The Contract(10)

By: Melanie Moreland



“Falling in love does that to a person.”

“So I’m discovering.”

“Anderson Inc. has a strict policy about interpersonal relationships.”

I snorted. “David doesn’t like his staff to have relationships inside or outside the office. It detracts from business, he thinks.”

“And you disagree?”

“I think you can do both—with the right person.”

“And you found that person?”

“Yes.”

“Your assistant.”

I swallowed hard, only able to nod.

“Tell me about her.”

Shit. When it came to business, I could talk forever. Strategies, angles, concepts, visualizations—I could go on for hours. I rarely spoke on a personal level about myself, so what could I possibly say about a woman I barely knew, and didn’t like. I had no idea. I swallowed again and glanced at the table, running my fingers over the smooth surface.

“She’s the biggest klutz I’ve ever met,” I blurted out—that much was at least true.

He frowned at my tone, and I was quick to cover my mistake.

“I hate it when she hurts herself,” I explained in a softer voice.

“Of course.” He nodded.

“She’s, ah, she’s perfect.”

He laughed. “We all think that of the women we love.”

I searched my brain, making a mental list of the things I knew about her. “Her name is Katharine. Most people call her Katy, but I like to use her whole name.”

It wasn’t really a lie. I called her Miss Elliott all the time.

He nodded. “Such a lovely name. I’m sure she likes to hear you say it.”

I smirked, remembering her reaction earlier. “I think it confounds her.”

He waited as I mulled over my next words. “She’s tiny and unobtrusive. Her eyes are like the ocean—so blue they’re fathomless. Everyone adores her at the office. She bakes cookies for people—they love them.” I wavered, trying to think of more. “She hates to be woken any earlier than necessary. Her voice gets all growly, which makes me laugh.”

He smiled encouragingly.

“She keeps me in line—she’s an amazing assistant and I’d be lost without her.” I sighed, unsure what else I could add. “She’s undoubtedly too good for me,” I admitted, knowing deep down it was true. I was certain I was the bad person in this scenario, especially given what I was doing currently.

“Do you want to bring her onboard with you?”

“No!” I exclaimed. This was my chance to get rid of her.

“I don’t understand.”

“She, ah, we want to start a family. I’d rather have her at home, and have someone else at work. I want her to have the chance to relax and enjoy life for a while—without working.”

“She isn’t enjoying it now?”

“It’s difficult, given the situation, and she works too hard,” I added, hoping that sounded right. “She’s looked tired the past while. I want her to sleep as much as she wants.”

“You want to look after her.”

We were getting into dangerous territory. I had no idea how to respond; I had never wanted to take care of anyone, except myself. Nevertheless, I nodded in agreement.

“You live together, I assume? I imagine it’s the only time you can relax and be a couple.”

Shit. I hadn’t even thought of that.

“Ah, we, yeah . . . we value our private time.”

“You don’t like to discuss your personal life.”

I smiled ruefully. “No. I’m used to keeping it all in.”

That, at least, wasn’t a lie.

“We’re a unique operation here at The Gavin Group—on many levels.”

“Something I’m looking forward to.”

He indicated to the board. “We believe in teamwork, here and in our personal lives. We work on the campaigns as a group, feeding off each other, much like you and I did a few moments ago. We share in the triumphs and the disasters.” He winked. “Not that we’ve had many of those. I value every employee I have.”

“It’s an interesting way of doing things.”

“It works for us.”

“Obviously. Your name is well respected.”

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