The sun comes in from the windows. I sit up from my sleep and look around, the wine glasses and empty Chinese boxes are sitting on the coffee table. I turn to see Adrian sprawled out on the couch beside me. He's lying there, just his jeans on, his chest bare and heaving from his breathing. Shit, he got to stay this time. It's not so bad I suppose, as long as he doesn't make a habit of it. He's so fucking sexy though, I can't be mad that he's still here for me to look at. Wonder if he's ready for more, I love morning sex and it's not something I've had a lot of.
I smile when I think of the conversation we had while eating last night. I told him about wanting to paint him, he agreed to it and I'm really looking forward to that play date. I know it'll turn into more than me painting. I smile wider at the thought. He's in for a lot of fun if he thought last night was good. I stand up and pull my robe around me when I hear my phone ringing. I dig in the couch and find it, answering before the ring wakes Adrian.
“Hello?” I have no clue who it is, the number is private.
“Ms. Thorne. This is Mrs. Stine from Dr. Clayton's office, he wanted me to call and see if you would like to set up a time to have lunch this week.”
The voice of the woman is robotic and professional. I pause at the sudden question, unaware of the possibility that he would have someone call to set up a meet between us.
“May I ask what this lunch is concerning?” I ask, still unsure of what my response should be.
“He wants to go over the project that he's requested. He mentioned that it's due soon, and considering your recent accident, he wanted to be sure you're still up to it.”
“I have full intentions of completing all of the projects due, including his. Are you sure we need to have lunch to discuss this?”
“That's not up to me, ma'am, I was just asked to set up a day and time. If you'd like, you can call the office after one 'o'clock to personally speak with him.”
I decided to go ahead and meet with him. I need to figure things out in person.
“Set it up for tomorrow at twelve, please. We can meet at the diner down the street from his office.”
“Will do. Thank you. Have a nice day, Ms. Thorne.”
“Same to you.”
I hang up and walk back into the living room, Adrian is still sound asleep. I didn't expect that call, but I'm glad I'm finally going to get things straight with Mr. Clayton. I really can't have someone gaining romantic interest in me, especially someone I have no type of feelings for in that way. Adrian starts to move around, his eyes begin to peek open. He fully opens them and looks at me with a big smile.
“Good morning.” He sits up and stretches out his body.
“Good morning. Sleep well?” I ask him as I walk over to sit down next to him.
“Yes, very well for sleeping on a couch.”
“Great sex equals nice sleep. I slept deep, didn't even realize you were here until I woke up this morning to be honest.”
“Well I'm glad I didn't disturb your rest.” He chuckles.
“I think we both needed that, we must have crashed after staying up talking all night.”
His smile grows bigger. “It was nice for sure.”
“Well I was thinking of waking you with some more fun, but I changed my mind . . . figured you could use a break for now.” I wink.
He laughs. “Maybe, but I wouldn't have turned it down.” He winks back. It's tempting.
“So, I wasn't planning to go into work today . . . but I think I should finish up what I can. I don't have much more to get done, it'd be great to get it all completed today if possible.”
“Yeah, you should do that. I hope you can get it all done too, then maybe you'll have a little more free time for a while.” He gives me a sexy smile. “I have to go back to rehearse in about an hour or two anyway, so it's cool.”
“Okay . . . hey . . . I was wondering, what are you doing this weekend?”
“My headlining shows are on Friday and Saturday. You're invited, you already know that.”
“Oh . . .” I look down.
“Why? What's up?” He puts his finger under my chin and lifts up my head.
“It's my birthday weekend. Jenna's most likely planning something for it. Was just going to invite you if you weren't busy . . . which apparently you are, no biggie though . . . I'm not really looking forward to celebrating this year anyway.” I give half of a smile.
“Oh, damn, I'm so sorry. Can you convince Jenna to come to my shows as part of the celebration? We can always hang out afterwards, too. Unless you don't like that idea.”
“No, it's cool. I'll see what she says about it. There's no telling what she's been planning.”
“We'll get it figured out.” He reassures me.
