Runway: Chapter 16
Fortunately, Eric had his phone alarm set and it woke us. He turned it off and began to nuzzle my neck and pulled me to him. I looked at the clock and knew we’d have to hurry to make our meeting with Sam. Even if we called Sam and pushed it back, Eric had a flight to catch. I gave him a kiss and very reluctantly got out of bed.
I fixed some coffee and heated up some blueberry muffins while Eric showered. I wished I could have joined him, but knew that we’d never make it out of the house if that happened. I showered quickly while he ate and he packed his bag.
We decided to take two cars so he wouldn’t have to take the time to bring me home before heading to the airport to turn in his rental car.
I parked behind the agency in my usual spot and Eric met me at the front of the building on La Brea. Sam was waiting for us in his office and we all sat down to discuss our offer. Sam had the contract ready for us to fill out and sign. He explained that his lawyer had drawn up the contract and that just like Quinn, we would have an answer from him within three days of signing the contract.
We didn’t know exactly how much Quinn had offered, but I knew it was “close” to Sam’s asking price. Eric and I had decided to make a full-price offer because we felt it was a fair price and it would hopefully guarantee that our offer would be more attractive than Quinn’s.
Eric wrote two checks out to Sam. One was for $1000.00 as earnest money. He handed it to Sam. Then he wrote another one for $85,000 and handed it to me, so I’d have it when the deal closed.
We all walked downstairs together and Eric and I said good bye to Sam as he got into his car beside mine and drove away.
“Are you excited?” Eric asked.
“Yeah, I am. Anxious too, though. I’ll feel better in three days, I guess.”
“I wouldn’t worry. I think we’ll get it. I think it’s great. I’m happy for you—that you’re getting what you want—what you’ve been planning for for so long. It’s a big day.”
“Thank you, Eric, for helping me.”
He leaned down and kissed me and pulled me into his arms. When he broke the kiss, he just held me for a long moment.
“I wish you didn’t have to go.” I said into his chest.
“I know. Me too.” He rocked me gently from side to side. “I’ll call you later, okay?”
“Okay.” I got one last kiss and then watched him walk towards the street. I felt a little pull at my heart and wondered when I’d see him again.
He had very generously helped me to get what I wanted professionally, but really none of that mattered at the moment. I knew what really mattered—what was more important—was that I’d fallen in love with a very special man. I wondered if he felt anything close to what I was feeling and hoped that he did.
I stopped and bought a bottle of champagne to have chilled in the fridge when Eric came back into town. I hoped we’d be celebrating his purchase of the house in Lafayette Square. Then I spent the afternoon cleaning my apartment and doing laundry—my usual weekend chores–and watched the clock, wondering when Eric would call. I already missed him so much.
Finally, the phone rang a little after 7.
I answered with, “Hi.” I saw the 212 number and knew it was him.
“Hi. How are you?”
“Good. How was your flight?”
“Uneventful. How was your day?”
“Uneventful as well. I just finished my laundry.”
“That’s good. I heard from Bobby. It doesn’t look like I’m getting the house.”
“What? What do you mean? What happened?”
He sounded much calmer than I did. But then he’d had more time to let the news sink in.
“There are multiple offers. I’m not sure how many, but I know one is over the asking price, so it looks like I’m not in the running.”
“No, no. There must be something you can do. Eric, this isn’t right.”
“It’s okay, Sookie. Really, I’m fine. There’ll be other houses.”
“But you love this one.”
“Can you make another offer? A higher one.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay. Really.”
He changed the subject and told me about the job he had to do in the morning. It was an ad for Hugo Boss, one of his regular clients.
We chatted for awhile, and then Eric said he needed to get something to eat and try to get some sleep. He was on west coast time, but he’d have to be up early and look rested. I could tell he was kind of sad. I could hear it in his voice.
Before we hung up, I asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I guess I’m just a little…you know…down. I knew I’d feel this way, but still, it sucks. Are you okay?”
“‘I’m fine. I wish I had some magic words to make you feel better.”
“Don’t you?” I heard a smile in his voice, but wasn’t sure what he wanted me to say.
“No, I don’t. I wish I did.”
There was a beat of silence before he aid, “Okay, I’m gonna go. I’ll talk to you soon, okay?”
I hung up feeling simply awful for Eric. I couldn’t believe that just like that, someone had out-bid him on the house. That was his dream and I thought about the look in his eyes on Saturday night at dinner when he talked about it. He’d been saving his money for years and had finally had it all within his reach and now it had been snatched away from him.
I felt even worse because he had helped me reach my goal by writing a big check and I couldn’t do the same for him. I took his check out of my purse and looked at it. I knew that had he not needed to spend this money on my dream, he very well could have had his own.
I didn’t want the agency at the expense of Eric’s happiness. I would always think of how his generosity had cost him his dream and I wouldn’t be able to live with it.
I went to bed, but lay there in the dark for hours thinking of Eric and trying to come up with a way to help him until I finally fell asleep with him still on my mind.
Monday morning, I took a break from work and drove to my bank. I sat down with a loan officer and explained my situation. I told him I had made an offer on the business with Eric as a partner, but wanted to know if it were possible to get a loan for $86,000.
Mr. Cataliades smiled and shuffled through the drawer in his desk and pulled out some applications. “So, you’d like to establish a line of credit once you own the business, am I correct?”
“Oh, no. I need the loan now to buy out my partner before the offer is accepted.”
“Hmm. That’s a bit sticky. Why don’t you come back in a few days, after the agreement has been finalized and we can see where we stand.”
“Oh, that won’t do. I need it now.”
“I’m sorry, but considering the pending contract, we need to wait and see where the chips fall so to speak before moving forward. Even if we tried to work out just a personal loan, we wouldn’t be able to get the money to you immediately.”
“Okay, then. Thank you for your time.”
We shook hands and I went back to work feeling even worse. My bright idea of getting the money on my own wasn’t panning out at all.
Sam called me into his office towards the end of the day and told me he had rejected Quinn’s offer.
“I just thought you and Eric would want to know.”
I went home feeling panicked about the deal moving forward. I only knew one other person who had the kind of money I needed, and I knew that person also wanted to own the agency.
I picked up the phone and called John Quinn.