Austin recovered quickly. His doctor gave him a clean bill of health within a week. The bruising was almost completely gone and the cuts were healing nicely. He went back to work the following Monday.
When he walked in, everyone clapped and cheered. Dexter and Naomi had a plate of scones, fresh butter and a pot of tea. Liat carried a plate of pineapple and a bowl of melted chocolate on a tray, setting it in front of him. He laughed when he saw it, and fed her a piece. She took the hint and fed him one. Anyone who didn’t already know they’d consummated their relationship, knew it when he kissed her.
“We’re taking the leftovers home,” he mumbled against her lips.
The day went well. Sandy insisted on using a stunt double and, for once, Austin didn’t object. He was in pain by quitting time, but Dwight had his pills and gave him one before he headed home. Liat drove back to his apartment and parked in a place near the elevator.
“They gave me a special spot since you haven’t a car. Seems the management likes you.”
“That’s because I’m handsome, outrageously famous and I’ve got great hair,” he said with a toss of his head.
“Will you ever let me forget that?” she pleaded.
“Maybe, when you’re old and gray and all my hair falls out.”
“How are you feeling?”
“Tired. I’d like a short nap, but then I want—entertainment.” He kissed her, his hand sliding up her thigh.
She helped him out of the car. They kissed as the elevator rose to his floor. When the door opened, they were surprised to see his neighbors clustered around. Glad he hadn’t been doing something naughty, Austin took Liat’s hand and stepped off the elevator.
“I know you’re tired,” Liat said. “But they so wanted to have a bit of a party now that you’re well. Do you forgive us?”
He chuckled. “Always. What’s for dinner? I’m starving!”
“We’re having a cookout on the roof,” Jerry announced. “So go get changed and come up. When’s the last time you had a pain pill?”
“Half hour ago.”
“Then you’re not drinking,” Ellen said.
“Yes, Nurse,” he said, inclining his head.
He and Liat got changed and went upstairs. All his neighbors were there, along with other people he knew in the building. Owen and his staff had fixed a dozen side dishes and half a dozen desserts. He and Jerry were grilling spare ribs and arguing, good naturedly, over the sauce.
Dwight came upstairs, fairly bouncing with excitement. “Just got a call from God. He said that Irving’s in jail on charges of breaking and entering, vandalism, attempted arson and assault. He won’t get out for some time. His defamation charges have been dropped, of course. He couldn’t prove a thing anyway. And—” He paused dramatically. “The founding fathers want a chat with you about The Magician’s Fund. It seems you’ve come to the attention of the big man himself.”
“Someone bigger than God?”
“God controls network TV and dabbles in radio. I’m talking about the man who owns half the city.”
“Not Ian Yarrow?” Liat gasped.
“Himself! Gorgeous man!” He rolled his eyes, sighing dramatically. “How sad it is that he’s straight. Ah well, one can dream!”
“Why do they want to talk to me?”
“They want to see if you’ll allow it to go nationwide. With Ian backing you, it could go international too.”
“Is he rich, or something?” Austin asked.
Dwight gave him a withering look. “You really need to get out more, ducky. He’s got something like a billion dollars.”
“Maybe in his back pocket,” Liat commented dryly. “Ian’s got more money than God. In this case, I mean Almighty, not Daddy. He’s a wonderful man.”
“Great. Just tell me where to go. If it helps the kids, that’s all that’s important.”
“Splendid. I’ll text you details.”
© 2015 Dellani Oakes