But it ended too soon as Ernest, his executive assistant, burst into the hospital room. “Sir, did you turn off your phone? I have been calling.”
“Obviously,” Vin said tightly, “I did not wish to be disturbed. Whatever the problem, you can handle it.”
“The deal just fell apart and the other CEO stormed out when you didn’t appear this morning. Everything is a shambles in the Rome office...”
As he spoke, a nurse bustled in and wanted to check over Scarlett and the baby. Nico himself began to complain that he was hungry and wanted his mother.
As Scarlett eagerly took her baby into her arms, the chaos increased as Vin heard an argument in the hallway. Ernest went to check it out, closing the room’s door behind him. But the arguments only got louder through the door.
“Handle your guests, please,” the nurse told Vin crisply in Italian. “This is a hospital, not a nightclub.”
Vin ground his teeth, then turned to his wife with a bright smile. Kissing her forehead, he excused himself and went out into the hall.
One of his bodyguards was physically blocking a slender man in glasses who was yelling and trying to push into the private room. Ernest was trying to mollify him in a low voice.
“What is going on?” Vin demanded.
“Ah. Signor Borgia.” The slight man immediately relaxed and turned to him politely. “Salvatore Calabrese sent me. He wished to convey his displeasure at your disrespect today.”
“No disrespect to Signor Calabrese was meant. As you can see, I was unable to personally meet him this morning to close the deal with Mediterranean Airlines because I was called away on urgent family business.”
“Signor Calabrese found your lack of commitment to the business deal very disappointing. He wished me to inform you that he is father to four children and was not present at a single one of their births.”
Vin wondered that any man would brag about something like that, but he said merely, “I would be pleased to reschedule—”
“That is sadly now impossible.” The man pushed up his wire-rimmed glasses. “Signor Calabrese will be exploring options with your Japanese and German competitors, many of whom have larger, more established airlines than yours. He hopes you enjoy family time,” the man continued politely, “as you’ll soon have much more of it. Without the expansion your airline needs, you’ll soon be ripe for takeover yourself.” The man gave a little bow. “Good day.”
As he departed, Vin stared after him in shock.
The Japanese and German airlines who also hoped to take over Mediterranean Airlines were indeed formidable and powerful. It hadn’t been easy to convince Salvatore Calabrese that SkyWorld Airways was the right choice. Vin had been forced to personally meet with him in New York and London.
“All right. I’ll take a gamble with you, kid,” Salvatore Calabrese had told him finally. “You remind me of myself when I was young. A shark who’ll win at any cost.” He’d given Vin a hard smile. “Just meet me in Rome to sign the papers. I need that mark of respect. Plus, I need to know I’m selling my baby to a man who’ll always put his company first.”
Now Vin clawed his hand through his dark hair, thinking of the hours, money and effort that he and his team had spent, costing millions of dollars and thousands of hours, to put the deal together. This on top of the public debacle in New York of losing the Air Transatlantique deal. The snotty little assistant had been right. Vin’s rivals would start to smell blood in the water.
A stab went through him as he felt the cost of making his family the priority today. Twice now, his relationship with Scarlett had wrecked badly needed business deals. And now, just when he most needed his airline to succeed, for the sake of his family, for the sake of his son’s future legacy, he was facing another failure.
“It’ll be all right, boss.” Ernest looked at him nervously. “Plenty of other fish in the sea. Lots of ways to expand our airline. Right, Mr. Borgia?”
His executive assistant clearly expected reassurance, but Vin stared at him blankly.
For the first time ever, he didn’t know his next move.
Maybe this was what happened, Vin thought numbly. When you started choosing with your heart, instead of your head.