I get to the studio and work into the night. When I finally make it home, I'm literally exhausted. I grab my phone to text Adrian, but drift off to sleep before I hit send. It's almost ten in the morning when I wake up. I have to meet Mr. Clayton in two hours. I get up to shower and get dressed. By the time I'm heading out of the door, I have an hour to be there, it's on the opposite side of town and it's the lunch rush. I make it there with ten minutes to spare. I find Mr. Clayton already seated and tell a waitress I'm here to meet with him. She walks me over and hands me a menu after taking my drink order.
“Mr. Clayton.” I greet him, my eyes not wanting to connect with his.
“Ms. Thorne. Thank you for meeting with me today. How are you feeling?”
“I'm great, thank you.”
“That's great.” He says with a smile. “No complications since the accident?”
“Nope, everything has been good. Including my car.”
“Ah, yes.” He says with a complicated look on his face that I can't figure out.
“You really shouldn't have done that, Mr. Clayton, it's too much.”
“I know I didn't have to Veronica, but I wanted to. Please, call me Richard.”
First name basis? No, thank you. We're not on that level.
“Who wants to spend thousands on a car just because?”
“Is it a problem?” He looks confused.
“I'm not saying it's a problem, but at the same time I don't know how to react to such a gesture. I mean, that's a big deal. Not to mention, I can afford it myself.”
He looks offended. “I never said you couldn't. I didn't do it to show off my money, Veronica. Can't someone just do something nice for someone else?”
“As long as there aren't any strings attached.” I blurt out before thinking.
“Strings?” He chuckles.
“Well what is it then? There's got to be more to it than just being nice. It's not just the car either . . . the paint brushes?”
“Oh yes, do you like them?”
His nonchalance becomes offensive. Do I look as dumb as he's portraying me?
“They're very nice, Mr. Clayton. However, gifts like that are meant for more personal relations . . . normally not from doctor to patient.”
“I don't do normally.” He says in a cocky mimic.
“Wow. Do you have any idea how you're making me feel right now?”
“Veronica, the only thing I'm trying to do is make up for what happened. If that's not acceptable in the normal world, I'm sorry. Honestly, I've felt guilty since the accident. It's not that I think the gifts would make up for anything, but you deserve that and so much more.”
Fuck. Here it comes. I knew there were strings. He can't fool me.
He continues, “You're beautiful, young, talented, and loved. You didn't deserve to almost lose your life over my carelessness. You deserve to be treated like a princess.”
Ew. I think I just somewhat vomited in my mouth. The sound of being his princess, the mere thought alone causes me to be sick. Seriously? He's older, he's cocky, and he obviously thinks material things are what counts to bribe people into liking you. He's wrong. First of all, I'd rather be treated like a queen than a princess. Secondly, I don't take well to being beneath someone and he comes off as that type. I can't help but lose my appetite.
“Aren't you going to order?” He asks me when the waitress returns.
“No, thanks. I'm not hungry.”
“I'll have the house salad.” He tells the waitress who's waiting.
“Okay, so I thought you wanted to meet about the project . . . what did you want to discuss?”
“That was just my way of getting you to meet with me. I knew you wouldn't find time for me unless it had to do with work. I can tell you're all about work, Veronica.”
I roll my eyes. “So you lied to get me to meet with you?”
“Not lied, just used a different reason.”
“Look.” I interrupt his sip of his drink. “Whatever your intentions are, stop. I'm thankful for what you've done and all, but I think that's where it needs to be left at. So, thank you for your kindness.”
“If that's how you want to play it.” He takes a sip of his drink, he even does that in a cocky manner.
“Excuse me? Play? I'm not into games. You have the wrong person. If you think that I'm playing hard to get or something, you're sadly mistaken. I have no interest in taking things further than what they are between us. Client and Painter. Doctor and Patient. Beyond that, there's nothing. I don't even know you. Just because you helped me, doesn't give you the right to try to get into my pants.”
I get easily tempered when someone assumes shit about me that's not true. What can I say, I respect and protect myself. I get up and grab my purse from the seat.
“You'll change your mind, Veronica.” The stupid grin on his face, I want to smack it off of him.
“You can come to the Triple R meeting when the other clients come to choose if you'd like to use the piece I created for you. Otherwise, I'd rather not have these personal meetings again. Have a nice day, Mr. Clayton.”