Single 3 by Lyra Paris
© Lyra Parish 2015
The morning sun gleamed in the distance, and I was smiling as I drove to work. Not because it was Monday, oh god no, but because there was something inside me that was ready to bubble over. Parker was to blame.
I parked my car, stepped out, then swung my computer bag over my shoulder and grabbed my badge to scan into the building. My heels echoed across the tile floor as I walked to the elevator with a bounce in my step. Everything was quiet—almost too quiet—but that was to be expected at 5:45in the morning. Most people arrived at work between seven or eight, but today I wasn’t most people. Today, I felt like a changed woman; a woman who knew what she wanted in a life, and was fully determined to keep her personal and business lives separate from one another.
I stepped into the elevator and, as I turned around, I saw Parker enter through the sliding doors. He hadn’t spotted me yet, so I took the time to admire him. My eyes narrowed in on the navy suit, those blue eyes, and that messy hair. He held two coffees in his hands and a smile on his face.
Why the hell was Parker so early?
As the elevator door began to close, I placed my palm out, causing the doors to shoot open. That was when he noticed me. After his eyes lingered over my body, he gave me a questioning look with his eyebrows scrunched together, then glanced down at his watch as he stepped in. The air seemed to evaporate from the small space, and my heart pounded in my chest. When Parker looked at me that way, it was so powerful the entire world around us seemed to stop. This was survival of the fittest.
“Rox. Morning,” he said with a wink, and handed me one of the steaming cups of coffee. He didn’t even have to comment on how early I was, because we both knew the oddity of it.
“Parker.” When his name left my lips, a smile met his eyes.
The smells of his soap and freshly-roasted coffee filled the elevator, and every emotion and feeling that I tried to forget over the weekend came back in full force. I’d say it was easy to forget him while we weren’t together, but that would be a lie. And with him practically shoulder-to-shoulder with me, even the thought of it was out the door. The elevator was empty and he used the time to get scandalously close. Any closer and my lips would be all over his, but I had to stay strong. Things had changed between us and, if this ride to our floor was an indication of how things would be today, I was completely screwed. Maybe that was a good thing.
Stop it, Rox.
“I thought since you never gave me the coffee date, that I’d bring it to you.”
The outside of his pinky grazed mine, which caused a humming sensation to shoot through me. His touch forced such a whirlwind of emotions upon me that, when the elevator door opened, I couldn’t move. I just stood there frozen. He turned around and gave me a cute little smile. “Coming?”
I was getting ready to rebut that little comment and pick my emotions from the elevator floor when my father rounded the corner.
“Roxane?” My dad glanced down at his watch, then back at me. “You’re early.”
“Not as early as you, Jeffrey. I know you woke the sun before you came in.”
He nodded his head and glanced over at Parker. “Morning, Parker.”
A smile met my father’s lips and touched his voice, but it didn’t stop my guilty conscience, which conveniently spoke loud and clear.
“We both have work that needs to be done since we were in New York last week,” I said calmly. It made sense, but the real reason was I couldn’t sleep.
Parker sipped his coffee and walked to his office with a huge grin on his face. I shook my head and walked to mine as my determination slithered down the drain.
The weekend passed like a blur; a smudge in time that almost seemed unreal. Parker mother effing Williams was a time thief, stealing my thoughts, dreams, and memories, and replacing them all with himself. I couldn’t stop thinking about the softness of his lips or how warm our bodies were when pressed together. It was almost hard for me to not mention the amazing sex. Parker was what every woman fantasized about. Damn it. I had to stop thinking about it, stop thinking about him.
Even though Parker promised to never leave me like he did in New York, I had to make sure that I would never allow a man to make me feel so vulnerable again. Ever. I reminded myself why I was single. Because being single meant no heartbreak. Didn’t it?
Just the thought of never speaking to him or having the opportunity to touch him again made me feel hollow inside. Though it was hard to admit, I couldn’t end it now. His talons had found my heart and pierced through it, claiming it as his. Which meant Stacey was right about my having it bad. To my defense, it wasn’t like I could make all the emotions stop with a snap. Even if I could, would I?
Parker agreed to give me time to think everything over, and it had been two full days since I’d felt his lips against mine. It would have been so easy to fall back into the routine that we had in New York. Our weekend could have been spent lazily tangled together in bed, but I refused. I had to pull the reigns back and prove, not only to myself, but also to Parker, that I had control.
I sat behind my desk and spun around with my coffee in hand. Being at the top of the building made it easy to stare at the purple bruised sky with glowing fluffy clouds. I sighed thinking about everything that happened, and turned when I heard my office door click closed.
“Pumpkin, I know you’re lost in the clouds, but I need to talk to you about your mother.”
“Dad. No. No. Talk to me about it later. Don’t ruin my day.”
