Tall, Dark & Hungry
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Terri was stepping out of the shower when the phone started ringing. Snatching a towel off the rack, she wrapped it around herself and ran for the bed¬room and the phone on the bedside table.
"Hello?" she said breathlessly, dropping to sit on the edge of the rumpled bed.
"Kate!" She sat up straight, a smile curving her lips. She was pleased to hear from her cousin. She knew that Lucern had called and spoken to Bastien Friday night to assure him that they'd arrived in Cal¬ifornia safely, but Terri had been sound asleep at the time and had missed her chance to speak to Kate. Now it was Monday morning, and the first time ei¬ther Kate or Lucern had called again as far as Terri knew. "How's the conference going?"
"It's going fine," her cousin assured her, adding apologetically, "I'm sorry about this. Here you flew all the way over to spend time with me and help with the wedding, and I--"
"Don't worry about it," Terri interrupted. "It's work. I understand. Besides, Bastien has been taking me around the city and showing me a good time, so it's--"
"What?" Kate said. "I'm sorry, Terri, but did you just say that Bastien has been taking you around the city and is showing you a good time?"
"Yes." Perplexed by her reaction, Terri listened as a man's voice--Lucern's, she imagined--rumbled in the distance. Then Kate must have covered the phone, because all Terri could hear were bits of a muffled conversation.
"Sorry," she apologized at last, speaking clearly into the phone again. Then she asked in nonchalant tones, "So, how has Bastien been showing you a good time?"
"How?" Terri dropped back to lie on the bed. She stared at the awning overhead. "Well, Saturday he took me out for breakfast, then around to the flea markets. We wandered a couple of those for a bit, then--."
"Flea markets?" Kate interrupted with disbelief. "You mean outdoor, open-air flea markets?"
"Yes. I take it you know about his photosensitvity, then--caused by the medication he's taking?"
There was a pause from the other end of the line. "Yes. I knew about his photosensitivity."
That was it. No explanation of what the medica¬tion was, or what it was for. Terri had briefly hoped her cousin would enlighten her. Disappointed, she forced herself to continue. "Anyway, the sun started getting to him after the second flea market--well, re¬ally I think it was getting to him during the first, but he only admitted it and explained about his condition at the second. Once he did, we caught a taxi to Macy's and switched to indoor shopping. Which was fun," she added quickly. "We mostly just browsed in shops and talked and ate. It was nice and relaxing. Then we came back here, got changed, and went out for dinner. He claimed he was completely recovered by the time dinner was done, and offered to take me to a movie, but I'd noticed he still wasn't eating much and thought he might still be feeling a little rough, so I claimed I was a bit tuckered out from all that walk¬ing and probably suffering a bit of jet lag. So we stayed in."
Terri paused and cocked her head as Kate indulged in another muffled conversation with Lucern on the other end of the phone. It sounded like she was pass¬ing on the details of Terri's Saturday.
"I'm sorry." Her cousin was back, sounding a bit breathless. "What about Sunday? Did you two do anything Sunday?"
"Oh... er... well, yes," Terri admitted, then sighed and launched into the explanation. "We started a little later on Sunday. Bastien had to go down to his office and take care of some business, so we went out for brunch when he got back. There was some kind of parade going on when we came out of the restaurant, so we stood under the awning of a store to watch. Then we went to a couple of street fairs. I wasn't sure we should, what with his condition and all, but it was an overcast day and he wore a long-sleeved shirt and this hat and glasses and..." She laughed at the memory. He had looked pretty silly in the gear. He'd reminded her of the In¬visible Man, trying to cover up every patch of his nonexistent skin to hide his state, or a celebrity play¬ing Hide from the Public. Still, it wasn't his fault, and they'd had great fun at the street fair.
"Then we picked up some takeout Chinese and brought it back to eat with Chris," she finished, then added, "Speaking of Chris, Katie, he's not taking this broken leg thing at all well. He's terribly depressed and whiney. Or, has he always been whiney?"
"Oh, who cares about Chris!" her cousin exclaimed impatiently. "Tell me what else you and Bastien did."
"Katie!" Terri gave a laugh.
"Oh, you know what I mean. He'll be fine. And men are always whiney when they're injured or hurt. Now, tell me what else you did Sunday."
"Well, that was about it. We ate Chinese food in, and watched some rented movies. It was nice and re¬laxing. Bastien's a charming host."
