Authors: Laura Del
“That would be an excellent idea,” he said, kissing me gently. “Are you spent?” He traced his fingers down my side.
“I see you’re not.” I laughed, because he wasn’t. At all. As I said before, he was a machine.
“Answer the question,” he chuckled, and I grimaced. It was getting on my nerves that he never truly laughed like a normal person.
My heart jumped in my chest when he started to feel me. “I could go all night with you,” I admitted in a gasp.
He rolled on top of me. “Very well then.” He smirked. “All night it is.”
When Tina had walked into the house (my house…I still couldn’t believe it) at ten o’clock Wednesday morning, she had surveyed everything. “Oh my God” seemed to be the saying of the day. She loved the lamps (“oh my God”), the furniture (“oh my God”), even the paint on the walls (“oh my God”). The woman complimented my new digs at least a hundred times in the first hour. And when we finally sat down and talked about my husband and our sex life, the “oh my Gods” came out more often (if that was even possible). “Oh my God,” she said again. “He seriously did that to you?” she asked when I told her about last night.
I rolled my eyes. “Yes,” I answered with a sigh. She didn’t believe me at first. That is, until I showed her the bruises on my torso. “Tina, you couldn’t imagine how horrifically wonderful it was.”
“Oh, I could imagine,” she winked slyly, “if you tell me
the details.” I smiled at her dirty mind, and her mouth dropped open. “Did you just smile?”
The edges of my mouth wouldn’t go down. “Yes. Why?” I asked. This was becoming a pain. Literally. It hurt my cheeks smiling this much.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you smile,” she said and her face softened. “Hell, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard you laugh or giggle, and you’ve never glowed before. Did you realize you were glowing?” Tina was too sweet for words.
I glanced down at myself to see the difference. There wasn’t any. But I sure felt different. I was very sore from last night’s “love making,” and when I put on my clothes, the black-and-blues shocked me speechless. “No,” I said, looking up at her again, “I didn’t.”
She nudged my shoulder playfully and took my left hand in hers. When she saw the ring for the first time, she squealed so loud that I thought I’d go deaf, but now she just got a kick out of playing with it. “You should get married more often,” she said, letting go of my hand.
I rolled my eyes, knowing that the conversation was far from over. After all, anytime I had even remotely looked at a man she went through the same line of questioning. And the next thing she asked was, “So, what’s his name?”
My cheeks flushed (I’m sure) ten shades of fuchsia. That girl could make asking about the weather seem dirty. “Samuel,” I answered, “Satané.”
Her perfect black brows shot up. “Satan?”
The giggle came up and out of my throat. “No, Satané. But don’t worry. I had the same reaction.”
She placed her hand over her heart relived. “Oh, well, it’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Satané.” She shook my hand, and we laughed at each other. “Anyway,” she leaned down reaching into her bag, “I stopped by your apartment and got your mail. I also got the forwarding stuff. So you don’t have to go back and forth between houses, and I checked your messages. Your editor’s got great news for you, so call him back when you get the chance.”
I threw my arms around her neck kissing her cheek. “You’re wonderful, you know that?”
She patted me on the back. “I know. I’m just too wonderful for words.” We laughed until a knock made us jump.
When we separated, I looked up to see Charlie standing in the archway to the sitting room. “Yes, Charlie?” I said, winking at Tina, while she mouthed, “Oh my God,” which made my smile wider.
“Ma—” he checked himself before he finished, “Pat. Mr. Wolf is on the phone for you. He says it’s urgent.”
My spine went rigid, because just thinking about Michael could do that to me. “Oh,” I said, getting up off the sofa. “Excuse me, Tina. I have to get this.”
She looked worried. I’m sure it was because the smile had vanished from my face. “Sure, sweetie. No problem.”
I don’t know why I rushed into the study, but I did, and I almost broke my neck on the hardwood floor. I was stupidly wearing socks, which made me lose my footing, and I slid all the way across the foyer. “Hello?” I rasped, fixing myself as if he could see me through the phone.
“Pat?” Mike screamed, blasting my eardrum.
I pulled the phone away from my ear. “Mike, I can hear you just fine. Don’t yell.” I had to stop myself from calling him sweetheart, and I didn’t know why I’d wanted to say that in the first place. He wasn’t my sweetheart. That was Samuel.
“Oh,” he whispered, and I was sure he was rubbing the back of his neck. “Sorry.”
