I have the 1st chapter of Beautiful Little Fool by KK Hendin for you! The book is on sale for .99 cents, but the sale ends soon!
Eighty seven billion dollars. One dead New York business mogul. No heirs. No wives. No relatives. Eighty seven billion dollars. Not hers yet. He doesn’t deserve them. He doesn’t know what to do with them. She does. She always has. Eighty seven billion dollars. He’s overwhelmed. She’s prepared. That will should have had her name. Not his. Eighty seven billion dollars. His looks are a bonus. Her looks are her weapon. He’s fighting a losing battle against his heart. He doesn’t know it yet. Eighty seven billion dollars. She gets everything she wants. He’s what she wants. Love has nothing to do with it. To get to where you’re going, sometimes you need to step on a few people to get there. Good thing her heels are sharp.
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Everyone wanted Cedar Reynolds. Everyone wished they were her. There was not a person alive who knew about Cedar and didn’t wish somewhere deep inside, maybe when nobody was looking, that they could one day be even a quarter as cool as Cedar was. To have her confidence, her fearlessness, her style. Goddamn, that girl was so ahead of the game that Anna Wintour would base the season's trends on Cedar.
She was the perfect combination of open and mysterious, of fun and serious, of silly and sexy. She ruled Manhattan with a smile and while wearing six inch heels.
Cedar Reynolds was everything you wanted. She was a fireball of success. But like fire, if you got too close, you would burn.
Nobody is fireproof.
Not even Cedar Reynolds.
All everyone could talk about was Harold Feingold’s impending death. In hushed whispers, behind closed doors, using code words when out and about. It was how things like that were done. Just walking around and taking bets as to when one of the most powerful men in Manhattan would die was a terrible idea, no matter what way you looked at it. But he was dying, and they were talking.
With the fame that comes from holding nearly a monopoly on hotels in New York and being rumored to have connections to every group of organized crime in the city and a few unorganized groups as well, people are going to talk.
Harold Feingold was the American dream personified. There were three authorized biographies of his life, and he wasn’t even dead yet. If he equally distributed his money to every person living in Manhattan, they would all become millionaires. Not that he ever would, though. Harold Feingold was a believer in hard work for everyone. That old rich man who would spew vitriol about the homeless ruining the landscaping of his city because they were too goddamned lazy to get a fucking job? That would be him. And when you’re worth more than one billion dollars, you can say the sky is green and people are going to listen.
And now he was dying, because that’s what old bitter men eventually do. The poison that powered their lives finally catches up to them, and at the end, they’re nothing but shriveled skin and brittle bones and so many private sighs of relief. People hoped that Feingold would go that way. Old and frail, soiling himself and in general being an embarrassment to society in general would be a rather fitting way for him to go, but there he was. Incredibly ill, but with an iron back and the same fucking grin on his face when he efficiently and effectively destroyed your life.
But he was dying, which was the point, and also the question. Harold Feingold was the richest man in the whole damn state of New York, and he had no descendants. He had three ex-wives, all of whom he paid ungodly amounts of money to look and act like an ex-wife of his would look—rich, beautiful, successful, but just not quite good enough for him. Three ex-wives, and no children or stepchildren. There were rumors about illegitimate children, but nobody knew for sure.
All that money.
All that power.
And nobody had a fucking clue where it was going to go.
That’s how Harold liked it. And that’s how it stayed until the day he died.
And then all hell broke loose.
Cedar’s job as the curator and hostess at the Feingold Gallery of Exceptional Art had her waking up long before she wanted to. Sleeping in until nine was unheard of for her, unless she was somewhere on vacation. Even though the gallery didn’t open until eleven, Cedar was up and out long before then. When you’re New York City’s reigning queen, you never walk around with a hair out of place, with a nail chipped, or God forbid, in last season’s clothing.
But today was different. Cedar had gotten the phone call at six in the morning, hours before she normally woke up. She was at home, as always, even though she had been out the night before with Lawrence, who was still trying to get her to make things more permanent. And even though he was a Foster-Herrington, he wasn’t worth the trouble that would come along with a relationship. Not to mention he wasn’t nearly good enough in bed to make up for having to date him.
Her private line rang as she was headed toward her gym. Her private line, a number that only five people had.
It was Mr. Morris. Which could only mean one thing, because Mr. Morris never called. Ever.
“No,” Cedar whispered, her voice still hoarse from waking up.
“He passed away fifteen minutes ago. I called you as soon as I can.”
“Dammit.” Cedar clutched the phone tightly. “How could he?”