"Yes, he can be charming." The grin in Kate's voice was obvious. "Where is he now?"
"In the Argeneau offices."
"No, he isn't," Kate said promptly. "I called there first and there was no answer. Even his secretary, Meredith, isn't in. But then, she won't arrive for an¬other hour, I don't think."
"He must be on his way back up here," Terri de¬cided. "He only went down to leave Meredith some instructions for the day. We're going to the museum."
"What?" Kate cried. "On a workday?"
"When I got up this morning, he said he'd had a business meeting scheduled for the day, but that the key attendee had canceled and rescheduled, so he thought he'd go to the museum. He invited me to go with him," she explained, twisting the phone cord around her finger. Her news was followed by yet an¬other muffled conversation at the other end of the phone, but this time the hand or whatever Kate was using to cover the phone, must have slipped, because Terri heard Lucern grunt and say what sounded like "... he's probably the key attendee who canceled." Then the phone was covered properly, and Terri couldn't make out the rest.
Letting the cord unravel from her finger, she shifted onto her side on the bed and ran her free hand over the comforter beneath her, the same that had covered her when she'd awoken Saturday morning. Terri had recognized it from Bastien's bed in the master suite, and knew he must have carried her to bed and covered her with it. He hadn't asked for it back yet, and she hadn't thought to return it. In truth, she was rather reluctant to do so. It smelled so good.
Smiling, she buried her nose in the material and inhaled the scent clinging to it. The duvet still smelled of Bastien, a smell she liked. Terri decided she'd have to ask him what cologne he wore. Perhaps she'd buy it as a gift for someone someday.
"Yes." She shifted and sat up guiltily on the bed, embarrassed despite the fact that Kate couldn't possi¬bly see what she was doing.
"You're very lucky. Bastien is a wonderful man. Smart, hardworking, nice, and a perfect gentleman, he'll--"
"Kate," Terri interrupted. "We're going to the museum. It isn't necessarily a date. The man's just be-ing a good host until you get back."
"Uh-huh." Her cousin didn't sound convinced. "Have fun. I know you will. And tell him hello from us. We'll call again in the next couple of days to see how the romance is progressing."
"There's no romance to progress!" Terri protested. But she was speaking to dead air. Kate had already hung up the phone. Terri stared at the receiver in her hand with dismay. Good Lord, she thought faintly, had Kate and Lucern lost their minds? She and Bastien were just going to the museum, but to those two that was apparently the equivalent of a romance. Jeez, she hoped the guy didn't ever ask her out on a real date. Kate and Lucern would consider them as good as married.
Shaking her head, Terri replaced the receiver and pushed herself off the bed. She had to get dressed and fix her hair. She was supposed to be ready to go in fifteen minutes.
Bastien smiled as Terri rushed to the next exhibit: a work in enamel, silver, silver-gilt, and gold.
" 'A Reliquary of the True Cross (Staurotheke), late eighth, early ninth century Byzantine,'" she read aloud as he caught up to her. She stepped back, tilting her head first left, then right, and squinted before pronouncing, "It's really ugly, huh? Looks kind of Picasso-ish to me."
Bastien glanced at the piece and nodded. He had to agree, it did look rather Picasso-ish. Not that Terri saw him nod; she'd already noticed the next exhibit in the room and rushed off with another "Oh, look!"
Chuckling softly, Bastien followed. The next piece was a small house-shaped box seven or eight inches tall, and just about as wide.
" 'Bursa Reliquary, early 900s, North Italian, Bone, copper-gilt, wood,'" she read to him, then sighed. As she peered at it, this time she didn't step back, but leaned closer and walked slowly around its glass case. "Look at the detail," she said with awe as she came around to the front. "I can't believe they were able to do such delicate work back then. It must have taken someone forever to make this."
"Yes," Bastien agreed, stepping closer to eye the object with new interest.
Bastien turned with surprise when the usual re¬frain was cut short. She was staring at him in dismay. Before he could ask what was wrong, she blurted, "I'm sorry. I'm probably driving you crazy, dragging you around here like this. I--"
"Not at all," he assured her. "I'm enjoying myself. And your enthusiasm just makes me enjoy it more."
"Really?" She appeared uncertain.
