CHAPTER 18 | diesel v statham

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  📎A/N. My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragic events in Paris...

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"If you check the time once more," Stephen said with humour, "I will confiscate your phone."

Sydney's hand froze as it was about to pick up the offending item. She snatched it back and placed it on her lap. "They're late," she justified, "Grace is always on time."

"Grace is not normally distracted," laughed Stephen, referring to Mason.

She sat back in her chair and smiled. "I suppose not."

Sydney had to admit, she hadn't seen Grace on such a high in, well, never. Much to her surprise, Victor had even warmed to him, to the point they had taken a charter boat for a day of deep-sea fishing. Something that he only ever reserved for those he enjoyed spending time with.

In the week since Jackson and her mother had returned to New York, they had seen very little of Grace. It was the peak of the season and her cousin was dashing from one social event to another with Mason in tow. Sydney was thankful that Mason was as amiable and comfortable in social situations; otherwise, he would have gone running for the hills by now.

"How about we order a drink while we're waiting?" Stephen suggested.

Sydney grimaced as she heard her stomach grumble. "And maybe a selection of breads and dips. I'm starving."

She was startled when Mason's voice broke from behind her just as they had placed their order with, "Make that for four."

"Sorry we're late," Grace apologised as she sank into a vacant seat and sighed. "I was so tired after the Bixby's luncheon I fell asleep on the couch."

Sydney laughed. "At least you didn't doze off at the luncheon."

"So have you heard from Jackson?" Grace asked after their drinks had arrived.

Sydney nodded. "A couple of text messages and an email, letting me know they had gotten back safely. But nothing in the last couple of days."

"He's trying to close a big deal, so he's been a bit busy," Stephen broke in.

Sydney stole a glance at her friend as he resumed his conversation with Mason. How would you know? ran through her mind as she continued to eye him with curiosity.

After Stephen and Jackson had returned with their burgers and fries the day her brother had turned up unexpectedly, the afternoon had passed quickly. Jackson had a quick wit and even Stephen had relaxed in his presence.

She had to admit she had felt a little twinge when he had taken his leave. With his unexpected return to her life, she was unsure of whether he had changed permanently or whether the brother she knew was lurking in the background. Before he left, he had made her promise to look him up when she returned to New York. He gave her his business card, advising it had his contact details. At first, she was unsure she had paid attention properly, but she could have sworn that her brother had slipped Stephen a card as well.

Now that she thought about it, some of Stephen's odd behaviour started to make sense. It was normal for him to receive countless messages and calls. Even though he was on a break, his business still needed to function. What was not normal was that he had disappeared on a few occasions to answer a call. This had never been the case before.

Sydney began to stare at her friend and agent. She knew he wasn't seeing anyone at the moment. However, after he had made his feelings clear about her family over the years, she was shocked that he would even contemplate flirting with Jackson, let alone have secret conversations with him.

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