After storming off and heading back home, I showered as quick as I could, before I scurried off to work to focus on other things besides Tyler, and what happened earlier that morning. I wasn’t sure what the hell was going on between us, but I knew how I felt, and I was damn sure that he thought of me more than just his employee.
While I flicked through the paperwork that was stacked on my desk, I was pulled from my thoughts when there was a sudden knock at the door.
I looked up and locked eyes with the girl I despised the most. “What do you want, Cassidy?”
“Tyler wants to see you in his office.”
Why the fuck didn’t he call me himself?
“Okay. I’ll be there soon.”
She leaned against the door and folded her arms, while a faux smile appeared on her lips. “How’s Bill?”
“I wouldn’t know. I dumped his ass after you fucked him,” I huffed, and pushed my chair back to stand. I grabbed my phone and knocked my elbow against Cassidy while I shoved passed her.
With my clenched jaw, I stormed over to Tyler’s office and knocked on the door.
“Come in,” he announced.
Tyler’s attention was directed at the contract in front of him until I cleared my throat. “Cassidy said you wanted to see me?”
He looked up and caught my gaze. “I do. Can you please close the door?”
I nodded, and turned away shutting the door slowly before I sat down on the chair opposite his.
“Finlay has asked me to go interstate in his place in our other office for the cost report. I need someone to come with me.”
“Okay. So, ask Cassidy.”
“I need someone I can trust, and I don’t trust her.”
I narrowed my brows. “Right.”
“I’ve told Finlay that I want you to come with me.”
“Okay, you’ll go?”
“Yes, I’ll come with you,” I agreed and shifted in my seat.
The thick air that surrounded me made it almost hard to breathe, and I was fighting myself to keep my gaze away from his.
“Great. We’ll leave in two weeks.”
Desperate to get out of his office, I knew if I didn’t, the conversation would take a turn to one I wasn’t in the mood to have. “Is that all, sir?”
“No...” Tyler held on the desk and pushed his chair back before he stood up, and sat down next to me. “About this morning...”
“Just leave it, Tyler. I know where I stand with you.”
“I’m trying to apologize, Summer.”
“Oh. And what are you apologizing for?”
“You’re going to make me say it, aren’t you?”
I chewed the inside of my mouth. “Yep.”
He cleared his throat, and scratched the back of his neck. “I’m sorry. I want us to be friends.”
“And you don’t have to call me sir anymore.”
He gazed into my eyes for a moment that all my thoughts were scrambled in my head.
God, please don’t look at me like that.
“And you have really beautiful eyes.”
I licked my lips and felt the heat radiate my cheeks. “And...”
“Are you trying to get more compliments out of me?”
“Well, considering that was the first one you’ve given me...”
“Is this what it’s going to be like travelling with you in two weeks?”
“What’s the matter? Afraid you can’t handle me for one night?” I joked.
He curved his mouth to a smile. “It’s two nights, and I can handle you just fine.”
A few days later, Tyler and I were plonked down on the grass stretching our muscles after going on another run together.
“So, we’re friends, right?”
“Yes, of course.” Though I wished it were more.
“And friends can ask friends for favors, right?”
“Where are you going with this, Tyler?”
He took a deep breath and sighed while he switched his other leg to stretch. “There’s a party my mom asked me to go to. She was invited but can’t be there, so she’s asked me to go in her place.”
“She wants me to make sure I bring a date. Because if I have a date, I’ll be less likely to embarrass her by picking up some random girl.”
“She doesn’t approve of your lifestyle choices?”
“So, you want me to help you find a date or something?”
He chuckled lightly and held onto the ends of his sneakers. “Um...no. Not quite. I want you to be my date for the night.”
“So, let me get this straight. You want me to go with you to this party?”
“Yes,” he nodded.
“As your date?”
“Yes. As friends of course.”
Minor detail I can work with.
“You can say no if it’s not your thing.”
“Why don’t you go with someone you actually like?”
“But I like you...”
He cleared his throat. “As friends.”
“What kind of party is it?”
“Not sure. My mom just said to dress elegantly.”
I nodded slowly. “Okay, I’ll do it.”
He raised his brows and rubbed his hands together. “You will? Thank you.”
“Sure. An elegant party sounds like fun.”
“Great. There will be rules though.” Tyler stood up and reached out his hand for me to take.
“Rules? What kind of rules?” I accepted, and he helped me to my feet.
“Well, for one thing, you can’t flirt with anyone else.”
“That’s a given considering I’m there as your date. But that rule should apply to you as well.”
Tyler smiled and stretched out his arms above his head. “Of course. Second rule. You can’t tell anyone I’m your boss.”
“Okay, weird rule, but I’ll go with it. What else?”
“Third rule, you have to wear an evening dress.”
“Okay. Of course.”
Tyler and I slowly made our way to the café for some much-needed caffeine.
“Forth rule. You can’t start a fight with anyone.”
“Who the hell am I going to start a fight with?”
“You can be sweet sometimes, but you’ve got a mouth on you.”
And all those naughty things I could do with that mouth.
“You do realize that those rules you’ve just mentioned, is basic common sense, right?”
“You just like telling me what to do,” I joked.
Tyler nodded and flashed me that sweet smile of his. “You might be on to something.”