"Really," he assured her, his hand moving of its own volition to catch hers and give a reassuring squeeze. And it was true; he couldn't think of a more delightful companion with whom to visit the museum. Terri's excitement and awe were not just a treat to watch, but were also infections. These were feel¬ings Bastien hadn't experienced in a long while. It had been the same at the flea markets and street fair. Her. delight in the simplest things, her laughter and enjoyment in each outing, had rubbed off on him, adding to his own pleasure.
Terri smiled at him, then her gaze drifted down to their entwined hands. A light blush rose to color her cheeks.
Bastien had a sudden urge to lean forward and kiss her, but they were in the middle of the Medieval Christianity section, and that just didn't seem to be the place for kisses. So he let go of her hand and glanced toward the next exhibit. "Oh, look," he teased lightly. "Another reliquary."
Terri grinned, then moved to the next glass case. Soon her shyness vanished, and she was again ex¬claiming over this statue or that painting.
Bastien followed her, enjoying her reactions as much as any of the exhibits. By the time they de-cided to stop for something to eat and drink, he had come to the conclusion that this woman was a work of art in herself. Her responses and pleasure were so unaffected and natural, it was fascinating to watch. She was just as precious as any of the items here. She was a treasure he'd been fortunate to have had cast in his path.
"It's nice outside. Why don't we take this out and eat it in the shade?" Terri suggested as the cashier handed back her change. She'd insisted on paying, and had been faster on the draw than Bastien. He suspected most women would have been content to let him foot every bill. Terri wasn't most women. It didn't matter to her that he was rich and could afford with ease what she couldn't; she wanted to con¬tribute.
"That sounds like a plan," he agreed, and took the strawberry smoothies off the tray, leaving her to carry the sandwiches as they made their way out of the cafeteria.
"I can't believe it's past lunchtime already," she commented as they settled on the stone cornice that ran along the front of the museum. "The morning's gone so fast."
"Yes," Bastien murmured, half concentrating on the sandwich he was unwrapping, half concentrating on the older gentleman settled on the stone ledge be¬side them. The fellow had a bag of bread in his hand. As Bastien ate, he watched the man open the bag and take some bread out, breaking it up to toss to the birds that were quickly gathering. There was soon quite an assortment of the creatures flocking around. Small birds, large birds--Bastien didn't know the names of them all, but he did recognize the robins, grey catbirds and pigeons. The pigeons appeared to be the most ag¬gressive birds in the bunch, and he watched them be¬gin to flock in earnest, snapping greedily at the bits of bread the man was throwing. It became obvious that this was a regular ritual, when the more brazen birds began snatching the bread right out of his hand and even perching on him to get to it.
"I'm really enjoying the museum. Thank you for bringing me," Terri said.
Bastien glanced toward her to find that she was watching the feeding session with as much interest as he, though he suspected for a different reason. He didn't like how aggressive the creatures were getting, and was watching for one of the birds to decide that the sandwiches he and Terri held were also on offer. He worried that if they did, the pigeons might make a dive for one of them. Terri, however, seemed just innocently enjoying the spectacle, oblivious of the possible threat.
He considered warning her, but didn't want to spoil her enjoyment, so Bastien merely inched a little closer on the ledge so that he could fend off any pos¬sible threat. "I'm glad you're enjoying it. So am I."
She smiled slightly, then raised her smoothie to take a drink.
"How are your feet holding out?" he asked. They had been walking the museum for more than four hours.
"They're good," she answered quickly.
Too quickly perhaps, he thought, and he made an attempt to slip into her mind and read the truth. It was the first time he'd thought to do so since arriving home with dinner to find her sleeping, but this seemed a better excuse to try. They'd been on the go since getting up, and he didn't want to wear her out.
After spending most of the night sitting up talking and laughing, Bastien had slept until seven o'clock this morning. He and Terri never seemed to run out of things to say to one another and had stayed up later and later each evening of the past few days. Last night, they'd lingered in the living room until three in the morning. By rights, he should have been ex¬hausted when he'd woken up after only four hours of sleep, but that hadn't been the case; Bastien had bounded out of bed full of energy and eager to meet the day--and to find Terri.
A quick tour through the main areas of the pent¬house proved she wasn't yet up, so Bastien had scrawled a quick note of explanation as to where he was, in case she got up while he was gone. Then he had headed down to the Argeneau offices to be sure there was noth¬ing to take care of before they left.
