“No. But it takes months and months to sew a wedding dress, especially with the beading I want. And you’re doing such a good job of driving Marcus crazy that he might ask soon.”
Chrissy supposed that her devious sister already had a date picked out, had spoken with the priest about the church, and had the flowers pre-ordered and the baker on notice about what cake she wanted, too. All because Chrissy was driving Marcus crazy? She wondered how that worked.
“Me? How am I driving Marcus crazy?”
“Oh, I might have dropped some hints that you’re tired of being single, and look at this as an opportunity to marry. And that Papa would most likely look on the man as the son he never had.”
“You’re an evil, evil woman.”
“Yes,” Gloria said slyly. “I am.”
“I’m still not wearing that.”
“I know. Still, it’d make a nice cocktail dress should the opportunity present itself.”
“I’m pretty sure a Rocco man isn’t into cocktail parties.”
“What? Do you think they’re all knuckle-dragging Neanderthals?”
“Who said Neanderthals dragged their knuckles? I heard Neanderthals were quite cultured—for their time.”
“I see.” Gloria didn’t look like she did at all.
“We can’t expect a Rocco man to rise to that level of sophistication.”
“You’re such a snob.”
“If you’ll excuse me,” Chrissy said with mock snootiness, “I have another function to go to before the Rocco fiasco.”
“What?” Gloria said. “What is it?”
“Not telling.” It was her turn to be sly. “Now, scoot! Big sis has to get ready.”
* * *
Chrissy followed a maid dressed in a grey uniform to the patio where Drummond and Richard sat a table set with a lunch service. They had drinks in front of them, and Drummond motioned for Chrissy to sit.
“Good to see you, Chrissy.”
“Thank you for inviting me, Mr. Drummond.”
He texted something in his phone and looked up. “Lunch should be here shortly. I hope you brought your bathing suit.”
“Fantastic! After lunch, we’ll take a swim if you’d like, and then a sauna.”
She studied the Google map on her laptop last night and found it would take her at least an hour to get here and another to drive back. She had to be back to West Haven by five to get ready and then drive to the Red Bull, but this meeting complete with lunch, swim, and sauna could take all afternoon. And Chrissy only had three hours to discuss business before she had to leave.
She hoped it was going to be a quick lunch.
She was dreaming.
Drummond and Richard talked about everything other than business: sports, the stock market, even foreign politics, as they dawdled over lunch, but didn’t make any kind of suggestion as to why Chrissy was there in the first place. She laughed at their jokes, made a couple pithy observations, but all in all she seemed more like fly on the wall instead of an invited guest. Finally, Drummond suggested a swim while Richard begged off.
Suddenly Chrissy didn’t feel right about the situation. Whatever was going on, it didn’t seem to have anything to do with her position in the company.
But Richard had said Drummond discussed business in the sauna. So, she put on her swimsuit and slid into the heated pool. It was still early spring, and much too early to be swimming, but the warm water took the edge off the cool of the day.
Drummond swam toward her. For an older man he was very well built, and Chrissy reflected that he must spend time in the gym to keep in such good shape. “I’m glad I hired you,” he said. He moved so that the sun was behind him and Chrissy winced at the glare.
“I’m glad you did, too,” she said with a smile, putting up a hand to block the light of the sun. “I’ve enjoyed working at the firm.”
“You’re smart. I appreciate that. And you have a level head on your shoulders. And you’re savvy. Richard’s not the easiest man to work with, but I haven’t heard one complaint from you.”
“I’m just doing my job.”
“You have a passion for what you do. I appreciate that, too.”
“I like to think that I contribute to the best of my ability.” It felt stupid talking about work while sitting in a pool. It all felt wrong. She tried to ignore the feeling.
“I’ve kept track of you and what you’ve done this past year. And I must say I’m impressed. I’d like to get to know you better.”
“You seem to know me pretty well.”
“Not in the way I’d like to.”
Chrissy moved so that the sun was out of her line of sight and when she looked into Drummond Walker’s eyes, she saw something there that was more than the interest of boss in young protégé.
She glanced around and realized Richard was nowhere to be seen. She was alone with the man who’d hired her, and who could fire her just as easily. It didn’t take much to figure she was lured here with a false promise so Drummond could make a move on her.
Oh no. Oh hell no. She put a cap on her incipient rage and hauled herself out of the water.