Conor sat back and studied Roy and Marie. Relief was written all over Roy’s body from his relaxed shoulders to the way he held the canister in one hand at his side rather than clutching it to his chest.
Marie, however, crossed her arms under her breasts and narrowed her eyes. Roy was of average to short height and Conor guessed that in heels, Marie probably stood as tall as him. Odd that after her defiant years in college she’d let Roy run her life at all. But it didn’t sound like she was going to be agreeable now.
She said, “Actually, I was in negotiations with Conor. I think he has a more interesting job for me at his floral distributor.”
Conor didn’t flinch as she spoke. Obviously she wanted him to jump in and offer something to avoid her taking over Charisse’s salon, but he wanted to see how it played out between her and Roy first.
Roy said, “Flower distributor? What the hell are you talking about? Since when do you even want a job?”
“Since I got sick of being set up on dates with CEO’s in New York. They’re all losers.” She cast a glance to Conor.
Conor remained mute. That sort of bait would never get a rise out of him.
“What is she talking about?” demanded Roy. “Why is she even here?”
“Why are you here, Roy? Our meeting isn’t until five, but Charisse has changed it. She wants us over at her salon at six-thirty.”
Roy took a step back and held the long canister up to his chest. He drummed his fingers on it as he cast glances at Marie. Conor should play poker with him. Roy seemed incapable of keeping a straight countenance.
“You’re not changing your mind?” Roy asked Marie.
Marie stared straight at Conor. The clouds he noticed earlier covered the sun as they rolled in over the city, darkening his office.
Fine. He didn’t want Marie managing the salon. He still had his doubts that either of them could talk Charisse out of running her business, but he didn’t want to take any chances. Marie had him. He wanted to use this opportunity to get to know Charisse.
“I can get you an interview, but not a job. I don’t own their company. I’ll call you when I have it set up.”
Marie grinned and stood. He’d been right. She was almost as tall as her father, even in her sneakers. She flounced her ponytail behind her and stared at Roy. “No, I haven’t changed my mind. Charisse would hate anybody but her running that salon.” She swept the canister with her gaze. “I hope you brought more than just one painting.” Marie strutted out the door like a CEO landing a huge bonus.
Conor turned his attention to Roy who sat where Marie had just been. He set the canister on the desk between them.
Roy said, “Thank God you got that air conditioner fixed. You must’ve been furious with the repairmen.”
When Conor made no response, he cleared his throat and said, “I’d like to apologize for everything that’s happened since the ships got lost. I shouldn’t have tried to set you up on a date with Marie or misled you about the building or any of that. I have a painting that I think you’d be interested in enough to drop the pursuit of Ma Charisse.”
“I don’t want it.”
“But you don’t even know what it is.”
“It doesn’t matter. The negotiations ended a long time ago.” He pushed the canister back towards Roy. “Meet us at Ma Charisse at six-thirty. I’ll have my lawyer there, I’m sure Charisse is planning the same.”
“Charisse probably hasn’t even thought to have a lawyer there.” Roy snatched the painting and set it to the side of the chair. “I didn’t want to go this route, but you’re giving me no choice. I had an investigator poke around a little bit. You paid a reporter in The Hamptons a handsome fee to cover up the police were investigating you for murdering your wife. How much did you pay the police to drop the charges?”