Tangled Page 16

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Share him?

Share him?

Has the old man lost his freaking mind? Would I ask him to share something he’s worked his ass off for? Would he let someone else drive his 1962 cherry Mustang convertible? Would he open his bedroom door and let some other guy screw his wife?

Okay, that was too far. I take it back—considering his wife is my mother. Forget I ever referred to my mother and screwing in the same sentence. That’s just…wrong. On so many levels.

But for the love of God, tell me you see my point.

My father must have finally looked at our faces, because he asks, “That’s not a problem, is it?”

I open my mouth to tell him what a major goddamn problem it is. But Kate beats me to the punch.

“No, Mr. Evans, of course not. No problem at all.”

“Wonderful!” He claps his hands together and stands. “I’ve got tee off in an hour, so I’ll leave you two to it. You’ve got until tomorrow night to coordinate your proposals. Anderson will be at La Fontana at seven.”

And then he looks me dead in the face. “I know you won’t let me down, Andrew.”

Shit.

I don’t care if you’re sixty, when a parent uses your full name, it pretty much sucks all the argument right out of you.

“No, sir, I won’t.”

And with that, he’s out the door. Leaving Kate and I sitting on the couch, our expressions dazed, like survivors of a nuclear blast.

“‘No, Mr. Evans, of course not,’” I whine. “Could you be any more of a kiss-ass?”

She hisses, “Shut up, Andrew.” Then she sighs. “What the hell are we supposed to do now?”

“Well, you could do the noble thing and bow out.” Yeah—like that’ll happen.

“In your dreams.”

I smirk. “Actually my dreams involve you bending over something…not bowing.”

She makes a disgusted sound. “Could you be any more of a pig?”

“I was kidding. Why do you have to be so f**king serious all the time? You should learn how to take a joke.”

“I can take a joke,” she tells me, sounding insulted.

“Yeah? When?”

“When it’s not being delivered by a childish jackass who thinks he’s God’s gift to women.”

“I am not childish.”

God’s gift on the other hand? My record speaks for itself.

“Oh, bite me.”

I wish.

“Nice comeback, Kate. Very mature.”

“You’re a jerk.”

“You’re a…an Alexandra.”

She pauses a second and looks at me blankly. “What the hell does that even mean?”

Think about it. It will come to you.

I rub my hand down my face. “Okay, look, this is getting us nowhere fast. We’re screwed. We both still want Anderson, and the only way we’re going to get him is if we somehow get our shit together. We’ve got…thirty hours to do that. Are you in or not?”

Her lips come together in flat-out determination.

“You’re right. I’m in.”

“Meet me in my office in twenty minutes, and we’ll get to work.”

I expect her to argue with me. I expect her to ask why we have to meet in my office—why we can’t work in her office—like a nagging housewife. But she doesn’t.

She just says, “Okay.” And leaves the room to get the rest of her things.

I’m surprised.

Maybe this won’t be as bad as I thought.

“That is the stupidest f**king idea I have ever heard!”

Nope, it’s much worse.

“I’ve researched Anderson. He’s the old-fashioned type. He’s not going to want to go blind staring at your laptop all night. He’s going to want something concrete, tangible. Something he can take home. That’s what I’ll give him!”

“This is a multibillion-dollar business meeting—not a fifth grade science fair. I’m not walking in there with frigging poster board!”

It’s after midnight. We’ve been in my office for a little over twelve hours. Except for these few minute details, every aspect of our presentation has been banged out, negotiated, compromised.

I feel like I just bartered a goddamn peace treaty.

By now, Kate has released her hair and lost her shoes. My tie is off, the top two buttons of my shirt open. Our appearance could make things feel friendly—intimate—like an all-night study session in college.

If we weren’t trying to rip each other’s throats open, of course.

“I don’t give a shit if you agree or not. I’m right about this. I’m bringing the poster board.”

I give in. I’m too tired to fight about paper. “Fine. Just—shrink it down.”

We ordered food a few hours ago and worked through dinner. I had pasta with chicken, while Kate preferred a turkey club with fries on the side. Much as I hate to admit it, I’m impressed. Obviously, she doesn’t subscribe to the “I can only eat salads in front of the opposite sex” rule of thumb a lot of chicks swear by. Who gave women that idea? Like a guy’s going to say to his friend, “Dude, she was one fugly chick, but once I saw her chomping that romaine, I just had to nail her.”

No man wants to f**k a skeleton—and nibbling crackers and water like a prisoner of war at dinner isn’t attractive. It just makes us think about what a cranky bitch you’re going to be later on because you’re starving. If a guy’s into you? A cheeseburger deluxe is not going to scare him away. And if he’s not? Ingesting all the greens on Peter Cottontail’s farm isn’t going to change that, trust me.

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