Chapter Twenty Four
“Are you sure about this?” I whispered. My hands sat nervously on my lap while Tobias slowed his car to a stop in his car park at work. He turned the car off and unclipped his seatbelt, while I stayed glued to the spot, unable to move. Tobias leaned across and placed his hand over mine.
“I’m sure.” He whispered. “But if you’d rather wait. I understand.”
I turned to look at him, his eyes were soft and he was smiling. He meant it, he didn’t seem hurt in the slightest.
“Being with me isn’t simple Ruby. The moment the world knows you’re with me… They won’t leave you alone. It’s a big ask to expect you to be okay with that so quickly.”
I smiled and slipped my hand out from his to unclip my own seatbelt. I leaned across the seat, closing the remainder of the distance between us so that I could place a soft kiss on Tobias’ lips.
“You are an amazing man.” I whispered, searching his eyes. He fought a frown, I could see him struggling to take my compliment. I shook my head and raised my hand to his face. “Stop overthinking.” I murmured. “Someone amazing once told me that overthinking everything that happens leads to a meaningless existence.”
“He sounds wise… or like he was trying to sound wise.”
“Wise… He’s definitely wise.” I mused. “In fact. I think he’s right, let’s not overthink this. I don’t want to hide what we have Tobias.”
Tobias smiled again and nodded. “Neither do I… We’ve already been hiding it from each other for long enough.”
We separated from one another in order to climb out of the car. Tobias walked around until we stood in front of one another. He kissed me, without fear or shame in the middle of the carpark. I wasn’t sure if there was anyone else down here. But I didn’t care either. Tobias pulled back and held out his hand.
“Shall we do this Ruby Moritz?”
“I believe we shall, Tobias Clarke.”
I slipped my hand in his, and for a moment we just stood there hand in hand, watching one another. It seemed like such a small thing to do, to hold hands with the person you were with… but when the world knew Tobias as a lady killer, holding hands with a woman was major. For him, and everyone watching him. He was nervous. I could tell by the way he held onto my hand. His grip was tight, but not painful. We walked to the elevator and stopped. Tobias sucked in a deep breath and leaned forward, pressing his finger against up button.
When the doors opened the elevator was empty. We stepped inside and waited for the doors to close. The elevator began to move slowly upward, never building momentum or speed as it slowed to a stop at the first floor. My heart thumped hard against my chest. This was it, maybe this moment would pass and the revelation that Tobias Clarke and I were a couple wouldn’t be as scary as we were expecting it to be. Maybe it would be like a hollywood movie where everyone around us would nod reassuringly and start a slow clap out of nowhere.
The doors opened and I swallowed back my fear. There was no room for it right now. As if by fate the girls who I’d shared many elevator rides with, who had made snide comments since I’d started working for Tobias… who I’d raked over the coals for judging me… stood on the other side of those doors in the lobby of the building. The ring leader, the brunette looked at as both with a confused curiosity. Then, she trailed her eyes downward, settling her gaze on our locked hands. Tobias grazed my hand with his thumb, calming my nerves somewhat.
“Are you getting in?” He asked. “It’s almost 9am. Work won’t do itself.”
I bit back a smile. The girls stepped inside, facing away from us in a small half circle. I could hear hushed whispers, but I was unable to make out their words. I looked up at Tobias, who was gazing back down at me. His eyes sparkled under the soft elevator lighting, and he smiled. Suddenly I didn’t care what they were saying, and I knew he didn’t either.
The elevator slowed at the second floor, and the doors pinged open. The girls spilled out and I could feel their eyes on us, but I didn’t turn to look. Tobias leaned forward, lifting his free hand to my face.
“I love you.” He whispered under his breath.
“I love you too.”
Tobias leaned forward, and as the doors began to close our lips touched. My eyes closed as I let myself go in the moment, surrendering myself to the warmth of his touch and the softness of his kiss. The sound of the elevator doors opening brought me back to reality. We stepped back from one another. Tobias walked out first, switching the lights on in the office as he passed the switches. He held his hand out to me, and without hesitating I placed my hand in his. We walked down the corridor together, stopping beside my desk.
“I know you’re only going to be in the other room.” Tobias whispered. “But I already feel regret for the time I’ve lost when we were apart.”
I smiled and squeezed his hand gently. “Don’t feel regret. We needed that space to figure everything out. We have the rest of forever to spend together Tobias. I’m not going anywhere. I promise.”