But he didn’t know, the idiot. How could he?
“He left instructions for a funeral,” Mr. Morris continued, his voice rough from a lack of sleep. He was Harold Feingold’s lawyer, which was more of a full time job than he had ever imagined it would be. The old bastard was dead, and he was still working around the clock. “He wanted you to arrange it.”
“He mentioned it to me,” Cedar said. “Earlier this week.” Dammit, why did he have to die today? Could the timing possibly be more inconvenient than it was now? Harold never gave a shit about inconveniencing others, but neither did Cedar. It was one of the reasons she liked him—genuinely liked him, and didn’t just tolerate her for where she got because of him.
“Excellent. Are you going to be at work today?”
“Of course.” Cedar headed to the gym. There was no point in throwing her schedule off entirely because someone died.
“I’ll send over the information for the funeral arrangements he wanted you to take care of.”
“Of course.” Cedar programmed the treadmill and started to walk.
“I’m sorry for your loss, Cedar,” he said awkwardly.
“I’m sorry for yours,” she replied, and almost meant it.
The gallery opened at ten on Tuesdays, and Cedar was there, fifteen minutes before, making sure everything was perfect. Some of the girls didn’t understand why Cedar insisted on having a job—hell, she had more than enough money already, and who wanted to wake up that early? But running the most coveted art gallery in New York was more than just a job for Cedar, it was how she kept her title as the Queen of New York City. The Feingold Gallery was the most exclusive art gallery in the entire city, if not in the entire country. And the only people who okay’d new pieces of art or new artists for the gallery were Harold and Cedar.
Having all that power made up for the early mornings and the sometimes very dreary and pointless days at work.
Traffic was terrible on the way to work, which could only be a bad sign about the rest of the day. Already, text messages were pouring in, sending condolences to Cedar, letting her know how sorry they were and if there was anything at all they could do to help her, she should just let them know. Most of the texts were pure bullshit, and if Cedar actually did need help, she would never dare to ask them. But the thought was nice, even if the thought was just that she should still think they were nice and wonderful people.
Cecil was already waiting for her, holding a tray of coffee in one hand and typing frantically on his phone with the other one. “Oh my God, Cedar, are you okay?” he asked as she stepped out of her car. “I heard the news and then there was crazy traffic this morning.”
“I’m fine,” she said, pulling out the key to the enormous front door of the gallery. “And traffic was terrible.”
“You’ve never been earlier than I have been to work,” he said, following her into the building. “I was freaking out.”
Cedar rolled her eyes as she flipped on the lights. “No reason to freak out. I’m here now.”
“Should we do something today? Because of his death?”
Cedar shrugged. She had enough shit to do for this funeral. She didn’t have time for any whiny things today to mourn Harold’s death. He was dead. The end.
God, if only she knew what was on his will. She would make his damn funeral, she would follow all his fucking instructions, she would pretend to cry at his funeral, and maybe then she’d learn what was in his will. If she had to fuck Mr. Morris to do it, she would.
“We’ll see,” she said. “Maybe we’ll change the decoration or something.”
“Put black fabric on all the mirrors?”
A bit overdramatic, yes, but maybe that’s what they needed.
“Maybe.” Cedar hung up her coat and put her bag down on her desk. “Check to see what kind of fabrics we have. Also, I want an inventoried list of all the artists displaying here now.”
“Do you want their social medias to be checked?”
“Obviously,” she said briskly. “They should constantly be checked, Cecil. You know that.”
“That I do, and they are.” Cecil placed the cup of coffee he bought for her on her desk. “You have an appointment at ten fifteen today. With Morgan Hyvent.”
“Which magazine is she from again?”
“Vogue. It’s for the article they’re writing about you.” Cecil had gotten dressed with extra care today. He always did—he worked in the mecca of art in the most fabulous city in America. And even though the clientele here was nothing but the most powerful, it wasn’t every day that someone from Vogue came. It was too bad it wasn’t Anna herself, but she didn’t go around interviewing folks for her magazine. Even if it was Cedar Reynolds.
“Well, then, we need to have the fabrics up before then.” Cedar checked the time and winced. Goddamn traffic this morning was fucking up her plans for today. Not to mention the fucking funeral she was going to have to plan. Not like she couldn’t do something like that in her sleep—she definitely could. But the issue was that she had to, that it had to be more perfect than anything she’d ever done, because the stakes were higher than they’d ever been.
Whoever would inherit was probably going to be there, she thought.
Which meant that the stakes were a hell of a lot higher than they were before. As if they could possibly be any higher.
