Earthquakes and Chills

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Chapter 5

I didn’t know what to say, I just stood there silently in the dark looking up at him as his hand seemingly seared it’s print into my hip. I didn’t want to speak in case my voice broke whatever spell he was under. He put down the sorbet and placed his hand on my other hip.

I arched from the cold and breathed in sharply as the chill moved up my spine. He moved in closer toward me and I didn’t know what to do. I held my breath as he slowly leaned down toward my ear.

“Thank you for the ice cream,” he whispered.

“It’s sorbet, and you’re not welcome!” I spat back to him.

I took the jar and shoved it in the freezer and left the spoon in the sink. I wasn’t altogether sure I wasn’t having a weird dream or something, so I left the spoon in the morning in case I forgot that this even happened.

It was hard to fall asleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about how it felt when he touched me. The chills were unmistakable. I woke up at the sound of my alarm and jumped out of bed. I decided to curl my hair today.

I pulled out a dress that Nikki had chosen for me but that I was really questioning whether or not to wear because it was a wrap dress with a rather high side slit. It wasn’t something I would ever wear, but neither were any of the clothes that now occupied my closet.

I put on some gloss and pulled on my heels. I was getting irritated at how normal these shoes were getting. I never wore heels except for special occasions, and here I was exchanging my prized Birkenstocks for heels. I didn’t look like myself or feel like myself, but I hoped the awkwardness would begin to fade.

I walked into the kitchen knowing Nolan would be back soon. I made an easy veggie scramble with a side of Canadian bacon and toast.

At least he was reliable when it came to his schedule, I thought to myself. I looked in the sink and saw the spoon I had left behind.

“Morning,” Nolan said as he walked through the door.

“I made a scramble,” I said pretending not to pay attention.

I started cleaning as he ate but I could feel him eyeing me. I ate silently waiting pretending like I wasn’t waiting for him to say something. I moved to put my plate in the sink to wash it when I could feel him pressed against me.

I looked down as his arm brushed up against me. Nolan slowly put his plate on top of mine. I turned to look at him and found his face so close to mine.

“Thanks for breakfast,” he said as he smiled wickedly.

It was at that point that I realized he knew exactly what he was doing. I wasn’t going crazy. He kept trying to get me flustered and it absolutely was working. I resolved to just find my way around it and beat him at his own game.

We walked across the street and into the office as usual, and I made my rounds saying good morning. I realized that from Nolan’s desk if the door was left open, he had an unobstructed view of me at my desk.

I never noticed before, probably because I was actually just occupied with working. Now that we are playing this unspoken game that I refused to lose, I figured that I should probably use every advantage I had. Right now, that was my slide slit and the view Nolan had of my desk.

Like usual, I walked into his office and placed a mug of coffee in front of him and then headed to my desk. He usually kept his door open and he didn’t have any meetings at the moment, so I forgot to close his door on the way out.

Nikki walked over as I sat down and I leaned sat back a little and then leaned forward every now and then while I was engaged in the conversation. Nikki didn’t notice a difference in my behavior because I always talked to her enthusiastically, but I felt Nolan’s eyes scouring me. I started piecing apart my banana and eating the bits.

When Nikki left, I pretended to absentmindedly lick my fingers while scrolling through some of the agendas today. I was rewarded by a choking sound from Nolan’s direction. I bit back my smile and feigned concern.

“Are you okay?” I asked Nolan genuinely.

“I’m fine,” he said sourly, “but could you close the door for me? Thanks.”

I got up slowly and did my best to glid to the door and gently shut it. Point for me, I thought smiling to myself and then went back to work. Even with my new distraction of finding ways to distract Nolan, I was really good at my job.

I headed down to pick up his lunch from the kitchens at the restaurant when I was stopped by Leo. We were quickly becoming friends and he was rooting for me to last longer than Nolan’s usual assistants.

“What did he order today?” Leo asked.

“The Salmon,” I said smiling. “How are you guys doing? It’s looking busy which is a good sign.”

“Yep, it’s definitely busy. I have some paperwork for you to run back to the boss man,” he said as he handed them to me.

“Perfect. He’s expecting these.”

“When do you get a day off? Do you ever get a day off? You’re in here just as much as he is, and I haven’t seen you even have a break. Do you even stop for lunch?” Leo asked.

“Yeah,” I lied. “We’re just busy today too.”

“Well, just wait a minute and we’ll have Nico make you something,” he said quickly adding before I could protest, “don’t worry it’ll be quick. Just come back to the kitchen with me.”

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