She handed him the Blue Space file. “That was a nice thing to say.”
“I’m hoping to win back your loyalty.”
“You never lost it.”
He glanced around the office. “Then, I can’t help but wonder what exactly it was that Tuck gained.”
She was about to say nothing, but Dixon turned and left her alone.
She stood for a moment, holding the atmosphere, remembering every little thing about Tuck until her heart throbbed and her chest ached, and she felt silent and alone and empty.
* * *
Tuck stared at his silent cell phone for a full minute before he slid it back inside his pocket. He was dressed to the nines, had a reservation at the Seaside, followed by tickets to a popular live comedy show, and he planned to end the evening at the Hollingsworth Lounge.
MaryAnn was a great date—bright, bubbly, lots of fun. But Tuck simply didn’t have it in him right now. He didn’t want to romance MaryAnn or anyone else. He didn’t want to dine with them, dance with them or even sleep with them.
He was on the rebound from Amber. He got that, even though they’d barely dated. But the rebound had never hit him like this before.
The front door of the mansion opened and Dixon entered the foyer, doing a double take at the sight of Tuck.
“Hot date?” Dixon asked.
“Just got canceled.”
“She get a better offer?”
“Something like that.” Tuck wasn’t about to tell Dixon that he was the one who’d canceled the date. He’d used a lame excuse of having a headache. As if a normal guy would give up a night with MaryAnn over a headache.
Trouble was, most normal guys hadn’t fallen for Amber.
“Are you staying in?” asked Dixon.
“Might as well.” Tuck loosened his tie.
“Sure.” Tuck followed his brother into the library.
He purposely sat down across from the chair where Amber had sat in her bare feet and sparkling dress. Then he smiled wistfully at the memory. She was so incredibly sexy with those luscious lips, simmering eyes, smooth shoulders and toned legs. He shifted in his chair.
Dixon handed him a crystal glass with two ice cubes and a shot of single malt. “What?”
“Nothing,” said Tuck.
“I’m not sorry about the date.” Tuck took a drink.
“That’s an odd reaction.” Dixon sat down.
Tuck gave a noncommittal shrug.
“I was talking to Zachary today,” said Dixon.
“Why would you do that?” Tuck wouldn’t have given the man the time of day.
“He’s interested in coming back.”
Tuck didn’t bother responding. Dixon knew how he felt about Zachary.
Dixon seemed to give him a moment. “You got any thoughts on that?”
In response, Tuck scoffed. “You don’t want to hear my thoughts on that.”
“You don’t think we should take him back?”
“I think we should drop him off the Michigan Avenue Bridge.”
Dixon cracked a smile. “Let’s call that plan B.”
“Let’s.” Tuck drank again, pulling for plan B.
“Amber doesn’t like him,” said Dixon.
“Amber’s not stupid.”
“No, she’s not.”
Her image appeared once more in the chair across from Tuck.
“You’re smiling again,” said Dixon.
“Did she tell you her sister had a baby?”
“When did that happen?”
“Two weeks ago. Just before you got back.”
“Is her sister in Chicago?”
Tuck nodded. “She is now.” He found himself glancing around the library. “You ever give much thought to the way we grew up?”
“You mean with a controlling father and a distant mother?”
“I mean with gold-plated bathroom faucets.”
“The faucets aren’t gold-plated,” said Dixon. “Though I’m honestly not sure about the dining room chandelier.”
“We never worried about having enough to eat. Heck, we never worried about running low on gourmet ice cream.”
“Rich people still have problems.”
“I know that,” said Tuck. “They never would buy me a pony.”
He knew Amber’s childhood challenges had been on a whole other level. Whenever he thought about that, it left him feeling petty.
“How about the fact that your father thought you were illegitimate?”