“Do you want to explain to me why Mr. Yakamora called to tell me you missed your conference call this morning?”
I look up from the file I have been going over at my associate, Wesly, one of the five men who own the law firm along with me, and my eyebrows pull together.
“The meeting was canceled,” I state, sitting back in my chair.
“By whom?” he asks.
Since I never asked Maxine who called and canceled the meeting, I have no way of knowing that information until Maxine gets back to the office.
“I’m not sure. Maxine is the one who received the information.” I sigh, rubbing between my eyes.
“Well, now Mr. Yakamora is demanding you go to Japan and meet in person. Normally, I would say fuck him, but this case would be over twelve million alone, and we can’t risk losing that kind of profit right now.”
“Fuck,” I mutter, knowing he’s right but pissed that I have to leave Chloe for any length of time.
“Sorry, man. I would handle this myself, but you know he only wants to deal with you.”
“I’ll get this figured out. Tell Charles to schedule the jet for a red-eye flight to Tokyo,” I tell him as I gather my documents and briefcase. “I need to head home to pack. I’ll call you once I reach Japan.”
“We’ll talk then. Good luck, man,” he says, patting my back.
I pull my phone out of my pocket and call Ricket to tell him to meet me out front. As soon as I exit the building, my limo is idling at the curb and Ricket is standing on the sidewalk, holding the door open.
“Where to, sir?”
“Chloe. Then home. I’ll be leaving for Japan tonight,” I tell him, anxious about being away from her. “I’ll take a car service to the airport so you can make sure Chloe gets home safely. Also, put Bernard on her until I get home,” I tell Ricket, loosening my tie.
“Yes, sir,” he says, pulling away from the curb.
When we arrive at the bakery, I step out and see Chloe through the glass window, sitting at a small table in the front of the store. She’s talking to a woman who looks familiar, but I can’t place where I know her from. When I walk into the bakery, Chloe’s eyes come to me and her face lights up. I watch as she says something to the woman before walking directly to me.
“Hey, you,” she whispers.
I lower my face and kiss her while wrapping my hand around the back of her neck so I can keep her anchored to me. “Angel,” I say against her mouth, standing up to my full height. “Do you have a moment?”
“Um, sure,” she says as her eyebrows draw together. “Just let me tell Lee we’re going to be outside.”
I nod, release her from my hold, and watch as she walks away to the back of the bakery. When she comes back, I open the door for her and step out onto the busy sidewalk, taking her hand and walking her to the back of the limo. Once I have her seated in my lap, I turn her face towards me and look at her for a moment.
“What’s going on?” she asks, searching my face.
“I’m leaving for Japan tonight. I should be home Monday if everything goes as planned.”
“Oh,” she mutters, her shoulders slumping forward.
Even though she refuses to move into my loft, she has been there every night. We haven’t been apart for more than a few hours since the first time I took her. I want her with me, but she continues to say that she doesn’t feel comfortable living with me without us having a more solid footing in our relationship. What the hell that means, I have no fucking clue. All the women I have met in the past would have jumped at the opportunity to have a man take care of them, but my beautiful angel is not like all women, I suppose.
“It’s Wednesday,” she says as her fingers wrap into the collar of my suit jacket.
“I’ll be back before you know it. Ricket will be taking you to and from work while I’m gone, and Bernard will be looking after you.”
“I’m not afraid of being alone. I’m just going to miss you,” she says, placing her forehead against mine.
“Angel,” I whisper, wrapping my fingers into her hair and pulling her mouth to mine. Once I have enough of her taste on my tongue, I release her and sit back. “You need to be good while I’m away. I need to know that you’re safe,” I say as my fingers dig into the skin of her waist. The thought of something happening to her when I’m not around is enough to make me crazy.
“I’ll be working most of the time you’re gone. Then I have some stupid bachelorette party to go to on Saturday, an—”
“What?” I growl, cutting her off.
“My friend, Bre—the girl I was talking to when you walked in? Well, she’s getting married and invited me to her bachelorette party this weekend. Normally, I wouldn’t go, but she keeps asking and I feel bad. I don’t think she has many friends,” she says softly, reading the look on my face.
I trust Chloe, but I do not trust anyone else with her. While saying that, I also know I can’t exactly say no in this situation. So, like the lawyer I am, I immediately begin to formulate an argument that will lead to an outcome I can live with.
“Since I won’t be here, and I know how things can happen when women get together, I need you to allow me to supply security while you’re out with your friend,” I state.
She pulls her bottom lip into her mouth and begins to nibble at it while searching my face. Regardless of whether or not she agrees to these terms, I will have my men on her twenty-four-seven while I’m away. The only difference will be that, in this situation, she will know they are there.
“I don’t know how they will feel about having some scary-looking security hanging around,” she says with a small smile.
“My men are professionals,” I growl, kissing her neck, making her laugh.
“Where do you even find them, mobhenchmen.com?”
“Very funny, Angel.” I chuckle and tuck some loose hair behind her ear. “I need to know you’re safe,” I repeat sternly.
“If they don’t make it obvious they are there, then it’s fine,” she says, giving me exactly what I need, and I reward her with a kiss. “What time is your flight?” she asks, tucking her head under my chin.
“Late.” I sigh, pulling her tighter against me. “I still need to head home to the condo so I can pack,” I say quietly, enjoying the peace only she can bring me.
“I should probably get back into the shop,” she whispers after a few minutes, sitting up, and as much as I don’t want to let her go, I know I need to.