Page 22 of Claimed (For Her 3)

“Let’s go,” I say, and take the ride to my place next.

Chapter Ten


Jay

“You’re in early. Even for you.” I look up, taking my head out of my hands to see Skyler standing there, coffee in one hand and her bag in the other. It’s not even seven a.m. and she looks all done up and ready to go. “Oh no.” She drops her bag on the floor and sets her coffee on my desk before leaning up against it. “Did the date go that bad?”

I run my hand through my hair, trying to make sure it’s all in place. “Is it that noticeable?”

I didn’t put in much effort this morning, just grabbed the first thing I found in my closet, which was a black flowy skirt that comes to my knees, and a simple light pink button-up shirt. I push my glasses back up my nose, frustrated that I’m so easy to read.

“No, you look great. Your eyes are just sad.”

I let out a deep breath and give in. I tell her about the date and every horrible, sweet detail of it. That date was terrible, but it was wonderful, too. When I left Jordan, I was excited and happy, even with everything that had happened. He’s asked me out on another date, but the more I sat and thought on it last night, I think he was trying to be nice. I almost killed the man. Well, killed him might be an exaggeration, but still. He’d backed away from my kiss at the end of the night. I tried to play it cool like it didn’t bother me, making a joke and smiling, but it kept replaying over and over in my head as I tossed and turned last night.

“Yeah, that’s pretty bad.”

“I know.” I drop my head back into my hands and cringe.

I feel Skyler’s hand on my shoulder in a reassuring hold.

“It would almost be outrageously funny if I didn’t like him so much. The worst part is, what if he slowly starts to back away from me? I’ll lose the only friend I have around here.”

“Hey, you’ve got me. And we’re having drinks tonight,” she reminds me.

I remember I told Jordan I would cook for him tonight. Maybe this is a way I can get out of that. Give myself some time to clear my head and not feel so sorry for myself.

“You still want me to come?” I ask, thinking maybe she might have told someone she invited me and other coworkers gave her crap about it.

“Hell yeah.” She gives my shoulder another squeeze.

We both look over as the elevator dings, and Mallory and Miles exit together, holding hands. A small smile pulls at my lips. That always happens when I see them together. They’re so in love. He chased after her for years and would do anything for Mallory. She is his everything. I want a love like that. Jordan flutters through my mind.

“Hey, lovebirds,” Skyler says, getting up from my desk and grabbing her bag and coffee.

“Hey.” Mallory smiles back while Miles gives a nod.

“Mal, drinks tonight.”

“She can’t drink, she’s pregnant,” Miles throws out instantly, as if we don’t know she’s pregnant. From the way he is with her, to the small bump that is already showing, we’ve got the picture.

“They have small plates there, too. Paige and Mal love small plates.” I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from smiling as a scowl forms on Miles’s face. He clearly didn’t want her to go. If it was up to him she’d be trapped away in their condo, where they’d never leave.

“I do love small plates,” Mallory says dreamily.

“Sir,” I say, standing as they get closer to my desk.

“Give me ten, Jay.”

I nod and sit back down in my chair as he starts to pull Mallory into his office. As she’s being pulled away, she shouts over her shoulder that she’s in, and then we hear the office door lock.

I put my hand over my mouth to keep from laughing out loud. I know he’s in there trying to convince her to not go but in the end Mallory will win because Miles can’t help but give her what she wants even if he doesn’t want her doing it.

“More like thirty minutes,” Skyler says, wiggling her eyebrows and making me giggle harder behind my hand. “Tonight.” She taps my desk in farewell and walks away.

There was no question in her statement. She said I’m going, and truth be told, it will probably be good for me. All the other ladies are in relationships, so maybe I can pick their brains. I’m terrible at relationship stuff. One would think someone who reads and writes romance as much as I do would be better at it.

I can’t even go off my own parents’ relationship. They’re still happily married to this day. While I love them both, I’m not into the free love they both espouse with their hippie lifestyle, but my sister seems totally okay with it. I never wanted to be the oddball in the family, but I always felt like a prude compared to them. I was the one who didn’t know how to relax and have a good time.

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