“Oh, sorry,” she said. “I didn’t realize this cab was taken.”
“Where are you going?” he asked, leaning toward the open door.
She told him and he said he was going right past there, so she may as well join him.
“My pleasure,” he said. “You look like a woman in a hurry.”
“I’m already late,” she sighed. “The meeting I was just in lasted longer than expected.”
He nodded. “I know what that’s like.”
“I think they should do away with meetings forever.”
“One can only hope,” he said. “Imagine all the hours we would gain.”
“Productive hours,” she added.
“Are you hungry?”
“Yes. I’m guessing you didn’t eat lunch and while it’s too early for dinner but I know a place…”
“The food is delicious.”
“It is. Where do you have to be for the next few hours?”
“Um, Nowhere, actually. I was just going to a lecture. But tell me,” she said, frowning. “How many hours does it take you to eat?”
“Jimmy,” he said, to the cab driver “Take us to…”
“Got it boss,” said Jimmy.
“You know the cab driver? You’re his boss?”
“He works for me. I don’t like limos. They attract too much attention. This way, no one notices me.”
“Ah,” she said. “I usually just use my broom, when I don’t want others to see me.”
She said it so matter-of-factly, that he just stared at her.
“What?” she asked. “You don’t have any witch friends?” She heard Jimmy chuckling. “I hope you change cars, or cabs, all the time because you can’t be invisible if you use the same vehicle all the time.”
“Thank you,” he said. “I do, in fact, change vehicles. Do you like Italian?”
“They’re handsome, but hot-tempered, sometimes.” Jimmy started laughing.
“I meant food. Italian food,” he said.
“I know what you meant,” she said, demurely.
“You’re not like other women,” he said, looking at her.
“No woman is like other women,” she said.
“I guess I never noticed.”
“Then I feel sorry for any of the women you’ve ever been with. It’s not as if we’re made on a production line. Do you think you’re like every other man?”
Jimmy was laughing hard now, pounding on the steering wheel.
“Jimmy,” he said, quietly.
“Sorry boss, but she’s gotcha.”
“What is your name?” he asked politely.
“Violet. What’s yours?”
“That’s a pretty name. I’m Ian.”
“Nice to meet you Ian. What, exactly, is going on here?”
“It’s nice to meet you as well. As for what’s gong on, you needed a cab, I had one, I don’t want to eat alone and you didn’t have lunch.”
“Okay. Are we going somewhere that won’t cost as much as a compact car?”
“Right,” she said. “I’ll just watch you eat, then.”
“My treat,” he said, smiling.
“That never really works out well.”
“I don’t want anything from you.”
“Hey, Jimmy,” she said.
“Can I trust this guy?”
“Yes. He keeps his word.”
“Okay,” she said, “Here’s the play. I’ll let you take me to lunch, if you let me take you to lunch next week.”
“Deal,” he said immediately.
She leaned back, looked him up and down, and said, “I think you’re a little out of my league.”
“There is no league, there are only people.”
“So, you’re a dreamer too.”
“Yo, boss. I like her.”
“Jimmy has good taste,” he said.
“In what?” she asked.
“In everything,” he said.
“You kind of remind me of a mob boss, no offense.”
Jimmy was suddenly choking with laughter.
“What is it with him?” she asked. “I’m not that funny.”
“You are to him,” he sighed.
“Probably because most people don’t speak to me the way you do…”
“And live to tell about it,” snorted Jimmy.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked.
“We’re here, Violet.”
Jimmy ran around and opened the door. He looked at her, his eyes glittering with laughter. “Let him order for you. He knows what he’s doing.”
Once inside they were led to a private booth and the owner came out and kissed him on both cheeks. Wine was poured and their order placed.
“Okay, who, or what, are you?” she asked. “And does your mother have lace curtains on her windows and The Godfather playing on a never ending loop?”
“I’m a business man,” he said. “Who, or what, are you?”
