Earthquakes and Chills

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Chapter 17

“So, I would get tomorrow off?” I asked as he sweetly nodded, “isn’t there some kind of company guideline that would prevent this?”

“Fine, you have to work,” he said exasperated as he started to reach for my breasts, “does that make you feel better?”

“One condition,” I said, hesitating and drawing on his frustration.

“What?” He said as he pinched and pulled at me.

“I dare you to do something that you’ve always wanted to do but have never done with anyone,” I said.

He paused, thinking about it.

He moved, and he kissed me so kindly and so sweetly that I was confused. He reached up, softly cupping my cheek, and deepened his kiss.

Chills ran down my spine as he slowly and softly made love to me. I could feel his being expand and encompass me as though I was an extension of him. I couldn’t help the tears that were beginning to form in my eyes as he moved.

He lightly kissed my lips as I unraveled beneath him, spurring his own end.

“I-“ I was breathless and moved by how passionate he was.

“Yeah. I know, you sleep alone,” Nolan said as he walked out the door.

I looked toward the place where he used to be. I almost said something that I was sure I was going to regret. The last person I thought I had loved made it his mission to ruin my life. Besides, the only thing between Nolan and me was sex. Nothing else.

Pulling the covers over my eyes, I convinced myself that it was time for me to leave. This week I would be getting a paycheck, and even though it wouldn’t be much, it might be enough to negotiate a place. Or maybe even a room.

The next day was almost impossible for me to even get through. On top of being swamped, Nolan had me doing extra needless tasks.

I was doing everything I could to avoid him. Still, he kept calling me into his office to verify information or to clarify something, or get me to check something. I found his eyes lingering on me when he thought I hadn’t noticed.

I disappeared into the restaurant toward the evening and successfully avoided Nolan.

Instead of sleeping, I stayed up all night testing recipes and leaving them behind for Nico to check when he got in. It was probably 4am when I went back to the office. The checks automatically deposited in the evening, so I checked my balance.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was finally able to breathe. I had $2,000 in my account. That was more than enough to rent a room somewhere.

Ensuring that everything was organized for the next day, I started printing out everything that needed to be signed or seen by Nolan and put it on his desk. Finally, I verified scheduling with Jan so she wouldn’t be blindsided by anything.

“What are you doing?”

This time I definitely screamed bloody murder when Nolan startled me. I hadn’t expected him to just appear out of nowhere.

“I had things I had to do,” I said, standing as I caught my breath. “Wait… what are you doing?”

Nolan pushed me over my desk and pulled down my underwear. Then, just as I was making sense of what was happening, he entered me.

“You’re driving me crazy,” he said as his hands moved between my thighs spurring the heat that was growing in my core and eliciting moans from my lips.

“Nolan…”

“I’m in love with you,” he whispered.

I froze.

“Say something,” he said as he stilled, then turned me to face him. He crushed his lips against mine, and I fought every emotion I had. “I dare you not to feel something,” he whispered as his lips met mine.

Every ounce of my body was calling out to his. All I could do was feel as his hands rubbed against me. I cried out in frustration as he pulled his hand away.

“That’s how I feel,” he said as he growled at me, “say something.”

“Please,” I whispered as I weakly reaching toward him.

“Close, but that’s not what I wanted to hear,” he whispered as he neared me. His lips seared against my shoulder as he looked up at me.

I looked up and searched his eyes, desperate and confused. I wanted to say everything that I was feeling all at once. Instead, his eyes quirked and calmed in a seriousness that only seemed to make my desperation even more blatant and overwhelming.

“Zoe,” he called to my soul and pressed his forehead against mine, and tilted my chin with his thumb. “I-”

“I don’t feel anything,” I said clearly.

“Zoe, stop being ridiculous,” he said as he grabbed my shoulders. “Stop.”

“I think it’s time for me to go.”

“I dare you to tell me that you don’t feel this!” He screamed at me desperately.

“I don’t feel anything,” I whispered.

“Don’t lie, Zoe,” he said dangerously.

“No! You don’t lie! I’m nothing to you. I’m just a game. A momentary distraction that you just so happen to be interested in at the moment. I don’t really matter to you.”

“Stop it, Zoe,” he gritted out.

“Stop what? Just take a moment and look at you, then look at me. This doesn’t even make sense. I mean, what is this supposed to be? You helped me. You’ve done more than enough,” I said, blinking away tears.

“Do I even get to say anything, or do you already have this entire conversation figured out?”

“Okay fine. Explain how this makes sense!”

“It makes sense because it does,” he said simply.

“Right, and that’s what you think people are going to think when they look at us?”

“What are you trying to say, Zoey?”

“You know what I’m saying. Stop pretending like you don’t understand me. You can consider this my two weeks’ notice, and I’ll leave the loft effective immediately.”

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