“What do you want?” I asked. My voice was a little too soft and sultry for my liking, so I cleared my throat. Something was wrong with me, and I couldn’t seem to put my finger on it.
“You,” he blurted, and my mouth dropped. “I mean, for you to come over to my office…and…um…”
“Spit it out, Mike,” I said. Losing patience with a lawyer didn’t seem like a good idea. They do know how to sue you.
“Have lunch with me?” he asked in a rush.
I bit my lower lip in excitement. “Sure.” I paused, having a brilliant idea. “Do you mind if I bring a friend?”
“Not at all.” He sounded less than thrilled.
“I don’t have to,” I said quickly. It may sound weird, but even though I wanted him to meet Tina, I still wanted him to say that it wasn’t okay.
He sighed. “No, no.” He was being polite. “It’s fine. Really.”
“So I’ll meet you at your office.” My voice was less than enthusiastic. “Where is it?” He gave me the address, and I scribbled it down on a piece of computer paper. “All right,” I said. “See you in half an hour.”
He sighed. “Yeah. Bye, Pat.”
“Good-bye, Mike.” When I hung up something bothered me about his tone. It sounded like he wanted to tell me something but couldn’t do it over the phone. Oh, well. He’d tell me at lunch if he wanted.
I walked into the sitting room, seeing that Tina was up, placing her bag over her shoulder. It matched her black work suit perfectly. But I didn’t care about that. All I wanted to know was why she was leaving. “You’re not leaving, are you?” I asked.
She frowned. “Yeah, I gotta go to work. Mr. Bailey said that if I’m not there by one, he’s gonna fire me.” She wagged her finger in jest.
“But you won’t be there by one,” something inside me was a little too happy that she was leaving. “It’s twelve-fifty now.”
She looked at me sternly. “Honey, he always says that.” Tina works for one of the top advertising firms in the city. Mr. Bailey, her boss, is “sweet in her” (Tina’s words not mine). They’ve gone out a couple of times, but nothing has come of it, except a hangover or two. “Besides,” she said, “you’re going out anyway, right?” She’d been eavesdropping.
I bit my lip. “But I wanted you to meet him.”
She walked up to me. “Who? Samuel?”
“No.” I held my breath. “His attorney, Michael Wolf.”
She waved me off, smiling as she walked to the front door. “I’ll meet him another time.”
“How are you going to get there?” I asked. One of the many reasons she’d come was so she could drop off my car.
“Your assistant, Charles, called me a taxi,” she smiled. “Not the nicest thing I’ve ever been called, but I’ll get over it.” I must warn you her humor’s not for everyone. “It should be here any minute.”
“Did he say something to make you want to leave?” I wanted to know, because if he had, I would’ve ripped him a new one.
Her eyes widened. “No. Did you tell him to?”
Why would she ever think that? “Of course not.”
“Listen,” she said, holding my hand, “don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. I’ll see you soon, okay?” She dropped my hand, brushing the hair out of her eyes.
I sighed. “Okay.” Then someone beeped from outside.
“I gotta go.” She swiftly kissed my cheek and left without another word.
I was just standing in the foyer alone when Charlie tapped me on the shoulder. “Is everything all right?” he asked, looking sad.
I nodded. “Yes, everything’s fine. She just had to go to work.”
“What did Mr. Wolf want?” The way he said his name sounded as if Mike was some sort of plague. At least I was right about Charlie not being too fond of him.
I patted his shoulder. “Don’t worry, Charlie. I’m not going anywhere. He just wants to take me to lunch.”
“Who said you were going anywhere?” He sounded concerned.
“No one,” I amended before he had a nervous breakdown. “It’s just that you don’t like Mr. Wolf because of what he does to Samuel’s women.”
“Who told you that?” he asked, slightly offended.
I shrugged. “Mr. Wolf. Plus your attitude toward him…” I paused, choosing my words carefully. “It’s really not something that warms the heart.”
He sighed deeply. “You’re more observant than I thought.”
I laughed. “You’re the second person to tell me that.” I grabbed my purse from the other room, slipped on my shoes and walked back into the foyer. “See you later, Charlie.”
“Be seeing you, Pat,” he said, and he waved from the doorway when I left. And as I pulled away from the house, I could still see him waving.
I headed for the address on the paper, thanking God that Tina had insisted we come to the Hamptons every summer. Otherwise I would have been completely lost and would never have known where to go.
On my way there, I started to think about how weird everyone was acting. Tina was acting distant. Charlie was scared for some reason. Samuel just seemed to be interested in sex, and Mike was keeping something from me. Was it any wonder I was distracted?
