Their Protector: An MC Outlaw Halloween Romance, page 101
“I didn’t realize how late it was.”
I can tell Erin doesn’t know how late it has gotten, so I tell her. Once again, she shoots up from her chair.
“Oh my god! I need to go!” She’s scrambling to gather her stuff and I find this mad dash slightly amusing. But I don’t want her to leave.
“You don’t have to leave. We can keep talking.”
My words make her suspicious and to be honest, if I was her, I’d be wary, too. Usually, this is the kind of line that I would use in the hopes that by the end of the night I’d be having sex. But just spending time with Erin is enough. Of course, I want to sleep with her, but I also just want to be with her.
Dear God, what am I saying?
“If you’re afraid the night will take a turn… I can be good if you can be good.”
I look at her expectantly, hoping she’ll say yes. She stops her scramble and looks down at me. I can see her thinking about my proposal.
“I’d like to stay,” she says this while fidgeting with her hands, “but I need to get home. My parents are waiting. I’m sorry.”
If she wants to stay, she should stay. But I don’t want to push her away. I feel like tonight has changed things between us and if I move too fast, I might scare her off again. I watch as she gathers her things and heads for the door. She’s about to leave, but before she exits, Erin turns back to me.
“Plus, I don’t think I could be good for much longer, anyway.”
With that, she leaves my office and I’m left to contemplate her words. She keeps saying things that I can’t wrap my head around. This has gotten a lot more involved than I’d expected. It is nothing like the “relationships” I’m used to, that’s for damn sure.
I’m lying in my bed thinking about the two encounters I had with Jameson today. They’re drastically different, but they both make me smile.
However, when I got home, my parents were furious with me. I’d stammered out an explanation, but it didn’t do much to mitigate their anger. They said that for all they knew I was dead in a ditch and if I’m going to be that late to at least text them.
But I didn’t regret it. Every moment I spend with Jameson, I don’t regret. I may feel bad afterwards, but I wouldn’t erase them. I understand that now. It’s such a conundrum. I feel like all my feelings are coming from a pure place, but their physical manifestations have been… not so pure.
And now I’m having trouble falling asleep. I learned so much about Jameson tonight. He’s an avid reader who enjoys sci fi and thrillers. He actually has a Ph. D., but then he went to law school, and so he prefers not to be called Dr.
I found that weird. I thought the whole point was that everyone had to call you Dr. for the rest of your life. He possesses a strange combination of modesty and pride. He also has a much younger sister, but his relationship with his parents isn’t the best. Like mine, they’re a bit overbearing. I get the feeling he’s always tried to impress them but nothing is ever good enough. Boy, can I relate.
I turn over and lie on my side. I smile remembering how our night ended, “I can be good if you can be good.”
Maybe he was telling the truth. I believe he was, but it’s not just his self-control that could be a potential problem. The more time I spend around him, the more I can feel my resolve slipping. I told Pastor Nichols I’m not going to sleep with Jameson and I’m going to stick to that plan. I think , anyway.
* * *
The next day, I’m sitting at my desk and Monique drops off some more folders for me to deliver to the top floor.
“Could you get someone else to deliver these?”
I think I’m the only one who has to make these deliveries. I feel like my coworkers are picking up on this and some of them are giving me dirty looks. It’s almost as if they know what’s up with Jameson and me, but maybe I’m being paranoid.
“Usually, I’d have mixed up who takes up deliveries for the top floor, but both Mr. Sanchez and Mr. Reed requested that you deliver anything that has to go upstairs,” Monique tells me.
Huh? I expected Mr. Reed to be involved, but Mr. Sanchez?
“I was just as confused.” Monique must’ve seen my surprise. “You must’ve made an impression on both of them.”
She shrugs and is on her way. And it looks like I’ll have to face all the partners again.
“Look at you, little brown noser,” Claude jokes from his station next to mine. “Already getting in tight with two partners.”
I laugh, trying to hide the fact that I’m blushing. If only he knew how tight.
“Hey,” I hear a semi-familiar voice say, as Carolina Abbott walks up to us. She’s new here and works for Garrett Mack. Presumably she’s the one that he was talking to when I walked into her office. “Maybe you guys can help me with the filing system? I’m feeling a little confused.”
“Oh don’t be silly,” I tell her, swiveling my chair around so that my shoulders are facing her. “You really came by to give me a massage.”
Carolina and I became fast friends, even though Claude told me that at first she thought I was stuck up. (“Well, she wasn’t wrong ,” he’d added. “But I explained you just put up a rough front at first but once you know you can trust someone, you’re sweet as pie.”)
Carolina began massaging my neck. She has the strongest hands ever and she “pays” me for my office gossip by giving me massages. I’ve already told her what Claude had told me about this being Sugar Daddy Central and all the legal assistants or associates hooking up with the bosses. Of course, I didn’t mention a word about Jameson and me, as that would hardly be appropriate.
“Don’t you be silly,” Claude quickly chimes in. “Carolina came to give us some new gossip. How goes it with the hunky Garrett Mack?”
“Oh, stop it,” Carolina says, but she’s blushing, like I was trying not to earlier.
