“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.” – Paulo Coelho
It wasn’t until around after 4 AM that I finally snuck out of Ethan’s room. I waited for him to fall asleep before doing the walk of shame across the hall, hoping to avoid any awkward goodbyes or the exchange of any personal information.
This was a one-time thing.
Once I was back in my own room, I leaned against the door and let out a deep sigh. I let my wobbly legs carry me the short distance to the bed where I collapsed and immediately fell asleep.
Last night’s extracurricular activities had taken a toll on my poor body. Ethan didn’t stop after just one round – no, he went on and on and on.
There was the time in the shower.
Then, once on the bathroom sink after we got out of the shower.
And lastly, another round on the bed before he finally fell asleep.
I was sore in places I’d never thought I could be sore in, and I’m pretty sure I was going to develop a mild case of a yeast infection with the way my lower area burned.
However, it was all worth it for one crazy, wild night filled with nothing but spine-tingling sex.
When I woke up a few hours later, I was more tired than when I had gone to bed.
After a quick shower, I stood in front of the large bathroom mirror and stared at my reflection. I could still feel Ethan’s touch on me, my body yearning for more of his attention.
Snap out of it McKenzie!
However, the longer I stared at my reflection, the more my eyes focused on the love bites trailing down my neck and towards my breasts.
Wait, love bites?
Upon closer examination, the skin around my neck was not its usual natural beige shade. Rather, there were sections of my skin that were dark reddish while others were beginning to form a purplish color.
“Fuck me!” Let out a frustrated groan. No amount of makeup was going to be able to cover those up. Quickly glancing at my phone, I saw I only had thirty minutes to finish getting ready unless I wanted to miss my flight.
Running towards my suitcase, I rummaged through it until I pulled out a white textured satin smocked cuff Portofino shirt that went all the way up to my neck. It wasn’t the most flattering top in the world, but it would have to do. I paired it with a pair of black mid-rise editor trousers and a pair of beige stiletto heels.
Thirty minutes later and a half-empty bottle of foundation, I was all checked out and sitting in a cab. Despite it being very early in the morning, the airport was bustling with people. Friday mornings were always the worst days to travel, which is why I was hoping to leave on Thursday night, but luck wasn’t on my side.
By now, you’re probably wondering what it is that I actually do for work. Well, I’m a consultant for Thomas and Cooper Consulting Group – a private firm in Chicago. I’ve been with the company since right out of college, and I managed to work my way up to managing director about a year ago. I’m currently the head of their Internal Audit and Financial Advisory division in Chicago, but don’t let the name scare you. I basically meet with clients to review their business operations and any other important engagements, and occasionally talk them off the ledge when the IRS comes knocking on their door.
With that being said, my newfound title as managing director takes me all over the country, and sometimes the world. Sure, I have staff working under me, but a lot of the time I have to personally fly out and meet the clients because I’m the one signing off on their reports.
As I walked down the airplane’s aisle towards my seat, my eyes inadvertently scanned the rows for a pair of dark green eyes.
One can only dream, I thought.
The flight back to O’Hare was fairly quick. We weren’t delayed, and I managed to sleep the entire two hours.
Once we had deplaned, I didn’t have any checked bags so I made my way down the escalators and towards the arrivals where a man was standing holding a sign that read: McKenzie Anderson. Another perk of being a managing director, you get to have a car drop you off and pick you up – all at the expense of the client.
The airport was a nightmare to get out of, and the traffic downtown wasn’t much better. A ride that would typically be forty-five minutes on the highway ended up taking nearly two hours! As the driver finally pulled in front of the office, I thanked him and made my way towards the building’s entrance.
Our offices were located at the heart of downtown, in one of those tall glass skyscrapers with the overpriced square footage. The building didn’t belong to the company, rather we rented out the first three floors. The first floor was where the interns and new hires spent most of their time, mid-level management occupied the second floor, and anyone with a managing director title or above had an office on the third floor.
As I walked through the crowded lobby, I waved to Nancy from security and scanned my ID before taking the elevator to the third floor. In recent years we had adopted a more modern and open floor plan to accommodate the laid-back office culture, however, upper management still had closed-door offices for the sake of privacy.
