Limits Have An End - 5 (UNEDITED DRAFT)
The Great Gatsby themed casino night was over the top in everyway that Ariba could consciously conceive. In addition to the other two couples, the Klines, and her and Carson there were at least a hundred others at the indulgent fundraising casino night. There were women walking around in peacock type dresses and leotards with fancy hairdos that had feathers in them. They were going around collecting money and adding it to a huge translucent disco ball hanging in the center of the space. The live band and singer were on a jazzy tune at that point and some people that had a couple champagnes too many were dancing with a massive amount of enthusiasm on the dance floor.
She set perched on the arm of Carson’s chair as did the wives of the other three couples while the men played black jack. Carson sucked at it truly. He didn’t know when to stop drawing the damn cards. He busted so many times it was driving her mad.
The masogyn didn’t go unnoticed, but her role was to play the strong silent type, so she did. The Klines provided them with appropriate attire because they failed to mention the themed event. She squeezed Carson’s arm and he looked back at her.
Her chest pressed against her ribs. The sight of his startling eyes never ceased to make her giddy. She wanted to lean down and kiss him, but she restrained. He was her boss at the very lease at the most he was just not the type of guy she would ever dream of being with. She was useful to him. For some reason, she’ll never truly understand, but the Kline’s took to her. That favor got her where she was: unabashedly close to her employer which was an inconvenience. “I’m stepping outside for a minute.”
He frowned his eyes assessing her. “Is everything alright?”
She nodded and presented an assuring smile. “Fine, I just need some air.” She rubbed his arm and squeezed for a bit more reassurance before pushing up off the chair’s arm and heading to the balcony.
That particular balcony overlooked a huge garden and the Vegas skyline could be seen in the distance as well. THe entire thing was surreal to her like she was living someone else’s life. The entire thing was less awkward than she thought it was going to be. In fact, she was really relaxed around Carson and he seemed to be comfortable around her. Comfortable and yet he still gave off vibes, sexual vibes. She laughed and leaned on the railing. She was probably imagining what she wanted to see. He was way out of her league whatever that meant it seemed to make perfect sense to her.
She started out of her thoughts when Mr. Kline leaned on the railing next to her a small glass of dark liquor clasped in his hand.
“It’s a perfect night isn’t it? Vegas is a terror during the day around this time of year, but at night.”
“Joys of desert life I suppose.”
The man smirked and looked at her. “I’m announcing who’s going to win the contract tonight.”
She covered up her initial frown with a smile. “That’s good.”
He nodded. “Who do you think I should choose?”
She frowned. “How is that a real question?”
He laughed. “If you were me, who would you choose?”
“Well, I’d first like to preface with, if Mr. Wolfe is awarded the contract, I get a little something extra.”
The man nodded then mumbled under his breath. “The bastard’s smarter than he looks.”
She didn’t think she was supposed to hear it so she kept talking. “Honestly, I haven’t done the full on research of all the companies and the services they offer.”
“They’re all pretty much equal. Wolfe’s is better from the service side of things.”
“Wolfe is the highest over by fifteen percent.”
“You don’t seem to like him much. I mean, from what I’ve observed. Why?”
The man smirked gazing intently at her then he brought his eyes to the shadowed landscape beyond. “He’s a bachelor. I find it difficult to trust a man who can’t commit.”
“Surely it’s not just about commitment. It’s also how a man treats his spouse.”
He turned to face her still leaning on the railing. “Go on, explain.”
“Example, since we’re talking about the competition let’s talk. Smith is the leader when it comes to his house which is great accept he doesn’t actually take the time to listen to his wife which tells me he won’t take the time to listen to you, as his business partner, client either. He knows it all his way is the best way. WOrks with children not so much in business. Then Donavan his wife is the leader in the family which is perfectly fine, but he resent that. Resents that and is too weak and passive to tell her when he doesn’t like her exertion. She’s been playing for him all night at the card table and he keeps turning away from her so she can’t see his hand.”
The man laughed. “I noticed that! AHAHA! She just gets closer and rubs his bald head.” He laughed some more. “Keep going. What about you and Wolfe?”
“We’re not a couple.”
He frowned. “Sure you are.”
“No, we’re not. A man and a woman sure, but we’re not a partnership, but,” she took a moment to look over at the man. In the dim lighting it was difficult to make out anything. “There’s something you see in him that you like when we’re together. What is it?”
The man took a deep breath and exhaled it.
“Potential.” He took a sip of his drink and she turned to face him still leaning the same way he was on the railing.
“Go on, explain.”
He laughed then his gaze went somewhere else. “He’s competent, logical, smart those things almost make him cold and intolerant unable to change, unable to be flexible.” He paused for a minute before he took another sip and started talking again. “It’s subtle.” He looked at her. “The way he looks at you. He hides it well, from most.”
She shifted with a frown. “He doesn’t li--”
“Oh no, you’ll not sway me on this one. In the office a few days ago, I saw it when he walked out his office and saw us talking. At the wall when he protested against you climbing without a harness.” The man chuckled. “My favorite moment was when he moved into action when you were stranded.”
She palmed her forehead with an uncomfortable laugh. “So embarrassing.”