“This can’t wait, hon. She’ll be flying in today and will be here to pick up the keys to the ranch around lunch. Tonight I’d really like for you to join us for dinner around eight p.m.”
A small tap echoed on the door, and my father and I both watched as Parker crossed the room with a file folder full of papers.
“Dad, I’m not going. That’s final. It’s not a discussion.”
“Here are a few amendments with signatures that will need to be reviewed before the one o’clock meeting today.” Parker handed me the folder.
I gave him a brief smile, then narrowed my eyes back on my dad who didn’t budge. My heart felt like it would beat straight out of my chest in anger at just the thought of seeing her. She left me as a child. I didn’t have a mother to help me get ready for dance competitions, or a mother to guide me in my teenage years, because she was so selfish. I wasn’t one to hold grudges, but some things just weren’t easily forgivable.
I could tell there was something Parker wanted to say, and the same with my father.
“I’ll let you get back to work. I really need you there.” Dad walked out the door, and Parker stood there with his hands in his pockets. I gave him a little smirk, then opened my email. Parker sat in the chair across from me, and shot me a little smile with an eyebrow cocked. “I’ve missed you.”
How was it possible that those three little words could be powerful enough to pull me from my dark thoughts?
I tried to hold back the thump in my heart and the smile on my lips. “No you haven’t.”
He stood and placed his hands flat on my desk, then leaned across it. His face was only inches from mine, and his breath painted across my cheeks. I looked up into his eyes, and that was when his lips dipped down to gently brush mine. I wanted to get lost in him, but I couldn’t. Before the kiss could connect, I scooted my chair back and stood.
He walked around my desk and put a finger over my lips.
“Do you remember the first time we were intimate in this office? Every time I step inside, I am taken back to that moment. The look on your face. Your quiet pants in my ear. Do you remember what I told you?”
I opened my mouth to speak, but he interrupted me.
“I said to not ruin that moment. So don’t ruin this one.”
He moved my hair from my shoulder and gently touched his nose to mine. Then we were kissing—kissing like we couldn’t breathe without the other one, kissing like it was our last moments on earth. Everything seemed to be at a standstill. When our lips broke apart, I was almost gasping for air, then a sense of loss overcame me.
“Parker, we can’t do this here.”
“Roxane, you can’t deny me.”
I whispered, “It’s against my rules.”
“I’ve already broken all your rules, and I’ll keep breaking them over and over again. I’ll never give up on you, and I’m not going anywhere. I’ll give you all the time that you need to think. I’ll give you all the space you want. But being around you is a challenge, because all I want to do is lay you down on that couch and make love to you. I want to taste you. I want to smell your skin on mine. You do this to me, Rox.”
Parker somehow knew exactly what to say to halt my words. I swallowed them down and my face softened. “Parker.”
A knock rang out on my door and the door clicked open. Parker took a step back, and I straightened my hair as Jane entered. A smile immediately hit her lips when she saw Parker, and a big grin took over her face when she looked at me.
I cleared my throat, then said, “Yes?”
“Mr. Williams, I wasn’t aware you were in here. Roxane, I need to speak to you about the new secretary.” Her insinuations sliced through the air. See, the thing about Jane was not much got past her. She was like a hound dog. She knew all of the gossip, and what was real and what wasn’t.
“Mr. Williams was just leaving. Please, have a seat.”
Parker sent me a silent message that said this wasn’t over, and I knew that was true. My face was flustered, and I knew his words were written all over my body. When the door snapped closed behind him, Jane interlocked her fingers and scooted close to my desk. She narrowed her eyes at me and opened her mouth, then immediately closed it.
Please, Jane. Please don’t ask me about Parker.
“How was New York?” Her question was simple, and my answer would have to be as well.
“Great. The weather was nice. Jason McCaul was an ass as always,” I said.
I could tell her wheels were turning, and that she wanted to pry. But she didn’t. Thankfully.
“I won’t keep you much longer. I set a meeting, but forgot about your New York trip. About Christina . . . she comes in late and refuses to listen to instruction. She doesn’t care about deadlines or dress code. She just isn’t secretary material.”
I thought back to her interview and how well she spoke. For sure I thought she would be a homerun. What had happened? I glanced over at the clock on the wall and realized it was a little past seven.
“What time is she supposed to be here?” I asked.
“In the next five minutes,” Jane said.
“I’ll take care of it. No problem. Thanks for coming to me about this. I really appreciate it.”
She stood and smiled at me. Her hair was in a messy bun, and she tucked little strands of grey hair behind her ear. “I’ve heard your mother will be here around lunch.”
I swallowed. She knew my feelings on the subject. Jane had helped wipe away many of my teenage tears. “I’ll let you know when she’s here, okay?” It was her little way of protecting me.
“Thank you, that means a lot to me. I really don’t want to see her. At all.” She smiled, then turned to head out. Before she opened the door, she said without turning around, “I told you he was a looker.”