sloan.

Sloan leaned against the door frame and watched as Abbey stepped onto the elevator, disappearing from sight as the door closed.

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About triciaandersen

I am the author and illustrator of the children's book "The Peculiar Princess". I am also the author of two adult fantasy romance novels, "The Sorceress of Savon" and "The Woodcutter King of Muladin". Along with being an author I am married to a wonderful guy and have three beautiful children. I coach youth track and field, sew and chase my children around to their various activities.

Posted on June 6, 2012, in author, books, fiction, novel, romance, story, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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