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C1 Yes or No

My eyes snap open at 7:00 am sharp as usual. I don’t have to look at the clock to know it’s 7. I’ve been waking like this long enough to trust my body’s internal clock. I pull the comforter off me, slip out of bed and begin my daily routine by making my bed. Pillows perfectly aligned, sheets pulled tight, and comforter folded just right. I nod when I see the finished outcome. I walk to my bathroom for the next part of my routine, brush my teeth, wash my face, and shower. I grab the outfit I put together last night and get dressed. Hair and makeup are last on the list; I complete my look, a high ponytail, light makeup, and nod approving my work. By now, it’s 7:30 am. I walk to my kitchen, the coffee machine turns in every morning at 7:25 am, so my coffee is ready by the time I get there. I pour myself a cup in my usual mug, sugar, a bit of cream, and then I stand by the counter and sip it.

“I have to visit grandma today,” I note myself as I take another sip of my coffee. I smile. It’s been a month since I’ve seen her. I’ve been too busy finishing the Klein hotel project. I’m an interior decorator, mostly doing hotels and corporate buildings. I worked for a huge firm for the first 4 years after college. I started Marshall’s Design 2 years ago, and it’s been doing quite well. Thanks to my connections with Gianna and her father, who is a real estate investor.

I finish the last drop of my coffee, take a sponge and a drop of dish soap, wash it, and put it in the dishwasher to dry. I make my way to the living room, grab my keys, and head for the door. The drive to my office is the same as usual, mundane but pleasant. Once I get to my building, I scan my id, nod my head to the receptionist and make my way to the elevator. The door opens on my floor; I share the floor with a dental and a law office. I walk to the door and pull it out open. Amber, a cute little redhead, my assistant and fellow designer, comes running up to me.

“You’re here, Mr.Fennuchi called; he’s worried about the budget for his office. The statues are over 500k, and he’s complaining...I don’t know what to do? This is what he asked for...He asked for three of them...”

I step in and close the door; this is her first solo design project, so she’s a little frazzled as can be expected; I was probably like that my first time. I walk to my office, and she follows, still rambling; I enter my handbag on my desk and turn to her.

“Amber, first thing.” she stops and turns to me.


“Take a deep breath.” She stops, then inhales and exhales.

“Okay, Mr.Fennuchi is a fusspot, but he knows what he is asking for isn’t cheap. You have to be firm with him and show him the value.”

“But..” but she begins, and I know when she gets like this, she is hard to calm.

“But nothing, do you trust your vision?” She nods, which makes me smile.

“Then finish your work.”

“He’s worried that it’s not you. He wants you to meet him for lunch.” I frown; that man has been nothing short of annoying since we signed the contract.

“Fine, set a meeting at Luciano’s at 12:00 today.” She breathes a sigh of relief.

“Thank you.”

“No need to thank me. I believe in you, so I’ll be telling him to trust you or find another company. I will not have my employee's work quality questioned.”

“I have the best boss in the whole world.” She says before she hugs me.

"That you do. Do I have any other meeting today?"

“No, no meetings for the rest of the day.”

“Great, I’ll visit my grandmother after lunch. Call me if something comes up.” She nods, then turns to leave. I spend the next couple of hours working on room designs for a new hotel I just commissioned. The new owners are young and loaded, so there isn’t a cap on the budget. These projects are my favorite when I can let my creative energy flow without restrictions. After completing the outline, I glance at the clock it’s 11:40 am; I need to leave if I’m going to make it downtown by 12 pm.

I grab my purse and quickly made it out of the building. After a 15 minutes drive, I pull up to Luciano’s Italian fine dining. I walk through the door; the Maitre D greets me.

“Ms.Marshall, who are you meeting today?”

“Fennuchi party of two.” He smiles at me then leans in to check his guest book.

“Ah yes, Mr.Fennuchi is already waiting; follow me.”

“How’s Joan and the baby?” I ask as I follow him. I designed his wife’s nursery, one of the few residential projects I take on each year.

“They are lovely; thank you again for agreeing to complete the nursery. Joan loves it”

“It was my pleasure doing it; thanks for asking me.”

“You are too humble, Ms.Marshall.”, your table,” I grin as he turns to leave, but my smile quickly falls when I turn to face the smiling old man before me.

“Mr.Fenccuhi…” I mumble bitterly as he quickly gets up to pull out my chair. I push him away as gently as I can and frown.

