Rated R, NSFW
Read previous chapters or from the start here: Blythe and Mac’s story
The other woman
I took a deep breath. I wanted to beleive Mac was calling me because I was genuinely needed. But I had a good question. “Why didn’t Tom call me?” I turned around to head toward the restaurant. I knew with rush hour traffic the back roads would be faster.
“Because he’s freaking out and thinks you’ll just snarl at him.”
“I’m not a child. What’s the problem?”
“Something about permits and an inspector. Someone called to complain and the construction crew are gone for the night. The foreman isn’t answering and Tom’s not great with confrontation.”
“I’m almost there. Why didn’t you just go?” It was a good question. This better not be a set up.
“I’m… still thirty minutes out-of-town I’ll head straight there.”
“Oh okay I’m pulling into the parking lot. I’ll call you if the inspector needs to talk to you.” I don’t know why Tom couldn’t just to that instead. I really have no authority here.
Tom was running his hands through his hair by the time I arrived. The inspector was a woman. I don’t know why that surprised me. I mentally chastised myself for being sexist and was adequately ashamed. Now I understood the problem. Tom’s charm wouldn’t work on this particular woman. I actually knew her, but not that this was her job. Has it been that long since I saw her last?
“Hey Tom. Gladys?”
The inspector turned her dull blue eyes toward me with a furrow. The second she recognized me she smiled. “Bly? Wow. You look amazing.”
“Thanks G. I’m digging the shorter hair. Totally you.” I was supremely satisfied with Tom’s gaping slack jaw look. “I didn’t know you were an inspector?”
“Oh yeah I’ve been doing this on the side for a few years. I never told anyone since the artist image would be destroyed.”
“Fair enough. I think it’s a cool job. You get to piss off spoiled brats like Tommy boy here.”
We chuckled. Tom did not.
“What’s going on G?” I asked.
“We had a complaint about the electrical and the permit for the ceiling reconstruct since it affected the windows. Oh and that the windows were not being installed to code either. The rumor is that this place is either becoming a brothel or grow op on the sly.”
I laughed. “Please if these guys were going to do either of those they’d use a strip joint or Hipster juice bar as a cover. However, they’re not that clever. Did you see what they originally had here?”
“No, I don’t frequent clutter-ville.”
It was the local nickname for this crowded area. The only green was the struggling trees and pathetic city flowerpots on the street. I pulled out my cell as Tom crossed his arms. Thankfully he was smart enough to keep his mouth shut. I showed Gladys the pictures and she laughed so hard I couldn’t help join.
“Alright Mr. Shiver show me the windows.”
Gladys compared the permits to the work and looked around. “This is really your work?”
“I designed it. The rest is the artists and construction.”
“I think I’ll have to make an exception and come see the joint when it’s done.” Gladys signed some forms and handed them to Tom. “I see nothing to validate the complaints. If they happen again I suggest you get a lawyer and file a harassment. All three came from the same source. That information is confidential of course.”
“Of course. Thank you Ms. Temme.”
“Sure hon, no problem. Next time don’t be a dick and reel in the arrogance. You had nothing to worry about.”
“Hey G we should do a wine tasting again sometime.”
“Wendy would love that, I take it you and Lawrence are still attached at the hip?”
I glanced at Tom before answering. His eyes were narrowed. “Yup he’s cooking his famous duck and couscous tonight.”
“Lucky woman. Say hi for me, and a huge yes to the get-together. It’s been way too long.”
She left just as Mac came in looking very worried. I took a deep breath and hated that my heart started racing and my nether-regions tingled. I wiped my newly clammy hands on my jacket. “It’s all fine.” I was annoyed that I was called at all. There was no reason for it other than that I had a vagina and so did the inspector.
Tom turned a sheepish look at me. “Thanks a million Blythe. The second I started talking she started snapping and accusing… I just panicked. I don’t normally panic.”
“She’s gay Tom. Your oh-so-classy flirting because she’s a woman pissed her off is all.”
“Why would flirting piss her off?” Mac asked angrily.
“Oh calm down.” I glared at Mac. “Tom didn’t realize he was insulting her by thinking flirting would smooth things over. Flirting usually means your hiding something. That she’s not susceptible to it makes it even more annoying.”
“So?” Tom crossed his arms.
“Sexist moron.” I rolled my eyes and walked away. I was annoyed for many reasons. I was halfway to the door, I could hear Tom and Mac hiss-talking behind me. I heard the word boyfriend from Tom as the door opened.
I nearly tripped and fell flat on my face as my feet stopped moving. The woman who walked through was far too beautiful to be human. Head to toe golden blonde perfection. Every inch screamed money, education and power. Now I’m a good-looking woman myself, but not like this. Nothing and I mean nothing was out-of-place or ordinary about her. Her aqua blue eyes settled on me and gave me the typical are you competition assessment.
Instinct said to hate her, but I really didn’t want to. It was so weird and confusing.
“You must be the designer.” The woman held out a perfectly manicured hand. I shook it squeezing hard. Why not? Ugh, her skin was soft, smooth and perfect.
“Yes I am. I’m Blythe Parks.”
“It’s wonderful to meet you Blythe. I’m Lila and I am very excited to see what you have thought up for this place. Would you give me the tour Blythe?”
Crap. Caught. I smiled. “Sure.” I turned and gave a nervous Mac the best death glare I could muster. Oh goodie I get to play hostess to Mac’s woman. The woman who is too perfect. Tom was pinching the bridge of his nose and looking at the floor. I swallowed my fury, embarrassment and whatever else I was feeling aside. I explained my vision to the luxurious Lila as I showed her all the amazing work that has happened excessively fast. She was kind and complementary. Not a hint of sarcasm, derision or rudeness. Dammit, I liked her. How could I be mad at Mac for liking her? I couldn’t, but I could be mad at him for being a cad.
“I am very much looking forward to seeing this finished. I was concerned it would feel tacky or cheap. However even unfinished I feel romance here.”
“Thank you.” I looked at my cell. “I’m very sorry I have to go.” I glanced at Tom. “I have dinner plans.”
“Oh how lovely. Do you have a date?” Lila asked with genuine interest.
I really wanted her to be a raving bitch, or cold, or dry or mean or anything unlikeable. I supposed I could stretch that out a bit. It would neatly sever the Mac issue. Vagueness would have to work. I can’t lie to save my life. “My ah…” I glanced at Mac and smiled at Lila. “Lawrence is making me dinner and I still need to pick up the wine.” I scooted away before any of them could try to stop me. “It was nice to meet you Lila. Goodbye Tom, Mr. Waterstone.”
I raced out after catching Mac’s pinched eyes and pursed lips. There take that Mr. Asshat I have a girlfriend jerk. My anger faded quickly to a strange sense of loss as I headed home. Loss for something I never actually had. Mac.
To be continued…
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