Lily's Mistake(9)

By: Pamela Ann

Drake leans back in his chair and folds his arms, his muscles bulging beneath his shirt. “How have you been, Lil? And don’t give me that crap of being okay. I want to know how you are and how life’s been for you.”

Taken aback by his question, I weigh my options. Should I counter his question with a smartass reply or answer it honestly like a civilized adult?

Common sense wins out. “I am doing mighty okay given the circumstances. Mom and I are fine, really, but I’m sure you know that already. So, why ask?”

“I just had to,” he murmurs, then clears his throat. “We can go over my agenda now, if you’d like?”

I press my lips together, trying to figure out what’s behind his odd attitude. Okay, I get that he’s a little shocked seeing me again, I feel that way, too, but does he have to bring something about us up every time I walk in here? I’ve been here for a little over two hours and Drake’s still talking about the time in between Mexico and now.

“I need you to make an appointment for me with Lavern O’Malley of Lights Studios. Make that a business lunch, anytime this week. After that’s confirmed, I need you to make a restaurant reservation. Somewhere quiet so we can talk. Italian or American to be exact.” I write down everything he has said.

Without looking up, I ask him. “Do you have a particular restaurant in mind?”

He shakes his head. “No. You can choose. Somewhere five-star if you get my drift.” Obviously; like he’d dine anywhere else less, especially when he’s on a business lunch.

“Order me a box of black Armani crew tees, large. You should have a company credit card issued under your name in the HR department, you can go get that and use it for the purchases.”

“Send flowers to Cedars-Sinai Hospital for Christian Liberty. You can write a card along the lines of get well soon and such.” I nod as I jot down his commands.

“I’m due for my physical and dental appointment. I need you to get on that. Also, get me two courtside tickets for the next Lakers’ game. I need my dry-cleaning picked up and dropped off at my house in Malibu. My closet is color coordinated, so it shouldn’t be too hard on you to figure out where it all goes. My dog, Skull, needs to be groomed.”

I look up. “You have a dog?” I ask, astonished. He was never keen on dogs, ever.

“I do. Skull’s been with me for about eight years now.”

“Oh, but you hate dogs,” I counter.

“Someone once told me that dogs can be the greatest of companions. They’re loyal to their owners and will love you unconditionally.” Is he for real? I told him that when I was sixteen and he was eighteen, playing a video game in my parents’ living room. He just recited it verbatim.

“But, you hated dogs! You can’t just like them because I told you they’re great animals!”

“People change, Lil. You have, from what I can see.”

“Riiiight...” I murmur, more than confused. “Will that be all?”

“Have lunch with me.” Before I can decline his offer, he continues, “We can talk more about work while we eat.” Okay, I guess if it’s about work then I can do it.

“When do you want to leave?”

“I need to make a quick call, and then I’ll come and get you.” Drake delivers the words with finality.

I give him a quick nod and walk out of his office.

To be quite honest, I’m edgy where Drake’s concerned. I can’t read him—well I never really could—the man is an enigma. It’s baffling how he could grow up so guarded. Patricia and Hugh are the greatest of parents and the only people I know that Drake freely shows affection to—well, and my mom, of course.

When I’m back in my new office, I do the first task on my notepad. Mindy is kind enough to send me all of Drake’s contacts. I call Lavern O’Malley’s office and speak to her assistant, setting up the business lunch date for Friday. Now, all I have to do is find a restaurant and call back the assistant to confirm the venue. I browse online to look for a restaurant when Drake knocks on the glass door. It makes that ‘thunk, thunk’ sound.

“Ready to leave?” Drake peers around the door as he holds it open.

“Of course.” Fetching my purse in the drawer, I stand up and step past him.

There is something about this new Drake. It makes me feel uneasy. It’s like my every move is being analyzed, he’s studying me for some odd reason. Each time those steel, metal eyes zone in on me, I feel my heart palpitate. It’s very disconcerting.

Mindy went to lunch five minutes ago, seemingly in a much better state than she was in earlier.

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