I shivered as I waited for Seth to open the door. The damn wind was trying it’s best to knock me off my feet and snow swirled around me. I knocked again, impatient to get in out of the cold. It seemed to take forever for the door to open. Seth grabbed my arm and dragged me inside. Not that I was protesting.
“Wes! Why didn’t you just come in, the door was unlocked.”
My teeth began to chatter as Seth helped me out of my coat and tossed it over the back of the couch. He pulled me close and ran his warm hands up and down my arms. Warmth. Blessed warmth. I just wanted to curl into his heat.
“S…sorry.” I wasn’t sure why I was apologizing, but for some reason I felt the need.
“Nothing to be sorry about.” Seth reached out and grabbed a throw off the couch and wrapped it around me. “C’mon, let’s get you warmed up. You want coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?” “Ch…ch…chocolate please.” I let him lead me into the kitchen. I sat in one of the chairs and pulled the blanket tighter around me as I watched him bustle around the kitchen. I still couldn’t believe we were together. He was the complete opposite of all the other guys I had dated. Where they were short like me, he was tall. Most of them were so slender they looked like they could be snapped like a twig. Seth looked like he’d be the one doing the snapping.
Recipe For Success
I stood frozen, staring at the image in front of me. The table was set for two and, if I wasn’t mistaken, that was lasagna on my plate. I stepped closer to the table and looked around the room. Two tapered candles sat in the middle of the table with a few more scattered around the room, their flickering light creating a romantic ambiance. A vase full of wildflowers sat next to the sink, their bright colors muted without the overhead lights.
I appreciated the effort and thought that had obviously been put into creating a romantic atmosphere, but there was only one problem. I wasn’t dating anyone—and hadn’t been for the last month and a half.
Just thinking of Jason made my heart ache. He had been so focused on his career and being successful. I could understand the wanting to succeed, but his work had taken over his life. There hadn’t been room for anyone or anything else—let alone me. I’d stuck it out for six months, expecting it to get better, but it only got worse. I hadn’t wanted to break up with him. I loved him. But I hadn’t felt like I had a choice. It took two to make a relationship work.
Soft music started playing and I felt, more than heard, someone come up behind me. I wasn’t afraid. If whoever it was wanted to hurt me, they’d already had ample opportunity.
“I missed you.”
Where Credit Is Due
“Sure, now you want me to make the decisions.” I shook my head. No way was I going to bail Mick’s ass out again. I was all for being a team player, but the last time I’d helped him out, he’d taken credit for everything, and I’d had to listen for months about what a genius he was when it came to knowing what the clients wanted. Not this time. Mick had used his last successful ad campaign, using my ideas, to become the project lead for the biggest client we’d had the opportunity to land in years. I wasn’t about to step in and save his ass just so he could claim the credit, again.
“Come on, Dillon. You know we can’t afford to lose this account. If we can’t come up with something they like by the end of the week they’ll go somewhere else.” He actually sounded a bit pathetic, but it wasn’t enough to sway me.
Unfortunately, he was right. The company needed the client’s business, but I was done being walked all over. If he wanted my help, then I’d make damn sure I got the recognition for it.
“Here’s the deal. You want me to take over, fine, but here’s what you have to do.” I grinned and leaned over my desk. “You will go to Mr. Kist and tell him you can’t handle the account. You will come clean that your last ad campaign was all my doing, and”—I paused for effect—“you will ask to be removed from the account and have it assigned to me.”
Payback Is A…
“Everything set for tomorrow?”
I froze. I knew I shouldn’t be listening, but I couldn’t help it, and lucky for me he apparently hadn’t heard me come in. Jace was planning his revenge, I knew he was. He’d told me I’d pay for the huge party I’d thrown him a few months ago for his birthday. With my birthday just a day away, I was beginning to wish I’d listened when he’d said he just wanted a nice dinner, just the two of us. I needed to find out what he had planned and figure a way out of it.
“Thanks Trent, I appreciate you helping me.”
So, he had my best friend helping him, that really didn’t bode well for me. I’d have to give some thought to how to get out of whatever they had planned, but for now, may as well let him know I was home. I moved back to the front door and opened it and shut it a little harder than necessary.
He came out of the living room before I even made it halfway down the hallway. Was it just me or did he look a little guilty? Maybe he was throwing a huge party, not unlike I did for him, and he was feeling guilty because he knew I hated being the center of attention.
Out With The Old
I glanced around at the friends gathered in my living room. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, their drinks were full and people were talking. Terry and his new girl, Samantha or something, were making out in one corner of my couch.
I heard the knock, just barely, and headed for the door. Everyone I’d invited, and a few I hadn’t, had already arrived. Maybe one of my friends was expecting someone to join them. I shrugged, the more the merrier had always been my moto. A gust of wind and snow swept into the house as I pulled the door open and I froze, welcoming words dying on my lips at the sight of the man standing on my porch.
“What are you doing here?”
“Aren’t you going to invite me in, Blake?” John smiled at me and started to step forward.
“No, I’m not.” I braced my arms on both sides of the door frame, blocking him from coming into my house. “You weren’t invited.”