Page 22 of Hero Next Door

But then Mr. Jones has his mouth on mine. He’s kissing me so hard that it hurts. He has me pinned in place so I can’t even move my head to get away from him. He’s blocking my escape, blocking my airways, taking the breath from my lungs. Not only I won’t be able escape him, but I might lose my ability to keep on living.

Is this really happening? Am I in some kind of nightmare? I don’t understand how I’m living in a world where Mr. Jones is talking about losing his business, while kissing me, and also trying to kill me. This is hell.

Chapter 10 – Theo

“Theo?” Frankie grabs me, just as I am about to chuck my coat on and get the hell out of here. My body is already sensing fresh air, looking forward to having some rest and a good sleep, hopefully for real this time, so that I can start again tomorrow and possibly work out what’s going in my head when it comes to Esme. She is still on my mind a lot and I honestly haven’t quite fathomed if it’s even worth for me to go and speak to her about things. “The boss has called for you. He wants to see you before you make your escape. But if you aren’t in the mood I can say that I missed you.”

“Nah, I’ll go.” Joe is a good guy. I like our boss. If he wants to see me then it’s for a good reason. “Is he in the office?” Frankie nods in my direction. “Right I will see him now, then I can finally be free.”

Frankie tosses his head back and laughs. “Sure, I bet you can’t wait as well. See you later on then, Theo.”

I watch jealously as Frankie makes his way out of the building, finally getting his own freedom, but I know that it won’t be long until I join him, so I spin on my heels and head up the stairs until I find Joe hunched over paper work. Poor guy, I know that he prefers to be on the front line with the rest of us, but ever since he got promoted he’s more embroiled in paper work than fires. I don’t think that he realized that was going to happen. It confirms to me that I wouldn’t want the promotion myself. I’m much happier right where I am, thank you very much.

“Hey, Joe.” I lean my head in while I knock on the door. “Frankie said that you wanted to see me.”

“Yes, come in, Theo.” He stares at me with slightly blurry eyes. He really must have tons to do. “Take a seat. Would you like a coffee or anything? I can pop out to the drinks machine if you do…”

“Nah, I’m good thank you.” I smile thinly. Now I’m a little worried. If Joe is offering me coffee that means it might not be a quick chat after all. “What’s going on, boss? Anything that I need to be worried about?”

“Just checking in on you, that’s all.” His eyes run all over my face searching for something. I hope that he doesn’t find it because I don’t need anyone panicking about me. “I know that you have been through a rough patch recently. All the drama with your ex-wife and moving house. It must be taking its toll a bit. I just wanted to see you.”

This is why we all respect Joe so much. He isn’t asking this in a work capacity, to check and see if I am capable of doing my job properly, he lets my work do that. Instead, he is simply wants to see how I’m doing. He cares about all of us and respects that we have lives outside of our jobs. Not everyone has a boss like that, Esme included.

“Yeah, it’s been a lot,” I tell him honestly. “And Jane has already worked out that I have moved house which has pissed her off, so I don’t think that she’s finished yet with all her drama. I don’t much look forward to the next installment, but I do feel like moving was a good plan. Even if it’s more of a commute to work, it’s worth it.”

“Good… I mean, not good that she is still calling you up and giving you grief, that should have ended a long time ago.” I roll my eyes and nod in agreement. We all think that much. “But good that you have moved home and you’re moving on with your life. When you have hit rock bottom, the only way is up. You look like someone who is on the way up. You aren’t as weighed down as you were before. You don’t seem to have the weight of the world on your shoulders like you did before which is good because none of us liked seeing you that way.”

Tags: Mia Ford Romance