At one-thirty he gave up waiting for a call that was obviously never coming and rose to his feet intending to go and break the bad news to Dominic. He would not blame him if he sacked him on the spot for his blunder.
The telephone rang as he was halfway to the door and he glanced back over his shoulder hesitating for a moment before retracing his steps to answer the ringing machine.
He had decided to answer it as it might be important. Mike had no idea just how important that particular telephone call would turn out to be. He was not expecting it to be from Rebecca. He had given up on her calling him again.
“Mike Conway,” he recited automatically.
“Second chance Mike.”
“Rebecca!” he shouted in relief as her voice came clearly down the line. “Please don’t hang up,” he begged desperately. “I’ll agree to anything.”
He was surprised when she laughed.
For a moment Rebecca was tempted to ask him if he would walk along Bondi beach naked. After all, he did say he would agree to anything.
The mental image of old sober-sides Mike walking naked anywhere almost sent her into hysterics. She was not even sure he completely disrobed when he showered.
“Calm down Mike,” she ordered choking back a laugh. “I would have given you one final chance tomorrow.” She paused then demanded with steely determination. “I want your word that you will not tell Dominic that you are coming to meet me.”
Rebecca knew Mike. She knew that once given he would never break his word regardless of his loyalty to Dominic.
But she also knew that he would take other measures to keep track of her whereabouts. However, those steps did not worry her at all. She had taken her own precautions to keep her location secret.
She had returned to Sydney for one purpose only, to arrange two meetings, and those meetings would be conducted on her terms or they would not occur.
This time Mike did not hesitate. “You have my word.”
As soon as he said the words he felt like a traitor, but he had no choice.
If he did not agree to her condition the meeting would not take place, and he had a feeling that somehow this meeting was vital to Dominic’s future well-being. He only prayed he had made the correct decision.
“Solitaire Plaza, room two-one-six,” Rebecca stated abruptly.
The line went dead, and he idly wondered if she would ever end a telephone call in the accepted manner.
Just out of curiosity, he punched in caller ID and was not surprised when it came up as ‘Private’ again.
When he suddenly realized she had told him she was staying at the Solitaire Plaza, he instantly had an insane desire to burst into gales of laughter.
He sure admired her audacity. Actually, he could not decide how he felt about her staying in that particular hotel.
The Solitaire Plaza was the first hotel Dominic had ever owned. He had even named his home Solitaire because of that hotel.
His laughter echoed around the spacious office at the thought of Rebecca staying in their hotel. What irony.
The staff would have a heart attack if they were aware of her true identity. He knew she would not be using her married name. The name Rebecca Farrell would cause too much speculation throughout the hotel and would be too easy for the firm’s investigators to trace.
Mike rose to his feet, straightened his tie and shrugged into his suit coat. He had a very important appointment to keep, but he intended to stop off at the security office on his way out of the building.
Thirty minutes later Rebecca watched as Mike entered the hotel lobby and noticed he had not changed much at all. Maybe he looked a little older but then so did they all.
He was thirty-eight years of age, the same age as Dominic with curly red hair and a sprinkling of freckles across his nose. He hated those freckles, but he had been scandalized when she had suggested he cover them up with makeup.
After checking to make sure he had come alone, she crossed to one of the front windows and was not surprised to see a neatly dressed man in a casual white shirt, a pair of black slacks and a denim jacket standing on the other side of the street. Obviously, he was watching the hotel entrance and she knew with certainty that Mike had placed him there.
Really Mike, she chuckled quietly. He stands out like a gum tree in the middle of the Simpson Desert.
“I’m not that gullible girl you remember Mike,” she muttered to herself as she returned to the room where she had arranged to meet him earlier.
She had booked and paid for that room for one purpose only, this meeting with Mike. Her accommodation and her luggage were situated elsewhere in the city. Had Mike broken his word and brought Dominic with him then she would not have returned to that room.
Instead, she would have walked out of the hotel by the employee’s entrance and returned to Queensland. Then he would have found himself dealing with her lawyer and not with her personally.
When Mike returned to his office two hours later the telephone on his desk was ringing and he quickly crossed the room then lifted the receiver to his ear.
He was surprised when Rebecca’s voice came down the line as he had recently left her at the hotel.
“You can call your watchdog off Mike, he’s wasting his time and the firm’s money,” she stated, and his eyebrows rose in astonishment. “I left the hotel by another entrance that you didn’t have staked out.” There was an ominous silence for a moment and when she continued. There was a warning tone to her voice. “I’ll allow you this one mistake Mike, don’t make another one.”
Once again, the line went dead. He was becoming accustomed to that occurring by this time.
Mike sank into the executive chair behind his desk as he placed the receiver onto its cradle and smiled in admiration at her actions.
He would have to stop thinking of her as an unsophisticated girl. That was one smart woman on the other end of that telephone line, and he fully intended to heed her warning. There would be no more tricks.
Obviously, she had been aware of the security officer he had placed in front of the hotel with orders to follow her if or when she left the hotel.
His laugh echoed around the office. She had sure taught him how the game was played, and he idly wondered who had taught her how to remain anonymous. Whoever it was, they had taught her well.
His laughter disappeared as he picked the telephone up and punched in the numbers that would connect him with Dominic’s office. What he was about to do was no laughing matter.
It was bad enough that he had made arrangements for a meeting between Dominic and Rebecca that Dominic knew nothing about, now he was about to drag Meg into the conspiracy as well.
But he had no choice. Meg was the only person who could clear Dominic’s calendar for the following day and ensure that he was in his office in the morning. Although that would not be hard to arrange, he acknowledged in despair. He practically lived there anyway.
“Dominic Farrell’s office.” Meg’s voice interrupted his thoughts.
“It’s Mike,” he announced. “And before you ask why I’m calling you on the phone and not using the intercom it’s because this conversation is strictly between you and me.”
He grimaced when he heard her suck in a sharp breath.
“You mean private from Nick?” she gasped incredulously.
“Especially from him,” he stated firmly then emphasized the point he was making. “Nick’s the last person I want to know about