Billionaires and Beach Bums(9)

By: Mia Caldwell

“Okay, but does it sound like he was actually interested or just doing that careless flirting thing that hot guys do?”

"I wasn’t there, Dre, so I can’t really know. But from what you’re saying it sounds like yeah, he’s into you. I mean, the google-stalking and the business proposal sound real enough. And god knows if he was just interested in business, this town is thick with MBAs that take gourmet classes."

“I know, right? That’s what I told him. But he was all ‘There was something about you’ or something. So I’m not reading into it? I’m telling you, there’s like weird electricity between us.”

“I’ve never known you to think a guy is into you when he isn’t. I mean, it’s usually the opposite, right? I’m saying, ‘Girl, that guy is checking you out!’ and you’re sure he just has gas or can’t quite read the menu-board.”

I laughed; she was right. I know I’m cute, but so are a lot of women, so it’s hard to stand in a bar full of people that look like Calvin Klein models and assume a guy is looking at you. Now where grew up, where Mama lives? They don’t go for subtle. There it’s “Hey girl, why don’t you come over here?” and far cruder offers followed by “Stuck up bitch.” I mean, I’m sure there are nice guys–they just aren’t hanging out on the steps of my mom’s building.

“But if he has a girlfriend, I don’t want to be flirting with him. She’s a monster, but I’m not going to steal away someone’s man.”

Kiera rolled her eyes at me. “Honey, you cannot steal a man like a pack of gum. If you make the offer and he goes along with it, that’s his choice. You’re pretty, but you are not magic.” She waggled her eyebrows at me. “Maybe he’s tired of all that vanilla.”

“Pft, she’s not even vanilla. She’s the carton it came in. Or rum raisin. Who likes that?”

"Then you’re doing him a favor. Go home and shower, get cute. Give yourself enough time so you don’t have to walk too fast and get all sweaty. It’s perfect timing. You fill his head with how great you are and then you and me hit Aruba for a week, make him long for you."

Kiera knows guys. She claims to be too busy to be serious, but I think she just really likes dating and flirting and hooking up. And I, as I’ve mentioned, do not. Setting out to charm a man felt about as natural as flying. But I did what she said, just in case his plans changed and he came in for dinner.

And Walker never turned up.

I was still feeling hopeful when I took a meal up to Mrs. Alexander. She gave me the side-eye when I handed her the martini glass.

“What the hell is this crap?” she asked, peering at the emerald green liquid.

“It’s a wheatgrass cocktail.”

“You’d better be using that word correctly.”

I laughed really hard, that old lady cracked me up. “Yes, Mrs. Alexander, I am. I promise. It has wheatgrass, just like your son ordered, but I added some Cachaca, vodka, and lime juice. It’s after five, after all.”

She smiled broadly. “Atta girl.” She took a sip and looked up, “Not bad! That Brazilian-and-grass combo reminds me of my first gardener.” She shook her head wistfully. “Tastes just like him.”

I blushed like the prude I secretly fear I am and pretended I didn’t hear, busying myself with the tray of food. Once I had introduced it all to her, I said, “I’m sorry I didn’t bring up your lunch myself. I didn’t want to interrupt you when you had guests.”

She waved her hand in the air. “If you waited for that girl to shut her mouth, I’d starve to death, so I’m glad you sent it up.”

I kept an airy tone, oh, I’m just making small talk, ma’am. “Does she come by often?”

“More than I’d like.” Almost muttering to herself, she added, “what he sees in her I can’t imagine.”

Back in the kitchen, I decided to just pack up and get out. By the time I had cleaned up, it was late enough that it was clear Walker wasn’t coming. I wasn’t sure I’d even want to see him. I’d worn uncomfortable shoes for him and pinned up my hair in a twist more flattering than my usual work style. But my “I’m going to get him!” high from earlier was fading. What chance did I have against a golden goddess like Celia? And really? If he could love a woman like that, why would I even want him?

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