Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 336 - This Is It[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:16:49]
The Hales\' driver dropped Alice off in front of the small office tucked away in the West Village. The sign that read \'Budget by Design\' in a flowing script was both tasteful and eye-catching, which gave her hope about this whole endeavor.
Maybe Marissa Clark would be able to help her regain the sense of what she had lost and help her decorate her new tiny apartment in a way she was used to. Alice certainly hoped so. She missed having control over her own space, though the Hales had been very welcoming.
She missed her old apartment too. Brock had changed the locks on her so she couldn\'t even collect her things.
Most of it was just clothes and jewelry since she didn\'t own much of sentimental value but still. Those clothes had been through a lot with her. Fashion was an important part of who she was.
When she stepped into the office, she liked what she saw. It was somehow both cozy and open, consisting of calming neutral tones with little pops of teal here and there. No one was at the front desk so she sat on the couch that was much more comfortable than it looked and waited.
A woman with curly medium brown hair wearing a sleeveless blue and white print dress and nude wedge heels came out from the back room and greeted her warmly.
"Hello, I\'m Marissa Clark. Do you have an appointment?"
"Yes, I\'m Alice Wheatley. We corresponded a few days ago."
"Oh, Alice! So nice to meet you. Why don\'t you come on back and tell me what your budget is and what you\'re looking for," she said with a smile.
"I have a one bedroom apartment and don\'t have a single item of furniture to my name at the moment so I\'m starting over from scratch. The absolute most I can spend is ten thousand but I would prefer it to be less. I enjoy neutral colored furniture and watercolor paintings," Alice explained.
She had discussed the furniture and wardrobe budgets with Keeley already. She said at most, Alice should spend $10,000 on putting her apartment together and $5,000 on buying an entirely new wardrobe. Everything else should be saved because they didn\'t know the alimony situation yet.
The wages from Alice\'s new job wouldn\'t be enough to cover all of her costs of living so she would have to dip into her savings for that each month. She had money but it could disappear very quickly if she wasn\'t careful. She was used to being able to spend whatever amount she wanted whenever she wanted to.
"I\'ll need to see your apartment before we can do anything," Marissa admitted. "Seeing the dimensions of a room in person is different than pictures. Is that alright?"
"That\'s fine. My apartment is less than twenty minutes from here if I\'m remembering correctly."
"Excellent. Let\'s be on our way then."
She told her assistant, who Alice hadn\'t realized was also in the office, to hold down the fort as they headed out the door. Alice wasn\'t watching where she was going and slammed directly into someone.
"I\'m so sor—Roger?" she asked in bewilderment. What was he doing here?
"Hi, Alice. I\'m here to help with furniture set up," he said with a smile.
She furrowed her brow. "But we haven\'t even bought anything yet."
"It\'s easier to be here for the entire process. Marissa tends to drag people all over the city and she\'s hard to track down."
His sister scowled at him. "You\'re lucky you got here when you did. We were just about to leave."
Roger simply smiled at her and offered to drive. It really wasn\'t that far at all so it passed quickly in a haze of small talk and listening to the siblings bicker.
She felt a bit sad hearing it. Her own brother was over a decade younger than her so they weren\'t close. She had been married before he was even ten years old. Now that her parents had cut her off…when would she ever see Sterling?
Just because they weren\'t close didn\'t mean she held no affection for her baby brother. In fact, she missed him now. There had to be some way she could stay in contact with him. Maybe once he was a bit older and on social media. But that was at least a few more years away.
Alice\'s move-in date had technically been yesterday so she had the keys but she hadn\'t moved over because she didn\'t own anything to put in it yet. She unlocked the front door and showed Marissa the space, feeling a bit embarrassed.
"This is it," she said lamely.
"Not bad," Marissa mused. "I could get some rugs for these hardwood floors no problem. There\'s plenty of natural light…"
She continued talking to herself as she walked around, examining every nook and cranny of the small space. Alice stood in the living room with Roger trying not to feel like a useless room ornament.
"Don\'t mind her," he said, as if reading her mind. "She tends to ignore everything else when she\'s in the zone."
"Oh, she\'s fine! I\'ve just never done anything like this before. I didn\'t even get to decorate my last apartment the way I wanted because my mother-in-law hired a very expensive interior decorator."
Suddenly she wondered if she had said too much. Roger didn\'t know she was getting divorced unless he had pieced it together based on her text. He very well might have; he was a sharp one. Aaron wouldn\'t have chosen him to be a dummy shareholder if he wasn\'t.
Alice had always thought his commentary during the board meetings was rather insightful anyway. She didn\'t know a thing about him other than that he was intelligent, went to Harvard, and had a budget interior designer for a sister.
Their small talk at those meetings was always the most superficial kind. Alice was used to those kinds of meaningless conversations after a lifetime of high society small talk. At least small talk with Roger was pleasant. He didn\'t put double meanings into his words unlike most people she knew.