When he'd returned to the penthouse, Terri had been up and about and looking perky and cheerful and no more affected by her lack of sleep than he. She'd also been freshly showered, dressed, and obvi¬ously ready for their outing. Bastien had taken her to the Stage Deli for breakfast, and watched her eat with an enthusiasm that always surprised him before they'd walked to the museum. They'd been walking ever since, Terri flitting through exhibits, Bastien fol¬lowing, his attention torn between the museum of¬ferings and his companion's unabashed enjoyment. It had all been so distracting that it hadn't occurred to him to try to read or control her mind.
"Did I mention that Kate called this morning, while you were down in your office?" Terri asked.
Bastien blinked, distracted from the effort to slip into her mind. "No. Did she?" he asked.
"Yes. She seemed surprised that we were going to the museum. I gather you don't take a lot of time off work."
"Er... no. I'm a bit of a workaholic," he admitted. It was probably the largest understatement ever made by man or vampire. Work, until now, had been all there was to Bastien.
Terri nodded. "I hope you don't feel you have to take me around. I mean, I'm enjoying this," she as-sured him quickly. "But I don't want to intrude on your affairs."
"My meeting was canceled," he reminded her, not mentioning that he had been the one to cancel it. He was the key attendee who was unavailable. And he had no intention of being available all week.
Her expression brightened. "It was, wasn't it?"
Seeming soothed, Terri relaxed and finished off her sandwich. Bastien watched, fascinated by her mouth as she chewed and swallowed. She had such large, full lips. He wondered briefly what it would be like to kiss them. How they would feel beneath his own. If they were as soft as they appeared.
"Is there something on my face?" Terri asked, sud¬denly aware that Bastien was staring at her.
Bastien blinked, apparently surprised by the ques¬tion, then relaxed his posture and turned his gaze to his sandwich. It was only half eaten, while her own was finished, she noted. The man didn't seem to eat much. He'd really only picked at his breakfast that morning. Terri felt self-conscious about her own ap¬petite in comparison, but she was always ravenous in the mornings.
She watched him lift the sandwich to his mouth. He took a bite and chewed with a perplexed expres-sion. It fascinated her. "Is there something wrong with your sandwich?"
"What?" His gaze shifted back to her. "Oh, no, I'm just surprised at how good it tastes."
Terri laughed. Sometimes he said the oddest things. When they were touring the Renaissance sec-tion of the museum, he'd spoken with such authority and knowledge about the period that she had finally asked if he'd taken history at the university. The question had seemed to make him uncomfortable, and he'd flushed and muttered that he'd taken a course or two.
"Do you have any brothers or sisters?"
Terri gave a start. Bastien's question had seemed to come out of the blue. "No. I was an only child."
"Oh, yes. I think Kate mentioned something about that. You're the only child of a single parent."
Terri nodded. "It was tough on my mother, but she was a wonderful woman. Hardworking. We didn't have much money sometimes, but there was always lots of love." She tilted her head curiously. "You have another brother and sister besides Lucern, don't you? And you grew up with both parents? It must have been nice having siblings."
Bastien snorted. "Sometimes. Sometimes it's a pain."
"But you wouldn't give them up for the world, I'm sure," she guessed, reading the affection in his expression.
"No, I wouldn't," he admitted. "Although there was a time or two I thought I might."
"Tell me," she urged, and listened with amusement as he launched into a tale of childhood antics. Terri could tell Bastien was editing the tale as he told it-there were small hesitations and pauses that gave him away--but she was becoming used to that. They had done a good deal of talking over the last three days, and she was quite sure that the man edited most of the stories he told her. Terri didn't really mind, though; she enjoyed listening to and talking with him just the same. She enjoyed him.
She watched the way his eyes sparkled with re¬membered glee, then found her gaze fixing on his lips. They curved first in wry self-deprecation, then amusement. Terri watched them move as he spoke, fascinated by their contours and the plumpness of the lower lip in comparison to the upper. And as he ram¬bled on, she found herself wondering what it would be like if he kissed her.
She blinked as that thought crossed her mind, then she straightened abruptly, both alarmed and startled. Terri had thought Bastien attractive from the start, and interesting to talk to. She had enjoyed the last three days immensely, and found herself waking up looking forward to what the day might bring. But she hadn't realized that she was "attracted" attracted to the man. Dear God, she was in trouble, Terri realized faintly; then she became aware that Bastien had fallen silent. Her gaze shot from his lips to his eyes, and widened slightly at the expression on his face.