“We know there’s some dirt there and we’re going to dig it up,” Claude says.
I take comfort in the fact that I’m not the only one likely engaging in office shenanigans. Or, to have engaged in them, I remind myself, remembering to use the past tense, because that was in the past, behind me. I decide to make it my goal to help Carolina’s budding romance with Garrett, which should help me take my mind off my own issues.
“How come everyone knows what’s going on with every partner in this firm except for Jim Reed?” Claude asks.
The hives break out on my neck again and I’m hoping Carolina doesn’t notice as she’s massaging me. My hair literally stands on end while I wait to hear what they say next.
“Isn’t he just really private about his stuff?” Carolina asks. “He keeps it all on lockdown?”
“Yeah,” Claude answers. “But I know he has to be up to no good at least half the time. I give him props for managing to keep it all a secret, though. That must take some skill.”
We all laugh, and I feel relieved that they aren’t onto me. They know Jim is with someone, probably lots of someones, but they hadn’t thought it could be me. I get a knot in my stomach, wondering just how many “someones” Jim is with, in addition to me.
Stop thinking like that , I tell myself. You have no claim over him. You were only with him once, and you’re the one who keeps saying you don’t want to do it again.
But suddenly, I feel an overwhelming desire to go see him. Just then, Madilyn Marks comes down the hall, causing Carolina to quickly take her hands off of me.
“There you are, Carolina,” she says, smiling. “I was wondering if you could help my legal assistant with some work if you aren’t busy helping Mr. Mack right now.”
She looks over to where Carolina had just dropped her hands from my shoulders, obviously inferring that she had plenty of free time.
“Of course,” Carolina says. “I was just coming to see how I could help, actually.”
Madilyn smiles, and ever since I started working here I have to admit I like her combination of sweet mixed with
She has her shit together, having made her way through law school and as a rising star associate here at the firm. Plus, she even managed to snag Asher Marks— whom Claude had said was quite a playboy before he met her— and have a baby. She really does have it all together, and I admire that.
My mom was always a stay at home helicopter mom, and while I appreciate all the things she’s done for me, I didn’t have many role models in the career area. While I don’t think I want to be a lawyer like Madilyn, I want to have her qualities and traits no matter what I end up doing for a living.
As Carolina and Madilyn walk away, I remind myself to stop having a girl crush and start heading to see Jameson as I was originally planning to do. It’s amazing how much I live in my head; I swear more happens there than in real life.
“Gotta go drop off these files,” I tell Claude, who waves his fingers at me as he answers the phone.
“Tootaloo, Brown Noser,” he whispers under his breath.
I roll my eyes but can’t help but laugh. Good old Claude. Working here is actually quite fun, thanks to him. Not to mention, thanks to my sexy boss.
I go upstairs and to Jameson’s office. I knock at bit nervously on the door and I get the usual, “Come in.”
But when I enter, he’s on the phone and motions for me to place the folder on his desk. I move slowly, expecting him to want to have another talk with me, but it looks like he’s completely occupied with his phone call.
I leave disappointed. I couldn’t believe I had gone from not even wanting to have to deliver anything to Jameson, to being let down because he didn’t talk to me.
Do I even know what I want? Is my brain even a functioning organ at this point? I go back to my desk and find myself feeling sullen for the rest of the day. Which is ridiculous. I mean, I wanted this. Well, I didn’t want it, but I knew it was what needed to happen. I’m getting my way, so what do I have to be mad about?
Other than the fact that every time I’m around Jameson, my pussy still gets soaking wet. Other than the fact that I just want him to take me, right here, right now, any way he wants me. And other than the fact that he has the gall to listen to me when I say “no.”
Over the next week and a half, Jameson doesn’t really speak to me. I still drop off all his files, but we don’t have any conversations of substance.
Even though he’s just upstairs, I find myself missing him. Plus, Mr. Sanchez still hovers whenever I come upstairs. That man makes me nervous. All these men are making me nervous.
Mr. Sanchez is dying to find out the now non-existent nature of the relationship I have with Jameson, Jameson and my attraction to him, Mr. Mack and his enigmatic warning. The final partner is the only one I have no solid opinion on. Mr. Marks. It seems as if he’s rather egotistical but I don’t know what man in his place wouldn’t be. He’d founded this firm and made it into what it is today— yes, with Jameson’s and everyone else’s help. And he was married to the best woman on the planet— my secret admiree, Madilyn.
As time has gone by, I have gotten to know Madilyn better, as well as Ruby and Katie. They all help Carolina figure out her dilemma about Garrett—does he love her, or is he just using her? This welcome diversion keeps my mind off of Jameson and makes me happy that everyone is so busy discussing Carolina and Garrett that no one seems to know there was ever anything at all between Jameson and me, except for Mr. Sanchez’s suspicions, of course.
I want to tell Ruby that she should get her husband off my trail, but I’m sure she wouldn’t know what I mean and I’m not about to explain it to her because it just makes me look as guilty as I am. So instead I’ve just asked her, “What’s up with your hubby? He always seems so intense.”
