With April’s words still lingering in my head, I grew some hope with something I wasn’t conscious yet. I met Julian by the pavement outside of April’s apartment, which surprised me he knew. He then laced our fingers in greeting. It was so sensual. We continued to hold hands as we got into the car. On the way to his apartment, he started tracing circles with his thumb on the back of my hand. It felt was so intimate my face heating up at the gesture. Whether Jeffrey noticed something from our silence or not, he kept it to himself. But I know he has own suspicion about our relationship. The man and his wife did help in moving me in with my boss. How obvious can it be?
Once we were out of public eye and in the confines of his apartment, his fingertips trailed up from my hand towards the tip of my shoulder. And slowly he trailed to my neck, making me shiver. He then guided me towards the wall by the entrance as he leaned down to trace light kisses from the tip of my shoulder to my neck, then to my mouth, making me hold my breath in anticipation.
The kiss was feverish, filled with lust and need. I had to reach around his neck to hold myself up as my knee buckled up. After he pulled away to let me breathe, he started kissing my neck again, making me sigh in content.
“You like that, huh?” he muttered in between kisses, speaking for the first time since our phone call a couple of minutes ago at April’s apartment.
Sense came back to me as I pulled away and looked at him in the eye. “If you keep on commenting all the way through this, I might not let you have round two.” I coyly threatened.
“Oh, please, I know you’ll want another round and then another…” He chuckled. From how close we still were, I could feel his body shaking in amusement.
I interjected. “Shut up.” I lightly slapped his arm. “I’m going to wash up first,” I added, slowly pulling away from him.
“Whoa, wait.” He pulled me back to his embrace when I took a step away from him. “Let’s use my room this time.” He offered.
I arched my eyebrow. A memory flash through my head of him spending nights in his room with other women. Heck! Not over two weeks ago, he had someone else in that bed with him and he had dinner with her.
I pursed my lips. “My room is closer.”
“I have a bigger bed?” he countered, trying to make his case.
“You can ravish me now if we go to my room.” I countered again.
That got him.
He grabbed my wrist and quickly guided me towards the guest room. I held back my smile at his childish response. How I’m looking at the rest of my night, I’m no saint either.
The mood next morning was palpable. After we’ve clean-up and got ready for work, I had a few minutes to make a quick egg and bacon for breakfast. I’ve finished the scramble eggs when Julian suddenly walked around me, picking on the food.
“Hey! Use a fork or spoon!” I lightly warned and slapped his arm.
His answering cheeky grin quickly subsided my irritation. I rolled my eyes and finished the bacon, flipping it on the pan.
“Did you put anything on the scrambled eggs? They taste great.” He remarked after grabbing clean plates in the cupboard and placing them on the kitchen counter side by side.
“It’s just butter. The bacon’s done,” I replied while fishing out the bacon from the pan to the empty place by the scrambled eggs. “Would you like to have some toasted bread with these?” I asked after placing the food in front of him.
“Yes, please. I’ll get your orange juice from the fridge.”
Once we’ve settled down and eaten, Julian and I were quiet for a moment before we spoke on top of each other.
“About yesterday…” He said.
“About yesterday…” I said.
We both paused and looked at each other. “Please, go ahead,” Julian said, but I said to him in chorus again. “You can go ahead.”
We stared at each other again for a moment before we started smiling and chuckling. “I think we should stop talking at the same time now.”
“Please, you can go ahead first. What do you want to ask about yesterday?” Julian asked.
I cleared my throat before speaking. “How did your dinner go with…uhm… Ms. Allen?”
“Oh! That… it was…okay. No. It went fine. I told her clearly was our relationship stands. And it’s over between us. I admitted I have been immature how I handle it wrong by ending it without talking to her properly, which she liked hearing by the way.” He snorted.
“And she didn’t flip out?” I arched my eyebrow in wonder.
“I know you’re apprehensive after her action in the office a couple of days ago. But she was calm last night. And we talked to like adults, as you’ve advised. If I knew it would have been like this than going through this mess, I should have done it before.” He confidently stated.
I studied his expression for a moment. “She slapped you, didn’t she?”
Finally, he cracked. “Yup.”
