Rush me, p.11
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       Rush Me, p.11

         Part #1 of New York Leopards series by Allison Parr
 
Page 11

  He snagged me by my waistband, pulling me forward. “You missed a bit. ” He tucked an edge of my blouse under the skirt.

  Our eyes caught. His shone, pale and bright and crinkled at the edges. For a moment, I wanted nothing more than to wrap my legs around his waist and have a good, long make out session. My gaze dipped to his lips.

  They curved. He knew exactly what I was looking at.

  Ugh. How humiliating. It was only because I was in that cursed horny part of my cycle, nothing more. I had to do something about this. I should just make out with someone at a club.

  Yeah.

  “Thanks for the lift. ” I tried to pretend I hadn’t just been picturing him naked.

  He flashed a bright, perfect smile. “You’re welcome. Have a good life, Rachael Hamilton. ”

  * * *

  “So?” Eva said when I came home. “How’d the interview go?”

  “I’m not sure. The editor was really nice. And we had a good conversation, and she laughed at some inane joke I made and told me about her kids. . . and she also told me about how crappy the publishing industry is, and that while it’s great that I have this internship I’m doing and that I interned at Girls! Magazine when I was in college, my best bet is to just stick around at Maples&Co and hope a position opens up. ”

  “Seriously? She said that?”

  “Well, not quite,” I amended. “But she implied it strongly. ” I let out a long sigh and opened the fridge. Three potatoes sat alone across from a door of condiments. Well then, it was spaghetti or elbows. If we were lucky, we might even have a jar of marinara. “And I’d love to work at Maples&Co, only Laurel’s been interning there longer, so if a job comes up, she’ll probably get it. ”

  “You must be thrilled you majored in English. ”

  I snorted. “Remind me to make my kids study business. At a state school. ”

  “Oh, don’t be a sell-out. ”

  “But if our kids are also starving artists, how will they pay for our retirement homes? How’s the show going?”

  Eva rolled her neck and spread her hands out. “If this doesn’t get picked up, we’re all screwed. ”

  I laughed, setting the water on to boil. “Come on, they’ve made musicals out of Shrek, Legally Blonde, and Spider-man. If they can succeed, so can Pride and Prejudice: The Musical!”

  Eva smiled reluctantly. “Even though we’re a little ridiculous?”

  “You know you’re ridiculous. If people love Austen enough to read zombie adaptations and watch time-travel miniseries, they’ll come to the show. ”

  “Not my parents. ”

  “Your parents are snobs. And if they see the show, I’m sure they’ll like it. Come on, ‘Not Pretty Enough to Tempt Me’ is super catchy. ” I’d been humming Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s duet for weeks now. “Is that what’s wrong? Your parents?”

  She shook her head. “They’re fine. I guess. We haven’t talked about the show since they said I was bastardizing great literature. No, I screwed up at rehearsal. A lawyer came in to talk to Dickens, and I spilled paint all over him. ”

  I snorted laughter as I broke spaghetti strands into the water. “What happened?”

  “I was standing on a ladder, talking to Mel. And my foot was just swinging loosely, and I hadn’t really noticed there was a paint bucket on the step below me, and—yeah. He was wearing a three piece suit, too. ”

  “He’s not going to make you pay for it, is he?”

  “No, but Dickens was pissed. Exactly how I want the director to think about me—not that he does think about me, ’cause I’m just a singing maid. And I feel really bad, too. . . ” Her face softened into the dreamy countenance of new infatuation. “He was so pretty. ”

  I grinned. “What happened to Mark? I thought you were in love with him this week. ”

  She waved a hand dismissively. “Mark can’t even afford to take me out to dinner. So over him. Hey, maybe I should call Ryan Carter. I bet he could afford anything. We could eat, like, fresh produce with our pasta. ”

  I busied myself stirring the pot. “I saw him today. ”

  “No! What happened?”

  Eva listened, rapt, as I recounted the meeting. “I can’t believe you. Taking off your skirt! Midtown! That’s so not like you!”

  “I know. ” I ladled out dinner for both of us. “I don’t know what came over me. He just made me so mad. I wanted to prove that I wasn’t a prude. And, of course, I wanted to get to the interview. And it wasn’t such a hardship, being smashed up against him. ”

  “Yeah, I bet you really suffered. ”

  “I’m still suffering,” I said darkly. “It should be illegal for jackasses to be that gorgeous. ”

  * * *

  That Thursday, the temp agency sent me back to John’s advertising agency.

  I covertly texted Laurel from behind the receptionist’s desk on the fifteenth floor. She responded quickly: Drag him into the supply closet. Srslsy.

  I sat staring at the message and considering it until the office phone rang and almost startled me out of my skin. Shoving my cell into a drawer, I plastered a smile on and answered. “Meckleson and Drivers. ”

  All day long, I imagined John pacing two floors above me, past the minions’ cubicles and into his office, or strolling over to the espresso machine for the fourth time. Every time the elevator dinged, I tensed, fingers freezing on the keyboard, nerves firing in rabbitlike anticipation.

  What if Laurel was right? What if I should just indulge in a no-strings-attached fling? I could seriously use a good hook up.

  Then again, I didn’t actually like John.

  Finally, the clock hit five and I headed for the elevator, slinging on my coat and twisting up my flyaway strands into a contained updo. My shoulders finally relaxed as I crossed the lobby toward the rotating glass doors.

  “Rachael!”

  But of course.

  I turned around, and there stood John. Tall and chiseled, his jacket flapping open behind him, he presented a picture of young success. Style over substance. I pasted on a smile. “John. Hi. ”

  He loped over and did a quick appraisal. “You look good. ”

  “Thanks. ”

  “You think about that drink?”

  I gazed at him, the angel and demon back on my shoulders. Would it hurt? Just a drink. I didn’t need to sleep with him; we could just have a good old-fashioned make out session. I could stop thinking about that damn quarterback all the time.

  But.

  It had been a little shady how he hadn’t mentioned his girlfriend until she walked in on us. For God’s sake, I’d made him show me his blood work. Shouldn’t he have mentioned he’d had a steady sexual partner? If their relationship was so very open, shouldn’t it have come up?

  I shook my head. “You have a girlfriend. ”

  He rolled his eyes, clearly frustrated. “I told you. We have an open relationship. Besides, she’s in Japan for the next two months doing research. ”

  I kneaded my lip with my teeth. John didn’t have a problem hooking up with me. Why did I? Maybe it was just residual resentment from discovering he didn’t want what I wanted. Was I actually one of those girls who couldn’t just have a good time? Sexually repressed. With issues.

 
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ALLISON PARR SERIES:

New York Leopards