Billions of dollars were at stake here. Not just billions, but her reputation. And Cedar was hard pressed to figure out which one she wanted more, the billions or the reputation. She wanted both, obviously. She wasn’t stupid. If she was stupid, she would never have gotten to where she was right now.
“We’ve got three different kinds of black,” Cecil said, spreading them carefully on the desk. “All of them completely cover the mirrors, and this one was the most expensive.” He pointed to one. “I think your dress was made from this material.”
“The one you wore to Wanda’s opening.”
“Oh, that one.” The one that made every newspaper and magazine cover her dress and leave Wanda’s actual art as a side note. Didn’t make Wanda happy, but that was what happened when you didn’t take care of yourself. “Use that one, then.”
“On it.” Cecil bustled from the office, leaving Cedar alone in her office. Fucking finally. Cecil was okay—as an assistant he was the best that you could get in the business. He was just too damn cheerful and positive all the time, not to mention naïve. He worshipped the ground Cedar walked on—they all did. Which was great, but his naiveté was a pain in Cedar’s ass.
She walked through her office slowly, adjusting pictures here and there, and starting the coffee and tea. Coffee and tea in her office weren’t just a casual ask if someone wanted a drink, it was a calculated move. And Cedar was going to pull out all the stops when it came to Vogue journalists. Court them, flatter them, leave them in awe and writing an article dripping in praise for her. And if not? Well, that’s what was nice about having all of Manhattan at her beck and call. She could destroy anyone with a phone call, and if she had to destroy this one, she would. It would be far from the first time.
Cedar turned on her computer, rearranged her jewel covered pens, and took out her Filofax. She lit a candle, her signature scent, one that the company made special for her. They sold the Cedar candle, which she had designed, but wasn’t the one she used. Exclusivity was the key to impressing. If you couldn’t have it, and Cedar did, it was just an extra thing for her to use to lord over people.
Phone plugged in, on silent, turned just enough that the reporter would be able to see how often she got a message, but not close enough to be able to read any of it. Everything was calculated. Everything was always calculated. You didn’t end up the most feared woman in New York if you didn’t plan well.
And Cedar planned well.
The sun shone through the windows, forming a halo around Cedar’s hair when she sat in her chair. She was ready for the interview now, and she still had another forty five minutes to go.
She flipped through her Filofax, and found the page of notes she had taken when Harold told her he wanted her to organize his funeral. She had laughed at him then, because Harold was never going to die. He was too mean, too horrible, too powerful, to ever die. People like him never died—they just kept going and going.
Cedar was never going to die. Or age. Girls like her lived forever.
What was in the will? It was driving Cedar crazy, even though she would never, ever admit to it. The day at work had flown by—between the interview, meetings, and her and Cecil calling and calling and calling to arrange the biggest goddamn show of a funeral that New York had ever seen. And through the whole day, all Cedar thought about was the will.
He probably left money to his housekeepers, they had kept their mouths shut through a hell of a lot of the shit that comes along when you have more money than God. And just because he was dead, it didn’t mean he wanted anyone writing any tell-alls about working for him. Harold Feingold on paper was a saint, and nobody who worked for him was going to be the one to change that. Mr. Morris was hired for life, and he was hired to make sure nobody decided that Harold Feingold’s death would be a good reason to talk about what actually happened in the house.
Money to… who else? Cedar had no idea. Maybe some to charities, just so people wouldn’t talk. Some for the gallery, even though it had been earning its costs since Cedar had opened it.
But the bulk of it, she had not a fucking clue.
Cedar stripped in her bedroom, and walked to the connecting bathroom. The bathtub was already full, and she stepped in slowly, sinking into the bubbling foam. A glass of wine was on a tray, along with her vibrator, cucumber slices, and an eye mask. Her housekeeper had left a few minutes before, and Cedar was blessedly alone in her house. She was free for the evening, something she hadn’t planned on. But Harold’s death was more important than the party she was supposed to be going to tonight, and she had to show that.
She was going to soak in the bath until her skin pruned, she was going to drink wine, and she was not going to answer her phone at all. She could say it was because she was so upset about Harold’s death, but really, it wasn’t. He was old, and old people died. It was upsetting, yes, but not as upsetting as she made it out to be.
If she didn’t inherit at least a large share of his estate, she was going to be upset.
Upset was going to be the mildest word to describe how she would feel.
Cedar was twenty six years old, and had been close to Harold since the day she turned eighteen. Eight years of being his protégé and of being the only sort of confidant he had should be more than enough to inherit.
