Authors: Avery James
After walking up and down Thames Street twice, Callie found the entrance to Independence Wharf. Logan’s Brewery stood at the end of the wharf, overlooking the harbor. Its shingled exterior was lit from below in soft, halogen light, giving it a warm glow as the sun dipped behind the building. There were other restaurants and shops on the wharf, but they were smaller, with quaint windows and low roofs. The brewery stood tall beyond them, anchoring the whole scene, casting a late-afternoon shadow across one side of the wharf.
As Callie approached, she noted how every detail of the exterior — each shingle, each window and every light — had been crafted to highlight the character of the two-century-old building. It managed to pull off the difficult trick of looking old and new at the same time. Apparently Logan's taste in design was better than his taste in women.
After looking around for any sign of Logan, Callie walked through the open front door and approached the hostess. The inside of the brewery was even more impressive than the outside. The two-story dining room sat below the large exposed roof beams, and looked out through enormous plate glass windows over the harbor. The room was filled with the soft glow of sunset, and every last aged brass fixture and rough hewn wood board sang with character. Off on one side, a long bar ran lengthwise down the space toward the ocean. On the other, a row of copper brew kettles gleamed in the soft light. The whole place felt industrial and intimate at the same time. If any of this had been Logan’s doing, there was more to him than just good looks.
“Hi, are you waiting for someone?” The hostess asked. Her question snapped Callie back to attention. If Logan did have a date, the hostess would be waiting for her. All Callie needed to do was get a quick look at her guest list for the night, and she would at least have a name for Logan's mystery date. "Hi, I'm here to see Logan Harris," she said. "He asked me to stop by."
"Your name?" the hostess asked.
The hostess looked down at a list.
“Lucky you. He reserved a table for you outside. Follow me and I'll show you to your seat."
Callie stood still as she tried to figure out a way to get a moment alone with the list. A view of the ocean and the sunset wasn't going to do her any good if it meant she couldn't keep tabs on Logan. She just needed to get a quick look at the list. "Can you just let him know I've arrived? He wanted me to make sure he knew. You know how he is. I don't mind waiting."
The hostess paused for a moment and pulled a waitress aside to ask for advice. "Just one moment, I'll check the back of house to see if he's here."
As soon as the hostess was out of sight, Callie stepped behind her station and pulled out her phone, snapping two quick pictures of the list, and sliding her phone back in her pocket before anyone could notice. She scanned the room for any sign of the hostess, then looked back down at the list. She'd be looking for a reservation for one woman. It shouldn't be too hard to find.
While she waited for the hostess, Callie leaned against the station and scrolled through the pictures she had taken from the list. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a tall blonde walk in through the door. She was wearing heels and a silver dress, which she filled out quite well, most likely due to expensive breast enhancement.
This had to be Logan's woman
, Callie thought. She took a quick look at the woman's hand, noting her wedding band and engagement ring. The center rock on the engagement ring must have been at least three carats.
, Callie thought,
he's having dinner with a rich, bored housewife. I'm screwed
"Monica Jacobs," the woman said. "I'm running late for dinner with Logan Harris. He should be waiting for me."
In her time working for Amy, Callie had learned how to think on her feet. “Of course," she said. She grabbed two menus off of the station. "Right this way," she said. "Mr. Harris requested that you be seated outside. He'll be with you in a moment. He's just finishing up some business." With Monica out on the deck, Callie hoped that she could buy herself a few minutes to figure out what to do next.
As part of her job, Callie had helped cover up countless affairs. She had done everything from destroy evidence of a tryst to drafting nondisclosure agreements for mistresses to sign. It wasn't one of her favorite parts of the job, but she put up with it. After enough time, it became mundane. She viewed it with the same detachment that a mechanic must view oil changes. Sure, it helped pay the bills, but it was so boring and predictable.
However, as she walked Monica out to the deck, Callie was annoyed and maybe even a little angry. Why couldn't Logan behave long enough for her to have one freaking night of relaxation? Why couldn't a guy like him just date normal women? It wasn't like he wasn't capable of landing one. Hell, as cocky as he was, she could see his appeal.
So why was he having dinner with a married woman?
As soon as Monica was seated, Callie walked over to the bar. She texted Rich the name and did a quick web search herself. No results. Callie tried a few more combinations: "Monica Jacobs Newport," "Monica Jacobs wife," "Monica Jacobs Logan Harris," but nothing came up, just page after page of irrelevant information.
Just as she was starting to worry, Callie's phone buzzed. "Tell me you have good news," she said.
"I do," Rich said. "It's his friend's wife."
"Oh no," Callie said. If Logan was having an affair with his friend’s wife, this could get messy and contentious fast. "I thought you said that was good news."
"It is. She's interviewing him for a local magazine, doing some PR for his restaurant or bar or whatever it is."
"How do you know this?"
"I'm reading their email exchange from this morning setting up the interview. It all looks above board."
"How did you get into his email so quickly?"
"Do you really want to know?"
“Kind of,” Callie said. “Dazzle me with your acumen.”
“The laptop actually belongs to his father’s organization. I called the head of IT who personally provisioned it.”
“I can’t make this stuff up. It keeps going. It’s the same for his email. His voicemail password is 1111.”
Callie looked up to see if Logan had come out into the dining room. She’d have to act quickly if she wanted to escape from this one without being found out. “No hacking? No brute-force attack?”
Rich laughed hard, a belly laugh. ”That’s right. I'll await sweet, sugary payment on Monday."
“Deal. I have to go before I mess this up any more than I already have."
