“So yeah.” She laughed. “That’s my story.”
“And it’s an amazing one,” I said, leaning down and kissing her cheek. “Listen, I’m sorry. I have to get to this meeting. The car will take you home. I’ll grab a cab. Can I have your number? Maybe we can have dinner soon.”
“That would be great.” She smiled, taking my phone and putting her number into the system.
“I’ll call you soon.” I smiled, putting my phone in my pocket and shutting her into the car.
I watched as the car headed down the street and around the corner. Then I grabbed a cab and headed to my apartment to get ready for the lunch meeting I was already late for. I changed quickly and then met the car downstairs, my hair still wet from the shower. I was meeting my best friend and right-hand man, John, and some investors for lunch at a chic little café downtown. I didn’t want to go to a meeting like this on a Saturday, but it was the only time we could meet with these guys. When I got there, they were already starting appetizers, and I apologized profusely for being late.
The guys talked about business, and John rambled on about the numbers and growth from the prior year. I pushed the lettuce around on my plate and focused my thoughts on Amanda. She had infiltrated my mind, and I couldn’t push the electric feeling out of my chest every time I thought about the hot sex we had the night before. It was distracting, to say the least, but luckily, I had John to carry the weight through the meeting. I was usually always on my game, and John nudged me several times under the table to signal me to say something. Luckily, he was the only one to notice, and by the end of lunch, the investors were ready to move forward with the new project we had in the works.
“Thank you, I promise you will not regret this,” I said, shaking their hands.
John paid the check while I gathered the folders from the table, just then realizing we had sealed the deal. I probably should have paid more attention, but my mind just wouldn’t let me. John walked back over and shook my hand.
“That was easy.” He laughed. “Though I felt like I was in that meeting alone. What’s up with you? Where was your head during all of that? You seemed extremely distracted, and I know that means something is going on.”
“Sorry,” I said.
“Don’t be sorry. Just tell me what’s up.” He chuckled.
“I went to Maggio’s last night to get some dinner, a few drinks, and to clear my head,” I explained. “That place is quiet enough for people not to know who I am.”
“Yeah,” he said, walking with me outside.
“I met someone while I was there,” I said. “She’s this adorable little vixen that just knocked my feet out from under me. We ended up drinking and then went back to her place. I took her to breakfast this morning. That was why I was late. I completely lost track of time.”
“Wow,” John said, nodding.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing.” He chuckled. “I’m just surprised. That’s all. You swore off women after Tracy screwed you over.”
“I didn’t go looking for it,” I replied.
“I know,” he said. “I just want you to be careful. That’s all. I just don’t want things to end up like last time. You remember last time, right? I told you from the beginning that I didn’t trust Tracy, and I was right. I’m not saying that about this girl—I’ve never met her—but I worry about you. Girls have a tendency to get inside of your brain, and you go blind for a little while. I just want you to keep your eyes open, see things clearly, and make sure that her interest is in you and not your money. It sucks you have to live your life suspecting everyone, but you became a billionaire by the time you were twenty-five. There are downsides to that.”
“It’s not going to end like last time,” I said. “And I know, you pretty much saved me from a sham of a marriage. I owe you forever on that one, and I won’t take your advice for granted next time around. Besides, I don’t even know if I’ll ever see this girl again. I got her number, I told her I’d call her, but I don’t know if I actually will.”
“You should,” he said, shrugging. “I don’t see you get excited about a girl very often.”
“I’m not excited, just replaying the hot sex we had. That’s all.” I laughed, patting him on the shoulder. “Now, go enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’m going to go home and get some sleep, maybe watch the Lakers game on television or something.”
“Alright.” He laughed, climbing in the back of the car. “I’ll see you later.”
I nodded and watched the car drive off before climbing into mine. As we made our way to my place, I thought about what John said, and I was glad I chose to brush things off around him. Sure, what I felt was pretty intense, especially for me, but he didn’t need to know that. I needed to figure it out for myself first, show him that I could judge this girl’s character, and that I had learned from my mistakes. He had been my best friend since college, and my frat brother, and I wasn’t going to ignore his advice without giving it serious thought.