I bit my lip.
“This is the last day. You’ve got four days of freedom after this.”
“You know my schedule well.” I was breathless.
“Yeah. You have choreography in an hour, the makeup prep and costume fitting after that, then there’s a lunch with CiCi on set, and then the whole video shoot.”
I sighed. “It’s going to be a long day.”
“It will.” He nipped at my lips. “I’ll find this guy while you keep busy.”
“But you’ll be at the video shoot?”
We kissed some more. My body went crazy. I had no idea how much time passed. Eventually, we stopped and left the hotel suite.
“Did you get any sleep?” I asked Hunter as we hurried onto the elevator.
He held my small carry-on suitcase full of clothes and emergency make up. Lots of times, makeup artists didn’t have the right colors for my complexion at the shoots. It was up to us women of color models to be prepared. Even though Takako never missed the right shade for me, I always brought something just in case.
With the bag slung on his shoulder, he typed into the phone and pressed the lobby button. “I slept for a few hours.”
“After today, you’ll be able to get more sleep,” I said. “I’m off for a while.”
“I’m not sleeping until this guy is dead.”
My body shivered, but relief came too. “You can sleep, Hunter.”
“Yes.” Smiling, I reached out for his hand. “Promise, please. Don’t make me have Mom get in this.”
The elevator lowered.
He rolled his eyes. “You can’t call your mom now. If I’m here, she’ll wonder why. And York told me she knows nothing about the stalker.”
I shrugged. “Well played. I wouldn’t want Mom involved right now. She’ll end up having me even more scared, giving me statistics and running out here to pace and fret.”
“She’s not that bad.”
“She can be.”
We arrived at the hotel lobby and rushed through. When we arrived at the car, I climbed in and asked, “Where’s Baptiste?”
“He has a separate mission. He won’t be at the mansion.”
Of course, Trigger had to do a video at a mansion. Where else would a rapper do one?
For the hundredth time that year, I wondered why I’d even dated him. I hadn’t even enjoyed his music, and I was a big lover of hip hop.
The car continued driving throughout Manhattan instead of going in the direction to get to the Bronx.
Hunter must’ve noticed my confusion, because he said, “We have a change of plans.”
“We do?” I asked. “Why?”
“I went over everything. There’s no way the sicko came into the suite while we were gone.” He frowned. “Video caught everyone going in and out the house. There’s also cameras in the living room, back exits, and balcony.”
“So, then what? How did he get those…eyes into the suite?”
“The person must’ve come in during the time you were getting ready for the party.” A dark expression hit his face. “He or she is on your make up team or even someone like Alexander or—”
“What?” Dread filled me. “One of the people doing this is close to me?”
“I think so. They brought the package in there during that time. So much was going on, anyone could’ve slipped it in. It was a nice hat box. It would’ve fit right in with the gowns and everything else. Especially when you and I showered. There were several carts and bags going in and out with shoes and gowns. So the people who delivered are suspects too.”
“But you think it’s Alexander or—”
“I don’t trust any of them right now.” He gave me an intense stare. “We’re picking your team up and riding with them from now on.”
“Meanwhile, Baptiste will do a little breaking and entering to see which one of them is truly loyal.”
“Breaking and entering in their places?”
“Don’t talk about this with anyone,” he said.
“I won’t, of course.”
“And with CiCi, I saw that she won’t be in the video, but you had a lunch scheduled with her on set.”
“No, she had a part in the video, but she lost the job. We’d scheduled the lunch during when she had it.”
“Why did she lose the job?”
“She didn’t tell me why, but…”
“Well, there is a rumor that she hooked up with Trigger and then tried to use a picture against him to get a bigger part in the video.” I shook my head. “But there’s no proof to it, and people love to talk about this stuff.”
“I’ll check on that, but could you do something for me?”
“Make sure the lunch with her is still happening. I’ll have Baptiste check her place out when you two are talking.”
Unease hit me.
He shrugged. “We have to go there, Zola.”
“I know. I’ll just feel bad if she ends up having nothing to do with this. It’s an invasion of privacy.”
“Same as what this crazy person is doing to you.”