floor. If you’d like, you can clean up there and borrow something of my father’s. You look to be about his size.” She motioned toward the bank of elevators beside them. “Why don’t you come with me and I’ll see what I can find for you to wear. I’m sure my father has something.”
When they arrived in the apartment, Jack followed Celina through rooms that looked as though someone had dismantled a museum to furnish them. And yet the overall effect was surprisingly warm. Like her.
“There’s a bathroom through there,” Celina said as they entered her parents’ bedroom. “I’ll find you something to wear.”
Jack stepped into the bathroom and removed his wet jacket and damp shirt. “I won’t be long,” he said. “Will you stay?”
Celina stepped out of her father’s dressing room with a black dinner jacket and pants draped over one arm, a crisp white shirt over the other. “You don’t think I’d miss seeing what you look like dry, do you?” She entered the bathroom and handed him the clothes. There was a moment when they appraised each other. “Of course, I’ll stay.”
* * *
In the lobby, Diana Crane, Redman International’s chief corporate attorney, accepted a glass of champagne from one of the barmen, sipped it and then turned back to Eric Parker, Redman International’s chief financial officer. He was still talking about the upcoming takeover of WestTex Incorporated.
Would he never shut up about it? Was it impossible for him to have a good time? Would you pay attention to me, please?
From the first day they’d met, she’d been attracted to him. Eric Parker was tall and dark, his looks classically Greek, his frame muscular, almost sleek. He had a healthy sense of humor, he was capable of holding an intelligent conversation and he had that incredible financial mind.
For the past two years, Eric Parker also had Celina Redman. And before their recent break-up, there were rumors of marriage.
Lights flashed and the dance floor was plunged into darkness. A murmur rose over the crowd and the band stopped playing. Diana watched with Eric as a piercing beam of light slashed the darkness and cut through the glistening waterfall, sending ripples of blue light across the crowd’s expectant faces.
She nudged Eric. “What’s this?”
Eric nodded toward the waterfall. “The money shot. Watch.”
From behind the waterfall, Elizabeth Redman appeared to walk through it. It was a clever illusion and the crowd cheered. She stood there, elegant in black silk, the diamonds at her neck, wrists and ears winking in the light. George came through the waterfall and was at her side, smiling as the energy in the room began to grow. The spotlight followed them to the center of the dance floor.
Cameras flashed. Society applauded.
“She’s beautiful,” Diana said.
“She is,” Eric agreed. “But not as beautiful as her daughter.” He handed her his empty glass. Diana had it refilled—this time without the ice. When the band began playing “One Moment in Time,” there was another burst of applause from the crowd as George and Elizabeth started to dance. Soon, other couples joined them and the floor became a swirling mass of glittering dresses and black tuxedos.
Diana reached for Eric’s hand. “Let’s dance.”
Together, they moved about the dance floor, their steps light, graceful. Diana looked up at Eric’s face, saw him smiling down at her and she smiled back. He held her closer and Diana wondered if he knew that she was in love with him and had been for years. He lowered his mouth to her ear. Diana tensed and for a moment thought he was going to kiss her. His words were an invasion when he spoke. “When this gets back to her, do you think it’ll make her jealous?”
Diana looked up at him, acutely aware of the alcohol on his breath.