Caught Off Guard
A/N: When I said break, I ain’t mean that long, y’all, lol. I can get HOT and then cool down just as quickly.
Eva groaned and rolled her eyes when she arrived at her apartment after a long day of work and saw yet another bouquet of roses at her door. Eric had been sending them regularly despite the fact they’d broken up for almost a year and when they were together, she’d told him multiple times that she preferred lilies.
“The hell am I gonna do with these?” she spat as she struggled to open the door. She had her purse in one hand and the wine Adrian had bought her in the other.
“I don’t know, maybe decorate? Set them on a table?”
“Oh shit!” Eva gasped when she heard the familiar voice and turned around to see Eric standing behind her. A former tight-end who played on his college football team and went on to become an offensive coordinator for the New York Giants, he had a towering figure, broad shoulders, and wide frame.
“It’s just me, Eva,” he held up both his hands defensively and walked up to her with a toothy grin as he reached for her keys. “Here, let me help you.”
Eva let out a long breath of annoyance when Eric took the keys from her hand before she could smack him away. “Overstepping as usual… Do you not remember me telling you I don’t like roses?”
“Is that the way you greet me and thank me for your gift?” he questioned before opening the door and letting the two of them into the apartment. He picked up the bouquet of roses and carried them to Eva’s kitchen where he put them on the counter.
Eric looked around her apartment, admiring the expensive taste of the woman he loved. She was on the top level of an Upper West Side apartment where she had floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of Central Park. The living room had a rose-gold color theme with an elegant white leather couch that sat in the center. Her eight-person dining table was set up nice with a white set that had gold trimmings.
“Your new place is nice. But I still miss you at our apartment. It gets so lonely without you.”
“I didn’t have a reason to stay,” Eva replied coldly as she joined Eric in the kitchen and pulled out the bottle of wine that she got from Adrian. “I’m still pissed at my mother for giving you my address without my consent.”
“It’s only because she loves me. Remember… Like you used to? Like maybe you still do?”
Eva took a deep sigh pulled out her corkscrew to open the wine. “Eric… It’s been almost a year. You still haven’t moved on?”
“Of course I haven’t moved on,” he replied. “Eva, you’re my first and only love. Maybe my proposal wasn’t the best timing, but it’s hard for me to believe that you didn’t love me back. I know that you still love m—“
The bottle popped when Eva pulled out the cork, interrupting him. “Eric,” she sighed, finally meeting his hazel eyes. “Please, I really don’t want to have this conversation right now. I told you I was sorry…”
“I’m not asking to have the same conversation again, Eva. I’m here to ask you to give me another chance. To prove to you that you do love me. I know that you have commitment issues. Hell, I called it the day you asked about having an open relationship, but I know I’m the only one for you and you’re the only one for me.”
Eva poured herself a glass of wine and drank half of it trying to calm her nerves. She was uncomfortable with the way Eric had been sending her flowers regularly and him showing up unexpected and uninvited to her apartment only made it worse.
“Eric, this is not—“
“Please, I promise I won’t take long.” Eric cut her off and created space between them, hoping to reduce some of Eva’s uneasiness. “I’m just asking you to take one last chance with me, Eva. All I need is one more time to prove that you and I are worth it, baby…”
Eva repositioned herself so that she was she was within arm’s reach of her knife block. “Eric, you need to leave. I didn’t give you my address for a reason.”
Eric again held up his hands defensively as he did when he first arrived outside of her apartment and backed away toward the door. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I just thought that maybe us speaking in person would help, especially since you won’t take any of my calls or texts or emails…”
“Because I want you move on, Eric. Find someone who can love you in the way that you want them to. You deserve someone who loves you, truly loves you.”
“I deserve you, Eva. I love you and I know you love me too.”
Eva took a deep breath and leaned back against the counter where the knife block sat so she could quickly grab one if needed. “Eric, I’m asking you to leave. I know you’re a persistent man, but this isn’t the time for it. You’re in my home uninvited and you need to go.”
“Get out!” she snapped, pointing at the door.
“I’m going, I’m going…” Eric said urgently, grabbing the doorknob and stepping out of the apartment. “Just please… think about it. I love you, and I know you love me too.”
After Eric left, Eva massaged her temples and paced her apartment before finally going to her purse to pull out her phone.
Mother: Hey, I told Eric to go visit you today. Give him another chance! I want a wedding and grandbabies… it doesn’t necessarily have to be in that order… you’re not getting any younger.
Eva rolled her eyes, threw her phone on the couch and went into the bathroom to run water into the tub.
Eva sat at her desk searching online for security systems to add to her apartment when Adrian walked up to her. As he approached, he noticed the personalized license plate with her name on it sitting on her desk and he immediately recognized it from the LA trip. Justin had been looking at them and he assumed that he was getting one as a gift for Ashley.
“Hey, Eva how are you?”
“Hi, Adrian,” Eva greeted with a smile. “I’m well. Thanks again for that wine, by the way. It went perfectly with my long bath last night.”
“I’m glad I could be of service…” Adrian eyed the license plate on her desk. “Where’d you get that?” he asked, pointing to it.
“Oh, this?” Eva held up the gift. “Justin got it for me while you guys were in LA. You didn’t see him picking it out?”
“Oh, um… I saw him looking at the license plates to get one personalized, but I thought he was doing it for A— Never mind… Speaking of Justin, is he ready for our ten-thirty meeting?”
