Gael paused for a moment. ‘The Ishikawa deal may be back on the table.’
‘I’m not interested.’
His brother made an impatient sound. ‘I’ll be there in ten. We’ll discuss this further.’ He hung up before Alejandro could draw breath.
After relaying instructions to Margo, he tossed the phone down and jerked to his feet. He started to head for his window, but changed course at the last moment.
This was something else she’d ruined. He couldn’t enjoy the view now without remembering her sketch of him standing at this very window, staring out. She’d seen inside him. Uncovered what he’d spent over a decade trying to hide.
She’d made him believe there was a connection between them.
But it’d been a lie.
She’d changed everything.
His world had been an acceptable regiment of clinical routine before her. SNV was his number one priority. Nothing else mattered.
Elise Jameson had thrown a grenade into that existence. She’d made him feel. Worse, she’d made him...hope. To think he’d actually been considering making
adjustments in his life that included family and compromise. That he’d spent that hour in Kenzo’s garden, seeking ways to accommodate the new and uncharted into his life.
When all the while she’d been pursuing another agenda. So far he’d stopped himself from dissecting which part of her history had been a lie. Her claimed innocence? The fact that landing one of the Ishikawa brothers had been an addendum to her job or her goal from the beginning, probably orchestrated by her grandmother? Because when Alejandro thought about it, he noticed that she’d resisted any discussion about them. Any pursuit of a sexual nature had come from Alejandro. Because she hadn’t been interested?
No. She had been. He wasn’t insane enough to have misread their chemistry.
But she still fell into another man’s arms.
Balling his fists, he shoved them into his pockets and turned his back on the view, just as the door opened and his brother entered.
Gael was dressed for an early start to the weekend, if his jeans, T-shirt and leather biker jacket were any indication. The mid-October temperatures were balmy enough not to require further covering, which suited his west coast resident brother.
They exchanged a less stiff nod, then Gael crossed to the drinks cabinet and pour two cognacs. He handed one to Alejandro.
‘You don’t think this is premature? Celebrating a dead deal before a conversation has even taken place?’
Gael shrugged as he sat down on the sofa, his focus slightly pensive. ‘Prematurity means there’s something to mature into.’
Alejandro downed the drink, revelling for a single mindless moment in the warmth that flowed through him because he knew it wouldn’t last. ‘You’re pushy.’
‘I’m relentless. And ruthless.’ Gael sipped his drink. ‘And you’re the man I keep hearing all these formidable stories about. From this side of the room, I’m not seeing much evidence of it,’ he mocked.
‘You flew all the way here from California with this feeble tactic? To reverse-psych me into entering into this deal with you?’
Gael raised a brow. ‘Tell me if it’s working and I’ll tailor my answer accordingly.’
‘It’s not working.’
The knock on the door halted a response. Margo entered. ‘Your food is ready. Shall I set it up in here or the dining room?’
Alejandro pried himself from the wall. ‘In here. And take the rest of the afternoon off, Margo.’
Her eyes widened. ‘Really?’
He nodded. ‘Enjoy your weekend.’
The food was delivered. Gael devoured half of the club sandwich before he sat back and wiped his mouth on a napkin. Alejandro lost his appetite after one bite.
‘The Ishikawas are prepared to go forward with the merger. With both of us.’