That was the night I remembered why I fell in love with Marcus in the first place.
As I walked into the office, I was greeted by Stacy, the receptionist at the firm. After handing me messages from this morning, she tilted her blond head and examined me. I flipped through the messages and felt her continued heated stare. Raising a brow, I asked, “Anything else?”
“No.” Tilting her head to the opposite side, she added, “You just look different.”
“It’s probably my haircut.”
“Yes, that might be it. It looks good.”
“Thanks.” I made a move for my office until I remembered something. “Is Ms. Grant in this week?”
“I’m afraid not. She’s still not feeling well after her surgery. There was a voice message from her over the weekend that she’ll need another week.”
Shit. I had a major trial the next week. Ms. Grant had been working closely with me on this case. There was so much to wrap-up before the jury selection began on Monday. The only co-worker other than Ms. Grant that had worked closely with me on that case was Stephanie.
Fuck. I had transferred Stephanie to another department after she texted an inappropriate photo to my phone that Mia had found a couple of months back.
“Is Stephanie in today?” I had no idea what I was doing, but I was desperate. Still, with the research for relevant case law and the legal memorandum that was due tomorrow, I was at a loss. I needed someone to work on the trial binders, as well as contact all of the witnesses and schedule them to be prepped before trial. Stephanie was the only person I could rely on to resolve this mess.
I had to call Mia and give her a heads-up. I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable. I was also trying to do the honesty and trust thing. It meant a lot to her and the success of our relationship.
“She is in. Would you like me to send her to your office?” Stacy stabbed through my thoughts.
As I entered my office, I felt awkwardly nervous at the thought of Mia being angry over the situation. We’d been doing very well, especially over the past weekend. It was as if everything was going perfectly. I knew Mia loved me, but the feelings she expressed a couple of nights ago sealed it for me. So being the fucking wimp I was when it came to my girlfriend, I sank in my chair behind my desk and dialed her number.
“Hello.” Mia answered in a sleepy tone after the third ring.
“Good morning, beautiful, did I wake you?”
“Yes, you did.” She laughed. “But I have to get up anyway. I have to study for an exam that’s scheduled for tomorrow and meet your mother for lunch at noon. After lunch, I’m meeting my mother and Megan for some shopping.”
“Sounds like a productive day.”
“Yes, it is. What are you up to?”
Unbuttoning my suit jacket, I leaned back into the chair. “I’m at the office. It’s going to be a busy week with the Di Angele trial coming up next week.”
“I thought that trial was scheduled for last summer?”
“Yes, it was, but it got continued as most trials do.”
“Right, I remember now hearing that on the news. Well, I know you’ll be brilliant.”
I laughed once while my eyes glanced toward the door. Stephanie popped her head in. Whispering, she said, “Stacy said you needed me?”
I covered the phone with my hand and responded to her, “Yes, can you give me a minute on the phone?”
“Sure.” She shut the door, making her way back into the hallway.
“Marcus?” Mia’s voice pricked through the phone.
“Sorry, babe. I need to tell you something.” Fuck, I had no idea why I was fucking sweating and nervous.
The squeak from the bed led me to believe that she shifted—probably sitting up. “Okay, what is it?” She sounded concerned.
Letting out a deep breath, I pressed my lips together. Here goes nothing. “Do you remember when I mentioned that Ms. Grant had surgery a week ago?”
“Yes, is she okay? Did something happen?”
“Oh no, well, she needs another week or two. She’s not ready to come back to work.” Hesitating for a few seconds, I continued, “With her being out, I need an assistant. With witness preparation, trial binders, case law research, and so much more, there’s no way I can do it all on my own. There is only one person that’s familiar with the case and . . .” I trailed off knowing that I was rambling, but couldn’t find the fucking nerves to just flat out and say it.
“You need Stephanie to help.” She completed for me.
“Yes. I wanted to let you know first, Mia. I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable or keep it from you. I promise it’s nothing more than a professional relationship.”
“Marcus, that’s fine. I trust you, and I appreciate that you’re being honest. That means a lot to me. Seriously, you have a firm that you need to successfully run and a trial to prep. If she’s the only person who can help, then you have no other choice.” Hesitating, she sighed and then added, “But if she touches you or tries any crap, I will go right down to your office and cause some mayhem. Make sure you let her know that.”
I laughed at her attempts to sound intimidating, and my breathing became steady. “I’ll be sure to tell her, but I’m positive I can handle myself.”
“I’m sure you can, but it would make me happier to handle it instead.” The sound of her hopping off the bed and landing on the wood floors came through. I could hear her padding around her room. “Well, I’m going to shower. Are we meeting up tonight? I missed you last night.”
“I missed you too, but I can’t. I have something to do tonight. I wish I were there to shower with you.”
“Yeah? Well as you sit for the next few hours with Stephanie, I want you to picture me standing in a hot steamy shower with my hands slowly lathering every inch of me. The entire time my thoughts will be of you, Marcus: the way you touch me, the way your hands feel against my skin, my breasts, and every single inch of my body. Oh, and Marcus?”
“Yeah?” Sucking in a sharp breath, images of her naked body glistening with soap suds were running through my mind.
“Only four days until you can have me any way you want.”
“You do know you’re a tease, right?” My pants felt uncomfortable with the fucking hard on I had. She had been teasing me for fucking days, counting each day down. I swore when I got my hands on her I’d make sure she’d have no choice but to break this stupid fucking bet early.