She sank back into the bubbles, but not enough to get her hair wet. She was going to relax for now. She could worry about everything later. She had time.
Sitting at her desk a little later that evening, Cedar did the same thing she did every night—something nobody knew she did, and that she would never even think about telling anyone. She Googled herself. Well, she didn’t actually Google herself as much as she logged into a secret account and checked the Google alerts for that day.
Being Cedar Reynolds was a full time job, and that included making sure that all the PR about her was positive. Some people said no publicity was bad publicity, but Cedar was not one of those people. Yes, bad publicity made people talk about you, but some things didn’t need to be publicized. And luckily, they weren’t.
Morgan had tweeted about their meeting today, which Cedar thought was kind of odd, but she was nothing but singing praises of Cedar and the gallery so it was okay. Talking about how strong Cedar was in the face of such a tragedy. The president had commented on Harold’s death, and was said to be coming to the funeral. Who the hell was saying that, Cedar wasn’t really sure, because she hadn’t heard back from anyone at the White House, and neither had Cecil. He would have let her know right away because that’s what she paid him money to do.
She scrolled through the rest of the Google alerts, finding nothing else interesting. One article about Harold mentioned her in the context of poor orphan Cedar, which made her roll her eyes and take down the name of the person who wrote the article. It was true that Harold had taken her under his wing when her parents were killed, but it wasn’t like she was a poor little orphan.
But she could play one if she had to. With things like that, she always played the victim, and was careful to make sure she did. People liked you more when they believed you had a vulnerable side. Cedar’s was complete and utter bullshit, but nobody had to know that.
She got out of the tub, hair piled on the top of her head, rivulets of water running down her stomach and collecting neatly onto the mat. There was nothing about Cedar that wasn’t neat. Nothing. And if there was, it was ruthlessly dealt with until it was no longer an issue.
Cedar wrapped herself up in her robe, and slid her feet into her slippers, a pair of silk lined heels. Flats were for peasants, and any potential heiress of the Feingold fortune was not a peasant. Her housekeeper was, though, if her outfit today was any indication. And the fact that she was working as a fucking housekeeper, for God’s sake. Cedar thought about possibly instating a uniform to her house staff, and wrote a note to herself, reminding her to talk to Jean-Paul about designing a uniform. She had a reputation to uphold, and having a housekeeper in shitty clothing was not a way to do it.
A few more phone calls and emails were sent before she went to bed, satisfied. The funeral wasn’t until the next week, but it was going to be the most amazing funeral that New York had ever seen.
It was raining on the day of Harold’s funeral. Everything was overcast, and just gloomy enough to drop a layer of grey on the city. “Appropriate weather,” said one sober news anchor the morning of the funeral, “to mourn the death of one of the biggest men of New York.”
It was appropriate, and it worked wonders for the mood, but it did nothing good for Cedar’s hair. She had her makeup artist come over early in the morning, and helped her with a face that said “I’m mourning the loss of a person very dear to me, but I look fabulous while doing it”. Her outfit was going to be reported in every major newspaper in the country, because that’s who she was. And so she dressed appropriately. And had memorized the eulogy she was going to give, which was mostly lies. But nobody really cared. The funeral wasn’t actually a place for people to mourn the death of Harold Feingold. The funeral was a place for people to reassure themselves of their importance and their place in society. Not just anyone was invited to Harold Feingold’s funeral, because not everyone was worthy. The journalists had a separate corded area to watch and observe but to never forget for even a second that they were never going to be good enough to actually be invited to anything like this. Cedar had made sure only the reporters she approved of were coming to the funeral, and the rest of the paparazzi were located behind a line of the best security guards money could get.
It wasn’t just a funeral. It was an event.
And even though nobody attending the funeral would ever admit to it, going to Harold Feingold’s funeral was the same as going to a showing at the Gallery. It wasn’t for the reason they said they were going, and even if it was something they normally wouldn’t have ever done, they were more than happy to go. Get dressed in an outfit that people wouldn’t forget, mingle with the right people, and glory in where you were in life.
If you had to buy an extraordinarily expensive piece of art or cry a few tears, well, that was the price of admission for these kinds of things.
The casket was there when Cedar made her way into the church, followed by the insistent flashes of the paparazzi, silently clamoring for the best angle of her. Cedar Reynolds was a commodity, and even the paparazzi knew that. So, she wasn’t an actress or a singer, or anything else like that, and even though she wasn’t a Rockefeller or Astor or Thames, she was Cedar Reynolds, and everything she touched turned to gold. They all knew she wasn’t to be trifled with, and none of them had the guts to even try. They knew what happened to those who did, and none of them wanted to go down that road.
