The Wedding(8)

By: Emma Darcy

They broke briefly for afternoon tea, which was served in the reception room, allowing people to mill around and relax for a breathing space.

“Got all that, Stockton?” Blaize asked as he accompanied her out of the conference room.

“Yes, sir,” she replied confidently.

“I hope so, Stockton. This is one tough nut to crack and I’m going to need every last bit of ammunition we can get,” he said grimly.

Tessa held her tongue. She thought he had been doing extremely well. The majority of Japanese seemed to be in agreement with what he was pushing. Nevertheless, he obviously knew his business better than she did. When they returned for the last session of the day, Tessa made sure she didn’t miss a beat. If any little thing was critical, she had it faithfully recorded.

At five o’clock they broke for the day. But it was far from the end of her working day. A hotel staff member was on hand to lead Blaize Callagan to his accommodation, and Tessa was taken along with him. They were led away from the main buildings of the hotel complex to a private cottage on the edge of the grounds.

A verandah led into a large living room. Office equipment had been set up for them here; a worktable holding an IBM computer and a laser printer with a pile of stationery for ready use. A marvellous fireplace opened to both the living room and the dining room. There was a well-equipped kitchen and four bedrooms. But only one bathroom. To be shared by the occupants. The staff member showed them through every room, pointing out all the facilities and assuring Blaize Callagan that anything he wanted, anything at all, was on call.

Tessa noticed that her suitcase had been put in one of the bedrooms. It had obviously been arranged that she was staying here, with him, alone with him!

She tried telling herself that this was where it had been planned for Rosemary Davies to stay, but it didn’t help to calm her pulse. The truth of the matter was she didn’t know if Blaize Callagan’s relationship with Rosemary Davies was purely professional. She had never heard any rumours to the contrary, but this was certainly a more intimate arrangement than she had figured on. It was bad enough having to share a bathroom with him. How was she going to sleep tonight? Wasn’t this situation at the very least compromising?

On the other hand, it was common practice these days for people of the opposite sex to share houses or apartments in the high rental climate of Sydney. Lots of women felt safer with a guy in residence. No one raised eyebrows at it any more, or jumped to the conclusion that sharing accommodation meant sharing beds.

Tessa worked hard at assuring herself that her reputation was not about to be shot to pieces by staying under the same roof as Blaize Callagan. After all, this was part of the hotel and they did have separate bedrooms. Making any objection to the arrangement was completely out of the question.

But the moment the hotel staff member walked out the door and left her alone with Blaize Callagan in the living room, all the sane and sensible reasoning in the world could not dispel the feeling of danger—in capital letters.

“A ten-minute break for you to unpack or wash or whatever, Stockton,” Blaize Callagan instructed. “Then I want transcripts of everything said by the Japanese speakers.”

Tessa breathed a small sigh of relief. She could handle work. “Yes, sir.”

“What would you like to drink?”

“Coffee, sir.”

“White and one sugar, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, sir.”

She was surprised that he remembered such a trivial detail from the coffee she had had at lunch. It reminded her of a few other things he might have memorised about her, and she felt a surge of heat tingling outwards towards her skin. She turned away and headed for her bedroom fast before the blush became too obvious.

She even felt self-conscious about using the toilet with him wandering around nearby. Which was absolutely ridiculous! She ran cold water over her wrists for a few seconds, then dabbed it over her hot face. Stay cool, calm and collected, she fiercely instructed herself.

He might be the sexiest-looking man she had ever seen, but that didn’t mean he found her sexy. Although he had taken an inordinate interest in her body. Nevertheless, he knew as well as she did that she was out of his class, and this accommodation had obviously been arranged for his convenience in a strictly business sense. He wanted her for work. That’s all. And she had to oblige him as best she could.

Unpacking didn’t take long. She hung up her new dresses, although both of them were in uncrushable fabrics, then set out her toilet things in the bathroom. She checked her appearance in the mirror—still tidy— then returned to the living room to work.