Home > Right Where I Want You(8)

Right Where I Want You(8)
Jessica Hawkins

“Did you hear anything I just said? Vance would like us to share an office—”

I shot forward, and my leather chair squeaked. “What?”

She shut her eyes, sighed, and shook her head. “If you have to stare at my breasts, at least try to listen at the same time. Otherwise, this will never work.”

My mouth dropped open. Had I been that obvious? I scoffed. “Actually, I was shooting imaginary lasers at your Spankees jersey.”

“No, you weren’t.”

“Modest, aren’t we? I assure you, your breasts are safe from me.”

“Why’s that?” she asked, cocking her head.

I paused. I’d expected something more along the lines of “Thank God for that.” “Because you aren’t my type.”

She glanced away for only a second. “Then sharing an office shouldn’t be a problem. We won’t have to worry about those pesky non-fraternization rules.”

She was teasing me. Or was she flirting? Certainly not—she’d be a stickler for the sexual harassment policies. But then what about that skintight top she’d just flaunted? I refrained from growling, angry that she was getting under my skin. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have the space.”

She gave me a knowing, if not terse, smile. “You have more space than anyone other than Vance.”

“Then impose on him.”

“He’s not even on this floor, and anyway, he wants me in here. Says it makes the most sense since you and I will be working closely together. And I won’t be an imposition, promise.”

“My desk is organized just the way I like it,” I said. “Everything has its spot, and I don’t do well with people touching my things.”

She glanced at my desk. “Vance is trying to arrange one for me. I mean, it certainly won’t be anything like that, but . . .”

I frowned. “Like what?”

“Did you blow your first paycheck on office furniture? What is that, mahogany?”

“It is, actually.”

She opened her purse and pulled out her phone as she murmured something about overcompensating.

That was the last straw. Overcompensating? Fuck no.

By city standards, my cock qualified as a small skyscraper.

I had so much junk, the New York City Sanitation Department had tried to haul it away.

The only private dick more famous than mine was Sherlock Holmes.

I started to suggest she dial up any of my exes to see if I had reason to overcompensate, but my desk phone rang. I snatched up the receiver. “What?”

“Is George Keller there?”

“Jesus Christ,” I muttered. “This is my office. Sebastian Quinn.”

“I know, Mr. Quinn. It’s Mary at the front desk. Is George there?”

I sighed and glanced up. Georgina was trying so hard not to smile that deep, deep dimples formed in her cheeks. Those were new. I might’ve found them cute if I wasn’t sure she was giddy over annoying me. “She’s here.”

“Will you let her know some boxes have just arrived from her office?”

I hung up. “There’s stuff for you at reception.”

“Oh, good.” Georgina put her phone away. “It’s supplies and a bunch of research and data. I prefer paper over digital. Easier to sort through. But that means the boxes get a little . . . heavy.”

“Lift from the knees,” I said, returning to the notepad in front of me. I’d never claimed to be a gentleman. Well, I had. Several times, in my articles, but that was work. In my personal life, I was a gentleman where it counted—like any time I was in the presence of my sister or late mother. Or when I was on a date or trying to get one. It wasn’t as if I wanted to sleep with George.

I cringed. George-ina.

If I was going to get in the habit of thinking even remotely sexual things about her, I had to stop referring to her as George.

Once she’d left, I flipped the page of the legal notepad in front of me and wrote, Chivalrous Acts of a Modern-Day Gentleman.

One—look into her eyes during conversation, not at her breasts. They say eyes are the window to the soul. Crawl through that window and right into her bed.

Two—she made you wait twenty-five minutes on her living room couch while she got ready? Instead of complaining, tell her she looks beautiful. She might bestow you with a quickie right there. This is where the couch shines. It’s the couch’s moment of glory. All the ass it has to endure, it does it in hopes that one day, you’ll get laid on top of it. Do it for the couch.

Three—take care of her during a rainstorm. Give her your jacket if she’s cold, hold your umbrella over her, and walk closest to the street in case of splashing. Keep her dry now for the opportunity to make her wet later.

Four—help her move. Moving to a new place, even if it’s down the block, can be daunting. Take a day off from Netflix and Chili Cheese Fritos to lend your girl a hand. Lift her literal box to get access to her metaphorical one.

It needed some tweaking, but it would work. And yet, in place of pride, I felt a twinge of something I couldn’t quite identify. Instead of being a gentleman, I’d sat there writing about it. Once again, I wondered what my mom would say about that.

I stood and went to the front, where I found Georgina bent over her literal box.

Which looked to be the size of a small house.

“Let me get that,” I said.

She glanced up, surprised to see me. “Oh. Really?”

“Sure. I have a feeling I’ll be missing arms day at the gym tonight anyway.” I’d surely be staying late to try to reverse all the damage Georgina had planned for us. I dropped to a squat and lifted. Behind the box sat another smaller one. “I’ll come back for that.”

“I’ve got it,” she said, bending over to pick it up.

As much as I liked the view of her surprisingly round, tight ass, I blurted out, “Knees, Georgina. I was serious earlier. You’ll hurt your back otherwise.”

“Knees, got it,” she said, crouching to wedge her fingers under the box. As she hoisted it up, she said, “And thank you.”

I returned to my office, set her things by the couch, then reassumed my throne to review my notes.

“Got something there?” she asked as she entered the room.

“An article I just wrote.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“Maybe later.”

She sighed and dumped the box with a thud. “Look, Sebastian. I’m here for the next two months. You don’t have to like it, but you do need to accept it.”

“It’s not that—I just don’t share my work until I’ve had time to perfect it.”

“That’s a great tenet for a monthly publication,” she said, not bothering to hide her sarcasm. “Did you write it in the five minutes I was gone?”

