I should have known there would be no chance of that. As I walk back into his office Mike walks behind me and shuts the office door before taking his coffee from me and waving me to a chair.
“Sit down,” he says. I glare at him.
“I don’t have time to chat. I’m working.” I wonder what the hell he’s playing at now and glance up at the clock on the wall. Sebastian should be in by now. Mike follows my gaze and smiles.
“Oh, I think you will have time for this. You see, I’m not very happy about the stunt you pulled the other day, blabbing to the boss.”
“I didn’t blab,” I protest. “Sebastian asked me-”
“Sebastian, is it?” Mike cuts in, and I betray myself by blushing deeply. “I see.”
“You don’t see anything except whatever your dirty mind tells you,” I snap, no longer bothering to even try and be polite. This guy is an ever bigger jerk that Adrian.
Mike takes a sip of his coffee, looking thoughtful. I get the impression he’s trying to drag out whatever he’s got to say for as long as possible, and I wish that he would just hurry up and get on with it.
“I suppose seducing him is a pretty good tactic,” he says slowly, his eyes gleaming with triumph as I visibly flinch.
“W-what do you mean?” I stammer, panicking that he somehow knows what I’m doing here. But no, he can’t…can he?
It seems he can. He takes another sip of his coffee and smiles conspiratorially.
“I wondered about you as soon as you went running to Sebastian. It was obvious there was something between you so I did a bit of digging to check you out. I thought maybe you were his side piece instead I found something very different indeed.”
I feel my heart sink straight down to my stomach and I link my hands together in my lap to stop them from trembling.
“And what was that?” I ask, trying to appear nonchalant but knowing that I’m failing miserably.
“That you, little Miss Undercover, are not a cleaner at all. You’re a journalist, a wannabe reporter for a little gossip rag. So, it doesn’t take a genius to work out why you’re here cozying up to the boss man. He doesn’t give interviews. So, you’re trying to dig up some dirt on him, aren’t you?”
I freeze, and my heart hammers in my chest. Everything’s over…not only am I about to lose my job, but Sebastian too, and before we have even properly gotten to know each other.
I know that there’s no point in denying it, so instead I shrug, trying to seem as though I’m unconcerned about his discovery, even though I can see the bottom rapidly falling out of my world.
“Okay, yeah, you busted me,” I admit. “So what? Today is my last day…there was no dirt to dig. So, you really don’t need to worry yourself.”
Mike barks a laugh.
“Oh, I’m not worried. If there was anything on him, I would be more than happy for the world to know. Sanctimonious Sebastian is a thorn in my side. But do you really think that if he finds out he will let it go? You will be lucky if he doesn’t ruin you, and that little magazine you work for.”
I feel dread curling in the pit of my stomach, even though it isn’t Mike’s threat to my career that worries me. That’s over anyway if Adrian gives me the boot…but I don’t want Sebastian to know. If I have to tell him, it needs to come from me. If it comes from Mike, then Sebastian will never believe that I wasn’t going to go through with it. I remember his words at dinner about how hard it is to trust people, and the thought of him believing I might betray him is like a vice around my heart.
“There’s no need for you to tell him,” I point out. “You’re just trying to get some petty revenge for the other day. Isn’t that beneath you?”
Mike just tips his head back and laughs, a sound that grates on my last nerve.
“That reverse psychology nonsense won’t work with me sweetheart. I’m not above a bit of petty revenge…in fact I would take great pleasure in it. But it doesn’t need to come to that.”
“It doesn’t?” I eye him warily. He shrugs. “No, it really doesn’t. The way I see it, if you’re nice to me I’ll be nice to you.”
I feel like throwing up. The meaning of his words is apparent by the gleam in his eyes, and the fact that I’m doing nothing to hide the revulsion on my face only seems to spur him on.
“If you mean what I think you mean…”
“Oh I do,” he says with zero shame whatsoever. “What can you do? You think Sebastian will come to your rescue when he finds out you’re trying to entrap him? I think not, sweetheart.”