“W-What are you doing here Keith?” He has been MIA from the office, since the night at the club, until, well, now. According to some of his accounting colleagues, he went back home early to Vermont to visit family for the holiday season. I never bought that excuse.
There would be no reason to be on edge as long as he stayed outside my doorway, and I stayed behind the safety of my desk, where my pink stapler and scissors resided. I hoped. I know I told Veronica our incident wasn't a big deal, and I convinced Liam and Gustav not to fire him, but that was just me putting up my world renown, Oscar winning front. For once, I didn’t want my attacker to have the power, I didn’t want Keith to know that I was afraid of him. Seeing him in front of me right now, not only brought me back to the night, he had me trapped against a cold, brick wall as he touched me for his own pleasure, but to all those nights as a child I spent crying in my bedroom.
“Shh, Kata, you’ll enjoy this.”
“P-Please, I-I don’t like this.” I kept my lips in a tight line, as he pressed his chapped lips against me, hiking up my Minnie Mouse nightgown, exposing my uncovered lower half.
“So, so, precious Kata.”
“No, we can’t talk, I’m heading out to lunch.” I walked from around my desk to grab my coat and bag, resting on the small couch against the floor to ceiling windows.
“Please, Katie, I need you to know how sorry I am.” As Keith took five steps into my office, I took seven steps back to keep a wide enough gap between us.
“Listen, I didn’t press any charges and I convinced the higher ups to let you keep your job, the least you can do is stay away from me.” I was as intimidating as a Pomeranian, that much I knew. But if I acted the part, hopefully he would get the hint and leave. Keith crossed his arms over his chest, as he let out a sigh.
“I was drunk, I said and did things that totally don’t represent my character.” He took a step forward, and I took two steps back. “I don’t want our friendship to be ruined by this.” I let out a bitter chuckle, completely amused by his insanity right now.
“We are never going to be friends again. You, you, touched me, you violated me, and you had the nerve to call me a slut because I wouldn’t sleep with you!”
“No.” I took a deep breath to maintain this savage persona I somehow mustered up, taking a few steps forward, so I would be closer to the door. “I will be cordial with you because we have to work together, but you are to keep your distance from me.” Keith shook his head, as he ran his tongue over his teeth.
“Is he telling you to do this?” Unfucking believable. A dry chuckle escaped my throat as I rolled my eyes at him, waking towards the door to leave. “Katherine, stop and just listen to me.” Keith’s hand clamped down on my forearm halting my steps. My heart rate began to pick up as I turned around, hoping I was still playing it cool with my poker face.
“Let me go, now.” I tried to yank my arm out of his hold, but that only made him tighten his grip. “Keith, please.”
“You know you’re just a plaything to him right, he’ll throw you away once he’s tired of you.”
“L-Let me go.” All my mind could think about is what happened the last time we were in this predicament. We were completely alone on the floor.
“Do you really want to belittle yourself, so low for the likes of that billionaire playboy?” Keith scuffed with a smirk on his face. “So, what his cock maybe bigger than mine. I know how to treat a lady Katherine.” He brought his free hand to rub my cheek, as he lowered his head to my level. “And I would treat you like a fucking queen.” Bringing my palm to his chest, I attempted to push him off of me, while trying to free my forearm.
“Y-You need to let go of me!”
“You don’t mean that.” Keith puckered his slightly chapped lips, attempting to lay one on me, when a large fist collided with his face, knocking him to the ground. I looked up to find Liam shaking out his left hand from the impact of the punch, as I massaged the sore skin of my arm. Keith was sitting on his butt, dabbing the blood from his teeth, looking up at the both of us.
“We had a deal.” Liam crossed his arms over his broad chest, shaking his head. “But clearly, you must have thought I was mistaken.” Liam bent down to Keith’s level, grabbing him by the collar of his black Ralph Lauren polo. “This is an 8,500 dollar suit, that I really don’t want to stain with your scum, blood. So, here’s what we’re going to do.” Liam brought his free hand to wave in Keith face spreading his fingers out. “I’m going to release you, and I’m going to count to five. If you’re still here, I promise, not even Jesus himself will be able to save you from the hell I’m going to unleash on you. Comprende asshole.” As Liam stood back up to his full six-foot-four stature, he brought Keith up with him, releasing his collar with a harsh flick of his wrist. “One-”
Keith stormed out of my office, leaving Liam and I alone in a heavy, awkward silence. My back was leaning against the jagged end of the doorway, as I tried to calm myself with the breathing techniques I did when I was younger. Inhale for four seconds, exhale for eight, and repeat.
