A Sleigh Ride Together With You
I never considered myself the type to seek revenge. I also never thought I would be the kind of person who would turn down an opportunity like Jason was offering me.
“Three months?” I repeated more to myself than to Jason who was still right beside me. I struggled to process exactly what those three months included. “When you say you’d ‘be mine’....” I trailed off.
“You call the shots.”
I ran my finger in little circles over my thigh, “So, theoretically I can parade you on a leash around the club?”
I never forgot about the club, even though I never went back after running into Jade there. I tried to avoid a lot of places I could have run into my past and it worked, until now.
Jason shifted and cleared his throat. He wasn’t fond of the idea, “If that’s what you want.”
A smirk stretched across my lips. The expression on his face brought heat to my cheeks but I still wasn’t ready to sign on.
“It’s not going to fix anything,” I forced myself to be rational, “You’ll end up flipping us over so you’ll have the upper hand again.” I glanced at him and saw he was already watching me.
“I could do that but I’m not going to,” He finally said.
I scoffed, “And I what, have your word?”
“What else do you want?”
I remembered the numbers that banished PinkCherry into the red zone. Soon it would be nothing more than an empty warehouse. I couldn’t let that happen.
“I want you to let me help PinkCherry from closing,”
It was Jason’s turn to scoff, “You mean sign over control to Ethan.”
“No, I mean exactly what I said. Ethan is a means to an end.” I stopped as soon as the words left my mouth.
Jason, being as smug as always, broke his steely resolve to smile at my choice of words.
“You know I didn’t mean it like that.” Damage control.
Jason shrugged, “Sounds like you did.”
I shook my head, “How did you know Ethan would be involved?”
“He’s been wanting this for years. Reading me the numbers. Preaching about the end.” Jason looked at me, “I’d never do it but I guess he figured out a way to get it after all.”
There it was again. The notion that I was a pawn in a much bigger game. Both players using me as a bargaining chip. I didn’t like it.
“PinkCherry will close without an immediate turnaround. To do that Ethan’s resources are necessary. There’s no way around it.”
Jason rubbed his chin, “So that’s it. Sign or die?”
“Actually no,” I tried to find another way. Something that limited our time together but it all came down to the truth, “You have to come back.”
“Yeah, that’s not happening. I promised my mom I’d help set up for the wedding.” He twisted the silver ring on his finger. Maybe the idea of a commitment made him antsy.
“You can still do that. The wedding is still a few months out, ” I remembered the mandatory dress fitting rapidly approaching, “PinkCherry won’t make it without you.”
Jason nodded, “Okay, say I come back and sign over control of my finances to Ethan. What then?”
“What do you mean?”
“Are you going to be locked away in a cubicle crunching numbers while this goes down? Because if I know Ethan that’s where he’ll try to put you.”
I’d like to see him try, “I’ll be handling things in-house.”
“So I do all this and you’ll trust me?”
I shook my head, “That’s not what this is about.”
Jason sighed, “Alright, I’ll do it.”
A weight lifted off my shoulders. He was on board and I could finally start the process of turning everything around.
“And as for the other deal?”
I bit my lip, “There needs to be rules. Real rules. No ‘we’re not equal’ bullshit. This isn’t Fifty Shades.” In my loneliness I found myself branching out to erotic literature. Definitely wasn’t a keeper.
Jason chuckled, “What do you have in mind?”
“A contract. A binding agreement to how we can treat each other and what’s expected.”
“Sounds like a business deal.” It was.
“If that’s what it takes to keep us civilized.”
“Opposed to what?” He asked with a slight curve on his lips, “Being animals?”
I rolled my eyes, “Calm down. I haven’t agreed to anything yet.”
Jason placed his empty mug on the coffee table, “You’re right, I’m sorry. When do we start?”
“Drafting the contract.”
“Yes here, where else?”
Jason gave me an odd look, “No offense but my mother and sister are in the other room cooking Christmas dinner.”
He was right. I sighed, “Where do you want to go then?”
We sat for a moment, thinking about how to excuse ourselves and buy enough time to discuss both deals.
Finally, Jason went to the kitchen and I heard a muffled conversation. It didn’t take long for him to win her over.
“Get dressed,” Jason said and started up the stairs, “We’re going to the barn.”
Jason disappeared behind the wall, “You’ll see.”
I hated secrets and surprises and anything that meant I would be going into an environment blind. Still, more pressing matters were at hand.
I went up to Kitty’s bedroom and dug around in my suitcase before finding something I deemed warm enough. After changing I went searching for the necessary paperwork and hoped Jason would actually sign on the dotted line.
I grabbed my purse and bit my lips to bring some color to them. My dark hair was pinned up and messy but I somehow managed to make it into a look. Even though my mother would disagree.
I took one last look in the mirror before going to meet Jason outside. He was already waiting for me in the garage with gloves and two helmets.
“What are those for?”
Jason turned at the sound of my voice, “These,” he held up the gloves and tossed them to me, “are so you still have the ability to sign the contract and the helmet is for protection.”
He offered me the helmet and I hesitated to take it, “Protection from?”
Jason lifted a tarp off of the motorcycle behind him. I looked between him and the bike. Of course, he could drive a motorcycle. After seeing the expression on my face Jason responded, “Problem?”
I scanned the slick black exterior for any visible damages; the words Harley-Davidson and dark leather seats called for me to live a little.
I met Jason’s questioning stare, “Nope. All good.” I heard my mother’s voice screaming behind the left lobe of my brain but swung my leg over the bike anyway.
Jason climbed on and started the engine. When the bike lurched forward I grabbed his waist so I wouldn’t fall backward. It definitely wasn’t a sleigh ride but it would do.
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