After what had happened in the office on Saturday night, I knew just saying yes was a bad idea. I was already thinking about him and that kiss more than I cared to admit. Being his date seemed to be asking for trouble. I stared at the email for well over five minutes, unable to say yes, and unable to say no.
Finally I sighed and hit reply.
Just this once. Yes.
Tobias replied and told me that we’d head out after work to pick something for the event. I didn’t argue, there seemed to be no point. Tobias had a way of getting what he wanted, and I was seemingly powerless to stop my own attraction.
I closed off my work computer when 5pm rolled around. Tobias walked out of his office and pointed to the laptop and phone he had forced upon me.
“You need help with those?”
I smiled, and nodded. “How chivalrous of you.” I teased. He scowled at my words, but picked up the items anyway. We walked to the elevator and stepped inside. Thankfully the elevator went straight down to the parking garage. Facing the girls and their school yard like nonsense again wasn’t something I wanted… or needed.
We walked out once the doors popped open and I followed Tobias to his car. He placed the new computer and phone in the back seat before sitting down in his seat. I stood there for a moment, contemplating what I was doing. Everything inside me screamed to run, not because I was scared of Tobias, but because I was scared of my sudden and unexpected growing feelings for the man. Ever since he had fought Ben off, and then after he kissed me. Something had started, something small but certainly there.
“You coming?” He questioned, his tone impatient.
I looked at him, his face matched his tone. I forced myself to focus on the task at hand, even if it was a ridiculous task. I sat down and pulled the seatbelt across my body, pushing it down into place.
“Sorry.” I murmured. “A lot on my mind.”
The car started and Tobias reversed out of the park. He didn’t speak again, and our car ride was silent as a result. We were driving for five minutes before Tobias pulled into a park outside of Klaus. I looked at him and shook my head.
“I’m not wearing Klaus.” I whispered.
Klaus was expensive… too expensive.
“Maybe not, but we’ll see.” He noted as he turned the car off.
“Tobias, the dresses here cost more than I’ve ever earned working.” I frowned.
“Well, I think I can afford it, so don’t worry.”
I folded my arms across my chest and shook my head. “No way.”
Tobias let out a sigh and unclipped his seatbelt. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed his head drop forward, his hair dropped with it, and for a moment he looked relaxed, like he had in the office a few days prior.
“Look, give the place a chance. If we don’t find anything you like. We’ll go somewhere of your choosing.” He paused and opened the car door. “Within reason.”
“Fine.” I mumbled. “I’ll make sure I don’t like anything then.”
I got out of the car and followed Tobias into the store. Almost instantly 3 attendants flocked to him, batting their eyelids and flipping their hair in almost too obvious attempts to get his attention. I looked around, amazed at how beautiful some of the dresses were. Pretending to dislike them was going to be difficult.
“How can we help you Mr Clarke.” One of the girls said in a soft sultry voice. She was wearing a sundress, but it looked like a long singlet, one I wasn’t sure would cover much if she had to bend over.
“I need you to find a ball dress for my friend.” He replied, pointing at me. As soon as he finished speaking all eyes were on me, and I suddenly felt like the most awkward person on the face of the earth. But none of that mattered, he hadn’t referred to me as his PA, he had called me a friend.
The girl in the long singlet walked around Tobias, accidentally on purpose brushing his hand as she did so. He almost jumped back, and his face tightened. I tilted my head, watching him. Her touch had bothered him, but I wasn’t sure why.
“I think we can work with this.” She said dryly. “Rosa, can you get the mint green ball gown and the teal…..” She looked me up and down and nodded. “And get the pale pink lace number that came in today. It might be a bit bridal for a ball… but it’ll look amazing on her.”
The girl whose name was Rosa nodded and disappeared. The other girl seemingly knew what she had to do, and disappeared in the other direction.
Long singlet girl looped her arm through mine and lead me to the back of the store. “Lucky girl.” She whispered. “Mr Clarke is such a fox.”
I went to say he was my boss, but before I could Tobias cleared his throat.
