Lucas is stunned. And distracted. He can see clear through the sheer, wet, white shirt that hugs her body under an opened, black blazer as soon as she steps into his office.
Her hair hangs like a soaked mop, clinging to her skin and clothes, cascading over her shoulders in quiet waves, down to her waist. She battles to brush recalcitrant strands off her face. He nods, and Natasha turns to leave the office, smiling tightly in acknowledgement.
He accepts Alaine’s proffered hand. Hers is small and cold, unadorned and disappear in his much larger manicured hand. He looks down, marveling at her hand in his, and smiles infinitesimally.
She is shivering. The still conscious voice in his mind tells him he should turn up the heat in the room. It’s set to his preference. But she is wearing a lacy, black bra underneath the see through material of her shirt, which is clinging very enticingly to her skin and her nipples are beginning to pucker under it.
Lucas is driven to distraction. Sensation begins to stir in his loins but for propriety’s sake, he tries to tear his straying eyes away, to look up at her face. Maybe that is an even bigger mistake.
He knows her. It’s hard not to know her from the wedding three years ago. He’d frequented the restaurant that did the catering on so many occasions to get a glimpse of her again. He’d never been lucky. But here she is now. For once Lucas isn’t displeased with his new driver.
Those eyes had tormented him for quite some time. Her apathy toward his blatant interest in her that night had been confusing. Women generally want his attention, but she had erected impervious barriers mightier than China’s Great wall. Why is she here then? Or is she just a seasoned temptress? He doubts it.
Lucas scowls, still perplexed by her. She is beautiful, he thinks again and small, dainty. He smirks at her. She’d tried so valiantly to ignore him three years ago, yet here they are. Absently he grazes his thumb over the back of her hand for the briefest of moments. Soft, smooth skin.
“Please sit,” he says extracting his hand from her weightless grip. He keeps his voice cool. She looks nervous. He doesn’t want to spook her. She’s certainly not what or who he was expecting, but their serendipitous reunion is pleasant all the same.
As if on their own, his eyes wander back to the front of her shirt. Her breathing is slightly accelerated, a symptom of nervousness of course, but the effect on her generous exposed chest is diverting. He looks down at his tablet because to look at her face means he will keep studying it. To look at her breasts would make him the lecher that he is trying to convince himself he isn’t.
“Your outfit is very distracting, Ms...” he has no choice but to point it out. If she doesn’t cover herself they would have more of these silences and he doesn’t have the patience for it.
She glances down at herself and gasps both in shock and dismay. Her fingers fumble to close the button at the front of the blazer and she barely manages to hide how inappropriate and unwanted she finds his observation, while her cheeks colour a remarkable shade of pink.
Lucas fights to repress a smile at her discomfort and sudden awkwardness. She’d seemed so sure-footed up until this very moment. Now, her fingers have developed a tremor.
Her reaction over her appearance is perplexing considering the purpose of their little meet and greet. He can see his puzzled expression in the mirrored wall behind her. With a heavy sigh and zero understanding as to why he is doing what he is about to do, Lucas shucks off his jacket.
A desire to walk around the desk and place it over her himself is compelling, but she is now glaring at him, and he can tell that it is only for propriety’s sake that she is not telling him off. So he leans across his desk and hands it to her.
“You’re also very cold,” he adds when she straightens her shoulders and juts her chin out proudly.
She accepts his offer hesitantly, embarrassment deepening her flush. Her eyebrows draw together, but she quickly slips her hands through the sleeves.
“Thank you for this and thank you for seeing me. I know I am late and I sincerely apologize.”
Her voice is soft and harmonic, with a certain sultriness. Lucas wonders what a moan will sound like coming from her. He clears his throat with the thought, deciding to focus on his agenda with her instead. The fact that she doesn’t offer excuses is impressive.
“You’re here now.”
Lucas shrugs at her, but he knows the annoyance he feels belie the casual gesture. He is annoyed because time literally is money. Whoever coined that term must have known exactly what they were talking about. Her first interview for a job, however unconventional one might find it, and she is late. Not to mention looking like that.
He should have left her there to squirm under his scrutiny. Fastening the button on her blazer had maybe given her some sense of modesty and security but it had done little other than push her breasts closer together, causing them to crest over the top button at her opened collar and command all his blood to his groin.
He clears his throat again and shifts uncomfortably in his seat. And furthermore as an escort, she should be well accustomed to people staring at her. But all of these will remain thoughts. And what’s worse, she sits there like she doesn’t remember him.
“But you only have five minutes Ms...”
“Knight,” she interrupts eagerly, her voice shaky. “Alaine Knight.”
“Yes, Ms. Knight. Well, I’m not sure how you are going to convince me to hire you in five minutes but they say miracles can happen.”
Her face falls. “What’s the point of seeing me if there is no chance?”
