Frayed Page 40

’’Even though our appointment was for tomorrow morning, since you\ e here we can go over any of your concerns now if you\d like,’’ I say to Romeo.

’’Excellent. Today is a much better day for me and Laney is driving me crazy over selecting a band. She\s practically terrified that if we don\ nail one down we\ll be stuck with a DJ.’’

Tate nods. ’’I\ll leave the two of you to iron out your fiancée\s concerns. And, Josie, has the announcement been sent to the paper so the wedding columnist can be notified?’’

Josie\s blue hair moves like a wave as she skirts past us. ’’Mr. Wyatt, that is next on my list of things to do.’’ She doubles back and grabs the cup marked MOCHA off the table. ’’Thank you,’’ she mouths, and hustles out of the room.

’’I\ll be in my office if you need me for anything, Bell. And, Romeo, it was a pleasure talking to you.’’

Romeo smooths his tie between his thumb and finger. ’’As always, Tate.’’

’’Why don\ we go to the conference room?’’ I ask him when it\s just the two of us.

’’I think here is fine.’’

’’Okay, let me go grab your file and I\ll be right back.’’

’’Of course,’’ he says, his eyes staring at the ruffled edges of my chiffon blouse that just happen to be right over my br**sts.

I scurry out of the door. The conference room is visible from the showroom with a glass wall as the partition, but the break room is around the corner and not visible. Josie\s comments have me all kinds of paranoid now. I take a deep breath he\s just a client. Stop reading more into it. Tate\s door is closed thank God. I pass Josie\s desk and she shoots me a wink. I roll my eyes.

My desk is cluttered with linen samples, venue décor photos, centerpiece ideas all pertaining to the Blair/Fairchild wedding. Laney Blair has yet to set foot inside this office. I haven\ even met her. It\s all a little strange that Romeo is my only contact, but he seems determined to pull off this wedding in record time. I grab the folder marked BANDS and my wedding file and head back toward the break room.

This time when I enter the room I can smell coffee percolating and my eyes flare to the counter he made coffee? Wow, that\s a first. A client making his own. The beep of my phone rivets my attention to the table and right to Romeo\s prying eyes.

He knows I caught him and with a smile says, ’’Would that Ben Covington happen to have gone to high school in Laguna?’’

I feel myself flushing. Why? The heat between Ben and me has to be evident on my face. ’’I think so,’’ I say, my voice shaky.

’’He\s your boyfriend?’’ he asks inquisitively.

I drop my phone into my purse. ’’We\ e just friends.’’

’’Right,’’ he says with a smirk that says friends with benefits. What the heck did Ben text? And up until now Aerie and Jagger are the only people aware of whatever is going on between Ben and me. Talking to Romeo about it doesn\ seem right.

I carefully place the folders and files in my hands on the table. ’’So bands, your fiancée has a valid concern ’’

He cuts me off. ’’I went to high school with Ben. He was a surfer, had a girl, and seemed like a rebel. He had one guy friend I remember him hanging with, and he stayed clear of my crowd.’’

I feel an anger rise inside me and I want to tell this arrogant guy that Ben\s not pretentious, and image has never mattered to him. But I don\ of course instead I try to drop the subject. ’’I didn\ know him then. But anyway, there are only a few bands that have your wedding date open. Do you want to listen to them with your fiancée and let me know what you think?’’

’’Sit down. Please,’’ he says.

When I do he stands and goes over to the coffeepot, opening the cupboard above and pulling out a mug. ’’Would you like a fresh cup?’’

I pull my own coffee from the tray and take the lid off. ’’No, I\m good, thank you.’’

’’Do you have sound clips for us to listen to now?’’

I do, but they\ e on my laptop, which is at my desk.

’’I\m not in a hurry,’’ he says, taking a seat next to me.

With my purse in hand I again leave the room, but this time I make a stop in the restroom. I grab my phone from my bag quickly and read Ben\s text.

I\ll be by to pick you up at 7. And if you even think of saying no, I\ll still come by to swing you over my shoulder and carry you to dinner. I might even have to spank you.

Oh my God, Romeo read that! The air flies out of my lungs, but it\s not from embarrassment. A sudden burst of excitement hums through me as I read his text again. I have no idea what I\m doing anymore. I don\ know where the lines are. I entered into this determined to push him away, but all I\ve seemed to do is pull him closer. And that makes me happy, really happy.

The rest of the morning moves at a snail\s pace. Romeo and I listen to the available bands, review the other finer details, discuss songs, and the cake ultimately he leaves the decision making up to me. It\s as if I\m planning my own wedding.

Toward the end of our meeting, Josie pokes her head in the door to get my attention.

’’Your brother\s here to take you to lunch. Do you want me to tell him to wait?’’

’’No, that won\ be necessary,’’ Romeo says. ’’We\ e finished here. I think I\ve taken enough of Bell\s time.’’

We leave the break room together. I gather what I can and he kindly takes the rest. My brother is sitting on the other side of the showroom in one of the chairs at the table set for two looking down at his phone with a smirk on his face that tells me he must be texting Dahlia.


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