29. The Simplest Route
Leila wanted to step into the shower again, wash off the day, the words said... everything.
Mostly she wanted to scrub out her mind and every little thought that was moving through it. She wished she had one of those things from the Harry Potter movies... those little bowls that contained thoughts and memories. Put one in the bowl and mull it over in her own time.
Every ounce of her was telling her to run. Leave Nate and flee. She didn’t want to and he certainly didn’t deserve that. Not now... maybe not ever.
This Lorelei character... she sounded like a Grade-A bitch. What had Nate called her? A master manipulator. If this was Harry Potter, she’d do nicely filling in for that Voldemort character. She seemed to have the temperament and tendencies for it.
She knew she shouldn’t have run, should have listened more to Nate, but she just couldn’t. Not now. Tomorrow, maybe. No- definitely. She’d face it tomorrow.
Tomorrow is another day.
Okay... so she had gone from mythical England to the Civil War-wracked South, but her mind wasn’t working properly. Maybe it was because her life seemed like a soap. No one had amnesia or was secretly in love with their step-brother or whatever, but this was more drama than she could take on a Sunday. A Sunday that felt more like a Monday.
She heard a buzzing.
Her cell phone. She had left it on the coffee table in the living room before going in to take a shower and then scrambling to get downstairs to break up the fight between Conley and Nate. Not that it was much of a fight. From what she had seen, there had been one punch thrown by the Jolly Green Irishman. The man looked like he was twice the size of Nate, towering over him as he looked ready to land another blow.
Thank God she had gotten out of the shower when she had. Too bad it hadn’t been sooner.
She picked the phone up from the coffee table and sat down with it.
New text messages, all from Nate.
Please talk to me.
Are you alright?
We need to talk about this...
Yeah. They did, but she couldn’t. Not now. Tomorrow.
I’m fine, she responded via text. We’ll talk about this tomorrow. I just need some time.
She set the phone down, letting the responding buzz of her text notification go ignored.
Leila looked at the clock. It was going on 4 PM. She had been lazy that morning and had spent much of it catching up on Netflix, sans the chill.
The cell phone buzzed again.
After the 4th or 5th time, she picked it up, scrolling through her texts. They were all from Nate.
Don’t shut me out.
Babe, please. Just talk to me.
That fucking kid is not mine!
Don’t let Lorelei win. This is exactly what she would want.
Call me, text me, fucking yell at me if you want. Just say something.
But she had nothing to say except later.
Her head seemed to clear a bit overnight. Or maybe the three cups of coffee had brought some levity to her soul. Either way, she walked into her office more chipper than the day before. Jared was already at his desk, looking tired and frayed at the edges, but better than he had since the whole Mickey debacle had gone down.
“I’m taking a longer than usual lunch today, Jare,” she told him as she set her briefcase down on her desk.
Jared had followed her into her office as he always did on a Monday to go over her schedule for the week.
“Any reason for this longer than usual lunch?” he asked, cocking a brow at her. Lots of times, his boss/best girl friend worked through lunch hours and sometimes she took a brief 30 minutes to actually sit and eat something without working on a new project or going over current ones. She sometimes went to lunch for meetings, but he knew she didn’t have one scheduled today.
“Personal,” she briefly stated, taking her laptop out of her briefcase and placing it in front of her to boot up.
“Sweetie, since when is something so personal that you don’t let me know about it?” he asked.
She shrugged, waiting for her MacBook to start up.
“Spill,” Jared said, narrowing his gaze on her.
“I’m going to go to Nate’s job,” she said, shrugging. “I need to speak with him about something.”
“I hope you realize how difficult it will be to do that with his cock stuffed down your throat,” Jared said, smirking.
Leila’s lip twitched knowingly.
“Sometimes words don’t need to be spoken in order for communication to happen,” she said, her voice tight but amused.
Jared only rolled his eyes.
“How are you doing by the way?” Leila asked, her brow creasing with concern for her friend.
“Better,” Jared allowed. “Not all the way back to being my fabulous self, but I’m on my way.”
“Mickey still texting you?”
“Only every other hour now,” Jared said, rolling his eyes. “Between the apologies and the entreaties for forgiveness I’m about to head down to his house and throw my phone through his big, beautiful bay window.”
