Undercover Ch. 10byAda Stuart©
"Why not give him another chance?" Warren pleaded. He was facing Erin. She was furious and he had a good idea why. Cade had not answered his phone for the last couple of days so he figured a lovers quarrel. The proposal must not have turned out well.
"I'm sure you can work it out together. Sam tells me the two of you could barely take your eyes of each other."
"That doesn't mean anything," Erin intervened. "It was an affair, and a short-lived one. Now leave it alone, Warren."
"Look, nobody's perfect," Warren tried again. "But I've been married to my Emma for the last thirty years and we still love each other."
"Good for you," Erin said calmly but the tone clearly bespoke of her total disinterest in continuing the subject.
"What I'm trying to say is that love doesn't come flying on a magic carpet. You have to work for it."
"And I'm positive the two of you are just perfect for one another- if you'll only give the relationship a chance."
"You've planned this all along, haven't you Warren?"
"This whole set-up is one of your great plans for finding a woman for that precious nephew of yours? There never was any embezzlement, was there? No, don't say anything," she almost screamed as he opened his mouth. "I can tell when you're hiding something. You lured me into dressing like a prostitute and seducing that damn macho-man."
"Now see here. It was done with the best of mind - for both of you. "
"How?" Erin snarled at him. "How can any of this disaster help me in any way?"
"Of course I wanted Cade to settle down. He's always working too hard and caring too little about finding a person to share his life with. And so are you. I want my employees to have a life besides work."
"Ah ha. So this was all done in charity?" Erin practically screamed at him.
"I wouldn't have put it quite like that, but..."
"But nothing," Erin shouted. "Stay out of my personal life, Warren! Or I will have to find somewhere else to work." She stamped out of his office and closed the door with a loud bang.
Warren just stared at the closed door. How had his plan turned out so bad? It had gotten along so well he had thought he had everything in hand. Damn them both. He had only tried to make them happy and look where it had gotten him. Neither of them was behaving like reasonable adults these days. The next time he would leave all the matchmaking to Emma. She was much better at this.
"What's up, girl? Are you going to let me in or what?" Stella's voice was beaming into the door phone. Erin had managed to avoid her for the last couple of days by letting the answering machine sort her calls. So far it had worked, but Stella was not one to give up that easily.
"All right, you'd better come up then," Erin said and pushed the door button.
"How did it go?" Stella asked as soon as she entered the apartment. "I haven't heard a thing about this assignment of yours. Warren is not saying anything and you're avoiding me. What's happened?"
"I don't want to talk about it, Stella. Can't we just let it rest?"
Stella just stared worriedly at her shabby clothes and swollen eyes. "What's going on? You look like hell, girl."
"Thanks. Just what I wanted to hear," Erin said ironically. "I'm just not sleeping too well these days."
"But what happened? Warren only told me you had taken a few days off, and that doesn't sound like you at all. Are you sick or something?"
"I just wanted a few days to recuperate that's all. Nothing serious."
"Did that Mason-fellow hurt you in any way? Is that it?" Stella asked worryingly.
"No, he didn't. I'm more angry than hurt, actually."
"Why?" Stella was nagging on.
"All right, I can see you won't leave this alone, will you?"
Stella crossed her arms and stood waiting for her to continue. "Go on," she said.
"It's not much to say really. I went on this assignment, and fell in love with my boss."
"But that's good. What's he like?"
"There's nothing good about it. He's a complete jerk who doesn't care about anything else than getting the nearest skirt into bed and I got careless and burned. But now he's history and I'm back in reality -- and much wiser than before. That's all."
"Are you giving him up that easily? Who says he doesn't care about you?"
"He does. I overheard him say it to Warren and I packed my bags and headed out of there as soon as I found out."
"Chicken! You didn't?"
"Well, of course I did."
"If the guy was such a jerk you should at least have given him a well deserved setting-down before escaping. At the least. It would've made you feel a lot better, trust me."
"Yes, I probably should have. I just panicked, all right. I'm not proud of it, but that's what happened."
"Nothing to do about that now. Besides, there are plenty of good men out there just waiting for a chance, so there's no need to sulk over this one."
"I know. Just give me a few days and I'll be over it."
"Good girl! Still, it seems Warren is pleased with the outcome. I heard you got promoted. Congratulation! I'm so happy for you, girl!"
"Warren set the whole thing up and fooled me well. I think he promoted me just to repair a bad conscience."
"No, he didn't. You're the best of the lot and Warren knows that. Chin up, will you! So right now you're nursing a broken heart, is that it?"
"Something like that, yes." Erin had to admit she was feeling a bit sorry for herself at the present.
"Okay, I know just the thing. Loads of ice cream and chocolates. That helps for everything."
"I would rather murder the fellow."
"Too much fuss and blood - and you can go to jail for that. Although you're perfectly allowed to fantasize about which torture methods you would like to apply on him. Why don't we discuss it over that ice cream? I have a few suggestions I think you would like very well."
"Sounds good," Erin smiled and went for the ice cream. Stella could always be counted on to cheer her up and it felt a lot better to have someone to share her misery with.
"Look Cade, I only need this small favour from you," Warren said almost pleadingly from the other end of the line.
"Now, what? Any more testy secretaries you want me to fuck?"
"Uh, no, not this time." Warren sounded a bit put out. "And that is some language to use in front of your elders."
"You asked for it," Cade warned.
"Well, maybe it would work better if you kept it in the pants the next time and talked to her instead? You know, invited her to dinner and that sort of thing. That's what we old people did and it worked quite well for us."
"Does this conversation have a point?" Cade groaned through clenched teeth. Now he was getting dating advice from a man who had not dated for half a century. Could he sink any lower than that?
"Okay, so you've gone into hiding again, I can understand that. All women are crap and all that, but you can not go on like this for weeks and weeks. There are plenty of other women out there who would love to be with you. And I only need this very small favour from you."
"No. I've told you no, uncle. I'm not doing you any favours for at least a decade. Your favours have a tendency to take chunks off my body. I'm restoring for the time being."
"Why don't you go out for a few days and shoot something? Preferably something female, perhaps that will make you feel better?" Warren suggested.
"Like what? Women? Last time a checked that was still illegal, although the concept is tempting."
"Are you going to continue sulking for another few weeks then? I thought you had plenty to do with that business of ours? Or is it time for me to find another CEO?"
"All right, all right. Stop the nagging! I'm tired of listening to your pestering. I'll do it, but only if it's a small favour -- and it doesn't include any women. What is it that you need help with?"
Cade stormed into Warren's office. "So, where is this fellow?"
"Who?" Warren put the down the receiver in the middle of his dialling.
"The expert or analyst or whatever you called the guy. I'm only here for a few hours so why don't we get started with those papers, shall we?"
"What's the rush? I thought you would stay a few days now that you're here. Emma will be very happy to see you."
"Cut the crap, uncle. I only promised to come on two conditions: a short meeting and no women."
"All right, all right. You young people are a real nuisance. Now what will I tell Emma?"
"Say what you like."
"Still nursing that broken heart, are you?"
"Stay out of this, uncle, or I'll get on the next plane."
"Okay, okay, calm down. You can't blame a fellow for trying, can you? Let me just send for my senior analyst and then we can start."
"Just as long I don't have to run into that secretary of yours again."
"Don't worry. I don't have that particular secretary anymore."