Aside from Mr. Ryan, the car was empty. “Where are the others?” I asked, confused, as we pulled away.
“They have a dinner meeting later this evening and decided to drive separately.” He busied himself with his printouts. I couldn’t help but notice the way he was nervously tapping his fancy Italian oxfords.
I eyed him suspiciously. He didn’t look any different. In fact, he looked sexier than hell. His hair was its usual perfect mess. As he absentmindedly lifted his gold pen to his lips, just as he had in his office earlier, I actually had to shift in my seat to ease my discomfort.
When he looked up, the smirk on his face let me know I had been caught ogling him. “See something you like?” he asked.
“Not back here,” I replied with a smirk of my own. And just because I knew it would get to him, I purposely recrossed my legs, making sure my skirt rode up a bit more than was appropriate. Maybe he needed to remember who could win at this game. The scowl was back in an instant. Mission accomplished.
The eighteen and a half minutes left of our twenty-minute drive were spent trading dirty looks across the car while I tried to pretend I wasn’t fantasizing about having his pretty head between my legs.
Needless to say, by the time we got there, I was in a bad mood.
The next three hours passed at a snail’s pace. The other executives arrived and introductions were made all around. A particularly striking woman named Lila seemed to take an immediate interest in my boss. She was in her early thirties with thick red hair, luminous dark eyes, and a body to die for. And of course, the panty-dropping smile was in full force as he nearly charmed her unconscious the entire afternoon.
When we walked into the office at the end of the day, after an even more tense drive back, it still seemed like Mr. Ryan had something to say. And if he didn’t do it soon, I was going to explode. When I wanted him to be quiet, he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. But when I needed him to say something, he became a mute.
A sense of déjà vu and dread filled me as we made our way through the semideserted building and toward the elevator. The second those gold doors closed I wished I were anywhere but standing next to him. Was there suddenly less oxygen in here? As I glanced at his reflection in the polished doors, it was hard to tell how he felt. He’d loosened his tie and his suit jacket was slung over his arm. During the meeting, he’d rolled the sleeves of his dress shirt partway up his forearms and I tried not to stare at the lines of muscle beneath his skin. Other than the constant clenching of his sharp jaw and his downcast eyes, he looked completely calm.
When we reached the eighteenth floor, I let out a giant breath. That had to have been the longest forty-two seconds of my life. I followed him through the door, trying to keep my eyes off him as he quickly entered his own office. But to my surprise, he didn’t close the door behind him. He always closed his door.
I quickly checked my messages and wrapped up a few last-minute details before I could leave for the weekend. I don’t think I’d ever been in more of a hurry to get out of here. Well, that wasn’t exactly true. The last time we were alone on this floor I had made a pretty quick getaway. Damn, if there was ever a time to not think about that, it would be now, in the empty office. Just me and him.
He left his office right as I was gathering my things, placing an ivory envelope on my desk and continuing to the door without pausing. What the hell was this? Quickly opening the envelope, I saw my name on several pieces of elegant ivory paper. It was paperwork for a private credit account at La Perla, with Mr. Bennett Ryan as the account holder.
He opened a credit account for me?
“What the hell is this?” I said, seething. I jumped from my chair and asked, “You got me a line of credit?”
Stopping midstride and hesitating slightly, he turned to face me. “After your little show today, I made a phone call and arranged for you to purchase whatever you . . . need. Of course there’s no limit on the account,” he stated flatly, having wiped all trace of discomfort from his face. This is why he was such a master at what he did. He had an uncanny ability to regain control of any situation. But did he honestly think he could control me?
“So, to be clear,” I said, shaking my head and trying to keep some semblance of calm, “you arranged to buy me underwear.”
“Well, just to replace the things that I—” he stopped, possibly rethinking his response. “The things that have been damaged. If you don’t want it, don’t f**king use it,” he hissed before turning to leave again.
“You son of a bitch.” I moved to stand in front of him, the crisp stationery now a mangled ball of paper in my clenched fist. “Do you think this is funny? Do you think I’m some plaything you can just dress up for your amusement?” I didn’t know who I was angrier with: him for thinking of me that way, or me for allowing this thing to start in the first place.
He scoffed, “Oh yes. I find this absolutely hilarious.”
“Take this and stick it up your ass.” I shoved the ivory paper into his chest and grabbed my purse, turning and literally sprinting to the elevator. What an egotistical, womanizing ass.
Logically I knew that he hadn’t meant to insult me, at least I hoped not. But this? This was exactly why you don’t f**k your boss, why you definitely don’t get off and give him a little show in his office.
“Miss Mills!” he shouted, but I ignored him and stepped into the elevator. Come on, I said to myself as I repeatedly pushed the button for the parking garage. His face appeared just as the doors closed and I smiled to myself as I flipped him off. Real mature, Chloe.