“Please,” I begged, my will to fight evaporating all together. “Please, don’t. This is the company I work for. We’re trying to save the environment, Alex. Doing a story like this only sets our progress back.”
Alex’s mouth tightened but to my relief, she nodded.
“Seriously, I’ll chat with you both tomorrow, okay? I just need to get organized here.”
Begrudgingly, they let me off the call but as soon as I disconnected, I missed them. Even if I’d decided to stay with my boys, I would have never been able to stay away from Mom and Alex.
What emotional mess had I gotten myself into?
I took a second to collect myself before bringing my laptop back out to the lab area and when I stepped out of the bedroom, I grimaced in disgust. Queenie and Hunter had their heads together and were whispering stupidly at each other. There was a twisted sexual tension in the air, which I hadn’t noticed until that moment.
I guess I know what they were doing while I was gone—having the worst sex imaginable.
A shiver of humiliation slid down my spine as I thought about the time I’d wasted pining after Hunter and the awful five minutes we’d had together. Looking at him now, I was disgusted that I’d ever let him touch me. He wasn’t a man—he was a silly little boy with self-esteem issues. I could see that now with blinding clarity. Him and Queenie deserved one another. On some level I was happy that he wouldn’t be acting like a kicked puppy now that I was back but it didn’t dampen my repulsion for the situation between them.
“Are you ready to get back to work?” My supervisor asked, barely pulling away from Hunter as she stared at me. She wasn’t quite barking but it was close enough.
“I’m doing fine, thanks,” I retorted, flopping down at my desk. “And thanks for coming with me to collect the samples.”
There was an almost ominous silence that followed my jibe and I had to look over my shoulder to see if they were still there because it had gotten so quiet.
“Well I don’t suppose it would have done any good to have two of us lost in the snow, would it?” Queenie retorted sharply and I raised my eyebrow dubiously.
“Really?” I snapped. “That’s your excuse?”
“It’s not an excuse!” she whiplashed at me. “You’re the only one I know who could get lost on such an easy path!”
Her voice was screechy and I wondered why she was acting so strangely.
Then I realized what she was worried about—she was afraid that her bosses would find out what happened.
She didn’t call it in to Mirror, Mirror!
The thought was appalling. Did she sincerely think I’d just run off to hide or did she care so little about me that she was just waiting to see if I was dead before calling in a missing teammate?
A part of me wanted to savor the threat that I was telling by dangling it over her head but at the end of the day, I wasn’t as big an asshole as she was—even though I wished I could be.
Still, I didn’t say anything to ease her conscience.
I turned my attention back to work and sighed when I realized how damaged the samples I’d taken were. It was my own fault for having left them in the bag for so long but I hadn’t been thinking about work when I’d been gone, not for one minute.
No, I’d been living in a fantasy with men who adored me and bent to my every whim and desire.
And now I had nothing but shitty samples.
“Where are you going?” Hunter demanded when I rose from my desk and headed toward my parka.
I turned and smirked at him before slipping on my jacket.
“I need more samples,” I replied. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”
He grunted and rose to follow me as Queenie gave us both a scathing look but I only smiled sweetly.
Screw both of you, I thought.
I didn’t even try to sleep. How could I? My heart was thudding like a bass line in my ears as everyone else was off in dreamland.
How could they do out so easily? How could they just fall asleep as if Sasha hadn’t been here last night, tantalizing us with her mere nearness?
Bash had made dinner that night and I could still feel it rumbling around in my gut like a stone. How had we eaten like that before Sasha?
I couldn’t get her out of my head. Was she okay with that wretched duo we’d let her leave with? Why hadn’t she called or at least emailed? Hadn’t she promised to do that?
I knew I was overthinking everything, that she’d only been gone a few hours but if this is what it was going to be like, things weren’t apt to get better, were they? I loathed the endless questions, which seemed to snowball in my head but there was no easy way to stop them.