“We could always air-drop.”
“Christian, the expense of an airdrop—”
“I know. Let’s see what our NGO friends come back with.”
“Okay,” she says and sighs. “I’m also waiting for the all-clear from the State Department.”
I roll my eyes. Fucking red tape. “If we have to grease some palms—or get Senator Blandino to intervene—let me know.”
“So the next topic is where to site the new plant. You know the tax breaks in Detroit are huge. I sent you a summary.”
“I know. But God, does it have to be Detroit?”
“I don’t know what you have against the place. It meets our criteria.”
“Okay, get Bill to check out potential brownfield sites. And let’s do one more site search to see if any other municipality would offer more favorable terms.”
“Bill has already sent Ruth out there to meet with the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, who couldn’t be more accommodating, but I’ll ask Bill to do a final check.”
My phone buzzes.
“Yes,” I growl at Andrea—she knows I hate being interrupted in a meeting.
“I have Welch for you.”
My watch says 11:30. That was quick. “Put him through.”
I signal for Ros to stay.
“Welch. What news?”
“Miss Steele’s last exam is tomorrow, May twentieth.”
Damn. I don’t have long.
“Great. That’s all I need to know.” I hang up.
“Ros, bear with me one moment.”
I pick up the phone. Andrea answers immediately.
“Andrea, I need a blank notecard to write a message within the next hour,” I say, and hang up. “Right, Ros, where were we?”
AT 12:30 OLIVIA SHUFFLES into my office with lunch. She’s a tall, willowy girl with a pretty face. Sadly, it’s always misdirected at me with longing. She’s carrying a tray with what I hope is something edible. After a busy morning, I’m starving. She trembles as she puts it on my desk.
Tuna salad. Okay. She hasn’t fucked this up for once.
She also places three different white cards, all different sizes, with corresponding envelopes on my desk.
“Great,” I mutter. Now go. She scuttles out.
I take one bite of tuna to assuage my hunger, then reach for my pen. I’ve chosen a quote. A warning. I made the correct choice, walking away from her. Not all men are romantic heroes. I’ll take the word “men-folk” out. She’ll understand.
Why didn’t you tell me there was danger? Why didn’t you warn me? Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks…
I slip the card into the envelope provided and on it write Ana’s address, which is ingrained in my memory from Welch’s background check. I buzz Andrea.
“Yes, Mr. Grey.”
“Can you come in, please?”
She appears at my door a moment later. “Mr. Grey?”
“Take these, package them, and courier them to Anastasia Steele, the girl who interviewed me last week. Here’s her address.”
“Right away, Mr. Grey.”
“They have to arrive by tomorrow at the latest.”
“Yes, sir. Will that be all?”
“No. Find me a set of replacements.”
“For these books?”