Kline laughed. “Can’t say I blame you. It was a long way to fall.”
She turned to face out toward the garden again.
“There was no hesitation. When you weren’t moving he knew and he acted. That’s the potential. That’s what I wanted to see this weekend. When I did my research on his company I got rave reviews about his product and services, but I couldn’t find much on the man himself. I never get into business with someone I don’t know.”
She looked over at him. “You think you know him now?”
Someone cleared their voice grabbing both hers and Kline’s attention. She stood straight and turned to find Carson there leaned on the frame of the balcony door with one hand stuffed in his pocket the other holding a glass of dark liquor.
“Alas, I’ve been sent by our hostess to fetch her better half for the announcement of the final count.”
Kline pushed away from the balcony with a nod. “I darn’t keep my lady waiting. Thank you for your insights tonight, Ms. Simmons.”
She took a deep breath facing Carson. He was silhouetted by the light from inside and she couldn’t see his face so she took a couple steps closer to him.
“You can have my jacket if you’re cold.”
She then noticed her arms were wrapped around her.
“We’re going inside. It’s okay. Thank you though.”
She took a few steps until she was only a couple away from him. She looked up now seeing more of him in the dim lighting.
“I’m sorry you had to witness that slaughtering in there.”
She laughed and looked down at her foot in the clapper shoes. “It’s fine.”
“Not even close.” He laughed and adjusted his lean on the door frame. “You’ve been such a star through all of this craziness. Thank you for making it so easy on me.”
She nodded. “Oh don’t worry. I expect to see a very generous bonus on my next check.”
He laughed. “That’s more than fair for all of this.” He rubbed a hand down his face.
“Ladies and gentlemen please join us in the great hall for the numbers and I would also like to make a special announcement.”
He pushed off the doorframe and presented his arm that she took with a smile finding the man's laughing eyes. He might never be hers, but there was nothing wrong with stealing moments.
The words popped into her head as they made their way to hear Mr. Kline’s announcement. Potential with no action was just a sad waste.
“Thank you all for coming to this great fundraising event. I’m pleased to announce that this is the highest grossing year yet!” The audience clapped and there were some cheers. “We’re looking at five point seven million dollars raised!” More uproarious cheers. “You are going to wake up with a hangover and curse me when you look at your bank statements, but I’m okay with that it’s going to a good cause.” Some laughter filled the space and Kline let it hang there. “Now, for my special announcement. Some of you know I’ve been looking to expand my team since my business has grown so rapidly. Tonight I am proud to announce the new addition to my team that will head the firewall and software protection department. Bluemoon Technology Solutions headed by Mr. Carson Wolfe! I look forward to seeing him and his lovely companion at the Fireside Dowager’s Charity Ball in two weeks.”
Cheers erupted around the room and a giddy joy ran through her insides. She looked up to a blank faced Carson who looked rather confused. She squeezed his arm and he looked down at her with a frown.
“That’s you silly.” She said, leaning into his ear.
He nodded and waved at Kline who was then proposing a toast to their partnership. Carson looked back down at her and his confusion loosened a little as he gazed at her. He took her hand tucked in the nook of his arm and pulled her into his side with a hand on her waist. She shivered when she felt his warm breath at her ear. “This was you.”
She looked up at him over her shoulder and held his magnificent eyes longer than she should have. The corner of his mouth lifted as he gazed longer, then started clapping with the rest of the crowd.
THe crowd broke up when the Kline’s gave everyone permission to continue enjoying the evening’s festivities. She thought that was code for her dipping out and heading to the hotel room and getting some much needed R & R.
“I know you’re tired, but just one dance?” The band had slowed things down and several other couples had took their places on the dance floor.
She nodded. How could she say no to being in the man’s hold.
He placed both her arms around his neck and pulled her close by the small of her back then started them swaying to the beat. “Do you know how long I’ve been trying to get Jonas Kline as a client?”
“According a very reliable source, about three years.”
“Closer to four now. This is huge.”
She nodded. “He won’t be disappointed. You have an excellent product and process.”
“I’m positive I had little to do with his decision. Probably had something to do with those insights that you offered him tonight which I’m curious to know what those might have been.”
“Oh, he just asked me who I think he should choose.”
His face twisted up in a curious expression. “Seriously?”
“Same thing I said.”
“And you said?”
“I told him to pick the squirrely balding guy.”
Carson burst out laughing pulling her closer to him which made her laugh too. “Wow that was quite the description. I’m assuming you’re joking and you just talked me up.” He presented a roguish grin.”
“I didn’t have to.”
“He saw what he needed to see. I don’t think he really wanted my opinion at all. I think he already knew he was going to choose you.”
“Even so, I’m a man of my word. You just have to tell me what you want.”
“I’d like to think on it if that’s fine with you. I’ll tell you by the Ball in two weeks?”
“That works just fine. Speaking of the Ball we’re now committed to, I’m assuming you don’t have a fancy ball gown just hanging out in your closet.”
She giggled. “Yeah, not even in the same ballpark.”
She felt his fingers playing at the small of her back. “Don’t look so stressed out. You’ll be kind of like Belle.”
“So I guess, that’ll make you the beast.”
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