“They think you’re crazy now, don’t they?” Heidi asked, using her long fingernails to rake breadcrumbs off the blue linen tablecloth.
Edward couldn’t take his eyes off her. In fact, he’d barely heard a word she’d said until the waiter returned. “Is everything all right, Mr. Brady?”
“Yes, fine. Thank you,” he replied, hoping to dismiss the young man right away.
The waiter made a pointed indication at the untouched plate directly across from Edward’s. “Will your guest be joining you later for dinner?”
Edward met her gaze. Heidi shrugged. “Up to you, sugar. I spent my entire life being every man’s dirty little secret. No reason for you to be the exception. As a reminder, no one else can see me.”
“That will be all,” Edward deadpanned, reaching across the table.
The waiter took a moment to stare down at the open space separating the dinner plates. Edward watched Heidi, faintly aware of the man towering over them. “Yes?” he asked, looking up abruptly.
The waiter studied the empty chair across from Edward and then shrugged. He walked away moments later shaking his head and mumbling, “Money and madness go hand in hand in Las Vegas.”
Heidi squeezed his fingers. “You’re a thoughtful fellow, Edward, but trust me. I’ve ruined many a man’s reputation. You’re considered a genius in this town. You don’t want this city to turn its back on you right now. You’re on the verge of something great, and I want to come along for the ride.” She slid her arm under the table and touched his knee. “And I want a lot of rides with you, Edward.”
His prick was ready to negotiate the terms.
“You do?” Edward asked, engaging himself in what must’ve looked like an odd, one-sided conversation. By the time he realized what he was doing, half the restaurant’s customers were turning around, staring at him with marked curiosity.
Heidi tilted her head toward some of the patrons. “You’re seated at a table for two. You requested a couple of wine glasses. Two meals have been served. This seat is vacant, and you’re holding a hand that doesn’t exist.” She looked down at their entwined fingers. “Your thumb is jerking as if you’re massaging my wrist. You don’t think this is newsworthy for the Las Vegas Lifestyle Magazine?”
“You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” Edward admitted. “If I can see you, then they must.”
“No, Edward,” she said, standing.
He stood, too, as a polite gesture.
“I don’t exist in their world. You’re the only one who can see me.”
“Then I’m one lucky guy.”
Heidi held her shoulders back. A quick tilt of her head sent ringlets tumbling across her shoulders. “That depends on who you ask at the moment. In public situations like this, I recommend that you listen and let me do the talking. Some here are ruthless snakes when it comes to tearing down a man’s reputation, especially one like yours. They’ll be anxious to poke fun at the crazy man, the gentleman who inevitably will catch the adoring eyes of their women because of his deep pockets.”
“What’s that mean, exactly?”
“You’re about to make millions, the kind of money this city hasn’t seen since the days of Howard Hughes, and you’re acting as crazy as Hughes himself.”
“I’m not hungry,” he told her, feeling like he’d known her at another point and time in his life. “I want to take you home and—”
“And what, Edward? Get to know me?”
She took a deep breath. “Oh for heaven’s sake, sit down and finish your meal and then meet me at the curb. As long as you’re looking at me like I’m dessert, there’s no way you’ll enjoy your dinner. Besides, you’re drawing too much attention.”
“I would think someone in your line of work craves center stage,” he pointed out, snapping at her.
Heidi leaned forward. “Careful, Edward, the patrons are staring now.”
“I don’t care,” he said, tossing his napkin aside and following her through the restaurant. “You think I don’t know what this is about?”
“I doubt it,” she answered, never breaking her stride. “If you had any idea what I need from you, I don’t think you’d risk your reputation and follow a ghost out of the hottest dining spot in the city.”
“What do you mean by that? What do you want from me?”
She stopped and turned around. With her hands on her hips, she replied, “Right now, I’d love to fuck you. I’d like to toss those geeky glasses aside, grab hold of that meaty cock I’ve watched you playing with at night and right here, right now, I’d love to feel your dick pounding inside me.”
“Well, gosh,” he said, quite uncomfortable. He glanced over his shoulder in an effort to make sure no one had heard her, especially the part about his self-indulgent private activities.
“Remember, they can’t hear me. You can, but they can’t.”
“No,” she said, stalking the main entrance. “I don’t think you do. I’ve been without a man since 2010, Edward. Haven’t had an orgasm to speak of until today, and now, you’re looking at me like I’m the only woman in the world, so as you might have guessed, I’m aroused, wet, and quite ready to grovel for cock.”
She stopped, put her hands on her hips, and turned around. “Let me ask you something. Have you ever had a woman pursue you?”
He was offended. “Are you suggesting I need to pay for sex?”
The whole dining room rippled with muffled sounds. Men draped their arms around their women in an obvious effort to protect them from hearing a clearly disturbed man ranting about an inappropriate topic for fine dining conversations. Women gasped, placing their dainty hands over their mouths like the thought of something so crude was enough to send them into cardiac arrest.
Edward caught Heidi by her upper arm. “Don’t turn your back to me, please. Do you honestly think you can tempt a man with the promise of sex—”
“I never promised, Edward,” Heidi stated calmly.
“Yes you did. You said…” He stalled. “You said that…”
“Go on. Don’t let me stop you. I’m sure everyone here would like to know what I said verbatim. Don’t leave out the part where you use two hands rather than one when you’re all worked up and raring to go.”
Edward took a deep breath. “I’m going to finish my dinner.”
“That’s a fine idea, Edward.”
“You’re coming with me.”
“No, but make sure you order dessert. I have a feeling you need something sweet.”
Edward ground his teeth together. When Heidi refused to follow him, he said, “What am I supposed to do now, order a rich slice of banana cream pie and imagine the flavor of the filling somehow compares to your dripping wet—”
“Oh, my heavens!” A lady adorned in jewels dropped her fork. The echo of an eating utensil falling against the gold-encrusted china plate alerted Edward to the obvious.
He and Heidi had the floor.
Heidi rolled her eyes. “That just kills me,” she said, tilting her head in the direction of the classy, gorgeous blonde and an aging gentleman with salt-and-pepper hair.
“What?” Edward asked, looking at the couple.
“See that fellow over there acting like your little outburst was the rudest thing he’d ever heard suggested in a public establishment?”
“The blonde he’s with used to work for me at The Love Parlor. He was one of her regulars.”
Edward glanced at them again. “You mean that woman was a whore?”
It was too late.
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