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Authors: Holly O'Dell

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary

Spin Control (15 page)

BOOK: Spin Control
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After placing our order, I ran to the refrigerator to
see what our beverage choices were. A Brita pitcher
full of water and a two-liter of Sunkist were all I had.
Had I really been so wrapped up with work that I
couldn't even stock my refrigerator?

I gave the choices to Michael.

"Sunkist?" he laughed.

"I have no idea why I have that. I haven't had it since
third grade."

"I'll take it. Orange sugar water sounds oddly refreshing right now."

"How about I serve it in wine glasses, and that'll
make us feel like grown-ups?" I smiled.

Michael broadly grinned in return. It was nice to
see him smile, considering how intense he always
seemed.

With two Sunkist-filled wine glasses, I came back to
the living room, where Michael had been looking
through the few DVDs I owned.

He jumped back like a little kid caught in the cookie
jar. "Sorry," he lamely apologized. "I guess I didn't notice your movies the last time I was over here. I'm surprised that most of these are romantic comedies."

"I'm surprised you know what a romantic comedy is."

"Well, I would have called them `chick flicks,' but
you'd probably have kicked me out by now" He had put
the five DVDs back in their place. "You don't have anything with Miranda!" he said in mock horror.

"Shh, don't tell her. I'll go out and buy one of her
movies tomorrow, I swear."

Michael sipped the orange soda. "You know, I
would've never pegged you as the romantic comedy
type."

I raised an eyebrow. "Really? What type of movies
do you think I should own?"

"Anything that premiered at Sundance"

"Thanks, I guess. So, what's in your collection?"

"A lot of war movies."

I wrinkled my nose.

"Hey, have you ever seen a war movie? They're not
all that bad"

"Did you ever have to do spin for your clients in Hollywood if they ever did bad movies?"

"Yeah, one time I spent an hour on the phone with an
editor at Entertainment Weekly trying to persuade him
that Courtney Love and Ben Affleck really did make a
believable match on-screen"

A-ha! The rumor was true. "So, you worked for
Courtney Love?" I tried to act casually.

"For like a week" Michael shook his head and
laughed, his eyes brightening. "Then I handed her over
to a fellow publicist, who thrived off the commotion
that followed her everywhere. And that was right
around the time things were going sour between me and Jillian, so I just wasn't needing the drama" He became
serious at the mention of the ex-fiancee, but gave a
quick chuckle. "Then again, Devin ranks right up there
on the drama scale. It certainly has introduced me to
the city, that's for sure"

I tilted my head. "What do you mean?"

"As weird as it sounds, this Devin thing is the most
social I've been since I've moved here"

I felt a tinge of sympathy for Michael. "What do you
usually do for fun?"

"I go out exploring by myself. I go to the gym, because no matter how far I get away from L.A., I will always be a gym rat" I unexpectedly found myself trying
to casually look at his pecs through his white polo shirt,
tucked into his khaki pants. I was pretty sure he was
ripped, but I stared a few seconds longer just to make
sure. Yup, it was confirmed.

"How 'bout you? What do you do for fun?" He raised
an eyebrow, noticing that I was staring at his chest.

"Oh, you mean other than giving a personality makeover to my ex-boyfriend?" I hastily covered. "I hang
out with Anna a lot. I have some other friends I do dinner with once every few months, but Anna and I are like
sisters-or at least what I imagine a sister should be
like. Wouldn't know, since I was an only child, and an
`oops' at that"

"Well, I have a sister, and although the brother-sister
relationship is different than the sister-sister relationship, we still get along pretty well" He crossed his legs
out in front of him and stretched his arms above his
head. "Of course, we still get under each other's skin from time to time, but we respect each other, and that's
a great quality to have."

"You mean you don't get into knock-down, dragyou-by-the-hair fights at this age?" I smirked.

"My sister ..." Michael hesitated.

"Yes?" I encouraged.

