I sit at the table in my tattered jeans and oversized sweater, feeling out of place. When I look up from my plate, Sean’s eyes are on me. He explained to his accountant that I was an old friend and that I’d be joining them for dinner. Her eyes swept over me before giving me a look that said she thought I wasn’t a threat. Whatever. She can take her perfect body and shove it. Besides, all Sean’s attentions are directed at me.
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Dayla has a tablet on the table, where she presses buttons, asking Sean to clarify expenses. “You can’t take a deduction on that Sean.”
“I wouldn’t have come here if the damn merger went through.” Sean says, ripping off a piece of bread from the loaf on the table. “The additional trip isn’t an expense?”
She sighs, “You’re private jet isn’t an expense. I need the fuel bill when you get back, along with these other papers.” Her eyes flick to me. “Can you believe him? He avoids New York at all costs and then spends money like it’s water when he finally gets here.”
I have no idea who Sean is, why he’s avoiding New York, or the reason for the sudden spending spree. I just smile politely and say, “Yeah, Sean’s always pissed away money like a drunk sailor when he hits the Big Apple.”
Sean grins at me. Dayla rolls her eyes. “It wouldn’t be so bad if he told me what some of these expenses were. Like this one. What cost you $8,000 last weekend?”
Sean’s eyes remain amusedly locked on mine. My stomach flutters. “Entertainment,” he says.
It takes me a moment, but I realize who he spent that money on. That was the down payment for me. Sean sees the comprehension in my eyes and winks at me when Dayla has her eyes glued to her tablet. Excitement flutters through me and I smile awkwardly.
Dayla looks up and says, “I need more information, Sean. Honestly, how am I supposed to be your accountant if you don’t tell me specifics? I need specifics.” She glances at me, looking for help.
I lean back in my chair and say, “I’m not getting involved. He’s your client. You fix him”
She laughs lightly and gives me an if only look. “God bless the woman that brings him to his senses.”
Sean doesn’t look phased, but his eyes shift: between us, like it worries him He cuts our conversation short. “Unless there are more questions, we need to be on our way.”
“Nothing you didn’t already avoid telling me.” Her pretty face pinches as she scrolls through her tablet, shaking her head.
Sean stands and says, “Do the best you can. I don’t expect you to find a way to deduct, claim, or mark everything as an expense.” She nods slowly, like her mind is still reeling from the meeting. “Please, take your time. I’ll take care of the bill.”
“Email me a copy,” she insists. “This was a working meal.”
Sean nods and heads to the front. I don’t know why I didn’t see him when I was working here. I would have remembered him “Do you come here a lot?” I ask.
“No, why?” He tells the hostess that he’d like to settle his bill with the waiter. She rushes off to find him Sean turns back to me, waiting for an answer.
“I worked here, until a few days ago.”
He grins at me. “You got a better job, I hear. One with benefits.”
I laugh, “Benefits for you, maybe.”
“Miss Smith, you dismiss me too quickly. I assure you that this arrangement will benefit both parties.” The hostess returns with our waiter. Sean’s eyes rake over me, openly admiring my body. I look away, unable to process what’s happening. We just had dinner. That’s all. We ate. Pull yourself together, Stanz.
Sean settles the bill and gives the waiter a big enough tip to render him speechless. His jaw drops as Sean walks away with me on his arm.
The nippy night air blasts me in the face as soon as we’re outside. I shiver and try to race toward my car, but Sean grabs my wrist. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Home, lunatic. I’m not supposed to be with you right now.”
“Says you,” I say to him, smiling. He’s wrapped his arms around my waist and pulls me to him I mimic his phone call from earlier, “I want her delivered to my doorstep wearing nothing but a bow.”
Sean smiles. The way it spreads across his face makes me melt. Oh my god. “I did say that; didn’t I?” I nod. “Well, we haven’t had dessert.”
I twist out of his arms, laughing lightly. “I am not eating dessert with you.”
“Who said we’d be eating? You’re the dessert,” Sean says tugging my arm playfully. “And I can’t wait to taste you.”
I can’t wipe the smile off my face. Laughing, I pull away from him again. “I have to leave. Go eat a KitKat.” He follows me across the parking lot to my car. I stop in front of my door, expecting him to try and kiss me, but he doesn’t. Sean remains two steps away. “Thanks for dinner.”
“My pleasure.” There’s a look in his eye. It makes me want to be chased.
I open my car door and grab the can of ether. I spray the engine, walk back to my seat, slip in and close the door. Sean is sitting next to me in the passenger seat. “So, dessert.”
“Seriously?” I laugh. “This is the car from hell, or have you forgotten?”
“Oh, I have not forgotten. This car is vividly seared into my memory.” Sean takes my hand and lifts it to his mouth and presses his lips gently. A light tugging sensation snakes through my body, pulling me toward those lips like they’re magnetic. Sean lifts his sapphire eyes and looks at me.
I forget to breathe. I forget everything. I take a jagged breath and pull my hand out of his. “I need to go.”
“I’m going with you.” Sean takes his seat belt and pulls it across his lap, ready to shove it into place.
“I wouldn’t do that.”