Chapter 6:

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 223

Shayna couldn't see who grabbed her at first but the cologne smelled familiar.

"Devlin is that you?"

He released her and she turned around to face him.

"How'd you know?"

She folded her arms.

"I'm conditioned to recoil at your scent anytime I encounter it."

He frowned.

"Oh come on Shayna was it really that bad between us?"

She didn't give him an inch but she didn't kick him like she wanted to do either. The louse really deserved that much after what he had done.

"You were charming and I thought you were even nice until you showed your hand," she said, "And I told you I didn't want to see you anymore."

He nodded.

"Ah yes, you thought I slept with you just to get my hands on the file for that new invention protocol."

She arched a brow.

"Well didn't you?"

He didn't respond right away. At least he had the grace not to do that. And if he tried to pull any of his moves to disarm her, she really would kick him this time.

"No…not exactly…but Shayna darling, you really have to understand…"

She stood firm, arms still folded.

"No I don't Devlin," she said, "I really think you should just leave now."

He smiled at that and naturally, stayed right where he was, rather than making a graceful exit.

"I don't think that's what you really want."

She sighed impatiently.

"That's exactly what I want," she said, "and why are you here anyway?"

He adjusted his suit.

"I'm here for the auction of course."

"What…"

He pointed a finger at her.

"Now don't play dumb with me sweetie," he said, "I know that you and Austin are here and of all covers, posing as newlyweds. Now tell me darling, has this assignment been under the covers?"

She rolled her eyes at him.

"Get out of here or I'll…"

"You'll what," he said, "I've decided that I really shouldn't have let you run me off like you did. That what I did really was a very minor transgression…"

Her brows rose.

"Minor…my only problem is that I believed the bill of goods you tried to sell me and we…"

"Hit the sheets and I do believe that you enjoyed yourself," he finished.

Hardly, she thought at least not when she learned that he betrayed her by stealing the file and handing it to the other side of the multi-million dollar lawsuit between two major corporations. But she had been young and naïve back then and that definitely wouldn't be the case now. The experience had been painful to a young woman who had thought he had truly cared about her but she had moved on and grown up. On the other hand, he acted just like the way he had back then.

"I think we need to talk about joining forces…"

She chuckled at him shaking her head.

"I don't think so…Devlin," she said, "I'd never trust you again after what you did and you better just leave now while I'm still in the mood to let you walk away."

His smile fell off his face.

"You wouldn't…"

"Oh yes I would," she said, "I'm a black belt now in two martial arts and I'm more than willing to demonstrate my considerable skills on your body given that I know every inch of it including its weak points."

"I have none…"

She tilted her head.

"We could find out," she offered, "It will take about two seconds."

He studied her face to see if she were really serious and she looked back at him.

"Well, maybe three seconds…"

Austin and Whitney left the elevator on the ground floor of the hotel to seek out Hans beginning their search in the piano bar. But the room looked empty except for an older man in a rumpled tux warbling at the grand piano with a bottle of gin next to him.

"That's not him," Whitney said, "I wondered where he might have gone."

Austin looked around.

"We can try the study," he said, "A lot of business deals are made there."

Over Cuban cigars and martinis usually, he knew because he had been to many hotels around the world with similar digs. They headed in that direction and sure enough, Whitney pointed out Hans to Austin from where he was standing talking to Simon and a blonde woman in a red cocktail dress. Whitney didn't seem too thrilled to see her in the mix.

She strode over to Hans who turned around and brightened when he saw her.

"Darling, I was just talking to Simon here…"

Whitney balled her fists at her side.

"Who's the woman?"

Hans shook his head at her.

"Not here," he said, "It's just business anyway. She works with Simon."

Austin hadn't seen her before but figured that a connected man like Simon had partners and maybe this woman was one of them. The woman smiled at Whitney and stuck her hand out.

"Hi…I'm Tasha…I own a gallery back East," she said, "I'm here for the same reason you're here…I suspect."

Whitney didn't look like she quite bought her introduction.

"My husband is needed elsewhere," she said, "Come on Hans, it's getting late and we've got an early day tomorrow."

Hans looked reluctant.

"Whitney…I'm almost through here," he said, "Why don't you go upstairs and wait?"

Whitney sighed.

