“What does it take to get you to listen to me once in your fucking life?” I stopped briefly outside the door of my office, my key poised to unlock the door, and waited impatiently for Zoe to finish her rant. “He was hot. He was smart. And I know you liked him because I saw you two in the lobby. Hell, everyone saw you. And still, you walked away. What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Technically, he walked away,” I grumbled.
“Don’t try to pin this on him. You haven’t called him, have you? Goddamnit, Clay, you are so stubborn, why do I even try to help you at all?”
I looked over at her, gave her an apathetic shrug, and disappeared into my office.
Solice. At last. Until the phone rang. Damnit, it’s not even 7 yet, who is calling this early?
It occurred to me that I still hadn’t had my morning coffee. I paged my assistant, then picked up the phone and barked a sloppy greeting.
“Clay Felix, hello, this is Cultivated Connections, responding to a last-minute request for an escort this Saturday night?”
“Oh yes! Yes, thank you for calling,” I stumbled, “has there been a cancellation?”
“Yes, there has. We have someone available.”
“That’s wonderful, thank you. Please send him to my office as usual. Six o’ clock.”
“Sure thing, Ms. Felix. Now I must remind you that our last-minute booking fee still stands in this case, putting your final bill at almost double our normal fee. Do you agree to these conditions?”
“Yes. Yes, of course. Thanks again.”
I hung up and smiled to myself. See? I can get my own date.
Adam entered quietly with my morning coffee and set the tray on my desk.
“Thanks, Adam. What’s on my agenda this morning?”
I barely heard what he said – something about meetings, meetings, and more meetings. I still had the turbine shipment issue to resolve and now we had the accounting department throwing tantrums over the unresolved bills our customer was refusing to pay. Typical morning.
“Reschedule my ten o’clock for two, please – I can’t sit down with Accounting until I get an update on the customer status for the Icon shipment and my call with them isn’t scheduled until eleven. And clear my lunchtime schedule as well – I’m going to be grabbing a bite with Zoe, I imagine.”
I smirked. She was so predictable.
Adam headed back to his office to execute and a call rang through from Zoe’s office. Just as I’d suspected, she wanted to get together for lunch. I agreed on the condition that she make a considerable effort not to bring up my dating life; I’d have enough discussion on the issue. She complied.
By the end of the week, Zoe and I were back on good terms and the company crises I’d been managing all week were finally taking a turn for the better. It seemed as though I might actually get some peace of mind over the weekend. Admittedly, though, my mind had wandered back to Mason on more than one occasion. It seemed impossible to get him out of my head. There was something very distinctly different about him; something raw and mysterious. I’d never met a man like him before. I began to wonder if I should give him a call. Maybe give it a chance…
No, Claydin! No; we’ve been down that road. I can’t do relationships; it just doesn’t work. Escorts only, that’s the rule.
By Saturday evening I’d managed to decrease the number fantasies about him down to just once a day. And me and my vibrator had only had a go round over him twice. Okay, maybe three times…
Fine, it was four.
But I was determined to leave him be for one evening. Fundraisers weren’t amongst my most favorite events, but I was still looking forward to some socializing, some drinks, and the company of a handsome, very fuckable stranger; a stranger with no strings attached.
I’d spent the entire day at the office tying up loose ends, so I didn’t start getting ready until almost five. I tidied up my desk and pulled my silk dress out of its sheath. I’d had Adam pick it out for me and boy did he do a fantastic job. It was a deep purple color – the shade of a beautiful and tart red wine. It was sleeveless with a diamond-studded crew neck and a shapely fit that hugged my body just right. I stepped into my very luxurious bathroom and pulled the dress on, admiring myself in the mirror. I pared it with a set of diamond earrings I’d borrowed from Zoe, and pulled my hair into a wild up-do that left sophisticated tendrils cascading across my cheeks.
Perfect. I was ready to blow my escort away – hopefully in more ways than one, by the time the night was over.
Around 5:45 I heard a knock on my office door. Huh, maybe he’s early. I sauntered over to the door, striking a sexy pose as I opened the door.
“Damn, girl, you clean up good!” It was Zoe.
I laughed and made a kissy face at her. “You ain’t seen nothing yet, darling. Are you and Connor about to head out?”
“Yeah, just wanted to check on you and make sure you don’t bar yourself up in the office for the evening.”
I shook my head. “Not tonight. Tonight I plan to let loose a little and hopefully get a little tipsy with you before the evening is over.”
She giggled. “Good.”
Connor showed up behind her. “We’d better get going, babe. Hey Clay, sorry things didn’t work out with Mason. He can be kind of an ass.”
Zoe glared at him. “Connor, I told you not to say anything.”
“It’s okay,” I responded, “he was a nice enough guy, I’m just not looking for a relationship right now.”
Connor smirked. “Well, it’s just as well. Apparently he’s tied up tonight too. Who knows what he’s tied up with – I don’t think I’ve ever seen the guy go on a date before.”
I gazed at him curiously. I hadn’t expected that: a guy like Mason, with his looks, never dating? That didn’t seem right. “I’ll walk you guys to the elevator. My date is probably on his way up anyways.”
I freshened my make up, grabbed my purse, and followed them down the hall. The office was so quiet and serene at night. It was weird and terrifying, but also a bit comforting. It made the place feel a little bit more homey and a lot less stressful – I knew no one would coming storming through my door with any crises.
Zoe hit the elevator button and turned to me. “So, do you know who your date is tonight?”
It occurred to me that I hadn’t gotten a name from the agency. I blinked my eyes in confusion. “I don’t know, actually. I didn’t ask.”
Just then, the elevator door opened and a man stepped out. I immediately flushed red. Connor turned and cocked an eyebrow at me while Zoe placed her hands on her hips and gave me a cheeky smile.
“Zoe, what the hell?” I cried as the man stepped out, a look of triumph on his face.
“What do you mean?” Zoe said, motioning towards our unexpected guest. “Clay, why didn’t you just tell me? This is great!”
My jaw fell open – she didn’t know? I was lost. We all seemed to be lost.
It appeared that not one of us had expected to see Mason Thacket step off that elevator.