Page 18 of The One

She narrows her eyes at me and takes another sip of coffee before commenting, “I’m not sure I trust you, Van Welch. I’ve heard about you oil field workers. The company I worked for before where I am now…I worked with a couple of big drilling company merger deals. They had some stories about you guys. Oil field workers.”

“You mean oil field trash, right?” I chuckle

“I didn’t say that.” She shrugs and adds, “They may have said that.” A smile turns her lips, and my cock jumps another inch higher. She raises her eyebrows and sets the half empty coffee mug on the nightstand before pushing the covers down, then pausing to look up at me, then to the open door of the bathroom, then back to me. “You mind?” She holds my eyes, then looks toward the bathroom again where she changed last night. “I’m shy.” She gives me a half-cocked grin.

“We’re about to be family.” I answer with a shrug. “Pretty soon we’ll be sharing the same bathroom. Fighting over who’s used up all the hot water.”

She throws her legs over the edge of the bed. “Well, for today, indulge my modesty and look out the window for a sec.”

I snap my tongue on my teeth, drawing a deep breath and letting it out. I can see her nipples standing hard under the t-shirt, but I do as she asks, turning around as she gets out of bed and makes her way into the bathroom.

“Thanks, big brother.”

Twenty minutes later, I’m outside warming up my rental truck, waiting for her to come down.

She doesn’t take long to appear, smiling and thanking the doorman as she passes, then looking up to see me.

When our eyes meet, I’m out of the truck immediately, jogging round to the passenger door and opening it for her. She looks like she’s fighting it, but her smile grows two more sizes as she approaches.


“Pleasure, ma’am,” I say, raising a hand as if to touch it to my cap and making her laugh.

Inside the truck, I program her address into the map and we’re on our way.

As I start off down the street, I glance over to see her skirt pulling up on her leg, exposing the creamiest of nearly white flesh and my fingers twitch wanting to reach over and touch her there.

Which is strange, because I’m not a big toucher. I’ll shake hands when it’s business, accept the occasional hug when it’s necessary. I can’t remember the last time I longed for contact with someone. But this almost compulsive urge to be connected to her is a battle to control.

The few times I’ve touched her are wrapped in my memory, and I want more. The cab of the truck is warm and quiet as she looks out the window and there are so many things, I want to ask her. Things I want to know about her. But more than anything, I want to see her smile and know I’m the one that was able to make that happen.

“Did you see who was in the lobby?” Her voice turns darker as she looks at me with a forced smile.

“Yep.” I nod. “I’d hoped she would be gone by the time you came through.”

“No such luck.” She shifts in her seat, crossing her ankles and pulls her coat around her. “Walk of shame, no less.”

Ruby Thorn Ashby was sitting in the lobby, drinking coffee and texting when I’d walked by this morning. I tried to ignore her, still thinking of her feelings and how awkward she must feel about what happened between us years ago.

Well, she showed no sign of that. She waved and smiled, and I thought maybe we could put things behind us. After all, she was clearly drunk last night, and the way she behaved toward Issi might have been nothing more than that—just the drink talking− so to speak. A quick apology and we could part, if not as friends then at least not as enemies.

Well. Ruby had other ideas. As I came close, she uncrossed and re-crossed her legs, letting her knees open a few inches more than necessary and holding them apart for a moment longer than necessary.

And they call us oil field guys trash.

Trash can be sparkly and dripping with diamonds, still trash just the same.

I shot her a look of what I hoped was clearly disapproval and left it at that. No point poking the hive.

“We went to Cranbrook together. Only, her family is the one percent.”

“Wow, you went to Cranbrook?” Even I’ve heard of the school. “You are whip smart.”

“Yeah, well, I was the scholarship kid, which sort of makes you the red-headed-stepchild of the private school world. My…” She takes a breath, looking back out the window before finishing. “My special facial feature didn’t help my cause.”