"I can't Bob. I just got out of a bad relationship, and am just not ready yet." My oldest and most faithful letdown. His face fell but he maintained his smile.

"Hey, I understand. Can I leave you my number though? So when you're ready…? Just in case you lost it before."

I didn't lose it Bob. I tossed it in the trash. Similar to how I denied your friend request.

"Of course. I'll save it. If things change, I'll give you a call."

His pathetic happiness made me wince inside. He came around my desk with his arms out and I stood. Oh great. Bob went for a kiss, but I turned my head and gave him a hug instead. We were pulling out of the hug when De Luca appeared in my doorway.

He leaned against the doorway with his arms folded, filling the entire space with his enormity. He had a dark look in his eyes, and radiated power and masculinity. His gaze went from us, to the large arrangement on my desk, then back to Bob and me. "Am I interrupting something?"

Bob paled. I'd hate to see what would happen if we were dating and I was attacked on the street. He'd probably duck into the nearest Starbucks and order a scone to calm his nerves.

"No. Bob was just leaving. Bob, this is Brad De Luca. He is one of my bosses."

Brad's eyes locked with Bob's, and he moved forward and shook his hand firmly. I think I saw Bob wince. My office seemed ridiculously small at that moment, with Bob, Brad, the ridiculous flowers, and me. Bob squeaked out a hello.

"I need to speak to Julia. If you both are done here."

Bob smiled shyly at me and fled the office. I crossed my arms and stared at Brad stonily.

"What, pray tell, did you need to speak to me about that couldn't wait?"

"Who is he?"

"Bob. He is a --"

"I know who he is. I meant who is he to you?"

Why does this man think he knows everything? "HE is nothing to me."

"Are you dating?"

"Is that any of your business?"

"It is if he is visiting you at work."

"Oh please! Don't even pull that card."

"Are you dating?"

"No."

He studied me, his eyes roaming down my body and up again, and I felt myself flush. The magnetism he put out was ridiculous. This office was way too small for the two of us. Thank God I had dressed up.

"Come to Vegas with me this weekend."

"What?"

I'm going to Vegas this weekend. Why don't you come." It was more a directive than an invitation.

"Are you serious?"

"Dead serious." He looked serious. And tempting.

I smiled. "I appreciate the offer, but I'll have to pass."

"Think it over. I'll have you back safe and sound by Monday."

"I appreciate the offer, but no."

He raised his eyebrows and looked at me appraisingly. "No boyfriend?"

"No."

"Think it over." He gave me a ridiculously sexy parting smile, turned on one heel and sauntered out.

I sank down in my seat. This was way too much excitement for 8:08am. I tried to focus on Broward's first email, still open on my screen.

----------------------------------

From: Kent Broward

Subject: ADMA/Bakers/Turner Development

Date: June 12, 2012 9:27:22 PM EST

To: Julia Campbell

JULIA,

ATTACHED IS INFORMATION FOR 3 NEW S CORPS. THEY NEED CORPORATE DOCUMENTS CREATED.

TWO OF THESE S CORPS - ADMA LLC AND BAKERS INVESTMENTS PROPERTIES WILL BE JV PARTNERS ON A DEVELOPMENT. PLEASE PREPARE AN INITIAL DRAFT OF AN OPERATING AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO. YOU CAN USE THE HENDERSTONE LAND JV OA AS A TEMPLATE.

KB

-----------------------------------

I was both excited and dismayed. Excited that this seemed to be the first real legal work I had been given, dismayed that I didn't have the experience or knowledge to complete it. Also dismayed because I had three other emails from Broward and I wasn't sure what other nuggets of goodness those held.

The next two emails were tame by comparison, menial tasks that I would be able to quickly knock out. The last email was only two lines and gave me at least three new wrinkles.

--------------------------------

From: Kent Broward

Subject: De Luca

Date: June 12, 2012 11:08:03 PM EST

To: Julia Campbell

JULIA,

SHEILA SAID THAT DE LUCA WAS SPEAKING TO YOU IN THE KITCHEN. HAS HE BEEN BOTHERING YOU? PLEASE KEEP YOUR DISTANCE.

KENT

---------------------------------

I groaned silently. Has he been bothering you? Ummm, don't know how to answer that. Keep your distance? Wow. I seem to be following that advice superbly. Note to self: Sheila is a Rat. I marked the email as "Unread" and vowed to reply to him later.

The rest of the day passed in a blur. I recruited/begged/bribed Beverly to help with my corporate documents, and stumbled through the operating agreement on my own. I was grinding through the legal research when I glanced at my phone and saw the time. 8:30pm. I was wishing I had brought the last bit of steak back from lunch when Salvation appeared at the door. De Luca stood in the doorway, a pizza and ice cold 6-pack of soda in his hands. I tried not to smile but failed miserably.

"I'm not happy to see you - it's the pizza," I said, pushing back from my desk and rubbing my eyes.

"Come on. I already had Todd scoop out the office - this whole wing has left for the night. Your dangerous secret will be safe. Let's eat in the conference room."

I stretched and stood up. I was barefoot and considered putting on my heels, but then decided against it and padded after him. I yawned.

"Where is Todd?"

"I sent him home once he gave me the lay of the land."

"Does he know you are over here?"

"I don't know or care. Todd is a smart guy, I'm sure he can figure it out."

Great. Just what I need.

"I'll eat with you because I'm starving and not finished with work, but this is the last time I am going to have any type of interaction with you."

"Really."

"Yes, really. Broward is already smelling something, he sent me an email about it today."

"Ahh yes. I got one of those also."

"And?"

"And what? Do I seem the type to follow Broward's directives?"

I shrugged in response. We had entered the West Wing conference room. The fluorescent lights were in the process of warming back up, so the light was still dim. I wrestled two of the Dr Peppers from the 6-pack, placing them on the table. I put the other four cans in the mini-fridge and grabbed a roll of paper towels. Brad sat down and flipped open the pizza box, grabbing two slices and spinning the open box to me. I glanced in. Half pepperoni, half meat lovers. I grabbed a slice of each and sat down, the two of us taking up one corner of the long table. There was silence for a moment as we dug in. He broke the silence first.

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