“Yeah. I was wondering since last night how you got that small cut by your upper cheek.” I pointed out lightly, but somehow I felt defensive seeing him hurt.
“What?” he asked in confusion, caressing his cheeks until he felt the wound. He finch at the contact. “I didn’t know that was there.”
“Don’t you look at yourself in the mirror this morning?” I wondered.
He looked unsure. “Not really?”
“Let me finish my meal and I’ll get you something for that.”
“It’s not that bad. I’m good.”
“People might ask when they’ll see you later in the office.”
“Let them wonder.” He wiggled his eyebrow suggestively.
I rolled my eyes and started eating again.
It was then Julian cued himself to ask his question. “About yesterday, I know I interrupted your night with your friend…”
“No need to apologize. You did ask. I did go with you.” I interjected.
Julian regarded me for another moment before his cunning smile returned. “And you couldn’t resist not going with me, could you?”
“Don’t push it.” I scoffed before getting up and headed to the sink to clean up.
His echoing laugh subsided my annoyance at his cocky reply. Secretly, I found myself smiling at the sound.
We were cutting it close when Jeffrey arrived at the apartment to pick us up. By the time we’ve arrived, we couldn’t make a quick trip to our respected office and desk and headed towards the conference room for his first-morning meeting with the Marketing department. And knowing who run it, I nearly forgot to be on my toes when Julian and I interacted too familiar.
My first mistake was letting me carry everything, including my satchel. Since we were nearly running after getting off the elevator, Julian had grabbed everything off my hands as a helping hand. When we entered the already seated members of the marketing team, including his sister-in-law (who I’m sure was still suspicious about our relationship), was a shock at the sight. Their stare was filled with curiosity and some judgment as Julian placed my satchel and his briefcase on the table in front of me. I hesitated for a moment but ultimately grabbed my things. I had my laptop there and it’s where I take note during meetings.
The second mistake was entirely Julian’s making this time. Kyla was discussing her presentation on how to improve the company’s brand value. The room had her attention entirely until he spoke. Well, more like talking to me.
“Zoey, do I have anything scheduled for tonight?” Though he did his best to whisper, his voice bounced around the room, turning people’s head in our direction.
I pursed my lips as Kyla noticed as well. She wasn’t being subtle about it as well as she held my eyes and arched her eyebrow. Feeling like Julian’s question was irrelevant as of the moment, I cleared my throat and spoke in his behalf.
“Sorry for interrupting, Mrs. Hawksley. Please continue.”
“Right…” Kyla looked hesitant as she regarded us. When Julian gestured for her to continue, she turned towards the screen and started from where she left off.
The meeting ended lasted longer than planned. When we walked out of the conference room, my heart was pounding, waiting for Kyla to ambush us again. However, that wasn’t the case at all. I was hesitant walking out of the conference room at the same time as Julian, but he wasn’t in the same consciousness as I am. Julian yet again got my satchel from me as I gathered again the papers, putting them back in the folders and envelops. My eyes were in high alert scanning the clear glass wall separating us from the open work area. In fear of being caught in another gossip-worthy act, I tugged my satchel from his hand while carrying the pile of folders and envelops on my left.
“What are you doing? I’ll carry this for you.” He finally said as he kept a grip on the strap.
“No. What are you doing? I can’t let you carry my things for me, Mr. Hawksley. That’s my job.” I whispered strongly, trying to keep my facial expression as calm as possible.
Julian arched his eyebrow, understanding my strained hostility. “Why are you angry at me? I’m trying to help here.”
“Well, you’re not. I don’t want people to get any ideas. And you carrying my things gives them ideas.” I retorted.
“What kind of ideas would that be?”
“You know what I mean, Mr. Hawksley.”
“Well, Kyla didn’t think so. She didn’t say anything.” He argued back.
“And you think it’s not suspicious? Remember how she over-reacted last time?” I snorted.
“No, I’m not. As you’ve seen first-hand, my sister-in-law has a straightforward approach in dealing with things.”
I pursed my lips, not buying his words. “Still, let’s not add more fuel to the fire. I don’t want to get burnt.” I drying said before tugging the satchel a bit harder one last time, finally getting it out of Julian’s hands.
