Savannah was suddenly startled by the sound of the front door opening and slamming shut. Glancing over Peter's broad, right shoulder, she watched a tall, willowy, hardbodied woman, with long, strawberry-blonde hair and glittering, emerald-green eyes, who looked to be about the same age as her and Peter, timidly enter the quiet bar room. The woman wore a black, woolen tube top, stone washed jeans, and expensive sneakers. Her bare, brown midriff was taut and flat as an ironing board. In the slender fingers of her right hand, she clutched the padded handle of a large, over-stuffed suitcase.
Once again, as one, the five males gathered at the bar all turned their heads and regarded the new female intruder in their midst with lewd, ravenous eyes, the way they did to any woman, who was either brave or stupid enough to enter their territory without their express permission. The woman ignored them. She looked lost and confused, yet quietly determined, somehow.
Savannah heard the woman speak. "Peter?"
Peter froze like a statue. His dark, heavy eyebrows jumped upward, as if he'd just been shot in the back. Very slowly, he turned in his chair. He smiled that irresistible smile that Savannah loved so much.
"Nikki?" he said in a breathless, incredulous whisper. "Is it really you?"
The woman smiled and nodded. Happily. "Uh-huh. It's me."
"Oh, wow! This is just too weird. I was just talking about you."
For a long moment, it seemed as if all he could was just sit there and stare at this woman, with his eyes bugging out of their sockets and his jaw hanging down. "Oh, wow," he said, again.
Finally, he snapped out of his trance and leapt to his feet. He pulled out a chair for Nikki, who gladly relinquished her tight grip on her suitcase and sat down.
To Savannah, he said, "This is Nikki Surrett, the real Callie Morgan in my novel." Peter's eyes and face burned with a fiercely possessive pride.
Then he said to Nikki, "This very nice woman is Savannah Meuller. She's from Beacon House Publishing in New York. They're going to publish my novel."
Peter looked and sounded like a man on speed. His anxious, eager eyes darted back and forth between the two women. Now, he looked at Savannah.
"Uh, listen. I really don't mean to be rude, especially since you came all this way to see me...But is there any way I could sign that contract and get my check."
"And you," he said, playfully wagging a finger in Nikki's smiling face. "Don't you dare go anywhere. I lost you once and I'm not going to lose you, again. Do you want something from the bar? Dell, bring this beautiful lady a beer on me. I'll be right back."
A dazed and unbelieving Savannah shouldered her purse and uncrossed her long, shapely legs. With Peter following close at her heels, she strode quickly down the long length of the bar, her heels clocking with sharp, needle-like precision on the bare, wooden floor. Savannah walked with her head held hight and her nostrils twitching, painfully aware of the five pairs of eyes staring pointedly at her firm, round bottom, beneath her short, tight, red shirt. She wanted to slam the back door behind her in a furious fit of impotent rage. But Peter caught the door's tarnished, brass knob, just in time.
Peter stood off to one side, watching silently, while she unlocked her trunk and pulled out her expensive, red-leather briefcase, which was one of her prized possessions.
Naturally, Peter didn't have a pen on him. She handed him her Parker fountain pen, which had once belonged to her father. Using her beloved briefcase for a make-shift desk, she showed him where to sign the contract. Each time, he complied with a hasty, rapid scrawl.
After he had finished signing the contract, she carefully folded the document and put it back inside her briefcase. Next, she presented him with a cashier's check for fifty thousand dollars. Savannah almost suffered a mild heart attack, as she watched him fold the check, not once, but twice, tuck the check deep inside his fact, messy wallet, and deposit the wallet in the rear right pocket of his torn and tattered jeans. Just hos uncouth was that!
She forced herself to smile and offered him a manicured hand. "Well, it was certainly a pleasure and a privilege to meet you," she said. She tried to sound as pleasant and playfully provocative as she had inside the bar. But her words came out sounding cool, formal, and polite, the way they did when she was at work. "Like I said before, I really do believe your novel is going to bring you a great deal of fame and fortune, all of which you richly deserve. If you ever do decide to visit Beacon House, please don't be a stranger. I'd love to see you again, sometime."
Savannah looked one last time at those beautiful, brown eyes and that adorable smile, and she thought to herself,oh, why the hell not? The moment he released her hand, she reached between his legs and gave him a quick, little squeeze there, gentle but firm.
Peter's eyebrows flew upward and his eyes bulged in their socket like a pair of grape fruits, and his amiable smile quickly turned into a lopsided expression of surprise and shock, and pleasure. She smiled back at him, as if to say, see what you're going to be missing, tonight?
Her long, straight black hair swirled around her narrow shoulders and she purposely stuck out her rear end at him, as she bent to unlock and open her car door, slamming it shut behind her. She peeled out of the parking lot, churning up a fine spray and loose gravel. Some of the spray pelted the legs of Peter's jeans, causing him to jump sideways.
Savannah paused long enough to shift down into first gear. Then she buried the pedal flat against the floorboards. He car raced recklessly up the long, tight, narrow, little alley.
Looking in her rear view mirror, she watched Peter grow smaller and smaller, until he disappeared from her view, at last. Gripping the steering whell in her left hand, with her right, she pulled her sun glasses from the visor, a few inches above her head, and expertly wrapped them around her face.
Savannah's mind still found it difficult to accept what had just happened to her. She should still be sitting inside that dingy, little bar, looking forward to what, she was sure, would have been the best sex of herlife, with the most sexy, handsome, incredible man she had ever met. And yet, here she was, in her car, headed for her parent's home, in Philly.
Well, she thought, at least they had a swimming pool filled with cold, blue water...