Looking harried, but smiling, she rushed to catch up. “Sorry about that. They’re both crazy for the otter exhibit.”
Zephyr tilted his head. “No problem. You’re lucky to have such active children.”
“That’s one way to look at it.” But her grin as she sprinted after her children said she saw it the same.
“You really do want children, for more than just having someone to pass on your legacy of wealth.” How could she have thought anything else?
He looked down at her, his dark eyes filled with a longing she was just beginning to understand ran soul deep for him. “Yes.”
Lost to anyone else around them, she reached up to cup his cheek. “You’ll make a wonderful father.”
“That is my sincere hope.”
Cass was wearing a beautiful bright dress when she opened Neo’s apartment door to Zephyr and Piper later that evening.
She grinned at Zephyr and pulled him in for a hug. “Long time, no see, stranger. How was Greece?”
“Warm and beautiful.”
“You mean you actually took time to notice. When Neo told me you were taking a minivacation before going to the island, I almost fainted, but I’m glad.”
“Hey, I am not as bad as my business partner.”
“Only a robot works as many hours and holidays as Neo did before we met, but he’s well on his way to reformed now.”
The complacency in Cass’s voice made him smile. “I noticed.”
Cass turned to Piper. “Please tell me you’re taking on the job for Zee. He needs someone to.”
“Don’t answer that,” Zephyr demanded, then said, “Yineka mou, this is my best friend’s fiancée, Cassandra Baker, worldrenowned pianist and composer. Cass, this is Piper Madison, brilliant designer and my very good friend.”
Cass’s brows rose to her hairline and Zephyr realized he had made a mistake using that particular endearment in front of her. No doubt Neo had long since told her the translation and the implications often associated with it. Implications he was becoming more and more comfortable with.
Cass took both of Piper’s hands in hers and squeezed them. “So, it is your job.”
“I’m beginning to think so, yes.” Piper glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. “Good friends have an obligation to look out for each other.”
“That’s the argument Zee used when talking me into taking the piano lessons that changed my life,” Neo said as he came into the entryway. “Shouldn’t we all go into the living room? It’s got more comfortable seating.”
He gave Piper a smile that seemed to startle her, but she returned the gesture and said, “Good to see you again, Neo.”
Then Cass led Piper away by the hand while Neo hung back to give Zephyr a traditional Greek greeting. “It is good to have you back in Seattle.”
“I miss the island already.”
“I felt the same after leaving.” Neo nodded. “It is a special place.”
“Special enough to consider making it a more regular aspect of my life.”
“You are serious?”
“What would you think of delegating another level of responsibility to our well-trained staff and moving our offices to the island villa?”
Neo’s eyes widened in shock. “You are serious.”
“Never more so.”
“Something has happened.”
Zephyr shrugged, but was feeling nothing like complacent. “I’m ready to make changes in my life.”
“Do you have news to share with me?”
“But there will be?” Neo pressed.
“You’re going to have to do better than that.”
Not yet. “Give me until tomorrow.”
Neo didn’t push. Cass would have. Zephyr could just be thankful his friend would not have a chance to bring it up to her while Zephyr and Piper were there.
They walked into the living room to find Cass and Piper ensconced on the sofa going through digital pictures of the trip to Greece on Piper’s minitablet PC.
“I didn’t realize you’d brought that,” Zephyr said as he took the chair next to Piper’s spot on the sofa.
Neo sat beside his fiancée.
“I thought they might be interested in your trip.”
She rolled her eyes. “Our trip.”
“I’d really like to go to this art museum while we’re there,” Cass said to Neo.
He kissed her temple. “Then we will definitely add that to our agenda.”
“You’re going to Greece soon?” Piper asked.
Cass beamed. “For our honeymoon.”
“I seem to remember reading that you’d been there in a tour when you were younger.”