Eve heard the 'click' sound of when a call ends.
She sent a prayer that it would turn out okay. It would solve many future problems, not just this time. She didn't have a car so this may happen again. She also mostly spent time at home. She'd love for Evangeline to have the same habit.
It would make them two peas in a pod.
"Don't worry, Eve. We'll figure this out," Avery assured her in a soothing voice, "Where are you right now?"
"I'm in the bathroom. I made an excuse that I needed to use it." Eve looked at the phone's time. Almost 10 minutes had gone by. Ambryan must be suspicious. If he decided to peek in, he'd find no line for the women's bathroom.
She'd have no choice but to say she took a Number 2.
Unlike her, Avery remained optimistic. "So, we still have some time. Let's think of a backup solution if the apartment is unavailable."
"Mrs. Hathaway, is this really okay?" Eve couldn't help but ask. "It's one thing to have me endorse a brand but it's another thing for you to spend money on Evangeline."
She merely wanted to borrow a place, not rent one. It would be too costly since she'd stay in her own apartment. The other one would just be for a front. Based on Cale's information, this wouldn't be an ordinary apartment either.
What kind of complex would await her?
"Nonsense. This is little compared to what I am asking of you. Besides, I know you don't want to lie about your identity. That's why I gave you my full cooperation in creating a stage persona for you," Avery elaborated. The young woman loved to worry too much at times. "This apartment will still be partially paid by your agency. You'll just need to participate in more projects."
'More modelling?' Eve comprehended. She got lucky last time. Luna knew of her situation and lowered her expectations. The next time wouldn't be the same. It couldn't go on like this for the next 9 months—not when Evangeline had a sponsor.
She had to be worthy of it.
"Oh, Cale is calling," Avery said, "Let me get it so we'll know what to do."
Eve heard the following silence. She pulled her phone away from her and looked at the screen. It showed her home page. The madam must have ended the call instead of putting her on hold. There wasn't anything else to do but wait.
She resumed her pacing, tucking her hands behind her back.
A notification ping bounced off the walls.
``From Avery: Eve, good news! The apartment is available! I'll leave the address below and will meet you there—just for any complication like paperwork and the key. Have a safe trip!``
Eve didn't waste time.
She bolted out of the door, memorizing the address. The location seemed familiar. She must have heard about it in the news before. It was at the upper side of the city, a bit far away from the apartment. It would take time to go back and forth if needed someday.
"Ms. Reed," a voice interrupted halfway out of the skating rink.
Eve stumbled back. She recognized the person as Wen, one of Ambryan's bodyguards. They met after she became a secretary. The woman was second-in-charge of security. The team always went wherever her boss went. Now that they were alone, Eve wondered if they recognized her.
They must have verified Evangeline's identity.
She pushed the thought out of her mind. It would be something to worry about when she got home. Avery might also know something that she didn't.
Eve nodded, acknowledging Wen's presence. She fixed her wig. After the sudden run, it had tangled a bit. "Oh, hello. You're Mr. Hathaway's bodyguard, right?"
"Yes," Wen answered curtly. She had her hands folded together. "He told me to check on you. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." Eve breathed out a laugh. It sounded awkward even to her ears. "I just thought I'd suddenly need to go for a long time."
"Understood. Please go ahead. He pulled up the car near the entrance."
Eve walked the rest of the way. Her run must have looked out of place. She hoped it wouldn't raise suspicions from Wen. It was only the first date and they already overlooked a few details.
It turned out that there were more factors that could leak her secret.
"Everything alright?" Ambryan asked when she exited the establishment. He leaned on the side of his car with his arms crossed over his chest. The setting sun gleamed behind him.
It illuminated his profile like he had a warm aura.
"Yes, I am ready to go now," Eve answered, reaching his side. She gulped down her remaining nerves. Everything would be okay.
At least, she hoped that would be the case.
Ambryan opened her side of the Jaguar XK. She climbed on, looking at the open sky. The roof had been rolled down. She inhaled the air. The dust and smoke made her miss the refreshing smell of nature. It used to be a few blocks away back in her hometown.
