I’m exhausted by the time I pull into the circular driveway of my parents’ home, fully aware that I have a flight to catch in four hours. I lean over to the passenger seat to retrieve my purse when I notice a black Mercedes E350 parked on the sidewalk from my rearview mirror. As I approach the car, I realize that it’s Lucas. He’s wearing sunglasses and is leaned back on the driver’s seat, fast asleep. I tap lightly on the window before opening the door and slipping into the passenger seat. He is casually dressed in jeans, his trademark button down shirt, and Converse sneakers. His chair is almost fully reclined and his legs are stretched out on top of the steering wheel. I lightly caress his arm with the very tips of my fingers. “Luke?”
“Jesus, Jade! You scared me!” he says, bolting upright and adjusting the seat back while removing his sunglasses and furiously rubbing his eyes.
“Sorry. When did you get here? Why did you sleep in your car?” I ask, my voice tinted with humor. “Are these leather seats all they’re made out to be?”
“Very funny. What does it look like? Yes, I slept here—I’m on a stakeout. I knocked on the door and your parents told me you weren’t home. And the leather seats? I don’t know, I haven’t been able to test them yet,” he bounces back quickly. That’s Lucas for you.
“Secret agents don’t fall asleep during stakeouts,” I joke. I see him suppress a smile. “When did you arrive in Chicago?” I ask, keeping a light hold on his arm.
“You’re kidding. And you flew here shortly after that?”
“Yes. I asked Taylor to call Noelle and pretend that we had to set up a meeting with you.”
“More covert operations. You’re getting so good at it.” I smirk. But truth be told, I missed him terribly. My heart is doing somersaults at the fact that he’s here to see me.
“It’s not funny anymore. I’m done with it,” he snaps, his eyes penetrating mine, squinting, reprimanding. “We’re going to talk about this today. Now.”
“Okay. But let’s talk in Chicago. I have a flight to ca—”
“Cancel it. We’re spending more time in San Francisco. Just you and me. Lucas and Jade. Not Ms. Richmond or Mr. Martinez. Not MT Media or Warner Consulting.”
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