Mark Caten waited.
He filed his fingernails and waited.
That loser’s going to call me back. It’s all a matter of time.
His phone rang.
He checked the caller id and smiled.
Elsie looked up as Hildreth returned to the room. “You okay?”
He smiled and embraced her. “Never better.”
She frowned. Something’s wrong. Something’s off.
She pulled out of his embrace. “What’s wrong?”
His gaze traveled all over her face. “Nothing at all. I can’t wait to marry you. If we could do it right here and now, I would say, ‘Yes! Let’s do this!’ And your mother could be the minister.”
Elsie laughed. “She would like that.”
“I bet she would. I worry what her pre-wedding speech would be like.”
“Knowing my mother as I do, it would definitely turn off-color pretty quick.”
“It would certainly be memorable.”
Elsie laughed again. “In all the wrong ways.”
He hugged her again and just held her. “I love you. Oh, I love you.”
Mark Caten stared at his phone in an advanced state of shock.
Preyuna entered the room. “What seems to be the problem?”
“He told me to go to hell. Then, he hung up on me.”
“Shall I carry out our plan?”
Mark Caten set his phone on the desk. “No. Not yet.” He smiled. “Hildreth Mayhew is a worrier. Let’s give him some time to dwell on everything I said to him. He’ll come around to my way of thinking.”
“Just be patient.”
He threw a crystal paperweight at her. It sailed high over her head. “I know that! And I’ll be very patient. I’ll grind my teeth into bone dust, but I will be patient. I will wait him out.”
“Very well. Did you read the request I left on your desk?”
“Yes. I read it and I shredded it. You didn’t really think I’d let you go this soon, did you?”
“I have paid off the Fey’s debt to you, sir.”
“That’s what you think.”
“How long will it take before I can return to my kingdom?”
“Until I get tired of you, of course. What did you expect?”
“From a human like you? Not much.” She left the room.
He smiled. “Yes. It’s all a matter of time.”
Elsie and Clarice chatted and laughed all throughout lunch.
Hildreth ate his food in blissed out silence. I told him off. I did it. I told Mark Caten off! I feel like a pile of bricks has been taken off my back. I feel free.
Should I tell her? No. She’d probably gut punch me again for even considering his offer.
And she’d be right.
All along I’ve been worried about him seducing her. It won’t happen. She has me. She loves me. She actually wants me.
She doesn’t want him.
If Caten offers her the job, I’ll be scared. Of course, I’ll be scared. But I have to trust her.
Elsie gave him a puzzled glance.
He smiled. I do.