"I did that already for over an hour…"

"But you came down with…Mr. Jackson who I notice is without his charming wife."

Austin looked over at Hans.

"I'm about to go upstairs to her right now," he said, "now that Whitney has found you."

She turned to him.

"Wait…"

Hans frowned.

"Whitney, he's got other things to do than babysit you," he said, "now run along and I'll be upstairs in a minute."

She shook her head at him.

"That's all it's been since you started getting obsessed with this artwork," she said, "Where's the man I fell in love with and married?"

Austin felt self-conscious listening to them argue. Although he had moved on from his relationship with her, some of the words still hit close to home.

"Whitney…enough…"

Simon just looked at them both, his expression not changing.

"No you need to pay attention to your lovely wife," he said, "I have other clients to see."

Simon nodded at them and walked away. Hans didn't look happy to see him depart.

"Whitney…you know how critical this deal is to us."

She gazed at him sadly.

"More important than our marriage," she asked.

Austin looked at the both of them, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

"I've got to be going;" he said, "My wife's upstairs and I don't like to keep her waiting."

He left them to head back to the elevator, thinking about Shayna up in the suite upstairs. Not that he should be having these thoughts but he couldn't help it. All the kissing they had done had messed with his head, especially the latest one in the elevator. If he had any idea it would have been like that…well he would have…but he couldn't change the past. Just the future which he had started to look at in a new light. That put a spring in his step as he pressed the button for the elevator.

" Shayna you can't be serious," Devlin said, in protest.

She didn't appear all that moved by his appeal and she certainly didn't feel like giving him leniency if he didn't just leave her alone.

"Oh I am," she said, "If you try to appeal to my better side, you'll find it's got a good roundhouse kick."

His eyes widened.

"This extreme reaction from you for what I did years ago?"

She looked at him guardedly.

"That wasn't all you did," she said, "Your partners in crime booby trapped my car."

"It wouldn't have blown up," he insisted, "Maybe just a small detonation but I would have never let anyone hurt you."

"It didn't go off because it was a dud," she said, "according to the police. One of your partners tipped me off."

" Shayna …"

"Don't come any closer or I will drop kick you so fast you won't get any words out anyway," she said, "not that it would be a major loss."

But apparently the man who had messed with her heart and then with her didn't listen very well. He moved quickly but not quickly enough and before he could grab her arm, she grabbed him, swung him around and pressed him against the wall.

"I told you…no touching…You never listened to me when we were together…"

He sputtered as she pulled his arm tighter pushing it into his back.

"Let me go…"

"I'll think about it…if you get out of here and don't show your face again."

He shook his head.

"Does your new boyfriend get turned on by this side of you?"

She put more pressure on him.

"Okay…but he'll regret ever hooking up with the likes of you."

She smiled at him.

"We'll see…so you promise to get out of here?"

He made a face.

"He'll find out about you soon enough," he said, "that…"

Then they both heard a voice behind them.

"Find out what?"

Shayna turned to look at Austin while still holding onto Devlin.

"He was just leaving," she said, "weren't you?"

"If you let me go…"

She did and he straightened out his suit, glaring at her.

"You are just…"

Austin stepped up to him.

"She just said that you were leaving," he said, "You best run along."

Devlin just shook his head at Austin.

"You'd better be careful of this one."

Austin suppressed a smile.

"I'll keep that in mind."

Devlin then left them, proceeding down the hallway until he turned the corner. SHAYNA just shook her head.

"I'm sorry you had to see that," she said.

"He has the problem not you," he said, "You okay?"

She nodded.

"He's just some visitor from my past," she said, "Devlin…and I think he's interested in this art auction. He asked me about it."

"So you knew him?"

"Yeah…back when I was not far out of law school and did an internship with a corporate firm," she said, "I was assigned to a pretty big case involving a merger of two major corporations and Devlin was what you'd call one of those corporate spies."

"I see…and he set his sights on you?"

She grimaced and nodded again.

"I was young and I admit somewhat impressionable and he just hit me hard with the right moves and words…none of which he meant of course."

He could see that it embarrassed her to know that she had been played by a master like this Devlin must have been.

" Shayna it's okay, we've all been there," he said, "I know I have a time or two."

She looked skeptical.

"You…I mean you had that one night stand with Roxie where she lifted your wallet but other than that…"

He shook his head.

