Willow & Aiden After Forty

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Chapter 20

I FaceTime Violet. “Aww, hi, sweet pea, it’s Aunt Willow,” I coo when all I can see on the screen is what I believe is a tongue, licking the phone.

“Tell Aunt Willy bye-bye,” I hear Vi, and I look away from the phone because the camera is shaking and turning every which way, it makes me queasy. “You can look now sis, what’s up?”

“Please stop calling me Willy. Find something else to call me other than the term I used to describe my five son’s penises when they were babies. Also, that would make me Willie Nelson.”

She laughs, “It comes outs, so naturally, I can’t help it. Aunt Willy has a nice ring. Did I tell you that Kara’s asked if I’m making a Freudian slip after I started calling you Aunt Willy and can’t seem to stop? She’s worried I’m missing dick.”

I bust out laughing. I get myself under control, “Listen, I only have a minute. I need you to tell me if I look okay for a dinner reservation at The Table?”

“Whoa, Mr. Hotshot going to wine and dine you before he lays you tonight, he pulled out all of the stops. I’ve never been, the table wait is over nine months and way too expensive for my taste. I could travel for months on what he’ll drop tonight for one dinner.”

“I’m in a hurry. A car is picking me up in ten minutes. We had plans to eat pizza and hang out at the house after work, but he surprised me. He sent a pizza to the store for lunch and an invitation for dinner tonight at The Table. What do you think of this dress? Does this look like it will blend in? It’s a weeknight, and I don’t want my outfit to scream ‘party, Saturday night…’”

“Stop rambling. I love that purple dress, and it’s perfect for a dinner date.”

“It’s my shoes that I’m most worried about looking too fancy for a weeknight.” I tilt the phone down so she can get a look at the metallic silver straps.

“They’re perfect, and they look nice with the deep purple.”

I blow out a breath, “Thank you, I need to take the rollers out and touch up my lipstick, love you. Aunt Wills loves you, Sage.” I holler so my sweet niece can hear me.

“Nice try, I don’t like it. Wills, uh, no way. Call us tomorrow, Aunt Willy.” Giggling, she hangs up.

I take my curlers out of my hair, touch up my makeup, slide my feet into my heels, and wait on my front stoop for Aiden.

I smile at Aiden as he holds my chair out for me to sit at the small intimate dining table. “Thank you.” I shiver when he bends to smell my hair.

“You’re welcome, Willow,” He walks and sits down. A waiter stands beside the table and fills our water goblets.

I look out the window to the view; I shake my head, it’s beautiful. I’m glad I have the chance to see this view overlooking my new city. The city’s lights reflecting on the river are breathtaking.

“It’s the best view of the city. What do you think?”

I drag my eyes away from the view, “I think it’s gorgeous. I can’t imagine what it will look like in a week with all of the holiday lights on the downtown buildings.”

He smiles, “We’ll come back so you can see the lights. They are spectacular, and they really shouldn’t be missed.”

Peace washes over me, making me happy. More time with Aiden. “Have I told you that I like your tie?” I look at the pretty pale-pink tie that complements his dark-navy suit beautifully.

His handsome smile makes my chest warm. “I usually don’t shop for myself, but Monday, I was walking by and spotted this in a store window.” He leans across the small table and takes my hand. He doesn’t say anything else. Like always, when we are together, our chemistry, our beings light up, and everything around us slips away.

The waitress breaks the spell. Aiden chuckles, I know it’s because I was so lost to his presence that the waitress startled me. “Tonight’s special is Duck Breast with Pomegranate Citrus Glaze. May I start you off with a bottle of wine, a cocktail?”

I’m relieved from having to make a decision when Aiden orders a bottle of wine. I know nothing about wine, I’m more of a beer drinker.

“Yes, sir.” The waitress takes the wine list and leaves two menus for us to view. I smile my thanks and pick up the menu, excited to see this world-known chef’s signature dishes.

“Everything on the menu Willow is wonderful. There isn’t a wrong choice.”

I know my eyes show how excited I am about eating here because Aiden’s eyes soften.

