Holiday with the Millionaire

By: Scarlet Wilson

LARA TRIED TO hide her sniffles as the door opened and Addison’s chin nearly hit the perfect hardwood flooring.

‘Lara? What on earth...?’

She didn’t wait for her to finish. Rain was dripping off the end of her nose and running down her back as she tried to bump her impossibly heavy case over the entranceway of the house. The case gave a squeak and one of the wheels catapulted merrily into the air, spinning off down the front steps and along the exclusive London street.

She swallowed the impossible lump in her throat. It pretty much summed up her life right now.

Addison pulled her by the elbow and slammed the door behind her. ‘What’s wrong? What’s happened?’

Lara’s stomach coiled up. She hated this. She hated turning up like this. Even though she tried to hide it, she knew Addison was stressed enough without adding anything else into the mix. Her pretty face had been marred by a permanent frown for the last few months Lara had been acting as a nanny for her and her husband, Caleb.

She took a deep breath. She was still in shock and the words just seemed to come out of nowhere. ‘I had a Sliding Doors moment,’ she breathed, before dissolving into tears.

‘A what?’ The frown was back. Addison had no idea what she was talking about.

Lara shook her head, her blonde hair sending raindrops splattering all around them. ‘I went home earlier than he expected. I caught the earlier tube.’ Her voice wobbled.

Addison took a deep breath and stood up a little taller. ‘And?’ She could be scary when she wanted to be.

‘And Josh was in bed with the next-door neighbour.’

She wobbled and Addison caught hold of her elbow and steered her through to the kitchen. ‘I’m sorry, Addison. I know you’re just about to go on holiday but I had nowhere else to go. I just stuffed everything into my case and left.’

Addison flicked the switch on the coffee machine. ‘That ratbag. How dare he? You’ve paid the rent on that flat for—how long? And he does this to you?’

She opened the cupboard and pulled out two cups then sat down on the stool opposite Lara. ‘What are you going to do?’

Lara hesitated. The timing was, oh, so wrong. ‘I’m sorry, Addison. I know you’re leaving in the next few hours. This is the last thing you need.’ It was the absolute last thing. Although to outsiders Addison and Caleb Connor had the perfect life, Lara could tell that things were strained. Their son, Tristan, was a dream to nanny, a happy, well-mannered little boy with the biggest smile in the world. But things in the household were far from happy. Addison had been strangely silent these last few weeks, and Caleb’s presence had been virtually non-existent. Lara had the distinct impression this month-long holiday was make or break for the couple.

She bit her lip. ‘I wondered...can I stay for the next couple of weeks? Just until I try and sort things out? I’ll need to find somewhere else to stay.’

Addison didn’t hesitate. ‘Of course you can. No problem at all. Caleb and I will be gone in the next few hours. You can have the place to yourself and take some time to get sorted.’

She pressed some buttons on the state-of-the-art coffee machine. She frowned at Lara, ‘Double shot?’

Lara nodded. Addison pressed a few more buttons for the extra shot for Lara and decaf for herself and the steaming hot lattes appeared in seconds. She held up two syrup bottles. ‘Gingerbread or caramel?’

‘Vodka,’ Lara groaned. It might only be three o’clock in the afternoon but after the day she’d had she wanted to cut straight to the chase. She pointed over at the one in Addison’s left hand. ‘Caramel.’

Addison poured a healthy amount of pure sugar syrup into the latte before adding the tiniest dash into her own.

She looked Lara straight in the eye. ‘What are you going to do about your holiday?’

The holiday. Of course. Lara pressed her head down on the counter worktop. ‘Oh, no.’

Addison reached over and squeezed her hand. ‘You’ve been looking forward to this all year. Don’t let him spoil this for you. You deserve a holiday. You need a holiday. Spend the next two weeks sorting yourself out, then go and lie in the sun. Relax. Chill out.’

‘By myself?’ The holiday she’d been looking forward to for months had instantly lost its shine. There was something really wrong about going on a cruise on your own. Talk about awkward.

Addison’s glare had a steely edge. ‘Yes, by yourself. Why not? You don’t need a man to determine who you are in this life. You’ve saved hard for that holiday. Go and enjoy it.’ She picked up her latte. ‘Now, I need to finish packing. Will you be okay?’

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