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   Chapter 12 The Ravenwood Arms

The Ravenwood Arms By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 28947

Updated: 2018-03-14 10:29


Chapter 12

The next morning, I woke to a gray sky, rain sheeting down. "Oh, this is going to be fun, " I told myself, knowing Winston's reaction to the wet. Sure enough, he was ready and eager to go, right until we hit the side walk and he could see the rain hitting the pavement. Winston tilted his head up, looking at me as though he thought I had gone completely insane.

"I don't control the weather." I told him. Delicately, he extended a paw out from under the area sheltered by the overhang. He touched it to the wet sidewalk and picked his paw immediately back up, holding it as though the paw were now injured, a low whine in his throat.

"Yeah, rough, tough fighting dog bred for life in the pits, that's you." I told him. I opened up the large umbrella I brought with me and stepped out onto the side walk. The rain hit the fabric of the umbrella hard and I thought there might be a little ice mixed in. It was certainly cold enough for it.

Winston snorted, shook his head and followed. He kept close to the building, walking as much as he could on the strip of dry concrete covered by the building's eaves. When we reached the end of the building, Winston hung his head as though being led to the gallows. Instead of going to the park, he moved into the trees separating the tenant parking from the street, quickly did his morning business, turned and headed straight back to the apartment building at a brisk trot.

"So no run today?" I asked as we stepped back into the stairwell. Winston snorted and tugged me back upstairs. "How is it that you hate the rain so much, but as soon as someone turns a sprinkler on in a yard, you think it is the most magically, delightful thing ever?" I asked as I filled his bowl. He ignored my question in favor of the food. "Oh well, I need the extra time to look presentable I suppose."

I left Winston, took my morning shower and dressed in my interview appropriate clothes. Since I had the time, I even added a bit of makeup to my face, something I rarely remembered to do. Once ready, I settled myself with my coffee, mentally running through the possible answers to Wendy's questions in my head.

"Morning, " Sean said joining me and interrupting my mental recap. I was insanely grateful for something else to think about for the moment. "Ready for your interview?"

"I suppose, " I replied not wanting to think about it. "I take it your date went well the other night?"

Sean grinned. "It did and we are going out again soon."

"So… are you two back together?" I asked.

"We are just keeping things casual and seeing where they end up."

"Uh huh, " I replied, swallowing my comments about where they ended up the night before so as not to dent my cousin's happiness. "So what's on your agenda today?"

"Well, the morning is all about website management, " He told me. "It needs to be done and I figured it would keep me close. We sold a few pieces so those images will need to be taken down and we have several new pieces to add." Sean took a sip of his coffee. "I'll also be shooting a list over to the workshop of designer requests."

I nodded. A large portion of our clientele was made up of designers. Several of them sent messages when they were looking for specific pieces. Often they would send pieces to us to be refinished for a specific job. Sometimes when they knew what they needed but didn't have it, we had a piece that suited, but had yet to be refinished or reupholstered and we could work with them on specifics using the color and fabric of their choosing. We also built things from scratch for them and a few sent us standing requests. For those designers with standing requests, we sent images of items prior to posting them on our website giving them the chance to purchase the item before it became publicly available.

"Anything I should keep in mind?" I asked.

"We have a standing request from Lucy Mays for interesting lamps."

"Interesting lamps?"

"I think she just wants non-typical lamps, but I am calling to clarify and will add any notes I get to the list."

"Well, it is a little more specific than John Charles and his standing request for 'seating', " I reminded him.

"True, but John Charles does end up buying about ninety percent of the seating related items we show him."

"This is true. Speaking of which, Cole is working on a piece he may find interesting. I think it might loosely qualify as seating to the broadminded, but as Charles always snaps up the more unusual items, it might be worth sending him an image. He should be finishing it up in the next day or so."