“Yes, he is,” Eva nodded. “Mr. Peterson isn’t here, but I’m sure he’s on his way.”
“Always the late one,” Adrian griped before leaning against Eva’s desk and tilting his head to the side as he held her gaze. “I meant to ask, how was your vacation while we were away? I know it was only a few days, but I hope you were able to make the most of it.”
Eva rested her chin in her palm while looking up at Adrian. “It was wonderful and I absolutely did make the most of it.”
“Oh? So, I’m guessing you did something special?”
“I did, but it’s kind of a secret,” Eva teased. She bit her bottom lip with a smirk and maintained eye contact with Adrian.
He caught on the challenge behind her words and before he could stop himself, he said, “I’m good at keeping secrets, Ms. Eva.”
At his response, Eva eyed Adrian up and down. It was clear in her expression and the way she grazed her own thumb across her bottom lip that her thoughts were anything but innocent as she examined him.
“Well, my friend would not shut up about this, um… very special club,” she started and Adrian listened to her attentively. “I don’t need to get into the details, but it was a great time despite it being a weeknight, so I’m grateful for the vacation…”
“What was the club called? I’m always looking for new spots to have fun.”
“I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it. I think it’s only for a specific clientele…”
“Go on,” Adrian said. He didn’t notice that he was practically sitting next to Eva on her desk.
“The Scarlet Lounge. Have you heard of it?”
Adrian immediately choked at Eva’s answer. He felt a knot in his stomach and his heart started pounding rapidly. Even worse, he had conflicting feelings upon hearing where she went.
Part of him was thankful he wasn’t there that night.
Part of him wished he was there that night.
Part of him was questioning if their conversation had just reached in appropriate territory.
Part of him was ecstatic to learn Eva was on the scene.
“You okay, Adrian?” Eva asked. “You look uneasy.”
“O-oh… Sorry— I um… I’ve never— I don’t…” Adrian was all over the place and he took note of how easily Eva managed to have such an effect on him. He often found himself tripping over his words with her. “I’ve never heard of it,” he finally choked out.
“Okay,” replied a clearly unconvinced Eva. “Anyway, your meeting with Jus— Mr. Matsuda and Mr. Peterson, remember?”
“R-right. Yes. That meeting is supposed to be happening right now. But Caleb… Well, he’s always late. He can just catch up, I guess.” Adrian pushed himself off of Eva’s desk and went toward Justin’s office. “Thank you, Eva.”
“Mhmm,” she hummed in response. Eva had many ways of entertaining herself when it came to her three ‘bosses,’ but the times she’d catch Adrian off guard were when she’d have the most fun.
Adrian didn’t bother knocking when he entered Justin’s office and walked straight to the couches for their meeting while Justin finished up a phone call. He bounced his leg and took deep breaths, calming himself from Eva’s mention of The Scarlet Lounge.
“Hey man, how’s it going?” Justin said when he went over to join Adrian at the couches.
“It’s alright, just stressed as hell. I’ve got a lunch with Logan early next week to double check if we’re in the right place financially for our next acquisition. We’re looking good for it, but still…”
“You don’t have to do that. You know PMC Group will always be good for it. Even if the funds aren’t necessarily there.”
“We need to be more legit as much as possible,” Adrian replied with a sigh. “Also… This is random, but did you get Ashley anything from LA?”
Justin’s eyes went wide at the question and a sharp breath could be heard crossing through his nose. “You know what? I didn’t even think about it. Damn! And we have a date tonight — she’s taking me back. Maybe I could just buy something in the city and say it came from there.“
“But you bought something for Eva?”
“Yeah, but it’s different. I mean… She was top of mind since she’s our assistant and handled the logistics for everything.”
“More top of mind than the woman you claim to love?”
“Whoa, chill out,” Justin replied. “Why does it feel like you’re getting hostile all of a sudden?”
“I just think it’s weird that you thought of our assistant before your girlfriend…”
“I’m hearing some suggestiveness in there, so do you wanna tell me what you’re getting at?”
“You spend a lot of time with Eva in your office, you thought about her before your girlfriend when buying a gift, and you two are on a first name basis.”
“Okay… Other than the girlfriend part, it’s the same for you two. I still don’t understand what you’re implying here.”
“We don’t do one-on-ones anymore and it’s not like I bring her into business meetings like you do.”
“She’s a great employee and her Japanese is perfect, so of course I’m going to have her on my calls with these Japanese companies. It’s all business. Bro, why are you so worried about that? You almost sound jealous.”
Adrian quickly readjusted, leaned back in the couch, and crossed his arms and legs. “No, that’s not the case at all. I’m just thinking about the company and don’t want to risk some sexual harassment lawsuit or something.”
“Okay, you just jumped like twenty steps. Eva is simply a great employee and that’s all. Besides, you don’t have that same concern with Caleb. And he’s actually sleeping around the office.”
“Well, maybe we should.” Right after his response Justin’s door flung open to a visibly hungover Caleb, who walked in with sunglasses and messy hair, still smelling of alcohol from the night before.
“Dude, what the fuck?” Justin questioned.
“None of your fucking business” Caleb replied sharply. “Let’s just get this fucking meeting over with so I can take a nap in my office.”
“You seem in a crappier mood than usual.”
“Yeah, I wonder why…” Caleb scoffed, taking off his sunglasses and cutting his eyes at Adrian. “Anyway, let’s just get on with these weekly updates.”
A/N: Eric has finally made his first appearance, so let’s see where this goes 👀
Night y’all and thanks for reading!