Tobias smiled and pressed a kiss against my forehead. “Lunch at 12:30pm?”
“Count me in.”
He smiled, with a boyish innocence weaved through his face as he reluctantly released my hand. He walked toward his office, and pushed the door open before looking back at me with the same wide smile painted upon his gorgeous face.
I forced myself to work, as distracted as I was by my boss and lover. Only I’d been sitting at my desk for less than five minutes when an IM popped up on my screen. Tobias’ name flashed blue in the taskbar, teasing me like I was a donkey and he was holding a carrot dangling from a stick. I let out a soft sigh, and clicked on the message
Tobias Clarke: I was waiting for a legitimate reason to message… But I have no patience. I am mesmerised by thoughts of you and I can’t focus.
I smiled, but the smile was closely followed by a frown. I didn’t want to distract him from the work he did. He was very good at his job, but if I was hindering that, then being here wasn’t a good idea. I went to type back, only to see that he was already writing something else.
Tobias Clarke: Don’t overthink. I will be fine. Work will be fine, just in this moment… I wanted you to know you’re the only thing on my mind.
Ruby Moritz: Oh you big softy. Well, I’m pretty hung up on you right now too. One question though… I’m a thing?
Tobias didn’t reply, instead a few seconds later his door opened and he looked at me with one eyebrow raised. He leaned against the doorframe and just watched me.
“Can I help you sir?” I murmured, turning back to my screen. I pretended to type something, but truth be told I hadn’t even made it past opening my work emails.
“You’re insufferable.” he replied in mock annoyance. “I try to be romantic and you spin my words.”
“Oh, being called a thing is meant to be romantic.” I giggled.
“Ms Moritz. I think we need to discuss your insubordination. In my office…” He paused and I looked up. He had a glint in his eyes and his mouth was curved in a mischievous smile. “Now.”
I stood up and straightened my skirt. “Of course sir.” I murmured as I walked across the room and into his office.
I walked toward his desk as I heard his footsteps move a few steps. The door closed, and his footsteps continued until he was behind me. He placed his hands on my hips and pulled me into him, his arousal pressed into me and I let out a moan of approval.
“You like that do you?” He replied.
“Is that for me?”
“Baby.” He murmured. “Only for you.”
His mouth nestled into my neck, sprinkling kisses along the sensitive line. I felt the goosebumps crawl over my body as lust engulfed me. I turned around, catching his mouth with my own as I did so. Tobias’ arms wrapped around me, and he lifted me up.
Before we could get any further though there was a knock on the office door. Tobias set me down and we both straightened our clothes. He let out a strangled breath while not breaking eye contact with me.
“This isn’t over.”
“I was hoping you’d say that.” I whispered back.
He turned and walked to the door, opening it.
“Oh hey, sorry usually I’d leave the packages with Ruby, but she’s not at her desk so I thought I’d bring them to you. Some of em’ are marked urgent.” Jimmy’s voice rang through the office.
Tobias just nodded and moved out of the way of the door. “Bring them in in Jimmy.” He replied.
Jimmy’s mail trolley was first to come through the door, and then he walked through. He noticed me almost instantly. He smiled then looked back at Tobias.
“So it’s true then?” He replied.
“What’s true?” Tobias asked picking up the boxes from the trolley, transferring them to his meeting table.
“You and Ruby.” He asked, his voice became shallow as he realized who he was talking to. He sort of retreated and swallowed hard like he was afraid Tobias was going to get angry. “I’m sorry its none of my business.”
Tobias shook his head. “No it’s fine. You’re right. Actually, I hear you were a good friend to Ruby when she was messed up about me. Thank you.”
Jimmy looked at me and smiled. “I’m really happy for you both.”
“Thanks Jimmy, that means a lot.” I murmured.
Jimmy pulled the empty trolley back toward the door and exited the room. Tobias moved across the floor, shutting the door once more. He turned to look at me with a nervous smile.
“Word spread quickly then.” He noted.
“We were holding hands in the presence of perhaps the buildings biggest gossip mongers.” I smiled back at him. “But you know what. I don’t care.”
“Good.” He replied, walking back toward me, taking long confident strides. He let his hands slide around my waist and pulled me in tight. Our faces drew closer, to the point our foreheads were grazing one another, but our lips were still slight apart. “Can I kiss you now.”
“You don’t need to ask Tobias.” I pressed my lips against his. We were swept away in the moment, edging closer to falling into oblivion with one another right here and now.
