Page 23 of Naughty Girl

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He’s just finishing a call, and when he sees me, he hangs up.

“Alex, can I speak with you?” I ask.

He shrugs. “Not that there’s much to talk about, but sure, I guess.”

I take a few steps to the chair in front of him and sit quietly. His office has always been a good translation of his personality… awards from his skating days on the shelves, pictures of his ski vacations in Colorado and France with his mother. It feels young and fun. Slightly entitled.

My hands are fidgeting and I tuck them on my lap. “I’m sorry about what you saw yesterday.”

He lets out a mocking laughter. “I don’t know if you are. I mean, you moved really fast on my dad. You disappeared for days and don’t text back. Then I find you and Dad together. What am I supposed to think?”

I worry my lower lip. Denial is out the window. I don’t want to underestimate his intelligence, or say something particularly insensitive. “Yes. I’m not going to lie to you. I originally wanted to, hmmm, be with your dad as payback for what you did to me.”

“You don’t say,” he says after an ironic whistle.

I cross and uncross my legs, then shift in the seat. This conversation was never meant to be comfortable, but living through it is harder than I imagined. I guess talking about it with Lily while drinking in the living room cut some of the tension. Now, my throat is dry. “But in the process, I started to have feelings for Rhett. I mean it. Also, I realize that’s probably not what you want to hear right now.”

He rocks back in his chair, laughing like someone told him a funny joke. “Of course you have feelings. Who wouldn’t? He’s loaded.”

I ignore his cynicism. Was he like that when we dated? I try to remember, but it seems we went out so long ago. My memories of Alex are blurred and chopped. “He’s an amazing man. He’s caring, protective, smart and funny. I guess he’s loaded, yes, but even without the money he’d still be a hot guy for his age.” A bit of sadness stabs at me. I know Alex is mad right now, but this shows he doesn’t know me as well as I thought he did. Otherwise he wouldn’t accuse me of being with his father for money.

He lifts up his hand, in a gesture as to demand I stop complimenting his father. “Gross.”

I bite back a smile. “If you want to be cynical and assume money is all your dad brings to the table, there’s nothing I can say to change your mind. Deep down though, I’m sure you don’t.”

He stares at me in silence, then rubs his forehead.

“Look, I don’t want this bad blood between us,” I say. “Let’s face it, you weren’t boyfriend of the year. You cheated on me while we were together. I caught you once, but according to Ava, it happened other times and you never denied it.”

He looks away. “I apologized.”

And that makes it all okay? I shake my head. “Yes, and you’re now forgiven. It still hurt me, though.”

“You’re right. We shouldn’t make our work life miserable.” He offers me his hand. “Friends?”

I shake his hand enthusiastically. “Co-workers for now. Maybe friends one day,” I say. I don’t want to promise what I can’t give yet. And I don’t know how friendly I’d like to get with Alex.

“Works for me,” he says, and I hope he means it.



“Rhett?Do you want me to call in your lunch order?” Beth asks me, her smart voice sounding through the intercom.

I push the button to answer. “Nah, it’s okay. I’ll eat out.”


I drum my fingers on the desk.

For the past two days, ever since she broke my heart in too many pieces to count, I’ve been using any excuse to use the elevator and walk the hallways as much as possible. This desperate need to see her, even from afar, has been consuming me.

I want to see her, to touch her, to plea with her… but I can’t.

She was adamant when we talked after Alex catching us… it’s not the right time. This means she’s not ready. That simple sentence is like a sharp blade cutting through my chest.

To think I was going to ask her to marry me. She’s not ready for any of it.

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