“A girl’s gotta eat,” I say, enjoying the spark in her blue eyes.
“First, I’m not a girl,” she says. “And second, I eat when it suits me and not any other time. I’m only doing this today because I like Kayla and don’t want to disappoint her on my first day here.”
Yeah, she is not a girl. That’s for sure. She’s a whole woman and one that I can’t wait to have under me, on top of me, all around me.
“I’m just the checkbook,” I say, raising my palms in the air, trying to look as un-intimidating as a six-foot-four-inch man weighing two-twenty can.
“Well, I don’t need a checkbook. I earn my own money.” Her little nose points in the air.
I’d tap it but she’d probably cut my hand off. “I’m glad you do. Sokolov pays good, too, so your wallet should get fat while you’re here.”
“Just so that you know what the boundaries are.” She draws a line in the air with her finger. “I’m here and you’re over there and that’s where things should stay. Got it?”
“I hear you.”
My easy agreement deflates her pride balloon a little. Her chin drops down to a normal level, but she can’t stop eyeing me suspiciously. Like the smart woman she is, she senses that my response might not be the entire story. Good thing that I’ll be around long enough for her to figure it out. It’s not like I plan to keep it a secret. I want her and I plan to have her. Bonus: she gets me in return.
But I recognize a cornered kitten when I see one. The wee thing is scared and spitting fire. All I gotta do is convince her that she can rest her small paw in mine and I won’t ever let it go.
He’s obnoxious. That’s exactly what he is with his quick-witted responses that I tell myself are annoying and not endearing. After I draw an imaginary line in the sand explaining our boundaries, I turn around and proceed to shuffle papers around while I wait for Kayla. I can feel him staring at me but I don’t bother to turn back to look. If I didn’t want to disappoint Kayla, I would have turned down lunch. I think I would have, at least. I don’t know how I’ve even gotten so much done with him watching my every move. I tell myself watching people is his job. That’s why it’s so easy for him to keep his eyes on me without looking bored and it’s not because he’s really interested. I inwardly chastise myself for the negative thought about myself. My ex really did a number on my self-confidence and I hate that he holds on to me in that way.
“Amie, you have to try their cherry cheesecake. It’s the best. Don’t listen to Grey when he tries to push the chocolate cake on you. It’s good but the cheesecake…” She makes a face of pure pleasure. One I don’t think I’ve ever worn myself. One that I imagine Greyson would be able to give me. My thoughts drift to his sinful mouth having that effect on me. I push those thoughts aside and hope the cheesecake gives me some sort of relief so I can stop having dirty thoughts about a man I shouldn't be having them about. I’m not into men anymore, I remind myself. I’ll be into cheesecake. If that’s the way I have to get pleasure these days to keep away from men, then bring on all the cherry cheesecake you can find.
“We can get them both and let her test them.” His deep voice doesn’t help me in this moment. I need to get this lunch over with as soon as possible.
“He is paying. We should order all the desserts.” She shoots Grey a mischievous smile. The two of them act like brother and sister. It makes me miss Violet a little more. Ordering every dessert on the menu was always her favorite thing to do and she got to do it whenever we went out for our family dinner on her birthday.
“They have like twelve.” Grey laughs.
“And?” I turn to look at him. I don’t know why I’m challenging him on this. Who needs twelve desserts? No one, but I’m going to enjoy giving him a hard time about it.
“I think it’s a great idea. We should tell them we need a table for six.” He winks at me. Winks! I guess that doesn't make him cross the line I’ve drawn but he is winking at it.
“Oh, good idea!” Kayla claps her hands together as she does this adorable wiggle dance. “Grey is a problem solver too. It’s one of his rare good qualities,” she says as she elbows him. I mumble a few choice words under my breath about not needing him to solve any of my problems and head for the front door.
Again, I can feel him staring so I shoot him a dirty look over my shoulder in warning. The big jerk smiles a sugary sweet smile as if he’s an innocent angel. I saw where his eyes were when I glanced back. Right on my ass. I turn my head back quickly to face the door, heading outside to hide my rosy cheeks from him. Enjoying the fact that he was checking out my ass. It should piss me off but damn if it didn't make me feel good inside. I can’t help but give a little extra sway as I walk.
The cool air hits my face, giving me some relief as I open the door and head outside. For the first time since the lunch discussion started, I realize I don’t even have a car to drive myself there. I cross my fingers and hope that Kayla has one. Please let her have a car.
“I’ll drive,” Greyson’s deep voice commands. That gets him a little side eye from me. Kayla begins walking toward a ginormous pickup truck that I’m guessing belongs to Greyson.
“Shotgun,” she yells out as we approach the truck. Grey flicks his eyes over toward her.
“Fiiine.” She drags out the word, grabbing the rear passenger door and hopping in as Grey opens the front passenger side door for me.
“She can have shotgun,” I say. If Violet was here she’d fall over and die. I always stole shotgun from her growing up.
“It’s fine. He’s got a weird crush on you or something,” Kayla says from the back. The cool air that helped with my blush does nothing as my face heats all over again. A heavy knot forms in my stomach thinking about sitting next to Greyson for God knows how long during this car ride.
“Weird? It’s weird to have a crush on me?” I lift my eyebrow in question to Kayla.
“Yeah, it’s weird. Look at him. He’s actually all sorts of weird.” I bite my lip to hold in my laugh but my whole body still shakes. I let out a small scream when I’m lifted off my feet and placed inside the truck.
“You went over my line,” I tell him. Lifting me up is way over the line in the sand I’d drawn. He ignores my comment, leaning over to click my seatbelt into place.
“Finding it hard to control myself.” His eyes lock with mine. His mouth is but inches from mine. My eyes can’t help but look there. I lick my own lips, betting he tastes better than any dessert we are about to have.
He pulls back, shutting the door but not before giving me another one of those smiles and walking over to the driver’s side. I feel a weird sense of loss as soon as he leaves my space taking his woodsy, rich smell with him and making me wonder what it was. Is it his aftershave or just him? He gets in, firing up the truck before he pulls out to head towards wherever the restaurant is located. I keep my eyes peeled on the road so that I don’t look over at him.
“Tension in here is so thick, you could cut that shit with a knife,” Kayla adds from the back seat. I continue to remain silent but sneak a glance over at Greyson, catching him giving Kayla a not so nice look in his rear view mirror. She only laughs, not the least bit scared of him. I fight a smile. I want to not like Greyson but he’s making it damn hard when I see how he is with Kayla. He really is all bark and no bite. She pokes him and he doesn’t do anything but give her a look back. Though I think I might enjoy his bite. In fact I think I’ll keep pushing his buttons just to see how hard it might be.
“You really like Amie, don’t you?” Kayla says as we run through the ammo inventory. We’re having a training session later today and will have to account for all of the spent rounds. “As in, you’re embarrassing yourself in front of her, like her.”
“Yup. The 9 mm magazines are running low. Make sure to order more and remember we want the 33 chambers with the plus two adapter. The last office manager onl
y ordered 31 chambers.” I shake my head in dismay. That’s four bullets which could mean the difference between one of my men walking out of a battle or being carried out.
“Noted. But as I was saying, you’re acting like you’re ready to register at Wayfair for new bedding and matching pillows.”
I twist my head to the side. “I’m supposed to have matching pillows?”
Kayla doesn’t look up from the list she’s annotating. “Yes. And hand towels. You do have hand towels, don’t you?”
“I have no fucking clue what hand towels are, but put those on the list and order me some. Pillows, too.”
She stops writing to stare at me.