“I’ve cleared your schedule for the afternoon.” I murmured, walking with the large cup of hot coffee through Tobias’ office. Although I suspected a large glass of whiskey would have more to his preference.
“You didn’t have to.” He murmured. I placed the cup down on a coaster before kneeling down beside him. I lifted my hands to his face and tilted his head toward me. Even though he’d come out of his funk somewhat, it was obvious something was still bothering him. I shook my head and kissed him softly on the mouth.
“You only had a teleconference booked for 2pm anyway.” I replied pulling back. “We could head home. We could watch a Tarantino film and eat pizza.”
Tobias’ eyes lit up for a moment, but it was fleeting. He turned his head, looking back at his computer screen.
“As tempting as that sounds, I have other work to attend to.” he replied monotonously.
I frowned and stood up. “I’m in the other room if you need me.”
Tobias didn’t speak again until I reached the door. He let out a labored sigh then called my name so quiet it was little more than a whisper.
“What constitutes a need.”
I turned around and felt my face soften. “Anything.”
“I always need you. I needed you before we met only I didn’t know it.” He smiled.
I walked back toward his desk and sat down on the chair opposite him.
“I was scared.” He whispered. “Not because I even thought for a second it was possible I was her child’s father… but scared that I could be any child’s father.”
“You don’t think you’d be a good father?” I asked softly, aware that this was probably something Tobias was meant to discuss with Doctor Gertison, but unable to walk away when he needed me.
“I don’t want to find out.” He replied. “I don’t want to risk fucking up another human’s life.”
I felt my brow narrow, and I pursed my mouth. Tobias and I had only been together a few months, and children weren’t on my radar… yet. I still wanted to have them, to be a parent to raise a child the way my parents had raised me. I swallowed hard and licked my lower lip.
“I think you should talk to Gert about this.” I murmured.
Tobias’ face dropped and his eyes went dull. He nodded slowly and looked down at his desk. “I should get back to work.” he murmured.
I nodded and stood up. I was suddenly filled with confusion, it wasn’t the first time Tobias and I had thought differently about a topic, and I was sure it wouldn’t be the last… but this was different, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.
I left Tobias’ office and sat back down at my own desk. I was staring at the screen when the elevator doors pinged open. I looked up at a smiling Jimmy who was waltzing down the corridor holding a small box.
“Morning Jimmy.” I murmured, my voice quiet. He frowned and tilted his head.
“Morning… You okay? You seem kind of… down.”
“I’m okay.” I lied. “Is that for Tobias?” If the delivery had been anyone other than Jimmy I’d have referred to Tobias as Mr Clarke, but after everything that had happened before Tobias declared his love, we’d all sort of become friends… even if Tobias still exhibited jealous tendencies now and again.
“Yeah.” he mused.
“Thanks, I’ll make sure that he gets it.” I smiled.
“You have plans for lunch?” He asked.
I shook my head. I wasn’t sure Tobias was in the right frame of mood for company but I was, and I needed distraction.
“Well it’s settled then, I’ll come get you around 12 okay?”
I nodded and Jimmy left. I looked over at Tobias’ office, I frowned as I stood up and walked the ten or so steps it took to get to his door. I knocked, but he didn’t reply. I pushed the door open anyway. He was standing by the window, talking on the phone. His voice was so low I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I cleared my throat, which garnered his attention. He turned to look at me, his face blank. I held up the package, and he returned a semi interested response, pointing to his desk before returning his attention to the phone call.
I walked across the floor and placed the package down on Tobias’ desk. I slipped out of the office without another word.
I sat down at my desk and tried to focus on work but it was futile. I opened up the chat box and stared at Tobias name. I typed and backspaced various messages, unsure of exactly what to say.
I’m heading out to lunch with Jimmy at 12. I love you - Ruby
I stared at the message for the longest time, waiting for a reply. Finally after five minutes he began typing back.
Have fun. You can finish for the day at lunch time. I made an appointment with Gert. - Tobias
Okay. I’ll see you at home after then? - Ruby
Home… I like it when you say that. Yes, I’ll be back after 3. - Tobias.
I smiled and closed down the chat box. So Tobias still wanted me to move in, which meant we were okay. Everything else would sort itself out, it had to.
Jimmy came back up to the office just before 12. He smiled at me as he reached my desk.
“Ready to eat?” He asked.
I nodded, but my appetite wasn’t really there. This morning had been more than eventful and coupled with the events of last night I felt more like drinking an absurdly large glass of wine than eating. I stood up anyway after shutting down my computer.
“Tobias is finishing early, so I’m heading home after lunch.” I murmured picking up my bag.
“Lucky.” Jimmy replied. “I’ve still got a pile of letters to go through before I can call it a day.”
Tobias office doors opened, I turned my gaze toward him. He looked nervous, a mere shadow of the burly figure almost everyone else was use to, only right now it wasn’t in a good way. He looked at me, and tried to smile but failed before tilting his head slightly to look at Jimmy.
