We strode down the brightly-lit hallway adorned with framed black-and-white architectural photos, rounding the corner into his modest workspace. Ian's office was smaller than mine by choice, tucked away in the northeast side of the floor. He said he didn't like the visibility of the glass-walled corner office and wanted to be able to close a solid door in the middle of the day and disappear, losing himself in his work. In retrospect, it would have its advantages, like better privacy for midday romps. The pull down shades I had were questionable at best.
Ian walked past the shelves lined with signed baseball memorabilia and photos of him with his wife, Lauren. He pulled out his chair and sat down with a leaden sigh, resting his elbows on the solid walnut desk. I followed him in, locking the door behind us and easing into the buttery leather seat across from him. We stared at each other blankly, still processing the bloodshed that just transpired.
I shifted my weight, looking at him expectantly. "Again, I ask, what the fuck was that?"
"I did some digging earlier," Ian said. "Word is, Callaghan doesn't trust you."
"No shit." That much had been crystal clear during our interrogation. "Why?"
He gave me a withering look. "Maybe it has to do with your penchant for dating models, fucking in nightclub bathrooms, and snorting coke off strippers' tits."
"I can neither confirm nor deny those allegations."
In my defense, I wasn't actually doing cocaine in the situation he was referring to; I would never be foolish enough to ingest narcotics in public. I was taking a body shot of tequila and the angle of the freeze-frame video capture happened to be highly misleading. Second of all, Mindy wasn't a stripper, she was someone my friends and I met at a Vegas nightclub and brought to the strip club with us. But Ian wouldn't know that because he wasn't there. He wouldn't be caught dead at a strip club. More accurately, if he did go to a strip club, his wife Lauren would see to it that he was dead immediately after.
"You do know that article comes up when people Google you, right? Pictures and all? Have you looked into having that removed?"
"I asked our lawyers," I grumbled.
Ian raised his eyebrows. "And?"
"Apparently, as a private business, that club has the right to do whatever they want with their security footage as long as they have a sign warning patrons they're being recorded. And turns out, they do. A teeny tiny fucking sign beside the bathroom that no one would ever notice, let alone read." I blew out a breath. "Which means I have no recourse with them or the news outlets that ran with it."
As for who bought and leaked those photos to the press, I had a pretty good fucking idea.
My cellphone vibrated in my suit pocket and I pulled it out to find Millie's name flashing on the caller ID. I watched the screen, tempted to decline the call, but thought better of it. Then she'd know I was at my phone and she'd keep calling. If it rang through, I could pretend I'd missed her by accident. I didn't have patience for my cousin's gossipy nonsense at the best of times, let alone when everything was on fire.
"Anyway," I said, silencing the ringer and sliding my phone back into my jacket. "Back to Callaghan. How did you find out?"
"He told his assistant, and his assistant leaked it to someone I know." Ian was one of those friendly, easygoing types that people naturally trusted. He was great at making connections, digging up dirt, and the occasional low-key corporate espionage, which was useful because people were less inclined to air their dirty laundry with me.
"And you think it's because of my 'reputation'," I said, making air quotes.
"He's old school. The guy has been married for something like fifty years. He has three daughters, six granddaughters, and everyone says he's wrapped around their little fingers."
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When Thayer invents a boyfriend to save face, she ends up faux engaged to her worst enemy. * Thayer Morgan has hated Bennett Bradford since he tore the head off her favorite Barbie when they were five. Sure, the head popped right back on, but the g...