Promised, p.28Part #1 of One Night series by Jodi Ellen Malpas
there and tell that woman that I’m going home with you?’ I grate, anger bubbling as he watches me closely.
‘Yes,’ he answers simply and swiftly. Just yes? I have nothing to say to that, drunkenness blocking all rational thinking, and when he’s finished studying my dumbstruck face he walks out, shutting the door behind him. I know I hear a lock click into place, so I jump down from his desk and run over to the door, jiggling the handle, fully aware that I’m wasting my time. He’s locked me in.
I don’t go to the bathroom; I go to the glass drinks cabinet, seeing some champagne on ice and two used glasses, neatly placed at just the right angle. That’s Miller’s doing, but the rim of one glass caked in cherry-red lipstick isn’t. I start to shake with fury and grab a glass, pouring in some champagne and downing it before refilling my glass and tipping that down quickly, too. I’m drunk enough, I don’t need this, but control is slipping rapidly away.
Just as Miller promised, my phone starts bleeping from my bag and I retrieve it from the desk, fishing around and finding Gregory’s name on the screen. ‘Hello.’ I try to sound cool and collected, when I want to scream down the phone, vent and lash out.
‘You’re leaving with him?’
‘I’m okay.’ I don’t need to be worrying him further, and I definitely won’t be leaving with Miller. ‘You didn’t know his name?’
‘No,’ he sighs. ‘Just Mr Hart, uptight fucker.’
‘You told me to let him take me on the dance floor!’
‘That’s because he’s fucking hot!’
‘Or so you could have your later with Ben?’
‘A little dance, that’s all. I wouldn’t have let it go further.’
‘I have no excuse,’ he mumbles. ‘I’m pissed off, but regardless of that, it’s a moot fucking point now, isn’t it? He’s the fucking coffee-hater and you’re already in love with the jumped-up twat!’
‘He’s not a twat!’ I don’t know what I’m saying. I can think of far harsher words to use and Miller would be all of them right now.
‘I don’t like this,’ Gregory grunts.
‘I didn’t like what I was subjected to earlier, either, Gregory.’
There’s silence down the line for a few moments before he speaks. ‘Sassy,’ he retorts sullenly. ‘Please hold on to that if you’re giving him more of your time, Livy.’
‘I will,’ I assure him. ‘I’ll be fine. I’ll call you. Is Ben okay?’
‘No, he’s still not got his colour back.’ He laughs, lightening the mood. ‘He’ll live.’
‘Okay. I’ll speak to you tomorrow.’
‘You will,’ he confirms. ‘Be careful.’
I exhale deeply and hang up, slumping my arse on the edge of Miller’s desk, where there’s no paperwork, pen, computer or stationery, just a cordless phone set precisely to the side. His chair is tucked under, perfectly straight, and as I gaze around the whole room, the preciseness of everything registers. It’s just like his home. Everything has a place.
He owns a nightclub?
My head snaps up when the mechanism on the door sounds and he’s back, looking satisfied, until he sees my face. ‘I asked you to do something.’
‘Will you force me if I don’t?’ I challenge, the alcohol injecting some bravery into me.
He seems confused by my question. ‘I would never force you to do anything I know you don’t want to, Livy.’
‘You forced me down here,’ I point out.
‘I didn’t force you. You could’ve battled with me or struggled from my hold if you’d really wanted to.’ He runs his hand through his hair and takes a deep breath, then brings himself to me and pushes my thighs open, standing between them. His finger slides under my chin and pulls my face to his, but he’s a little blurred. I squint, frustrated that I can’t fully appreciate his features. ‘You’re drunk,’ he says softly.
‘It’s your fault.’ I’m beginning to slur.
‘Then I apologise.’
‘Did you tell your girlfriend about me?’
‘She’s not my damn girlfriend, Livy. But yes, I told her about you.’
The thought thrills me, but if he’s felt the need to tell her, then there’s more to it than business.
‘Is she an ex?’
‘Why the need to tell her about me, then? What business is it of hers?’
‘None!’ He’s exasperated. I don’t care. It’s quite satisfying to see something more than a straight face and clipped tone.
‘Why do you keep doing this?’ I ask, pulling away. ‘You’re tender, sweet and affectionate, then hard and cruel.’
‘I’m not ha—’
‘Yes, you are,’ I interrupt him, and I don’t care if I get chastised for my lack of manners. It wasn’t very polite of him to manhandle me down here, but he still did it, and he’s right, I could’ve tried harder to stop him. But I didn’t. ‘Are you finally going to fuck me?’ I ask, barefaced and completely even.
He recoils, repulsion plaguing his face. ‘You’re drunk,’ he hisses. ‘I’m not doing anything to you when you’re drunk.’