“You know you’d end up with his dick in your mouth or ass if you did that.” Leila’s eyes widened, daring him to disagree.
“How would you know if I’m a bottom or not?” he asked, lips quirking up a little. “A lady needs to have some secrets, retain that air of mystery.”
“Oh please,” she said. “I’ve known you bottomed since you got drunk at my house that one night a couple of years ago on Limoncello. I just didn’t mention it ’til now.”
“You bitch.” His eyes narrowed playfully.
“What? I was letting you have your secrets or whatever,” she said shrugging her shoulders. “I didn’t want you to think your only mystery was based on the size of Mickey’s mammoth cock.”
“He’s a ten,” Jared said, a smile spreading across his face.
Mickey was a skinny, Caucasian male. Apparently one with a ten-inch dick. It didn’t add up, but she believed him.
“I feel no remorse in letting that mystery be known,” Jared stated. “He fucks me over and all bets are off.”
“Ten... how the hell do you take ten inches up your ass? You must have a gaping cavern for a butthole now.”
“Still snug as ever,” Jared proclaimed. “Kegel exercises aren’t just for the ladies.”
“That’s... good.” Leila blinked, not knowing how to respond to that.
“So... long lunch huh?”
“I don’t suck and tell.”
Nate was having a rough day. Leila still hadn’t gotten back to him about talking and he was planning on speaking with her as soon as she got home. He wasn’t above waiting for her to arrive home, blocking her path up the stairs and insisting they have a chat.
He had barely gotten any sleep the night before. Two, maybe three hours tops. He kept looking over to his cell phone to see if she had texted him.
His office phone beeped. It was his secretary, Lil. He picked up the receiver, having opted to change from the intercom some of the other executives used to a quieter form of inter-office communication. He didn’t miss the loud old buzz of that fucking thing.
“Yes?” he answered, shutting his laptop but not turning it off.
“Mr. Charles, you have a visitor,” Lil told him.
Huh. He didn’t remember a lunch-time meeting for today.
“Who is it?”
There was mumbling on the other end. It figured the idiot girl didn’t catch the name of his visitor before calling him. She was a great secretary to some extent, and loyal, but a little slow on the uptake at times like this. When someone arrived without prior notification. It rarely happened, he had to admit.
“A Miss Winters is here to see you,” Lil’s voice announced, sounding a little anxious.
Nate paused a moment, blinking in confusion.
“Send her in,” Nate told her. “And go ahead and take your lunch.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
He hated being called Sir, but he endured it for the sake of propriety in the office.
Nate immediately got up to open the door. Leila was indeed on the other side of it, just a foot away.
She looked pretty in jewel tones. Red skirt, loose green blouse. It set off the tone of her skin and hair nicely.
“Hi,” she said after Lil had beat feet. Besides the two of them, the office floor was empty, though they could hear the occasional mumble of voices floating down from the break room.
“Hi,” Nate said, his voice equally soft. He moved back, gestured for her to enter. “Come on in.”
She walked toward him, then past, and placed her small clutch purse on the desk next to his nameplate.
Nate closed the door, walked in further so he was behind Leila and fought the urge to take her in his arms.
“I’m... I’m sorry,” she said, looking over at him. He blinked back at her, confused.
“Sorry for what?”
“Walking out, not talking to you all night,” she told him. “Worrying you. Sorry for it all. I just needed to think.”
“About... everything,” she said with a small smile.
“So, I realized that this wasn’t your fault, not that I ever blamed you,” Leila said. “I know the type of woman Lorelei is, not just from what you told me, but from seeing women similar to her.”
“She’s not going to give up easily,” Nate said with a sigh. His fingers, hands twitched. He wanted to walk over to his office chair, pull Leila onto his lap, and kiss her.
“You won’t either,” Leila stated firmly.
“What happens now?” she asked.
“The ball’s in her court, so to speak,” Nate said. “If she wants to, she’ll draw this out, make me wait for some bloody paternity test after the child is born, make my life hell for the duration.”
“Is there a way to do a paternity test before the baby’s born?”