After that short banter, which made me a bit guilty, Julian and I were back with our business approach around each other. I know it was the right thing to do, however, my heart was telling me otherwise. Halfway through the day, my wandering eyes – which I follow Julian these days – noticed Julian got up while still talking to his phone. I straightened myself in my seat, waiting for him to pass by to give me some sort of order, but instead, he hurriedly left without a single glance my way.
I felt my heart drop and fell apart at the sight of him walking further and further away from me. Not able to process what I’m feeling, I turned back to my computer monitor then lightly slammed my head on my desk in frustration.
“God, damn it. I’m an idiot.” I muttered softly to myself and groaned.
I jolted back up as someone knocked on my desk counter. And there with his cheekily smug smile was the cause of my distress a few seconds ago.
“I take that you’re sorry about what you did this morning.” He whispered softly, his eye briefly studying the loud chatters of our colleagues.
“You’re trying the make a point here, aren’t you? Just go on with it.” I sighed and gestured for him to continue.
His smile wider and chuckled. “I’m not. I’m sorry for being haughty. It wasn’t my intention.”
“And what was your intention?”
“For you to see it my way.”
“You know what I mean, Zoey.”
I heart skip a beat as he said my name.
I cleared my throat and kept it cool. “No. I don’t get what you mean.”
He arched his eyebrow in challenge. “Are you really making me say it first?”
“From how you planned this conversation to go, and my stubbornness, you know this might not end well for you,” I commented while trying to keep a straight face.
He leaned forward, his necktie dangling over my computer monitor. “Wow, Curtis. Geez, you’re tough as rocks. Okay, okay. I get it. I’ll be the better man and say it first. Do you want me to scream it out loud for you as well?” He lightly threatened.
Julian didn’t give me a moment to think to react as he slowly moved away. Scared of what he might do, I tugged his necktie to make him lean closer. I could feel his hot breath tickling my cheeks. And for a second, I got to see close-up the color of his eyes. There was a hint of green to it, which was unexpected.
Lost in the moment, I didn’t think about appearances as long as people didn’t hear us admit it out loud. I’m not sure if my heart was ready for it. And thanks to my reckless reaction, Kyla, and her secretary, Rhea was walking in our direction and saw the whole thing. Whatever expression and suspicions she had since out last small slip, she wasn’t hiding it anymore. Hearing them clearing their throat in unison snapped Julian and me in our trance, making us aware of what just happened.
I feel my face heat up in embarrassment as Julian coolly rearranged his tie while casually leaning by my desk counter. “Oh, Kyla. Do you need something from me? I thought I already told you to go ahead to our lunch meeting with Jensen.” He informed casually like nothing happened.
“I was going to head out. But I don’t want Dante to make the trip here since he’s picking up Jensen for a meeting. I thought we should just go together.” Kyla calmly replied, but the sparkle and amusement in her eyes were there.
“Right. Okay. Then, let’s get going. I don’t want him ordering my food for me.” Julian clasped his hand together like he was ready for something. And I’m sure he’s going to take heat for this.
“Isn’t Zoey’s going with us?” Kyla inquired as she peering around Julian, who was guiding slowly guiding her in the other direction.
“No. She has plans already. I asked.” Julian replied.
“Are you sure?” Kyla pressed.
“Do you want to have…” Kyla was about to ask me but stopped short when she saw an incoming call from her phone. She gave me a brief wave before allowing Julian to guide her to the elevator.
When I thought I’m out of the line of fire for a while longer, Rhea walked up to my desk with a beaming smile. My heart sank again in worry of what she was going to ask. I don’t know how much imaginary heart attack I could stomach. Yet Rhea’s approach caught me by surprise.
“I know you don’t want to talk about it, Zoey. Especially with someone who you aren’t close with. But a word of advice from someone who had witness first-hand how a Hawksley works around swaying a woman they are interested in, you need more than sheer will and guts to make it work, particularly with Julian Hawksley.”
“Eh, thank you?”
“Don’t worry. Kyla and I are rooting for you.” She whispered happily, giving me a thumbs up before making her way back to her desk.
I don’t know whether that’s comforting or not. But one thing for sure, I have feelings for Julian.
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