“Okay, well you head in there.” She pointed me to a changing room, if you could call it that. In actual fact it was a cubicle, with soft blue satin curtains to block the outside world from seeing in. “Strip down to your panties.” she noted.
My face flushed, talking about my undergarments in the presence of my boss, especially considering what had already happened between us seemed almost awkward. so I just nodded and walked into the cubicle. I stripped down, removing all clothes bar my panties as requested. The first two dresses handed to me were okay. They fit well, and they looked ok, but the astronomical pricing meant I couldn’t bring myself to like either. I had shown Tobias, and even he hadn’t seemed swayed. Finally the girl placed the final dress through the curtain. It was pale pink and delicate and beautiful, and also completely unlike me in almost everyway. It was intricate, the lace on the bodice was amazing to look at. She was right, it was almost bridal, but as I slipped it on a warmth washed over me. I had promised myself not to like anything in the store, but I liked this. It hugged my torso, like a second lacy skin, flaring out softly until it hit the floor. My back was almost completely exposed, but I didn’t care.
I pulled the curtain back and stepped out of the room. Long singlet girl smiled widely and nodded before walking forward. She reached up and pulled the clip from my hair, letting it fall freely on my shoulders. I looked at Tobias, his eyes glistened and his mouth opened slightly. He stood up and nodded.
“That’s the one.” He said without hesitating.
I frowned. I wasn’t supposed to like anything. “I don’t like it.” I lied.
“To hell you don’t.” He replied.
“I’m not a pink lace type of girl.” I spat back. A smirk crossed his face.
“That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest Ruby.” He walked over to me, and his presence cause singlet girl to back away. His smirk stayed glued on his face. “Look me in the eyes and tell me you don’t like the dress… and if I believe you we’ll leave.”
I smiled back at him, ready for the challenge. I opened my mouth and kept my eyes locked on his. “I don’t like this dress.” I said sternly.
He shook his head. “You’re lying.” He chuckled, which almost made me lose resolve. I like seeing the lighter side of him.
“How do you figure that?” I replied, grasping onto my fake disapproval of the dress.
“You’re trying too hard to convince me.” He murmured. “We’ll take the dress.”
“No we won’t.” I retorted.
“Yes. and some shoes to match. Quickly Ms Moritz, I have a dinner to attend tonight.”
I sighed. Again he had won. I walked back into the changing room and changed. I wanted my bed, netflix and dinner, giving in meant I could go home and enjoy all of that sooner. I took the dress off and spied a glance at the price tag. The numbers stood out like a neon sign, it was worth more than everything I’d ever owned. It was one hundred thousand dollars worth of material, and despite how beautiful it was I couldn’t justify it’s cost. I struggled to gather my composure as I stepped back from the dress that could quite possibly act as a deposit on a house. I hated that it still looked so beautiful and I hated that I still loved it.
I pulled my clothes back on and walked out of the changing room, leaving the dress behind on the hanger.
“The dress Ruby?” Tobias drawled, looking less than impressed.
“It’s too expensive.” I replied.
“I don’t care.” He replied. “We’re getting it. End of.”
I frowned and folded my arms across my chest. I wasn’t going to get my way, he was too stubborn and too used to winning for that to happen.
“Fine.” I smirked, thinking of a way I could win. “But once the ball is over, I want to donate the dress to a women’s shelter.”
Tobias smiled and nodded. “It’s your dress, you can do with it what you like.”
Singlet girl retrieved the dress from the changing room and walked past Tobias with it. He followed her. I knew he had thought he’d won, but I took it as a victory of my own. That amount of money could do so much good for people looking to start again. I walked out into the main shop area. Tobias was at the counter paying. Rosa handed Tobias a box with the dress in it and another with shoes. He turned to look at me and nodded. “Let’s go.”
I nodded, eager to get home and relax. Once we were back in the car and my seatbelt was on Tobias looked at the clock.
“Shit.” He mumbled.
“Something bothering you sir?”
“I’m late. My dinner is in ten minutes.”
“I’ll walk from wherever you have to go.” I offered, we were still in the city after all.
“With all of that.” he mused pointing to the items in the back.
