Elizabeth - Page 17

“My apologies,” I said. “I have a tendency to be a chatterbox.”

“Nonsense. We’re enjoying learning more about you.”

“I do want to touch on one subject, however. Cristoff, has your lawyer looked over the paperwork I sent off a few weeks ago?” Phillip asked.

I nudged him underneath the table with my knee. He wasn’t reading the mood of the table. He was attempting to force a conversation Cristoff wasn’t ready to have yet. It wasn’t the time to make deals and talk shop. Cristoff Bauer had an ego, and he was the type that needed buttering up. I was familiar with his kind. The first half of the dinner alone would be spent volleying his questions and taking a very astute interest in his life, no matter how boring or idiotic it was.

“Oh, such boring talk,” I said with a smile. “Cristoff, I want to hear more about these family jewels.”

“A woman can never hear too much about expensive things,” he said.

“I’m a sucker for a story of royalty.”

“You sure you want to marry old Phillip over there, then?” Cristoff asked.

“I think you might need to talk with your wife before you go proposing to a woman who’s engaged,” I said with a giggle.

I was glad Phillip backed off and read my signals. I kept Cristoff engaged with conversations about himself because it served two purposes. One, it got the attention off us spinning more lies to keep up with; and two, it continued to butter him up and get him slickened for talking business. The lights of the restaurant finally dimmed and our dessert plates were taken away, and Cristoff gave me the signal all fat, rich men gave.

He leaned back into his chair and ordered himself a glass of Scotch.

“Well, I enjoyed this evening far more than I had intended,” Cristoff said.

“Likewise,” I said. “It’s been an absolute pleasure.”

“She’s good for you, Phillip. You should keep her away from men like me,” he said.

“I’ll take that to heart,” Phillip said.

“What are the two of you doing tomorrow morning?” Cristoff asked.

“Oh, the mornings are for us,” Phillip said.

I nudged him again underneath the table as he pulled me closer to him. Holy hell, the man was an idiot. Was work the only thing he was focused on?

“The reason I ask is because I want the two of you to attend church with me tomorrow. I’ve never missed a Sunday, and neither has either of my family,” Cristoff said.

“We would love to. It’s a real honor for you to invite us, thank you,” I said.

I felt Phillip’s fingers dig into my side as I plastered a smile on my face.

“Then it’s settled. The two of you will join me and my family for church in the morning. The service starts at ten. I’ll send a car for you. Where are you staying?” Cristoff asked.

“Sans Souci Wien,” Phillip said.

“Beautiful taste in women and hotels. See? We need more men like you in this world,” Cristoff said.

“Trust me, the feeling is mutual,” I said with a smile.

All of us stood from the table, and I could tell Phillip was perturbed. But if he was really under the impression that whatever deal he had on the table would’ve been signed tonight, then he was sorely mistaken on how business trips like this worked. Another thing that made him peculiar for the billionaire he was. Wasn’t he used to this sort of thing?

We went down the line, giving kisses to one another aimed at the cheeks. A proper European farewell to the firing squad we had just come under fire from. I got to the last man in the line and bent in to kiss his cheeks and felt his hand slip a little lower than I enjoyed. I attempted to pull back from him prematurely, and his hand gripped my hip, bringing his lips a little too close to the corner of mine. I tried to smile and play it off before sliding my hand down his arm and wrapping it around his wrist. I was an engaged woman for the week, after all. He had no business touching me in that fashion.

Then, he tried to slip me his number. With his wife standing right next to him.

It just went to show me that money could never buy class.

We walked away from the crowd of people, and I slipped my arm into Phillip’s. I leaned in close, then turned my lips to his ear to say something. I wanted to make a very intimate exit, both for the sake of the ruse and for the man that fondled me in front of his wife. But the second my lips fell upon his ears, he tensed. He was uncomfortable with the closeness.

Source: www.NovelCorner.com