There is a long pause. Finally, the voice drawls back through the receiver. “At the risk of losing my job… is this a joke?”
“I assume you have caller ID. Verify it against the internal corporate directory. I can also verify my driver’s license number or social security number, both of which I assume you have on file in some location.”
“That won’t be necessary, Mr. Sharp. When you say everything, do you mean—”
“Her office, her email, her remote ability. Anything that could give her an iota of access. Turn off her campus gate codes and transponder. I don’t want her to step on BSX’s campus without being flagged and stopped by a member of your staff.”
Another long pause. “Is this a temporary or permanent situation?”
“I’m not sure yet. For now, it is indefinite, unless you hear otherwise.”
The man clears his throat. “You should know, Mr. Sharp, that we received a similar call from Ms. Sharp yesterday with the same instructions for you.”
“And I refused. I attempted to call you at that point but you did not answer your cell. I left a voicemail for you.”
“You did the right thing. How long will it take before her access is stopped?”
There is the muffled sound of a receiver being covered, then he returns to the line. “Less than a half hour. We’ll have remote access cut before the end of this call, sir.”
“Thank you. I’ll call you directly if there are any changes. Don’t accept orders from anyone other than me. And text me your cell phone number.”
Brant glances at me. Appears to weigh something in his mind. “Hank, if I do call, or if someone else calls pretending to be me, don’t listen to my directives unless I verify my identity with a code word. I don’t care if I’m standing in front of you, don’t do what I say unless I verify it with the word.”
“Which is what, sir?” The man seems unaffected by the strange demand.
“Also, you may take instructions from Layana Fairmont, should I be incapacitated for any reason.”
“I don’t really feel comfortable taking orders from someone who is not a BSX employee, Mr. Sharp.”
“This is a unique situation. Just until we get this sorted out.”
The man sighs, a sound thick with his feelings on the subject. “Does she have a code word also?”
I spoke up, my voice caught easily by the Bluetooth. “I’ll use the same word, just to keep things simple.”
“Okay. Anything else, Mr. Sharp?” The emphasis on the Sharp name made it clear his level of acceptance of me. I grinned at the snub, reaching over and running a hand over the back of Brant’s neck.
“That’s it. Thanks Hank.” He ends the call and leans into my hand. Says nothing as the car screams down the 280.
That night, in bed, the television turned down, his arms wrapped around me, I feel his worry. Feel the moment when his brain works through all of the possibilities the last three years has brought.
“Have I cheated on you?” His voice is low against my neck, a thread of hope in it that I am asleep. I roll, staying close, looking up into his face.
“But… as Lee… I never had…”
I lean forward and kiss him. “You did, but it wasn’t cheating.”
“Don’t justify it, Lana. If I kissed… touched other women… I was unfaithful to you.”
“I did some pretty despicable things to win you over,” I say. “Things I’m not proud of.”
He frowns. “With men?”
I slap his chest. “No!” The dark leaves his eyes and it is his turn to steal a kiss, this one deeper, his hands pulling me atop him as he rolls us over. “God,” he whispers, his hands sliding down my back and cupping the meat of my ass, squeezing it so hard it hurts. “There were so many nights I watched you sleep and wondered if you were cheating. Wondered what you were keeping from me.”
I pull back, sat up on him, the flickering light from the television illuminating the torture of his face. “What? You never said anything to me.”
“What would I have said? Accused you of cheating?”
“Yeah. That’s exactly what you should have done. I can’t believe you didn’t confront me.” I frown, unsure why exactly my feelings are a little hurt over the omission. We have always been so forthright. So honest. At least about everything except the previous giant hole of deception.
“I didn’t want to lose you, Lana.” He reaches up, running the fingers of one hand up into my hair, his brow furrowed as he pulls me almost to his lips, his other hand pulling me tightly to him, his need hard against me. “I was worried,” he whispers, “that you might—”
“Never be worried.” I breathe, taking his kiss when he forces it on me, the crush of his lips as his hand grounds me hard, my hips moving underneath his push, rocking me back and forth against the heat of his cock, my panties sticking to me, the extra friction maddening in its delicious rub. I pant against his mouth. “You will have me forever. You always have.”
He rolls us as a unit, his hand rough between our bodies, pulling my panties aside and the top of his underwear down, until the barriers between us are removed and the push of him is suddenly inside me. Oh my God. It is a first, Brant giving me himself bare. Even though I’d had it with Lee, it is different. Everything has always been different between them. Their kiss, their touch, their f**k. Brant shoves inside, I open my legs, pull him into me with greedy hands, and cry out his name as he thrusts in every bit of his possession with strokes that reprint his name on my soul.
Without the lies, without the secrets… it is better than it has ever been. I break beneath his body and sign away the last bit of my heart to this man. This complicated, layered, brilliant man. Owner of my soul.
Dr. Terra, the specialist, flies in to San Francisco from Dallas, arriving in the afternoon. Brant had spoken to him yesterday, stressing the need for an immediate meeting. The man has cleared his schedule for the entire week upon Brant’s mention of generous compensation. I guess DID billionaires are few and far between.
We are waiting at the private airport when Dr. Terra lands, Brant’s frame rising at the sight of the jet. I can feel his nerves, the jump on his skin when touched, the shake of his knees that indicates an abundance of jitters. He is different off the medication. Reacts in new, unexpected ways. Talks more. Smiles more. Even on a day when we’ve had little to smile about. I loop my hand through his and we wait, watching a short black man limp toward us, his mouth curving into a smile as we make eye contact.