Skin of the Night

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Chapter 43: All Yours

It was nearly five o’clock when my desk received a call from none other than my boss. I hadn’t seen him since this morning, and frankly, I hadn’t expected to hear from him before I left either. It was more than obvious that he’d had plenty on his plate today, busy man that he was.

“Yes?” I answered with a professional tone.

“Are you leaving at five?” he asked, ever to-the-point.

“Yes?” I repeated. Did he need to me to stay longer?

“Postpone that by twenty minutes. I’ll be finished by then, so we can leave together.”

My heart clenched in my chest. Leave together? Did we have plans?

“Um, why?” I enquired bewildered.

“Why what?”

“Why should I wait for that? We don’t have plans,” I mumbled and sensed Ellie grin beside me, clearly eavesdropping.

“We do now,” he retorted. Feisty.

“I’ve got to hit the gym with Jason today. Unless you actually need me for work, I’m-”

“I’ll give you a work-out, Cara,” he interrupted, and sexual amusement latched onto his voice.

I blushed profusely and planted my hot face in the palm of my hand. This man. “One second,” I said and hung up on him. There wasn’t a chance that I was having this conversation in front of Elisabeth. Pushing my seat out, I approached his office, rigid. Meanwhile, I reminded myself to hold onto my strength. I knew full well that he was no man to underestimate.

After paying his door two knocks, I turned the handle and peeked inside. I found him buried behind piles of paper. Plenty of them lay scattered across the floor, and I realised he’d been working from it. He must have returned to his chair only to phone me. Christ.

After observing the chaos for another second, I directed my eyes to his. My heart plummeted upon the sight. While William was always a sight to behold, the look of him right then took my breath away for an entirely different reason to normal. He looked proper sleep-deprived, and it drenched me in guilt. Pale-faced and battered, he studied me with a crestfallen drive in his eyes. It was striking, for all the wrong reasons.

“Christ, Will. You need your bed,” I remarked as I closed the door behind me.

He tossed his head back, groaned, and spread his arms apart. “Come here, you.”

My blood tickled in my veins upon his unexpectedly sweet command. He had sounded as though my company could restore him to strong spirits. With a faint pink in my cheeks, I hesitantly approached. I stopped when I stood in front of him, something he obviously disapproved of, because he arched his brow at me, unimpressed.

“Nearly there, sweetheart,” he teased and reached forward to grab my wrist. He tugged me toward him with such force that I fell into his lap with a squeal. Closing his strong arms around me, he buried his nose in my hair and inhaled deep into his lungs.

“Mm. Thank you,” he purred and squeezed me against him. Speechless, I stared wide-eyed and blankly ahead of myself. As he removed one arm from around me to brush my hair away from my neck, he said, “Wait a few minutes, Cara. I’ve barely seen you today.” I felt his warm lips meet with the skin now exposed to him, and I melted into his embrace.

“Well, you’ve had a lot on your plate. I really don’t think you should be doing anything other than sleeping when you leave the office. You resemble a ghost,” I argued dispassionately.

“A ghost?” The breath of his chuckle flirted with my skin.

I turned around in his hold to grant him a coy smile. “A handsome ghost.”

He chuckled again and ran his nose across the tip of mine. “I can sleep when I’m dead. Besides, you revive me.”

I rolled my eyes at him. “William, like I said, I’ve got plans with your brother.”

He sighed and reached for the black telephone of his desk. After dialling a number, he lifted the handset to his ear and studied me impassively. Meanwhile, I resorted to frowning at him. What was he doing?

“Hi, Jason, it’s Will. Cara can’t make it to the gym today.”

“William!” I snapped annoyed. He was so bloody domineering. I was about to continue my protest when he lifted his hand to wrap it over my mouth.

“She’s very sorry, but I’m not giving her much choice... Sure, I’ll tell her. Bye,” he said and returned the handset to its resting place. I was glaring at him, but he glared straight back.

“Are you going to shout if I remove my hand?” he asked. I slapped his arm and mumbled ‘Fuck you!’ into his palm, but it wasn’t comprehendible even to my ears.

He sighed again. “Right. Don’t shout, yeah? You’d regret it more than I will if anybody hears us.” Though his hand did slide away from covering my mouth, he didn’t remove it. Instead, he squeezed my cheeks together and grinned at me.

“You’re adorable,” he belittled me.

“You’re infuriating!” I scolded through my jutting lips. Alas, that only made him laugh. Hard, too.

“Sorry. There’s no way I can take you seriously like that,” he replied through his sincere laughter. I grabbed hold of his wrist and jerked his hand away, but when I moved to escape his lap, he reacted by hooking both his arms around me.

“Let me go!” I growled and clawed into his arms. “You can’t control me like that! I wanted to go to the gym!”

“That’s not what you said. You said you had plans with Jason. I got them cancelled. You didn’t argue that you wanted to go. If going to the gym was that important to you, why did you make Jason your excuse? You’re only throwing a fit right now because you feel overruled.”

