Not Quite Over You

Page 4


“All in the past,” she whispered to herself as she crossed the sidewalk. “All in the past.”
The door to the largest trailer was open, as if in invitation. She felt herself starting to hunch again, then forced herself to stand tall. Lured or not, she would walk in proud and strong. Whatever was going on, she could handle it. She’d been through a whole lot worse with Drew.
She stepped into the trailer. Drew sat at the long sofa, an e-reader in his hands. He glanced up and smiled.
“Hi. How’s it going?”
She ignored his questions and asked one of her own. “What are you doing here?”
“Waiting for you. I have lunch, if you’re hungry.”
He motioned to the built-in table and benches, as if expecting her to sit down. What was with him having lunch ready for the two of them? This wasn’t a social visit. Ack, she should have taken Wynn up on her offer of a baseball bat.
Silver sank onto the padded bench. She put her hands on the table, then shoved them onto her lap only to put them back on the table. Everything about this felt weird and awkward and just plain uncomfortable. She wanted to run and scream, only before she could do either, she couldn’t help noticing the perfect lines of the trailer. The size was just right and with a little refurbishing, there could be so much storage. She would have room for a long bar and beer on tap and—
“Turkey okay?” he asked, holding out two sandwiches. “Or ham?”
He passed it over, then grabbed them each a can of diet soda along with a pile of napkins before sitting across from her. He nodded at the interior of the trailer.
“Needs a lot of work, but I see the potential.”
“You see it?” She rolled her eyes. “You have no idea what this could be. To you it’s just some old trailer, but to me, it’s the next phase of my business. I’ve put thought into what I’m doing, Drew. I didn’t just write a check.”
“Contempt for the very money you wanted to borrow for yourself.” His tone was mild, his expression more amused than offended. He took a bite of his sandwich. “Without the check you’re so willing to deride, there would be no trailers. At least not now.”
He had a point, which really annoyed her.
“Fine,” she grumbled as she unwrapped her sandwich. “Why are you here?”
“I’m living the dream. Why are you here?”
She wondered if it would be wrong to kick him right in the shin. So much violence, she thought with a sigh. Her visceral reaction to Drew was because she knew he had all the power and she had none. Not a situation she enjoyed, ever.
Instead of answering, she started eating her sandwich. He continued with his and they had lunch in complete silence. He finished first. He opened a bag of chips, offered it to her, then spoke.
“So here’s the thing,” he began. “My grandfather is thinking of retiring.”
“Okay.” Hardly news. Grandpa Frank wasn’t a young man. He was charming and vibrant but well past the age of retirement.
“There are complications,” he continued. “Namely who is going to be chairman of the board when that happens.”
“Why is there a question? You’re the heir apparent, aren’t you?” Drew had been the firstborn of the firstborn. With great power and all that. He had been destined to run the bank since before he’d started kindergarten. Back when they’d been dating, he’d talked about his future with excitement and anticipation. Drew had actually liked the idea of being in banking. Crazy, but that was Drew.
“Libby wants to throw her hat in the ring.”
“I wish you’d told me that before I ate my sandwich,” she said, pushing away the second half. “Why is she even in contention?”
“Technically anyone can throw his or her hat in the ring. I’m the obvious choice, but that doesn’t mean the bank is my only interest.”
“I thought that was all you’d been trained to do. Isn’t that the point of your entire existence? You love the bank. Don’t tell me you don’t want to be the bank king right here in town. As if.”
He smiled at her. “Silver, we all grow and change. I have. Every now and then I like to do something unexpected, just to see who’s paying attention.”
“I have no idea what that means.”
“Me either but it sounds good.” He leaned back against the bench. “So here’s the thing. I have these two trailers.”
She’d just started to relax, she thought as her entire body stiffened. She had no idea what was going on, but she had a bad feeling this might be a game to him. A cruel game with her as the target.
She remembered when they’d played different types of games, when their sport had been about pleasing each other. They’d been so desperately in love—or at least she had been. She was less sure about him. Despite his protestations at the time, in the end, he’d left her without a backward glance.
Not anything she needed to deal with right now, she told herself. She had to focus on the problem at hand—namely what did he want in return for the two Airstreams?
He put his large hands on the table and leaned toward her. “I’d appreciate it if you’d just listen to what I have to say, and then we’ll discuss it.”
She had no idea what “it” was, nor did she want to promise to not interrupt, or scream or hit him with something. But if she did anything but nod, he would suspect she was more upset than she should be.
“Fine,” she said. “Talk.”
“I want to buy into your business as a minority partner.”
“What? Are you insane? Did you fall and hit your head? A minority partner? A partner? Of my business? The one I conceived of and saved for and started and have made successful all on my own?” She glared at him. “By. My. Self. There’s only been me, Drew. Just me. A partner. Are you on crack?”
He smiled. “As long as you’re willing to listen.”
She leaned back and crossed her arms over her chest. “Go ahead.”
“I want to start building my personal portfolio. I’ve been thinking of buying into several businesses around town. If that works out, I’ll expand my empire, so to speak, and look for opportunities in Palm Springs, maybe Riverside or San Diego. When Libby turned down your loan I realized that I had a chance to act.” One shoulder rose. “I’ll admit I was impulsive, buying the trailers, but I could see what you wanted to do. I like your business plan. You’ve thought it all through.”
She told herself the compliment didn’t matter. She didn’t need or want his approval. He was giving her an opportunity to expand—that was what was important.
“How do you see this working?” she asked, relaxing only slightly.
“I would want to be a real partner. I’d want to help with future planning and really be involved. Obviously I have a full-time job, but I could help out when you’re shorthanded. Your work is mostly on the weekends, when I’m off.”
She snorted. “You’d work parties?”
“Why not?”
“Gee, I don’t know. Have you ever been a professional bartender? Or even an amateur one? Do you have the slightest idea what it’s like to serve drinks to two or three hundred people in a very short period of time? Do you have a bartender’s license? Do you know the difference between a mojito and a margarita?”