“Truthfully, I’ve done a lot of things but I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for. Once I can do something, I want to do something else. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does seem as if I’m always starting over. Are you married and will you get into trouble for being seen with me?”
Salads were paced in front of them, many thanks were given and they were alone again.
“I think it’s wonderful that you have a lot of interests. Not everyone is cut out for one thing and no, I’m not married and I never have been.”
“Thanks for the support. I’ve never been married either. I guess I can’t find the right person either. I think I’m a nomad. This salad is amazing.”
“I told you the food was delicious.”
“You did,” she said, nodding. “I like Jimmy. He’s solid. He won’t betray you for any reason and he has your best interest at heart. He has protective feelings for you and would die for you without hesitation. You can trust him with anything. He’s nice too. This bread is out of sight. So perfect, crusty with a soft, warm, inside. It’s perfect bread!”
“How do you know that about him?”
She shrugged. “I can read him like a book. I’m a witch, remember.”
“Can you do that with other people.”
“Most of the time.”
Their dishes were cleared and soup was placed before them.
“Angelo, will you please send Sonny over here?”
“Of course,” said Angelo.
“Tell me what you think about this man.”
“You wanted to see me?” said Angelo.
“I did,” said Ian. “How is your family? How’s the work going?”
“Fine. Everything is fine, Ian.” he said. “Thanks for asking.”
“Good,” said Ian. “I have a job for you. I’ll discuss it with you tomorrow.”
“Sure,” he said, backing away. “Nice to see you, Ian.”
“So?” asked Ian. “What can you tell me?”
“He’s edgy. He’s semi-trustworthy but weak and would break in a heartbeat, if someone put too much pressure on him. He wouldn’t want to, but he won’t be able to stop himself. He doesn’t have an inner strength. He respects you, but he’s afraid of you too. He thinks you’re going to ask him for more than he can handle, one of these days. I’d keep him on a short leash, if I were you. And if you want him to be okay, you should tell him that you’d never ask him to do more than he’s capable of doing. That would help him cope.”
He stared at her. “Will you work for me?”
“What you just did.”
“Yes. Name your price.”
The pasta dish appeared and she started groaning with the first bite. “That guy absolutely LOVES you. He’s another one who would do anything for you. You have some very loyal people around you and not out of fear but because they really care about you. I can’t believe how delicious this is. Really, you underplayed how good it was.”
“Quit whatever joy your doing. You can move into one of the luxury condo’s I own, if you’re currently renting. Be prepared to travel.”
“Condo? Travel? Where?”
“Everywhere. I have…businesses around the globe.”
“Please, say you’ll do it.”
“I’ll do it.”
“I’ll have Jimmy take you shopping tomorrow. You’ll need a new wardrobe. You’ll be spending a lot of time with me and we’ll be going to a lot of events. You’ll need better jewelry too.”
“What’s wrong with what I have on and what kind of events?”
“Nothing’s wrong with what you have on but you need more expensive things for the places we’ll be going. As for events,” he said. Meetings, dinners, a lot of different things. You’ll have down time as well. Save room for dessert.”
“Is it chocolate cake?”
“It can be,” he said.
“Make it so, Ian,” she snickered.
“Can you read me?”
She looked at him. “Besides the fact that you want to sleep with me…and you think…I’m pretty? No. Your shields are too good. Must be all those years of keeping people out of your head.”
“You want to sleep with me?”
He thought for a moment and said, “I don’t know how to answer that question.”
“Just thought I’d ask.”
“You’re not afraid of me, are you?”
“Why would I be afraid of you?”
“Just thought I’d ask,” he said. “You really don’t know who I am, do you.”
“You’re Ian and I work for you now. What else is there?”
“Do you want to sleep with me?”
“First of all, I’m way too full,” she sighed, patting her stomach. “And, no…not yet. But probably some other time.”
He had a great laugh. Rich and deep. “Let me know when that time comes, will you.”
“I will,” she said. “And about the chocolate cake.”
“I want ice cream too, please.”
And a partnership was born.