Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(52) by Susan Mallery
“But you don’t care about the women you sleep with.”
Reid grinned. “For that night, she’s the most important woman in the world.”
Cal snorted. “Yeah, right. And in the morning you can’t remember her name. Don’t you ever want more than that?”
“Not even on a bet.”
“ARE YOU SICK?” Penny asked.
Naomi continued to chop leeks. “No. I’m fine. Stop bugging me. You’re getting on my nerves.”
Penny knew she should back off, but she couldn’t help worrying. “You’re not yourself. You’ve been quiet for a couple of days. Is it a guy?”
Naomi turned to her, holding the knife in her hand. “I learned from an expert, okay? I’m fine. I have stuff on my mind.”
“But I’m worried about you.”
Naomi put down the knife. “You’re sweet to worry, but don’t. I’m fine. Just thinking. It’s not something I usually do, so it’s hard for me.”
Penny could see emotions swirling in her friend’s eyes. “I want to help.”
“You can’t. Now let it go before I start foaming at the mouth.”
“Okay. But if you want to talk, I’m here.”
Cal walked into the kitchen. “The wine delivery is here. I was able to get more of the original pinot for the tasting dinner, but it’s an ’02 instead of an ’01. I’m going to open a bottle to see how different it is.”
The implied question was did she want to join him? Did she want to participate in this joint venture, because they were both responsible for the restaurant.
She knew the right answer. As her goal was to run her own place, she had to be interested in all aspects of the business. Hiring a good general manager would help, but in the end, the decisions would be hers.
She knew she should agree for another reason—to show Cal he didn’t matter. That she wasn’t crushed by their fight last week. Okay, maybe crushed was strong, but she was still hurt. Worse, she felt stupid. She hated feeling stupid.
She walked past him and headed for the wine room. Three cases stood on a dolly. The top case was open and a single bottle rested on the counter.
She reached for the bottle opener sitting there and quickly cut the foil. After twisting the corkscrew into the cork, she turned and pulled in a quick, expert movement. Cal set out two glasses. She poured a small amount in each.
Penny picked up hers and swirled. She held the glass to the light to check the color, then swirled again and inhaled.
The scent alone was delicious. She took a sip and allowed the flavors to settle on her tongue.
Good, she thought. A hint of sweetness, but not too much. Plenty of berry.
“It’s fine,” she said.
She put her glass on the counter and turned to leave. Cal moved in front of her.
“Wait,” he said. “I want to say I’m sorry about what happened on Friday. All of it. Gloria telling you about Lindsey, our fight afterwards. I should have told you myself. Years ago, before we got married. I grew up keeping secrets and it’s a hard habit to break. And I was afraid of what you’d think of me.”
“I appreciate the apology, but it’s not necessary. We’re divorced, Cal. None of that matters.”
“It does. We work together. I want us to be friends.”
Friends. Right. She wanted to point out that she didn’t usually sleep with her friends. That by having sex with her, they’d crossed the line and now everything was different between them. Except she didn’t understand how it was different or what it all meant.
“I shouldn’t have allowed Gloria to have information you didn’t,” he said. “She wanted to hurt you and she succeeded. I’m sorry about that.”
Without wanting to, she remembered a conversation from their past. When she’d wanted the entry-level job at Buchanan’s and Cal had done his best to keep her from getting it. At the time he’d said he didn’t want her near Gloria. She’d laughed off his concern. How could the old woman hurt her? Now she knew there were probably a thousand ways.
“I can take care of myself,” she said. “Then and now.”
“Now I believe. But back then…”
“You’re acting as if my being hurt would have bothered you.”
“Of course it would have. You were my wife.”
The one you didn’t love. Only she didn’t think she could say that without him knowing she was still bruised inside.
“Look, Cal. We didn’t do well on the personal front when we were married and we obviously can’t do it well now. Let’s just keep things strictly business. It will be better for everyone that way.”
“But I want us to be friends.”
“Sometimes we don’t get what we want. Deal with it.”
PENNY PACED in the parking lot. Where was he? Reid was many things, but late wasn’t one of them. She glanced at her watch and groaned. If she didn’t want to miss her appointment, she was going to have to leave in the next two minutes.
Cal walked out of the restaurant. She eyed him suspiciously, especially as he had a coat on and was heading in her direction.
“Let’s go,” he said. “You want me to drive?”
She planted her hands on her hips. “What, exactly, are you talking about?”
“Your doctor’s appointment. You’re getting an ultrasound. I’m going with you.”
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