With both our heads on our cushions, for several seconds we stare at each other and for moments I am lost in the deep blue pools of his eyes. “You do know,” he says slowly, “that as a man I’ve been taught that a woman never means ‘fine’ when she says ‘fine’, right?”
I might have smiled another day, but not this one. “I guess we all have our own ways of defining fine.”
He studies me a moment, then another, and I have the impression he’s trying to understand me. I want to tell him “good luck”. I don’t even understand me. “You don’t want to sleep.”
Somehow I don’t openly react to the surprising change of subject and too accurate of an observation. Dodge and weave, I tell myself. Dodge and weave. “I don’t like to sleep in public places.”
“Talk to me, Amy,” he murmurs softly.
“Talk to you?” I ask. I want to talk to him. That’s the problem.
“You need to fill the empty space in your head, and right now, talking is your only method of doing that.”
I try to joke away his suggestion. “And you’d rather talk to a stranger than have her fall asleep and get you in trouble with the flight attendant again?”
“We aren’t strangers anymore, and I find the idea of occupying your time increasingly appealing.” His eyes light. “So use me, baby.”
The air crackles between us and there is no denying the growing attraction I have for this man. “Fine, then. I’d love to hear about the project you’re traveling to Denver to discuss.”
“There isn’t a lot to tell yet. It’s a typical property development deal. A group of deep pockets get together and aspire for greatness that equates to dollar signs in their eyes. In this case, it’s a plan to create the world’s largest event center, complete with concert facilities, a shopping mall, and an office complex.”
He sounds blasé when I’m excited just hearing about the project, and I find I’m more curious about Liam than ever—enough to be nosy. “Are you one of those deep pockets?”
“There are too many egos fighting in one room for me on this one. Egos translate to delays and problems.”
He didn’t deny he has deep pockets. I was right. He is money, sex, and power. “So then, what’s your role, if not investor?”
“I’m the architect they want to design the project.”
I sit up straighter at this surprising news. “You’re an architect?”
“An architect that could create a project of the magnitude you just described?”
“Would I know any of your work?”
“I’ve done a few high-profile projects.”
I frown. “Isn’t this where you drop names and impress me?”
“Do I need to impress you?”
My cheeks heat. “No. I…most people…”
“I’m not most people.”
No. No, he most definitely is not most people. “Have you thought about your design for this project?”
“I’ve drafted my vision, but I already know it’s not likely to please the financiers.”
“But they requested you. They must like your work.”
“They want me to create the tallest building in the United States.”
I blink. “Could you really create something of that magnitude?”
“‘Can I’ isn’t the question. ‘Will I’ is the question. Height is a short man’s dream of perfection. It’s also narrow-minded. How high you stand isn’t as important as how magnificent you are.”
Magnificent. The word resonates deeply for me. I’d once thought I’d be a part of something I could describe that way. I’d like in some small way to be a part of what he describes that way.
“Are you allowed to show me your design?”
“I’m allowed to do whatever the hell I want.” He reaches for his sketchpad and thumbs through it to open to a particular drawing, and starts to hand it to me, but pulls back. “I don’t normally show my work to anyone until it’s complete.”
“But you’re going to show me?”
“Yes, Amy. I’m going to show you.”
He offers me the pad and I accept it, but my attention remains on him. “Why would you show me what you show no one else?”
“Because I want to.”
I do not know what to say. “I…thank you.” Touched and confused, my gaze lowers to look at the drawing and shock radiates through me, trapping air in my lungs. I blink, certain I am not seeing what I am seeing, but the image remains the same. He showed me what he shows no one else, and what he has shown me is a piece of my past. Adrenaline courses through me. That can mean only one thing. I shove the pad beside me and reach for his right arm and turn his wrist face up, searching for the tattoo that would tell me if he’s my handler.
His wrist is bare and I grab the other one, afraid my memory of which arm the tattoo was on was wrong. But there is nothing. No tattoo. No proof he is a part of my past or my future. My eyes lift to his and he arches a brow. “Problem?”
“You don’t have a tattoo?”
His lips quirk and his eyes light with mischief and heat. “Not that I can show you while we’re still on the plane.”
I ignore the inference that he will show me later and focus on searching for what lies beneath his amusement, but I find nothing. No secrets. No hidden agenda. But then, if he expected my reaction to the drawing, why would he react any other way? Then again, I could simply be losing my mind. I drop his hand that I am boldly holding and grab the sketchpad again, staring at the drawing of a high rise framed by a pyramid. It’s just a pyramid. There’s not a code in the center. It’s not tall and narrow like the one on my note. It really doesn’t resemble the tattoo at all. Maybe it really is just a building design. Maybe it has nothing to do with me or my father at all.