Cedar had made sure to have the photographers positioned to get everyone’s best side and angle, and after she discretely posed for the pictures on the way into the church. Harold wasn’t Christian, but there was something about the Thames-Harrison Church that felt like it was the best place for him to be eulogized.
It was the most exclusive church in the city, and nobody could just come to the church, let alone throw a last minute funeral. But Harold was Harold and Cedar was Cedar, and the church was more than happy to offer the building for the occasion.
Stained glass windows filtered in murky light, lending the whole building a feeling of slight gloom. Candles flickered, and it seemed like the building itself was mourning the loss of Harold Feingold.
Cedar walked slowly up the aisle of the church, toward where Harold’s body was lying in its casket. It was a closed casket funeral, because Harold did not believe in death, or dead people. He was cremated, because he didn’t believe in organ donation, either, but there was a casket, nonetheless. It was something large to bury, because tossing ashes in the wind was crass and hippy, and Harold had been neither of those.
Cecil rushed up to Cedar. “Everything’s under control,” he said quietly. “The Mayor is running a little bit late because of traffic, but he’s supposed to get here soon.”
“He damn well better get here soon,” Cedar snapped. “Fuck traffic, he has a eulogy to deliver, and I will not delay the funeral because he decided not to leave early enough. Doesn’t he have a police escort or something?”
“I’m pretty sure that’s only the president,” Cecil said. “I’ll check.”
“You do that,” Cedar replied, and, remembering where she was, continued down the aisle in search of the preacher.
Cecil sighed and texted the Mayor’s secretary. Not on his private cell, where Cecil would send dirty texts, but on his official Mayoral phone. The things he did for Cedar, seriously. Going through the back door of the church instead of the front, and didn’t even get photographed by anyone. Which was a damn shame, because he had dressed to the nines today. He better get a serious bonus for this shit. He wouldn’t, though, because that wasn’t how Cedar worked. Which sucked, but on the other hand, he was probably one of the best paid personal assistants in the city. Cedar wasn’t necessarily nice to him, but she sure as hell paid enough to make up for it.
His phone buzzed. No police escort. Fuck, Cedar was going to rip off his balls.
Cedar glanced around the rapidly filling church with satisfaction that would never show on her face. The Mayor was going to be here in another three minutes, and everything was running according to schedule. As it should be. The seating plans emailed the night before was a stroke of genius, in her opinion. Everyone was sitting where she, and partially Harold, had decided, and hopefully nobody would think of doing anything stupid, like flirting with the people they were fucking in front of spouses. Any other event it was no problem, and added to the entertainment for the night, but that wouldn’t be tolerated today.
If the net worth of all the people in this church were added together, it would be enough to put a significant dent in the national debt. Significant. The air smelled of money, privilege, and power. This may have been New York, land of the immigrant and city of the diverse, but in this church, it was New York, land of stock options, and city of real estate deals with a side business of who even knew. In this church, diversity meant that the only people in the room whose net worth were under one million dollars were corded off and sitting with pads of paper and a pen, scribbling notes about everyone whose net worth was more than they could imagine making a year.
Good, thought Cedar. Good.
Mr. Morris came up to here. “Cedar.”
She inclined her head. “Morris.”
“The Mayor is here and should be seated in a few moments.”
Cedar checked her watch. Perfect. “Excellent. Vanguard is starting, he’ll make his way to the front now.”
The musicians were in place. The sun was struggling to break through the clouds and was failing miserably. Some of the most powerful people in the United States were sitting in the lush seats, waiting for the service to begin.
This is what money can get you, thought Cedar. This is what real power gets you. And even though death wasn’t a thing she was going to contemplate for herself anytime soon, this is what she was setting her sights on.
Tomorrow, the newspapers would be full of pictures. Magazines were rushing to get out special editions, eulogizing Harold and remembering all he’d accomplished.
Being sweet didn’t get you any of this. Being nice, actually nice? Those people were the ones who were still working as reception somewhere in Queens. Being honest? Actually honest? Those were the people who lost their businesses, whose homes had been bought by Harold and sold for a fortune.
This was what you got when you went after what you wanted.
She looked at Vanguard, and nodded slightly. The head of the New York City Stock Exchange walked to the front of the church, and cleared his throat. There was immediate silence, followed by the sound of the front door being shut.