He pushes his face to mine, his jaw ticking. ‘Because I’ll never do anything less than worship you, that is why.’ Taking a moment to calm down, his eyes close briefly and reopen lazily. He hits me with a determined gaze. ‘I’ll never be a drunken fumble, Olivia. Every time I take you, you’ll remember it. Each and every moment will be etched on that beautiful mind of yours for ever.’ He gently taps my temple. ‘Every kiss. Every touch. Every word.’
My heart rate accelerates. It’s too late, but I say it anyway. ‘I don’t want it to be that way.’ He’s already got a permanent residence in my mind.
‘Tough luck, because that’s how it’s going to be.’
‘It doesn’t have to be,’ I goad, wondering where these confident words and tones are coming from and if I really mean them.
‘Yes, it does. It has to be.’
‘Why?’ I’m beginning to sway a little, and he notices because he takes my arm to steady me. ‘I’m fine!’ I slur insolently. ‘And you haven’t answered my question.’
He clenches his eyes shut, and then slowly opens them, blasting me back with blue puddles of sincerity. ‘Because that is how it is for me.’
I swallow, hoping my drunkenness isn’t making me hear things. I have no reply, not now, perhaps not even when I’m sober. ‘You want me.’ My drunken mind still wants him to say the words.
He takes a deep breath and makes a point of burning through my eyes with his gaze. ‘I. Want. You,’ he confirms slowly . . . clearly. ‘Give me my thing.’
I throw my arms around his neck and pull him in, giving him his thing.
My heart is free-falling.
He holds me for the longest time, stroking my back and combing my hair with his fingers. I could fall asleep. He’s sighing repeatedly into my neck, constantly kissing me and squeezing me to him.
‘Can I take you back to my bed?’ he asks quietly.
‘For four hours?’
‘I think you know that I want a lot longer than four hours, Olivia Taylor.’ He surrenders his thing and palms my bum, sliding me from his desk and up to his body. ‘I wish you had never covered your face.’
‘It’s make-up. It doesn’t cover, it enhances.’
‘You’re a pure, natural beauty, sweet girl.’ He turns and starts for the door, but detours to the drinks cabinet to rearrange the champagne flutes first. ‘I’d like it to stay that way.’
‘You want me to be timid and merciful.’
He shakes his head lightly and opens the door to his office, setting me on my feet and taking his signature hold of my nape. ‘No, I just don’t want you behaving so recklessly and giving those lips to another man to taste.’
‘I didn’t mean to.’ I stagger, prompting Miller to grab my upper arm to steady me.
As we walk down the corridor and back up the stairs to the main club, I feel my stupid drinking binge really take hold. People are a wish-wash of blurred, slowed movements and the loud music is a bombardment of pain on my ears. I wobble on my heels, feeling Miller look down at me.
‘Livy, are you okay?’
I nod, my head not quite doing what I’m telling it to, making my movement more of a limp roll on my neck. Then I bump into a wall. ‘I feel . . . My mouth is suddenly producing far too much saliva, my stomach turning violently.
‘Oh shit, Livy!’ He scoops me up and charges for his office again, but he’s not quick enough. I throw up all over the corridor . . . and Miller. ‘Bollocks!’ he curses.
I retch some more as he gets me into his office. ‘I feel sick,’ I mumble.
‘What the hell have you had?’ he asks, negotiating my floppy body onto the toilet in his bathroom.
‘Tequila,’ I giggle. ‘But not properly. I forgot the salt and lemon so we had to do it again. Oh!’ I slip from the toilet seat and land on my backside. ‘Ouch!’
‘Oh, for crying out loud,’ he grumbles, picking me up and holding me in place, my head lolling while he tries to remove his sick-splattered waistcoat and shirt. ‘Livy, how many shots did you have?’
‘Two,’ I answer, my bottom dropping to meet the toilet seat again. ‘And I helped myself to more champagne,’ I slur, ‘but I didn’t use the glass with cherry-red lipstick on. She wants an association in more than business, you stupid man.’
‘What’s got into you?’
I pull my heavy head up and try to focus, finding a bare, smooth, masterpiece of a chest at eye level. ‘You, Miller Hart.’ I rest my hands on his pecs and take my time caressing him. I might be stinking drunk, but I can still appreciate what I’m feeling, and it feels good. ‘You’ve got into me.’ I lift my eyes with some effort, finding his are dropped, watching me feeling him. ‘You’ve worked your way into me and I can’t shake you out.’
He slowly crouches in front of me and strokes my cheek before sliding his hand around the back of my neck and pulling my face close to his. ‘I wish you weren’t so pissed right now.’
‘So do I,’ I admit. There’s no way I’ll handle him in a drunken stupor. And I wouldn’t want to. I want to remember every intimate moment, even this one. ‘If I forget the look on your face right now, or the words you said to me on your desk, promise me you’ll remind me.’
