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Daniel arrived promptly at six, with pizza and laptop in hand. Eva heard him pull into the driveway and met him at the door, a suspicious smile on her face. Taking the pizza from him, she said, “You know, I will never figure out how you manage to get pizza around on your bike.”
Daniel laughed and moved into the entryway. “Trade secret. I’m not telling.” He looked around and asked, “Where’s Sadie?”
“She’s upstairs,” Eva replied, carrying the pizza into the kitchen. “This Jared situation has really thrown her.” She put the pizza on the table and got paper plates from the pantry. “I wonder if it wasn’t a big ruse, you know? I mean,” she paused to wipe hair from her eyes, “Rita sounded upset, right? But, she didn’t think to call or check his cards online.” Waving her hand in the air dismissively, she said, “I don’t know. Tonight will be fun. Sadie needs a bit of fun. Even if it is with her boring, old parents.”
Daniel nudged Eva’s shoulder with his. “Speak for yourself, there, woman,” he said with a laugh. “Hey, your television is HDMI compatible, right?” he asked and held up the laptop.
Eva thought for a minute, then said, “Uh, I think so. Go check things out.”
Daniel said, “I’m on it,” and headed for the living room.
Just then, Sadie came down over the stairs sporting fuzzy pajamas and a Hinder t-shirt over a thermal top. She stopped in the doorway and asked, “Did I hear Dad, and were you guys, like, laughing?”
Eva rolled her eyes, and replied, “Yeah, he’s in the living room setting up the laptop. By the way, you look really comfy.” She gestured to Sadie’s outfit.
Sadie smoothed her hands over the pajama bottoms, and said, “Yes, I am very comfy. I figured a movie and pizza at home warranted jammies.” She lifted the lid of the pizza box and sniffed. “Mmm, this smells awesome.”
Daniel came in the kitchen and said, “All set. Hey, Sadie.” He smiled and hugged her with one arm. “You ready for a night of epic proportions?” he asked, winking at Eva.
Eva and Sadie laughed. “Yes, Dad. I’m ready,” Sadie replied.
They filled their plates with food, grabbed beer and coke, and headed into the living room. As Sadie and Daniel sat down, Eva’s cell rang. Sadie crouched by the laptop and scrolled through the instant play menu on Netflix.
Eva stood up and said, “It’s Louis. I’ll take this in the kitchen.” She yelled, “Just pick something and I’ll be right back!” Rounding the corner she answered the phone. “Hey, babe. Things alright?”
Louis sounded out of breath. “Yeah, just washed off the jet lag and airport smell before dinner and drinks with the competition tonight. How’s things there?” he asked.
Eva glanced in the living room. “Good. Sadie and Daniel are doing pizza and movies. Just hanging out. What’s your schedule like tomorrow?” she asked, still hiding her participation.
“There’s a big general assembly thing in the morning, lunch then assorted workshops,” Louis replied. “You wouldn’t believe what Steve signed up for. It’s a veritable who’s who in the marketing field. I’m going to make some amazing contacts while I’m here.” He paused, then asked, “What have you got lined up?”
“Still working on this damned estate sale. I’m going to have to hire extra people just to run the paperwork, not to mention the actual sale itself,” Eva answered. She heard Sadie laugh and covered the mouthpiece. When the laughing stopped, she said, “I gotta get back to it. Call me tomorrow?”
“Of course!” he exclaimed. “I’ll call you during lunch.”
Eva smiled. “Thank you. I love you,” she said, waiting for a reply.
“I love you more,” Louis said, then he hung up.
Eva stood there looking at the phone. “Seriously?” she asked herself, and went back into the living room. “Okay, so what did we decide on?” she asked.
Sadie was grinning from ear to ear, and Daniel looked frightened. His face wore a paleness. “We are going to watch Clueless,” he said slowly, and looked at Eva. “Please don’t make me watch this.” Sadie sat cross-legged on the floor in front of him and she started clapping. Daniel looked at Sadie, and back to Eva. “I’m serious.”
Eva rolled her eyes and sat beside him on the couch. “You’re such a baby. Hit play, Sadie.” She could hear Daniel making slight whimpering noises, and she chuckled.
Louis sat at a large, cloth-covered table in the hotel’s banquet hall having drinks after dinner. To his left languished a beautiful red-head, the CEO of a potentially rival company. Emily was on her fourth martini, and had the attention of the men in the immediate vicinity. She leaned towards Louis and put a well-manicured hand on his shoulder.
“I was thinking,” Emily whispered, “you and I should go up to your room and hammer out a collaboratory plan for our companies.” Her fingers played with the collar of his jacket. “You know, unofficially.”
Louis smiled and gently removed her hand, placing it in her lap. “As tempting an offer as that is, I think we should take a rain check tonight. We’ve got eight more nights of discussion ahead of us,” he said, matching her innuendo.
She smiled and drained the rest of her martini. Licking her lips, she eyed him and said, “And they shall be very productive, as well.” Emily stood and placed her business card on the table, then left.
Louis watched her walk away, slowly letting out a breath. “Damn. I’m gonna be in so much trouble while I’m here.” He downed his drink and eyed the other women in attendance.