I left the office at 2:30 so that I was on time to get Molly from school. She bounded out to the car and jumped inside. “We had show and tell today, I told them about you.” She said with a cheerful smile.
“Yeah. I wish I could have showed you as well, but telling was fine.” She grinned as she clipped her seatbelt in. “Do we have to go to dancing now?”
“Yeah kiddo, but maybe you might have fun?”
She frowned as I started the car and drove off. “Maybe.”
We pulled up to the dance studio and I noticed instantly that the Moms were all beautiful and graceful and their daughters seemed to be their mini me’s. I could understand Molly’s frustration, and we hadn’t even walked inside yet. It was like I was walking into the Stepford Wives club.
With hesitance Molly and I walked across the car park and in to the studio.
I’d like to say she had fun, I really would but she’d only been there ten minutes before the other girls made her cry. She ran from the room and hid in the changing area.
“Molly? Are you alright.” I whispered as I knelt down in front of her.
“They said I’m only here cos daddy pays lots of money to the studio and that I have two left feet.” She cried. “And they’re right.”
“They’re not very nice then.” Girls seemed to get bitchy younger and younger these days.
“I hate it here, can we go?” She pleaded through a veil of tears.
I frowned as I remembered the rules, but I couldn’t bear to watch her cry.
“What do you like Molly?” I questioned, desperate to cheer her up.
“Animals, horses in particular. I’ve never ridden one. Daddy won’t let me.”
I smiled and raised my eyebrows. Horses I could help with. “Horses you say?”
“Well, my mom loves horses too, she has three of them. One’s a pony... should we go say hello before we go home?”
“Daddy will be angry if we tell him.” She said sighing.
“It’s just once, daddy doesn’t need to know.” I replied, knowing it was wrong, but wanting so much for Molly to explore her world, and for her to smile.
“Okay.” Molly grinned sitting up. “Let’s go!”
Molly ran out the door before I could say anything else, and it warmed my heart to know that just once she felt free. We drove to the ranch and when we arrived Mom was home, replacing the horse’s food.
“Mom!” I called out as Molly and I walked over.
“Flick?” Mom replied as she looked down at Molly. “Oh hello... you must be Molly” she smiled kneeling.
“Yes... you’re flicks Mom?” She smiled.
“I sure am, what’s up?” Mom asked as she looked up at me.
“Molly had a bit of a bad afternoon, and she told me she likes horses, but that she’s never ridden one. I thought maybe you could give her a quick ride on Blondie?”
Mom smiled and nodded. “Oh of course, Flick never liked riding on the horses.” Mom took Molly’s hand. “Let’s go see if we have some old jodhpurs and boots for you okay?”
Molly grinned and looked up at me. “Best day ever. Thank you Flick.” She beamed as they walked away.
Mom found Molly my old riding gear, they came out and Mom put an ecstatic Molly on blondie. She led her around the paddock twice before suddenly like a duck to water Molly rode the horse alone, like she she’d done it a thousand times. Blondie began to trot, then canter and the entire time Molly was at ease. Mom walked over and placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Does your boss know you’re here?” She murmured.
“No, but she was upset.”
Mom nodded. “I understand, I don’t know if he would... but I do.” She pointed to Molly. “She’s a natural, with a little training and she could ride in the equestrian.”
“Isn’t she just.” I murmured leaning against the wooden fence.
It was nearing 5pm before Molly hopped off. I knew we were late. We’d be lucky if we beat Dominic home. After such a good day at the office I knew my tardiness could probably retract the steps forward we had made, but after seeing the joy in Molly’s face, I didn’t care.
Mom waved us off and we drove back to the mansion. Dominic wasn’t home, but when we walked inside Harvey eyed me nervously. “Molly, you should go upstairs and wash up for dinner. Daddy will be home soon.” I exclaimed.
Molly skipped away leaving Harvey and I alone.
“You test his limits Felicity.” He said. “You’re lucky you beat him home, you should have been back half an hour ago. I’ll cover for you this time, but not again. Understood?”
“Yes.” I replied, thankful my reprimand came from Harvey and not Dominic.
Dominic returned a few minutes after I did. He walked in to the kitchen where I was grabbing a juice “I’m having a party tomorrow night.” He grinned at me. “It’s a business thing, to celebrate the new acquisition.”
“Congratulations Dominic, an insanely bright worker must have help win that for you.” I teased, returning his grin with my own.
“Yes. Indeed.” He let out a laugh, and I couldn’t help but feel myself liking this Dominic, this laidback, friendly, kind Dominic.
“Would you like me to watch Molly?”
“Molly will be asleep. I want you to come to the party.”
“Huh?” Me? A party. I almost laughed at the thought. Sure I’d grown up in the business world, and sure I’d very recently graduated with a business degree, but high class parties had never been my thing.
“Everyone brings dates, usually I don’t.” He said swallowing hard. “But given your role in this particular acquisition Felicity, I want you to come as my date.”
Date? Shit. Really?
“Me?” I said, sounding as flabbergasted as I felt.
“Yes, you.” His eyes flickered and his smile returned tenfold.
