Rock Con Roll (Chapter 8, page 1 of 5)

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Chapter 8

Alejandro's mansion sat high in the Hollywood hills, up a winding road only occasionally interrupted by the gated entrance to some other rich person's estate. I pulled up to his imposing stone pillars, and a woman's voice interrogated me at length before letting me in. After that, I approached the house slowly, taking in every detail so I'd be prepared for a quick escape. Just in case. You never know.

I rounded a curve and the house appeared before me. Low and wide, I barely noticed it at first. It blended in with its surroundings as it spread across the hillside. Modest, in a way. But as I got closer, more of it came into view, and by the time I'd pulled up to the front, I knew that there was no way this house could ever be called modest. The only difference between it and the houses I grew up in was, well, everything.

I'd been in fancy homes when I was young but always for one reason: to swindle people. When I was eight, Bea and I visited a home like this, pretending to be new neighbors. She settled me in a small room so I could watch television while she chatted with the grown-ups. But I didn't watch for long. My job was to sneak into the master bedroom so that I could swap an oversized diamond ring with an imitation that Bea had made. They never found out. In fact, a few years later, Bea showed me a picture of the woman at a gala ball, still proudly flashing her fake diamond.

Now here I was again, preparing to swindle another rich person. Only this time, it was Alejandro, someone I admired for his music and his incredible good looks. Everything about this was wrong.

Wearing a blue floral-patterned maxi dress, a khaki cloth hat and tan heeled sandals, I felt demure yet edgy, just enough for rock and roll. I quickly rang the bell while I still felt confident. The door was opened by a short, attractive woman with long dark hair. She wore a blue tailored business suit with black edging that matched her blouse. At least my choice of clothing was more-or-less correct, but my dress went almost to the floor, whereas this woman's skirt barely covered her thighs. Undoubtedly short enough to satisfy a rocker like Alejandro.

As her eyes scanned me, a small smile crept onto her face. "Ms. Gleason. Right this way. I'm Karen Summersby, Alejandro's personal assistant." I noticed that she emphasized the word "personal," and she walked with a sway to her hips, daring me to be as appealing. Either her famous boss demanded that his employees dress revealingly, or this woman routinely competed with every female who came to the house.

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