“We gather here today to celebrate the life and mourn the death of Harold Feingold,” he began, his voice echoing through the church.
Cedar relaxed a little bit, and took out her handkerchief. The world was Cedar’s stage, and this was another scene she would nail.
It was raining when they lowered the casket into the freshly dug plot of ground. Cedar cried softly into her handkerchief, making sure her mascara didn’t run. The gravestone was already in place, since Harold had ordered it when he got his first diagnosis, and the image of the ten men on Harold’s board lowering his body into the open grave, with Cedar standing alone crying a few feet back would be the one splashed on every cover of every newspaper, magazine, and website for the next week.
“Saying Goodbye to a Legend”, read one headline.
“Mourning a New York Giant”, read another.
Cedar was fawned over in every article. Flowers began to pour into the Gallery from all corners of the country, and Cedar’s staff spent all week redistributing them to different hospitals, nursing homes, and homeless shelters.
The reading of the will wasn’t going to be for another two days, and Cedar was going to lose her shit if she didn’t figure out what was in the will sooner than that. Fucking Morris was a waste of time, he wouldn’t reveal anything. Which was why Harold hired him, but that wasn’t any help for Cedar.
Nobody knew. Nobody, although a lot of people thought they did. The media did nothing the week of Harold Feingold’s death but talk about him, Cedar, and speculate exactly who was in the will, and what they would inherit.
“Of course it matters who inherits,” Cedar was quoted as saying. “Harold had an incredible amount of businesses that need the right person to make sure they keep running and keep hundreds of New Yorkers employed.”
Did she care that it wasn’t going to be her that inherited it all? They asked. Rather rudely.
She had smiled, and told them that she had more than enough to do as it was, running the Gallery and bringing only the newest and freshest artists to the New York art scene. She didn’t have time for any sort of real estate business or such. If she did inherit? She’d make it work.
She was Cedar Reynolds, the magazines gushed. She could make anything work.
Twenty four hours before the reading of the will, and Cedar was biting heads off her staff left and right. Cecil sent out a mass text to all the staff members at the Gallery, telling them that the next shipment of flowers were to be sent to St. Mary’s, but only if the flowers were red. Subtext? Stay out of Cedar’s way. It was code red emergency, and nobody wanted to be caught in that.
The last time someone did, they were escorted out by security, and last the staff at the Gallery heard, they were still looking for a job. A year and a half later.
Cedar pressed five on her speed dial and listened to the phone ring until it went to voicemail.
Why the fuck wasn’t Morris picking up his fucking phone? Cedar resisted the urge to throw her phone through the window. Maybe it was an emergency. She’d called him twice already today, and had a perfectly legitimate excuse for both of those phone calls. Just because Harold was dead it didn’t mean that he could just ignore her like that. The fucking nerve.
She fumed, and put her phone very carefully back on her desk. If he wasn’t going to pick up, well then, she would deal with things her way. And tomorrow, she would be at the reading of the goddamn will, or she was going to break into his office and read the damn will herself.
Tentative knock on the door. Cedar gritted her teeth, and then relaxed. Fucking up your teeth because you were upset wasn’t worth it. “Yes?”
“It’s Cecil. Whitney called about her new piece, and wanted to know when she should ship it in.”
“When she should ship it in?” Cedar snapped. “Did you approve of it?”
Cecil looked horrified. “Of course not.”
“I didn’t think you did. I trained you much better than that.” Cedar shook her head and turned to her computer. “She’s going to have to be dealt with, that one. Fine, her last pieces sold well, but she is nowhere near a place where she can assume—assume!—that she could just send something in without me okaying it first.”
Cecil waited quietly. It was never worth it to interrupt Cedar when she was like this.
“Email her and tell her that she needs to follow protocol that she agreed to when she signed the contract, and send us pictures along with a detailed description. And that if she tried to be presumptuous like that, it would take us a bit longer to consider her new piece of work.”
“Of course, Cedar.”
“Would you like a cup of coffee?” Cecil asked, hesitant.
“No, but I would like a bottle of green juice.”
“Yes. And schedule an appointment for a massage for me at five, please.”
“There shouldn’t be a problem,” Cedar muttered as Cecil scurried away. This fucking will was driving her crazy. Why couldn’t he have just said something before he decided to up and die? How could she plan if she didn’t know what was going to happen?
She reached up and gently massaged her temples. By tomorrow evening, this would all be behind her.
Now, if she could just get through the next couple of fucking hours without killing someone. She was wearing silk. There was no way she’d be able to get blood off of this outfit.