Home > What If You

What If You
Author: Sandi Lynn


Prologue

 

 

I stood in the center of the ballroom as my eyes diverted to the corner where he stood. He was six feet two inches tall with brown hair that was meticulously cut in a classic crew style. The expensive black tuxedo he wore hugged his muscular body. With the slight turn of his head, he glanced my way. Blue eyes, sculpted cheekbones and a strong masculine jawline with a five o’clock shadow. The corners of his mouth curved upward as he stared at me. The small smile that graced his lips was approving, irresistible and infectious. The faint scent of his cologne lingered through the air. A scent made up of Bergamot, Sweet Persimmon and Patchouli. His gaze left mine as he exited through the large double doors. Holding up the silver sparkly long gown I wore, I ran across the room and followed him into the lobby of the hotel where I saw him walk out into the dark streets of the city.

Suddenly, I found myself standing next to the mysterious and handsome man in front of a tall glass building. With his hands tucked tightly in his pants pockets, he looked up as the entire building came crashing down, floor by floor. Looking to my right, I spotted an older man. He had salt and pepper hair, black rimmed glasses and he wore a designer gray pinstripe suit. He held a drink in his hand. Scotch, I think. Two ice cubes. The look on his face was sinister as he stared at the handsome man. It started to rain. As I looked up, I lifted my hands as the particles falling from the sky fell into them. They weren’t raindrops. They were fragments of dollar bills that were burned to ashes. The mysterious man turned and stared at me as despair and anguish splayed across his face.

My eyes flew open as my heart raced out of my chest. Quickly sitting up, I took in a deep breath and grabbed the phone on my nightstand to check the time. It was three a.m. Taking in another deep breath, I laid down, pulled the covers over me and fell back asleep.

 

 

1

 

 

Everly

“Everly, over here!” Diana shouted and waved her hand in the air as I stepped inside the gate at LaGuardia Airport.

I let out a screech as I set down my carry-on bag and hugged her.

“I’m so happy you’re here. It’s been way too long.” She hugged me tight.

“It’s been two months since you and Daniel were in Rhode Island for a visit.” I laughed as I broke our embrace.

“Still, it seems like eternity.” A bright smile graced her face as she picked up my bag from the floor and threw it over her shoulder.

“Well, you have me for three whole months.” The corners of my mouth curved upward as I laid my head on her shoulder and we headed toward baggage claim to fetch my luggage.

Diana Lafferty and I had become close friends since she started dating my cousin, Daniel, three years ago. They both grew up and lived in Rhode Island, and when Daniel was promoted to detective and secured a spot for the NYPD, they decided it was time to move in together. They had been trying to get me to come to New York for a visit since they’d moved a year ago, but the timing always seemed off, until the dreams started happening.

“So, how is business?” Diana asked as we climbed into a cab.

“Business is good. I’ve secured some new clients here in the city I’m meeting with.”

“I can’t believe my boss called an emergency meeting, and I have to go into work. He knew I had the day off. He is such a jerk.”

I placed my hand on her shoulder and gave her a small smile.

“It’s okay. I told you before I came that I’d find my way to your apartment and not to worry about me.”

“But I had plans to show you around the city.” A pout formed on her lips.

“We have plenty of time for that.”

Diana reached in her purse, pulled out a key and handed it to me.

“I had an extra key to the apartment made for you.”

“Thanks.” I gave her a smile as the cab pulled up to the curb of her building.

The driver climbed out and grabbed my carry-on and large suitcase from the trunk.

“I’m so happy you’re here and so is Daniel. I’ll see you later when I get home.” Diana hugged me. “I’m nervous about this meeting. With my boss you never know which way it’s going to go.”

“Don’t be nervous and don’t worry about me. I’ll see you later.” I gave her a wink before climbing out of the cab.

“It’s apartment 21C. Take the elevator up to the 21st floor and make a left. You can’t miss it.”

“Got it.” I shut the door, grabbed my bags and headed inside the building located at 10 E. & 29th street.

 

 

“Can I help you, ma’am?”

“I’m looking for Detective Langley.”

“And you are?”

“His cousin, Everly.”

“I’ll be damned. You’re finally here!” Daniel exclaimed as he walked towards me and gave me a hug. “How are you, cuz?”

“I’m fabulous. It’s good to see you, Daniel.”

“Good to see you too.”

He broke our embrace and led me over to his desk.

“Everly, I’d like you to meet my partner, James Alden. James, this is my cousin, Everly.”

“It’s nice to meet you, James.” I extended my hand to him.

“Trust me. The pleasure is all mine. I’ve heard so much about you.” He lightly shook my hand.

“All good, I hope.” I glanced at Daniel.

“Nothing but the best.” Daniel gave me a wink. “Diana called and said she dropped you off at the apartment. Did you find your room okay?”

“If it’s the one with the pink sign on the door that says ‘Everly’s Room,’ then yes, I found it just fine.” I lightly punched his shoulder. “I can’t believe you have that. Where did you find it?”

“In the basement at Grandma Tillie’s right before I moved here. I asked her if I could take it with me.”

“You’re weird.” I laughed.

“Maybe just a little. But not as weird as you. What brings you by the station?”

“I just wanted to see where my hot shot detective cousin works.” The corners of my mouth curved upward.

“Langley, Alden,” an older man stepped out of his office, “a body was found in one of the rooms at the Archer. You two need to get down there.”

“Right away, Captain,” Daniel spoke as he grabbed his cell phone from his desk. “I have to run. I’ll see you tonight.” He lightly kissed my cheek.

I took a cab back to the apartment, made a cup of coffee, grabbed my laptop and took a seat on the oversized comfy couch Diana always gushed about since the day they bought it. As I was doing some work, I could feel the heaviness in my eyes and wondered why the caffeine hadn’t kicked in. Closing my laptop, I placed it next to me and curled up on the couch for a twenty-minute power nap.

 

 

I found myself on the dark and quiet street where the gray and starless sky laid its blanket over the city. Looking ahead, I took note of the only streetlamp that was brightly lit. Why was that one working and not the others? I picked up the pace down the concrete pavement and as I approached the corner, I saw a man standing underneath the light. He turned his head and stared at me. He was an older man who stood about six feet tall with a medium build and gray hair. He was distinguished and wore a tailored black suit with a red print tie.

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