He’d been wrong. Cia didn’t need him. What could he say, what could he do, to counter that? If she didn’t need him, he had no place in her life, as hard as that was to accept. She’d probably already whisked away whatever feelings she’d had for him, warm or otherwise.
At least he could bury himself in eighteen-hour days with no distractions and no one waiting at home.
All those closed-door sessions with Matthew had taken root. New clients vied for his attention. Contracts spilled from his workbag. Wheeler Family Partners for-sale signs dotted properties all across the city. The National Commercial Development Association had nominated WFP for an award—the highest percentage increase in listings for the year. Manzanares was icing on the cake.
Success and acknowledgment of his efforts. That’s what he should be focusing on. Not on how every contract reminded him he should be closing the deal on his divorce and moving on. Every contract mocked him, silently asking why he couldn’t just pick up a pen, for crying out loud.
He had to get out of here. Take a walk or a drive to clear his head. When he got back, he’d sign the papers and send them to his lawyer to be filed with the court. In no time, he’d be rid of this ache behind his ribs and free to pursue...something. Anything. The world was his for the taking.
But nothing interested him. At all.
He fingered the box in his pocket, which held Cia’s rings. It was time—past time—to stop carrying them around, but whenever he dug out the box and held it on his palm, his lungs cramped. The same cramp happened when he tried to remove his ring.
Maybe he should see a doctor. His throat hurt all the time. Some bug had probably wormed its way into his system.
When he rounded the corner to the reception area, Helena gave him her you-have-company-and-it’s-not-a-client smile and said, “I was about to buzz you. You have a visitor.”
Cia. His stomach flipped and a cold sweat broke out across his forehead. Maybe she’d thought it through and had recognized the excellent logic he’d so clearly laid out for why they belonged together.
Maybe she was pregnant. The image of her belly rounded with his child materialized in his head and pricked the backs of his eyes.
Or—he dragged his imagination back to the real world—she intended to flay him alive for not filing the papers yet. He pasted a smile on his face and pivoted to face the wrath of Hurricane Cia in full category-five mode.
He could never have prepared enough to greet the woman seated on the leather couch.
“Lana.” Not Cia. Of course not. She’d never concede. He swallowed his disappointment. “This is a surprise.”
“As it was meant to be. Hello, Lucas.” Lana stood, balancing on delicate stilettos and clad in an expensive designer suit Cia would have sniffed at righteously.
Funny. He’d never noticed what Lana wore, other than to figure out the best way to get it off without ruining it, as she was ridiculously fussy about her clothes. Again, hindsight. Couldn’t go home to her husband with buttons missing. “Is something wrong?”
With a glance at Helena, she said, “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?”
Yeah. Go out in public with Lana while still married to Cia. Exactly what he needed. Actually, even a private conversation with Lana sounded less than fun, but as he took in the classy blonde who’d thanked him for his time and effort with lies, he realized he was over it.
And he was curious what she wanted. “Helena’s coffee is better than any coffeehouse’s. I have a few minutes. Let’s sit in the conference room.”
Lana followed him to the conference room across from the receptionist’s desk, which he’d chosen due to the glass walls in case she thought there was a chance in hell he’d pick up where they’d left off.
He had a strong sense of propriety, not a shallow love for appearances as Cia liked to accuse him of.
Helena entered with two cups of coffee and left them on the table, along with an array of creamers and sugars. Lucas waited for Lana to take a seat and then chose a perpendicular chair.
“What can I do for you?” he asked politely.
Two artificial sweeteners and four creamers. Lana hadn’t changed the way she drank coffee and likely nothing else, either. She took her time stirring, then looked up. “I came to apologize.”
Lucas raised an eyebrow. “For which part?”
“All of it. I was lonely. Bored. Feeling adventurous. Take your pick. My shrink would agree with all of them. I’m not asking you to understand why I did it. Just to believe I’m sorry I hurt you.”
“You didn’t hurt me.” He laughed and hated that it sounded forced. “You lied to me. You used me. Then you unleashed your husband on me to finish the evisceration job you started. That was the most unforgivable part.”