Frayed Page 62

’’Hello,’’ she answers sleepily.

’’Hi, it\s me. Did I wake you?’’

’’It\s okay. I have to get up anyway.’’

’’When did you get back?’’

’’Late last night.’’

’’How was Hawaii?’’

’’Oh, Ben, it was beautiful, fun, and amazing.’’

’’So, how does it feel to be a married woman again?’’

She sighs happily and I can feel her smile through the phone. ’’The same but different.’’

She\s always so matter-of-fact.

’’Why don\ you come by for dinner tonight?’’

’’I can\ . I have plans,’’ I say.

’’Oh yeah, what kind of plans?’’ she asks curiously.

’’How about lunch tomorrow and I\ll catch you up?’’

’’That scares me.’’

’’Why?’’

’’I wasn\ gone that long and I talked to you a number of times. So the fact that I am unaware of something and need to be caught up kind of scares me.’’

I chuckle. ’’I\ll call you tomorrow morning. I gotta run into the office now.’’

’’Okay, Ben, love you.’’

’’Love you too.’’ I hang up and can\ help wondering how she\s going to react to hearing the news.

•••

Typing a response to one of the dozens of e-mails in my in-box, I click SEND and close it down. My crystal typewriter award is sitting on my desk and the way the sunlight hits it creates a mock rainbow around it that mesmerizes me. But no matter how hard I try, I can\ keep my glance from shifting to the screen of my phone for the umpteenth time. S\elle hasn\ contacted me yet and it\s killing me. It\s been more than six hours I ran home and showered, came here expecting to stop in for only a few short minutes, and hours later I\m still here.

’’Hey, man, you\ e here,’’ Beck says from the doorway just as I pick up my phone to call S\elle.

’’Technically I\m not.’’ I shove away from my desk.

’’Yeah, right. Well, anyway, I want to show you this. I came up with it yesterday but couldn\ get it quite right until this morning.’’

He sits down with his laptop in front of him at the conference table in the corner of my office.

I join him. ’’Okay, show me what you\ve got.’’

’’Be prepared for your world to be rocked,’’ he gloats.

I shake my head, thinking how much my world has already been rocked and how right now I\m tipping over the edge waiting to talk to her. As Beck walks me through a very detailed and complete design of how he plans to simultaneously launch all of Plan B\s holding into the social media arena, I sit back in awe, genuinely impressed by not only his skills, but his visionary talent. But when my phone chirps from across the room, my attention wanes.

’’Hot date?’’ Beck asks as he catches my gaze drift to my desk.

’’I hope so.’’ I grin. ’’Give me a minute.’’ I cross the room to grab my cell.

’’No worries, mate, it\s not like it\s a Saturday and I am working or anything.’’

’’You\ve been spending too much time with Alexander. Only difference is you sound like a douche bag using the word mate.’’

’’F*k off, at least I\m not a pansy ass who can\ go after what he wants.’’

I sit back in my chair. ’’Ah . . . that\s where you\ e wrong. I have been going after what I want.’’

’’Glad to hear it. All right, then I\ll leave you to it. I\m heading out, working a shift at my old man\s tonight. Need anything before I go?’’ Beck asks.

’’I\m good.’’

’’And, Ben,’’ he says.

I look over at him.

’’If I were you I wouldn\ take too much longer. She\s liable to move on to a douche bag like me who never would have taken six weeks to close a deal.’’

’’Thanks for the advice, mate.’’

He throws me the finger.

’’Close the door.’’

He laughs and walks away, leaving it open. F*ker. I read the message from S\elle.

Can you meet me at Pebbles?

I can pick you up and take you out to dinner.

I\d rather meet you there.

Okay, but I\m pretty sure we broke through that wall yesterday. What\s going on?

Can you just meet me there?

You\ e not f**king with me, are you? 50 First Dates is not what I have in mind for tonight.

Please.

Sure, when?

Two hours?

See you then. And, S\elle, I can\ wait.

I want to f**k with her some more, but something doesn\ seem right. Her text messages are too straightforward, too direct, so I stop. After I read through a few more work e-mails and forward some of them on to Aerie for her to follow up on, my attention level is close to nil and I decide to call it a day.

Once I open the glass doors, the cool, crisp breeze assaults me. The air is much cooler than yesterday. Fall is definitely here. With plenty of time to spare, I zip up my jacket and decide to cruise up to Mulholland Drive. Having switched to my bike when I went home, I take the winding roads at a speed I\ve come to love. It looks so different up here during the day but equally as breathtaking as when the sun falls off the cliffs and into the ocean at sunset.

Stopping at my favorite overlook, I take the time to get off my bike and climb the two flights of wooden stairs to the top. From up here I have to admit glancing around downtown Los Angeles during the day is a sight. It\s one huge conglomerate. Tall buildings, freeways that sprawl for miles, homes, trees it\s a view one could get used to. But I\ve lived there and good and evil lie hand in hand although I suppose that might be true of anywhere. Shaking away the thought, I stride back down to my bike and head into the city.


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