He laughed once. “And if you screw up?”
“I won’t.” I smiled.
“Okay then, we won’t screw it up, sounds simple enough.” We smiled at each other. I laid my head back on his shoulder, and it dawned on me. I’d be working for him until the end of July. The thought that this was not the first time he’d slept with a co-worker left an unsettling knot in my stomach.
"Marcus?" I asked unsure if I should even ask what I was thinking.
"I know I don’t have a right to ask this…but how many females who worked for you have you slept with?" I closed my eyes when I felt his arms tense around me. I knew it. How stupid could I be? He's a handsome man, successful, and powerful. How could he resist having his way with all the women who flirt with him at the office? “The only reason I'm asking is because I start working for you on Monday, and I don’t want any unexpected surprises.” I bit my lip. Sometimes I don’t know when to just shut up.
“Well, to be honest…only one,” he said softly.
“One? Does she still work for you?” I was surprised. I thought it would be dozens.
"Yes, Mia, but it was strictly a sexual relationship, nothing more. It ended a few months ago, and she knows that our relationship is nothing but business now."
I shrugged; I could work with that. “I can understand that. I was in a sexual relationship too for several months, but we decided to stop, and we remained friends.”
“Friends?” He asked.
“Yeah friends.” I snuggled into his embrace.
“I thought your only friend was Jeremy?” Shit! Why can't I keep my mouth shut! What do I say? Screw it! It’s going to get out sooner or later, why not sooner, right?
Taking a deep breath, I strove for honesty. “That's right, he’s my only friend.” Marcus slowly removed his arm from around my shoulder. Lifting his knees, he laid his forearms on them allowing his hands to dangle in front of him. He needed space to collect his thoughts. I turned my body to face him.
“Wait, so you’re saying that you and Jeremy? Jeremy and you had a sexual relationship?” He seemed dumbfounded. I took another deep breath as I knew this would be hit or miss.
“Yes.” He shook his head in disbelief. I quickly continued to explain. “It wasn’t like that in the beginning. It started after my brother passed away…I’d never felt lonelier in my life, and he was there, helping me with all the funeral arrangements with the grief. It just happened. Then I thought it wasn’t fair for him or me to continue something that was holding us back from other opportunities. I wanted to try and start dating and seeing people, and so did he. We have a strictly friendship relationship now…we’re more like brother and sister.” I laughed, trying to lighten the mood; it didn’t work. His head snapped at me, and he stared with a disgusted expression.
“A brother who you'll fuck?” he asked, his voice dripping with scorn.
Whoa! That stung, I didn't mean it like that, and why would he say it in a hurtful way? I didn’t know how to respond to that. My heart dropped at the tone of his voice and the anger of his stare.
He stood up and stormed away towards the house.
Should I have lied? I couldn't do that, not when we were trying to get to know each other. I'm not going to hide myself…you either accept me as I am or not at all. My heart began to pick up its pace, and the more I thought of his words, the angrier I grew.
Not thinking twice, I stood and marched back into the house. My mind was boggled, and I could feel my face heat as my heart sped with anger. I entered through the sliding doors by the kitchen, and he was at the island, pouring himself a strong drink. When I entered, he shot me a sinful glare before gulping his drink down and pouring another one.
“Who are you to judge me? You know what, Marcus? I’m an honest person, and I thought the purpose of this trip was to get to know each other!”
He sarcastically laughed once. “Yep, and I think you pretty much summed it up.” He lifted the glass before him and nodded in salute before taking another swig of his drink.
That pissed me the hell off. I took in a deep breath and blurted out everything without thinking twice. “Fuck you! You want to know who I am, Marcus. Well here it goes! I am temperamental, over-sensitive, and outspoken. I’m honest! I cry at stupid love movies, and I'm a sucker for a romantic novel. I don’t allow people to walk all over me, I have trust issues, and I have insecurities. I’ve slept with four men in my entire life! And the one thing I don’t do is take shit from men who try to act like they’re better than me as if they don’t have any hidden skeletons! I’m not keeping shit hidden, how ‘bout you? You can fuck off. I'll find my own way home. Have a nice fucking life!”
I stormed out the kitchen, holding back the tears. I was completely outraged! My hands and legs were trembling from the adrenaline. Running up the stairs and missing a few steps in the process, I finally entered the bedroom.
I grabbed my overnight bag and packed the few clothes I had laid out. I couldn’t see with all the angry tears running down my face. I didn’t want him to see me like this. I had to rush out of here.
Not even thinking to change into jeans and a shirt, I threw the bag over my shoulder and turned to face the door…but he was there standing in the way, blocking the exit. I looked down, hiding my tears. “Move,” I choked.
“I'm sorry,” he whispered.
“Move,” I managed to sound clearer.
“Please, Mia, I'm sorry.”
“Marcus, please don’t make me repeat myself.” Not saying another word, he stepped aside. I began to walk towards him. Before I passed the door, he softly took my arm to stop me. I hesitated at his touch.
He reached for the strap of my bag, and with one brush of his hand, the bag fell to the ground. He lifted both of my hands to his face and lightly brushed my knuckles along his lips.
“I'm so sorry, Mia. Please don’t go. I was completely out of line. I’m an asshole.”
I didn’t say anything as I kept my head lowered, still feeling hurt. He wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled me in closer. Leaning his back against the inner entrance of the doorway, he lowered his head and nuzzled my neck. His lips vibrated along my collar bone when he spoke again. “I beg you, don’t go. I'm sorry, baby.” His bare chest felt warm, and his scent drew me in. With my eyes closed, I brushed my cheek against his. The stubble of his growing beard felt nice against my skin. I began to feel weak. He pressed his lips along my cheekbone, trailing soft kisses along my cheek until he reached my lips.