Nothing is impossible. But after she and her daughter had parted, Paula really looked at her ticket for the first time. Her brief moment of confidence faded. The ticket was confusing. Where was the seat number?
"May I help?"
She showed the usher her ticket and he stared. It occurred to her that maybe people weren't allowed to give away their tickets, that she was an imposter, and that she was going to be shown the door. What if her children had experienced the same thing? What if she had embarrassed them?
Instead, she was treated to a slight, but very formal bow.
"I will show you to the VIP section immediately."
Rather than being relieved, Paula's sense of being an imposter grew.
She reminded herself once more of the words of the woman who had bestowed the ticket on her. So, Paula put her chin in the air, and followed behind the usher, acting like the princess he apparently thought she was.
Noah Sheridan glared at his watch, and then at the empty seat beside him. The music had started and Manda, true to the other half-dozen times they had seen each other, was late.
Note to self, he thought grimly, after the concert he would tell the actress his business schedule didn't really permit giving her the kind of attention she deserved. The line had worked successfully, and with no hard feelings, on Buffy, a TV personality; Candy, a high-end real estate agent; and Ferrari, a model.
And don't forget, Helga, the personal trainer, he said to himself.
He spotted a man he knew to be a member of the paparazzi. Someone, probably Manda herself, had alerted him to this date even, apparently, providing section and seat numbers. This was what Noah's life had become, and he was glad he had made a decision to gently break it off with Manda before things got crazier. The paparazzi were in a frenzy of romantic conjecture and had labeled Noah Manda's Mogul.
His phone pinged an incoming and he snuck a surreptitious look.
To Noah's relief, it appeared Manda had beat him to the punch. His phone showed a Snapchat of Manda with Hollywood's latest hero, Brad Smitt. Brad's arm was chummily slung over her shoulder.
We're back together.
This was news to Noah, since he wasn't apprised enough of star drama to know they'd ever been an item. He glanced up. The photographer was watching him. Noah could practically see the headline now.
"Manda's Mogul Ditched."
He wondered, suddenly and cynically, if he was unwittingly playing a part of a story line the publicity-hungry Manda was choreographing herself. Photos would emerge of her with Brad, and there would be the side bar of Noah, alone, at the concert.
He glanced up at the woman looking at her ticket and the seat beyond him. Another one of them, he thought with irritation, fashionably late, in her designer short dress, wildly colored leggings that drew attention to her slender legs and higher-than-high heels that made those already long legs seem to go on forever. Was that riotously curling gypsy hair genuine or was it artfully designed to attract and intrigue?
It annoyed him—who really should have known much better—that it did just that.
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