The Millionaire's Proposition(7)

By: Avril Tremayne


‘Oh, they’re not for Kate,’ Scott said. ‘They’re for you.’

‘Even so…’ Deb said, but he didn’t miss the tiny sparkle that sprang to life in her eyes. ‘Her meeting is running over time. Take a seat, if you’d like to wait.’

Scott angled himself so he could see through the glass wall of the boardroom. Could see her. Kate.

She was sitting at a long table, her back to him. Beside her was an overly blonded, expensive-looking woman wearing lime-green. The client, obviously. On the opposite side of the table was a man who epitomised lawyerdom. Pinstriped suit, white shirt, conservative tie. Beside Pinstripe was a man who looked as if he’d spent too long on the tanning bed, wearing an open-necked shirt with a humungous gold chain visible against his chest. Gold Chain was holding a dog. A furry little dog. Which he kept petting.

Amongst the four of them—five, if you included the dog—there were frequent vehement headshakes, very occasional nods, hand gestures aplenty. At one point Kate ran a hand tiredly over her hair, which was tied in a low ponytail. It made Scott want to touch her.

And that reminded him that their only physical contact on Saturday night had been a handshake. So it was kind of nuts to be so obsessed with her. But obsessed was what he was.

Suddenly Kate stood. She put her hands on the table and leaned forward—making a particular point, he guessed. She was wearing a cream skirt suit. Beautifully, tightly fitted.

Scott was appreciating the view of her really superb backside when she stretched just a little bit further forward and her skirt hitched up for one split second. Just long enough to give him a tiny glimpse of the lacy band at the top of one of her…ooohhh…stockings.

She was wearing stockings.

All the blood in Scott’s body redirected itself in one gush, straight to his groin. The sudden ache of it made him clamp his jaws together.

Stockings!

Stay-ups? Suspenders? Hell, who cared which?

Then she was back in her seat. Scott realised he’d been holding his breath and exhaled—very, very slowly.

He forced his eyes away from her—scared he’d start drooling otherwise—and saw Gold Chain give the dog a kiss on the nose while keeping his eyes on his wife across the table.

That seemed to incense Blondie—which Scott could understand, because it was kind of gross—who leapt to her feet and screeched so loudly her voice bounced straight through the glass wall. Next moment all four of them were standing. There were waved arms, pointed fingers, even a stamped foot. The stamped foot was from Blondie, who was then subtly restrained by Kate, who seemed serene in the midst of chaos. Pinstripe was using a similar restraining movement on Gold Chain, but was somewhat hampered by the dog snapping at him.

Scott heard a few words shouted—hurled. Custody. Holidays. Missed drop-offs. Interspersed with an occasional ear-sizzling foul-mouthed curse.

Shocked, Scott looked at Deb. Shouldn’t she be calling the cops before someone threw an actual punch? But Deb just kept typing, unperturbed. Which would have to mean that Kate put up with such crap routinely, wouldn’t it? Did that explain Kate’s air of cynicism at Willa’s divorce party? Because if this was divorce, it sure wasn’t pretty.

He tuned back in to the screeches. A custody battle? Had to be. The antagonists were…what?…in their early thirties, maybe? So the kids had to be young. How many kids?

Scott wondered how his own parents would have handled a custody battle. Not that his parents would have done anything so undignified as get divorced. The joining of two old families, the merging of two fortunes, had been destiny working the way it was supposed to—even if he’d never seen his parents kiss, let alone hold hands. Their merger was too perfect ever to be classified as a mistake, so that sucker wasn’t getting dissolved.

But if they had divorced he couldn’t imagine them getting into a raging custody battle. Over him, at any rate. They would have come up with a simple, bloodless schedule of visits, complete with taxi pick-ups and drop-offs.

Custody of his older brother would have been a different story. There would have been nothing amicable about sharing the ‘perfect’ son. Maybe that was the real reason they’d stayed together—the inability to satisfactorily halve his brother.

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