“You do have a good grasp of that account.” He chuckled. “I have to say, it’s impressive. You’re really on top of that guy.”
I blushed, but he was looking back at the file and didn’t notice. After he had finished giving me the details about Selena Richards, he left me with instructions to get a plan of action and some materials to him by the beginning of the next week. I walked out of his office excited at the chance of another sizable client.
After I got back to my office, I texted Vincent about the news. A few hours later, he replied.
Sounds great. Will have to tell me more when we talk next. I will try to call this week.
Disappointed I wouldn’t be able to talk to him that night, I texted back.
You can’t get away tonight even for a little bit?
It took another fifteen minutes for him to respond.
I’ll be lucky to sleep tonight, sorry. As soon as I have free time, I’ll call.
Frustrated, I put the phone on my desk and went back to my work. It wasn’t like I didn’t have plenty to do myself. Vincent had said from the outset that he was a very busy man who usually didn’t have much time to give for a real relationship. I had brushed it off then, but maybe that was a deal breaker for me. Being in a relationship with a man who was constantly continent-hopping meant spending a lot of time being basically single. That hadn’t been a problem before, but now I realized I might be getting attached.
The rest of the work day passed in a blur, then the rest of the work week. The weekend passed without a call from Vincent. Whenever I texted, it would take him so long to text back that a conversation was hopeless. Another work week went by until it was Friday again. I had stayed late on Thursday working on the Richards pitch, so when my phone buzzed half an hour early on Friday morning I was upset. I picked it up and saw it was Vincent.
Happy to finally hear from him, I picked it up and answered. “Hello,” I said.
“Hello, beautiful. Sorry to call so early. This is the first time I’ve had any free time at all in a couple weeks.” He sounded exhausted.
I rubbed my eyes, trying to wake up. “I was beginning to think you’d forgotten about me. Is everything okay?”
“Just about. I’m in Lisbon right now, actually. Flew in a few hours ago. I don’t know if I mentioned I was coming here.”
It was a little disappointing that he hadn’t told me he was traveling, but I guessed it didn’t matter. As I sat up in bed, I realized I was feeling a little nauseous. “You didn’t. What are you doing there?”
“More meetings. We’re making a push in the European market with some of our surf swimwear.”
“Sounds like life’s been pretty crazy.”
He sighed. “This is fairly normal to be honest. Like I told you, I’m all over the place pretty often.”
My nausea was getting worse. Had the Chinese food I’d eaten for dinner the night before been bad? Maybe I just missed Vincent that much. I hoped I wasn’t getting sick. Working on a pitch while you were ill was a good recipe for misery. “When do you think you’ll be back?”
I heard another man’s voice on Vincent’s end. He cursed. “I’m sorry Kristen, I have to go. The materials for my next meeting aren’t ready, apparently. I’ll let you know when I’m back in New York when I have a better idea. It’s going to depend on how the meetings here go. Sorry again. I’ll be in touch soon.”
My heart sank. Vincent’s schedule was really putting a strain on our relationship. I had taken the amount I was seeing him before for granted, and even that hadn’t been much. “Okay. Bye.”
He hung up. I looked down at my phone and saw I still had another forty minutes before I had to get up. As I shifted to plunge back into my pillow, I felt a fresh wave of nausea. Fearing I was going to vomit, I got up and sprinted to my bathroom. I barely made it.
After that, I did feel better. I went and grabbed some soda and drank it slowly in the kitchen. The nausea seemed to have gone away almost entirely, so I decided I’d still go to work. What to do about Vincent was another story. It wasn’t really his fault he was so busy, but I still felt more than a little neglected. Even though I wasn’t sure exactly what else he could do, I needed to talk to him about it.
If we were going to be a couple, we wouldn’t be able to keep it secret forever. Vincent had correctly said that having relations with clients wasn’t expressly forbidden. I didn’t want to broadcast our relationship to the whole office, but we could risk a nice dinner in the city. It would show how much I cared about him. Whenever Vincent did return, I resolved to invite him out for a good steak. My treat.
He ended up calling a couple days later. Apparently the response in Lisbon had been mediocre. It wasn’t the end of the line for the venture, but he would be returning to New York for a few days to work with another team on how to proceed. When I told him I wanted to take him out, he sounded genuinely excited. He would be getting in late Friday morning, and we were going out Friday night, despite my protests about jet lag.
Finally, Friday evening came. Despite my busy schedule, I had managed to make time to buy a new dress for the occasion. It was a ruched sheath in black, cut slim to hang against my hips. With black stilettos, red lips, and my hair curling just right, I felt as sexy as I ever had going into a date. When I stepped out into the kitchen to show off to Riley, her jaw dropped.
“Look at you, sexy girl! I bet his mouth will be absolutely watering.”
I beamed. “Thanks. Are you going out?”
She nodded. She was wearing a very short, shiny blue dress that made me guess she was clubbing. “Yeah, me and the girls are going prowling tonight. I’m actually going out to grab some early drinks at Jen’s before we get dinner and go dancing. Who knows, maybe I’ll snag my own billionaire. Where are you two headed?”
“Strip House. After all these Caribbean weekends I figure I can treat him to a nice steak.”
Our door buzzer went off. I looked at the oven clock: seven on the dot. Harried as he probably was from traveling, he was right on time. After saying a quick goodbye to Riley and grabbing my clutch, I hurried down to meet Vincent outside.
He was leaning against a streetlight post, looking at his watch like he was posing for a picture. He wore a black button down with the sleeves rolled up and black pants. His skin had the golden color of a man who had been spending a lot of time in a tropical climate. Our days apart had already caused me to forget just how attractive I found him. The way he stood there, I had half a mind to invite him up to my apartment so I could get my hands on him immediately.