The Cece & Juan Vignettes: Chapter Fourteen - The Queen
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The Cece & Juan Vignettes
Chapter Fourteen – The Queen
18 years old …
“How was Mumbai?”
Cece sucked air through her teeth and grinned, not at all surprised that her mother knew she was standing in the office doorway before she’d even made a sound. Catherine didn’t bother looking up from whatever she was typing into her laptop, either.
“Good, sweetheart.” Catherine did look up then, smiling at her daughter from where she sat behind her large desk. Her mother and father often shared an office space for work in their home, and then sometimes, they went through little spats where both of them swore they couldn’t stand to work in the same space anymore. Cece didn’t know what they were currently doing with that. “And Juan is …?”
“Downstairs having a drink with Daddy.”
Catherine nodded. “He’s heading back to Cali soon, isn’t he?”
Her mother went back to whatever work she was doing while Cece stayed in the doorway feeling her nerves climb higher and higher in her throat with every passing second. It wasn’t like she had any reason to be nervous. Just like Juan had told her on their vacation, everybody was already expecting this from Cece. It was not a matter of if she would follow in her mother’s footsteps, but rather, when.
When was now.
Cece still wasn’t sure how to say it.
“Something wrong?” her mother asked quietly.
Catherine’s attention was on her again.
That wasn’t a strange feeling, either.
Her whole life had been filled with the attention and loved showered upon her by her parents. She loved them for the freedom they allowed her to have, and room they gave her to grow. There was never a time when she felt like she couldn’t go to one of them if she needed something.
This was not going to be the exception to that rule.
“I want to work with the girls,” Cece said.
No overthinking it.
It just was what it was.
For a moment, her mother said nothing as she watched her from across the room. Cece couldn’t really tell if Catherine was trying to search for something Cece wasn’t saying out loud, or if her mother was simply giving herself time to think and then speak.
Eventually, Catherine replied, “Do you?”
“Not a when you feel like it type of thing, right?”
Cece laughed. “What, like college through the week and dealing on the weekends?”
“Now, you know we call it making a delivery. It’s less illegal.”
Her mother had a point.
“College isn’t really my thing,” Cece settled on saying.
“And you think this will be?”
Cece really didn’t have to think about that at all. Her entire life had been spent under her mother’s feet while she ran this empire. She idolized Catherine, and maybe not for all the right reasons, but when had that ever mattered?
She was a Donati.
The daughter of criminals.
A princess born from a queen.
“It’s what I want to do,” she said simply.
Leaning back in her chair, Catherine forgot about her work, steepled her fingers, and watched Cece in that way again. Like she was looking for something.
“Fine—meets with the girls are next week to go over the coming months and what we know for sure is happening. Major events, a few premiers, some other things where I need girls. I believe you will have better knowledge of some of the parties up and coming in the Hills seeing as how you manage to hit every single one of them.”
Cece laughed. “Was that your sly attempt at shade?”
Catherine grinned. “Queens don’t need to be shady, Cece.”
“I do, however, think your time will be better spent in the Hills for the first while since you know the faces and the people. You have an easy in, and it won’t be a stretch when you move on from a guest to a supplier. Juan can follow, act as your guard, he’s—”
“One of your personal guards,” Cece interjected.
Catherine smiled. “Only because we were waiting for your turn.”
She hadn’t considered that.
“He won’t mind,” Catherine said. “He’s been getting bored sitting in hotels or at restaurant tables when he’d rather be doing something else with someone else.”
Her mother’s gaze lifted and met hers.
Cece shook her head. “Nice, Ma.”
“Yes, well, I do what I can.”
“Is … that it, then?” Cece asked.
Cece smirked. “Well, I guess … me working for the Queen.”
Catherine’s smile matched her daughter’s. “I suppose it is. Welcome to the family, Cece. Except … well, you’ve always been in, haven’t you?”