It Happened One Wedding Page 53

Vaughn smiled, glad to hear it.

When this whole thing blew up, that answer was going to bite these dickheads right in the ass.

 • • •

VAUGHN LET HIMSELF into his loft and peeled off yet another of Mark Sullivan’s designer suits. Famished, as usual, from the undercover work, he threw a frozen pizza in the oven, poured himself a vodka tonic, and settled in at the counter to check his messages. He’d had to leave his phone at home for the undercover op—obviously, Mark Sullivan couldn’t walk around with Special Agent Vaughn Roberts’s cell.

He saw that he had a couple of texts, one from Simon asking how it went with the groomsmen’s tuxes—shit, he’d forgotten about that—and another one from Mollie, the investigative reporter from the Trib, asking if he wanted to get together that weekend.

Shelving that question, he went back to his messages screen and saw Sidney’s texts from earlier that evening, when she’d been on her date. She’d never responded to his last message, he’d noticed.

Ask him yourself, he’d said.

He wondered what High School Guy had said, and whether she’d finally nixed him for good.

So . . . ? he typed, and almost hit send. But then he realized it was after midnight. Probably best not to text her right then, as if he was ruminating about her date in the wee hours of the night. Which he wasn’t, obviously.

He was just . . . curious.

Nothing more.

Twenty-one

FRIDAY MORNING, SIDNEY got some good news from her headhunter.

“I talked to Karen—she has an offer from PetSmart, but she hasn’t accepted it yet,” Gabe said. “She’d love to fly out to talk to you about the Vitamin Boutique position, but we need to move fast.”

Sidney turned in her desk chair and pulled up the calendar on her computer. “Can she do an interview Tuesday? Wednesday? Find out what works best with her schedule, and I’ll make it happen.”

“Will do.”

She spent the rest of the morning on the phone, first with Vitamin Boutique’s board of directors, making sure that at least two of them would be available to meet with Karen the following week. After that, she had a lengthy discussion with the consulting firm she typically worked with in these situations so that they could begin figuring out what kind of compensation package PetSmart had likely offered Karen—and more important, the kind of compensation package she would need to convince the VP to come work for Vitamin Boutique instead.

Sidney hung up the phone shortly before noon and rolled her head, stretching her neck. She was just thinking she should send an e-mail to her team, updating them on these newest developments, when her secretary buzzed.

“I didn’t want to interrupt your call, so I was about to bring you a note,” Darnell said, speaking in a hushed voice. “A Special Agent Roberts is waiting in the reception area. He says he’d like to speak with you.”

Vaughn? Here? Sidney didn’t know whether to smile or roll her eyes at her secretary’s whispered tone, having no doubt that a certain special agent had used his job title to get exactly that kind of reaction. “Tell reception that I’ll be right out.”

 • • •

WHILE WAITING IN the sleek, sophisticated lobby, Vaughn studied the contemporary artwork on the walnut-panel walls. After a couple of minutes, he heard the sound of high heels clicking confidently against the pearl marble floor.

He knew that walk.

He turned around and watched as Sidney approached. With a smile, he took in her effortlessly stylish outfit—gray pants, ivory silk blouse, and a light peach scarf wrapped loosely around her neck.

She was just the woman he needed.

“Special Agent Roberts,” Sidney said as she approached. “To what do I owe this pleasure?”

“I need your help.”

That caught her off guard. She stepped closer and lowered her voice, her expression turning concerned. “Is everything all right? It’s not Isabelle, is it?”

“Nothing like that. I need your fashion advice.”

“Oh. Okay.” She looked him over. “Well, with that suit, I think your tie could be a little skinnier.”

Vaughn threw her a look. And made a mental note about the tie. “I need to pick out the groomsmen tuxedos for the wedding.”

“Ah. That’s an important job. The tuxes help set the tone for the entire wedding.”

“So I’ve just been told,” he said dryly.

She cocked her head, her blue-green eyes sparkling. “Are you having some difficulty with your assignment, Agent Roberts?”

He could already tell he was going to regret this. “Here’s the deal. Simon bought his tux, so he told me to pick out whatever I want for myself and the other groomsmen. No problem. Then I get to the store and the salesman starts asking all these questions. Bow tie or necktie? How wide would I like the lapel to be? Pleated pants or flat front? How many buttons on the jacket? Do I want a vest? A cummerbund? How formal are the bridesmaids’ dresses? Because, as I recently learned, it’s very important that the groomsmen’s attire complement what the bridesmaids are wearing,” he said, imitating the salesman’s serious tone.

“This is true.”

“So? What are you wearing?” he asked.

“A dark champagne strapless dress with a sash across the hip.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Is it sexy?”

She raised an eyebrow back. “Should that really be your focus right now?”

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