Authors: Miller,Cassie-Ann L.
I round the corner and push open the door to the employee break room. My heart virtually leaps into my throat when I see Domenic crouched down in front of the vending machine retrieving a candy bar.
What’s he doing here on a Saturday afternoon? Nobody’s supposed to be here
Last night, after he made his indecent proposal to me, I ran out of his apartment like my clothes were on fire. All I knew was that I needed to get away from him…fast. Before I did something that we’d both regret.
How awkward. I laid in my bed, pulling comfort from the fact that I wouldn’t have to face him again until Monday. At least I’d have the weekend to pull myself together and recover from the effect that his words had had on my body.
But now he’s here.
Why is he here?!
I try to duck out of the room before he sees me but the sound of my kitten heels against the linoleum floor alerts him to someone’s presence in the room.
He leaps to his feet just as I’m pushing through the door. “Madison?” I don’t answer. “Hey, Maddie! Wait up!”
In a flash, he’s standing behind me in the corridor. He says my name again and when I don’t answer, he reaches out and rests his palm on my shoulder. And electricity sputters up my spine.
His mere touch has never affected me so powerfully before.
“Maddie, can I talk to you for a minute?”
I pull a deep breath and turn slowly to face him. My cheeks are crimson as my mind flashes back to the way I’d taken myself to three orgasms after rushing out of Domenic’s apartment last night, all while replaying his words on loop.
We totally should fuck…We totally should fuck...We totally should fuck...
“Yes?” I say sweetly, trying to shove the memory out of my mind.
He holds the break room door open. “Do you mind if we sit in here?” Without a word, I walk through the open door and take a seat at a table near the window. Domenic sits opposite me and rests his chocolate bar down on the laminate tabletop between us. “About last night…I’m sorry that I made you uncomfortable. I guess I was just a little drunk –“
I interrupt him. “We were both drunk.”
“Yeah – I guess we were both drunk.”
“Yes, so we can just forget it ever happened.” I immediately push myself up to my feet, trying to leave.
“No – wait!” He places his hand over mine to stop me. My whole body tingles at the feel of his skin on mine.
Why is this
“What is it?” I hiss. I can’t let him unravel me like this. I can’t feel so off-kilter…Not over
“Look – about what I said last night – it’s just that, you’re a captivating woman, Madison. You’re gorgeous and smart and ambitious…and it pisses me off to see the way Chase treats you. The way he makes you cry…” My entire body is heated by Domenic’s complimentary words. “What I was trying to say last night…you’re single, I’m single. We’ve been friends forever. We trust each other. We have great conversations together… so, we can…y’know…help each other out…
“Domenic, are you asking me to be your
?” I say, incredulous.
“Don’t put it like that, Maddie. You make it sound so wrong.”
wrong, Domenic! How could you even suggest that?”
“Don’t be offended. Please.”
I push to my feet. “Too late…I already am.” I spin on my heel and storm out of the room.
By the time I get back to my apartment around 8:30 that night, all the lights are on. Lana Del Rey is crooning over the speakers in that breathy tone of hers and the distinct smell of the Gattusso family secret spaghetti sauce recipe wafts towards the entrance to greet me.
I stomp into my kitchen. “Frankie – your spare key is for emergencies only.”
“You wouldn’t answer my calls.”
“Take my spare key back from Frankie,” I mutter sarcastically, “– I’m adding it to my to-do list right now.”
Frankie fails to make eye contact with me as he sets two plates of steaming spaghetti and meatballs down on my circular glass dining table then takes a seat.
I’d love to just walk out on Frankie and ignore him completely. But aside from the fact that I’m starving, Frankie is my only friend. Still, I’m mad. “You stood me up last night,” I state dryly.
“I’m so sorry, Maddie – I – I.”
“You have no excuse, Frankie. So, please don’t try. Don’t add insult to injury.”
His eyes drift down to his hands in his lap. “I’m sorry.”
“You can’t just break all your promises to me and expect us to still be best friends. I waited for you – for hours. You never called, you never texted, you never showed up. And now, I’m just supposed to forgive you because you made me pasta?”
He erupts into tears. “I’m sorry, Madison.”
His outburst takes me by surprise but I won’t let him manipulate my feelings. “You promised that you would help me, Frankie. This is a really difficult time for me.”
“I know. I did – I did talk to Chase…I told him to stay away from you…that you’re way too good for him.”
This is news to me. “You spoke to him? What did he say?”
Frankie just shrugs. “You know Chase. You know how he is…”
As angry as I am at Frankie right now, it breaks my heart to see him crying. He’s gone out of his way to cook for me and he stood up to Chase for me.
I have such a weak spot for him.
I reach across the table for his hand. When he places it in mine, I say, “Frankie – you know that I love you but you can’t keep flaking out on me when I need you. Our friendship has to go both ways…”
“I know, Maddie. You have no idea how sorry I am.”
I scoot my chair next to his and rest my head on his shoulder. “Well, at least you’re here now. I’m glad you’re here, Frankie.”
We revel in the silence for a moment as I cuddle against him.
For whatever strange reason, I suddenly think back to Domenic and the crude proposition he made to me last night and a soft giggle escapes my lips.
“What so funny?” Frankie asks pulling out of my embrace to glance at me.
There’s no way that I’m telling him that his older brother tried to get me in bed. “Nothing. It’s nothing.”
“Madison – I know that silly schoolgirl giggle. Tell me what’s going on. Spill the beans.”
“This guy – I mean, a friend – well, he
“Yes, a friend.” My tone is slightly defensive.
“A friend? Maddie, you don’t have friends.”
I gape, insulted as I playfully push him in the shoulder. “Shut up! It’s a friend from work. Okay?”