"I--" she began uncertainly, but he cut her off by suddenly capturing her face in both hands and tug¬ging her forward. He covered her open mouth with his own.
It had been so long since she'd been properly kissed, Terri was a little overwhelmed by the sudden invasion of his tongue into her mouth. She stilled, a plethora of responses rushing through her mind ranging from confusion to dismay. Then pleasure slid past all that to suffuse her mind, and Terri relaxed against Bastien, breathing a sigh into his mouth. It seemed to her that the moment she did, a sudden squawking set up next to them. They broke apart, and glanced at the birds now squabbling over the last of the old man's bread, then relaxed and glanced back at each other.
"I'm sorry," he said, as their gazes met.
"Are you?" she asked huskily.
"Neither am I."
They were both silent for a moment; then Bastien glanced at the birds flocking around the man who'd been feeding them. His bread bag was empty, but the birds were still hungry.
Bastien tossed the rest of his sandwich into the flock, cleared his throat, and glanced back to her. "Have you had enough of the museum today? We can come another day to finish looking around if you have."
Terri hesitated. In truth, she had seen enough of the museum for one day. Her feet were okay, but she didn't think they would be for much longer. More to the point, if she saw too much more, she feared it would all start to blur in her mind. Still, she was will¬ing to risk both outcomes rather than see this inter¬lude come to an end.
"We could do a little shopping," Bastien suggested.
Terri brightened at the suggestion. He wasn't calling an end to their outing, just switching gears, and the idea of more shopping was attractive. She hadn't really bought anything on Saturday. They had been mostly window-shopping, but she did want to make some purchases while here. Everything was terribly expensive in England. New York prices were cheap in comparison.
"That sounds like fun--if you don't mind," she added with sudden concern. Most men weren't really into shopping, and she didn't want to bore Bastien by making him take her around the shops for the second time in three days.
"I like to shop," he assured her as he got to his feet. He took her hand so naturally as he turned toward the steps, Terri hardly noticed. When she did, she bit her lip and avoided looking at him. They descended the steps to the sidewalk in front of the museum. She felt like a teenager again, nervous and awkward and suddenly tongue-tied.
They walked in companionable silence along the street, Terri glancing curiously at everything they passed. This was only her third trip to New York. She'd visited Kate before, but then they'd spent most of their time talking, shopping in the Village, and talking some more. Kate and Terri had always been particularly close, more friends than just cousins. She smiled at the oddity of her thoughts. She made it sound as if friends were more important than rela¬tives to her, and in some ways they were. You chose your friends, but couldn't pick your relatives. Terri was fortunate in that most of her relatives were also friends. Their family was made up of some wonderful, caring, and giving aunts, uncles, and cousins. Terri loved every one of them. It was the one thing she missed the most living in England: her family.
"How did you end up in England?" Bastien asked suddenly, holding open the door of Bloomingdale's for her to enter.
Terri considered the question in silence, and sad¬ness overwhelmed her. "I moved there when I mar-ried. My husband was English."
"You said you aren't married, so I take it the mar¬riage either dissolved in divorce or your husband died," Bastien said quietly. "I'm guessing he died."
Terri glanced at him in surprise. "You're right. But what made you say that?"
He shrugged. "Bad memories would have seen you move back to America. Only good memories would keep you in a foreign country when the rea¬son for moving there was gone," he explained. "Be¬sides, only a fool would give up a treasure like you."
Terri felt herself flush with pleasure at the compli¬ment, but his question and words brought painful memories to the fore. She'd been young when she'd married and moved to England the year after her mother's death, not quite twenty. Ian had been only a couple of years older. It had all seemed a grand ad¬venture at first. He'd worked at his government job; she'd attended the university. They'd bought a little cottage and played house for a couple of years... until he'd been diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease and begun the battle for his life, a battle he'd lost three years later.
Terri had just earned her bachelor's degree the year the diagnosis was made. She continued her education for a while afterward, but had given it up in the last year of her husband's illness to be with him. At barely twenty-five years old, Terri had become a widow, left with little more than a cozy little cottage and a small insurance settlement.
She'd used the insurance to finish her education, graduating with a doctorate that had led to her being offered a professorship at the University of Leeds. Terri had spent the last five years working hard at a job she loved, and filling her off-hours with volun¬teer work with community theater. All of which had allowed her to avoid unwanted emotional entangle¬ments. At first, she'd told herself--and all her well-meaning friends and relatives who tried to set her up on dates--that it was too early to get involved with someone else. But after a couple of years even Terri no longer believed that. The truth was, even now at the age of thirty-three, she was afraid to get involved again.