Stepping off the elevator, I was greeted by Sam – our receptionist’s – overly enthusiastic smile. “Kenzie! You’re back.”
“Morning Sam.” I gave her a warm smile as I took the papers she handed me. Sam was a petite woman in her mid-thirties with strawberry blonde hair and make-up touched up to perfection.
“Are you okay?” She asked, concern lacing her voice as she continue to study me.
“Just a late night, that’s all.” I did my best to keep my voice leveled. Truth be told, it was taking up every ounce of energy I had left not to limp and wince when walking. I was sore in places I’ve never been sore in, and it felt fucking good.
“Well, get some coffee Kenz.” She flashed me another smile. “The Executive VP of Global Solutions is supposed to be arriving today. I’m sure he’ll call a meeting with everyone by the end of the day.”
“That’s today?” I groaned. How could I have forgotten? The entire office was buzzing with excitement three weeks ago when the email came in.
Waving goodbye to Sam, I walked the short distance to my office. The dark gray carpeting continued from the hallway and snaked its way into every corner of the small space. The tall glass doors and glass exterior walls were squeaky clean, probably just having been cleaned this morning.
As I set my purse on the light wooden desk, I powered on the iMac and sat waiting for it to come to life. Directly in front of the desk, there were two light gray velvet task chairs which sat empty the majority of the time. My desk was pretty much empty except for the pen and pencil organizer, white desk lamp, and a Devil’s Ivy in a ceramic pot that my best friend recently got for me as a joke.
In the left-hand corner of the room, there was a potted Ficus plant with slender, winding stems and a thick bush of leaves on top in a terra-cotta pot.
When was the last time I watered that thing?
There was a single piece of wall art that hung directly above the bamboo four-door Credenza cabinet that took up the majority of the wall to my right. On top, there was a white vase and a few books scattered around, along with a stack box paper organizer.
As I finalized the presentation portfolios on my desk, Kate Ivanovic – my closest friend and partner on this project– peeked her head into my office. “Hey girl!”
I hadn’t seen or heard her come in, so I jumped at the sudden sound of her voice. “Kate!” I glared at her trying to get my heart rate back under control. “What did I tell you about sneaking up on people.”
“Yeah, yeah.” She dismissed. Kate was three years younger than me and I was technically her boss, but she and I hit it off when she interned under me during her senior year of college. She had shoulder-length brown hair and big brown eyes that that could melt into golden rays under the direct sunlight. “The reps from Vosges Bonbon are here.”
Vosges Bonbon was a local chocolatier that managed to build its brand around the concept of taste the world through chocolate. The founder, Kennedy Mason, studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and came back to Chicago to start her new business. They’ve recently hired Thomas and Cooper to do an internal audit of their business operations and get back to them with a list of possible solutions they can implement to improve operating costs.
To put it simply, the company was going under and they’re trying to salvage what they can at this point. When Kate and I walked into the conference room, Kennedy, her business operations manager, and staff accountant were already seated.
We didn’t waste any time exchanging pleasantries, and Kate began the first half of the presentation while I handed everyone a copy of our report. I watched Kennedy’s face morph into that of frustration as Kate went over the main points.
When it was my turn to speak, “I’ll be blunt. You hired us to find internal control risks within your company, and that’s what we did. The risk assessment we compiled shows that you’re taking a major loss with inventory and it’s making your operating costs skyrocket. In the report in front of you, you’ll find our recommendations for changes effective immediately.”
They left shortly after, clearly unhappy with our findings. However, it wasn’t my job to make them happy – it was my job to make sure they stayed in business.
After that meeting, I had nothing else scheduled so I was just getting ready to leave for the day when Kate bounced into my office. “Oh my god!”
I cocked a brow. “Yes, Kate? Use your words.”
“You will not believe how hot the new guy is!” She sighed dreamily, plopping down on one of the chairs in front of my desk. “Like - he doesn’t even look a day over thirty!”
I rolled my eyes at her fangirling. “He’s here already?”
“He just got out of a closed-door meeting with all of the executives.”
“And I care because...?”