We pulled away from one another, breathless from the emotionally and sexually charged moment.
“As much as I hate to suggest it. I think we should take a raincheck on sex in the office.” I whispered softly. “I have reports to type and you have a meeting… in ten minutes in fact.”
“I can be done in ten minutes.” Tobias groaned, tightening his grip on me.
I let out an amused giggle and caught Tobias’ playful eyes with my own. “I bet you could… but I don’t want to rush. I could stay over tonight… if you wanted?”
Tobias nodded and released me slightly. “I want.” He replied, nodding his head like an eager child. I smiled and stepped out of his embrace. I walked toward the door, already feeling regret for stopping an office tryst. I burned with want for him, but it was going to have to wait.
“Lunch time Ms Moritz… We’ll walk to my place. I’ll make… something.” he drawled.
I smiled and looked back at Tobias, he was watching me leave, his eyes focused on me with a hunger in them, similar to my own I imagined. I bit my lip and nodded. “Sounds perfect sir.”
I walked out of his office and back into my own.
I returned to my desk and turned on my sleeping computer screen. I had new emails. Ones from within the company from people I’d never met, and ones from media outlets. I felt my euphoria ebb as I clicked to open the emails. Luckily most of them were work related, or at least masquerading as work related. I replied answering their question in a timely manner. Then I opened one from a local newspaper and my heart sank.
Dear Ms Moritz
We’ve been informed that you and Mr clarke have entered into a relationship. If you can guarantee us exclusivity of your story, we’ll pay you for the trouble.
You can contact me on the number below.
Editor at Worthington Press.
I wasn’t sure why I was surprised. News of our relationship had already spread throughout the office. Of course someone had used that information for financial gain. I swallowed hard and forwarded the email on to Tobias.
Before lunch I managed to get through my report and Tobias held a meeting with potential clients. I was proud of our ability to focus when it was needed, but the moment he walked into my office with lust in his eyes, that focus went out the window.
“Shall we go?” He murmured.
I nodded standing up. “What about the press?”
He frowned for a moment then shrugged. “I told Joe Johnson at Worthington Press to go fuck himself.”
“You didn’t.” I let out a chuckle.
“I did.” He paused. “Was it too much?”
I smiled and placed my hand in his. “Take me home angry man.”
Tobias grinned and pulled me into him. “Mmm, I like hearing you call my apartment home…”
I blushed, it had been a freudian slip, I hadn’t meant to say it, it had just slipped out.
“Stop overthinking, I know what you meant.” Tobias kissed me. “But one day… sometime in the future I hope it’ll be true.”
“Maybe you’ll get sick of me.” I teased.
“Not. Possible.” he replied staggering his words between kisses.
Eventually we left the safety of our office made the trip in the elevator together, thankfully alone. As happy as I was for our relationship to be out in the open, I could do without the awkwardness I’d experienced earlier that morning. We stopped on the lobby floor and as the doors opened I could already see the commotion awaiting us outside the building doors.
“Holy shit.” I murmured.
“We can take the car if you want.” Tobias said softly.
I squeezed his hand and shook my head. “I’m in this for the long haul… through the thick and thin. The sooner we face the shitstorm head on, the sooner we can get on with being a normal boring couple.”
“We’ll never being boring baby.” Tobias replied.
We walked through the lobby together, holding onto each other for dear life. The moment we stepped through the doors the camera flashes flickered like crazy while deeply personal question were flown at us from every direction. It was overwhelming to say the least, but I knew it was worth it.
“I won’t be answering any questions.” Tobias said, his voice boomed over the top of the paparazzi surrounding us. “Now, if you please, I want to take my girlfriend out for lunch and you’re all in our way.”
The pap’s parted like the red sea allowing us to make our way out of the madness. Tobias had given them all a slice of what they were wanting after all.
We continued walking, and the further we got from the office, the more relaxed I felt.
“Crazy morning huh.” Tobias noted.
“You could say that.” I replied. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“You really mean that don’t you.” He spoke with surprise in his voice.
“Tobias, I love you… I want you, anyway I can have you. I don’t care about who anyone else thinks you are. I only care about you and who you are on the inside.”
Tobias stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, which caused me to stop too. I turned to look at him, his eyes were soft and slightly watery.
“I love you too.” he whispered, kissing me in the middle of the street, in full view of the wider Worthington city area.
We had so far to go, our journey had only just began but as long as we fought the waves together, I was confident we could make it through.