War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch (10 page)

BOOK: War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch
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"Nope."

"You don't know a thing about him! PIs
are shady
characters,
always out at all hours, no
steady income, good one week and bad the next—"

He broke off as I held my hand out.

"His business stays pretty good. That
happens a lot when you're the best there is at what you do, don't you think?
Now, don't worry about a thing, all the cases are in good shape and I'll be
sure nothing's hanging when I leave.
Everything's going to be
fine, Anderson."

I walked out of his office and over to
Ash's to repeat my performance and by the time I left his and headed to Mark's,
I knew damn well the tsunami was all over the office and I wouldn't need to
make any further explanations. Corrections, yes, there'd be plenty of room for
them by the time the storytelling was done, were I inclined to offer any
corrections, but actually, I didn't really care what anybody thought about any
of it. I hadn't known there was this kind of freedom in the world. Or that it
felt so good. I looked down at the sparkling diamond. "Love you, Magic
Man!" I whispered, and rubbed a finger lightly over its surface. A warm
glow settled in my stomach and moved a tad lower. And the diamond
winked
at me. I swear.

 

* * *

           

By ten o'clock I was automatically throwing
my hand out from the keyboard for ease of viewing as the girls approached my
desk. Even some of the attorneys cast surreptitious glances. Of course, they
tried to maintain a neutral expression but a few of 'em just couldn't pull it
off. It'd be a cold day in hell when some of those guys parted with sufficient
funds to put a ring like mine on their wives' hands and an even colder day when
the thought of doing so occurred to them in the first place. Professional men
tend to be tightwads, something that I'd picked up over the years of
association with lawyers and, through Scott, with accountants.

 
It
wasn't a cold day from my perspective, though. I'd talked to Magic Man a couple
of times, he was back in his office and setting up his agenda of new locates,
services, general investigation for the next few days. And the warm glow that
had started in my stomach and moved a tad lower kept moving lower still and it
wasn't just warm anymore. It was the full-blown heat and full sensation of
lazy, sensual love-making.

I picked up my phone and pulled up text
mode.

"
quit
it!"

Response was immediate.

"
u
quit it u started it"

"
did
not"
I texted
furiously.

"
did
too quit rubbing damn diamond or polishing or whatever
the hell ur
doing"

I looked down at my finger and the diamond
winked back again. Oh, hell. I was. I was rubbing the surface of the stone
every time it was inspected, polishing off any possible imaginary smudge.

I sighed. It was going to be a long day.
"
sorry
"
I sent back.

"
im
not but u play u pay"

You're telling me, I thought, and
concentrated on my organizational lists for each of my lawyers so as to leave
them in tip-top shape.
Doing so involved frequent ups and
downs as I grabbed files to check on their pleadings indexes and general
location.
It took a little while to realize that my habitual down
position wasn't comfortable anymore. I had a habit of sitting with my legs
crossed. I'd always done it, never even consciously thought about it. Now,
though, whenever I crossed them, I felt an insistent pressure pushing back.
Once I realized that, I heard the echo. A protesting wail of
"Baby girl!"
reverberated out
in the great beyond.

An incoming email from Stacy called out,
"Right now right now?!?!??!?!?!" Okay, it was
really
time for her stress-relief break. And none too soon for me,
either, though from the number
of ?!
in
the string, little sister was having a typical Cal
Spencer morning. He was detailing a case to death but he wasn't spinning
completely out of control. Had that been the case, the string
of ?!
in
the signal would have
stretched for the rest of the line.

"Right now right now," I sent
back, and grabbed my phone and coffee cup. I beat her to the garage and took
the opportunity to check in with my personal private investigator.

"You are driving me insane!" I
hissed.

"Well, right back atcha', baby
girl," he advised. "And could you stop pin-balling around the office
like a steel ball in a pin-ball machine? You're making me tired!"

"Good! Then maybe you'll be too tired
to—to—whatever the hell it is you're doing that's making me feel like we're
still in bed!"

"I'm not doing anything on purpose, I
can't
freakin'
help it! You're driving me just as
crazy as I'm drivin' you, trust me! You sure you got to give two whole
weeks?"

"Of course I do! You don't just walk
off a job and leave folks hangin'! Besides, you never know when you'll need a
good reference!"

"Baby girl, you're about to become an
apprentice PI, you won't ever be in a law office again!"

"Yeah, well, promises, promises. You
never know, and besides, the firm's a good contact, and anyway, we still
haven't talked about what we're doing about my apartment—"

"Oh, fuck your apartment! Just break
the damn
lease,
I don't care about losing the freakin'
deposit!"

The opening of the door signaled my
sister's arrival, and her first words indicated that she was following the
conversation very nicely.

"I'll take your apartment, Ari, don't
be silly. I don't have a lease, I'm month to month."

"See?" The voice over the phone
evidenced a keen sense of hearing.

"Really?
You don't
like
my
apartment!"

"I
didn't
like your apartment because of the Scott vibes. I'll have it fumigated and
then I'll clean with lemon Lysol and then I'll burn incense."

"Anastasia Anson!" I exclaimed
over the laughter in my ear. "That is just
mean
!"