“You care,” she pinned me with a glare. “Because he is so fucking hot and I’m giving you first dibs before I put on my best push-up bra and sluttiest office-appropriate blouse.”
“I do not need first dibs – thank you very much!” I chuckled, throwing my purse over my shoulder and turning off the lamp. “He’s all yours.”
Truth be told, I was not interested in getting involved with anyone at the moment. Let alone someone from work. Sure, it wasn’t prohibited by HR, but there was a shit ton of paperwork to sign. You also had to formally disclose your relationship to HR so that the company wouldn’t be blasted with a sexual harassment lawsuit.
On top of that, I just got out of a long-term relationship and there is no way I want to be tied down to someone again so soon. I want to take the time to focus on myself, and what it is that makes me happy. I’m so sick of relying on someone else for that happiness.
Last night was an exception because let’s be real, it had been six months since I had gotten laid.
A girl’s got needs!
“You won’t be saying that once you see what he looks like.” Kate smirked as she walked with me towards the elevators.
“Go home, Kate.” I rolled my eyes. “It’s Friday, and there are plenty of bars open where you can pick up a guy and take him back to your place to fuck his brains out.”
“Is that the company policy around here?” Came an oddly familiar voice from behind me. Kate’s face paled when she saw who was standing behind me.
When I turned around, I came face to face with the same pair of dark green eyes I had been searching for this morning. I gulped, and all of a sudden my mouth went dry.
“Well?” He raised a questioning brow as he looked at me expectantly, his face giving away nothing.
“I – I ...” I tried to tap into my brain to formulate a coherent sentence, but nothing seemed to be working.
What the fuck was he doing here?
“Mr. Thomas!” Kate yelped, her cheeks now crimson.
“Ladies, try to refrain from discussing your... personal lives so openly in the middle of the office.” He continued to keep his gaze trained on me.
I was frozen like a statue. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak. What were the chances that the sexy stranger from last night, just so happens to be standing in front of me right now?
At my place of employment.
What had my life become – a fucking Hallmark movie?
“We are so sorry Mr. Thomas.” Kate ushered out, looking anywhere but at him. “It won’t happen again!”
Kate grabbed my arm and tried to get me to follow her, but I was rooted in place. “We’ll just be going now.”
“Actually, may I have a word with Ms. Anderson, please.” He said.
Once Kate was out of earshot and it was just me and him standing there, I could feel the tension begin to rise.
“McKenzie.” Ethan commanded with authority. Once my name left his lips, I swear it got a hundred degrees hotter in that hallway.
“Ethan.” I shifted my weight from one leg to the other.
Okay Kenz, put that MBA brain of yours to good use!
“You ran out this morning.” He simply stated as he took a step closer to me. We were still at a respectable distance from one another so that to the curious onlookers it probably looked like nothing more than an innocent introduction. However, my heart rate began to quicken and I was having a hard time finding my words
“I – I had a flight to catch.” I stumbled over my answer, my body painstakingly aware of our close proximity. Flashbacks from last night and the way he expertly skimmed his hands over every inch of my body, heated my skin.
Ethan nodded apprehensively. “Well, McKenzie – I will be seeing you around.”
“Sure.” I squeaked, desperate to put some distance between the two of us. At least I was forming complete words.
“Oh, and one more thing.” He smirked, looking down at me. “I believe these belong to you.” His hand clasped over mine, and he placed a soft material in my palm. Looking down, I saw it was my panties from last night.
My torn black lace panties.
My face immediately heated up as I squeezed the material in my hand tightly to prevent anyone else from seeing exactly what it is I was holding. “Why do you have these?” I hissed.
“I had a feeling I would be seeing you again very soon, McKenzie.” His eyes glistened with mischief, and a smirk tugged at the corners of his lips..
If anyone needs me for the rest of the day, I’ll just be hiding in a corner.
“Are you crazy?” I whispered as I shoved the material into my purse as quickly as possible.
“Maybe.” He sent me a wink before strolling away. I stood there with my mouth agape and watched his back retreat down the hall until he made a turn and was out of sight.
I need a shower – a very very cold one.
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