While Tyler texted Mira, Ace took a photo of what he’d sketched and sent it to Lucien along with the message, Let’s talk.
Tyler placed his phone on the desk. “Now let’s discuss what’s really important.”
“I can’t think of anything more important right now than fashion week, but…go ahead?”
“Did you hit it?”
Ace’s look? Deadpan.
“Don’t give me that look as if I asked something crazy. She’s a beautiful woman. There’s no way I’d have passed up the chance for some of that!” A beat and then Tyler finished, “If I weren’t as gay as the earth is round.”
“Can’t say I didn’t think about it. What red-blooded man wouldn’t? But right through here I’m all about business. Getting this line ready should be the only thing on our minds.”
The day passed quickly. Shortly after Tyler left Ace’s office, Lucien arrived, excited about and impressed with the design Ace had texted him. Ace spoke with Mira about London and then called a meeting with the designers to implement his latest ideas. More changes were made to the fall menswear line that they would be showing this spring, and the direction of the OTB Her line was clarified and expanded. After a phone powwow with finance, the PR and marketing budgets were increased. The partners decided not to reveal the news about London until it was a done deal, but in regard to the design team, he’d let it be known that a famous face would be among the models wearing the clothing.
Speculation ran rampant. Ace didn’t mind. Nothing like a bit of healthy competition among the models to bring out everyone’s A game. Throughout the day, his cell phone was nearby. Now that everyone was on board with London as the fashion show’s star model, he wanted to get the contract signed and make it official. Five o’clock came and went, and then six. He contacted Mira. There was still no word. He turned off his office lights and left the building just before seven without an answer. As he entered his driveway around seven thirty, his phone rang. The number showed up unknown, a common occurrence on his company phone. He pressed the answer button on the steering wheel, and heard a familiar voice.
“So… Ace Montgomery… I hear you want my body after all.”
London looked at the phone, cold and silent in her hand. He hung up on me? The thought barely finished before her ringtone sounded. The words of her favorite song—Jan Baker’s “Who I Am”—blasted from the speaker, the words OTB Fashion showed on her screen.
“For someone wanting my services, that was not a good move.”
Ace chuckled, a low, sexy sound that made London’s kitty purr.
“I apologize. I’d just gotten home, and when I turned off the car my phone didn’t switch over. It normally does.”
“I guess I’ll forgive you…this time.”
“I’d appreciate it.”
“Is it true? You want my body?”
A pause, pregnant with possibilities and promises, followed his response.
“Then why were you acting all reserved in Temecula? I could have easily been your dessert last night.”
“I was speaking professionally. Our new line was designed with women like you in mind. My partners and I would very much like to make you the star model in the OTB Her fashion show.”
“So that’s the big secret you couldn’t share the other day. OTB is introducing a women’s line.”
“Not just a women’s line, but the embodiment of a woman’s attitude. It’s been in development for a while, a couple years, really, since its conception. But in being around you, I saw all the pieces come together. You embody the woman these clothes are designed for. When I suggested to my partners that you might not be booked up for fashion week, they couldn’t get to your agent fast enough.”
“Now I understand the gift of the flower.”
“That stunning single Kinabalu orchid, and in a Baccarat vase, no less. Classy move, Mr. Montgomery. It doesn’t happen easily, but I’m impressed.”
“Wow. I’m tempted to keep my mouth shut and take the credit. But when the real person came forward I’d look like a dishonest fool.”