Home > The Sweetest Thing (SWANK #2)

The Sweetest Thing (SWANK #2)
Author: Maya Hughes

 

1

 

 

Sabrina

 

 

Triple-checking the address, I snagged a parking spot around the corner from my destination. The tree-lined streets and brownstone townhouses on my way here hadn’t helped alleviate my concerns that Barbara had given me the wrong address.

I checked my phone again. This was the place. I was relieved to be here, and I didn’t want to fight more city traffic to find the right place if there had been a typo.

Not that I could be a chooser, what with me being a beggar and all. I’d needed a last-minute place to stay after my apartment had an infestation I couldn’t get rid of—an infestation of my ex, whom I’d vowed to purge from my mind with a few bottles of tequila as soon as I could spare the money to buy them.

When Barbara offered up a free bedroom in the Center City condo where her grandson was living, I hadn’t been expecting the ten-story white stone exterior of the deco-style building. The grandson part had also been a shock. That little detail had been sent after I’d thanked her for being so generous.

Hunter Saxton. The pictures she’d sent of him would’ve made my panties melt if I weren’t on a strict no-man plan for the rest of the year. Sure, he had gorgeous blue eyes. Yes, the black t-shirt and jeans looked like they had been painted onto his fit physique in the shot where he was smiling with Barbara at her eightieth birthday party. And, of course, when I’d Googled him, the social media articles with photos of him in a suit that had been tailored to perfection told me everything I needed to know. Playboy. Man whore. Trouble. But whose bed he jumped into was between him and them, and he wouldn’t be jumping into mine, so we’d maintain a friendly, aloof roommate situation for a few months until I’d saved up enough for a place of my own.

Using the designated app on my phone, I paid for the meter. I had an hour. Depending on how many hallways I had to trudge down, I might just make it without needing to spend more. It had taken me over three hours to get all my things into the car the day before yesterday, but that had involved a flight of stairs for each trip. This building certainly didn’t have external staircases leading from each floor.

I checked the address again. It was definitely the right place.

Glancing into my back seat stuffed with half of everything I owned, the rest crammed in the trunk, I tried not to deflate. I’d needed to move quickly before my ex got back to the apartment we’d been sharing. I’d found out it had all been a sham—the kind that made my stomach curdle and made sleeping sitting up in my car for the last two nights a better alternative than spending another night in the apartment with him. My arms still burned thinking about lugging all this inside after packing it all up a couple days ago.

I slung my backpack on and grabbed my purse from the seat beside me. My essentials locked and loaded on my arms, I got out.

Taxis and cars zipped through the city streets. There was no going back. Not that there was anything to go back to, and not like I had a choice of where to go at this point. Pickings were slim and my money situation precarious. Grandma Georgina was much better at making friends than I was, and I owed her for Barbara’s generous offer to stay as long as I needed.

Might as well get the heavy things over with quickly. No use in waiting and trying to lug them when I was tired. I’d bite the bullet and carry the biggest and bulkiest stuff first.

With all my rearranging, I’d already lost ten minutes off the meter. Shit! Let’s go.

I bumped the back passenger door closed with my hip and stared up at the imposing stained wood and brass doors. It felt more like I was standing in front of the United Nations rather than my new apartment.

Balancing my rolling suitcase on top of the laundry hamper of gear, I half-stumbled, half-fell toward the doors. The wheels from my carry-on dug into my arms.

Before I could set my entire life in a plastic basket down to open the door, a man in a suit with gold accents along the lapel and sleeves and white gloves held it open.

The guy didn’t look much older than me. He had dark brown hair and kind eyes—the type of kind eyes I needed right now. “Can I help you, miss?”

Being called miss felt weird coming from a guy who looked my age. I hoped this wasn’t a portal into a Shining-esque building where I’d find an old typewriter and start slowly going insane.

I blew the hair out of my face. “Yes, that would be amazing.”

“Are you moving in?” He wrangled the carry-on suitcase off the top of my hip-high laundry hamper and picked that up like it didn’t weigh a million pounds.

“To 1001.”

He tripped a little. “You’re moving into the Saxton Penthouse.”

I didn’t even have time to be insulted, I was just as shocked as he was. The Saxton freaking Penthouse. Thanks for the heads-up, Barbara. If she’d have warned me, I’d have picked up a flapper outfit and feather headband on the ride over. “I didn’t realize it had a name, but if that’s 1001, then that’s where I’m going.”

His gaze swept over me a bit more shrewdly than before. Not mean, but unconvinced.

What? He didn’t often get late-twenties women in sweatpants moving in with an assortment of bags and baskets like they were on their way to the world’s worst bazaar?

“What was your name?”

“Sabrina Mason. Barbara Saxton sent me the address and said she’d have a key made for me and have it waiting for me downstairs.” I’d thought downstairs was a mailbox or mat with a key tucked under it, but I hadn’t expected a white-gloved doorman and a lobby that could’ve fit ten of my old apartments in it. In the group text with Grandma Georgina, she’d sent the address, details about when to arrive, pictures of Hunter, but had left out how palatial the building was.

My footsteps echoed in the lobby.

“One second.” He jogged over to the concierge desk. “Let me find it for you.”

I dropped my head back, staring at the thirty-foot ceilings. Everything was marble and granite, gold accents and statues. Old Hollywood called and wanted their set for The Great Gatsby back. Flower arrangements taller than me sat on a shelf that was more like a ledge in front of a twenty-foot mirror. A luggage trolley—brass, of course—sat in the corner. This felt more like a 1920s hotel than an apartment building.

“Ms. Mason—”

“You can call me Sabrina.”

He smiled and nodded. “I’m Ian.” He held out his hand.

I hesitated, not wanting to dirty those white gloves. Brushing my hand against my pants, I cringed at how sweaty it was before shaking his hand.

“Sorry, they’re a little clammy.”

“No problem. I have your key. Usually the movers come in through the freight elevator in the back. I’m happy to help with the rest of your luggage as well.”

Not needing to carry all my stuff by myself? I almost hugged him. But I was also already screwing up being in this fancy place. Of course most people who moved in didn’t look like they were showing up to a dorm room. “I could use the help. My car is parked around the corner. It’s the mint green Mazda. I can move it and use that other elevator if you show me where it is.” The last thing they had to want was me schlepping my crap through this pristine lobby.

“If you give me the key, I can load everything up and bring it to you. The freight elevator is much bigger, so there won’t be a need for multiple trips.”

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