“I... asked around,” Nate said with a nod. “It’s a possibility, but risky for the baby. Even though I’m certain it’s not mine, I wouldn’t risk a child’s health because I was being impatient.”
Leila nodded. They had, what? Four more months to wait? She guessed it was better than waiting for 7 or 8 months. It could have been longer.
“Are we good?” Nate asked, hopefully.
The first hint of a smile showed on her face.
“We’re good, though this whole situation is fucked,” she replied.
“Don’t be,” she said. “If the bitch wants drama, she’ll do anything for it. She would have found another way. Not your fault.”
“I feel like it somehow is, for being involved with her in the first place,” Nate said.
“How... how did you end up dating her?”
“Holiday party for one of the family businesses in England,” Nate said. “She was invited since her family was friends with my family. Her and her brother Liam. I was never a fan of Liam, but Lorelei seemed nice enough. She always does at first.”
Nate went to the other side of the desk, sat down in his chair, gestured for Leila to come closer. When she was close enough, he pulled her onto his lap and wrapped his arms around her waist before placing his lips to her neck.
Leila wrapped her arms around his neck, got comfortable on his lap, and sighed. They both sat there in virtual silence for a while, the only sounds, their steady breathing.
“What would you do it it was yours?” Leila finally asked.
“I... don’t know,” he said. “Hypothetically, I wouldn’t want any child not to know their father, no matter who it was, but... I can’t see it. Maybe I don’t want to see it. Not with Lorelei. Once, long ago, I might have thought this could happen, but- not now.”
“Would you leave? Go back to England so you could be there for your child?” she asked, her voice muffled in his hair.
“Occasionally, but not for good,” Nate answered. “Skype sessions wouldn’t really cut it and I can’t be over there and have my job here. I’d probably fly him or her over in between visits.”
“Difficult,” she said.
“I can afford it,” he told her.
They sat in silence a while, breathing in their mixed scents. Honey and lavender and something spicier, muskier.
“Would you run?” Nate asked, his voice a bit shaky.
“If it was mine,” Nate said. “Would you leave?”
She was quiet for a moment. It was something she had thought of for hours the night before.
“No, I don’t think I could,” she said. “Though I probably should. If it was yours.”
Nate didn’t like that. Not one bit.
“Please don’t,” he said. “I know it’s... selfish of me. Selfish to want to stay with you when my time would be divided.” He paused. “But I don’t think it will be. I am quite sure the baby’s not mine. The past few months she and I were together, there wasn’t much sexing going on. She said she was busy with work and other things. Should have known something was up. Christ. I’m fucking stupid.”
“Not stupid,” she told him. “You were busy too.”
“Busy being lied to,” he retorted.
“Not your fault.” Leila kissed his cheek. “And she was the one who was stupid. Stupid for cheating, stupid for lying, stupid for not seeing what she could have had with you.”
His mouth met with hers. He couldn’t help it, and he needed her kisses. He needed them to wash away all the fear, the anxiety, of the past 24 hours. He didn’t care if he messed up her lipstick or walked out of his office door with half of it smeared across his face. He needed this, more than he needed to know all the answers only Lorelei had.
He tasted her mouth, her tongue as he pierced the seam of her lips to sweep inside. She tasted faintly of coffee but it was mostly of mint. Like she had brushed her teeth before coming over to his office.
Their tongues teased each other for a while, devouring each other’s sounds and pouring their need into one another, one lick at a time until Leila got up, hiked her skirt up a bit and straddled his lap.
Fuck. She was circling her hips against him, causing his dick to inflate quickly. They were at his office and relatively alone, but he was the new guy and didn’t need someone walking into his office unannounced and catching him balls deep in his girlfriend.
“I can’t have sex now,” he told her between kisses. “I’ve been employed here less than a month. If Aiden or Carl-”
“They’re probably at lunch,” she told her, her mouth moving down to suck on his neck gently. “And they’ve both had mid-afternoon fuck sessions here. It’s not like they can talk.”
“Besides, I’m not going to fuck you,” she told him, sliding off his lap and between his legs. “But I am going to suck you.”
With half her body hidden under the desk, Leila smiled up at him as she unzipped his pants and reached in through the flap in his boxers to take out his cock.