“Kelsey, it’s Keith. Are you in there?”
I open the door for him. There has been no social distancing between the two of us, so there is no point in worrying about contact with him. Besides, I don’t know that I could stay away from the alpha male if I had to.
But my anxiety must be written all over my face because Keith steps in and puts his hands on my shoulders like I need to be steadied. His big form and calming presence help a bit.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart? Are you ok? Are you feeling airsick? I know some people don’t get airsick until after the plane lands.”
I shake my head feverishly.
“No no, I’m fine, it’s just that I just turned on the news. I had no idea the virus was so serious. Keith, what if I get it? How are the medical facilities here? What if one of the people we’re meeting for this business trip has the virus but is asymptomatic and we don’t know? What if my Aunt Donna gets it? She’s sixty-five and she has diabetes. They say diabetes puts her in a high risk group.”
I’m on the verge of tears and it sucks because I’m falling apart in front of my boss. Seeing me panicked like this, he’ll never let me transfer to public relations. But the alpha male is made of stronger stuff. He takes me in his arms, holds me close, and kisses the top of my head before guiding me to a settee in the sitting area of my suite.
“Kelsey,” he begins, taking my hand as we sit. “I would never put you in harm’s way. There have only been a handful of cases in all of French Polynesia, and those folks have been quarantined. The medical facilities here are more than adequate and I have access to the best doctors in the world. I will always keep you safe. I promise.”
The tears begin again.
“But what about New York and everyone we care about?”
He nods somberly.
“I’ve left word that the office should follow all recommendations made by the governor. I’ve excused anyone who doesn’t want to come to work because of health concerns. Plus, why don’t you call your Aunt Donna and check on her? Take my credit card and order from Amazon whatever she needs delivered to her door.”
“I can’t take your credit card.”
He pulls out his wallet and presses an AmEx Black card into my hand. “Take it, sweetheart. I’m going to do what needs to be done to alleviate your concerns so that you feel comfortable. Make sure your aunt has the insulin she needs and sign her up for one of those meal delivery services. Kelsey, I am not asking you. I am telling you because this is supposed to be a stress-free retreat. I want you to enjoy yourself and am willing to do whatever it takes.”
I’m a little shocked at his insistent generosity, but he’s right. I can let my pride get the best of me sometimes, and when it comes to my Aunt Donna, I shouldn’t. I put my head down and murmur, “Thank you.”
He lifts my chin and plants a light kiss on my lips.
“Was that so hard, sweetheart? Meet me downstairs at nine for dinner, okay? You should probably take a nap because if you don’t, jet lag will hit you like a freight train and we’ll lose a whole day. But sweetheart, if you need anything, our suites have an adjoining door right here,” he says, nodding to a white door in the wall that I hadn’t even noticed. “I’m going to catch some shuteye in the meantime too. I’d love to keep you company here, but I think we know what will happen if I do,” he says with a wink. Then, Keith gets up and exits through the adjoining door, closing it softly behind him.
I sit there stumped for a moment. I’m utterly confused about so many things right now. What is going on between the two of us? Is it just sex? Or is it more? Why am I so hesitant to do the things Keith tells me to do when I know he’s brilliant and successful and probably right? Is it because I’m aware of his dating habits? What happens after this business trip ends, anyways?
But I put all that aside and call Aunt Donna. Family comes first, and my Aunt Donna practically raised me. I miss her but this virus takes precedence, and I want to make sure she’s okay before I turn my thoughts back to the handsome, mysterious man in the room next door.6KelseyI put on a spectacular dress I bought especially for the trip. It’s a ruched, black, off-the-shoulder bodycon dress, and way out of my normal comfort zone. I had to buy a corset to hold up my double D’s because there are no straps for support. I’ve never worn one before and it feels incredibly sexy and naughty, but Melissa convinced me to get the ensemble, telling me only girls with curves like mine can do a dress like this justice. This is why she’s my best friend: because she always makes me feel good about myself.