I must have run a red light or something because I heard sirens. And when I looked in the rearview mirror, I saw the police car behind me, so I pulled over. “Shoot.” I banged on the steering wheel and then rolled down the window obligingly.
The cop walked up to me looking as thrilled as ever. “License and registration.” He sounded utterly bored. This was the first time I had been pulled over in years. The last time was only for a broken taillight, and the officer had let me off with a warning. I doubted that was going to happen this time.
“Is there a problem, officer?” I asked, handing him my stuff.
He yawned. “You ran a red light.”
“I’m so sorry,” I said, thumbnail in my mouth (a nervous habit of mine). “I must’ve been distracted.”
“I’ll be right back,” he said. The man seemed
happy to have a job.
He walked back to his car, sitting himself down in the driver’s seat with his door wide open, probably running my license plate.
I sat there for five minutes, just waiting for the ticket. But when he returned, he had an apologetic smile on his face. “I’m s-sorry, Mrs. Satané,” he stammered. “It w-won’t h-happen again.” He tipped his hat to me, handing me my papers.
“No ticket?” I asked. I’d clearly broken the law, and I was willing, and able, to pay the price.
“Absolutely not,” he huffed nervously. “You have a nice day now.” He sprinted back to his car and sped away.
“Okay,” I said slowly, putting on my turn signal as I carefully moved my car back into traffic.
I wondered why he hadn’t given me a ticket. After all, I’d gotten tickets before, mostly for illegal parking. As I mulled it over, it dawned on me. He had called me Mrs. Satané instead of Ms. Wyatt, which was the name on my driver’s license. And he was scared—really scared. This had Samuel written all over it.
The next thing I knew, I was pulling up to a small one-story building. It had green trim around the glass door and windows, with a plaque that said it was “The Law Office of Michael R. Wolf, Esq.” And speaking of the southern gentleman, he was waiting outside for me. I unlocked the car door, and he hopped in.
“Where to?” I asked when his door was shut.
“Just around the corner,” he replied. “You can park in the lot.” He pointed to an open lot and smiled.
I pulled into a parking space just a few feet away from a quaint little bistro. Mike got out of the car first, and I followed his lead. As we walked through the glass doors of Potter’s Café, Mike asked for a booth in the corner so we could “talk alone,” and the hostess gladly obliged.
She was goth with a 1950s hairstyle, and tattoos up and down her slender white arms. After I took in her look, she showed us to a romantically-lit booth in the farthest corner of the café. She left smiling and whispered something to the waiter, who nodded in our direction for some strange reason.
When we sat, he came over to us with a huge smile, and I noticed he was cute, in a nerdy sort of way. He wore big thick glasses, his skin was white as a ghost, and his eyes and hair were different shades of gold. He told us his name was Theo, in a nice smiley sort of way, and that he would be taking our orders today.
We gave him our drink orders and told him we needed more time to decide the rest, and he walked away. I saw him nod toward the hostess again, and she smiled and winked at him. Something told me they had a bet going.
I turned my attention back to Mike. “I’m sorry Tina couldn’t make it.”
“That’s okay.” He sounded happy. “I’ll meet her some other time.”
“So,” my voice was cheerful, “what did you want to talk about?”
“Nothin’,” he admitted with a smile. I had to give him points for being honest. “I just wanted to see you again.”
“Why didn’t you just come by the house?” I asked, not very wisely. But what did you expect from a woman with no social skills?
He frowned. “I’m not really welcome there.” That’s right. Charlie wasn’t very nice to him. Actually, neither was Samuel, so I could understand.
We sat in silence for a while until Theo dropped off our drinks and took the rest of our orders. When he left, I waited for Mike to speak, but it looked like he wasn’t going to. So I sighed and started to drum my fingernails on the table.
“I like your shirt,” Mike said with a crooked smile, and I looked down at myself.
I was wearing my “werewolves rule, vampires drool” shirt that Tina had gotten for me for my birthday two years ago as a gag, along with my skinny jeans and Birkenstocks. I hadn’t realized he was staring at me so intently that he’d noticed. “He speaks,” I said. I stopped drumming on the tabletop and placed my hand under my chin. “And thanks. I like it too.”
“Do you mind if I ask you some questions?” he asked, his eyes now fixed on the straw in his drink.
I shook my head. “I don’t mind.”
He cleared his throat, and then his eyes found mine. “Okay. Where were you born?”