‘And that!’ I blurt. ‘Promise me you’ll smile at me like that the next time I see you.’ His smiles are rare and beautiful, and I hate him for giving me one now, when I’m not likely to remember.
He groans, and I think he closes his eyes. Or did I close mine? I’m not even sure. ‘Olivia Taylor, when you wake up in the morning, I’m going to be catching up on what you’ve deprived me of this evening.’
‘You’ve deprived yourself,’ I retort. ‘But remind me first,’ I mumble as he pulls me in for his thing. ‘Smile at me.’
‘Olivia Taylor, if I have you, then I’ll be smiling for the rest of my life.’
My brain feels warped, and in my darkness I wonder what year it is. It may have been a long time, but I know exactly how I’m going to feel when I open my eyes. My mouth is dry, my body clammy, and the dull thump in my head is likely to transform into a full-on carnival of relentless bongo drums when I lift my head from the pillow.
Deciding my best option is more sleep, I roll over to find a cool spot and burrow back down into my pillow, sighing happily at my new, comfortable position. The sweet sound of a low, peaceful hum is soothing and distinguishable.
I don’t bolt upright because my body won’t allow it, but I do open my lids, discovering shockingly blue smiling eyes. I frown and drop my eyes to his mouth. Yes, he’s smiling, and it’s like sunlight bashing its way through grey clouds and making everything just perfect. Bright. Real. But what’s he so delighted about, and how did I end up here?
‘Have I done something funny?’ I croak. My throat is rough and parched.
‘No, not funny.’
‘Then why are you smiling so hard?’
‘Because you made me promise that I would,’ he says, planting a light kiss on my nose. ‘If I ever make you a promise, Livy, I’ll keep it.’ He pulls me over to his side of the bed and goes about giving me his thing, positioning me beneath him and squeezing me tightly, sinking his face into my neck. ‘I’ll never do anything less than worship you,’ he whispers. ‘I’m never going to be a drunken fumble, Livy. Every time I take you, you’ll remember it. Each and every moment will be etched on that beautiful mind of yours for ever.’ He kisses my neck sweetly and squeezes a little tighter. ‘Every kiss. Every touch. Every word. Because that’s how it is for me.’
My breath catches in the back of my throat, his words sending a deep warmth to my very centre, pure happiness shining through my fuzziness. But my eyebrows meet in the middle. I feel like he’s privy to a one-way, secret conversation.
‘It’s a good job I keep my promises.’ He emerges and studies my face closely. ‘You disappointed me last night.’
His light accusation stimulates a blurry memory of me . . . and another man . . . and lots of alcohol. ‘It was your fault,’ I retort quietly.
His brow wrinkles in surprise. ‘I don’t remember demanding that you let another man taste you.’
‘I didn’t let him, and I don’t remember agreeing to you bringing me here.’
‘I don’t expect you to remember a lot.’ He leans down and bites my nose. ‘You threw up all over me and my new club; you fell over, more than once; and I had to stop the car twice for you to be sick. And you still managed to vomit in my Mercedes.’ He kisses my nose while I concentrate on cringing, mortified. ‘You then decorated the floor in the lobby of my apartment block and the floor of my kitchen.’
‘Sorry,’ I whisper. I must have sent him into a tailspin with his cleaning habits.
‘You’re forgiven.’ He sits up and pulls me onto his lap. ‘My pure, sweet girl turned into the devil last night.’
Another memory is jolted. My Livy. ‘Your fault,’ I repeat, because there’s nothing else I can claim, apart from it being my fault, which it is, partly.
‘So you keep saying.’ He stands and places me on my unstable feet. ‘Do you want the good news or the bad news?’
I try to focus on him, annoyed my clouded, post-drunken vision isn’t allowing me to absorb him all. ‘I don’t know.’
‘I’ll give you the bad news.’ He gathers my hair and rests it neatly down my back. ‘You had one dress and you’ve vomited all over it, so you have no clothes.’
I look down, finding I’m completely nude, not even knickers, and I doubt the vomit reached those.
‘They were lovely, but I prefer you naked.’
I glance up and find a knowing look. ‘You’ve washed my clothes, haven’t you?’
‘Your lovely new knickers, yes. They’re in the drawer. Your dress, on the other hand, was rather soiled and needed soaking.’
‘What’s the good news?’ I ask, slightly embarrassed by his acknowledgment of my new underwear and reminder of my vomiting episode.
‘The good news is that you don’t need them because we’re broccoli today.’
‘Yes, like veg.’
I smile my amusement. ‘We’re going to veg like broccoli?’
‘No, you’ve got it all wrong.’ He shakes his head a little. ‘We lie like broccoli.’
‘So we’re vegetables?’
Promised by Jodi Ellen Malpas / Romance & Love have rating 5.4 out of 5 / Based on43 votes