"She's someone you-" We were interrupted by a
knock at the door. I leapt off the purple couch where I
had been sitting facing Michael, to get to the door. I returned immediately with our food, packaged in one
large brown bag.

"This is why I love Wang's-they're cheap, they're
fast, and they love me for ordering from them at least
once a week" I started taking the food out of the bag
and setting it on the pine coffee table with dark-brown
varnish. "Anyway, what were you saying about your
sister?"

"It's not important," Michael said dismissively. "I
can't wait to eat. I don't think I've ever been this hungry."

"I hear that. Let me get some silverware before you
have to resort to turning it into finger food"

As I gathered plates and forks from my kitchen, I
thought about how it was eating out with Devin. I'm up
for trying new foods, but with him, it was always the
highest-priced restaurants, always ordering food I
couldn't pronounce, let alone recognize, always pretending that I really liked foie gras when all I wanted
was a cheeseburger. It was nice that Michael didn't
have any of those pretenses and was just willing to dive
into some good old-fashioned comfort food. Devin wouldn't have been caught dead ordering from a place
like Wang's.

Wait, was I just comparing Devin to Michael? And
Michael came out ahead? Now, now, I mustn't be thinking like that, I thought, but there was that muffled voice
in the back of my head that squeaked, "Why not?"

After a deep breath to compose myself, I came back
to the living room and set the dishes on the table.
Michael reached for them as I was moving my hand
away. We brushed fingers, every so slightly, and the
back of my neck tingled. He cleared his throat, and I
wiped my hands on my pants.

I sat down and concentrated on biting, chewing,
swallowing, anything but Michael. But that voice I
heard in the kitchen got a little bit louder. "Why not?"

 

44She's alive!" Michael said in his best Vincent
Price voice.

I slowly looked up from my desk to see Michael in
my doorway. "Well, happy Monday to you, too."

"I didn't think you were going to get up until Tuesday the way you went out Saturday night."

Rita, the administrative assistant, happened to be
walking by at that moment, and she raised an eyebrow.
I shot her an "it's not what you think" look, but she
smirked and continued walking.

I looked at Michael, vaguely recalling Saturday
night. "Pardon?"

"We ate our takeout, you popped in a movie, and you
passed out"

Yes, it was coming back to me. I remember looking
at the clock on the DVD player at 12:32, and it was
dark outside. I had no recollection of whether Michael was still there. When I woke up for good at 4 P.M. Sunday, I knew that Michael had left. I watched TV for a
few hours, absently ate a bowl of dry shredded wheat,
and went back to bed, too exhausted to even wonder
what happened to Michael.

"So," he said as he looked at his shoes, "you didn't
get my note?"

"Note?"

"Oh" He seemed embarrassed. "It's nothing, really.
Just didn't want to wake you so I thought I'd leave a
note"

"That was sweet," I said softly. "Thanks"

He waved a hand like he was shooing away a fly.
"Ah, don't worry about it. Anyway," he quickly
switched to business persona, "we didn't even get a
chance to talk about the Symphony Ball Thursday
night."

"What?" I panicked as I shuffled through my calendar. "I had it down as next Thursday"

"Nope, it's this Thursday"

Frustrated, I put my head in my hands. "I can't even
keep my schedule straight!" I took a deep breath. "All
right, sorry you had to witness that freak-out. Tell me
what needs to be done"

"I called all the papers and TV stations this morning
to give them a heads up that Fox Underhill will be there
as the guest of honor, considering his $1 million contribution last year to the symphony, and Devin will be going as his guest."

Good old Michael. Smooth, controlled, on top of
the game.

As if on cue, Gwen bounded into my office. "Oh, just
the pair I was looking for!" Her gaudy silver-andturquoise earrings swung fiercely. "Say, I need you two
to do a favor for that little do-wop on Thursday. You
need to go out and buy Devin a new suit."