“I don’t have anything to wear.” I whispered. It was the truth. I still only really had my office clothing, which was hardly party attire.
“The Amex. Use it, Call it a bonus, after what you did for my company today, I think I can swing you that much.”
My breathing quickened and weakened simultaneously. Dominic’s eyes hadn’t left mine and I knew he was waiting for an answer. I closed my eyes and reminded myself that he only wanted me to go as his date, not on a date. I opened my eyes and looked back at him.
“What if I say no?” I murmured.
Dominic’s eyes darkened significantly and his lips curled as his smile fell. “Then I’ll command it.” He replied coldly. “But I don’t want too am I that bad to be around?”
Command? He’d command me to be his date. If he wanted me to alleviate his fears of being bad to be around, then commanding me to do anything was not going to help. I ignored the command.
“No, you’re not.” I replied. “Don’t worry Dominic, no commanding needed, I’ll be your date.”
“Good.” He smiled breaking his face of thunder.
I walked away feeling breathless, what the hell was going on? I still hadn’t figured anything out a couple of hours later and I was silent at dinner, not because I didn’t want to break the rules, but because I was still trying to figure everything out and I was getting nowhere. After dinner I got Molly ready for bed and then read her a story, all the while Dominic was on my mind and I didn’t know why.
“Sleep tight kiddo.” I stood up and kissed Molly on the head.
“I will Flick. Night.” She smiled. “Best day ever.” She whispered as she snuggled in to her blankets.
Dominic walked in as I was leaving and said goodnight to Molly. I stood in the door way and watched in awe. Dominic walked out and closed the door behind him. Neither one of us made a move in any direction, we stood there, just looking at one another for a while. “I was going to have a night cap. You want to join me?”
I shook my head. “No thank you, I’m kind of beet. Night.”
I turned and walked away, desperate to clear my head of the two Dominic’s I’d had the pleasure of meeting. The calm, sweet, caring one and the demanding, bossy and controlling one, I knew which I preferred, but I was surprised to find that both his good and bad side captivated every part of me. I climbed in to bed and closed my eyes, but I couldn’t sleep. Every time I drifted off his face entered my mind. He had me in a daze, and he probably had that effect on many women, but probably not ones he had to live with, and certainly not ones who disagreed with him over and over again.
The next morning I avoided him, I took Molly to school and I went shopping for a dress. My work phone rung while I was in the store and knowing I couldn’t avoid that drove me nuts. “Hello Dominic.”
“Felicity, I just wanted to check you were getting a dress for tonight.”
“On it now.” I mumbled
“I’m sure you’re going to look beautiful.” He said softly. “Look I was wondering, since you’re in town, did you want to meet for lunch?”
I closed my eyes and bit the inside of my cheek. Even me, with my flawed perception of men knew he was pursuing me, even if he didn’t know it. It was true, I felt a pull towards him that I couldn’t logically explain, but I wasn’t going to act on it. We were too different, and he was my boss.
“Uh, sorry I was actually meeting with an old friend.” I lied.
“A man?” Dominic asked, his voice clipped.
“Yes.” I said, lying through my teeth.
“Rule number three...” He croaked. “Goodbye Felicity.”
He hung up before I could say goodbye. My stomach lurched, I hated that I had lied. I leaned against the wall and took a deep breath.
“Miss can I help?” A sales clerk said, tapping me on the shoulder. “You look unwell.”
I bit my lip and shook my head. “I’m fine... I just need a dress for a party.”
For the next hour she had me try on dress after dress. Finally we settled on a blue knee length fitting dress with a lace overlay. It was backless, but beautiful, and really really expensive.
The rest of the day sped by, I was picking Molly up from school before I knew it. She had Dance, but we went to Mom’s instead. The joy in her face made the possible dismissal worth it.
Once Molly was fed and in bed I began to get ready for the party. I stood in the shower, the hot water rushed over me, numbing my mind from everything. Dominic had been cold when he returned from work, no doubt due to my lie about lunch. I felt guilty, but I didn’t need an attraction to my boss to confuse things. This was a job, I was doing this for my Mom. I had to keep sight of that.
I hopped out and wrapped the towel around me. I realized quickly as I stood in the steamy bathroom that I had forgotten the dress. “Shit.” I mumbled opening the bathroom door. I checked both ways then slid out the door and began to sprint down the hallway. The only problem was I was looking down. It turned out to be a recipe for disaster because I ran into a crisply dressed Dominic. His hands landed on my naked shoulders. I looked up, my chest and face were burning.
“You okay?” He asked, his voice low, his eyes locked into mine.
“Yes.” I squeaked.
“I hope you’re wearing more than a towel Felicity?”
“I left my dress... it’s, I.” I stumbled over my words and pointed down the hall, letting go of the towel for a second, unfortunately a second was all it took for the towel to come undone and slip. Dominic’s hand, moved from my shoulder and caught it, his eyes didn’t leave mine as he tucked the corner of the towel in, his fingers brushed against the very top of my breast and I almost fell over then and there.
“You should get ready Felicity.” He said, his brusque tone returned. “I’ll see you downstairs soon.”
