1. The Deal

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Valerie scrolled through the text exchange, pondering as she reread.

                         Valentine's Dinner?

Love to                         


Not yet                          

                         Separate Rooms.


                         Hmmm yes, or hmmm no?

Hmmm thinking                         

                         Long commute. Very late back, otherwise


                         Hmmm thinking or hmmm yes?

Hmmm I barely know you                         

                         Been five weeks.

Five brief encounters                         

                         Each increasingly intriguing.

Also for me                         

                         Need to confirm reservations.

By when?                         

                         Tomorrow. Could go somewhere simpler.


                         Hmmm simpler or hmmm no?

Hmmm thinking                         

                         Being called. Gotta go.

You there again this evening?                         

                         For sure. See you there.

Looking forward                         

Oh, God! I know so little about him. She nibbled on her lower lip. Such diverse interests. Such a gentle manner. So protective of his identity. So open with his soul. God! Those arms and shoulders. His eyes...

The knock on her open door interrupted her thoughts, and she looked up to see her Executive Assistant enter. "You're needed in the boardroom, Val."

"Thank you, Brad." She stood and adjusted her jacket. "What's this one?"

"Tweaking the Selmortec offer." 

"They've countered?" Valerie asked as they walked along the hallway.

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