Promises to Keep. Linda Hudson-Smith

Promises to Keep - Linda Hudson-Smith

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are plenty of us out there. Talk to you later, Mr. Fairfax.”

      “Darius works just fine for me. Is it okay if I continue calling you Courtney?”

      “Absolutely! Have a great evening, Darius,” she said, trying on his request for size. She liked the way her tongue caressed the pronunciation of his name. Courtney disconnected before he had a chance to say another word. Talking to him turned her on every bit as much as seeing him face-to-face. She moaned softly.

      Darius cradled the phone, unable to believe how wildly his entire being reacted to Courtney. He felt like a starstruck lover. How was that possible? He didn’t know her, yet he was drawn to her the moment he’d stepped into her beautifully appointed office. Courtney’s melodic, slightly husky voice made him want to hear it over and over again. Her pretty face and sexy body were desirable, but it was more than that for him.

      No woman had affected Darius the way this one had, especially not on a first meeting. He hadn’t been able to think of anything but Courtney since he’d left her office. He had a ton of work on his desk, but concentrating on anything but her was difficult. His steamy thoughts of her were totally inappropriate. He knew he had to snap out of this dream world.

      As the intercom on his desk buzzed, he instantly picked up the receiver and pressed the red button. “Yes, Jasmine, what is it?”

      “There’s a Mr. Meyer Chandler on the line for you. He says he’s from See-Through Films. Should I put the call through?”

      “I’ve been waiting to hear from him. Remember his name. It’s an important one.”

      “It’s already stored in my memory bank. I’ll transfer him to your private line.”

      Jasmine Parker, Darius’s administrative assistant, was young and pretty, possessing a nearly flawless brown-sugar complexion. It was rumored by other employees that she had a big crush on her boss, but that simply wasn’t true. Jasmine never gave any hint of her purported love-jones for him. Her longtime boyfriend was a professional football player, a linebacker.

      Darius never thought of Jasmine as a possible romantic interest. At twenty-one, she was too young for him, though she acted very mature. It didn’t matter that she had the kind of body that stopped men dead in their tracks. Jasmine was smart as a whip and ran his office with extreme professionalism. She stayed on top of everything. He loved giving her well-deserved bonuses and a semiannual raise. Jasmine gave a whole new meaning to the term girl Friday.

      Darius pushed the button on his private line. “Meyer, how are you? It’s good to hear from you,” he said with tremendous enthusiasm. “I’m glad you called.”

      “I’m fine. I’ve been eager to get in touch with you. I’ve done a lot of research on you and your company. You run quite an impressive operation. Your stellar reputation precedes you. You come highly recommended by the powers that be.”

      Darius beamed. “Thank you. That means a great deal coming from someone like you. So do you think we might be able to join forces on a few movie and television projects in the near future?”

      “By all means, Darius. I’d love to hear whatever you have in mind. When can we get together to discuss some ideas?”

      “Why don’t you set aside a few dates and times when you’re available. Then call my assistant, Jasmine. She’ll check my schedule against yours. I want to make things convenient for you. I’d like this meeting to happen as soon as possible.”

      “I appreciate it, but I should be the one trying to make it convenient for you. You’re the one who’s set this town on fire.”

      Darius was pleased with what he’d just heard. “I’d like to think so, but I haven’t set off enough alarms yet. I look forward to hearing back from you.”

      “Count on it. Is sometime next week too soon?”

      “Not at all, Meyer.”

      “Talk to you soon, Darius.”

      Once the line was cleared, Darius buzzed Jasmine on the intercom to tell her about his conversation with Meyer. “Do everything you can to set up an appointment on one of the dates and times he or his assistant gives you. If you can’t find any free space for next week, let me know. We’ll go over my schedule and do some clever juggling.”

      “No problem,” Jasmine assured her boss.

      “Thanks, Jasmine.”

      “You’re welcome, D.F. Buzz me if you need anything else.”

      Several of Darius’s employees and associates referred to him as D.F., but Jasmine had been the first one to call him that before it caught on. In front of colleagues he was Mr. Fairfax, yet he prided himself on creating a relaxed atmosphere among his employees.

      Darius finally managed to clear his head of thoughts of Meyer Chandler and Courtney Campbell to tackle the mountain of paperwork before him. There were quite a few tasks he didn’t trust to anyone else. He listened to the input of others and received advice from his attorneys and other advisors, but the final decision on how to handle important matters was always his. D.F. Film Productions, Inc. was his baby. He had conceived it inside his brilliant mind and had given birth to what was now a cutting-edge, lucrative company.

      Courtney looked cool and relaxed in fashionable melon-colored pants. A navy blue silk shirt and cute, semidressy sandals in the same navy hue complemented the slacks. Her shoulder-length hair hung loose and was salon fresh, with a high-sheen finish. She had taken charge of the bridal shower festivities from the moment she and Monica had walked through the front door of Sonya Wilkerson’s posh high-rise condo.

      The Party People had been awarded full-service contracts for the bridal shower, the bachelor and bachelorette parties and the couple’s wedding reception. Courtney had worked closely with Sonya’s wedding planner to ensure that the future bride was happy with all the arrangements.

      Courtney set her briefcase on a bar stool. After opening the lock, she removed several packets of papers. She handed Monica a stapled set. “Let’s go over the catering list, line by line, to make sure everything has been delivered.”

      Courtney always inventoried all items to avoid the type of embarrassment she’d endured early on in her career. The cake, of all things, hadn’t been delivered for a fortieth birthday party. An employee had failed to put it into the delivery van. Fortunately, the missing chocolate confection was discovered early enough so it could be retrieved in time. Courtney hadn’t fired the delinquent employee, but she had issued a sensitive yet firm reprimand so it would never happen again.

      “It’s all here,” Monica sang out. “Now let’s do our usual last-minute check on the decorations. I recall seeing dozens of helium balloons on the order form.”

      “You’re right. They’re stored in one of the bedrooms. We need to bring them up to the front and float them upward. I asked for long ribbons to be attached for easy retrieval.” Courtney looked down at her watch. “Sonya’s guests should start arriving any minute now. She plans to make her grand entry twenty minutes after the start time.”

      “One of those, huh?” Monica remarked.

      Courtney shrugged. “It’s her party.”

      “And she can cry if she wants to,” Monica joked.

      Courtney giggled. “In the meantime, let’s get those balloons hovering.”

      Courtney and Monica laughed upon seeing the bedroom ceiling covered with silver and blue balloons, inscribed with the names Sonya and Justin. The ladies each began to grab hold of the ribbons. Once they had several in hand, they realized they had too many to fit through the door at one time. Laughing all the while, the women caught and carted balloons from the back bedroom up to the front rooms. Courtney and Monica tried to make each event they worked a fun-filled adventure.

      The doorbell rang just as the last batch of balloons was released.


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