Craving My BossBy: Tasha Fawkes
A horrendous tear of fabric accompanies the sound of the elevator door ding and the next moment, those doors slide open. I shake Stewart’s hands off me and manage to thrust myself upward onto my ass, arms braced behind me, my knees spread. I see movement and glance up.
Daniel Stone’s grass green eyes stare down at me.
His perfect, chiseled face uncomprehending for a moment while his gaze takes in the sight. His eyes widen slightly and his eyebrows lift. Oh God. I can’t speak; I can’t even breathe. Of every scene in which I hoped he would find me tonight, the unfolding nightmare in which I find myself trapped never even crossed my mind.
“Mister Stone!” I gasp, struggling out from beneath Stewart. I manage to scramble to my feet with only a modicum of dignity. I’m not sure what to do, what excuses to make. “I… we were just…”
The green eyes that pin me to the spot sink lower. And lower. Just like I imagined they would, I consider in bewilderment, until my own gaze drops to follow his. Daniel stares at the front of my dress—or where the front of my dress used to be. The tastefully plunging neckline is gone; in its place is skin, skin, and more naked skin. Stewart ripped my dress all the way down to the scalloped black crest of my push-up bra.
I instinctively cross my arms to cover myself, but it’s too late. I can almost see my reflection in Daniel Stone’s eyes; we’re standing that close. Did his pupils just dilate slightly? Am I imagining that? The look is there and gone before I can properly define what it might be.
“Excuse me,” I mumble, mortified—again. I turn away and make a beeline for the women’s restroom, leaving Stewart behind. As soon as the door swings shut behind me, I slide my back along the door and hunch down on the tiled floor and drop my head into my hands. Despair engulfs me. I’ve practically just bared my breasts in front of my crush, my boss. I’m humiliated, but I doubt that matters to a man like Daniel Stone. I’m going to have to face the music.
I rise and step to the sink and stare at myself in the mirror. A mess of tousled black hair and haunted brown eyes stare back at me. My pale complexion looks even more drained of color than usual, and for some reason my lipstick is smeared.
I rearrange my appearance as best I can. There’s no hope for the rental dress, which I realize now I’m going to have to pay for in full. Shit. I pull the clip from my up-do and shake my hair out, then use the clip to secure my ruined dress in place. Nice, I grimace. The top of my bra is still visible, but this is the best I can do until I could manage to escape downstairs to the coat check. I push my way out of the restroom to find Stewart waiting for me in the hallway.
“Stewart!” I glance around, but Daniel is nowhere in sight. I don’t know whether to feel relieved or disappointed by the fact. “Where is Daniel… Mister Stone?”
“He’s waiting for you in your office. He wants to speak to you… alone.” Stewart looks put-out. Did Daniel say something to him? Then again, Stewart is the last person I need to be worrying about right now.
Daniel Stone wants to see me? Alone? In my office? Oh God.
“Stewart, I need you to go.”
Stewart looks ready to protest, until his eyes drops to the fists slowly clenching at my sides. The reality of the situation finally seems to cut through the fog of inebriation he’s been swimming in.
“… all right, Ash.”
“Call a cab,” I say. “I’ll text you tomorrow. Let’s both just hope I still have a job.”
He opens his mouth to say something, and by the look on his face, to apologize for being the cause of this fiasco. I don’t care. I shoulder by him and walk slowly toward my office, faltering more and more with each step.
Daniel Stone is waiting for me. In my office. I’m about to be severely reprimanded, I’m sure, if not fired. What must he think of me?
At the thought of Daniel alone in my office, I stop. My hand flies to my mouth. Before Stewart carried me out the door, I left my computer open. I left my manuscript document open.
I wait for Ashley Shiels in her office.
The accommodations are small but serviceable. Of the three desks in the room, Ashley’s desk has no personal touches. No photos, no knick-knacks, no silly mouse pads. Desktop neatly centered on her desk, its screen dark. Near one side, a laptop open. I take it all in, looking for some indication of the woman’s personality, but find little evidence to lead me to a satisfying conclusion. She keeps her personal life personal, her space tidy and impersonal. An enigma, especially after what I’d just seen in the hallway.