“Do you want to split a cheese plate?”
She cocked her eyebrow, wiping the remnants of bernaise sauce from her lips.
“Do you have a black hole in place of a stomach? I’m stuffed.”
“More wine then.” He topped up her glass and she shook her head.
“I already agreed to your terms, to your working methods, to everything. I’m in love with everything you do. You really don’t have to get me smashed to seal the deal.”
His eyes darted from the crumpled napkin on the table, to her fingers, idly fiddling with the top button on her dress. The flesh beneath her knuckles rose and yielded with every twist, until the button came loose and she stretched, exposing more of her succulent breasts and their peachy lace encasement.
When people talk about long games, they probably picture this tableau, the result of six months hard graft, on both sides. Six months of flirting that went from professional to questionable and back again. Ever since he’d caught wind of her looking for new representation, he’d wanted her for his portfolio, and would stop at nothing. And well, she was compliant. Eager. But reserved.
That he had been lost in a crush on her since the second month was almost secondary. And Colette encouraged it. Colette watched him take FaceTime calls with her and shivered at the tonal shift in his voice whenever Marianne spoke. The two women had never met, though they had spoken on the brief occasions Tom’s wife had picked up the work phone. Colette’s fluent familiarity with English slang under the rich veil of her German accent was unnerving and arousing.