"I'll check with him for a photograph." Sean told me. "Mostly I'm keeping to the office until Wendy leaves in case she wants to talk to me after she interviews you. Oh, and on those lines, I have the bulk of the apartment building website set up. We'll need pictures of the finished and staged apartments to add to it, but now not only does the Ravenwood Arms have a website, but future tenants can pay rent on line as well as log maintenance requests."

"Nice, " I replied nodding.

"Also I did the legal paperwork so that The Ravenwood Arms is part of the Appleton Property Management Group."

"Since when is one building a group?" I asked.

"One building now, " He replied. "More can always be added later."

"Can we just finish one building before building a real estate empire?"

"Of course, " Sean said. "However the legal set up separates your personal finances from the business ones. You remember we talked about this when dealing with the furniture store. It was the whole 'if something bad happens the business is liable but you are personally protected' thing we went over."

"I vaguely recall your lengthy tirade on the subject and then, as now, I thank you for taking the steps to legally protect me and the business." I told him.

"Which means you remember signing the paperwork and know that it is important, but nothing else, " Sean translated.

"Pretty much, yeah." I replied nodding.

Sean shook his head. "You know the legal stuff is important?"

"I do, which is why I sign the paper work you put together. I was just thrown off by suddenly being a group."

"I wouldn't worry about it. I just wanted you to know the name before the interview."

"And if Wendy Watts asks about the group thing?" My stomach tensed at the thought of explaining the legal aspects.

"Just tell her to talk to me about the name, " Sean assured me. I felt a little bit better.

A little while later I headed towards the shop. As I walked, huddled under my umbrella, I was certain the rain was at least half ice. When I reached the shop, I went in through the back so I wouldn't drip water all over the show room. While I knew Sammy would set out floor mats and have a slew of towels ready to prevent slick, wet floors and possibly calamitous spills, I didn't see the need to add to the mess. Since I hoped to stay clean until after the interview, I left my work-in-progress sit. I put my bag of work clothes under the bench, taking out the rules and regulations booklet before I did. I set it on the workbench next to my laptop. I didn't think I would need it, but brought it anyway, just in case.

I powered up the laptop and went to the site Sean gave me. There I typed in the password to take a look at the as of yet non-public site. It looked good, very professional and user friendly. It even included a downloadable application for potential tenants to fill out. I could see where pictures would be placed and how it would enhance the page.

"Not bad, " I decided.

"Is that for the apartment building, " A voice said behind me causing me to jump and let out a small yip of surprise. I spun around and saw a woman grinning sheepishly at me.

"Sorry, the manager sent me back." She held out a hand. "I'm Wendy Watts."

"Alice Appleton, " I replied, introducing myself as I shook her hand. Wendy Watts was put together head to toe. Her hair was an artfully arranged mass of glossy black waves, her make-up flawless and her outfit put together so perfectly that not only did the shoes and purse coordinate, but her umbrella matched as well. Even her manicured and painted nails matched. She looked like she stepped directly off of a magazine page. It was somewhat unsettling.

"And yes, this is for the Ravenwood Arms, " I told her. "It won't be public until we finish construction and take some pictures."

"May I?" she asked, stepping around to the workbench.

"Sure, " I told her moving aside so she didn't have to hip check the mostly stripped wooden panel. She looked at the laptop, clicked

. "Davis is going to be driving me home."

"Good, " Sean replied. "And as thanks, ask him if he wants to join us for pizza. Jake is here and we figured it would be better than going out in this mess."

"I'll ask. After all he also gave Wendy a tour today which definitely deserves a thanks as I don't think he enjoyed having her on the property. How did your meeting with her go?"

"Not bad, " Sean said. "She asked about the website and the rates, checked out our application and asked about our timeline. It was all quick and painless."

I felt a tight coil of tension I hadn't realized I was carrying around in my belly loosen a little. "Good."

"I'm not surprised she visited Davis though, apparently she is being quite thorough. She called James Rutherford's office."

Davis returned from his inspection. "She called James?" I asked, the tension winding tight again. Davis lifted an eyebrow at my tone.