“I’m going to have to handcuff you to me.” I opened my eyes to find Liam’s gaze not tearing from me, while his hands held my hips. “Did he touch you?” I shook my head.
“Just my arm.” Liam let out an annoyed breath, as he brought one of his hands to push my hair out of my face.
“This is office harassment, which I can fire him for.” I brought my hands to Liam’s shoulders, placing a delicate kiss to his tense lips.
“That’s not necessary.” I smiled at him hoping he would drop this topic of conversation. “I’m okay, I promise.” I was saying this phrase, so often I honestly was starting to believe its bullshit myself. I couldn’t tell him I was used to being sexualized by men, that I was used to them forcing themselves on me despite my sobbing pleas to stop. He would pry if I told him. He would find out how broken I actually am, so I did what I do best. I smiled at him, knowing he would fall for it. They all do. Liam sighed, before nodding his head.
“He’s even dumber now that he’s not blonde.” I laughed, as we walked towards the elevator, hand in hand. I knew he would buy it.
Giuseppe’s Italian Cuisine
"Benvunti da Giuseppe’s." (Welcome to Giuseppe’s.) An older man with a thick Italian accent greeted us as we entered the busy restaurant.
"Tabella per Archibald Kingston.” (Table for Archibald Kingston.) Of course, he can speak Italian.
“Si, si, seguimi.” (Yes, yes, follow me.) The Host grabbed two menus from the shelf of the wooden podium, leading Liam and I to a private area of the restaurant, where Archie and Delilah were waiting. “Waiter, will be with you shortly.”
“Thank you.” I smiled at the Host, as Liam pulled the chair out for me, before sitting down next to me himself.
“Katherine, it’s good to see you again you look radiant.” Liam and Delilah rolled their eyes, as I softly laughed at Archie’s complement.
“Thank you, Archie.” Liam took off his suit jacket, sitting it behind his chair, bringing his fingers to comb through his hair that was slightly disturbed by the transitioning spring breeze. I couldn’t help but admire the dreamy man who would be my future husband, and I noticed from the corner of my eye Delilah couldn’t help herself as well. She lightly cleared her throat before speaking to the both of us.
“Well, order whatever you like its Archie’s treat.” Archie choked on his margarita, as Delilah smiled at Liam and I. “That’s not a problem is it Archibald?” Archie gave a nervous chuckle, dabbing the corners of his mouth with the napkin resting in his lap.
“Of course not.”
“Good.” Delilah opened her menu browsing the lunch specials, as Archie and Liam did the same. I wasn’t used to eating gourmet cuisines, so I had no idea what to order, or what my pregnancy appetite would keep down until I got home. The last thing I needed was a nausea or vomiting episode in this high class setting.
The menu had so many options to choose from with each page being filled completely with delicious looking cuisines, and that wasn’t even including drinks and desserts.
“Are you not hungry?” Bringing my attention from the menu to Liam, who had an amused smirk on his face.
“Um, have you eaten here before, any suggestions?” I gave him an awkward smile, while leaning over to look at what he was pointing at in his menu.
“The Spaghetti alla puttanesca and the Tortellini are fabulous Katherine.” Delilah said while stirring her fruity drink around with the plastic straw. “Don’t you agree Lio?” Don’t you agree Lio.
“Yes.” He turned back to me. “Or, we could share a meal you have a habit of not finishing your plate.”
“I do not!” I hit Liam’s shoulder, while laughing at his attempted joke.
“Holy Shit! I thought that was just another bullshit tabloid lie, you actually proposed!” The hand that hit Liam was now on full display for Archie and Delilah. “Geez, and I thought we told each other everything.” Though Archie was laughing, I could see a small gleam of hurt dressing his green eyes, which tugged at my heart. My secretive behavior was beginning to hurt everyone around me.
“U-U’m, it’s my fault, I want us to be lowkey for a while, just, um, just, so I can get used to being in his world.” Archie nodded, before throwing the peach from his fruit salad appetizer at Liam.
“You’re whipped.” Archie laughed, shooting a wink in my direction.
“Shut the hell up.” Shifting back forward in my chair, I noticed Delilah was staring at me, an unreadable expression gracing her glamorous features. Once, she noticed I saw her staring, she shook her head giving me a phony smile, that showed off her veneers.
“Well, congrats you two.” Delilah raised her martini glass, before taking a huge sip. "We’ll have to meet up one day Katherine, you know, girl time.”