"Oh, God, I love that girl already!
Let me talk to her!"

"This three-way conversation is
getting complicated," I observed to the car roof and handed over the
phone.

"Hey, Magic
Man!"

"Hey, Antsypants!
Can you possibly keep your sister on track and make sure she
doesn't find any more things to worry over? Because two weeks is killin' me as
it is, don't need any delays."

"I can try, but she's a worry-wart.
You know that."

"Yeah, just like I know you're not.
Are you?"

"Nope.
And neither are you."

I looked at Stacy's face and listened to Chad's
voice coming from the phone and I could
feel
them reading each other. I wondered again how in the hell I'd lived this long
not hearing, not seeing, the magic that was everywhere for anyone who wanted
it.

"No. But she has to authenticate
everything, you know that. She has trouble just accepting things the way you
and I can, she's got to analyze everything first. It's the writer in her."

"Yeah, I know.
Gotta
love her."

"Don't we though? You do have just as
much power as she does.
Different, but just as strong.
I wondered about that."

"Not nearly as much
as you do, though."

"Yes, you do.
Both
of you."

"As much as we'll
ever have?"

"Not even close."

Stacy laughed and handed the phone back.

"So, Magic Man. What's on your
schedule?"

"I'm going through Macon tomorrow. Need to check on a drug
runner I been after for a while, pops in and out of Cobb County
a lot. Not gonna find him this time, though. Damn bounty hunters and deputies
been beating the bushes, got him spooked. He's not staying anywhere for long.
That's how it works
though,
they muddy the waters all
up and then call me. I'm for the impossible."

"Damn bounty hunters? Like you're not
one?"

"Among other things.
But what I am that the amateurs aren't is
smart.
"

"And so modest, too.
Not to mention psychic," I pointed out.

"That too, of course," he
conceded. "So, early lunch while I'm going through? And late supper coming
back? Don't know how late."

I laughed.
An opportunity
to show him some local color.
"Frick & Fries," I said.
"Call me when you're getting off the interstate and I'll meet you over
there. And then you can come back to the office—oh. You probably don't have
time."

"Not this time, precious. I'd love to
but I need to get on up there."

"That's okay. And then just come home.
I'll have supper waiting, doesn't matter how late."

"Don't want but one thing."

"Well, that can be the main course.
Actual food can come between that and dessert."

"Oh. My.
God.
I love you."

"I love you.
Later,
Magic Man."

"Later."

I hung up, realizing I'd had a conversation
that could be rightly classed as "intimate" right in front of my
little sister. She burst into laughter at my expression.

"I'm all grown up now," she
advised.
"Even had sex myself a time or two.
Did
Scott already get all of his things out of your apartment?"

"Oh, hell yeah.
And the few things he left I collected and personally delivered to
his office. Why?"

"'Cause I would pay
money for him to show up while Chad's
there.
Especially if he had an extra key made he
didn't give back to you."

My first reaction was sheer horror. My
second was a mental picture of that face-off should such ever come to pass. And
I had to admit it. I'd pay money to see that myself.

"
Antsypants, that
is so far beyond just mean I wonder sometimes if you've crossed over to the
dark side."

"Be funny, though. Admit it."

"Hysterical."

 
 
 
 
 

Chapter Sixteen

 

Around 4:00
o'clock it occurred to me that I hadn't told my parents that my wedding was
still on.
Sort of.
I mean, the only changes were the
groom.
And the venue.
And the size.
And the time.
All positive changes,
at least in my mind, especially the groom.
I'd never wanted a big
wedding but between my mother and Scott's mother, things had rapidly escalated
out of my control. The whole damn thing, while still nothing on the scale of
what most people considered a "big" wedding, was much bigger and much
more formal than I'd ever wanted. The only up-side to the whole thing was that
with the actual projected ceremony still four months into the future at the
time the whole possibility became dust in the wind, the invitations hadn't been
ordered, let alone sent, and no deposits for anything had been made.

Nothing was
getting out of my control this time. When I thought about it though, all I
really knew was we were getting married in two weeks' time because neither one
of us could stand it for any longer than that. And that was absolutely all I
cared about. A courthouse wedding worked for me. I hadn't even asked Chad
about his family and any preferences he had. Well, I could ask him tomorrow
night when he came back through from Cobb
County. Of course, we'd
be otherwise occupied but sometime during the night—because I knew full well he
wasn't leaving till the next morning—we'd have a chance to talk about it.
Maybe.
No, definitely. I'd definitely take a few minutes to
discuss it.
If I even remembered it, of course.
But
I'd better remember it. I had to be able to tell my mother
something
.

And on that
thought, my cell phone signaled a call from, of all people, my mother, who
didn't even give me time to say hello.

"
What
on
Earth
do you think you're doing?!?"

"Excuse
me?" I ran for Anderson's
office and closed the door. This was obviously not going to be a discussion for
the hall.

"You!
What
are you
doing?!?
I ran into your boss in the
grocery store! And of course he assumed I knew all about it, I'm your
mother
, which you have obviously
forgotten! And you're actually planning to marry some
stranger
you just met and you haven't even
told
your family!?"

BOOK: War-N-Wit, Inc. - The Witch
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