~ Never Too Old For The Game Of Love ~
The door was ajar, but she still knocked on it.
“Come on in.”
Trying to control her nerves, Tegan took a deep breath, pushed the door open and walked into the lion’s den once again.
Alexander was sitting behind his desk, ear bud and mouthpiece in place, finishing up a call, but he waved for her to come in and sit on the chair directly in front of his desk where she had sat the last time. He was dressed in a long-sleeved shirt with rolled-up sleeves, and just looking at the dark hair on his arms unnerved her. He had loosened his tie, too, and when she saw the black chest hair that peeked up from under his open collar, she remembered what it had felt like, crushed against her skin, and she hurriedly looked away from him. She sat down, smoothing out the wrinkles in her skirt, and demurely crossed her ankles over each other, her hands folded in her lap. She was aware this was a classic protection position in body language, but she didn’t care. She was not in her element here; she was in his.
She looked around his office as, once again, she was kept waiting by his incessant phone calls. There were no family pictures around, just generic-looking landscapes of the desert areas out west. There were a few vases and bowls that looked like they had been bought in New Mexico and a small end table with trade magazines on it was covered with a colorful serape.
She felt a quick urge to strip naked and wrap herself in that serape, thinking to finally force this man to hang up and pay attention to her, when she became aware he wasn’t talking anymore and was removing the headset.
He punched a few buttons on his phone console and smiled at her. “Now any calls will go to my answering machine. So we can talk, uninterrupted.”
“Is there anyone else still in the office at this time of day?” she asked, since most of the offices she had passed had been dark and empty. She was almost afraid of the answer, since she wasn’t sure she wanted to be so alone with him.
He shrugged. “There’s a few of us who do business with people in vastly different time zones. That’s why I have an office in my condo as well. But I’m usually one of the last ones to leave here.”
He gave her a mischievous smile. “Why, does it bother you that we might be alone up here?”
Briskly, Tegan answered. “No, of course not. I brought along that statement I told you about, that I finished up this afternoon. Here it is.” She slid the paper across his desk and was pleased with the barely concealed look of lust that flashed across his face as her movement allowed him a quick glance at her cleavage.
He took the paper and appeared to study it before putting it down in front of him. “It looks comprehensive. And I have something for you.”
He opened a drawer, took out a check and slid it across the desk at her. She looked at the amount written on it, then let out a gasp. She looked up at him in surprise and he could see the instant she made the leap in the wrong direction, as the color rose in her face and she flushed a bright shade of red.
“I can’t accept this.”
He leaned back in his chair. “And why not? You and your partner did an excellent job on the party. Everything was delivered as promised, and I got the client’s account. I promised you a bonus if I got it, so that’s reflected in the check.”
Tegan’s face was still flushed as she angrily told him, “You know why I can’t take this. How dare you insult me by paying me extra for what happened at the party? Who the hell do you think you are?”
He leaned forward. “Tegan, that’s what I was afraid you were going to think. That’s why I wanted you to come in person to pick up the check. Honey, the money has nothing to do with what happened between us. This is just business. You have no idea what kind of money this account will bring into my company. I got a five-thousand dollar bonus check from my boss this afternoon after the client signed the contract with me. Since your party was so instrumental in proving to him that I can take care of his every need, I thought it was only fair to share the wealth by giving your company ten percent of my bonus. That’s all. You and Patti earned it. I will be insulted if you don’t take it.”
She looked at him intently, then decided he wasn’t lying. She took the check and put it into her bag. “Okay, you win. It’s made out to our company. I’m going to cash it. So nice doing business with you. Thanks so much. Now I really have to be going.”
She got up and turned to leave, but Alexander rose and reached across his desk to grab her wrist. “Tegan, please wait. That’s not the only reason I wanted you to come here. Hear me out.”
She looked at his hand gripping her arm and looked up into his eyes. He dropped his hand, but walked around the desk to lean against it on the same side she was on. She sat back down.
“This is so awkward,” he began; taking a deep breath he continued. “I’m not usually at a loss for words, but I’m not sure what to say that will convince you to see me again.”
She raised her eyebrows at him. “I’m seeing you right now, aren’t I?”
He smiled at her. “You are deliberately misconstruing what I mean. You know what I mean. I want to take you out to dinner. I want a chance to prove to you that I really can control myself, usually. I have never before acted like I did the other night, and I want to make it up to you.”
He took her hand in his and gently massaged her knuckles before raising her hand to his lips and kissing those same knuckles.
“I want to have the opportunity to spend some time enjoying you and making you scream again. Will you give me a chance?”
She sighed heavily, then asked him. “You don’t have any children, do you?”
He looked at her in surprise. “No.”
“But you are divorced?”
“It must have been so easy for you. Only the two of you involved… clean and hardly messy at all. I was married for fifteen years, and two years ago, my happily-ever-after exploded in my face. I had to deal with my own pain, as well as my nine and six-year old children’s pain. They are still not over it. I’m not sure if they will ever be over it.”
He waited quietly, while she thought of what to say next.
“What I mean is, I won’t allow them to get attached to another man who will then desert them when he gets tired of me. I can understand what’s going on, but they can’t. They shouldn’t have to. They’ve already had to deal with too much pain in their short lives.”
She looked up earnestly into his eyes and saw understanding competing with desire. “You know what I mean, don’t you?”
He nodded. “Would you consider seeing me if they didn’t know about it?”
She nodded. “I might.”
“Do they ever spend time with their father?”
“Yes. They spend one weekend a month with their dad in his apartment in the city.”
He felt his pulse begin to race. “Is there one of those weekends in the near future?”
She nodded again. “This weekend. He’ll pick them up after school on Friday. Then he’ll drop them off back home on Sunday around dinner time.”
“What time should I pick you up for dinner on Friday?”
She shook her head. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea either. We live in a very in-bred sub-division, with everyone poking their noses into everyone else’s business. I know your brother and his wife… I was in a playgroup with Juanita.”
His smile was partly wicked, partly guilty and not at all understandable to her. “So I heard.”
She continued. “So, if this is going to happen at all, I don’t want anyone else to know about it. If anyone in the neighborhood knows, they will talk about it. Their kids will hear it. Their kids will tell my kids. And that’s not going to happen. Do you understand?”
He looked bemused. “Yes, you want to sneak around to see me, like we are having an affair.”
“Which is what we will be doing. Having an affair, I mean. Nothing more.”
He looked closely at her, studying her face. “Do you really think you can keep your emotions in check like that?”
A sly smile played around her lips. “Of course. I had other lovers before my husband. I haven’t had a purely sexual relationship since before I met him in college, but I haven’t forgotten how.”
He appeared to be deep in thought. “Purely sexual? No strings attached?”
She nodded. “That’s the best I can offer. Take it or leave it.”
He moved so fast she didn’t have time to react before he had pulled her up and out of her chair. He grabbed the back of her head with one hand and his other hand fondled her butt as he pressed himself into her, showing her what just being in the same room with her was doing to him. He lowered his head to brush her lips with his, then he took full possession of her lips and crushed them, forcing her mouth to open, to take his tongue into battle with her own. She responded without thinking, her hands running up and down his back, from his hard shoulder muscles to his even harder butt muscles, and she felt his hands on her again, setting her skin on fire wherever he slid them under her clothes.
She gasped and pushed him away. “No! Not yet!”