The convertible made a right, heading for the upper east side. The drive went on in silence after Eve revealed the address. Ambryan merely raised one eyebrow. She fluttered her eyes in return, feigning innocence. She knew what made him react that way.
Just like Cale had said, those were reserved for those higher than her in the industry.
It took about an hour to reach their destination.
Eve did her best not to gawk.
The complex had a vintage color palette of dark rose and dim yellow. It stood at 13 floors high with a driveway splitting them in the middle. All the windows had blue tints that disallowed outsiders to peek inside. At the back, a large olympic pool covered the lot. Patches of nature surrounded it, offering a change of scenery to the city dwellers.
Ambryan drove the car into the main entrance driveway. It curved between a fountain and the building. The front entrance stood on top of a short staircase. A security guard watched from behind glass walls, positioned near the door. A counter could be seen on the east wall inside.
Lamp lights illuminated the pavement. Stars had appeared in the sky. The moon rose up slowly, taking its place at the center. Crickets echoed from a distance.
Eve checked her phone. It had a message from Avery that everything was okay. She could walk through the entrance without a problem. Her apartment would be on the 10th floor.
She unbuckled her seat belt, saying, "Thank you for driving me back. I had a good time."
Her hands reached for the car door.
"I didn't know Lotus Modelling Agency now offers luxury condos for all their models."
Eve froze for a split second, pressing her lips together. Her torso twisted back as she gave him an awkward smile. She had no excuse for her residency. Averting her gaze, her voice lowered to a whisper. Her eyes perceived nothing.
"I am just really blessed with wonderful supporters. Hopefully, I can make them proud."
Ambryan titled his head to one side. The impassive expression remained on his face. Moonlight gleamed through the windshield, adding a soft light in a pair of hazel eyes. The vibrant red hair tamed under the night sky.
Then, her gaze flickered towards him.
A serene face smiled at him for the last time today.
"Thank you again, Mr. Hathaway. Have a safe trip back."
Eve unlocked the door and stepped out. Her strap-on heels clicked against the pavement. She walked straight ahead without a second look back. She climbed up the stairs and nodded at the security guard.
He let her pass.
A huge breath released out of her mouth. She really did have nothing to worry about. No one even asked for her identification or proof of her residency.
Safe inside, she turned around. The black Jaguar XK blended with the dark surroundings, barely visible to the naked eye. Ambryan's skin became pale under the moon. It was the only thing that stood out.
Eve waved her hand and waited for him to leave.
The convertible honked once as it left the premises.
That was when all the weight on her shoulders vanished. It finally finished. She could go home. A part of her acted surprised at the day's events. It exceeded and flipped over her expectations. She'd have the time to reflect on them later.
Right now, her body craved for a hot bath with essential oils.
"Eve!" Avery called out, stepping out of a hallway. She brisk walked through the lobby and gave Eve a hug. "I am so happy to see you! You look gorgeous!"
"Mrs. Hathaway!" Eve gasped, her arms wrapped around the madam reflexively.
Avery pulled back and giggled. "Everything went well?"
"Yes, there were no complications."
"Wonderful!" She exclaimed, clapping her hands together. Her eyebrows began to wiggle. A hint of mischief glinted in her violet eyes. Do you want to see your new apartment now?"
Huh. For once, Ambryan didn't pry. Hehe. Would you be interested to read about their individual thoughts about the date when they go home? :)
Thank you for an amazing week! I think this is the first time the novel broke through 1k Power Stones. Our family is growing! Thank you all so much! Don't mind Ambryan's scowl. He is happy XD
What would you do if a game character suddenly came out of your mobile phone? And turns out to be a potential boyfriend? Hehe. This is what I understand from a friend's story, "Go! Go! Summons: Summoning The Perfect Boyfriend." If this intrigues you, give it a try :3
Have a good day!
Other ongoing work: Trust and Believe in Love