“Well, I’ll be damned, Aiden.” John Glassman and two other gentlemen stop beside our table. “Willow, nice to see you again, twice in one day, you look beautiful as always, honey.” He looks at my breasts in my dress.

“Hi, Thank you, John,” I smile and flush. I can’t stand the ‘honeys and sweethearts’. Again, I never minded when people from Roseway would use those words. But then again, it sounded sweet coming out of Mr. Myers’s eighty-five-year-old mouth, not creepy and degrading like with John Glassman.

Aiden stands, I look at him and good God, his face is hard, and you can feel tension fill the air around us. “Aiden, you know Gus and Gerald Wendle.”

Aiden nods his head, “Gentlemen.” He makes no move, nor does the two men, to shake one another’s hand.

John smirks and winks at me, “Willow, let me introduce you to Gerald Wendle.”

I stay seated and offer my hand. Gerald Wendle shakes my hand politely, and I offer my hand to the younger gentleman. He smiles and kisses the back of my hand, “Gus Wendle, Willow.” His brown eyes glance down my seated body.

My eyes jump to Aiden when he loudly scoots his chair out and sits down at the table. “Gentleman, John, enjoy your dinner.” He picks up his menu and starts looking it over.

I mask my shock at how rude Aiden is to his law partner and how he’s ignoring the two gentlemen. Whatever the hell is going on is not right, and you can feel it radiating off everyone, not just Aiden. Aiden can be short and to the point, but I’ve never felt a vibe like this one, this feels dark and cold.

“Of course, Aiden, we both know Willow didn’t get to have lunch today at The Outline.” John winks at me.

Gus chuckles, “The Outline, Dad, we haven’t eaten there for a long while. Maybe we should see if we can reserve a table for lunch, like the old days.”

Gus smile turns into a sneer, and he directs it to Aiden. My heart is pounding with the beats of a situation that is making me uncomfortable for many reasons. Aiden’s beautiful green eyes look hard, his jaw firm, and there is no doubt of his feelings at the moment. I have no idea what the hell they are speaking about. Or where this dislike for one another is coming from, but I know enough to know this Gus guy is purposely baiting my Aiden.

My whole being warms, and I know I’m going to ramble and get us out of this situation. “Oh John, when you speak to Laura, ask her about our accident in the warehouse. I’m so clumsy. I was way out in the back of the warehouse hanging dresses, you’re in very close quarters in there, surrounded by all of the lovely gowns. Anyway, I tripped and almost took Laura down with me, and I tore her beautiful cashmere sweater, it was awful.”

I see all three men’s eyes are on me. I smile like I’m clueless about what’s going on around me. Really, I am clueless, but John seems like a ‘want to be Alpha male.’ He gives me the impression that he believes women have their place in his world, and it isn’t standing beside him, I get the feeling it’s one step behind.

John says, “I’ll make certain to ask her, honey.” He looks to Aiden. “I can’t believe I ran into you at The Table. Didn’t your father love this place? Willow, you should have Aiden tell you the history of this historic property, it’s quite an interesting story.”

Aiden’s expression doesn’t change, and he doesn’t acknowledge John’s comment. I smile politely, “I’ll make certain I do that, this view, the beautiful building, and the hotel are amazing. I’m thankful Aiden brought me to see it tonight.”

Gerald, the older of the two, who has remained silent during this odd encounter, smiles softly at me and says, “It certainly is very romantic Willow. My wife loves it when we dine here. We will let you enjoy the view and your evening. It was nice to meet you.” He tips his head to me and walks away. He doesn’t look or say anything to Aiden.

Gus Wendle startles me when he bends to kiss my cheek.

“Oh,” I smile politely.

“Willow, it was a pleasure. I’m sure I’ll see you around the city. Enjoy your dinner.” He walks away without another word.

My eyes swing to John when he laughs. “Aiden, my boy, wipe the murderous look off your face, you made it too easy for them. They want our help, and I want to take the case. You need to reconsider your decision. Nice seeing you, sweetie, enjoy.” John walks away, and our wine arrives.

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