“I want you to finish early as well and escort Ruby to my apartment… and stay there until I return. I’ll pay you as normal of course.” He exclaimed.
“Uh… sure.” Jimmy exclaimed, confusion clearly evident in his voice.
“Is everything okay?” I whispered.
Tobias nodded, returning his gaze to mine. “I just want to make sure you’re safe. Let me make sure you get home okay… please.”
“Okay.” I smiled. Tobias nodded once, plastered on a grim smile then retreated back into his office. Once the door was closed Jimmy leaned across the desk.
“He seems conflicted.” He whispered. “Well, more so than usual.”
“He is.” I replied sadly. “But it’ll be okay.”
I walked around the desk and followed Jimmy down the corridor. We stopped on his floor so he could grab his bag and jacket then rode the elevator down to the lobby. The city was full of its usual hustle and bustle, only something about it seemed off.
I turned to jimmy and whispered. “Do you mind if we just head to Tobias’ apartment. I’ve got a weird feeling. We’ve got leftover lasagna in the fridge. Tobias made it, I’ll heat it up okay?”
“Sure.” Jimmy exclaimed. “I’ll hail a cab. Okay?”
I nodded, normally I’d have walked, Tobias apartment was only a few block down the road, A short walk would have us there in no time, but I felt like I was being watched, maybe Tobias was right to be as afraid as he was.
Jimmy hailed a cab and within a few minutes we were within the safety confines of the cab. Jimmy gave the driver the address and we began moving.
“I didn’t know you knew Tobias’ address.” I whispered.
“I work in the mail room Ruby. It’s my job to know the bosses addresses.” he laughed.
I nodded and looked out the window at the people as we drove by.
When the car pulled up outside Tobias’ apartment I paid the fare and we hopped out.
Once we were inside the apartment Jimmy let out a long sigh. He walked across the floor and stopped by the windows in the living room. The skyline was particularly beautiful from Tobias’ apartment, and it seemed that fact wasn’t lost on Jimmy.
“Yep, this place puts mine to shame.” He replied. “My whole apartment is about the size of the kitchen.”
I walked across the floor into the kitchen and opened the fridge. I grabbed the tupperware container with the leftovers in it out and turned around, placing it on the island in the middle of the kitchen.
“Well my apartment will be coming up for lease. I could put a good word in.” I grinned.
Jimmy spun around, his eyes were wide and the surprise was clearly evident.
“You’re moving in here?”
I nodded, and bit my lip. “He asked me last night… before…” I stopped and opened the container.
“Just some A hole wrote a shitty article about me. It was all lies. Anyway Yeah. I’m moving in. So you can have my place.”
“In case you forgot, I’m a mail boy. My income wouldn’t even cover the cost of walking into your apartment.”
I rolled my eyes and placed the lasagna onto a plate. I put it in the microwave and nuked it for a few minutes.
“Tobias owns the place and you’re our friend. I’ll talk to him. Okay?”
Jimmy walked toward the kitchen and smiled. “You’d do that for me?”
“Of course.” I smiled. “Now, how do you like tarantino?”
Just after 2pm, one lasagna and a classic tarantino later the door opened. I stood up to face Tobias who walked in, looking surprising lighter than he had only a few hours before. He placed his suit jacket and satchel on the chair before walking over to me. He leaned down and pressed a kiss against my forehead.
“Thanks for keeping her safe.” Tobias said standing up again. “It means a lot.”
“No probs.” jimmy replied. “I should probably get going and let you guys have some alone time.”
“Don’t rush off on my account.” Tobias replied.
“I’m not. Promise.” Jimmy laughed. “But since I finished early I was kinda hoping to get a few laps in down at the pool.”
“You swim?” I replied, surprised about this new revelation from my friend.
“Clears my head.” He explained. “Mom and dad are on my back yet again about my future.”
“Oh.” i remarked. “Well, you’ll figure it out Jimmy. And while you figure it out, you may as well live in comfort.”
I looked up at Tobias, who glanced down at me almost instantly figuring out what I meant he smiled and nodded. “Yeah. Actually. Saves me finding someone to take the place.”
“I couldn’t afford it.”
Tobias lifted his hands and shook his head. “No, it’ll be free.” He remarked, as the cogs turned in his head. “If you’d be happy to take on another job.”
Jimmy cocked his head as his face clouded with confusion. “I’m listening.”
“I’ll schedule a meeting with you tomorrow to go over it.”
“Okay, well I’ll keep an open mind.” He murmured. “Cos truth be told, my apartment is a dive.”
Jimmy left shortly after, and Tobias sat down in his spot on the sofa. He held out his hands, and I slipped mine inside of them.
“So what’s this other job?”
Tobias shook his head. “Let’s not talk about work.” he leaned in pressing his lips against mine. “I need you.” He whispered. “In my bed.”
His tongue touched mine, as his lips curved against my mouth. “Now.”