“Now, now, Chase,” Lex teased. “Is that any way to talk to the future Mrs. Drake?”
I sat up with a start, bumping my head on the bottom of the desk. I winced silently. Did he just say what I thought he said? A feminine giggle masked the sound, making the hair on my neck stand on end. Suddenly, the cuffs on my wrists chafed, and I wished I were anywhere but here.
“It’s okay. You know how he gets. He’s just a cranky puss, aren’t you Chasey?”
If I had to listen to this for too much longer, I was in danger of puking on Mr. Drake’s shoes. Who was this woman?
“Please, Veronica. Now isn’t a good time.”
His tone was dark. Forceful. But from the sound of her grating laugh, it had no effect on this Veronica.
“It’s never a good time! I’m not leaving until you agree to join me for dinner at your parents’ house tonight. They invited us, but said you haven’t returned any of their calls, you naughty thing.”
I wanted to growl in frustration, trapped like a na**d rat under his desk. I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be hearing these things.
An exasperated sigh met my ears.
“I have some things to wrap up here, Veronica, and then can meet you downstairs. We’ll discuss it there. Lex, if you’ll please escort her to the lobby?”
There was the sound of shuffling paper, and Mr. Drake tapping a pen on the desk impatiently.
“Always a pleasure Chase,” Lex said.
There was the sound of a huffy female sigh, then footsteps. The door clicked shut and silence filled the office. Mr. Drake waited for a few moments before tucking himself back into his pants and sliding his chair back.
“Isa… It’s not what it sounds like.”
Humiliation coursing through me, I clambered out from under the desk and turned around, holding my wrists out.
“Let me go.”
He worked the buckle on one cuff, rubbing my wrist. Tears stung my eyes. I wanted to pull away. I wanted to gather my clothing and leave and never speak to him again. But when he rubbed my wrist that way, part of me wanted to stay, to believe that things weren’t how they seemed.
But then who was that woman? And why had Lex called her “the future Mrs. Drake?”
He released the other cuff. “Isa, she’s a friend of the family.”
I turned around, my eyes on the floor, avoiding his. “I see.”
She’s rich. She’s one of them. I reached for the drawer where he’d stashed my clothing, and a tear rolled down my cheek, despite my best efforts to hold it in. I’m just a secretary in borrowed clothing. How can I compete with that?
Mr. Drake touched my shoulder as I jammed my legs into the skirt and zipped it up.
“I want you. No one else.”
“Then you’re not going to dinner with her?”
I buttoned the blouse, my fingers shaking as I worked.
“I… I have to go.”
I slid on my heels and grabbed my purse, spilling chapstick and receipts onto the floor. “Then, so do I.”
And before he could say anything else, I walked out of the office and slammed the door, leaving Chase Drake stunned and silent. I stabbed at the elevator button, the light blurring through the tears now flowing freely down my cheeks.
I expected the office door to open and for him to come after me. To tell me again that I was the one, not her. I waited to hear him call my name.
The bell chimed, and the elevator slid open. I took a deep breath, and stepped inside.
To Be Continued…