I nodded and walked to my room. By the time I was ready and heading down stairs people were arriving. Harvey and Dominic were greeting everyone at the door, at least until I began to walk down the stairs. Dominic turned, and suddenly his focus was only on me, his eyes were only on me. He walked up the stairs and held his hand out. “You look beautiful Felicity.” He said, his voice surprisingly pained.
“Thank you. So you do you.”
“The guy you met for lunch with is very lucky.” He whispered. “Even if you are breaking more of my rules.”
I looked down and shook my head. “I didn’t meet anyone Dominic. I’m sorry I lied.”
His hand tightened around mine. “Why?”
“I don’t know” I didn’t, I still hadn’t really figured any of this out.
“Look at me.” He said.
Slowly I looked up, and our eyes met once more, his weren’t dark like I was expecting, in fact they were sparkling. “Don’t lie to me again. Please.”
“Okay.” I replied making a promise I wasn’t sure I could keep.
We walked down the stairs and Dominic led me down to the mansions ballroom. I recognised a few people from the meeting, and Ms Delany was also there look as exquisite as ever. What I didn’t expect to see was anyone from college. Except I did, and it just so happened to be one of the boys I’d had a “weekend rendezvous” with. He’d been a pig, and I wasn’t even sure why I had let it happen. He’d always been cruel to me, but then alcohol entered the equation and the tension got to me. After we’d been together a not so nice story spread around campus about me and I’d promised myself I’d be more guarded. I had been so guarded that I’d not been with anyone since. Luckily he didn’t notice me, at least not at first, not until Dominic made a speech and thanked me personally.
“Felicity... how nice to see you again.” Thomas’ voice came from behind me. “I had no idea you were working at CoranCorp. You seemed to drop off the radar after college.”
I looked around, Dominic was a few feet away talking to Ms Delany. I prayed for him to turn around and save me, but he looked enthralled in conversation.
“Go away Thomas.”
“Felicity please, its Tom... you and I know each other far more personally than full names.”
He made me want to puke, and I would have if the dress I was wearing wasn’t worth my entire week’s salary.
“Go away.” I asked again.
“So what exactly is your title at CoranCorp? Boss screwer?” He laughed. “You know if I had the tits I’d probably sleep my way up too.”
“You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Thomas wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me in close, rubbing his body against mine. I was unwelcome, and he smelt like whiskey. I tried to push him away but even though he was drunk he was still stronger than me. “Let me go.” I muttered through my teeth, not wanting to cause a scene.
“Come on... you’re a slut from way back... let’s go have one for old times?” He laughed. “I’ll even pay you. I mean you must be pretty desperate if you’re the nanny!”
His last insult was the push I needed to cross the line from pissed off to fuming. Suddenly causing a scene didn’t matter. I lifted my knee and thrust it up hard into his groin. Thomas let me go and let out a loud high pitched wail. “You crazy bitch!” he yelled as he fell to the ground.
All eyes were on me, but all I could do was smirk at his curled up body. “How you got a job at CoranCorp I don’t know, but if I had anything to do with it, you’d be gone.” I exclaimed, each word dripped with disdain.
I felt a hand against the small of my back and Dominic leaned in. “It was a favour to his father.” He whispered. “And I saw what he did.”
Dominic helped Thomas up, only to punch him in the face, causing Thomas to fall back down with a bloody nose. Thomas looked up at me and shook his head.
“Your internship is over Mr Freeman. You can leave the way you came in.”
“But sir... I... What about...”
“You’re sexist, abusive and you’re lucky I don’t call the cops. Enjoy explaining this to your father and good luck finding work anywhere in this town.” Dominic said cutting him off. He pointed to his security guards who walked over and picked Thomas up by the arms.
“Are you okay?” He whispered, his hand ran up my back, and then both ran up my arms, stopping at my shoulders. I felt light headed, but not because of Thomas, he’d left my mind the minute he left the room. No, my attraction to Dominic was growing beyond the point of return. There were many things about him that made me want to kiss him, and then there were others that made me want to run. But I couldn’t run, even if I wanted too.
“A little shaken, I might go to bed.” I whispered.
“I’m sorry... When I saw you two talking... I thought maybe you...” He stopped and shook his head. He didn’t finish his sentence, his hands left my shoulders and he led me to the ballroom door.
“Let me walk you up.”
I nodded, I wasn’t in the mood to disagree with Dominic, I just wanted to get out of this situation and hide in my room where it was safe. We left the room and walked through the house in silence, leaving the sound of the party behind us.
“I wanted to dance with you tonight.” Dominic said. “I’m sorry that I didn’t.”
“It’s just as well. I’m a terrible dancer.” I laughed.
Dominic stopped in the hallway and held his arms up. “Just follow me.”
Reluctantly I placed my hands in his, and we danced in the hallway. He hummed a song as we moved, and then finally we both stopped when my body was flush against his. “You’re not so bad you know.” He said looking down at me, his eyes dipped and looked at my lips. Everything inside of me yearned to kiss him, and he was right there, within kissing distance, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t throw everything away of a sexually driven whim. I pushed him away and ran to my room.