"Excuse me?" I asked disbelievingly, while Michael
grimaced.

"You heard me," she snorted. "Specifically, you need
to get it from Hugo Boss. I just got off the phone with
their marketing VP, and if we can get Devin in one of
their suits and get him some press while he's wearing
it .. " Gwen paused for dramatic effect. "Well, then
we'll be doing some business with Hugo Boss, that's
all I can say. Anyway, Angie's your contact at the store
on 5th Avenue. She's expecting you today. Toodles!"
She spun out of my office in her Aztec-printed skirt.

I waited till Gwen was out of earshot. "There have
been times when I just wanted to up and quit Burton
Relations." I white-knuckled the edge of my desk.
"This has to rank in the top five. I mean, what are we,
personal assistants? We have to go shopping for a suit
now for that weasel?"

"Come on, Kate" Michael was grinning from ear to
ear.

"What are you smiling at?" I asked skeptically, yet
his smile was contagious; I started giggling.

"See? You have to laugh at it, otherwise stuff like this
will drive you nuts. We'll make a day of it. We'll have
lunch, get the suit, have a snack, check on the suit, get
coffee, talk about the suit, get another snack, and then
call it a day"

I nodded. "I like your thinking."

He checked his watch. "Onward and upward. Leave
at high noon?"

The morning flew by with the usual tasks of taking
and making phone calls, e-mailing, opening mail, filing, surfing the Internet for any mentions of clients. I
found an interesting site and shared it with Michael as
we walked to Hugo Boss.

"Do you know that some girl in Albany has a Web
page devoted to Devin?"

Michael snapped his head toward me. "You've got to
be kidding me."

"Her name is Hilary, and she has all these pictures
posted of Devin. All the good, wholesome ones, of
course. For her sake, I hope she didn't see any of those
skanky ones we saw doing our research"

"Wow, Devin has made it. A fan page. Unreal. What
does the girl say about Devin?"

"Oh, she pretty much just has a bunch of captions
next to his pictures, talking about he is the hottest guy
in the whole wide universe and how she is trying to get
her parents to swing for a room at Hotel Bella on her
13th birthday." I raised a finger. "And the best part is
she talks about how he's really into charity and stuff, to
paraphrase, of course"

Michael held open the door for me when we arrived
at the grand store with the bright atrium. "If a 13-yearold is seeing our work coming into play, you'd think the
rest of New York would catch on soon"

My eyes wandered over the elaborate suits, made of
the finest fabrics shipped from halfway across the world. There was a menagerie of charcoals, grays,
navys, and even some brighter blues. I felt horribly underdressed in the store, with my beige linen pants and
light purple blouse. The store was buzzing with
lunchtime traffic, yet a blond clerk immediately found
our way to us.

"Can I help you?" she chirped.

"We're looking for Angie," Michael said authoritatively.

"That's me" Suddenly her voice dropped to its normal octave, and she sounded about ten years older.
"How can I help you two today?"

"We're from Burton Relations," I offered.

She gave a knowing nod. "Of course," she whispered
conspiratorially. "Devin Underhill. Are you his personal assistant?" Angie looked me up and down.

I frowned. "You could say that"

"She's from Burton Relations, too," Michael said,
trying to sound as unpatronizing as possible. "So,
Angie, what do we need to do?"

"First, you need to choose a suit." Her long, straight
blond locks swayed back and forth.

Michael cleared his throat. "I was under the impression that the suit would be ready, and we'd just have to
pick it up."

"Well, my impression was that you'd be finding a
suit-with my recommendation, of course," she beamed.

Michael pulled me aside and spoke under his breath.
"I don't have a good feeling about this. I don't want to
be here for two hours trying to find a suit for Devin."

I laughed and gently poked his rib. "Do we have a choice? And by the way, what happened to `We have to
laugh about these situations?"'

Michael also laughed. "Hey, don't use my words
against me!"

BOOK: Spin Control
8.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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