The Hotel Magnate's Demand(3)By: Jennifer Rae
‘And, furthermore, I’ve managed to convince the idiots in charge that allowing me full control of their newest and most important client as well as their three million dollars was the best bloody idea they’ve ever had.’ Amy laughed.
Scott stood and gave her a hug. Jess squealed in delight and called out congrats, and Brodie said loudly that her bosses must be nut-jobs.
Strangely, though, Willa didn’t move. She smiled a tight smile. Frankly, Amy had expected more. A laugh, a joke, a call for drinks all round. But Willa sat still, that silly strange smile still planted on her face and her eyes now frantically moving up and down.
‘Amy...’ she started, finally getting up from her seat.
Her eyes were still scooting down and Amy finally realised where she was looking. At the stranger. Who Amy could now feel was looking at her. So Amy looked back. Then she looked at Willa. Who had stopped still. As had Amy. Her brain seized. Every cell in her body froze. No air was being released from her lungs and she was pretty sure her heart had actually stopped beating.
Willa again. Amy willed herself to breathe. She felt the warmth of her best friend’s hand on her arm and she was grateful for it. Because right at the moment she wasn’t sure that she wouldn’t faint. Her knees gave a little as her eyes met Willa’s, holding them steady.
A conversation went on between the two friends without one word being spoken. A telepathic conversation that they had a knack for.
No. Tell me it can’t be.
Hold steady. It’ll be okay.
I’m not prepared. What did I say? Did I make a fool of myself?
Just look at him.
So Amy did. She looked down at him. But right at that moment he stood. All six feet of him. Tall. Solid. Strong and dark. Amy forced herself to swallow and made her eyes trail up his chest, past his broad shoulders and to his face. A face she thought she’d forgotten. A face she’d never forget. It was him. He was here. In the flesh.
Amy tried to speak but nothing came out. She tried again. She knew what she wanted to say. She’d practised what she wanted to say. Ever since she’d got back in contact with her old friend Willa months ago she’d been going over and over what she might say should she meet Luke, Willa’s brother, her former boss and the man she’d had the fiercest crush of her life on. Who also happened to be one of only two people who knew her deepest, darkest secret. But all those words were gone. Somewhere. In the ether.
‘Hello, Amy. It’s been a long time.’
Yes, it has. Hello, Luke. Nice to see you. How are you? There were any number of things Amy could have said right at that moment. She dug her nails into Willa’s flesh and jerked her friend towards her.
‘I’m...gonna go get a drink.’ Then she turned and fled, pulling her poor friend with her.
‘Now, Amy, before you lose it...’
‘Before I lose it? Before I lose it? Willa—I’ve already lost it! Why didn’t you tell me Luke was coming? You should have warned me!’
‘He literally just landed today and texted me. I told him to come along but honestly I didn’t think he would.’
‘Oh, God, what did I say? I can’t even remember.’
As was the norm whenever Luke was around, Amy became a little ditzy. That logical, clever part of her brain evaporated when she saw him. Which was crazy. It had been—what? Seven years? No. Eight. Eight years since she’d seen him. Eight years since that night. The swooping roared through her stomach again.
Amy pulled her face into a smile.
‘Okay—that’s okay. It’s fine. I’m fine. I was just shocked, you know...? I want to see him. I’m happy to see him. Let’s get a drink—what are you drinking? Actually. drinks all round! We’re celebrating. remember?’