I spent as little time as possible with the Goldman team, mostly having working dinners in the hotel restaurant to discuss the status of the due diligence we were conducting.
Bob, the forensic accountant hadn’t found anything out of the ordinary.
Neither had Irving the attorney or Juliette the… hmm... what was is that Juliette did again?
Stan seemed pleased with our progress and said we’d be flying back to Chicago on Friday. We’d readjourn at Goldman on Monday and take the week to prepare our findings to present to Wright the following Friday.
“I think they’re very happy with our work,” Stan said smugly, as if the credit was his and his alone. “Let’s finish strong, people, and impress the hell out of them next week.”
Tanner came to my door every night around ten. He’d slip inside the room, then slip inside me. We alternated between mad, passionate, almost-rough bouts of sex, and softer, gentler, slower, longer bouts of love making.
I can’t say that I preferred one over the other.
I loved it all: fast, slow, hard, soft, rough, tender...
I was happy so long as Tanner was beside me.
I was especially happy when he was inside me.
Insert big smiley face…
Friday morning I awoke to find Tanner sitting on the foot of the bed lacing his tennis shoes. He had left my room early every morning to sneak back to his suite to shower and change for the day.
“Morning,” he said with a smile. He leaned over to give me a kiss.
“Morning,” I sighed. I picked up my phone to check the time. “Damn, is it Friday already?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“Are you flying back with us today?”
“I’m afraid not,” he said, shaking his head. “Henry left a text early this morning. I have to fly to Atlanta for a few days to take care of some business, but I’ll be back in Chicago for our wrap up meeting next week. I’ll text you from the road. Don’t worry.”
“I’ll miss you,” I said, trying not to sound like a whiny, clingy girl; which was exactly how I felt.
“I’ll miss you, too,” he said with a sleepy smile. He leaned down and kissed me again. Just a little longer this time. A little deeper.
Without another word, he crept from my room and left me wondering what our relationship was going to be like once we were back in Chicago.
It was something we hadn’t talked about, but something that was always on my mind. I’m a girl, for petesake. That’s how we roll. I’d really like to know where I stood with Tanner, but I was hesitant to bring it up so quickly.
Did he really like me?
Or was this just an out of town fling?
An extended one-night stand?
Did we have a future together?
Did I save myself for Mister Right or Mister Wrong?
Did I sound like Lizzie Lohan in a shitty teenage chick-flick?
Yes, the little voice in my head said.
Yes, yes you do.
I tossed my phone on the bed and rolled over to go back to sleep.
I’d drive myself crazy with doubt and pity later.
When I boarded the plane, Henry Costas was already sitting in his first-class seat on the commercial flight that would take us from Tucson to Atlanta. I had decided to leave the Gulfstream in Tucson for Candice and the Goldman team to fly home on.
It never occurred to me that my undercover act of chivalry would raise any kind of suspicion with Henry.
Obviously, I was wrong, because he was loaded for bear the moment I sat down.
He leaned over to ask, “Tell me again why we’re not on the Gulfstream and the Goldman group isn’t flying back commercial?”
I gave him a confused look. “You’re always on my ass about treating people more professionally and not acting like such a rich douchebag. I thought it was a nice gesture. I thought you’d be proud of me for putting others first.”
Henry snorted a laugh. “Give me a break, Tanner. You just didn’t want your new girlfriend to have to fly back to Chicago in the back of a plane wedged between those two idiots, Bob and Irving. Very chivalrous of you, my boy. And very out of character.”
I feigned ignorance. Badly. “What new girlfriend?”
“Oh, for petesake, Tanner, the girl you’ve been screwing every night since we got to Tucson.” He crossed his legs and brushed a hand over his knee. “Honestly, I thought she was the one woman who wouldn’t fall for your tricks. I thought she was better than that.” He gave me a sideways glance. “Turns out, she was just another brick in the wall.”
“What does that mean, Pink Floyd?”
“It means that you’ve proven once again that you can get any woman in your bed. Bravo. At least it wasn’t an Anderson stock holder or a member of the executive committee. If you had to fuck someone I’m at least glad that it was a junior analyst from Goldman and not someone who actually matters.”