“Con.” I look at the breathtaking jewelry. “That’s too much.”
“Never enough for you.” He puts each piece on me one by one.
“This might be the most expensive outfit I’ve ever worn.” I tease.
“You are breathtaking,” he agrees.
“You’re looking at my tits, not that jewelry.” I laugh.
He shrugs. “Dinner.” He opens one of the pizza boxes. Picking up a piece, he feeds it to me.
“You know this is ridiculous.” I laugh more.
“You’re smiling. That’s all that matters.”
Yet on the inside I’m doing anything but that because the guilt of lying to this perfect man threatens to consume me.
“A custom dress, Con? I can buy a readymade,” Abigail fusses as we enter the salon.
“And have everyone in the city think that I’m mistreating you? There’d be ten gossip pieces about how our marriage is on the rocks before your dress hit the bedroom floor.” A staff member guides us into a fitting room and seats us on a loveseat. Another staff member comes out with a silver tray containing coffee for me and sparkling water for Abigail. We’ve been here before and they know our preferences. Earlier I emailed a photo of the jewels along with the Pantone number so that they get the color correct.
“Ahh, Mr. and Mrs. Weathers. It is so delightful to see you again,” cries Analise Schultz. The designer leans down and exchanges air kisses with Abigail before giving me a careful nod. Abigail isn’t a very jealous person, but she doesn’t like another woman’s mouth near me, which I understand. I’ve bloodied a few noses for looking too long at Abigail’s body or saying shit that doesn’t sit well with me. “Since this is for the Foundation ball, I was thinking princess cut around the breasts and a full skirt. There are so few women that wear the full skirt anymore and it’s such a travesty.” Analise claps her hands and the models parade out from behind a set of black velvet curtains.
The first work is a chocolate brown piece that falls off the shoulder. The fabric is nearly see through. “No.”
Analise frowns. “This color–”
“It’s not the color,” Abigail interrupts with a smile. “It’s too revealing.”
“I can see the model’s ass through it.” I’d be in fights all night long at the charity event.
Abigail puts a hand over my eyes. “Then stop looking.”
“I’d be in jail before the hors d’oeuvres are passed around,” I inform her. “Next.”
Analise sighs. “This confection is–”
“Mmm purple with blue?” Abigail wrinkles her nose. “I love pink, too, but I think it’s not the greatest match with the sapphires.”
“What about one of those styles where it starts with one color and ends up another?” I suggest.
“Oh, ombre. Maybe. Do you have any ombre dresses?”
Three more models file out but it’s the last one that makes Abigail gasp. It’s a white dress with embroidered flowers that are small near the chest and grow larger to the bottom. It’s a cake-like confection of a gown and Abigail’s bright eyes make me doubly glad we’re here and not buying some ready to wear off the rack at one of the designers. Abigail deserves a one-of-a-kind dress.
“We’ll take it. You have her measurements.”
Outside, Abigail laments, “You’re always spending too much money on me.”
“What’s the point of earning it?” I counter, opening the door to the car that will take her back to the house. “I’ll see you tonight.” I lean down and give her a deep kiss. Once she’s on her way, I head back to the office. There’s a mountain of paperwork I need to go through and an important appointment to attend.
“I’m thrilled you reached out to me,” Gregory Marks grins. “Quite the view you have up here.”
“I’d love to visit your headquarters.”
“We’re not quite ready to have guests. All of our funds have been funneled back into the business. We’re investing in ourselves and not in things,” he replies easily. “But once we go public with this new cryptocurrency, we’ll have enough to renovate an entire city block.”
I tap the slick proposal on my desk. “It says here that you’re only five million short of what you need to go public.” How ironic that it’s the same amount that Teddy wants to invest. I’m a little disappointed that they don’t do more research. I’m obviously in a better position to invest more than Teddy and thus their ask should be higher. I do give the conman marks for balls. He’s selling his product as if it’s real without a hint of shame. “I’ve heard you have been offering the same deal all over the city? I’m not sure how this is an exclusive deal for me.”
“If you sign today, we’ll be happy to tell the other potential investors that they’ve lost out to you–Con Weathers! Once it’s released that you’ve invested, the IPO will explode.”