Gordon gives Austin the rundown on his interviews and calls upon his butler, Samuel, to assist them in preparing for the first one, which is the following morning. Austin is somewhat upset when he finds out that the show’s host is generally out for the interviewee’s blood, and has a reputation for making them cry.
Hardly reassured, Austin had Dwight send the information to his e-mail so he could read it later. They talked more extensively about his upcoming interviews. Fortunately, Liz Oglethorpe was likely to be the worst.
Afternoon led to evening and they decided to stay for dinner. Samuel wasn’t the only servant. They had a full staff of cooks and maids to wait on them. Someone prepared a delicious meal and they all ate in a lavish dining room done with mirrors and red flocked wallpaper.
After their meal, Dwight and Austin left. Liat wanted to go with them, but she hadn’t seen either of her parents in several months. They demanded time to catch up. Fortunately, they gave Liat and Austin a few private moments to say goodnight. Samuel chatted with Dwight, giving him further tips on how to coach Austin.
“Been a busy few days,” Austin said, taking her hands.
“Ridiculously so. I imagine the rest of the week will be worse.”
“I’m terrified over tomorrow. Will you be there?”
“Yes, she wants to talk to us both.”
He sighed, rolling his eyes. “At least we’ll be together, that’s something.”
“Don’t worry.” She pulled him closer. “Give me a kiss.”
“Don’t have to ask me twice.”
His lips brushed hers, barely touching. Smiling, he let the tip of his tongue trace her mouth before kissing her deeply.
Liat sighed. How could he kiss her so well her knees went weak? And never quite the same way twice, with a singularity of focus that no other man had ever given her. She’d tried not to let her mind fall into the darker regions, but when he kissed her like this, it was impossible not to imagine making love to him.
Her father cleared his throat behind them. Austin let her go, giving her one last peck on the lips.
“See you tomorrow.”
“Bright and early.”
“It will be all right,” Elaine assured him. “Not to worry.”
“You’ll be great,” Gordon said.
Austin and Dwight descended to the lobby. Stu met them at the back door and took them home. He pulled up in an underground parking lot that Austin didn’t even know existed. There was an elevator that required a key. Dwight took one from his pocket, working the lock. The door slid open and they pushed the button for their floor.
“Why don’t I know about this?”
“You don’t have a car. I pay extra every month so I can park inside. With the odd hours we keep, it’s handy.”
“I’m absolutely terrified about tomorrow,” Austin admitted as they walked to their apartments. “Do you think she’ll attack me?”
“Doubtful, not with Liat there. However, be prepared for her to know all about your background. She could get personal.”
“I’m not ashamed that I lived on the street. Not like I did anything illegal. I was poor. Sadly, some people consider that a crime.”
“It’s not a crime,” Dwight assured him. “But that anyone has to resort to it, is criminal. I’ll be by to check on you. Set your alarm for six. Wear this suit and I’ll bring a different shirt and tie.”
Austin clapped his hand on Dwight’s shoulder. “Thank you. For everything. I hope you’re well paid for doing your job, because you’re bloody good.”
“Thanks. I am. It’s nice to be appreciated.”
After resetting his alarm, Austin got ready for bed. He didn’t think he’d sleep right away, but surprised himself. Less than ten minutes later, he was asleep.
The alarm jarred Austin awake and he rolled out of bed feeling slightly hung over. Aside from a glass of champagne with lunch and one of wine at dinner, he hadn’t had any alcohol. He set up coffee and bathed while it brewed. He heard the door open and shut.
“Shirt and tie are on the bed,” Dwight called. “Can I snag a cup?”
“Help yourself, I made extra for you.”
“Thanks, you’re a life saver. I may be perfection on a platter for you, but I muck up my own life. I need groceries.”
“That represents the last of my coffee. I suppose I’ll have to get more.”
© 2015 Dellani Oakes
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