"No I've been conned a time or two," he said, "It's just part of life. All you can do is learn from it and move on."

"That's what I did," she said, "but he's back and he's interested in this secret auction and knows that we're both involved in it."

"We still don't know all that much about it."

She scratched her head.

"And that what concerns me," she said, "That we're getting all the information piecemeal from an assortment of characters."

He smiled.

"Otherwise, another day at the office for us."

She had to agree with that, having been involved with him in many cases just like this one. They proceeded to the suite. He took the key card and opened up the door. They walked inside and Shayna threw her purse down and headed to the mini bar.

"What'd you like?"

Austin sat on the couch.

"What are you having?"

She looked at her options, and noted the impressive row of bottles of assorted drinks.

"I think I'll have a Scotch."

He nodded.

"Me too…"

She poured a glass for each of them and brought his over to him. He sipped it appreciatively.

"Oh that hits the spot."

"Rough evening?"

He sighed.

"Whitney appears to be unhappy in her marriage."

She sipped her own drink.

"Austin…did she tell you that?"

"No…but I saw it…there was a lot of tension there," he said, "and they didn't go back to their room together."

Shayna digested that.

"Maybe it's normal for them," she said, "I'm sure they'll work it out."

Austin patted the spot on the couch next to him.

"Come and sit with me."

She eyed him warily.

"I don't know if that's a good idea."

"Why not," he said, "We seemed to get along very well earlier."

"My point exactly," she said, "Austin…What's going on with us?"

He smiled.

"You sit down next to me here and I'll tell you."

She paused, weighing it and then she finally sat down next to him, but not too closely.

"I can't talk to you when you're sitting all the way over there," he pointed out.

"Austin…I can hear you just fine," she said, "Now tell me…"

"We make an awfully good pair don't you think," he started.

She nodded.

"Well yes, we work together very well though I have to admit this assignment has been…different."

He leaned back, sipping his drink thoughtfully.

"I'm not talking about working together," he said, "I'm talking about when we're not working."

She furrowed her brow.

"Okay…I think, yes we've been friends and business partners…"

He sighed again.

"Well yes…that…but I'm talking about that plan that you discussed with me months ago," he said, "the one where you wanted to find the man you wanted…"

She waved her hand.

"Oh that…I think it was silly of me to think that it would ever work," she said, "It's been a disaster since I implemented or tried to do that."

"Maybe it's not the plan, but the course of action."

She looked at him funny.

"Austin what are you talking about?"

"I…."

Then they heard a phone ringing from somewhere inside the room.

"I think it's mine…"

Shayna watched as Austin went to find his cell phone and he picked it up.

"Who is it," she asked.

"Max….," he said, "Hi, what's up?"

Back in L.A., Max sat in the penthouse suite finishing some paperwork before heading home.

"I'm checking through some old records on the Wilson case and I can't find the invoices."

"They're in the cabinet by the wet bar," Austin said, "I signed them after Wilson did and they should be ready to copy and file."

"Got you," Max said, "How are things going on with your case?"

"They're going…it seems like everyone and his dog is involved in this mysterious art auction…I even ran into two ex-girlfriends."

"It's a small world Austin," Max said, "more so than we know."

"They're both married and only one of them has ties to this auction."

"That's good," Max said, "How's Shayna?"

Austin looked over at her.

"She's doing…great…We're about ready to turn in after some strategizing for tomorrow."

"Well good luck and tell her hi for me."

"Will do," Austin said, and then clicked off his phone.

Shayna glanced up at him.

"What is this about working," she said, "I'm going to hit the roof top pool and do some laps."

He watched her as she got up to go find her swim suit. She pulled it out and damn if it weren't the blue bikini with the nice trim.

"You…"

"Austin…I'm going to just work off some of this excess energy and then maybe soak in the spa for a spell."

He nodded.

"You can join me if you'd like."

"Maybe in the hot tub," he said, "I just have some work to do here."

She nodded back at him and went to her room to change, coming out dressed in her robe. She grabbed a towel and told him she'd see him later.

He sat back on the couch alone with his Scotch and his paperwork, wondering if she would ever sit still long enough to listen to what he had wanted to say.

But then he thought maybe it wasn't words that were needed after all.

 


Submitted: April 05, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Marzy Dotes. All rights reserved.

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