“Wow. Maybe we can try that scenario in California this weekend.” Yes. Please.
“Consider it done.” He took a deep breath. “I am leaving now. Do not be intimidated by Dora. She is my housekeeper, therefore not a stranger.”
It said a lot about how much she trusted him and how comfortable she was in Neo’s home that his words actually settled inside her with truth. “Got it. Not a stranger.”
“Will you be okay with her driving you home?”
“Surely that’s not in her job description?”
He shrugged. “I thought you would be more comfortable with her than my usual driver.”
“So, you do use one.”
“When necessary, yes. I like driving though.”
“And you like being on time. Go.”
He shook his head and then grabbed her and placed a hard, lingering kiss on her lips. Then he spun on his heel and left the bedroom.
She put her fingers over her lips. “Wow.” She spun in a circle. “Just wow.”
Dora turned out to be a Greek woman in her mid-fifties with salt-and-pepper hair worn in a neat bun. She had a kind smile and the apparent desire to feed the nations. The breakfast she laid out for Cass was big enough to feed an army.
When she said so, the older woman grinned. “One day That One,” she said, tilting her head toward the door as if Neo were still in the apartment, “will settle down and give me some bebes to cook for.”
The image of little boys with green eyes and dark hair teasing a sister into eating her dinner so they could all leave the table to play flashed through Cass’s mind. It filled her with a longing she thought she had long ago conquered. “He’ll make a wonderful father.”
“Not that he knows it.” Dora rolled her eyes as she poured Cass a cup of aromatic coffee. “Men!”
Cass laughed. “I don’t have much experience with the species, except my manager.” And Bob was less a man in her mind than the nagging voice of business.
Neo’s bossiness didn’t really bother her, but when Bob got overly demanding, she felt borderline bullied. One thing was for sure, if he could have cajoled her into returning to the stage, he would have done it. Goodness knew he kept trying.
He’d played every guilt card in the deck. At least twice.
“You are the pianist. Mr. Neo told me. I enjoy your music.”
“You will have to slow down when you have children. Two CDs a year.” She shook her head.
“I doubt I’ll ever have children, but I would not mind cutting back on my composing for their sake if I did.”
“Why should you not have children?”
“Some people never find that special person to spend their lives with. I wouldn’t wish myself on a child as a single parent, either.” Not with her limitations. It wouldn’t be fair to the child.
“So, you’re a little shy. I’ve read your biography. Not everybody likes to be the center of attention. You’ll make a wonderful mother. You mark my words.”
Cass just smiled, hiding how much she wished the other woman’s words weren’t just wise, but were prophetic. Only Cass knew how impossible such dreams were in her life. “Neo said you would drive me home this morning.”
“Yes. He did not think you would like going with his driver, or so he said.”
“That’s right. Strangers can intimidate me.”
“Yes, I’m sure. It has nothing to do with the fact his driver is a very attractive young man. No. Of course not.”
Cass was startled into laughter. “I do not think Neo is the jealous type.”
Dora made a noncommittal noise and then told Cass to eat her breakfast.
Cole Geary was waiting for Cass when she arrived at her house.
She was amused to discover that Dora had no intention of leaving Cass alone with a man. The older woman’s traditional values were showing. Cass was only surprised Dora didn’t seem to think less of her for so obviously spending the night with her employer.
Cole walked Cass through all the changes, which were pretty unobtrusive. Getting used to the alarm system was going to be the hardest part.
“Strange to look out through a window and realize the glass wouldn’t shatter if a neighbor kid hit a ball at it.”
“You get used to it,” Cole said.
Dora nodded. “Mr. Neo’s got a glass partition around his balcony that’s supposed to stop bullets. It’s got to be cleaned just like any window.”
“It’s top-quality shatterproof material.” Cole sounded proud of that fact. “The same stuff they used during the president’s acceptance speech.”
“He takes his safety seriously,” Cass remarked.