Decking the Halls
DECKING THE HALLS
Amaia Sinclair applies for a job at Buchanan and Ellsworth because it’s the best job in town, not because the man in charge happens to be her first love. She is the best at what she does, and needs a job closer to her ailing mother. She wants to be hired on her own merits, and is; but what she doesn’t expect is that the man she left behind would want to pick up where she left off so many years ago.
Declan Buchanan thought he’d never see Amaia again after she disappeared from his life so many years ago. When she walked into his office with an impressive resume and bold ideas for the company he hires her on the spot. Problem is, he can’t keep his thoughts strictly business. Everything in him wants to reclaim what they once had.
When the deception of their past rears its ugly head on the most important night of their careers, they could lose not only each other but the company they’ve worked hard to rebuild. Which will they choose? The company or each other?
A hint of regret lingered inside Declan. He enjoyed the company of the confident, smartass woman who had been in his office earlier. Pushing her to tell him the truth might have changed that. The woman in front of him was nervous and a tad skittish.
“Your father is a hopeless romantic. It wouldn’t surprise me if he found someone new.” She smiled from behind her glass of wine.
There she was. She wasn’t back full force but it was a start. His focus would have to keep the conversation away from the past for now. “It wouldn’t surprise me either.” He leaned back in his chair running his fingers along the stem of his wine glass. “I meant to ask you in the interview today what made you decide to go into advertising.”
“It was Alfred. Remember how he used to bring us into the office?”
Declan couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the memory. “How could I forget? Any time you wanted to escape for a bit you would sneak up to the roof.” As a kid he hated those trips. They always made him feel like he was on display as his father showed him off to everyone.
“While you and Alfred walked around the office, I snuck off to the art department. There were a few times in high school that Alfred left you at home and let me spend the day there. It was what I wanted to do.”
“I don’t remember him taking you by yourself.” When had his father done that? Why didn’t he remember it?
“You were too busy pretending to ignore me.” Her eyes sparkled as her laughter danced across the table.
“I was not.” He protested, laughing himself a moment later. “Okay maybe I was. I didn’t pass up an opportunity to stay behind while he went to the office, though.”
“And I never passed up an opportunity to go with him. I stayed with it after we left.”
She shut down and buried whatever emotions were bubbling to the surface right before his eyes. He pushed forward with the conversation in hopes of drawing her back out. “Did you go to school here in California?”
No? That was it? Nothing else. No elaboration of where she had gone or what she had done with her life since they had last seen each other. “Where did you end up going to school?”
“New York City. I came home for holidays until...” She snagged her bottom lip between her teeth,. “…until Christopher and I were married.”
“Christopher?” He cleared his throat when his voice cracked. “Where did you meet him?”
“We met at Myers. Hit it off really well. He became one of my best friends.” his time she cleared her throat. “We married a year later in a small ceremony.”
The picture became clearer. She wanted it to remain a working relationship because she was married. It had been years since they had seen each other, but why did it feel like someone just punched him in the gut? “Will he be joining you soon?”
“Joining me? Oh no, he’s staying in New York.” Her eyes stayed focused on the wine glass in front of her. “I talked to him once I got here, but I doubt I will hear from him for a few weeks.”
Declan quirked his eyebrow up. “Your husband is staying on the other side of the country and you won’t hear from him for a few weeks? What kind of husband does that?”
“The kind I’m divorced from.” Her shoulders lifted in a small shrug. “We were great friends and we shared love, but not the right kind. We’re still friends but no longer married.”
The picture in his mind blurred again. He had no clue what he was dealing with here. She’d been married but now divorced. It was definitely a puzzle he wanted to figure out. There was only one way to do that. Probe for more answers. “And the rest?”
“The rest, as they say, is history.”
“History is a good way to put it. If we don’t fix the issues soon, it is all going to go up in flames.” He took a sip of his wine but it suddenly tasted bitter.
“There is still time to fix it.”
“If you say I’m the man for the job, I might throw up.” He tried to smile, but failed. “I love my dad, but as you said in your interview, I’ve got a giant mess to clean up.”
“Alfred has been grooming you for this since you were little.”
“That’s part of the problem, Maia. He’s been shoving this at me for as long as I can remember. Always telling me how important it would be once I took over, and now look at it. I never wanted this.”
“This is me you are talking to. You started talking about being in charge of this place when we were seven. Granted most of your campaign ideas back then had to do with Star Wars or Legos.” Her smile was beautiful, even if it carried all the sadness he felt in his own heart. “What else would you want to do?”
“That’s it. I don’t know. This is all I’ve ever known.” The food on the table had been forgotten. His appetite had disappeared, and by the way she pushed her food around, so had hers. “He wants me to be some grand captain of the family ship. Newsflash…the ship is sinking.”
She shook her head with a smile, “Always so serious, Caleb.” Her hand slid across the table to rest on top of his this time. “And look at you now. That’s exactly where you are. The captain of the ship.”
“Yeah, a ship full of holes.”
“We’ll just have to rebuild the ship, then.”
Bio:Mary Terrani lives a chaotic life as the mother of two rambunctious boys of the teen and tween variety. They keep her on her toes on a regular basis, so she’s happy to get lost in other worlds. Her long-standing passion for the written word drives her need to create chaos with her pen that only she can solve. She loves to dabble in many genres, from young adult to paranormal, and even a post-apocalyptic piece she’s co-writing with fellow author, Sarah Cass.
When she’s not writing, Mary can be found in a variety of activities including knitting, gaming, and anything involving her favorite geekdoms. Mom, author and all around geek she loves spending time with her family.Contact Links:
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Musings from Michigan