“Drop them off later.” I suggested.
He nodded and started the car. “It’s a work dinner.” He explained. “One josanna made before she left. In regards to being the lead PR and marketing for Louisa taylor.”
“The supermodel.” I spat out… Louisa was gorgeous, actually gorgeous was an understatement. She oozed beauty like she needed it to breath.
“Yes.” He replied.
A pang of jealousy stung my insides. He was going to dinner with the world’s number one supermodel. No wonder our kiss was nothing to him.
“Maybe you should have asked her to be your date.” I replied.
“She’s a busy woman, I doubt she’d have the time.”
“Are you saying I have no life?”
“No Ruby, but not many women would say yes to going as my date without an ulterior motive. You’re my PA… your only motive is keeping your job.”
I frowned, that wasn’t 100% true. I was curious about going, curious about what it would be like. I had missed my own high school prom so that part of me wanted to find out… but most of all, I was curious about Tobias. I wanted to know him better, I wanted him to let me in.
Tobias pulled up outside a restaurant, he turned to me and spoke. “I’ll stop by after I finish. Should be around 8pm.”
“Alright.” I replied as I opened the door and got out of the car.
It took me 15 minutes to walk to my apartment building. The streets were full of people doing the same thing as me, just trying to get home. It has been a strange day, hell my days had been strange ever since I’d taken the job as Tobias’ PA. I walked into the elevator in my building and rode up to my floor. Once I was inside I made chicken chasseur for dinner then sat down to eat it while watch some old rerun on TV. around 7pm I showered and changed into sweatpants and a singlet. Tobias would be by soon, but I had to remind myself, he wasn’t coming to see me. He was coming to drop things off.
Around 7:50 the security guard called to advise I had a visitor. Once Tobias had identified himself I gave him the ok to head up. He knocked on the door a few minutes later and I checked the peephole before opening the door.
“You own the place, and the guard still checks you?” I mused.
Tobias nodded, walking into the apartment with the dress and shoe box, as well as the laptop and phone. He placed the items down on the dining table and turned around.
“He wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t.” He replied.
“Well thank you for dropping those off.” I smiled pointing to the boxes on the table. “How was your dinner?”
Tobias shrugged, but he was smirking too so I couldn’t read him at all. He shoved his hands in his pockets. “Productive.” He said dryly.
What did he mean by productive? The green monster inside me flared. I held back a frown, aware I didn’t have the right to be jealous. Besides, Tobias was an unsolvable puzzle, clearly messed up in one way or another and I had learnt not to chase boys with issues. Ben was a prime example of what I needed to avoid.
“Is the apartment up to standard?” Tobias asked glancing around.
“Yes. It’s amazing. Thank you.” I replied instantly. The apartment was more than up to standard, and I still wasn’t comfortable not paying rent to live in it, but I’d also learnt not to argue with Tobias.
“Good. Well. I should go then. See you at work tomorrow Ruby.” He walked over to the door and placed his fingers around the handle. A pain, a confusing pain filled my chest as I watched him prepare to leave. I didn’t want him to go...
“Goodbye Tobias.” I whispered, struggling to hide my confusion.
Tobias turned around and looked at me, his fingers slid off the door handle. His jaw was clenched and I could tell he was fighting something inside his head. His eyes betrayed the intensity in his face, they were soft, inviting and I couldn’t look away.
I tried not to think of the other night in his office, the way the kiss had felt, and how I had felt ever since but as he stood there all I could think about was kissing him again.
He stepped forward, closing the distance between us until we were almost touching.
“I shouldn’t have come here.” He muttered, looking down to the side and away from me.
“Why?” I found myself asking, even though I was pretty sure I knew the answer.
His eyes trailed up my body until the rested on mine once more. He smiled slightly and lifted his hand to my face. “Because I’m no good for you.” he whispered sadly. “I’m no good for anyone.”
I went to speak, to tell him that I would be the judge of that, but before I could he tore himself away from me and walked over to the door, leaving without saying another word.
I was winded by his rejection, but none of that mattered when I could see him drowning in his own self doubt.