Chapter 5 - But miles
"So I need a rocking chair in the nursery?"
I asked the saleswoman again. I'd never been in a nursery much less thought I'd be buying furniture for one.
"Typically yes. The crib, changing table, and rocking chair are pretty standard."
She nodded as I pulled my phone out of my pocket.
I smiled and walked a few feet away.
Ada answered on the second ring.
"Do I need a rocking chair?"
"A rocking chair, for the nursery."
I explained and I ran my fingers over the softest blanket I'd ever felt.
"Oh, well probably so. We used ours a lot."
I grabbed the white blanket off of the shelf and threw it over my shoulder. I wondered if they made it in adult sizes too.
"I'm in over my head."
"I can help you one weekend if you want, I don't mind."
"No, that's not necessary."
I assured her. It also wasn't appropriate. Ada would never see it that way because she didn't think like that but I wasn't going to put her in that position either way.
"I have to figure it out at some point right?"
I told Ada goodbye then headed back toward the saleswoman.
"Just the blanket for now."
I told her as I decided that I'd come back next weekend with some assistance.
So long as my assistance would agree to it of course.
Eliza Sanderson was an enigma to me.
She had been at Bolthouse for a full week and had already knocked my socks off. In more ways than one.
First of all, she managed to scold me in the kindest way for covering her bill at the clothing store. When she spoke it was like pure honey poured from her lips, so no matter what she said it was still sweet.
And that black jumpsuit, Dear God.
I'd never been so interested in women's work attire in my life. But when Eliza was around I noticed every little detail. How the gold belt laid across her midsection so perfectly. I imagined that it was directly over her belly button which led me down another rabbit hole altogether.
I overheard her talking about her niece to my secretary on more than one occasion. She wasn't lying when I interviewed her and it made her even more interesting to me.
She was kind to everyone. Even when they didn't necessarily deserve it, I saw the control on her face when she smiled at Sarah from payroll after she made a snide comment.
Something about Eliza was pure. And something in me wanted to tarnish her.
I wouldn't say that any of my interests were vanilla. But I also didn't think that I'd ever felt so compelled to do the things that I wanted to do to her to anyone else.
I couldn't stop thinking about how perfectly my hands would wrap around her hips as I dove into her from behind. Or how her candy-coated voice would sound as she moaned into my bed.
I left the store with the blanket and a plan.
On Monday morning I sat in my office while going over my notes for the morning meeting. I was almost always the first person in every morning but lately, Eliza had been giving me a run for my money. She worked quietly while I did the same but the tension down the hall grew nonetheless.
It didn't take me long to see how sharp she was and I couldn't for the life of me figure out how she hadn't landed an excellent job but I was also selfishly thankful for that.
I called down the hallway and listened as her heels ate up the distance.
She said as she poked her head in the doorway.
"Take a seat."
I motioned to the worn leather chair across from me. Well, it wasn't actually worn. It was made to look that way. The interior designer said it matched my aesthetic. Whatever the hell that was.
Eliza walked carefully into my office and sat on the edge of the seat.
"I have a business lunch today, I'd like you to come too."
I told her as took in her outfit. I'd only seen the jumpsuit that day at the store so everything else was a surprise. Like a present that I wasn't allowed to unwrap but I was convinced that was half of the appeal. There was some level of taboo to being so attracted to someone who worked for me.
"I'd love to Mr. Bolthouse."
She blinked a few times and I struggled to concentrate.
Did she know what she was doing by calling me that?
"Good. I'll let you know before it's time to go. We can ride together."
I told her.
She nodded once then stood up and made her way to the door. I didn't even think twice before watching her hips sway as she left. The navy dress she was wearing hugged her body perfectly and I had to remind myself where I was at. I might've owned the company but other people had been trickling in and the last thing I needed was anyone catching onto what I was thinking.
"Earth to Brady."
Ada said as she leaned against my office's doorframe.
I replied as I cleared my throat and sat up. Had Ada noticed the way that I had been looking at Eliza? If anyone would, it'd be her.
"So, did you figure out the dilemma with the nursery furniture?"
She asked as she relaxed back into the chair that Eliza just left.
I lied. For some reason, I didn't want to let anyone know that I planned on asking Eliza for help. Some part of me wanted to keep her separated. And all to myself.
"Hey, would it be weird to throw you and Lila a baby shower? I know you two aren't together- together but I don't think that means you have to miss all the fun stuff."
She smiled but I only stared at her. I'd known Ada for a while and she had to be the most kind-hearted person that I knew but sometimes the magnitude of it still shocked me.
"Or we could just have one for you if you'd prefer that."
She continued after I didn't answer.
"A joint shower will be perfect."
I smiled and made a mental note to do something thoughtful for her too.
Ada hoped up and walked down the hallway to her office and I finished my notes.
After the meeting, I went to check on the progress of my new company's office space.
Everything was coming together nicely, it was basically just left to the final touches. My idea of the final touches and then designer's idea were very different. While she had an eye for things like the color of the pulls on the drawers and cabinets, I had a thing for nameplates outside of individuals' offices. Well, I suppose it started with my mother. She had my name or initials on everything when I was a child. A southern thing, apparently. It followed me onto adulthood but in the form of leather-bound notebooks and briefcases instead of smocked clothing, thank God. And ever since I took over Bolthouse officially, I'd had the nameplates. I changed a lot of other things too, more important things. But my old man didn't mind. As long as he was able to play 18 holes in peace he didn't mind much at all.
That reminded me, I still had to tell my parents about the baby. My daughter, and their granddaughter.
I wasn't scared of many things but disappointing my parents was one of them. And as happy as I believed the news would make them, the absence of a wife could possibly overshadow that and it was terrifying to me.
I pushed the thought aside as I ran my finger across one particular plate. I pushed it out of the slot it was in and walked down the long hallway to the office right next to my own. It was intended to be an empty room until I figured out what I wanted to do with it, turns out it didn't take me as long as I'd first anticipated. I slid Eliza's nameplate into the slot and pushed my hand back into my pocket as I walked away.
I wanted her near me and that was as far as I was able to let my thoughts go with that one. Because I was afraid that whatever I was about to open with her wouldn't easily be closed.
And it had become less of a matter of what, and more of a matter of when.