Early Access: The Taste Of A Smile Part 13 ‘Cap’ Excerpt

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Hey hey,

I didn’t forget! It’s excerpt day. 🙂

Hope you enjoy this week’s preview of the next episode.

Have a great day,

Sigrid

Mary knew that she should be absolutely thrilled to be in Washington. And yet here she was, wishing she was somewhere else. She had had a restless night and was almost nauseous from exhaustion.

She had woken up about three hours ago, around 2.30 AM, and hadn’t been able to go back to sleep. Images of the day before had kept flashing by. The busy hall at the train station. Lex sniffing her coffee. The people in the hotel lobby.

The scene she kept replaying the most was the weird exchange with the hotel clerk. Several things about it bothered Mary. For one, she didn’t know if she should be charmed or insulted by Lex’s actions.

Why had Lex insisted on getting a room that was obviously below her usual standards? What point had she been trying to make? Had she done it because she wanted Mary to know they were equals? Or because she pitied her?

But things had gotten even more confusing when the hotel staffer had announced they were in adjoining rooms. It was the man’s conspiratorial grin that had triggered the thoughts that had kept Mary awake at night.

“Does he think we’re lovers?!” This notion had made Mary’s cheeks flush, but the little voice in her head hadn’t kept quiet after that. Oh, no.

“Nah, no way Lex is into women,” it had said, “And if she was, it’s not like she would give *you* a second glance.”

The idea was so outrageous, Mary had instantly gone into a complete shutdown. All she had wanted was to hide in her room and be alone. She had been restless all evening and night.

Since when did she feel like she wasn’t enough? Since when was she this insecure? And why had she allowed someone to make her feel this way? She was simply too old for this shit.

Mary felt her chest tighten with anxiety again. She groaned and hid her face under the covers. Her eyes were burning and pressure was building just above them. A headache was on its way, she feared.

“I cannot have a headache today,” she thought and threw the sheets off of her.

Mary dragged herself out of bed. Her bottle of painkillers was in her toiletries bag. She was glad she had remembered to pack them. She popped a tablet into her mouth and swallowed it down with water from the bottle on the desk.

She looked around as she took another gulp. It sure was a lovely room. The bed was gigantic and there was no shortage of fluffy pillows. The small sitting area in the corner was cute and cozy.

The door that led to the room adjoining hers was right next to the desk. It was locked, of course, and she intended to keep it that way. The walls were thick and well-insulated. Mary hadn’t heard Lex moving around at all.

It was still strange to know that Lex was sleeping just a few feet away from her. For a brief moment, Mary pictured the scene. Lex’s short hair tousled, her dark eyebrows relaxed. Her bare chest going up and down.

She almost spat out the water. “Woah, where did that come from,” she thought. The heat in her stomach was nearly instant. She put down the bottle and stepped away from the desk and the door.

“Fuck no,” she cursed out loud. “What the fuck is wrong with me?”

Mary had to get out of here before she completely lost her mind, she decided. She rummaged through the clothes in her suitcase. She should have put them in the wardrobe last night, but she hadn’t had the patience.

Mary grabbed her yoga pants and a hoodie. She slipped into them quickly and picked the first pairs of socks she found. She hastily stepped into her Chucks and tied her laces.

“A nice walk will clear my mind,” she thought as she grabbed her keycard.

It was quiet on their floor. Mary took the stairs instead of the elevator. The sound of her footsteps thundered around her as she made her way downstairs. She figured she might as well check out the breakfast room.

Once in the large lobby, where the staff was cleaning the shiny floor diligently, Mary looked for any signs that would direct her to the breakfast buffet. She found an arrow pointing at the gym instead.

Mary was always a little impulsive when tired. She stuck her hands in the pocket of her hoodie and headed in that direction.

***

The gym was very spacious and Mary was surprised by the amount of equipment in it. On the left, she saw dozens of resistance machines. On the right, she located the cardio area.

Treadmills, elliptical machines, indoor bikes and those godawful steps were all present. Mary wrinkled her nose. Her gaze fell on a figure in the far right corner of the room.

 

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