I leaned back in my chair, twirling my pen. “Impressed?”

“Speediness doesn’t impress me. I prefer men who take their time.”

I caught myself before I laughed—apparently I appreciated a woman who could land a good burn. “I take my time where it counts.”

Was this the real Georgina, or was it an act? I hadn’t missed her discomfort during talk of happy hour—which was why I’d pushed her to accept the invitation. I wanted to know why I kept encountering two seemingly different sides to her personality.

She pulled a Ziploc bag as big as her head from the box, scooped out a handful of gummy bears, and popped them in her mouth. She wandered over to my desk and read my notepad upside down. “The first two—eye contact and couch sex—have nothing to do with chivalry,” she said, chewing. “The team can work with the others, though.”

“I never said it was a final draft, and anyway, I don’t usually open up my pieces for feedback.”

“It’ll be a good practice for everyone, including you. In fact, let’s bring in digital. This would make for a good webisode in the Quickie Series.”

I cocked my head. “We don’t have a Quickie Series.”

“We could.” She unbuttoned her blazer and dropped onto the couch like she’d done it a hundred times. “Our unique visits are lagging around a million hits a month. It should be higher for a magazine with our circulation. Just off the top of my head, we could do short videos with tips on how to woo a woman.”

I glanced at my notes and crossed off the part about the couch. If George was going to take up residence on mine, then couches had to remain asexual.

“How to woo a woman?” I repeated. “Pretty sure it’s been done.”

“Not in sixty seconds. Data shows people are more likely to watch a video that’s under a minute.”

Being the busy man that I was, I already knew that from personal experience. If I needed help getting laid—which I did not—I might actually watch that. Maybe even for fun. Especially if it involved a hot chick. I reviewed the list from a woman’s point of view, envisioning top model Aliana Balik on the screen, reading in her Polish accent . . .

“Open the car door for me, and I’ll race you to the backseat. Zero to sixty is nothing. I can have you raring to go in ten seconds flat.”

Ooph. I saw stars, little Aliana-faced stars. Yeah, I’d watch the hell out of that series, tentatively called Gone in Sixty Sex—or better, secs. Sixty Secs in the City . . .

The sound of George rustling through her things again derailed my idea train. I wanted to discuss this with Peterson from web, but did I need to go through George now? It was her idea after all, but was scooping her worse than having to get permission? How would that look to my guys?

“What the hell do you have in there besides a family-size bag of gummy bears?” I asked.

Georgina, elbow deep in a box, glanced up. “Office supplies, handbooks, data binders, that kind of stuff. I’m looking for my laptop.”

My mouth fell open. “There’s enough stuff in there to lose a computer?”

She ducked her head and continued rifling. “No, it’s just—sometimes I, like, have a hard time keeping track of things. Must be the George in me. He’s messy, like most men.”

I grimaced. “I wish you wouldn’t refer to yourself as a man.”

“I didn’t. I referred to the man inside me.”

It was my turn to go red in the face. Had she seriously just said that? Was she so naïve that she didn’t catch the double entendre, or was she just trying to throw me off?

She straightened up, laughing. “I’m sorry. Sometimes, I have a juvenile sense of humor. I’m not as buttoned up as you probably think.”

“I didn’t say you were. I just prefer you to be Georgina instead of George.”

She visibly flinched at that but shut it down quickly with a clearly forced smile. “Wouldn’t the absence of breasts make it easier to work with me?”

I slammed my mouth shut. It reeked of a trick question. “Did you know who I was down in the coffee shop?”

She didn’t respond right away. “Obviously not.”

“Why is that obvious?”

“I would’ve said something.”

“I don’t know that. You might’ve been spying for something to use against me later.”

She held up a stapler. “Oops. I don’t think I was supposed to take this from my last assignment.” She glanced at me. “Do you think I’m out to get you?”

My gut response was no, but I wasn’t sure I could trust it. She was proving to be quite the actress—small and meek one moment, then down my throat the next. “I think you like power.”

“Who doesn’t?” Next, she pulled out a small, diamond-shaped award and studied it. “For an essay I did on the underrepresentation of real women in media.”

I nodded. “I have awards too.”

Sort of. The soccer trophy on the shelf behind me was from a thrift store. Justin had covered the plaque with a white label and written “Sexiest Beast in the Northeast” in black marker.

“What’s a real woman?” Georgina didn’t strike me as the type to be insecure.

“Do you really want to know?”

“Why wouldn’t I? I love women.”

“I don’t know you very well, Mr. Quinn, but I get the feeling you don’t date or even know any real women.”

That was a fucked-up assumption. Maybe I didn’t have the most diverse dating track record, but anyone who dared call my mom or sister fake was asking for trouble. “Try me.”

“Okay. How about this? Five pounds that won’t budge for the life of you. Stretch marks. Ill-fitting undergarments. Period stains. Bunions that take your favorite heels out of rotation. Roots.”

I struggled to keep up. I’d been with my fair share of women, and had grown up with two, but these weren’t familiar problems. Except maybe period stains—Mom had taught me how to remove anything from any garment, sometimes against my will. “What do you mean by roots?”

She patted the top of her head. “You know—if we’re not diligent with our stylists, our true colors start to show.”

Damn. I studied her. She wasn’t a full-on redhead, more autumn day than summer heat, but I’d assumed it was natural, and I usually had good instincts about these things. “You too?”

With a sly smile, she said, “I’m not telling.”

George had nice hair, so much that it almost threatened to overpower her. With her back to me this morning, it was the first thing I’d noticed when I’d walked into the café. A cascading blend of chocolate, maple syrup, and mahogany—just a few of my favorite things. I let my eyes wander a little lower. “I don’t see five pounds.”

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