Authors: Avery James
"Is that so?" Logan asked.
"Yeah, they got a hotel room on the waterfront down on Long Wharf. It's kind of adorable. I hope I have even a tenth of what they have." Callie stopped to order the coffee. She got her usual, a caramel cappuccino with extra foam. Logan opted for black iced coffee.
He held out his credit card to pay.
"You'll have more," Logan said. "Come on, let me buy you that coffee.”
“More years of happiness. Women like you always end up finding their happy ending.”
“Oh, I thought you were talking about the coffee. This one's on me," she said. “Then again, you still owe me that drink."
"That I do," Logan said. "How about tonight?"
"As long as you have red wine."
"Where's the fun in that? I own a brewery. You have to at least try what we make. I promise, if you don't like it, I'll get you a bottle of whatever you want."
Callie took the drinks from the barista and handed one to Logan. "See you tonight."
That afternoon, as Callie made her way across Newport to Logan’s bar, she decided to call Charlotte. Callie wanted to know what Charlotte would have to say about all of this. For the entire time they had known each other, Callie had been the overly practical one, while Charlotte had been the one creating stories out of nothing, dreaming up romances and adventures. She’d probably think Callie had hit the jackpot with Logan. Flirty, fiery, and a little bit bad? It sounded like one of the heroes from one of Charlotte’s books. Callie pulled her phone out of her purse and placed the call. “So how is Prince Charming?" Charlotte asked. Callie could hear the running bathtub in the background.
"I can't figure out if he's fun or infuriating. I think I'll have an answer tonight. Are you reading Jane Austen in the tub again?”
“Yes. Tonight is my date with Mr. Darcy. Are you going on a date with Logan?"
"No, I'm just meeting him at his bar for drinks,” Callie said.
"That sounds like a date to me,” Charlotte added.
“Like yours, it isn’t,” Callie said.
“Just because my date happens to be with a fictional character, doesn’t mean it’s not a date. Yours sounds a bit more interesting anyway. Fitz is getting a little predictable for my tastes.”
“Who is Fitz?”
“Fitzwilliam Darcy. Don’t tell me you’ve been my roommate for all this time and you don’t know Mr. Darcy’s first name. That’s worse than expecting me to believe that you’re not going on a date tonight.”
"I'm just trying to do my job," Callie said.
"No one said you couldn't do your job and have some fun."
"My boss, who also happens to be my very pregnant and very hormonal sister told me I wasn't allowed to have any fun."
Charlotte whispered, "It's a good thing she's several hundred miles away isn't it?"
“Why are you whispering?” Callie asked.
“Just because you’re hundreds of miles away doesn’t mean I am. What if she shows up here for some reason. For all I know, she could have our place bugged.” Charlotte burst into laughter. “Imagine how boring it would be to listen to our apartment. You’re never here, and I’m always reading. It would be like listening to paint dry.”
Callie shook her head.
“Nothing is going to happen between me and Logan, and no one has bugged our apartment.”
"Well, call me a skeptic, but I don't believe you about the Logan part. I bet you two are already madly in love, and you're just trying to cover your tracks. The incorrigible bachelor and the proper house guest. I think this is a story I’d read."
"Ha," Callie said, “I’ll keep that in mind. You think I'm going to fall in love with
? Don't get me wrong: he's sexy as hell, but he doesn't strike me as the fall in love type."
“That’s just what Elizabeth Bennet would say about Mr. Darcy!” Charlotte said. “Well, if you do end up alone tonight, give me a call, and I’ll keep you company. We can talk about finding me a new roommate when you decide to run off with Logan.”
“Not going to happen, but I’ll call you later to let you know how things go,” Callie said. "I'm heading into The Independent now. I'll call you the moment I walk back out."
Logan got up from the bar and walked over to the door to greet Callie. "Haven, how are you?" he asked. He hugged her quickly with a vigor one might reserve for an old friend. She had wondered how he'd greet her, whether he'd shake her hand or lean in and kiss her on the cheek, giving her some clue as to his intentions, but the hug, well it didn't tell her much other than what she already knew: Logan was in great shape. Calling her Haven, now that was something else entirely.
Callie smiled. She couldn't remember the last time someone had called her Haven. Her friends called her Callie, her clients called her Ms. Haven, and only when mad did her sister call her by her full name, Calliope, but no one ever called her Haven. "I see we're finally on a last name basis, Mr. Harris."
Logan laughed. "I didn't know if we were on a first name basis yet. I didn't want to seem too forward."
"Somehow, I get the feeling that you never mind being too forward. You invite me out to dinner. You tell me where to sleep, but using my first name is where you draw the line?”
Logan grinned. "Let's just say that I'm finding it difficult to hold myself back."
"Don't hold back," Callie said, "I was just starting to have fun."
Logan looked at her and flashed that cocky smile of his. "I'm sure that you and I could find a way to have some fun. Come on, I'll buy you a drink."
And there we go
, Callie thought. It was time to temper Logan's expectations. Besides, if she didn’t pump the brakes, she might just take him up on his offer. "So is that where you see this going? I mean really. What's your best case scenario for tonight? Let me guess: you'll invite me back to your place. We'll have a few more drinks. You'll kiss me, a small kiss at first, then a little more. You'll feel that first rush and want another, leaning in closer. You'll tear my clothes off and take me right there on the floor, heavy breathing, skin on skin, our mouths lost in each other, as you pull my hair and push yourself in?" She locked her eyes on Logan and studied his face. His mouth was slightly open. His pupils were dilated. She could tell he was still imagining everything she had said. “Not going to happen. Not tonight, not ever.”
