She had often been afraid that if she took those kinds of incentives from herself she would lose some of her drive. And that, in her mind, was unacceptable.
Of course, a fish-based entrée was not the be-all and end-all to her ambition. She’d worked for what she had. Every single bit of prestige and education. She’d gained tentative acceptance, acceptance that would have simply been her due had she been one of her father’s legitimate children.
The university she had attended had been a given for her half siblings. Something they could simply have because of their parentage. While she had not been afforded the same.
Because she and her mother had been secret. Because she and her mother had been kept separate. So she had set out to prove that she didn’t need her father’s influence, or money. She had worked her way to university on her own, graduating in the top of her class with a degree in journalism.
Three years on, and now that she was doing very little else beyond making coffee for the Herald, some of that triumph had dwindled.
But she was determined to hold on to her ambition. Because it had gotten her this far. Because it was the only thing she had to get her the rest of the way.
Which was why she couldn’t curl into a ball and give up now. This was the only way she could figure out how to help Isabelle, anyway. The sheikh claimed to know more than he let on, and she had to find out what it was he knew. She was stuck with him for a while, then.
And her boss now expected a profile of the royal wedding in Surhaadi. Which meant she might as well take in the whole experience. A certain amount of observation, including the quality of the leather, would be required of her.
She was, after all, a journalist. And so, she was hardly working to her full capacity at the moment as to what she intended to be one day. What was it they said? Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
Well, right now, she would be taking in details, acting the part of the journalist she wanted to be, rather than the journalist she was. True, all of this had a bit more of a society bent than she cared for. She was interested in, someday, taking on stories that might be a little more hard-hitting than a sheikh’s upcoming marriage. But this was several rungs up the ladder she was currently standing on, and she would be foolish if she didn’t just go ahead and embrace it.
Frankly, she was kidnapped either way.
“What do you prefer?” he asked.
“Oh, something red, I should think. Do you drink white for a kidnapping?”
“I would think most people would prefer something a little bit stiffer for their kidnapping.”
“So, you admit that you’re kidnapping me.”
He wandered over to an ornate covered bar that was set into the wall, bottles closed into shelves, secured into carved wooden holders. He opened the doors, and selected a bottle of wine. “I do not see the point in quibbling over semantics. It changes nothing either way.”
“Well, one allows me a little bit of justified anger.”
“I do not see what you have to be angry about. Unless you have a lover you are meant to meet tonight.”
The very idea was ridiculous. She didn’t do the whole man-woman thing. Who had the time? Or the inclination toward heartbreak. Maybe, when she got to where she was going, maybe, if she ever found a man she thought she might be able to trust. Maybe. Two very big maybes.
“My diary for the evening was free,” she said.
“Then I would imagine that, as a journalist, a drink on a private plane with royalty makes for a much better story than you sitting on your couch and watching sitcoms.”
He had a point. But she wasn’t going to tell him that.
“I’m sure, but in the end most of this will make for a very good story. So what exactly am I supposed to be covering? You mentioned there being more to the Chatsfield scandal, but since then you’ve been awfully quiet about it.”
She could hear the engines of the plane being fired up, and her stomach flipped. She wasn’t used to flying. She had done a little bit domestically, but certainly nothing international. She didn’t even know how to calculate the estimated length of the flight from New York to Surhaadi.
“James Chatsfield is an ass. You can quote me directly on that, if you would like.”
“Forgive me, Sheikh Zayn, but there is full documentation proving that about James Chatsfield already. It’s hardly breaking news.”
The plane started to move down the runway and she wobbled where she stood. “You may want to sit down.”
And with that, it was clear the subject was closed. She did not find that acceptable in the least.