He was maddening. And worse was it that he was completely right. Whirling around, I glowered at him. But he shocked me when he leaned in and pressed his mouth to mine. Grabbing hold of my head, he held me to him while he moved to possess my mouth just the way he possessed my heart. Helpless against his power over me, I softened into his expert kiss and surrendered to his dominance.

The tip of his tongue teased the lining of my lower lip, seeking to explore what belonged so utterly to him, even if I hadn’t fully admitted it to myself yet. Nevertheless, his kiss obliterated my defences, so I opened my mouth and felt the delectable flavour of him explode within.

“Mm,” I groaned and cupped his sharp jaw in my hands. The stubble of it prickled against my palms while I felt it move beneath my firm hold of it. Meanwhile, his right hand dared its way down my waist toward the apex of my thighs. Beneath my bum, I felt his erection grow and strain against the fabric separating our flesh from meeting. The sensation of it aroused me like no other. Knowing what pleasures he could provide, I groaned again and felt my face flush. Lewd as he was, he was intoxicating.

In that moment, he had me completely spellbound. Easily, he could have had his way with me right then and there. Denying him simply didn’t seem possible. But a knock on the door became my rescue. Leaping out of his embrace, I rushed to wipe my mouth and steady my erratic breath. My pulse hit the roof when William groaned and glared at the door.

“Yes?” he grumbled.

In stepped John, and my heart caught in my throat upon the sight of him. Jesus Christ, if he hadn’t knocked, I’d be in tremendous trouble.

“Cara,” he greeted me through a delightful smile. “I’m glad I found you here. I meant to ask you this morning, but it slipped my mind: how is everything going for you?”

“Well, sir,” I replied composed. “I love it here.”

His smile became a grin. “Splendid. And there’s no need for ’sir’s, Cara. In any case, I trust Will’s been treating you well?”

Too well.

“Everyone has,” I assured him with a nod of my head.

“Good. I invited Jason for dinner this Sunday. I told him to bring you along. I do hope you’re available.”

“Right. I was just about to tell her that,” William murmured and looked up at me. “Jason told me over the phone a second ago.”

Blankly, I watched him for a beat. Dinner with Daphne and John again? Was William going to be there as well?

“R-right. Of course,” I stammered. “I’ll be there. Thank you, John.”

He chuckled. “Good. Looking forward, Cara. Anyhow, would you mind if I borrowed my son for a minute?”

“Not at all. I was just leaving,” I stated and approached his figure in the doorway.

“In twenty minutes,” William called after me.

“Right,” I confirmed. I wanted to turn and glare at him, but fearing that it would pique John’s curiosity, I resisted.

After shutting the door after myself, I reeled in a deep breath and shook my head to myself. This wouldn’t do. That had been too close a call. I dared not imagine John’s reaction had he walked in on us. Wherever William found the courage to behave that way was beyond me. Either he trusted his father’s ability to knock before entering implicitly, or there was something seriously wrong with his wiring.

I contemplated whether to return to my desk, but when I saw Elisabeth grinning over at me from hers, I decided not to. Restoring my equilibrium was crucial before I faced her again. I was much too rattled to be able to deal with her interrogations. Therefore, I propped my back against the wall beside the door and resorted to waiting.

Sure enough, John exited five minutes later with a faint smile on his mouth.

“All yours,” he stated when he saw me and paid me a wink. The sight of his wink unsettled me. Was he implying something, or was it an innocent wink?

“Right. Thank you,” I replied bemused.

He chuckled. “I’ll see you around, Cara.”

“Yeah.” I was still nodding my head when I poked it through the door and found William smiling to himself as he chewed on a pen.

“Why do you call him John?” I queried puzzled.

He chuckled. “I only do that when we’re surrounded by colleagues. We prefer not to remind people of the nature of our relation. Easier to maintain professionalism this way.”

Reasonable. “I see.”

“Shut the door behind you.”

I swallowed, but obeyed his command nonetheless. Though, this time, I remained by the door. While folding my arms across my chest, I nervously queried, “Do you think he knows? About us?”

He removed his pen from his mouth and dropped it onto his desk. “Hard to say. He’s a bloody sharp man. But I doubt it, so I wouldn’t worry about that.”

“Do you think he’d fire me if-”

“No, Cara, I definitely do not think he would fire you if he came to know,” he cut me off, and his tone was incredibly cold and strict. “I’d take full responsibility for it.”

My lips parted with my disbelief. He’d do that? I didn’t care if it would matter or not; simply the fact that he was willing was astonishing.

He sent me a look of disapproval. “Don’t look so surprised, darling. There’s very little I wouldn’t do for you.”

Lost for words, I merely stared at him. Within me, my heart was going on rampage.

“Anyway,” he sighed and gestured toward his desk, “twenty minutes, yeah?”

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