Tanner’s eyes remained on mine. He gave me a little smile, like it was all a joke that only he and I were in on.
Costas directed his attention to Stan and put on a serious face. “I assume you’ll be flying to Tucson on Monday to meet with Anderson’s accounting team?”
“Yes, that’s correct,” Stan said, getting to his feet. His eyes darted between the two men across from him. Costas was looking back at him. Tanner was still looking at me. Stan turned to gesture at his team. “The four of us will be in Tucson on Monday afternoon. The itinerary was already set in anticipation of signing the contract.”
“We’ll meet you there,” Tanner said. He was still looking at me. Still smiling. It was starting to creep me out. It was also starting to turn me on.
Was he playing some kind of weird Fifty Shades of Grey game with me?
Was this his idea of foreplay?
Was I supposed to rip off my clothes and lay on the table and spread my legs and beg him to fuck me?
I put on a blank face as I filed that thought away for later use.
“We’ll meet them there?” Costas asked, looking down at Tanner.
“We will,” Tanner said, finally taking his eyes off mine and directing them toward Stan. “We have meetings scheduled with Anderson’s executive team later in the week. We might as well get an early start.”
He got out of the chair and gave Costas a nod.
“Call Anderson and tell them we’ll all be there on Monday instead of Wednesday.”
“What if they can’t meet on Monday?” Costas asked. His forehead lined as he held up arm and checked his watch. “It’s nearly five o’clock on Friday. That’s awfully short notice.”
“Then we’ll have to find something to occupy our time until Wednesday, won’t we,” Tanner said, glancing at me yet again. Everyone turned to look at me. I felt myself literally shrinking before their eyes.
“Okay, I’ll make the arrangements,” Costas said, narrowing his eyes, bouncing them between Tanner and me.
I didn’t have to be a mind reader to know what Costas was thinking.
He was going to kick me off the team because Tanner was acting like a fucking teenage boy. I was the innocent bystander at this train wreck, but I would be the one held responsible for running the Tanner train off the track.
Tanner Wright’s sexploits were legendary, thanks to gossip sites like TMZ and Gawker.
He had the well-earned reputation of being the billionaire bad boy who had torpedoed billion-dollar business deals because he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. And now his childish antics were about to cost me my spot on the team.
Son of a bitch.
What a DOUCHEBAG!!
Well, if they expected me to take this lying down, they were messing with the wrong girl. I set my hands on the table and laced my fingers together and stared at them.
I could feel steam coming out of my ears. Just let them try to bounce me from the team, I thought. Just let them try…
Tanner held the ball in front of him and bounced it in his palm. “In fact, there’s no need for you guys to fly out commercial. We’ll all take the corporate jet out together. It’ll be fun.”
Tanner gave everyone a quick smile, then handed the rubber ball to Costas and left the room, leaving all of us to wonder what the heck just happened.
It was a quiet car ride back to our offices at Goldman & Stern because the other members of my team were as dumbfounded as I was by the actions of Tanner Wright.
The silence in the car spoke volumes.
I knew what they were all thinking. They were wondering how long it would take for Stan to boot me off the team, even though I hadn’t done a thing to deserve getting the axe.
Juliette was sitting in the front passenger seat and Stan was driving. I was in the back seat, scotched between Bob and Irving. Bob stared out the window the entire way back to the office. Irving was sitting up straight with his eyes open, softly snoring.
Every now and then, I’d catch Stan glancing at me in the rear-view mirror. When our eyes met, he quickly looked away.
Juliette sat staring straight ahead and didn’t say a word. I could almost hear her teeth gnashing.
I was sure Tanner’s behavior in the meeting would be the talk of Goldman when we got back and Juliette got the gossip mill started. She’d like nothing better than to see me kicked off the team even though I posed no threat to her. That was just Juliette’s way. She simply didn’t like other women. She was more of a male chauvinist that any man I’d ever met. If she had her way, she would be the only woman working at Goldman, if not the only woman on the planet.
All I could do was shake my head and bite my tongue. I’d deal with Stan when the time came; which I knew would be soon.