Plus One(4)

By: Aleatha Romig

When I finally tear my gaze from his, I notice the woman behind him, Jennifer Miller. She is a recent Buchanan and Willis hire who currently works in marketing. Being in human resources at Buchanan and Willis, as I have been since I came to New York, there isn’t an employee at our New York office who I don’t know by name and face. There also isn’t a name from our satellite offices I don’t know.

Though my mind is filled with the warmth of his touch, I immediately make the assumption that Miss Miller’s agenda for this evening includes doing whatever she can to climb the corporate ladder. Rumor has it that no one tells Mr. Willis no. Then again, I’m not sure why anyone would.

“Mr. Willis. Ms. Miller,” I say with a nod, freeing my arm and filling the silence.

Jennifer appears as uneasy as I feel. She’s right in thinking that HR just caught her out with the boss—though that will be a thought for me to ponder at a later time because right now I’m too overwhelmed by the jolt from Mr. Willis’s skin against mine.

“Have a nice dinner, Miss Jones.”

“And you, too.”

I hug my napkin to my chest as I ease back into my chair.

After they’re gone, Shana leans forward. “Was that… that’s the Duncan Willis you’ve told me about?”

I shrug nonchalantly. “I may have mentioned him a time or two.”

SHANA LOOKS AT me with that knowing grin as I reach for my glass of water. The clear liquid sloshes within the crystal as I do my best to steady my nerves, hoping not to add dousing the linen tablecloth to part of my dinner hijinks.

The encounter wouldn’t have been so bad had it been anyone else.

Instead, I’m speechless, trying to wrap my mind around the fact that in the poshest restaurant in Midtown, I was on my knees in front of Duncan Willis. He isn’t only smart—he’s half the brains behind Buchanan and Willis Pharmaceuticals—but he’s also wealthy as sin and undeniably sex on a stick. He was recently named one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors. The way he wears his tailored suits on his over six-foot frame should be illegal. With jet-black hair and stunning green eyes, he can melt panties with just a smirk.

No doubt as I squirm in my seat, mine are currently nothing but hot wax.

I press my legs together and add kneeling in front of Duncan Willis to my list of things not to think about right now.

“No, honey,” Shana says, “you’ve mentioned him more than a few times, but now I see why. He’s hot with a capital H.”

I eyeball the water in the tall glass. It’s ripple-free, indicating that my nerves have settled, or at least I appear steadier than I feel. My panties… well, that is a problem for another time. “He is,” I agree. “No doubt, Jennifer is on her way up the corporate ladder.”

“Well, duh. If he’s the ladder, why aren’t you climbing? Instead, you dated that loser Timothy Cole. I think you need to give company dating another go. After all, you’ve been there for nearly three years.” Her eyebrows wiggle. “I’d bet the view from the top—on top of him—would be mighty fine.”

I giggle, trying not to imagine what that would be like. “That’s not really my thing, and besides, he doesn’t even know I’m here.”

“He knew your name.”

“The only time he talks to me is when he wants me to do some menial task: book a hotel or check on an invoice. His requests never involve anything in my actual job description.” I shrug. “Of course, that doesn’t mean I tell him no.”

Shana tilts her head to the side, her blonde hair falling over her shoulder. “If I recall the rumors you’ve told me, there aren’t many people who tell him no. I wouldn’t.”

“Okay,” I confess as I nibble my lower lip. “I admit. There’s been more than a few times that I’ve imagined him asking me to do other things—things that go against company policy.”

“They only go against the policy when you’re in the office,” Shana clarifies.

My cheeks warm as erotic images infiltrate my thoughts.

“Look at how pink your cheeks are,” she says. “Who knew there was a sex kitten under all your prim and proper business attire?”

After the waitress fills our wine glasses and takes our orders, I speak. “Enough about Duncan Willis. Tell me what we’re celebrating and how you can afford this restaurant…” I turn toward the window. “…and a table with a view.”

Shana practically bounces in her chair. “I got a promotion.”

“You did?” I raise my wine glass. “Congratulations. To you.”

As the two glasses clink and just before she takes a sip, Shana’s smile dims.

After our congratulatory swallow, I ask, “What, what’s wrong?”

“Kimbra, I’ve been practicing this all afternoon. I don’t know how to say it.”

“Say what? Is it about your promotion? You know I’m thrilled for you. On to bigger and better things. Make your dreams come true.”

“That’s the thing. It is a dream, one I didn’t even know I could accomplish.”