The Only One(8)

By: Melissa Ellen

He was right. If it were anyone other than Rhett, there would be no way I would pass up this opportunity. I smiled weakly at my boss. I couldn’t turn this down without telling him the whole sordid story. And there was no way in hell I was doing that. I would just have to figure out a way to keep Rhett at arm’s length and our time together strictly professional.

“No. I’ll do it. And thank you for the opportunity,” I said sincerely.

“Are we on for lunch and a site visit, tomorrow?” Rhett rejoined us, returning from his phone call.

“Yes, but it’ll just be you and Ava. I apologize. I have other engagements, but I’m leaving you in good hands with Ava. She’ll be able to take photos of the site and take down all your specifications. She is more than capable,” Tom spoke like a proud father.

“I am sure she is,” Rhett grinned knowingly at me. I wanted to roll my eyes at him and childishly give him the finger, but seeing how Tom was still present, I smiled sarcastically, instead.

“Well, we won’t take up any more of your time. It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Blackwood. I look forward to working with you,” Tom offered his hand to Rhett.

Rhett shook it. “Let me walk you out,” he extended his arm for Tom and me to go first. Tom moved ahead of me. I followed behind him, passing Rhett. Rhett put his hand on the small of my back as he guided me out behind Tom. My breath caught with his gentle touch, my body starting to respond. I immediately quickened my steps to leave Rhett’s torturous hand behind.

He stayed close by, walking us to the elevator. We didn’t have to wait but a second before the elevator doors opened. Tom walked inside. I started to follow but was stopped by Rhett’s hand on my elbow. Tom turned, waiting for me to join him in the elevator.

“I’m just going to keep Ms. Conner for a moment to go over the time and location for tomorrow.”

Tom nodded his understanding. “I’ll see you Monday morning then, Ava. Have a good weekend,” he waved as the doors closed. They were shut before I could respond or move to jump between them. Watching them close was like watching the last life raft leave without me, while I stood on a sinking ship.

I jerked my elbow from Rhett, furious that he had trapped me here until I could call another elevator. As I reached to push the call button, he grabbed my hand, clasping it with his and pulling me along in the opposite direction. I tried planting my feet, ignoring my body’s excitement. But he was too strong, and my heels didn’t have any traction on the shiny wood floors.

“Rhett, let me go,” I whispered angrily as he marched us past the nice receptionist who was watching us closely. His strides were long and determined. I had to walk quickly to keep up as he dragged me along with him.

“No,” he firmly stated as he continued to pull me down the long corridor. He tugged me into an office, closing the door behind us. It was a large, modern executive office of steel, leather and glass with floor to ceiling windows, giving you a beautiful view of downtown Los Angeles. He strode forward, pulling me near a seating area next to a small wet bar located off to the side from the large, masculine desk that sat in the room.

“Sit,” he demanded, pointing to the brown leather couch, finally releasing his hold on my hand. “We need to talk.” He walked across the room, starting to pace as he ran his hand through his hair and back down his face, deep in thought.

“No,” I defiantly crossed my arms over my chest. “There is nothing to talk about. You can email me the time and location in Malibu, and I’ll meet you tomorrow. Lunch won’t be necessary,” I added.

“That is not what I wanted to talk about,” he stopped his pace, watching me carefully.

“I don’t care. That is all we will be talking about. Besides, I thought you had a meeting to get to.”

“This is the meeting.”

“You have some nerve, you arrogant ass! I see nothing has changed,” I rolled my eyes.

“Watch what your language, Ava,” he gritted through his teeth. “And you’re right, nothing has changed. You’re still stubborn and defiant as hell. And you’re also, still mine.” His eyes penetrated my shielded heart as he slowly moved forward to close the gap he had put between us.