Kitchen Promises

By: Brooke Cumberland

I worked on my computer through the morning, catching up on financial statements and documents when an eager knock startled me. “Yes?” I called out.

“Mr. Stagliano, there’s a Mr. Webber here. He says it’s urgent.” Her eyes were fierce letting me know she was uncomfortable with him just showing up. She had worked for me for many years now, so I was accustomed to her facial expressions.

“Sure, let him in.” I waved in my direction. I stacked the paperwork on my desk and put it in one neat pile. I watched as she escorted him in and offered a beverage. He denied and thanked her kindly. She closed the door quietly as Stanley walked toward my desk. “Come, sit down,” I ordered, motioning to the chair.

“I apologize for just showing up, Drake, but I wanted to catch you before you left for lunch.” He sat down across from me.

“Is everything okay? Is Liam alright?” I asked.

“Oh yes, he’s fine. Nothing like that. I’m actually here on business.”

“What is it?” I crossed my arms, looking intently at him.

“I’m hoping you’d be willing to help me out with something.”

“Go on.” I nodded.

“I have a new business partner, and I want to host a welcome event into my company. I was hoping to be able to do it here at the Riverside, keep it low profile until his partnership is announced.”

“I’m sure we could work something out. You don’t want to use one of your hotels?” I asked curiously.

“Well, the ones in the city I have are all booked for holiday events coming up, and I wanted to do this in a few weeks, if possible.”

It seemed odd to me, but Stanley was a nice enough guy, so I decided to go along with it.

“I’m sure we can plan something on short notice. What kind of things are you looking to do?” I grabbed a notepad and pen to write some notes down. I’d have my assistant book the hall and get everything ready.

“Something on the casual side, but nice. More like a meet and greet.”

“Do you want the caterers?”

“Yeah, I was thinking a sit down event; we’ll eat, and have a couple speeches, just something to welcome him into my company. Mostly businessmen will be there networking.” I nodded as I wrote it all down. It sounded simple enough. It was always good to network with other financial experts and hotel owners. Stanley was very professional on the outside, but I’ve gotten to know his soft side around Liam.

“Great, I think I’ve got it all. I’ll give this to my assistant and see when she can squeeze it in.” I smiled, setting the pen down. We both stood up and shook hands. “I’ll be in touch.”

“Thanks, Drake. Appreciate it.” He nodded back at me and turned to leave. I ripped the sheet off the pad and called for my assistant.

* * *

“How are you going to pull that off in only a few weeks?” Molly asked, rinsing potatoes in the sink. I had just finished telling her about my meeting with Stanley. She hadn’t said too much about him since she confessed the truth about him, but I guess there really wasn’t much for her to say about him. She didn’t know him. She didn’t want to get to know him, and whenever he was with Violet dropping Liam off, she would be sweet, but guarded. I always felt it was her way of keeping her distance, not wanting to get too close.

“It’s small, nothing too big. Plus, I think Stanley wants to enjoy the evening rather than always feeling like he’s at work.”

“That’s nice of you,” she said in a surprised tone.

“Aren’t I always?” I answered with an amused grin. I stood behind her, nuzzling my face in the nape of her neck.

“Well, it’s better than Violet showing up at your office…again.” She tensed. I blew air over her ear and nipped it with my mouth. Her body relaxed and shivered underneath me, making me grin at how easily her body reacts to me.

“Stop it. I’m trying to make dinner.” She giggled, pushing her neck down.

“Yes, please stop it. I don’t want to throw up before I even get a chance to eat,” Michael interrupted, making a gagging sound.

“Oh, like you’re any better?” Molly fired back. “I swear, I walk in on you and Trey one more time—”

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