Chapter Twenty One
The doctor wasn't lying when he said that my bruises would get worse before they got better. Currently standing in front of my bathroom mirror, taking a look at the damage to my face. Purple bruising around my eyes, eyebrow and lip split. Thinking my glasses would somehow help to cover up this horror show. I was wrong, so wrong.
Tightening and releasing my hands, the dread of having to go into work today. Not wanting questions or people staring at me. I'd rather stay at home for the next few weeks but I knew I couldn't, especially not this close to the pitch.
So I purposely get to work stupidly early, people on the trains wouldn't see me and no one at work would have to see me walk through the office. If I kept my head down and got on with my work, I might just get away with it.
As I reach my desk I lower my seat, slowly gliding down almost near the floor. This probably looked ridiculous but it kept me out of view, especially from anyone nearby.
Twenty minutes till the start of the day, people begin to flood into the office. Theo and Lauren walk in together, chatting away about their weekend and laughter rings in the air.
My stomach twists in knots when I realise what's going to happen when I look up. "Hey Micah," Theo greets me loudly.
"Good morning Micah!" Lauren says as he dumps her bag onto her desk.
"Hey," I mumble towards the desk.
"You okay?" Theo asks sounding concerned. I nod my head and slightly tilt my head to the side. "Holy shit, Micah what happened to your face?"
"What?" Lauren gasps, moving to stand next to him.
Hesitantly looking up at them, Lauren's eyes widen instantly as she holds her hand over her mouth. "Oh my God, are you okay?" She breathes out, shock plastered across her face.
"It's nothing," I say dismissively.
Theo and Lauren share a glance out of the corner of my eye. "We just wanna know if you're alright," Theo's voice drops slightly.
I glance up at them and nod. "I'm fine, honestly. It's nothing to worry about." I say with a forced smile.
"Okay," Theo says slowly, unsure whether he should say more.
"Hey," Lauren says from over the desks. "They were doing two for one bagels at Simmi's, you want one?"
She holds up a bag in her hand, the smell wafting over to me making my stomach growl loudly. "You sure?" I ask.
Lauren nods quickly. "Yeah, go for it," she says as she throws it over to me, landing directly in front of me.
"Thanks Lauren," I say gratefully.
Abi doesn't come into work which I was glad, I know she wouldn't have left me alone and I did not need that on a Monday morning. I just wanted to get by in one piece.
It hits eleven o'clock and I felt calmer, nearly through half the day. Not left my seat once but that was okay, I could make a dash for the toilet when everyone was at lunch. Or at least hope people left the office during this time.
Just when I felt like the day was going well, I spot Weston walking through the office and towards our desk. I instantly duck my head and focus on my notebook in front of me, panic settling in. My skin beginning to get hot, my palms beginning to sweat. Keeping my eyes trained between the lines on the paper.
"Hey," Weston says but I don't look up.
"Hey man," Theo replies.
"Did you get that email I sent over Friday?" Weston questions.
Theo hums for a moment. "Sorry West I've just been catching up with so many emails," he pauses and begins to click at his computer. "What was it? I'll look now."
"Don't worry about it," Weston says eventually. "I'll forward you it again later, isn't urgent just wanted to know what you thought."
"Okay man. I'll be sure to check it in a bit."
"Perfect," he says. "Micah, Fred and Adam are looking over the finishing touches. They're going to share over lunch, would you care to join us?"
I gulp, my throat dry and sore. My hands begin to shake but I grip onto them to stable myself. Peeking my eyes up at him slowly, his brown eyes staring at me with intent.
"Sure," I nod once.
Weston's face falls instantly, his eyes raking over every inch of my wounded face. He was in shock just as much as I was, currently having a cardiac arrest. He shakes his head slowly and clears his throat. "Actually," he says quickly. "Can I have a word with you in my office?"
My eyes blink back at him, neither of us looking anywhere else. "Okay," I agree as I push my chair out from under the desk.
Theo's eyes study us carefully but he instantly lets it go, looking back to his computer and getting along with his work. Weston watches me as I stand up, he leads the way to his office and I keep my head down the entire way. Too embarrassed to look up, especially now the office was completely full.
As we approach Weston's office, he stops at the doorway and holds out his hand, letting me go first. I purse my lips and slide into his office, hearing him shut the door behind us. Having to take three deep breaths as I eventually turn around to face him, unsure what he was about to say.
His hands reach up to hold my cheeks between his hands, his eyebrows creasing slightly in concern. "What happened?" he breathes out, his lips falling into a soft frown.
I shake my head, avoiding his intense stare. "I don't want to talk about it," I say honestly. "But it's not serious."
"Not serious?" The tone of Weston's voice startles me, causing me to look back up at him. "Micah, have you seen your face? You've had stitches for gods sake, this is serious."
My hand reaches up to grip onto the inside of his palm. "I'm okay now, that's what matters."
Weston's lips part, seconds away from arguing what I said but he closes them and sighs instead. Not letting go of my face once, the feeling of his skin on mine making me shiver. "When did this happen?" He says before letting go of my face slowly
"What?" He breathes out in disbelief, his eyes glassing over for a split second. "But I dropped you home late Friday."
"Yeah," I clamp my eyes shut, not wanting to remember the moments after. Only the moments before. "It's a long story Weston."
"Well if you want to talk about it, you can talk to me." He expresses as his eyes never leave mine.
"Thanks, I appreciate that." I force out a smile but it disappears before I know it. "I'll be there for the meeting."
Weston's expression looks defeated, no longer knowing what to say. I felt the same, this situation was utterly shit. But in a way it made me feel giddy, Weston cared about me. He cared about my wellbeing and I would never get used to the idea.
"Okay Micah," he shares a gentle smile. "I'll see you there."
"Bye," I breathe out before exiting his office swiftly.
