The Arrangement 3: The Ferro Family (The Arrangement #3)
The Arrangement Vol. 3
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by H.M. Ward All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form.
Laree Bailey Press First Edition: Feb 2013
The Arrangement Vol. 3
Breathing hard, I watch the door slip shut. Shock washes over me. I don’t know what I expected things to be like, but this isn’t it. Wide-eyed, I pad over to the bed and sit down. The sheets are rumpled. The room smells like Sean and sex. I can’t think. I can’t breathe. The sensation worsens growing tighter and tighter until I’m gasping for air.
Tears streak my face as I throw myself onto a pillow. I grip it and try to suck in air, but I can’t. Sean’s scent hits me hard and makes me choke. I push myself up and try to get hold of my emotions. I knew this wasn’t real. It’s all a game. Sean is fucked up and he needs things this way. There is a reason for it. He said that over and over again, but it doesn’t mesh. Nothing does. It’s like there are two different versions of him. One is playful and kind. The other is so messed up that he can’t fuck a girl that he hasn’t paid for. I clutch my face and push the tears away with the back of my hand. I’ve fallen for him I couldn’t help it.
I want to call Mel, but she’s working. I need to get control over my feelings. I need to. I have to. Suddenly, the urge to go for a run hits me hard. Fresh air, the night wind in my face—all that shit will clear my head. I just need to get out of here. I glance at my ankle, wondering what Miss Black will do if I leave the building.
Screw that. I need this.
Padding to the closet, I yank the door, but it doesn’t open. I pull it again, but it doesn’t move. My vision is blurry from tears. I lean over and look at the handles. They lock. Sean locked the closei before he left. Rage flashes through, me so hot and hard that I can’t stand it. My arm swings on its own and smashes into the door. I scream, but it doesn’t make me feel better.
Wearing nothing but a robe, I turn and lean against the closet doors. I slide to the floor and hold my face in my hands. Every second I stay in this room, I feel the walls closing in around me. There’s no air. I’m trapped. I tug at my hair, angry. I love him How could I be so stupid? I close my eyes and sit there until the panic recedes. I can leave the room, but I have no clothes. I won’t get very far. The hotel staff will stop me before the elevator reaches the ground floor.
My phone rings. It takes me a second to recognize the ringtone. It’s Mel. I dart across the room grabbing my purse and dumping it out on the floor. I answer just before voicemail picks up. “Mel!”
“Avery girl, are you all right? Shit, you don’t sound all right. Say something. Let me hear you talk.” Mel shushes someone in the background.
My voice is shaky. “I thought you were at work.”
“I was. I’m done. Guy was working on speedy issues.” Someone starts laughing in the background.
I recognize that chuckle. “Is that Marty?” Why are they hanging out together? They hate each
“Yeah, honey. Now tell me what that piece of shit did to you. Are you hurt? I’ll kick his white ass myself—”
I cut her off. “No, I’m not hurt. He got mad and left. I wanted to go after him,” I lie. I can’t tell he that I was going to leave the building. “But he locked the closet. I can’t get my clothes.”
“What’d she say?” I hear Marty asking in the background.
“Shut your face, Showboat I’ll tell you later,” Mel snaps at Marty. Then she says to me, “This is easy. Go look at the door.” I walk over there, unsure of what she wants me to do. “What kind is it? Single door? Double doors?”
“Double. They close in the center. There’s no doorjamb down the middle. The handle is the lever kind.”
“Yeah, cuz that matters,” she says sarcastically. “Haven’t you ever busted into a room before?”
I stare at the phone like that’s the stupidest question ever. When I put it back to my ear, I say, “My roommate locks me out on a regular basis. What do you think?”
“Don’t get fresh with me. I don’t like to put my nose in other people’s business. How was I…?” Marty is cracking up in the background. He’s mocking her because Mel is always in everybody’s business. When she speaks again, her tone is terse. She doesn’t comment on Marty’s giggles. “Okay, Avery, this one is easy. Look between the doors, down by the lock. If you’re lucky, the lock is in there backwards and you just have to shove a credit card through the middle. If not, you have to work it in from behind.”
“How do I know which way will work?” I look at it, not sure what I’m supposed to see.
“The locking part is flat. If it’s in backwards, the part facing you is curved. What do you see?”
Peering through the slat in the door, I can see a gold piece of metal. “It’s curved.”
“Good. Pop that baby open.” Mel waits while I dig through my purse and grab my debit card. 1 push it into the space between the two doors and it slips right in. I pull the door and it opens.
“It worked!” I say surprised. I glance at the card. Damn. That was easy.
“Of course it worked. You think I don’t know stuff? Well, I do.”
Marty sings in the background, “She does!”
“Shut up, showtunes,” Mel snaps at Marty. “Listen Avery, if that messed up fucker hurts you, crush the button on your bracelet.”
“It’s not like that,” I say, as I look through the closet for my dress. Sean’s coat is hanging up next to my dress. I bump the hanger and his coat falls to the floor. Something falls out of the pocket. I pick
it up and look at a crumpled ball of paper. “Listen, thanks for helping. I should be home for a little bit tomorrow. I’ll catch up with you guys then.” I hang up the phone.
Something about the paper seems weird. Sean has this really nice coat, but has garbage in the pockets? I think it’s strange, so I stick my hands into both pockets. They’re empty. I didn’t think he was the kind of guy to shove nasty old stuff in his coat. He’s too highbrow for that.
I look at the balled up paper again and open it. In that moment, everything changes. I stare blankly at the note, not fathoming the depths of what’s happening. People are like this. People do one thing and say another. It fits with Sean’s words when he walked out. He thought he could do it, but he can’t. Not this time. Something changed. Something’s different, and now I know what it is.
I stare at the paper, reading the pretty cursive letters over and over again.
We love you! -Amanda & Baby