Brows cinched together in what Gavin easily recognized as aggravation, Colton cleared his throat. He dragged his stare away from Gavin and focused on the impatient executives. “I apologize, gentleman. It appears my brother woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.” Colton gave a casual shrug, a smirk tipping the corner of his mouth. He shot Gavin a sideways glance, humor replacing his aggravation. “Clearly, he must not have gotten laid last night.”
Within a few seconds, the table erupted in an orchestra of chuckles, none of which included Gavin’s. Though he wanted to bitch-slap his brother for the catty remark, he was impressed by the asshole’s quick witted response. Colton had always had a knack for it, and Gavin had to admit it smoothed over the tension in the office. Gavin mirrored the stupid smirk on his brother’s face as he leaned back, rubbing a tired hand over his chin. He flicked his attention to the clock on the wall, ignoring the bullshit spiel Colton was working over the group in an attempt to gain one of the largest accounts Blake Industries could acquire. Money was the furthest thing from Gavin’s mind as he noted the time. Eleven fifteen. A little over an hour until he had to meet Emily. Before falling asleep last night, she’d sweetly suggested a quiet lunch at a small café in Battery Park since she was getting off of work early. Gavin knew she was trying to calm his nerves. That was one of the many things he loved about her—the way she evened him out. God, he fucking loved her. He’d give up everything for her. Travel across the world at the drop of a hat if she insisted. There wasn’t a limit he could reach or a line he wouldn’t cross in order to make her happy. Now, he just needed to convince her she was worth every bit of it.
A moment later, Gavin’s thoughts were interrupted again as the group of men rose from their seats, each sporting a satisfactory smile. Gavin stood and regarded Colton with amusement. He was looking at Gavin with a smug grin. Gavin knew that was his way of letting him know he’d landed the account without his help, and Gavin was pretty damn sure Colton was going to word vomit his displeasure with him once they all left. Gavin could give a flying fuck.
“Sounds like a game plan, Colton,” said Mr. Gray-Haired Executive as he shook Colton’s hand. “We’ll get the contracts sent over by the end of the business day tomorrow.”
Colton flashed his winning smile. “Excellent. We look forward to making this come together for you. You went with the right choice.”
“Let’s just hope your brother here is getting laid while you’re putting the campaign together,” the man said dryly, leaning in to shake Gavin’s hand. Again, the room burst into laughter. Again, Gavin didn’t. “I have a few connections in the city if you need some help in that department. They don’t come cheap, but they sure as hell are worth every penny.”
Gavin accepted his hand, his grip tighter than normal considering he didn’t like the asshole’s comment. It didn’t matter. Gavin knew how to handle his type without being too offensive. Or not. Again, he didn’t give a fuck. Gavin’s mouth slid into a sly grin. “I’m sure they are, and I appreciate the offer, but I’ve never had to pay for services like that. They usually come willingly to me. But hey, you do what you have to do.” The man’s smile fizzled, a tight frown replacing it, but Gavin didn’t give him a chance to speak.
“We look forward to receiving those contracts, Mr. Rosendale,” Gavin said, walking to the office door. He held it open for the group of polished wealth staring at him. “My brother’s correct. You went with the right choice. Blake Industries is about to rock the shit out of your campaign. We’re going to keep you all very wealthy. Dry martinis and expensive call girls galore.”
The frown creasing the man’s forehead eased as his mouth crooked upward into a slow, smartass smile. “I have the utmost faith you and your brother will do right by us, Mr. Blake. But just so you know, kid, I don’t do dry martinis. I prefer Scotch. A Dalmore 1962 Single Highland Malt Scotch to be exact.”
“Excellent choice,” Gavin said, unbuttoning his $22,000 blue Ermenegildo Zegna suit. He knew the guy was being a dick, trying to push a $58,000 bottle of scotch in his face. Gavin smiled with every intention of being a dick right back. “I’ll have our secretary send you two cases so you’re properly stocked. Sound good?”
The man hesitated a moment, his eyes sharpening. “Sounds very good. We’ll see you again come March.” Without another word, he nodded in Colton’s direction and walked out of the office, his crew of equally arrogant bastards behind him.
Gavin strode across the office and chuckled when he heard Colton slam the door.
“What the fuck was that all about?” Colton bit out. “It’s not enough you were in a daze during the meeting, but you almost kill the damn contract in typical Gavin fashion.”
Gavin turned, his eyes narrowed. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”
“Do I need to spell it out for you, little man?”
“Yeah. Maybe you do,” Gavin replied dryly. Crossing his arms, he perched on the edge of the table, awaiting his brother’s response.
Head tilted, Colton shoved his hands in his pockets. “Seriously, we worked on that bid for months. Where the fuck were you?”
His sentences were clipped, and Gavin could tell Colton was losing his patience. Though he was having a shitty day, guilt spilled through Gavin. Damn. Colton was correct. They’d worked endless hours to gain the account. To hell with himself; his brother had spent night after night away from Melanie and his kids, making sure everything was on point for the meeting.
Gavin’s face softened. “I’m sorry, all right?”
Colton sighed, his tone calmer. “What’s going on with you, man? I could tell something was bothering you when you came in this morning.”
Gavin glanced at his watch. He had a limited amount of time to explain what’d happened. Bringing his attention back to Colton, he felt his blood surge through his body. “Dillon hit Emily the morning of their wedding.”
Colton’s mouth dropped open. “What?”
“Yeah. He fucking hit her, and he showed up at her job yesterday.” Standing, Gavin plowed his hands through his hair as he thought about the conversation he and Emily had after making love last night. She’d further tilted his world on its axis when she’d explained that Dillon went to her school. Though Gavin wanted to make her quit her job that second, he couldn’t. Teaching meant too much to her and she loved her students. But it was all good. Without Emily’s knowledge, Gavin had already placed a call this morning, making sure she would be followed everywhere. A little cash and an old buddy who’d just finished a seven-year bid upstate would hang in Dillon’s shadow for the rest of his fucking life. “Did you know he hit her?”
Colton’s eyes went wide. “Jesus Christ, Gavin. Why the fuck would you assume I knew about it? No, I didn’t know.”
“I assumed you did because apparently Trevor knew and didn’t tell me.” Gavin stalked across the office to retrieve his keys as his head hammered through round two of last night’s conversation. He tried to shake off the mess of emotions that’d also taken up residence in his mind. Though Emily insisted Trevor made her promise to tell him if they got back together, it didn’t sit right with Gavin. He’d seen Trevor the day she moved into his penthouse. As a matter of fact, the fucker acted as if life was just dandy. Little did Gavin know his life was about to become more complicated than ever.