After getting unceremoniously fired and escorted from the building on Monday morning, I immediately tried to call Tanner, but found that he had blocked my number from calling his phone.
I immediately knew that something was wrong.
Tanner might have put on the bad boy billionaire persona to everyone else, but to me, he was just Tanner, the amazing man that I couldn’t stop thinking about. The man that made passionate, sweet love to me and in whose arms, I fell asleep every night.
There was no way I was just a fling.
I knew it in my heart.
There wasn’t a shadow of doubt in my mind that Tanner cared deeply for me.
And I cared just as deeply – if not more -- for him.
I could feel it in my bones.
I flagged down a cab and climbed into the back and gave the driver my home address. I tried Tanner’s phone again with the same result.
The little electronic voice told me to fuck off, my number had been blocked.
The voice was wrong.
Tanner would not block my calls.
Something else was going on.
My suspicious mind went into overdrive. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Henry Costas was the one keeping us apart. He had blocked me from calling Tanner’s phone. He had ordered Stan to fire me.
How was I a threat to him?
You’re not a threat to him, the little voice said.
It’s your relationship with Tanner that’s the threat.
Henry Costas, you slimy douchebag cocksucker.
I’d had red flags waving in my mind since the moment I met him…
Little red flags waving in the air…
Little numbers flying by…
I slid open the contact for Ruth Bennett and called her office. “Ruth Bennett, please. Yes, it’s Candice Carlson.” Happy hold music filled my ear for a moment, then Ruth’s cheerful voice came on the line.
“Candice? Hi, what’s up?”
“Ruth, I may have a problem” I said. “And I need your help.
“Yes, mom. No, mom. I know mom. No, I haven’t found a job. Because I haven’t looked. Mom, it’s only been four days since they fired me. I know. I should sue. I know. You warned me about men. I know. You told me so. Yes, you did.”
My phone was on the bathroom counter and I had the Bluetooth thingamabob in my ear. It was Friday night in one of the biggest cities on the planet, and there I was in my bra and panties, shaving my legs in the bathroom sink.
I know, it was sad, the things you did when you were an unemployed, unattached, single girl in the big city.
You shave your fucking legs in the bathroom sink, you eat a gallon of Haagen-Dazs chocolate chip ice cream, and you cry yourself to sleep watching a rerun of Bridget Jones Diary on cable.
I tapped the soap off the razor and picked up a towel to dry my leg. The call waiting tone pinged in my ear. Thank god, a reason to get off the phone with my mother.
“Mom, that’s someone calling. No, I don’t know who it is. Mom, if you’ll let me hang up I’ll find out who it is. Okay, love you to. Kisses to daddy.”
I tapped the little button on the Bluetooth without looking at the caller ID on my phone.
“Hi,” Tanner’s voice breezed softly in my ear.
“Hi yourself,” I said with a sigh. I put a hand over my heart to keep it from pounding through my chest. I lowered myself onto the toilet. My legs were shaking. I didn’t think I could stand.
I asked, “How are you?”
“I’m fine. How are you?”
I struggled to keep the tears at bay. “I’m okay. I heard about Costas being arrested. I’m sorry if I killed your deal. I had to protect you. I hope you understand that.”
“I can forgive you if you can forgive me,” he said. “I was a fool to listen to Henry. I was a fool to let him keep you from me. I won’t ever let anyone keep me from you again.”
The tears began to flow despite my best efforts to keep them locked away.
He asked, “Can I see you?”
I asked, “Yes, where are you.”
He said, “In the hallway outside your door.”
Six months later…
I stood at the bathroom sink, wiping steam off the mirror with the back of my hand. My long hair was wrapped in a towel. My naked body was covered with little beads of water that ran down between my breasts and sluiced through my short pubic hair to my clit.
Tanner appeared behind me, naked, wet, hard and ready. He wrapped his arms around me and cupped my breasts in his palms. He began to gently massage my breasts. He brushed his fingers over my nipples. They never failed to snap to attention at the touch of his fingers or lips.
His hot mouth was on my neck. I leaned my head to the side and moaned as he nibbled his way to my ear. I could feel his hard cock pressing into my back as he pulled me against him.