Chapter 12 - It’s hard
"What do you mean it's not ready?"
Brady's voice reverberated off of the hall walls as he stood in his office's doorway.
I pushed back in my chair far enough that I could peek around my doorframe to see who was at the other end of the conversation. I leaned back and prayed that I didn't venture too far and fall flat on my back. I managed to make it work and get a good look at the poor guy. It was one of the interns, a tall, thin boy that couldn't have been a day over eighteen and looked more like a deer caught in a pair of headlights than a hand-picked, paid intern.
Brady's voice rose and I sighed as I got out of my seat. I'd been in this kid's shoes more than once at his age and it annoyed me enough to want to at least see if I could help.
I smiled in their direction as I exited my office and stepped a few feet to stand next to them.
"I'm sorry Mr. Bolthouse. It hasn't arrived yet, I can run down to the restaurant and check for you-"
Brady snapped as he turned and made his way to his desk.
I looked his way for a second then turned my attention back to the poor kid who was practically shaking in his loafers.
"Why don't you just call the restaurant instead?"
I asked as I patted his shoulder. He nodded and made his way back down the hall.
I slowly walked into Brady's office and shut the door behind me.
I told him as I tucked my dress under my butt and sat across from him.
"And you've been avoiding me."
He lifted his head from the stack of papers in front of him and narrowed his eyes at me.
"No, I haven't."
That wasn't exactly true, I had sort of been avoiding him. I'd embarrassed myself by calling him while I was drunk at that stupid bowling alley. He didn't seem to mind and if I was being honest I'd enjoyed it but the more I sobered up, the more upset I became with myself. It was only a week ago but I'd been trying to steer clear ever since. That was the way old me behaved, and I didn't want to be her anymore.
His voice dipped into that octave that made me want to listen, I swallowed hard and looked away.
"Why are you so worked up about food?"
I figured a change of subject would serve me best.
"Lila is craving a Greek salad, she'll be here any minute and I promised her that her food would be here too."
I ignored the grating feeling that I had knowing that he was catering to her. She was carrying his baby for goodness sake. He was being a good man, so there was no rational reason for that to irk me. Except that she had screwed him over and that pissed me off.
"Did you hire that intern yourself that you were just scolding?"
"I did. He's a computer genius, he should probably be at MIT right now."
"And yet, here he is."
I said as I eyed him. I didn't want to speak the words because I was pretty sure Brady already knew what I was trying to get through his skull.
He sighed as he sat back in his chair and pressed his pointer fingers onto his temples.
"You're right, he shouldn't be ordering lunches."
He said but I only nodded.
I was glad to have got that train back on track but if I could've slipped out of the room undetected at that moment, I would've.
"You know, I sort of miss you."
That was why I needed to escape. The last thing I wanted to do was have this conversation. I sort of missed Brady too, but I wasn't about to say-
"I sort of miss you too."
Weird things happened to me when I was around him. Case in point, I couldn't seem to keep my mouth shut.
Brady smiled and his shoulders visibly relaxed while mine felt like they were up by my ears.
"But that doesn't mean anything."
I shook my head.
"No, we just get along well. Nothing more."
He nodded with that same smile on his face, only it had morphed into a smirk.
I wanted to roll my eyes but I resisted.
"Tell me why."
He insisted as I picked at my cuticles.
I knew he wanted an explanation about why I disappeared anytime he entered a room but I didn't want to say it aloud. I knew how stupid it would sound coming out of my mouth and how stupid it would make me look.
Brady's tone broke through my nervous thought process like a knife through half-melted butter. To say he had a way with words didn't even touch it. All he did was say my name and I wanted to confess my deepest sins to him. Which ironically, he had a starring role in the majority of them.
"I didn't want to embarrass myself further. I should've never called you while I was drunk I'm sor-"
"Do you regret it?"
He asked as he narrowed his eyes at me.
I answered him honestly because he left me no choice.
"Then don't apologize for it."
We held eye contact for an obscene amount of time without speaking.
I heard a light knock on the door and saw Brady open his mouth.
He said, still staring at me.
Lila walked into the room and broke up whatever trance I had going on with her baby daddy. I stood up and smoothed my palms over the front of my dress.
"Hi, Lila. It's nice to see you again."
I smiled at her and wished she was as unpleasant as I'd made her up to be in my head. But unfortunately, she was not. She was friendly and so pretty that it made me wonder how I dared to stand in the same room as her for more than five seconds.
She grinned as she leaned in for a hug. Another knock on the doorframe directed all of our attention back to the door where a different intern stood with Brady's food order.
"You two enjoy your lunch."
I told them as I tried to make my escape.
I'd almost made it into the hallway when Brady's hand wrapped around my wrist, pulling my into him. I immediately looked behind him to see if Lila could see but she had our back to us, already digging into her salad. And we were the only two with our offices this far down the hallway.
"One hour, in the conference room. Take whatever you have on under that dress off."
He pressed the words against the shell of my ear and a shiver ran down my spine. I could barely think much less answer him.
"Say 'Yes, Mr. Bolthouse'."
I swallowed and thought about my options.
I had none. I wanted to be included in whatever he had planned.
"Yes, Mr. Bolthouse."
I breathed out and the words, he nipped my ear before releasing my wrist, walking back into his office, and leaving me dizzy from a single touch and some bossy words.
Once again, I was left alone with my thoughts. Wondering if what I was doing would end up biting me in the ass.
And it was getting harder and harder to care either way.