Page 34 of What Lies Beneath

“If you go back in there, I will come in after you and carry you out. After I thoroughly examine your dress and ruin the surprise.”

Cynthia glanced down at her raw and bloody fingertips and gave a resigned sigh. “I could probably use some time away. I’m making progress, though.”


“That’s great.” Will slipped out of his sport coat and headed down the hallway to the guest room. “I’m going to change before we leave.” He pulled off his shirt and tie, throwing them on the bed.

“I guess I should, too. Where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise,” he called out.

“Then how will I know what to wear?”

Will stepped back into the hallway and eyed her outfit. She had on low-ride jeans and a T-shirt, her hair down and loose around her shoulders. For what he had in mind, it was perfect. He was about to tell her as much when her mouth dropped open and a gasp of surprise escaped her throat. He looked down at his bare chest in confusion and then back to her red cheeks. They’d slept together only two nights ago, but apparently seeing him in full daylight was a whole new experience for her.

He was glad his abs met with her approval. His lips twisted in amusement for a moment before he spoke. “Stop that or we’ll never leave the apartment. You look fine. Just put on a jacket and some comfortable shoes.”

Cynthia’s eyebrows shot up, but she didn’t argue. She went into the master bedroom and reappeared a few minutes later wearing her jacket and with her running shoes laced up and ready to go.

He met her in the hallway wearing jeans, a gray polo shirt and his own pair of sneakers. It had been a long time since he’d worn jeans and sneakers. He forgot how comfortable they were.

She followed him to the door and he slipped into his leather jacket. “I take it we’re not going to Le Bernardin tonight?”

“Nope.” Will ushered her out of the apartment and down the hall.

“I have to admit, I’m a touch relieved. I’m too tired to worry about keeping my elbows off the table and which fork to use.”

“I’m glad you approve.”

“Any clues?” she asked in the elevator.

“Nope.”

There was a touch of frustration in her eyes, but it was quickly erased with the light of excitement.

First, they hopped in a cab and he took her to a small underground pizza joint near the Theater District. He could tell by the look on her face that she was hesitant about it. The first time he’d walked in, he thought he might need a tetanus shot, but it was some of the best pizza in town. By the time she’d put away her second giant slice, he was pretty sure Cynthia would agree.

Then they walked a few blocks to 42nd Street. Every time they approached the entrance to a theater, she’d look around expectantly, but he would continue on past. No Broadway musicals tonight. Instead, he’d bought tickets to a Night Illuminations tour. When the giant double-decker bus rolled up, Will knew he’d made the right choice. Her face lit up immediately. The air was chilly on the top deck, but Will didn’t mind. It gave him an excuse to wrap his arm around Cynthia so she could snuggle against his side. She asked him questions about sights they passed and he told her all he could. He’d always thought the lights of the city were beautiful, but sharing them with Cynthia made them even more special.

After about two hours, they’d seen all of Manhattan and the tour dropped them back near Times Square. While she was mesmerized by a billboard, Will surprised her with an “I ♥ NY” T-shirt and a pretzel with mustard. They walked around for a while, and when she was nearly finished eating, she forced him into the four-story Toys “R” Us store to ride the indoor Ferris wheel.

It was an experience he would’ve skipped normally, but her excitement was contagious. “You had to pick the My Little Pony car, didn’t you?” Will said as they stepped back out into the night. “We couldn’t ride in the Monopoly car or even the Mr. Potato Head one.”

“Is there something wrong with riding in a pink-and-green pony cart with rainbows and clouds?”

“Not if you’re a five-year-old girl,” he snorted.

“Where’s your sense of adventure?”

Will stopped at a street corner and waited for the light to change before taking her by the hand and leading her to the other side. “I must’ve left it in my other pants.”

“Speaking of which,” Cynthia noted, “I like you in jeans. You look a lot more relaxed than you do in those power suits.”

Will looked down at his outfit and shrugged. He was more relaxed, although he doubted his pants were the cause. He’d made the decision earlier in the night to turn his phone off. Before he left work, he informed his admin and his second in command, Dan, that he would be “unplugged” tonight. It was time Dan started earning his deputy title. It was hard to actually hit the power button, but within minutes, he could almost feel his blood pressure go down.

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