“Just sayin’…” He smirks at me. “So, he propositioned you for
I grunt at him. “Yes,
. Is that so hard to believe?” My good mood is already starting to dissipate. “Never mind. I shouldn’t have said anything.”
“Okay, okay – I’m sorry. I actually think that would be good for you. You should fuck his brains out.”
“What?! Frankie, I’m not some hooker.”
“Oh lighten up, Maddie. You need to get over Chase pronto. And, you know what they say – the best way to get over an old guy is to get under a new one. Some hot, steamy,
sex is exactly what you need.”
“Well, isn’t that classy?” I say sarcastically.
“I don’t see what the big deal is – if this guy is a ‘friend’” – he makes air-quotes around the word – “then you’re already comfortable with him – just look at it as him doing you a favor. Friends do favors for friends.”
“Frankie, you are insane and ridiculous
insane,” I laugh.
“You need to lighten the hell up. Kick off those Louboutins and let down that tight-ass bun…live a little.”
I sigh in frustration. I knew I shouldn’t have talked to Frankie about this.
“You could use a good roll in the hay. And it shows.” He takes a big gulp from his wine glass.
“I had sex just a few days ago…with Chase,” I whine.
“Honey, as sauve and sexy as Chase is, he certainly does
know his way around in bed.”
“Whatever – how would you know anyway?”
Frankie looks a little flustered at the question. “I guess it’s just the way he walks. You can tell a lot about a man by the way he walks…and besides Chase has been fucking you for years and you still act like you’ve got a stick up your ass. To me, that’s proof that he hasn’t been doing a good job…There’s nothing like the thrill of new dick, Maddie. You need to give it a try.”
I’ve been thinking about Domenic all weekend.
All alone in my big, soft bed, all I can think about is him. His long, sculpted body. His captivating eyes. And that wicked smile that causes my pussy to clench.
I’ve known him my whole life but now, all of a sudden, it’s like I’m
him for the first time.
How did I never notice him before? How did I take such an erotic treasure for granted? How did I let myself be blinded to the man that he truly is?
And more importantly, now that he’s awakened a part of me that quivers with the need to let him pleasure my body, what will I do?
He wants me in his bed.
He’s extended an open invitation but taking it will have consequences – I know that…Yes, I know that.
So, in this moment, I decide to push down what I want from him. Set it aside. Pretend it never reared its ugly, curious head.
I have too much to lose. We both have too much to lose.
I need to put some distance between Domenic and me, at least until I return to the point of sanity.
Liz’s assistant calls and tells me to get down to conference room three immediately. I hurry down expectantly, hoping that she’ll ask me to sit in on a client meeting or conference call. With the unending stream of menial tasks that I’ve been performing during this internship, I’m crossing my fingers for a nice, meaty case to sink my teeth into.
I find Liz standing near the conference room door, dozens of banker’s boxes on the floor behind her.
Disappointment hits me like a brick.
“Oh, Madison – you’re here. Thank goodness.”
“What’s wrong?” I ask warily peering at the banker’s boxes knowing that some tedious and time-consuming task awaits me.
“So, it turns out we have a slight problem in the KGenesis file. One of the new lawyers on my team is conflicted out and she can’t work on the file.” Liz does nothing to hide her irritation. She’s heading the team handling the employment law aspects of the due diligence in our client, ToneWave’s acquisition of KGenesis, a struggling tech startup specializing in the creation of software for people with hearing impairments.
“Conflicted out?” I parrot back.
“Before coming to work at Cartwright, she worked at Mills & Green and KGenesis was their client. Now that
client is buying KGenesis, this lawyer is in conflict of interests. That means that we have to erect a Chinese wall –”
Liz gives me an exasperated glare before explaining. “A Chinese wall is basically an information barrier within the firm set up to make sure that the lawyer who has sensitive information about KGenesis doesn’t end up leaking it to the lawyers working on the file on behalf of ToneWave. We need to make sure that our client doesn’t end up with an unfair advantage because the conflicted lawyer shares confidential information that she learned when she was representing KGenesis. Basically, we’re walking on ethical quicksand here. There’s a risk of conflict of interest if we’re not careful…so, translation? This room is on lockdown. No documents can leave this room. Nobody can even step foot into this room unless they get my stamp of approval first.” She gestures to a sheet of paper sitting on the edge of the conference table. “There’s a list of the people cleared to be in the room. Aside from them, anyone else has to get clearance from me first. The deadline for reviewing the documents is tight and you have to read through all these boxes of employment contracts as part of our due diligence before we close the deal…I know it’s a lot of work so I’ll get one of the people on the list down here a.s.a.p. to help you out.”
Liz disappears out the door and I let out a long sigh.
Contract review sucks. Hours and hours of pouring over nearly identical contracts looking for the tiniest deviations from the standard template. Awful.
On the bright side, though, I have an excuse to hide out in this room, away from Chase and Domenic and the other summer interns – yes, I’m now a recluse in my own father’s law firm – I can just be alone, in solitude with my boxes and boxes of paperwork.
I tug one of the boxes to the floor and pull a chair up to the conference table. I slide the lid off of the box and pull out the first folder.
Contract one…here we go.
Just then, I hear the door creak open. The mountain of boxes on the table is obstructing my view of the doorway. Liz’s strict instructions are etched into my memory.
There’s a list of the people cleared to be in the room. Aside from them, anyone else has to get clearance from me first
Like a nightclub bouncer, I grab the list of pre-approved persons on the table and spring to my feet.
Six feet, three inches of hunk with piercing blue eyes, a warm lopsided smile and a head of blond curls is standing in the doorway.
My eyes are saucers as they volley from the man in the doorway to the sheet of paper in my hands.
Domenic Gattusso is the very first name on the list.