Authors: Jo Noelle
Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Chick-Lit
Copyright © 2014 by Jo Noelle
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in print, scanned, electronic or audio means or other means without the prior written permission of the publisher: Little Box Press, LLC.
is a fictional story. The events, names and characters are fictitious, and any similarity to real persons, living or dead, or actual events are purely coincidental.
ust. Someday it will be deep and abiding love, but today it’s just surfacey infatuation and need. I lust this car.
I still feel like I’m cheating on Gustavo, my old Ford Focus. We had a good run together—college years, spring flings to St. Louis and Miami, weekend jaunts to Santa Fe, Phoenix and Vegas and struggling to start my career. Good times, but I think he’s been holding me back for the last year and a half.
We’ve grown apart, and my goals have changed. I need a career car, and this car says success. This car says I can go as fast as I want. I feel liberated and sexy again. Maybe we could take a road trip to Seattle. I could open it up across Wyoming. No one else would know. It would be our little secret—our first secret together. Turning off Pike’s Peak Avenue into the parking lot, we park gracefully between an Escalade and Collin’s Hummer.
Carla squeals when I walk into the reception area. “You have another new suit! Come here—let me see.” I’m just finishing a slow pirouette when I notice Gary, the super-agent, sales-contest-winner frequent flyer, the one person I will look in the eye when my winning total is announced this week, talking with a client in the next room. Even with the client’s back toward me, it’s not hard to imagine the rest of him just based on the fit of his shirt and the way his hair is strategically messy. I wish I had taken the call that brought Hot Client into this office.
Behind me, I barely hear Carla. “Uh-hum, figured you’d notice him soon enough.”
Although I’m only watching through the large window between the reception room and the conference room, my hands automatically smooth down my skirt, either to ease out the creases from sitting or to dry my palms. My pulse kicks up a bit when the men stand and move my way. As he rounds the corner, our eyes meet and he smiles, an easy but disarming smile. My breath stops momentarily—I could have a moment with that smile.
“Sophie.” My boss’s voice rings out from the other side of the room.
Hot Client is standing close enough that I reach out, his hand wrapping snuggly around mine. “Liam,” is all he says before Collin barks my name again. We have strict rules about moving in on each other’s clients in the office, which I get and totally agree with, but I’m not interested in him as a client. I’m interested in him.
As if Gary senses my interest, he places his hand on the guy’s shoulder to guide him toward the door as I turn to acknowledge my boss. Behind me, I hear, “Well, Liam, this should close in two days. Everything is in order.” Then he practically shoves the guy out of the office.
Before I can rush to my car…for…I don’t know—something I left out there and must have right now…Collin, our real estate broker and manager, steps from the hall into the reception room, walking toward us.
Gary turns toward me like he’s smirking that I’m in trouble—
—but I smile back thinking about our sales meeting today. Fine, keep your client to yourself, ‘cause I’m about to be announced as Top Agent of the Week. Not you, me, Sophie Kanakaredes. I’ll be modest, but when the total is announced, even Gary will be shamed that my sales dwarf his. Collin will make a big deal of me spinning the wheel for a prize. Ooh, maybe I’ll win the two-day ski vacation in Vale. Then he’ll dismiss the meeting, and I will walk the gauntlet with all the agents congratulating me.
“Sophie. Office. Got a fax,” Collin says, pointing down the other hallway. “You can forget the $12,000 commission on the Boyd home.”
“Oh, haha, Collin. You’re such a tease. You think I’m falling for that? I won the challenge for sales meeting this week.”
“Bankrupt,” Collin says, handing me a piece of paper from an open file on his desk. He doesn’t look like he’s kidding.
“Bankrupt?! What? What do you mean? Who’s bankrupt?”
“Smythe-Adams Community Bank. Instead of sending funding instructions, they faxed this letter. Sorry, Sophie.”
He missed something or misread it. I reach for the page and scan from the letterhead to the signature. What? I read it again, slower.
Pikes Peak Title,
Abstract & Escrow
Dear Potential Customer,
We regret to inform you that our funding capabilities have been suspended. Our warehouse line has been closed, and we will not be funding the Buchannan loan, #1004LP0395, with the closing dated June 28, 2007. We hope to be of service to you in the future.
Residential Loan Department
Smythe-Adams Community Bank
“But Collin, the deal closed yesterday. The buyer signed. The sellers signed. Done deal.” I bought a car last week, wiping out my savings for the down payment. Gustavo was the trade-in. My eyes scan the fax again, “Not be funding…Buchannan loan.” Crap, crap, crap. I have to return the white Chloe handbag, those cute Michael Kors boots, my car—oh, my car! I haven’t even named him yet.
“Collin, the owners moved out two days ago. What do I do now?”
Taking the fax from my hands, he turns away and places the paper in a file. “Focus on the deals you have in your pipeline and pick up new listings. As for this deal, I heard from the other agent’s broker, and the title company sent them the same fax. Since the loan failed, make sure you get your buyer an earnest money release. Tough break, Sophie. Serve the clients in your pipeline and move on.”
Collin shuts the door before I realize he walked me back into the hallway.
During our sales meeting, my brain wrestles with the failed Buchannan home. It closed, the sellers signing mountains of paperwork transferring the home. The buyers signed even more to satisfy loan conditions. Since when does a business transaction close and not fund? And why would a bank send documents for a closing one day, but file bankruptcy the next?
At the end of the meeting, Collin announces Gary as the top sales agent for the week again (again!), with commissions totaling $3,100. Three thousand one hundred? That’s the winning total? What did he sell—a parking space? Usually, it’s more than ten times that amount. Gary spins for a prize. Ha, good—a coupon book of ten free car washes. The Vail vacation is still mine.
June is over with the conclusion of the meeting—a new month inspires me to regroup my business. I spend a few minutes at my desk, taking inventory of my expected income. The Sherman condo is okay, as is the Davis home. The Perez home is still early days, and we don’t have a loan prequalification yet, but it should come soon. The Thomas lot is a sure thing—cash offer but not much commission there. And I turned in a full-price offer for the Wallace’s yesterday. That one’s a good commission. With those deals intact, my income will still hit around $9000 this month. I’ll be fine. Like Collin said, I just need to focus on serving the clients in the pipeline and pick up new listings.