Callie walked back out to the deck and made her way to Monica. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Jacobs. I'm afraid there was a mix-up. Mr. Harris is waiting for you inside. If you see your way back to the hostess, he will meet you there shortly."
Callie just needed to sneak out of the restaurant without catching Logan's attention. It seemed easy enough. She could take a seat at the bar and then walk around the other side of the restaurant, staying as far from his field of view as possible. There was only one problem. When she had stalled the hostess, she had specifically asked her to tell Logan she was there.
, she thought,
just hang out for a few minutes and then leave before anyone can ask any questions.
Callie sat down at the table and motioned to the waitress. She pulled up the menu and looked for something, anything other than beer. "Wine, please. Any good red will do.”
The waitress scrunched up her nose. “Well, this is a brewery. We make all of our beer right here in Newport. They’re all really good. Are you sure you don’t want to try one of those? I promise they’re all great.”
Callie put the menu down. “Really, the wine is fine. Thank you.” As she waited for the waitress to return with the glass, Callie watched Logan walk out from the back office. It was hard to see him through the glare on the window, but he was unmistakable, that jawline, that confident stride.
You’re working a job right now
, Callie reminded herself. She sat back and tried to look inconspicuous as she watched Logan walk over and hug Monica. After the embrace, they headed off into a back room.
Here's hoping it’s just an interview
. She knew that as long as no one saw them it didn't make much difference what they were doing. She held out hope anyway.
When she finally got the wine, Callie downed half the glass in two long gulps. She looked out at the sun setting over the harbor. It really was beautiful. This was exactly where she'd want to be if it weren't for the whole job of babysitting Logan.
Five minutes, she thought, I will give myself five minutes to forget about all of this, five minutes to watch the sun set and drink good wine. God I hope he’s only giving her a tour of the facilities and not a tour of something else.
Those five minutes seemed to pass in an instant, and soon Callie was back to worrying about Logan. At least he and Monica had returned from the back of the restaurant and were now sitting at the bar. She wondered if Monica would mention the trip out to the deck and whether that would be enough for Logan to figure out that something was up. Callie was usually good at assessing people within a few seconds of meeting them. With a little bit of research and a first impression, she knew what to expect from almost anyone, but Logan baffled her. Once enough time had passed, Callie decided her best move was to head back to the guesthouse as soon as possible.
Where the hell is she?
Logan wondered. He scanned the room for any sign of Callie but couldn't find her. The hostess had said she was waiting at the front of the restaurant, but when he had gotten there, she was nowhere to be seen. Before he had even had a chance go looking for her, Monica had found him and pulled him over to the bar to start the interview. He wasn't even really paying attention to her, and he could tell she was getting annoyed.
"What was that?" Logan asked after missing another question.
"I said that Mike said you're heading out of town after this interview. Have anything good planned?"
"Something came up. I'll be in town a little longer than expected." As he finished his sentence, Logan spotted her. Callie was out on the deck, looking out over the harbor. He wanted to end the interview and head straight to her, but he knew he couldn't.
Monica looked over her shoulder and then made eye contact with Logan, making sure she had his full attention. “So, Logan, this is your third microbrewery in under two years. Many of our readers are familiar with your father’s work in the oil and gas industry, but this entrepreneurial spirit is new for you. What made you decide to jump into business head first?”
“Well, I was looking to build something for myself.”
“Is that why you left Wyoming? Were you looking to put a little distance between yourself and your family so you could make a name for yourself?”
Logan looked her back. “Monica, you know why I left Wyoming. You can’t really think people would want to know about that. They’re reading about a brewery, not how the owner of the brewery got embroiled in a fabricated sex scandal.”
“You’re a hot commodity Logan, and sex sells. Did you really get caught in a compromising situation with the wife of the man who bought your father’s oil company? Michael told me the story shortly after it happened, what was her name? Haven or something. She was some kind of fixer, right?”
Logan laughed and shook his head. “Off the record, I may have crossed the line with Amy Haven, but nothing happened. I showed her around town. I might have to have to reconsider how much I tell your husband about these things. On the record, I took it to heart when my father sold the company. It was a wake up call, and I realized I needed to make a few changes in my life. I decided to make something of myself, and I started with two of my strongest passions, good drinks and good conversation. It led to my first microbrewery, which surpassed my wildest expectations.”
“But how did you end up here in Newport? This is obviously a wonderful town, but so is Jackson Hole. Why did you leave, especially if you had just built a successful business? Why here? Did the ocean call to you? Did you fall in love with the quaint New England streets?” Monica asked.
Logan wondered how much of the real answer he should give. “Well, my family has had a house here for decades, and I’ve always loved the area. I left Jackson Hole because I wanted a fresh start. Aside from starting another restaurant, I wanted to leave my old ways behind me and become a better man, a more responsible, more mature version of myself.”
“And have you succeeded?” Monica asked.
Logan grinned. “The jury’s still out on me, but have a drink and you’ll see that the brewery is top notch.”
“Scandal does tend to follow you though, doesn’t it?” Monica added. She was really driving home this sex angle, wasn’t she? This was supposed to be a puff piece, not an expose. Logan tried to imagine the headline for the article, something about drinks with a handsome devil.
He’d make sure Monica didn’t print anything too revealing about him. After all, he had already decided not to mention that the inspiration for the Newport brewery had come to him while he was ducking the paparazzi after a very public fling with a pop star. Thank God she hadn’t asked about that. “It’s just one of the side effects of living well…” His words rang hollow, and he wondered if Monica really bought that line. He was playing into the picture she had started to paint of him. The playboy: come to rule over his new playground. It would be great press for the bar, not so much for him.