Look The Part(8)

By: Jewel E. Ann


“Harry, I’ll meet you upstairs. I’m renting the office space on the second floor, in case your dad didn’t mention it. There are two guitars in their cases along the far wall. Try them out and see which one you like better. I’ll be up after I have a few words with your dad.”

Harry nods. I still don’t sense that he detects an ounce of tension in the room.

After he’s out of sight and Amanda swivels her back to us, I stand and face Sex in a Suit.

Flint comes to his full, something-way-over-six-feet height, leaning forward and balancing his weight with his fingertips pressed to the desk. “It’s Harrison, not Harry.”

I mirror his stance, willing my knees to stay where they are because he smells so good I want to crawl onto the desk and sink my teeth into his neck—in a non-vampire, non-cannibalistic way, of course. “Your tie is crooked.”

“It’s not.” He doesn’t blink.

The man makes minor adjustments to his wardrobe every ten seconds. He knows his tie is straight. His hair is perfect. And his attitude is infuriating. I may be a little turned on at the moment.

“It’s crazy. I never thought about law school, but right now I’d love to duke it out with you in a courtroom. Shove you into the ropes a few times just to watch you spring back, fists jabbing, teeth clenched. But…” I push off his desk and pull back my shoulders as I whistle do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do ending with a smile “…I need to get upstairs and teach a few chords. Maybe Harry’s mom will appreciate his interest in music more than his father.”

Turning on my heel, I wink at Amanda. Her ghosted complexion gives me a second of pause. I took her for a feisty one too. Why the look of horror?

“Harrison’s mother is dead. So that leaves me with the final word on his musical endeavor, and the word is no,” Flint says with a finality that shatters my confidence.

Amanda cringes. I die on the spot.

Death trumps everything else in life. He’s left me without an argument.

“I’m sorry.” I can’t look at him. I don’t want to know what death looks like on the face of Flint Hopkins. We should remember people in their most beautiful moments, but we don’t. It’s the etching of ugly and pain that leaves a lasting impression.

“So you’ll be out in two weeks?”

Amanda’s gaze flits between us like we really are in a boxing ring.

“I’m kind, Mr. Hopkins. Not weak.”





CHAPTER THREE





Flint


Two weeks slide by and Ms. Rodgers still plays her crap all day. There’s a loophole. I could evict her. There’s always a loophole. Right now Harrison is guarding the loophole. His obsession with the guitar—his obsession with her—has me twiddling my thumbs when I should be booting her out.

I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t take away his fixations. This is all he talks about right now. On the days when he doesn’t have his robotics class, he drops his bag off at my office and goes upstairs to wait for Ellen to finish so they can play the guitar together. And she’s even worse. She acts like I didn’t give her two weeks to get out. I will need to have her physically removed from the premises when the time comes.

“Are you helping them move?” Amanda is the master of random questions. She doesn’t face me. For all I know she could be on the phone, but I know she’s not. This is her thing: hours of silence and then a question I can’t answer.

“Who?”

“Cage. I know you’re holding all the emotions inside, but your best friend is leaving you and you haven’t said more than two words about it. You haven’t requested I mark time off for you to help them move or anything like that.”

“He’s moving, not ‘leaving’ me. He’s hired a moving company. His life. Not mine. It is what it is. Did you pull the Peterson files for me?”

“On your desk, three inches from your hand. If you move, the file will bite you because you’re preoccupied with your best friend moving away and your fantastic new tenant who has stolen Harrison’s music-loving heart.”

Fantastic. She’s got that right. Ellen Rodgers is not real. Women that strange only exist in fantasy. Her perfect tits are the only real part of her, an anomaly of their own because perfect tits are usually a fantasy.

I need to stop thinking about her tits.

“Go tell Harrison that I’m leaving in five minutes.”

Amanda stands and slips on her jacket.

I sigh. “Please.”

“Sorry. I’m off the clock. You’ll have to go up there and tell him yourself. Say hi to Elle for me.”

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