I felt dizzy. It had nothing to do with the alcohol I drank at the party and everything to do with the fact that he didn’t move from my side all night. When I didn’t think he could see me as a woman, not just a girl, he totally changed the game. Or maybe it was just my long-time wish. After all, I had a crush on him forever. Lately, things got all mixed up between us, and I couldn’t tell what he was thinking.
“Do you like your job?” he asked,
I looked over the rim of my glass and considered the question. As a lower-level employee, asking me if I liked my job was unfair. How could I give an honest answer to the boss?
I pushed my brows together, trying to think through the haze in my head.
If I said yes because working for him meant seeing him more, would that be the right answer?
My mouth stretched into a small smile.
I loved being near him. And it wouldn’t be wise to complain about a good salary and a secure place in a prosperous Company.
It got me a raised eyebrow.
I could swear he had that same expression even when we were the kids.
“I'm unsure if I'm cut out for the position you gave me. My skills are on the creative side.”
A seat opened up next to us, and he helped me up. The crowd celebrating the Company’s latest deal almost collided with us, and I gasped, feeling Max's body over mine. He struggled to keep his balance, and we locked eyes.
With both hands, he scooped up my knees, tucking them between his thighs to make room for the tipsy group wanting more drinks.
“Would you like another one?” he asked,
I didn’t. I was already buzzed from drinking. But his closeness and how he casually touched me made my mouth dry.
" I could have cherry cola, something nonalcoholic. I had to drive home.”
“You still drive your old man’s car.”
I nodded, “If he let me.″
Moving the wisp of my hair, he brought shivers down the spine. The last time I touched him, he was sixteen, and I was twelve. Then, it was a touch of a frightened girl trying to help the beaten-up boy to heal.
Maybe the fact that I never had a mama made me mature enough to know what to use when someone is hurt. My brother David always got in trouble. He often came home with scratches and cuts, so I learned how to tend them.
When Max showed up at our doors, all beaten up and half-conscious, I just did what I always do—helped him like I would help my brother.
The belt marks his stepdad left on his skin was too much for me to see. But I pushed through fear and helped him. After that day, every time it happened, he came to me. It stopped when he became strong enough and tall enough to defend himself, and we never mentioned it again.
“I will take you home. You had a few drinks; it’s not safe to drive.’’
He gently brushed my cheek with his thumb.
’’It’s red, like cherries in your Coke. You are drunk, Sonia.”
I was, but it wasn’t really the alcohol. It was more his closeness.
But he was always around- my brother’s best friend, my friend. Our lives were intertwined, and we still didn’t know each other. In all this time, we never crossed the line.
Maybe he kept his distance because he knew I had a crush on him and didn't know what to do with me. I was never his kind of girl. I knew way too much about him. We could never be together, and his friendship with David was too important to risk it.
So, I learned to hide my feelings.
Most of the time, while I watched him live his life so close to mine, I felt intruding.
A thief who stole a piece of him that didn’t belong to me.
The crowd got even thicker. Max casually brushed my arm. Skin on skin electrified my senses, and I looked at his face.
The simple touch made me on fire, and his face showed nothing. It sobered me in a second.
He tugged on my hand, pulling me down from the chair and taking us outside to the balmy night.
There was no need for us to talk. He will do what he always does. Take me home and make sure I am safe and secure.
“How’s at home?”
It wasn’t fine, but I didn’t want to discuss that.
He reached for the phone in his back pocket. The move stretched his shirt over strong muscles, making me flustered. I stumbled, and he caught me with a free hand.
“You are more drunk than I thought.”
I wasn't, but it didnt matter. He was already on the phone, getting me easily in the car. I sat there with my hands on my thighs. I feel this was not an ordinary night.
"I need to go home and send some files. It’s too early for this night to end anyway.”
My stomach flipped, and I tried to act cool.
“I will be quick, and we can eat something. Talk a little. You need to put some food in your belly.”
His home was on the hill, surrounded by big oaks. It sat isolated from the rest of the town but close enough to the main road.
It was my first time here. My eyes drank the interior and tried to figure out a man from the art and style he chose for his home.
Until now, I’ve only seen his apartment. It was a typical place created by a clever designer. Every apartment he has looked like all the other places you’ve seen a million times. This was something else, a sanctuary he made for himself.
I trailed after him. W reached his office. At least it looked like an office.
He motioned for me to sit, and I nodded but kept standing.
Sorry, he silently formed the word, leaving me alone and disappearing behind the glass wall to make his conversations.
A restlessness came over me. No matter how much I daydreamed about him, it was a fantasy. I had much to lose and not much to gain for one night of pleasure if that was what he was offering. I wasn't sure about anything.
I heard his voice from the other room and left my bag on the sofa to move around and check the office. I was captivated by the little toys on his desk. Behind the slightly open door, I found the bathroom.
The cold water felt so good running down my arms, cooling my veins.
“Hi,” a woman’s voice interrupted me.
"Max will be fast. He had some calls to do before he joined you again.”
I nodded, slightly embarrassed. I felt cheap being like this in his home at night, somewhat tipsy on top of everything.
I know who the woman was. I saw her at the Company, but we never really crossed paths or got to know each other. She was always there, making me feel small.
"If you need to get cozy and freshen up.'' She gave me a look that made my skin crawl. It was apparently the usual thing for her to see women waiting for her stepbrother to take them to his room.
" You should use another bathroom, one with a shower. I will show you the way.”
I stood there, confused. Becoming simple fun for a man who meant too much to me felt terribly wrong. My mind freaked.
“It won’t be necessary. Can you show me the way out and say my apologies to Max? I just remembered that I had to hurry.”
My fears and insecurities started getting to me, especially with all the alcohol. I rushed outside, clutching my bag close to my body. I walked past the guards, got to the main road, and called my friend Ben to pick me up.
The last thing I can recall about that night was the warm wind on my wet cheeks.
I hope this story finds you healthy and happy. I missed writing and reading. It's a rainy autumn in my part of the world, and this story has been brewing for a long time inside my head. I won't promise anything and will give the best I can. :)
Here we go again,
Happy reading :)
25. September 2023.