The Billionaire's Proposal(6)

By: Avery James

“I think you two are a match made in heaven,” Maggie said.

“Hopefully I’ll see you over there, Maggie,” he replied. “Either way, it was a pleasure.”

Maggie sat down on the lounge and watched the sunset. Charming was totally into her. Normally, she’d have told herself to forget about him. She’d have found an excuse to go catch up on work or hit the gym, but she was here to enjoy herself and leave everything else behind.

One drink, she told herself. What’s the worst that could happen?

Chapter 3

The hotel’s bar on the beach was aptly named The Sand Bar. It anchored one end of the outdoor space, giving privacy to the beach that stretched out to the point in the distance. Maggie found Harry sitting at the end of the bar as promised. The sun was dipping below the horizon, and soon it would be dark. There was music coming from somewhere, but Maggie couldn’t recognize it above the sound of conversation at the bar.

Harry was staring off across the water as she approached, and he didn’t seem to notice as she took a seat beside him. “Hey,” she said.

“Maggie,” he said. “How are you? What will you have to drink?”

“I have no idea,” she replied. “I’m usually a red wine kind of girl.”

“Not tonight,” he said. “They make daiquiris with fresh strawberries.” He nodded down the bar. “They seem to be pretty popular.”

“And yet you don’t have one,” she said. She looked at his drink for a second. It looked like a cross between tea and mud.

“Dark and stormy,” he said. “You want one?”

“Give me a minute to think it over,” she said. Her stomach was rumbling, and she caught a whiff of something delicious in the air. “I’m starving. Do they serve food out here?”

“Bar food mostly, but they have a raw bar. Oh, and they make a pretty good Cubano,” he said.

“What’s in a Cubano?” she asked.

“You’ve never had one?” he said. He seemed genuinely surprised. “Are you a vegetarian or something?”

“No, my mother used to say I was practically a carnivore.”

“Then you’ll love this sandwich,” Harry said. He motioned to the bartender. “Can we get two Cubanos and two mojitos?”

“Matching drinks?” she asked.

“Maybe they’re both for you,” he replied. “I have to give you some reason to stick around.”

“What are you having?” she asked.

“Besides a delightful conversation?” he asked. “One of the mojitos, now that this drink is gone.” He downed the last of his drink and pushed the glass forward. He tapped his hands on the bar as they waited for the drinks. “So what brings you to Key West?”

“Part work, part pleasure,” she said. “I have the weekend to myself, and then I have to…” She trailed off. She had ruined more than one date by talking about her job and only her job. Even though this wasn’t a date, she didn’t want to talk about work. “You know what, I promised myself I wouldn’t think or talk about work for the next two days.”

“A wise choice,” he said. “Let’s change topics, then.” He looked around the bar. He grinned. “Speedos, yes or no?”

“I’ll have to go with no on that one unless you’re a competitive swimmer.”

“I’m competitive at pretty much everything,” Harry said.

“Very funny,” Maggie replied.

“So no talking about work?” he asked. Maggie nodded. “And if I mention Speedos again, you’ll probably leave and never come back.”

“You’re a fast learner,” she said. “We could always talk about the weather.”

“Aside from hurricanes, I don’t think they have weather here, just different degrees of balmy. Politics?”

“A real mood killer.”

“Current events?” he said.

“Even worse,” she told him as the drinks arrived. She was enjoying this back and forth. Usually, she lost interest in guys as soon as they opened their mouths, but Harry was fun, and she needed fun.

“Very old events?” he asked. “We could talk about the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Or is that too recent? How about when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon?”

Maggie raised the glass in a mock toast and took a long sip. The drink was cold and refreshing, and it sent a shiver down her spine.

“Or, what if we skip small talk altogether and get to the good stuff?” he said.

“I like that idea,” she said. “I think every first date I’ve ever been on has been entirely small talk. People are afraid to say what they really believe, because they want other people to like them.”

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