Look Don't TouchBy: Tess Oliver
I slipped my Ferrari into fifth gear. The engine hummed as I dashed in and out of traffic on Pacific Coast Highway. Kimberly had hopped around for ten minutes, shimmying into her tight jeans, sweater and boots and scolding me for making her late to the airport. I threw the blame on her, reminding her that I held off on coming to wait for her to finish. She blew me a kiss and left behind a cloud of expensive perfume and strands of pale pink cashmere as she raced out the door.
I was late too. I'd planned to hop on my motorcycle to lane split and race along the carpool lane, but a rare fall rainstorm had moved on shore. The Ferrari would get me there fast but not nearly as fast as the motorcycle. I had a video conference lined up to finalize the deal, and I only had an hour to go through my numbers for Rad Video. Rad Video was run by a group of highly creative tech people who had come up with a subscription channel that was targeted toward the video game and comic book obsessed crowd. They had set up a booth at the last Comic Con, and the line to sign up for the six month subscription snaked around the building for the entire convention. They had everything but the right capital to make their channel a monumental success. I'd gotten my offer in early and I'd made it one that would be hard to turn down. It was one of my top strategies. When something red hot was on the investment market—move in fast and give them what they want. This was a no-brainer. Rad Video was going to be the new darling of Wall Street by this time next year. And Morris Grant, my boss and the man who owned MG Enterprises, a man, who, much like my dad, had always been married to money, would be handing me that partnership.
I was back on the brakes. "Fuck, come on, people. It's just rain." I touched the screen on the dash to call my assistant but as often happened, she read my mind and called first. Kelly was a hard-working, single mother of three, and she was nothing short of amazing. On my recommendation, Grant had offered her an account executive position, but she chose to stay in her current position. She claimed that I'd fall apart without her, and she didn't need the extra stress. She was probably right. And after being my executive assistant for four years, she knew me better than any other woman in the world.
"Hey, Kel, I'm on my way."
"Are you driving?"
"Yep, until I figure out a way to fly in from Malibu, I'm stuck driving in traffic. What's up?"
There was a long enough pause from her end that I glanced at the monitor to make sure the call was still connected. "Kelly?"
"Damn it, Nash, where the hell were you last night? I must have called a dozen times. Don't you ever check your messages?"
I grabbed my phone from the front of my briefcase. It had been tucked inside there all night. Kimberly had met me in the driveway as I pulled up from work. Without a word, she had walked straight into the bedroom leaving a long trail of designer clothes in the hallway. I dropped my briefcase on the entry table, followed the trail and never looked back.
"Sorry, I was unplugged for the night."
A terse laugh shot through the phone. "Oh, I think you were plugged in all right, just not into the real world. Rad moved the phone conference up two hours. You weren't here, so they signed off. George Stockton looked mad as hell."
"What the fuck do you mean? When—"
"They called about an hour after you left work. I called and called, but you know what? Sometimes I've got to take care of things at home. You should have answered your damn phone." Kelly's voice wavered. She always kept her cool but not this morning. "I hope she was worth it." She lowered her voice. "Because Grant is walking around the building with fire shooting out of his ears. He tried to call you too. You better get in here fast and make nice."
I smacked the steering wheel hard. "Fuck, fuck, fuck." I glanced ahead to the wall of brake lights in front of me. "If you know a secret way to get around California traffic then please let me know, Kel, because I'm not getting there anytime soon. There's a fucking layer of mist on the road that has everyone freaked the fuck out."
"Hey, don't snap at me. This is on you."
"Yeah, I know. Sorry." Another call beeped through. "Shit, Grant is calling. I'll see ya later, Kel."