Lucas quirks up an eyebrow at her. Again she surprises him. He is expecting a litany of pleas, maybe the promise of some sexual favour, which he would decline. That’s not why she is here.
She seems shy yet meets his eyes, unwavering, with those crestfallen features and he works to ignore the quelling warmth roiling in his gut.
She has a smart mouth, a pretty very pink and full smart mouth that she runs her tongue over nervously under his stare. Lucas drops his eyes instantly to open the mail Natasha sent him concerning Alaine Knight. All she’s done is sit there and she is threatening to unravel him.
“I didn’t say there was no chance, I said I might be willing to believe in a miracle.”
The sense that something is wrong sends prickles at the back of his neck as she regards him with confusion. He goes through her resume with a deepening scowl. She’d sent it in last fall. How had she not been hired? According to the document on his screen she is brilliant. It has to have been an oversight. He will see it rectified once their affiliation is ended, if she is amenable.
It is commonplace for many college girls to moonlight as escorts and strippers to make extra money, but this girl doesn’t seem at all like the seasoned escort his temporary driver implied she is. She is far too young for one, and two, she exudes virtue. The type of virtue he no longer believes exists and he is this close to turning her out.
Silence stretches between them and her expression mirrors his. Expectancy.
“Ms. Knight, have you been briefed on what is expected of you?” Lucas asks with a sense he already knows the answer.
She looks at him strangely. Her expression reminds him of those students who always blanched when the teacher announced, pop quiz.
“I’m sorry, should I have been?”
“Well my driver mentioned you, I assumed...”
An even deeper scowl knits her perfectly sculpted eyebrows together. “Your driver?” she repeats, confused. “Your assistant called me.”
Lucas pauses and lets out an exasperated breath. “Ms. Knight, Do you know why you’re here?”
“A job interview,” she says slowly to express her sudden uncertainty.
“Do you know for what job?” Lucas asks, his tone and facial expression mimicking hers.
“I applied for an entry level position as database administrator a few months ago?”
“It’s a question to which Lucas barely manages to stifle a groan.
“Yes I just read your resume which is rather impressive but irrelevant to what I am looking for.”
Her shoulders slump in defeat. “What are you looking for?”
With her eyes no longer on him, rather focused on her hands which she wrings together with nervous disappointment, Lucas is both irked and softened by the display. For some reason, he prefers her bold and defiant.
“Would you excuse me please?” he tells her. While I call and fire my driver. He leaves his chair to come around his desk and guides her to the door.
Alaine is stupefied as she is eased out of his office by a firm hand on her back. Stupefied and aghast. She leaves, tossing off his jacket, handing it roughly to the receptionist who introduced herself as Natasha earlier.
This time she no longer gapes at the opulence of the office building. She no longer sees the black and white photographs, or the intricacy and detail of the structure. She is no longer interested in the perfect modern design and furniture. She has tunnel vision which is leading her back to the elevator to make her way to the low paying job at a florist’s shop that is awaiting her.
Why had he agreed to see her if he was only going to... behave like a mad man? It takes every bit of will power not to stomp her feet and grumble like a petulant child while she waits, disappointed and seething, for the elevator.
This was supposed to be her ticket out of her shitty, poorly designed apartment. Not that she isn’t grateful for it. Who knew finding a job after graduating from college would be this hard? Alaine swallows down a groan of frustration.
The elevator doors open and she steps inside the mirrored enclosure. She sees herself and understands why he had been ′distracted’. Good God, she looks like a harlot. No wonder he kicked her out.
Unshed tears of embarrassment pool and sting her eyes, effectively blurring her vision before they spill over. She turns around as the bell dings and the doors are already closing so that she barely makes out Lucas Bright stopping just short in front of them.
She descends and rushes through the automatic doors back into the pouring rain.
“Get my driver in my office now,” he commands Natasha, from his position at the closed elevator. He doesn’t turn to look at her but he can feel her eyes on him. Always on him.
Instead he watches the numbers above the door light-up, marking Alaine Knight’s decent. They are an indication of the expanding distance developing between him and the little fairy. Unlike three years ago, he really doesn’t want to lose this opportunity to know more about her. She’s piqued his interest once again.
Lucas strides back to his office and waits impatiently. Alaine Knight. He has a name for the face now. A beautiful name befitting a beautiful creature. What else will he learn?
He straightens in his seat when his driver enters. Lucas regards him thoughtfully. So maybe he won’t fire the bloke. Not just yet.
“Mr. Knight,” Lucas says. “When you told me about your cousin, I assumed you would have told her about this assignment. But she came in today rather oblivious and it created an uncomfortable situation.”
Seth regards his boss and forces himself not to roll his eyes at his tone. “I didn’t know I had to inform her of this assignment,” he explains with a shrug. “She and I are not exactly on speaking terms.”
Lucas scoffs his disbelief at the incompetence of the man. Still, he is determined to see Alaine Knight again. “After work,” he says. “I need you to take me to her.”
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