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“Ms. Matthews?” the woman said.
Sam took a second to be impressed that the lady had discovered her name in the ten seconds it took her to walk over to the makeshift cashier station, then forced herself to pay attention. “Uh…” she searched the room for Andrew. Where was he? “Thanks.”
“We appreciate the donation you made, and want to make sure you know that all the money from tonight will be going to help those children with cancer that we showed on the screen before the bidding, and their families. Not a dime will be taken by us, the country club, or the staff of Helping Children.”
Sam nodded, looking over her shoulder.
Was he behind her?
“That’ll be fifteen hundred. Will you be paying with cash or credit?”
“Um, yeah, no.” Sam choked on a laugh. “Neither.”
The woman frowned. “I don’t understand.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll get your money. It’s just…I’m here as a favor, you know? I bid on him so he didn’t have to go on a date because he’s my best friend’s brother. I did it for him. Well, actually, I did it for her, because I don’t know him, you know?”
She stared at Sam, her mouth parted. “I…”
“Can I speak to Andrew? That’ll fix this.”
She blinked. “Andrew?”
“Yes, the man I just bid on. Andrew Michaelson.”
The lady stared at her for so long that Sam thought maybe she’d drank a little too much of that champagne, and time had frozen somehow inside her head.
After what felt like a million years, the woman shook herself slightly and cleared her throat, staring at something behind Sam. “Miss Matthews…I fear there’s been a mistake made…”
“No, there hasn’t. Like I said, you’re getting your money,” Sam interrupted, her cheeks hot because everyone in the room was staring at her. Everyone except the man she needed. “Andrew knows what’s going on. If you get him, and let him know—”
“I’m sorry, but that’s not possible.” The woman wrung her hands in front of her. “You see, Andrew already left. With his date.”
His date? Sam’s heart thudded against her chest, and her legs weakened for an entirely different reason now. “He…left? I…don’t…understand.”
“He left with his date. There was a last minute schedule change, and Andrew needed to go first, so he changed places with the original beginning man.” The woman hesitated, then added. “Andrew went first, Miss Matthews.”
The nervous guy. That had been Andrew.
Sam’s heart fell to her stomach, rolled out of her, and hit the floor with a sickening thud. If Andrew had already left, then she hadn’t bid on him at all, and the man she had just offered to pay fifteen hundred dollars for was her own responsibility…and she needed to fork up cash.
Cash she didn’t have.
“But if I didn’t bid on Andrew, who did I bid on?” she asked slowly.
“Me,” a deep voice said from behind her.
The masculine voice sent shivers down her spine, and her whole body tingled with something she didn’t fully understand or welcome.
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