I settled into the seat in front of his desk with an inner sigh of relief. “Sweet. Sounds fun.”
IT was a little after eleven when Megumi called to see if I was free for lunch.
“Of course,” I told her.
I considered our options. “I’ve got an idea. Leave it to me.”
I sat at my desk. “How’s your morning been?”
“Busy. I have to get caught up.”
“Let me know if I can help with anything.”
“Thank you, Eva.” She took a deep, shaky breath, her composure slipping. “I appreciate you.”
We hung up. I called Gideon’s office, and his secretary answered.
“Hey, Scott. It’s Eva. How are you?”
“I’m good.” I could hear the smile in his voice. “What can I do for you?”
My feet tapped restlessly. I couldn’t help but be worried about my friend. “Could you ask Gideon to give me a call when he has a free minute?”
“I’ll put you through now.”
“Oh. Okay, great. Thanks.”
A moment later I heard the voice I loved. “What do you need, Eva?”
I was startled for a minute by his brusqueness. “Are you busy?”
“I’m in a meeting.”
Fuck. “My bad. Bye.”
I hung up, and then called Scott again to discuss how we should handle calls in the future so I didn’t come out looking like an ass. Before he answered, the secondary line flashed with an incoming call. I switched over. “Mark Garrity’s office—”
“Don’t ever hang up on me,” Gideon snapped.
I bristled at his tone. “Are you in a meeting or not?”
“I was. Now I’m dealing with you.”
Hell if anyone was going to “deal” with me. I could be as pissy as him any day of the week. “You know, I asked Scott to give you a message when you had time for it and he patched me through. He shouldn’t have done that, if you were busy with—”
“He has standing orders to always connect your calls. If you want to leave me a message, send a text or an e-mail.”
“Well, excuse me for not knowing the etiquette for getting in touch with you!”
“Never mind that now. Say what you need.”
“Nothing. Forget it.”
He exhaled roughly. “Don’t play games with me, angel.”
I was reminded of the last time I’d called him at work and how off he’d sounded then, too. If something was bugging him, he sure wasn’t sharing it.
I hunched over my desk and lowered my voice. “Gideon, your attitude pisses me off. I don’t want to deal with you when you’re aggravated. If you’re too busy to talk to me, you shouldn’t have standing orders that interrupt you.”
“I’m never going to be unreachable.”
“Really? ’Cause you seem that way right now.”
“For f**k’s sake.”
Hearing his exasperation gave me a surge of satisfaction. “I didn’t text you because I didn’t want to bother you in a meeting. I didn’t send an e-mail, because it’s a time-sensitive favor and I don’t know how often you get to your inbox. I figured a message with Scott would get the job done best.”
“And now you have my complete attention. Tell me what you want.”
“I want to get off the phone, and I want you to get back to your meeting.”
“What you’re going to get,” he said, with dangerous evenness, “is me at your desk if you don’t cut the shit and explain why you called.”
I glared at his photo. “You make me want to find a job in New Jersey.”
“You make me crazy.” He growled softly. “I can’t function when we’re fighting, you know that. Just say what you need, Eva, and forgive me for now. We can argue and have makeup sex later.”
The tension left me. How could I stay mad at him after he admitted how vulnerable I could make him?
“Damn you,” I muttered. “I hate when you get reasonable after irritating me.”
He made a low sound of reluctant amusement. I instantly felt better.
“Angel mine.” His voice took on the sexy, raspy warmth I needed to hear. “Definitely not a quiet, comfortable ornament.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t worry about it. You’re perfect. Tell me why you called.”
I knew that tone. I’d turned him on somehow. “You’re a maniac. Seriously.”
“Anyway, ace, I wanted to see if I could borrow one of your conference rooms for lunch with Megumi. She’s back, but she’s a mess and I think she wants to talk about it but there’s really not a good place to go nearby that’s private and quiet.”
“Use my office. I’ll have something ordered in and you’ll have the space to yourself while I’m out.”
“Of course. However, I have to remind you that when you work for Cross Industries you’ll have your own office to lunch in.”
My head fell back. “Shut up.”
THE research involved in prepping for the PhazeOne RFP kept me hopping, but I was antsy for information from Megumi, so the hour seemed to drag anyway.