#BlogBattle 52 Theme: Hair — Genre: Drama/Romance — Part 3
Meet Teresa, or Terry as her friends call her. Terry is a smart, savvy, and rather clumsy confectioner. Her candy shop is called the Corner Confectionery and over the course of the last year she’s built up a strong business. But Blaine Industries’ up and coming CEO, Luke Blaine, hasn’t forgotten about the talented candy connoisseur who used to work for his brother, and in a most cryptic way has convinced Terry to have dinner with him to discuss a business proposition. She has no idea why she said yes . . . except maybe because he’s Luke Blaine, and she’s finding it difficult to tell him no. Besides, it’s just dinner and business. Right?
Part One: Lord of the Lollipops
Part Two: A Trace of Cologne
The waiter laid the napkin over Terry’s thighs and stepped back, all obeisance. He deferred to Luke for choice in wine, and left to retrieve the new bottle leaving the two of them alone with their dinner permeating the air between them with its decadent scents.
Terry let her eyes wander, taking in the atmosphere of the elegant restaurant and reminded herself not to think about her dowdy dress.
Candles flickered on the table, shimmering off the pristine crystal glasses and polished silverware. A sparse but perfectly balanced centerpiece of white calla lilies graced the table and lent to the romantic appeal.
“Huh? Oh. What?” Terry asked, her attention focusing on Luke, the light of the candle dancing in his wide, round pupils.
The sound of his light laughter was contagious even though self consciousness was overwhelming her to the point of distraction. She reached for her glass but missed by scant millimeters, tipping the contents across the white table cloth.
“Oh! No,” she said and scrambled to dab up the mess she’d made.
Luke grasped her hand and stilled her frantic motion. Their eyes met for a brief second and her heart stopped beating for the same span of time. His kind smile was a slight balm on her embarrassment, but once his fingers reached over and tucked her stray hair behind her ear she’d had no idea what to say; he’d stolen away the words from her mind.
After the waiter had cleaned up the spill and left them again, Luke cleared his throat.
“Listen Teresa, I know it’s probably awkward after everything–”
“What? You mean how I handed over proprietary recipes to your biggest competitor?”
There. She’d said it. The dirty laundry was now aired, and somehow there was great relief in the moment.
“Don’t say it like that,” he said with genuine imploring. “We both know Lindhersh’s man infiltrated the R&D department for the express purpose of uncovering those Ferrian truffle recipes. If it wasn’t you, it would have been someone else.”
Terry shook her head. Obviously Luke only had half the story. That man Lindhersh had covertly hired, Elliot, would never have gotten those recipes had she not let herself be seduced by him. He’d not only worked his way into their business, he’d worked his way into her heart. When he’d gotten what he wanted he’d had no remorse over leading her on. In fact, when she’d confronted him, he’d only smirked and told her to be more careful with whom she trusted. He was implying more than himself with that statement.
She found out later that Scott Blaine, her boss whom she’d admired and respected, had been interviewing new confectioners to take lead in her department. They’d had quite a confrontation after discovery of the stolen proprietary recipes.
She was vulnerable and felt used by Elliot, so Scott’s decision to replace her had come as quite a blow. She felt betrayed but also responsible for Elliot’s ability to steal their newest and potentially their best chocolates to ever come from Ferrian since Blaine Industries had procured the brand six years before.
Scott’s anger and reaction had been understandable to a point, but there was something else in his words and the look on his face which had left Terry completely undone. He’d blamed her for everything, and she’d agreed. After listening to his vitriol she’d stood from the conference room table and tendered her resignation with as much grace as she could muster. At that moment she’d walked out of his life and never looked back, too ashamed to ever look him in the eye again.
“I’m sorry, Luke, but blame for what happened falls to me. I’m surprised Scott never pursued any legal action against me.”
Luke’s intent gaze shifted down to his wine glass and he mumbled, “He had his reasons.”
“What?” Terry asked, confused by his ruffled tone.
Luke gave a slight shake to his head. “It doesn’t matter. And I didn’t ask you to have dinner with me to discuss the past. What’s done is done. But if you want to think of my proposal in terms of paying back Blaine Industries for the loss of the truffle recipe, if that will influence you in my favor, then I’m willing to accept that,” he said with a wry smile.
That half smile was enough to bring Terry’s own good humor to the surface. She could see why Luke was the toast of the town. Not only was he handsome, he was also kind and thoughtful. It seemed a rare combination in the spotlight of celebrity.
“Speaking of, we haven’t even discussed it yet, and our dinner is almost over. What is this secret proposal you have been hinting at all evening?”
“It’s a beautiful evening, Teresa. There’s an art show at the Stargazer’s Gallery. I’d be honored if you’d attend with me,” he said in a cryptic way.
Terry’s chin dipped and her eyebrows scrunched together. She didn’t know what he was getting at and why he wouldn’t just tell her what this was all about. Why was he leading her on? “I don’t know . . .”
“Serena Blackwell’s art will be displayed. I hear her painting, ‘Chocolate Obsession,’ is drool-worthy.”
She couldn’t resist the conspiratorial look on his face and laughed again. “Alright. Alright. I give in. I can’t resist a good bit of chocolate obsession.”
But it was the triumphant smile lighting Luke’s face that stole her breath away. The hair on her arms stood on end as goosebumps rose along her flesh. Terry thought she read something like attraction in his eyes, but that didn’t make any sense. Luke could have any woman in the world he wanted, and she was the last woman on Earth who would be worth his notice.
Their eyes were locked while Luke raised his hand to summon the waiter. Terry began to feel heat creeping up her neck and pulled her gaze from his, using the retrieval of her little purse as an excuse to look away. She fumbled inside it looking for her lip gloss, hoping it would relieve her suddenly dry lips.
The night was still young, and the possibilities seemed endless. Terry only hoped she’d be able to stand her ground in the face of anything he may offer her. Her success had been hard won, and she couldn’t stand the thought of losing everything she’d worked for just because some handsome tycoon had flashed a wink at her.