“So, are you going to do the gentlemanly thing and pick me up on our date?”
“I’ll even drop you off home at the end of the night.”
“I feel special already.”
“You should. You know it’s been a while since I’ve actually gone out on a date.”
“How long’s it been?”
“A few years...”
“I get the whole one-night stand thing. I’ve done that before, but completely shutting out the idea of a relationship is something I’m struggling to understand.”
Tyler pushed the door open to the café and held it in place “I can’t do the whole drama of relationships.”
I stepped inside and the instant aroma struck my senses. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “God, that smells good.” My eyes fluttered open and Tyler and I found ourselves at the same corner booth we were in before.
“The women I had dated were always just so difficult. There would always be a problem. At least this way, I know what I’m in for and so does the other person.”
“Maybe the women you were dating weren’t right for you.”
“You think I just haven’t met the right girl?” He grinned. “Maybe I just need to meet a sex crazed, gorgeous woman who likes beer, vodka and crispy bacon. Woah. Wait a minute!”
My hand automatically slapped him on the arm while I chuckled a little too loudly. “Oh, shut up! Did you just give me another compliment?”
“About you being gorgeous?”
I shook my head. “No, about me being sex crazed.”
“There’s no way you’re sex crazed.”
“Are you sure about that Tyler?”
“You’ve still got a lot to learn about me.”
It was 7:25 in the evening of my date with Tyler. Earlier, I had spoken to him to try and find out what colour his tie was so I could coordinate the colour of my gown. When he called me adorable, I was glad he couldn’t see how flushed my cheeks were.
Why am I so nervous? I knew this wasn’t a real date, but for some reason, the idea of being at a party with him caused the wings of the butterflies to flutter in my stomach.
Okay, Summer. Just breathe.
Suddenly, there was a knock, and as soon as I opened the door, Tyler and I froze for a moment, taking in the sight of each other.
He whispered beneath his breath, but I couldn’t quite hear what he said. “Holy mother of God.”
Fuck. I need to resist. I need to resist.
“Wow, Summer. You look incredible.”
I blushed, and looked down at my navy-blue gown. My curves were slightly exposed with my plunging neckline. The bead sequence at the top of the dress stopped at my waist, before the silk material flowed down towards my feet. My hair was let down and placed to the side with soft waves throughout the length.
“You look great too. I love the color of your suit.”
“And you matched the dress to my tie.”
“Are you ready?”
“Almost. I just need to get my purse.”
It took a lot to pry my eyes away from the gorgeous man that stood in front of me, but I managed to head back into the house and grab my purse from the marble kitchen island before we stepped out to his vehicle.
I heard the click when Tyler unlocked the car. He ran to the passenger side and opened the door for me.
“Pulling out all the stops, are we?”
“Do you want me to stop being a gentleman?”
“Not a chance. It suits you.”
He shook his head and laughed. “Don’t get used to it.”
We both settled in our comfortable leather seats. Tyler switched on the engine and pulled out of the driveway before he took us to the party.
“So, where are we going?”
“My mom said it was some engagement party.”
I shifted my gaze and looked out the window. It was a dark night, so through the glass I could see Tyler’s reflection, and the moments he would sneak glances in my direction.
“You really do look amazing tonight.”
I smiled, touched my burning cheeks and turned to him. “Thank you.”
“I think rule number one might be a little difficult for you tonight, with all the guys that’ll be all over you.”
“I don’t think I’ll be the one having the problems with that rule.”
“Why? Because I’m so sexy? He joked.
“No, smartass. Because this is uncharted territory for you. You’re used to going up to any girl you want and flirting with her. You can’t do that tonight so...”
“Oh, you think I don’t have self-control?”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Okay, why don’t we put a bet on it?”
I raised my brows, and my interest was piqued. “What kind of bet?”
“First person to flirt with someone else loses the bet.”
“Oh, you’re so on!”
“But it doesn’t count if someone else comes up to us and starts flirting. We have to actually flirt back.”
“Okay, that’s fair,” I agreed. “What happens when I win?”
“Well, you’re confident. Okay, if you win, you get to do whatever you want with me for one entire night.”
I cleared my throat and shuffled in my seat. “Like what?”
“Anything you want to.”
“And if you win?”
“Same applies to me.”
It didn’t take long for us to arrive at the party. Tyler turned into the venue and parked the car in the lot before he switched off the engine. He stepped out and opened my side door.
“Such a gentleman. Thank you.”
He reached out his hand and I placed mine in his. Tyler’s touched me before, but it always made me feel the same way every time. Heat coursed through my body, and my hands clammed up.
The two of us walk up to the reception house. Full glass windows surrounded the entire property. Lights illuminated the rim of the balcony, and from the outside, I could already see the immaculate table settings and dance floor.
“It’s stunning here.”
“I’ll be back. I have to go speak to the security guard. They’ve put my mom’s name down instead of mine. I have to sort it out.”
I smiled and Tyler walked away from me. I gazed around and noticed the sign outside the front entrance, which showed the photo of the couple getting engaged.
I swallowed hard, froze and tried to calm the beating heart in my chest which was banging against my ribcage.
Oh, Tyler. You didn’t. No, no, no, no, no. Oh, fuck. This can’t be real.