"Yup, she asked several questions and wants to see you in action. James called and wants you for another job. He left a message for you to call him ASAP no matter what time you got the message. He left his cell number rather than the office one."

"Okay, I'll call when I get home, " I told him. "Which will be shortly."

"Ask about dinner, " Sean said before he hung up.

"And goodbye to you too, " I said into the dead phone.

"So who called James, " Davis asked as we headed towards the coats. The multitude of outerwear was reduced to two jackets, my messenger bag and umbrella.

"Wendy, " I told him. "She asked if she could watch me on a job and now James has a job for me."

"So you might not be painting tomorrow?"

"I don't think he would arrange a job that quickly, " I said. "But it will probably put a dent in my painting time. Good thing you budgeted for painters in the first place." I said knowing that he put the payment for painters in his estimate and it was up to me to decide how much work I could do to lower the amount."

"And it will be a much more pleasant surprise for you at the end, " he said.

"So we get a television style reveal?" I asked with a smile.

"I'll work on my game show diva presentation style."

"I appreciate it, " I replied. "Sean mentioned he and Jake were ordering pizza instead of going out tonight and we were both invited to join if you were interested."

"Oh, are you asking me out for dinner?" Davis asked, with a grin.

"In for dinner actually and it is with my cousin and his …" I fumbled for a term. "Casually seeing where it is going but was once the boyfriend he was head over heels in love with…friend, " I finished.

Davis laughed. "Oh, a double date then. And I thought you were going to wait until after the job was done to take advantage of me or did we decide I was going to take advantage of you?"

"It's just pizza, " I reminded him.

"Well neither of us is dressed for a night on the town, " he pointed out. "Although you do appear to be wearing make-up."

"I wanted to look nice for my interview." Davis scanned my current clothing. "I have other clothes in the bag. I wore them when Wendy was around."

"With your bolt cutters and flashlight?"

"I don't always carry them."

"So do your clothes match the cinnabar?" Davis asked.

"Cinnabar?"

He moved forward and picked up my left hand. I looked down and could see a smear of paint on it. "You know I had to look it up when I went home to make sure I knew what you were talking about. The color looks good on you."

"It looks better on the room divider, I promise." My heart was thumping loudly in my chest and I was pleased that my voice came out sounding fairly normal. Davis smiled slowly and I felt my heart skip a beat as he slipped a hand up to my neck and stepped a little closer.

"It looks pretty good here, " he said, gently stroking the side of my neck. I vaguely recalled pushing a strand of hair back from my neck sometime after painting the room divider.

"It must have transferred from my hand, " I said feeling breathless.

"Do you mind if I don't wait until the job is over?" he asked softly.

"No, " I replied. His hand slid to the back of my neck while the other went around me, his hand resting on the small of my back. I went up on my toes as he bent down to kiss me, meeting him halfway.

"Do you have any idea how long I've wanted to do that, " he asked when we finally broke apart.

"No, " I said with a smile as he eased back.

"A long time. It just never seemed appropriate at a job site." He shook his head and looked around. "Until now that is. Maybe it's the lack of Malak. I'm not a big fan of audiences." Davis shrugged. "We should probably get you home before your cousin worries too much." He picked up my coat and handed it to me. "I could do with some pizza, " he told me as I slipped it on.

"I should warn you, " I said as I picked up my bag and umbrella. "It comes with a side of smirking cousin."

"Are people who are starting something casual with an ex-love still allowed to smirk?" He asked. We stepped outside. The snow was falling rather heavily now and I was glad we didn't have that far to go.

"Probably not, but I doubt it would stop him." I said as Davis made certain the front door was locked. We walked back to the parking lot where his truck was the sole remaining occupant. We got inside and he drove out of the gates. I took the gate key from him, slipped out and locked it behind us. Once I was back in the passenger seat, he drove to my apartment building. I typed the key code into the box by the gate and it mechanically slid open, Davis parking in the protected lot. After parking, we went upstairs.

"Let the smirking begin, " Davis said as I fitted my key into the lock and we went inside.

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