Cole wondered why he didn’t just keep his trap shut? Every time he tried to talk to Shaun casually, some way, some how, he always managed to end up choking down the toe end of his Payless dress shoe. He just didn’t understand why the idea of going out on a date with him would make her react the way she had. Evasive and somewhat cagey.
After paying the check, they power-walked their way back to the office, a speed she set most likely to be rid of him as fast as possible. They stepped onto the elevator, just the two of them, but she pressed twenty-seven instead of six.
Annoyed and desperate for answers, unsure where the hell any of this was going, Cole slammed the back of his fist against the emergency stop button and the car jerked to a halt.
“What the…” Shaun exclaimed, elevator buzzer going off in the background. Cole stalked towards her while she took a backward step towards the corner. “Are you out of your mind?”
“Maybe.” Not an inch of air remained between them. He searched her eyes, ears honed in on her rapid breathing, which he barely heard over the thundering of his own pulse. “So is it just women for you now, Shaun? Is that why you can’t address the idea of going out with me?” She flattened her palms against his chest, but she didn’t push him away. A sign to keep going? He half wondered if she could feel the hard thump of his heart against his ribcage while his body temperature rose. She was so beautiful up this close, failing to notice the light dusting of freckles across the bridge of her nose until now. The soft, sweet smell of her perfume was intoxicating when mixed with the glorious vision before him. He leaned down, mouth almost brushing over hers. “Shaun,” he breathed.
With a second jerk, the elevator started moving again. Cole glanced down to his right, finding Shaun’s finger on the emergency button. She didn’t respond to his questions directly, but her actions were answer enough. He backed away and harshly poked at the button for six.
When the car stopped, he glanced over his shoulder at her. She hadn’t moved and didn’t that make him feel even more like a predator? “Don’t worry Shaun, I’ll keep it just business between you and I from now on. Okay?” He stepped out just in time, leaving Shaun to continue her ascent to the twenty-seventh floor alone. He was tired of looking like a lovesick puppy. He wasn’t sure he even really liked her. Maybe the pressure from his uncle inclined him do and feel things he didn’t necessarily want to.
“Mr. Jacobson?” Cole stopped moving towards his office and turned around. Shaun stood just outside of the elevator, left arm stretched sideways to keep the doors from closing. Her expression gave nothing away. “To answer your questions from earlier, no, no and I don’t necessarily want that.” Without so much as a smirk, she disappeared, stepping back into the car.
Cole exercised restraint, wanting to book it back towards the elevator and pry open the doors with his bare fingers, in search for more absolute answers. Shaun just lobbed the ball into his court and now he needed to decide how he would approach. Lob it right back, giving control over to her once again? Or go for the overhead smash and take what he wanted? But what did he want? Fuck, if he knew.
Cole wiped his hand down his face and scanned the office for unwanted complications. No one appeared interested in the quick exchange, all heads down and glued to their computer screens. All except one. Henry met Cole’s eyes, lingering for a moment before breaking away to answer a phone call. There was something about the office assistant that just didn’t sit well with Cole. An attitude more about personal advancement and notoriety, than playing for a team like Shaun seemed to value in her employees. Since inquiring eyes were watching even though they pretended not to, Cole returned to his office instead of following Shaun upstairs. He sat down at his desk, everything just as he left it before going to lunch. His mind elsewhere, he scrolled through the ridiculous amount of emails that littered his inbox in his small time away. The sight of his uncle’s name on an office memo sparked up a recollection of his meeting with the man earlier today. His mood soured instantly.
When he had entered Robert’s office that could probably double as a basketball court in the sky, after being retrieved by another assistant weasel, Cole sat down half expecting his uncle to lace into him about showing up late to his first staff meeting. Instead, his uncle expressed his disappointment in the fact that Shaun didn’t seem to be warming to him. To his uncle, Cole was not making progress fast enough. He wanted Shaun out bad and he wanted it yesterday, making Cole wonder what exactly his slimeball of a relative was up to?
Cole tapped his mechanical pencil against the drafting table. He hardly made a dent in the sketch he started over two hours earlier. He couldn’t keep his mind off Shaun. She never returned from the twenty-seventh floor and he made an effort to check his Blackberry for any incoming mail messages from her in particular. Nothing.
That’s not necessarily what I want.
Cole would be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy having lunch alone with Shaun this past afternoon. She expressed an infectious passion for what she did. A drive that he wasn’t used to seeing in a woman. Back home in Saysville, girls from his high school pretty much let their boyfriends chase their dreams, content with standing on the sidelines to cheer and someday make babies. He found the idea of a woman with a drive of her own extremely sexy. He actually wondered if his mother had any dreams before she met his father?
His phone rang and he answered without even looking to see who was calling. Wishful thinking. “Hello?”
“Mom is determined to ruin my life. You need to come home now and save me!” the sound of his sister, Lacey’s voice was a bittersweet balm, reminding him how homesick he really was.
“Ah, Lacey…” he laughed.
“Sorry, I’ll come back.” Cole realized the response didn’t come from the phone and turned. Shaun stood in the doorway of his office. Her smooth, chestnut hair cascaded down her shoulders in soft waves now, most likely a result from having been up in that twist all day. Cole groaned to himself, imagining how good her hair would look fanned out on his pillow, or dancing over his chest while she rode him senseless.
“No wait,” he remained seated for obvious reason while his sister continued to rattle on about some bonfire the kids were having in the woods, by the old mines.
“Really. Don’t hang up on account of me.” She didn’t wait for him to respond and started for her office across the way. Did he recognize a hint of annoyance in her tone? Recalling what exactly he said that might have sparked such a reaction from her, Cole grinned and thought he would let her stew on the idea of another woman a little bit longer. Even if the other woman just happened to be his sister. Lounging back in his chair, Cole figured he would finish his conversation with Lacey before he went in pursuit of Shaun. His boss couldn’t be allowed to hold all the cards. Where was the fun in that?