Terri had barely survived the death of her mother. Ian had been the life raft she clung to in that dark time. His brother Dave, and Dave's wife, Sandi, had been the ones to see her through his death. She had avoided emotional entanglements ever since. It was easier to just live single, untouched by feelings that would later turn to heartbreak.
Or so Terri had always thought. Yet, here she was, walking along hand in hand with Bastien, after hav¬ing been kissed properly for the first time in ten years!
Without really thinking about it, Terri slid her hand free, stopping at a display to pick up a small black purse and examine it. She couldn't have stopped the physical withdrawal from Bastien any more than she could the mental one. Her guard had been down, but it was back up and in place again. It was for the best.
Terri didn't like to think of herself as a coward. She could take all the physical pain that life could dish out, but emotional pain was another thing. She felt so deeply when she loved that losing it, whether through betrayal or death, was a kind of hell she wouldn't willingly subject herself to again. And she now very much feared that if she wasn't careful, Bastien could break her heart. It would be so easy to love him. He was smart, funny, sweet, kind and terri¬bly attractive. But Terri couldn't see someone as wildly successful and handsome as him being inter¬ested in boring-old-her for very long. Eventually, he'd move on to someone more his match. And, even if he didn't, he wasn't invincible. Just think about the medicine he took, and the IV stand in his closet. Bastien could die on her, leaving her to struggle on alone as everyone else she'd ever loved had done. It was easier not to love him in the first place. She'd have to try to keep her emotional distance from now on, Terri decided, and wished she hadn't agreed to a play and dinner tonight when he'd suggested it at breakfast.
"Dear God, you two!" Vincent Argeneau paused in the entry to gape at the bags Bastien and Terri carted into the penthouse later that day. "Do you think you bought enough?"
"I think so," Terri said with a laugh, then added, "Most of these are Bastien's."
When Vincent arched his eyebrows and turned his gaze on his cousin, Terri laughed again. A chagrined expression covered Bastien's face. The man hadn't been joking when he claimed to love shopping. She'd never seen anyone, man or woman, shop like he did. It was a good thing he was wealthy, or he'd surely go bankrupt. The man was a shopping fiend.
"I needed some more casual clothes," Bastien ex¬cused himself, unable to disguise his embarrassment. "I didn't even own a pair of jeans, and I thought it was time I got some."
"Uh-huh." Vincent walked forward to peer into the open tops of the bags. "Felt a need for some new clothes, did you?" he asked, and grinned when Bastien flushed. He added, "Well, as much as I'd like to torment you over this sudden urge you have to dress in a younger, more relaxed, not to mention more attractive manner, your secretary insisted it was important you call before quitting time. And as it's a quarter to five now--"
"She said it was important?" Bastien interrupted, setting down the bags he carried. "I better pop down to the office and see what it's about. Meredith doesn't exaggerate. If she said it was important, it's most cer¬tainly important.
"Just leave the bags here in the entry for now, Terri. I'll get them when I come back," he added as he turned to push the button for the elevator. He stepped onto the lift when the doors opened, then turned back to hold them as he asked Vincent, "Did she see to the kitchen?"
"Oh yeah," his cousin assured him in dry tones. "She saw to that all right. You now have enough food--not to mention dishes--to feed a small army. I hope your guests have healthy appetites. Actually, I know C.K. does. For a skinny guy, he sure eats a lot."
"He's probably bored to tears and eating because of it," Terri suggested.
Vincent seemed to contemplate that possibility, then shook his head. "Nah. He's been editing some book in front of the television. There's some sort of marathon of old British reruns. Pretty good ones, actually."
"You might want to see if there's anything to snack on, Terri. Our dinner reservations aren't until after the play," Bastien suggested as the elevator doors began to slide closed. "I'll be back in a few minutes."
"Hmm," Terri murmured as the doors clicked shut. "I wonder what the important matter is."
Vincent shrugged. "Meredith didn't say."
"Well, I guess we'll find out soon enough," Terri said philosophically. She finally set down the bags she'd carried up for Bastien. "In the meantime, I'll see about that snack he suggested."
"I'll join you. I could use a bite myself," Vincent announced. And he followed her into the kitchen.