“If there’s nothing else, we should get back to work,” Craig said.
I gave them both a curt nod.
It took Niall a second to disengage his hard stare from mine, but finally the two of them were out of my office.
Alone, I sagged into my chair. The last thing I needed was for my staff to think I was fucking Leah. Although if they heard the rumors about me having an affair at work, she’d be an obvious choice. I’d spent more time with her than any of the other interns.
I should have been relieved that she was gone for good, but I wasn’t. My chest ached. I missed how she’d walk into my office, all innocence mixed with sexy. I missed the exuberance she showed for the projects she was working on, and Niall and Craig were right, I was an idiot not to hire her. She was smart and creative, especially when it came to marketing.
This was a good thing, I reminded myself. The temptation was gone, and I could go on as before. Hopefully the next time I saw her, in passing when I was with Henry, the ache and need would be gone.
My phone rang. “Cox.”
“Sebastian,” Henry’s voice came through the other end.
“Henry.” My gut clenched, as it always did now when I talked to him, wondering if this was the moment, he’d confront me on what I’d done to Leah.
“Leah is graduating soon so me and Karen are throwing her a party. Nothing too fancy. It will be here at our place. But since you were her internship advisor and of course, a good friend, I wanted to make sure you came.”
Well hell. My insides twisted because I wanted more than anything to go. Jesus, I wanted to see her so bad. But I’d never get her out of my system if I saw her. “Let me check my schedule and get back to you.”
“Oh.” He seemed surprised. I supposed before my affair with Leah, I’d have said yes immediately. “Well, okay. Let me know.”
“I will. Thank you, Henry.”
I hung up the phone feeling so completely empty. I couldn’t remember a time I’d felt so cold and alone. What the fuck had I done? I should have never touched her, and yet even as I thought about it, I couldn’t completely regret it. Being with Leah had been like being in the sun. She was bright and happy and sweet. I couldn’t remember ever having something so good in my life.
Of course, I didn’t deserve something so good. I’d treated her poorly. Leah was a woman who deserved love and to be worshiped, and I’d treated her like a mistress, only good for getting my rocks off. The vileness of that made me sick.
“Mr. Cox?” my secretary poked her head in my door.
“I’m getting ready to head home, but I wanted to drop this off for you.”
“What is it?”
“Mr. James sent up a copy of Ms. Hammond’s internship release. And a call came in from a baby clothing designer in Los Angeles, asking about Ms. Hammond.”
“She’s applied for a position with them. Should I give it to Craig James instead?”
Los Angeles? My heart stopped in my chest, even as my brain told me this was a good thing.
“I’ll take it. Thank you.” I took the internship paper and phone message from my secretary.
“If there’s nothing else, I’ll be going.”
“Have a good weekend.”
When the door shut behind her, I looked at the message. It was three hours earlier in Los Angeles, so odds were that they were open. But I couldn’t bring myself to call.
I stood up and walked out to catch my secretary. “Actually, can you pass this on to Mr. James?”
She nodded. “I’ll put it on his desk on my way out.”
She studied me for a moment. “Are you alright, Mr. Cox?”
No, no I’m not. “I’m fine. I’ll see you Monday.”
I worked a little longer, but I couldn’t get Leah out of my mind. She was interviewing for a job in Los Angeles? Unable to concentrate, I headed home. I thought the change of scenery would allow me to refocus on the Paris deal, but Leah was fucking everywhere. So instead, I pulled out a bottle of scotch and started to drink. Surely there would be an amount that would numb my senses and make me forget her.
I missed going to my internship, but in the end, it had been a good thing to leave. First, I had to prepare for finals and the defense of my thesis. Second, the baby designer in Los Angeles called and wanted me to come for an interview at the end of the week. I wouldn’t graduate until a week after that, but the company said they were eager to hire someone soon, and were impressed by what I’d done for Sensual Delights. It seemed strange that a baby clothing designer would like what I’d done for a lingerie and sex toy business, but I supposed with enough sexy stuff, eventually the baby stuff would be needed. I was living proof of that.