Suits held bad memories for her - until now
|She hated strange men in suits. They reminded her of her father, reminded her of the snide remarks, the endless criticism, the casual, backhanded slaps. She hated that they turned her back into that pathetic child, the young girl constantly vying for the impossible approbation of a father who had seen any expression of individuality, of joy, as a disappointment. She hated well-cut suits, hands that looked like they should play piano and instead could harm and hurt so much in their deceptive elegant strength. She hated the man facing her desk even before she ever met him.
“Sir, I honestly believe one of my colleagues would serve you better. My specialisation lies in divorce law, not tort. You are a valued client of this firm, and I understand Mr Edge, one of our partners, deals with all your business matters.”
She wanted him out of the office, wanted this farce to end. This man, with his suits and beautiful hands, with his piercing blue eyes and dark hair, with the amused twitch around his full lips had no place in her office. He owned a fortune five hundred company and normally people, including her bosses, came to him. To see him in her dingy office, sprawled nonchalantly in the uncomfortable plastic chair was preposterous.
“Nevertheless, Miss Kerence, I would like you to handle it.”
“Sir, I have not even had the time to review the documents…”
“Which is why I came in personally.”
His voice was calm, utterly assured, confident in his victory. It grated at her.
“Mr Edge ..”
“…assured me, you would be handing this.”
And that was it. If she wanted to keep her job she would have to deal with him, no matter that his mere presence froze something in her, made her feel 10 years old and afraid. Her shaking fingers found the side of the manila folder and opened it to the merit brief.
“I see it is a question of defamation. If you would allow me some time….”
He rose, not allowing her to finish. Instinctively, and with some relief, she followed his example, believing it to be a precursor to his exit. If he was willing to allow her leeway, their interaction could be mercifully limited. But instead of turning to the door, he turned to her, stepped closer than she was comfortable with. Her eyes jumped to his blue ones, met and were captured by burning ice. She wanted to step back, wanted to re-establish the professional distance - but could not, was held in place by the strange power of his presence.
“I believe it would be better were I to simply demonstrate.”
His voice had dropped to a near whisper, an intimate caress over her overwrought senses. Her mouth was suddenly as dry as the desert and speech became an ultimate exertion:
He was close enough for her to feel the heat of his body along hers, the scent of expensive cologne invading her with every breath. Automatically, her tongue darted out to wet her lips and she was almost able to taste him on her tongue. Inexorably he moved closer, his breath becoming a whispered caress over skin.
“Demonstrate. You see, the defamatory statement relates to an intimate incident.”
She knew he would kiss her, knew it with her mind and every pore of her body and she wanted to be afraid, wanted to feel the clarity of fear dispel this magic and restore normality - instead it was her own traitorous body which closed the hair-width distance between them, fitted her lips to his and gave in to the temptation of his mouth. For one moment he allowed her the lead, allowed her to discover the softness of his lips, the taste of his breath on her own. It was a gentle kiss, a soft welcome, the tender play of stroking lips. Then his tight control snapped and the gentle questing turned into a forceful conquest of mouth and lips. His lips opened over hers, devouring and coaxing, leaving no space for hesitancy. The iron band of his arm on her back brought her body tight against his, his elegant hand shaping her face, gently adjusting its angle to allow the access he demanded. She could feel the hard lines of his body against hers, her own becoming more and more sensitised to his touch, his taste until their surrounding became secondary, disappeared in the overpowering sensations of the moment. Her arms had wound around his neck, her breath an extension of his by the time he parted their lips. When she met his eyes, there was no ice anymore, only pure heat.
“I believe this should allow you a preliminary assessment.”
His voice was not quite even, but not less devastating with the husky reminder of passion.
Hers was not any better, feeding the heat in his gaze.
“Yes, any further research should be conducted at another time. How about tonight? At eight?”
He had stepped back, her hands falling from his shoulders; a restoration of the debonair businessman who had entered her office.
She could not believe him.
“You did this for a date? Ever thought about simply asking?”
“I believe I just did.”
His grin was smug as he took his cashmere coat and turned to the door. She was seething at his arrogance.
“I will still charge you.”
His hand already on the door-handle he turned to her with a wide grin.
“Well, I’ll better make it count then.”
And with that he stepped through the door, leaving her glaring at his retreating back. But before the door could close he turned to her one more time, met her gaze with a deep seriousness, stark in its contrast to his easy smile.
“But you see, now you are not looking at me with fear in your eyes anymore.”
It took almost superhuman strength not to throw her stapler at the strange man she a date with tonight.
Internal conflict: irrational distrust of men in suits
Resolution: He makes her see him as something other than a stranger in a suit