Logan raised an eyebrow.
"What's wrong?" Callie asked. "Didn't think I had a mouth?"
"I just didn't know you knew how to use it like that."
"Oh you have no idea, pretty boy." Callie followed Logan over to the bar and took a seat next to him.
After he ordered drinks, he motioned her closer. He leaned in, as if he wanted to share a secret with her. He whispered, "You think I'm pretty?"
Callie shook her head and leaned back in her seat. "Men like you are all the same, Logan."
Callie laughed. "You know what I mean."
"Callie, I don't think you've ever met anyone quite like me."
"Oh yeah, what makes you say that?"
"If you had, you'd know enough to run away as fast as you can."
Callie lowered her voice. "Don't worry, I already know your reputation. I've heard the stories: a different woman every night, a different city every month. The insatiable, irresistible Logan Harris, who thinks women are as much his toys as his boats and his cars."
"You think I'm irresistible?"
"You really do have selective hearing, don't you?"
"I choose to focus on the positive, but I tell you what. Keep telling me why I am the way I am. Go on. Give it your best guess. If you get it right, I'll leave you alone. I'll repent my wicked ways, pick up your tab and head back home for the night."
"And if I'm wrong?" Callie asked.
"You'll stick around."
"Stick around and do what?"
"Talk, drink, fall madly in love with me."
"That doesn't seem so bad, save for that last part."
"Good, then you have nothing to lose. So tell me, Callie, what makes
men like me
"I see it again and again, men who throw themselves at every pretty girl they see looking for attention and easy sex. It's another form of power. You're all high on it, you want to have everything your way, never compromising, but for you, I think it's different. I've seen the way you've looked at me. I've seen the way you've looked across this room. You're looking for someone to run off with right now."
"Ooh," Logan said, "you were getting close there at the end, but you're still so wrong. Looks like you're stuck here with me for the night, Haven."
Callie rolled her eyes. "Call me Callie. And you don't just get to say that you win, you have to explain it to me. If I like your answer, I'll stay. If I don't, I'm leaving."
"I don't know how to explain it. I'm like a moth with a flame."
"Care to elaborate?"
"I see someone. Maybe she's sitting across the bar, or maybe we make eye contact across a crowded room. Maybe it's a friend of a friend who's just too pretty for me to keep from staring and smiling. That first look and I'm hooked, and I need to know more. For me, it's about drawing a line."
"Like a line in the sand?"
"Yeah, but instead of the line being between us, it's between us and everyone else in the world. It's the idea that two people can be completely alone inside a crowded room. Forget about the sex. Forget about everything else. I want that moment, the moment where everything else fades into the background and it's just the two of us, eyes locked, hearts racing wondering who's going to take the next step." As Logan spoke, he leaned in closer and closer to Callie, until his lips were just inches from hers. Then he leaned back and smiled. "That's what it's about for me."
"I see," Callie said. "And what happens after that?"
"I try to hold on to that feeling as long as I can. Then, when it's gone, I try to find it again."
"Have you ever thought of just finding someone you're compatible with and, I don't know, dating?"
"Compatibility is overrated."
"Do you have some kind of mantra for everything? Or are you quoting from the billionaire playboy playbook?"
"I just think people wander through life looking for the one person who completes them. I feel bad for them. They go from one relationship to the next trying to make something work when it won't. Why not just accept the truth and enjoy it?"
"What truth is that?" Callie asked.
"People love feeling like they're falling. They just don't realize that at some point, they have to hit the ground."
"And you're more than glad to drop them as soon as you lose interest?"
"I'm willing to accept reality, that's all. You should try it. I guarantee you'll have a wonderful time."
"One that won't last very long."
"All good things," Logan said, shaking his head. "Of course, I can't help it that women are naturally drawn to me."
"Ha," Callie blurted out. "You think you're that good?" She looked around the room. No one really looked like a threat, no curvaceous women, no one eyeing Logan like he was a piece of meat. Maybe this would be a chance to win him over a little bit and learn how to keep him in line later on. "Let's see what you've got."
"Right now?" Logan asked.
"Seems fair. I'll sit here and watch you work your magic. If you're as good as you say you are, that shouldn't be a problem. And if you care as little as you say you do, you'll have no problem coming back over here when you're done."
"Hmm," Logan said, "sounds like a good idea, but I want to make one little change."
"What's that?" Callie asked.
“You have to give it a shot, too."
"What? Do you really think I'm going to go hit on some random guy?"
"Why not?” Logan asked. “Are you afraid you'll get yourself in trouble?"
"No, I'm afraid that I'll attract some creep who won't leave me alone. I'm a woman. I could have any single guy in this bar and half the married ones if I wanted. You're the one who will end up getting yourself into trouble.”
"I do seem to have a talent for that. Although, from the sounds of it, you might, too. How about this: if you’re having trouble, just motion to me, and I’ll come and save you. Do we have a deal?"
Callie exhaled a long, slow breath. Maybe this would be a good chance to see Logan in action without having to worry about him leaving with someone. After all, there weren’t many women in the bar, and Callie wanted to know a few of the warning signs if Logan ended up really hitting on someone in the future. She had painted herself into a corner, and agreeing seemed like the only way out. How much trouble could Logan really get into with her there watching? “Sure.”