It Happened One Wedding Page 73

“He’s taking you to Sogna?” Vaughn was familiar with the restaurant, one of the most exclusive in the city. Not because he’d dined there himself—with a $210 prix fixe menu, it wasn’t exactly in his budget. But last year, he’d coordinated a sting operation out of the place and he’d seen firsthand that it was nice. Really nice. “Sounds to me like somebody’s trying to show off.”

Sidney cocked her head, considering this. “I don’t think so. Maybe he’s just a foodie. He seemed really interested in hearing about the restaurants I’d eaten at in New York.” She gestured with her coffee cup. “Oh. I just realized—I should start thinking about what I’ll wear, in case I need to drop something off at the dry cleaners today. Maybe that pink dress I wore to my father and Jenny’s garden party.”

Vaughn’s hand tightened around his coffee cup. He remembered that dress well. “I don’t know . . . I thought I noticed something wrong with one of the sleeves on that dress. It kept slipping down your shoulder.” Obviously, he was . . . just trying to help her avoid any fashion faux pas on her big date.

She smiled. “No, it’s supposed to do that. Gives me allure.”

Right.

 • • •

LATER THAT AFTERNOON, Vaughn parked his car in the FBI lot, arriving just moments after Huxley. Seeing him, Huxley waited in front of the security building, which all agents and visitors were required to pass through.

Vaughn slammed his car door—probably a little harder than necessary—and then strode over to his partner.

Huxley raised an eyebrow. “I think you left your side-view mirror on the pavement there.”

“The door slipped,” Vaughn said, with a nonchalant shrug.

Ignoring Huxley’s skeptical look, he breezed into the security building and flashed his badge at the guards.

He, for one, had a corrupt city code inspector to take down tonight.

Twenty-seven

ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, Sidney walked into Sogna restaurant and smiled at the hostess. “I’m meeting someone here. I believe the reservation is under Roland?”

The hostess checked her reservation list and nodded. “Of course. Mr. Roland is already here. I’ll show you to your table.”

She led Sidney up the glass-and-steel staircase to the second floor of the restaurant’s split-level dining room. At the top of the steps, Sidney could see Tyler waiting at a table next to the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked a romantic view of vibrant Michigan Avenue. Smiling when he spotted her, he looked classically handsome in his tailored sport coat and blue button-down shirt.

She felt a moment’s hesitation before walking over, a slight jittery feeling in her stomach—which she immediately wrote off as butterflies of anticipation. This could be it, she told herself. This could be her last first date, her Mr. Right, the man she was meant to spend the rest of her life with.

The jitters in her stomach kicked it up a notch.

Ignoring that, she put forth her most charming smile as she approached the table, determined to have the best damn first date ever.

 • • •

“DO YOU MISS New York at all?”

Sidney rested her fork against her plate, thinking about Tyler’s question. As it turned out, he was a foodie—for over a half hour they’d talked about their favorite restaurants, which had led to his current question. “I do, at times. But kind of the way you miss a cool place you went on vacation, or the city where you spent a summer abroad during college. As much as I enjoyed living in Manhattan, I don’t think I ever fully settled in to thinking it was home.” She turned the question around. “How about you? Do you ever think about living someplace other than Chicago?”

So far, Tyler was doing well against her checklist. In addition to their conversation about favorite restaurants, during the appetizer course, they’d covered a lot of the first-date basics. She knew he had a younger sister with whom he was close—something they obviously had in common; that he’d attended Harvard for both undergrad and law school; and that he liked to golf and play squash. Typically, however, this was the point in the date—when the questions became more substantive—that the contenders began to falter.

“No, not really,” he said. “I mean, I like to travel and visit different places, and, obviously, there were the seven years I lived in Boston for school, but both my family and my job are here in Chicago. So I’m pretty set where I am.”

This gave Sidney an opportunity to segue into the subject of his career. “How long have you been at your firm?”

“Two years, after lateraling in as a partner. We’re a relatively new firm—we’ve only been open for three years.”

Sidney’s radar began to beep, hearing that. As a businesswoman, she knew how unstable start-up ventures could be—and if things weren’t settled with Tyler’s career, her research said he had to be nixed. “How’s business going?” she asked, trying to sound casual.

“Great,” he said, without any hesitation. “The two partners who started the firm—friends of mine, actually—brought a huge client with them when they left our old firm. We’ve acquired a lot of new clients since then, so we’ve brought on five more associates and two other lateral partners. And I think we still might need to add to that number, given how much new business is coming in.”

Great. So he’s a workaholic. “Sounds like you guys are really busy.”

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