“Yeah,” she’d giggled, twirling her purple streaked hair and looking back at me through her cat eyed glasses. She’s a software developer who only works here part time to help out the firm with tech stuff. “That’s my Ronny. Always anxious that everything continue as it should, and appointing himself world police to make sure it does. Don’t pay him any mind. If he comes around too often, it’s just to make sure everything’s in tip top shape, because he’s really anal like that.”
I’d sighed with relief, glad to hear it wasn’t just me. But still, I couldn’t express my real concerns to her, so I was left with this mostly helpful information.
So, my second week working here is coming to an end and it’s been one emotional trip. Tonight, I’ve once again stayed a little bit past closing, seeing as I have no Friday plans.
Monique and I have gotten closer, and she tried to invite me to go out with her and some people from the office tonight, but I couldn’t bring myself to say yes. I’d love to hang out with her more, but tonight just doesn’t feel like the night. And anyway, there are more files for me to deliver upstairs.
I don’t know why I’m still doing this, though. Obviously, Jameson doesn’t want to talk to me. Whenever I go into his office, he momentarily acknowledges me, then goes back to whatever he was doing. Maybe, I should’ve stayed that night. I wanted to. I really wanted to. And he promised nothing would happen… but I couldn’t make the same promise. Meaning I had to leave.
I go upstairs and make my final deliveries for the night. I finally get to his office, his office, and expect to be disappointed once again, but I’m ready for it. I almost don’t care. Almost.
I go inside and once again find him on the phone. I place the envelope on his desk and turn to leave his office.
“Hold on, Erin.”
There it is. Finally. That stern, sexy voice commanding me to do something. The air hangs heavy between us and I feel as if it’s been forever since I’ve heard that tone I love so much.
I stop and turn around slowly. Jameson is still on the phone, so he motions for me to take a seat. I do so, tentatively, not sure what I’m in for this time. Another conversation would be nice, but I want more than a conversation.
Maybe a conversation with our bodies… Dear god, that was cheesy. Delete that thought from my mind.
I look up at Jameson and see him watching me. I suddenly feel embarrassed and hope none of my thoughts were apparent on my face, given how stupid they sound. He finally ends his call and instead of taking a seat in his chair, sits down on the desk.
“How have you been?”
How have I been? Let’s see. There’s a mixture of disappointment, horniness, and curiosity mixing about in me.
But no, I’ll just say, “Fine, fine. I’ve been… fine.” Sit up straight, betray no emotions, get through this. “How about you?”
“I’ve missed you.”
Surprising. I’ve been here the entire time. It wouldn’t have been that hard to say hi. Wait, stop. I need to dissipate this anger. Why? Because one, I shouldn’t let him get to me like this and two, I can’t validate his feelings. I think I’ve kept a fairly neutral face and I also think Jameson is picking up on my less than friendly feelings. He quickly changes the subject.
“I’d like you to stay late. I have a project I need your help on.”
Project? Bullshit. I’m just a receptionist, not his legal assistant, and even if I was, no one ever has legal assistants stay late unless they’re helping to get ready for a big trial.
“Bullshit.” I think I said that out loud. Yep, I definitely said that out loud.
Oh, crap. Jameson’s mouth twitches and I think he wants to smile, but I suppose since it was quiet enough, he simply ignores my little outburst.
“Why don’t you gather your things and we can work here in my office?”
I nod and leave. As I ride the elevator down to my floor, I chastise myself for letting my… anger?... get the better of me. I guess I am angry. I’m mad that he didn’t talk with me for over a week. I’m mad that nothing ever seems to resolve itself between us. And I’m mad that I have so many conflicted feeling about
That last one’s on me, but doesn’t make me any less angry. In fact, I believe it makes me angrier. I grab my things… angrily and go back upstairs. Jameson seems to already be working on something. Maybe there really is a ‘project.’
“What do you need me to do?”
I sit down as I ask this question, and Jameson hands me some papers. He tells me to read and highlight certain passages, find certain case citations, etc. We work for about an hour. There’s very sparse discussion.
“Can I see what you’ve got so far?” he asks.
I nod and he comes to stand behind me. I begin to show him the papers and he places both his hands on my shoulders. It’s a simple gesture, but it puts me on edge. At first, his hands are just resting, but, after we talk for a few minutes, he moves his thumb to my neck and begins to make small circles. I’m starting to have trouble concentrating.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
I snap out of my reverie, nod, and try to continue reading, but Jameson keeps tracing circles. “Uh… Mr. Reed?”
“Please, call me Jim,” he leans in and whispers this into my ear. “Or Jameson, since most people call me Jim, and you aren’t most people.”
Shivers go down my spine. I know I have options. I can refuse to call him Jim or Jameson and communicate that this level of familiarity is making me uncomfortable, or I can take the plunge. I can move into uncharted territory and get the satisfaction I desperately desire. That I’ve been desiring for a while now.
There’s a question in my voice and he answers it with a kiss. A kiss along the edge of my jaw. I feel his tongue slip out and my breathing gets faster.
“Could you unbutton your shirt?” He’s still whispering in my ear and it’s driving me crazy.
He’s so close, my stomach is doing the thing where it feels like it’s falling. With shaky hands, I undo all the buttons on my shirt. Jameson removes it from my body.