. . .
Valentina took my advice and went back home for a little while, I knew its what would have been best for her. A break from our flat and time with her family, she needed a big hug and lots of comfort right now.
I was skeptical about being home alone after Friday but I added an alarm to the house, loud enough to alert any attention. Our landlords getting back to us about changing the locks, I wasn't expecting anything more.
Finding myself working late at work, I didn't want to admit it but I was a little worried to be at home in the evenings. Getting beaten up isn't fun, it fucking hurts and it makes you feel a little paranoid. Considering he pretty much battered me, chances are, he wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
I'd worked well into the night most evenings this week, leaving work between eight and nine. Some might call me crazy but I wouldn't be doing anything better at home, in fact I'd be doing just this but in fear.
Sitting back in my chair and spinning slightly as I ponder over what colour I should make the chart. "Micah," my name is called out from across the empty office. In all honesty, I thought I was alone. So I quickly sit up in my chair and watch as Weston approaches me. "Have you been working here every evening this week?"
I chew on my bottom lip and shrug like it was nothing. "Yeah I have," I say as I sit up straighter in my seat.
Weston stops in front of me and folds his arms over his chest. "Is everything okay?" He raises a questioning eyebrow at me.
Humming in his direction. "Yeah, I'm fine," I clear my throat, plating with a pencil between my fingers.
"Do you wanna come join me in the board room and we order food?" He suggests, his voice soft.
My eyes instantly open at his idea, so does my stomach. "Yeah, I'd like that," I smile towards him.
Any company would be better than my own, feeling incredibly lonely without Valentina at home and even worse when I'm here alone. Like some fucking weirdo that loved work far too much.
Weston orders Thai and tells me he knows the best things to get, so I let him order for us. His taste was already good, we enjoyed the same kinds of food. Not like I remembered what he used to order at Café Cosmo. I had no choice but to be involved in his dining experience.
We eat our food out of the takeaway boxes, Weston uses the chop sticks included but I used a fork. Not wanting to embarrass myself, or the fact I couldn't use chop sticks for the life of me.
Weston places his box onto the side and licks his lips gently, his eyes moving from between every feature in my face. "I hate seeing you like this," he breathes out. "Looking at you is hard."
"I'm sorry," I shake my head to my lap and place my fork inside the box.
"Don't be sorry," Weston says instantly. "It just makes me angry and I'm finding it hard trying to ignore it."
"It was for a good reason," I reply back to him, the only bit of information I had really told him. "I don't just randomly get into fights. I mean this is the first time I've ever been punched."
"That's what I mean Micah," Weston's eyebrow dips as he raises his fingers to his bottom lip. "I know you would never just start swinging at people, someone did this to you on purpose."
My chest puffs out as I hold onto a deep breath and lower my eyes.
"Did something happen after I left you? Did someone see us and try to harass you?" Weston sits up in his chair, his voice determined to get to the bottom of this. "Did they follow you up to your apartment?"
"West—" I attempt to stop him. His mouth shutting sharply in the process. "No one followed me or harassed me. Shit just went down with Valentina's boyfriend, that's all."
Weston's eyes train on mine, almost waiting for me to say more but I don't. "Her boyfriend?"
"Yeah," I say shortly. "Can we not talk about it please? I just don't want to keep thinking about it."
Weston nods. "Of course," he says as he stands up and takes the blazer off the back of his chair. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to push you."
Admiring how he slides on his jacket so smoothly, grey suit my favourite of his. Make every part of his body look divine, my mouth watered at the sight. Weston peers around at me staring and smiles. "What?"
"You just look so good in a suit," I blurt out before my eyes shoot wide at my comment.
Weston's lips part into a little grin, my face burning with heat from my stupid mouth. I quickly stand up and follow his lead, throwing on the blazer that I had decided to wear today.
"So do you," he says, catching me by surprise.
As I straighten out my blazer and glance up at Weston, taking slow and steady steps closer to me. My lungs struggling to breathe as he closes the prolixity between us. His hand raises to clutch onto the hem of my jacket. "I especially like this one," he says deeply.
His brown eyes capturing me in an hypnotic stare. I couldn't help but just look at him, no words forming in my mouth. Weston takes a step closer to me, inches apart as he looks down to me with a slightly smirk on his face. "But quite honestly I'd like it better off," he exhales, the corners of his lips twitching.
My heart skips a beat, pain spreading through my chest at how fast it was trying to keep up. Our chests almost touching, the tension enough to make me pass out. So I take a leap of faith and lean up, placing my hands against his broad shoulders and pressing my lips to his.
Weston catches the back of my head with his hand and pulls me into him instantly, our lips battling for dominance but he comes out on top. His hands around my jaw, tilting my head up to him as he devours my bottom lip between his teeth.
Leaving my breathless with every movement, my hands dropping to clutch onto his wrists attempting to hold him closer but it was impossible.
Weston's lips were soft and perfectly plumped, not even caring that we were currently sharing our Thai mouths. His tongue slides into my mouth, brushing his against mine lightly. A quiet grunt leaving my mouth, fuck, I wanted him to tongue the fuck out of me.
He kisses me harder, desperately. His lip catching on the graze on my skin and I wince slightly, reluctantly pulling away.
His chest heaves in my direction, mine moving like an Earthquake. "I'm sorry," he frowns softly, his eyes darting down to my lip. His thumb brushing over my wounded skin gently.
"It's okay," I say breathlessly. "My lip is just a bit sore."
Weston watches his thumb swipe across my lip intently, my eyes warm as they settle on mine. "I get a bit carried away when I'm with you," he tells me.
Not enough. I think in my head.
My lips curve up as his hand drops from my face. "I should get home," I nod towards him.
"Okay," he says. "I'll see you tomorrow Micah."