“Thank you, but I’m fine.” I quickly take a seat, and he follows suit.

“So Mr.Fen…”

“ Call me Aldo.” He instructs with a grimy smile. I already know where this is probably heading, but I’m praying that I’m wrong.

“Mr. Fennuchi, I don’t believe that’s appropriate; this is strictly a business relationship.”

“You're no fun.” He chuckles lightly as I try my best not to roll my eyes.

“I’m not here for fun; I’m here for business. So you have an issue with how much Ms. Phillips is spending?” He waves his hands, signaling the end of that topic.

“Who cares about the budget? I’m rich.” I grit my teeth, my annoyance growing with every word.

“ you care, isn’t that why I’m here?” He frowns as if I’ve insulted him, but his frown quickly turns into a smile.

“ No, I wanted to have lunch with the prettiest gal in Texas.” I squeeze the glass of water I just took in my hands.

“You wanted to have lunch with the prettiest gal in Texas?” I feel my anger rising, but I’m doing my best to hold it in.

“Yes,” he reaches across the table to squeeze my hand, but I quickly move it out of his reach and rise to my feet.

“Mr.Fennuchi, the only service my company provides is interior design. I do not entertain my clients and certainly do not have personal time with them. If you are under the impression that I’m a perk that comes with the contract, let me clear it up for you. I am not. If you want to continue working with us, please contact Ms.Phillips. If you do not, please pay the 20% cancellation fee, per the contract.”

“Wait a minute. You can’t be serious.”

“Oh, but I am. Good day, Mr.Fennuchi.” I turn on my heels and leave. I sigh disappointedly but not surprising. I have met my fair of men like that who only see women as potential lays.

“Leaving so soon?” Steven asks as I approach him.

“Yes, the company was rather draining; I’ll see you next time, Steven; please give my best to Joan.”

“I will.” He says with a smile. I wave goodbye to him and head for the door.

I walk out of the restaurant and make my way to the car. I check the time on my watch; a minute after twelve, I might as well visit grandma now.

The drive over to the old folks' home takes about an hour. I arrive and head to the door greeting the friendly receptionist I’ve come to know during my visits.

“Brandi, good to see you; Mrs. Willows will be so happy.”

“Hey Abbey, sorry I haven’t been here in a couple of weeks. Work has been busy.”

“It’s fine you’re here now.”

“ How is she?”

“ Doing great; she’s even started knitting.”

“Really? She used to knit when I was younger, so maybe she remembers.” She smiles sheepishly at my hopeful face.

“ Okay, I’ll go take a look,” I reply, a bit disappointed. She nods and waves.

I make my way door the hallway and take the elevator to her floor. I knock on it gently, but it doesn’t make a difference. Grandma doesn’t answer; she never does. She has Alzheimer’s and doesn't remember who I am. Although she calls me by my mother/ her daughter in law name. I open the door slowly and enter the room, spotting her sitting before the television knitting.

“Grandma,” I say with a smile approaching her.

“Grandma,” I repeat, which makes her finally look at me. She eyes me for a moment and squints as if she is trying to recall, but after a couple of seconds, she gives up and returns her attention to knitting. I sigh; she’s still the same. I always hope that she will return to her previous self one day, but I should accept it.

Grandma raised me when my parents passed in a house fire at 13; while I suffered a lot in that house, none of it was due to grandma, who tried her best. She started showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease three years ago. My family decided they would rather stick her in a home than deal with her. Well, I’m no better than them since I’m too busy to take care of her.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been visiting gran; I’ll make sure to come out every week from now on.” She doesn’t respond to my words. I sigh and walk over to the window and open it. “How about we let some air in, grandma. Much better.” I walk over to her, admiring her handy work. From the looks of it, she’s making a scarf. I lean in closer.

“ Can you show me?” I ask, taking it from her; she grabs it quickly.

“ no!!l”

“Grandma, it’s me.”

“No,” she screams, then returns to her work. I sigh and head back to the window. I stare out at the beautiful landscape for a couple of minutes when my phone suddenly buzzes, that familiar tone that makes me moist between my thighs. I shuffle quickly to grab my bag. My heart pounding with anticipation.

“Tomorrow at 11 pm

Klein hotel at the rim


No eyes

No talking

No names

Rsvp yes or no.” I read the text from the anonymous number a single smile flashes on my face as I reply.


Libre Baskerville
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