Kayla knew it wasn’t a good idea to let him give her a ride home. But he was not the kind of guy to take no for an answer.
When she told him she had to catch a cab because her car was in the shop, he insisted on taking her home. She couldn’t complain too much, the man drove a Jaguar XJX, the ride was the epitome of comfort and luxury. After having so much to talk about during dinner, they weren’t talking much during the twenty minute drive to her house. But she could feel the tension emanating between them. She was relieved when they finally turned down her street.
“Just pull up in the driveway behind the silver Lexus,” Kayla said.
Tal pulled up behind the car and turned the engine off.
“Oh you don’t have to stop,” Kayla exclaimed. “It’s okay. That’s my sister’s car. She must be home so you don’t have to worry about seeing me to the door. I’ll be fine.”
Plus she didn’t want to spend another minute in his company. She had only been playing with him earlier, to see how far she could go. To see how far he would go. They both had gone further than she had intended. What must he think of her? From her actions, that she was a slut. She laughed silently at herself; that was so not the case.
He seemed to bring out the wanton in her. She needed to get away from him to get control of herself. She won’t let him get to her again. Having the rest of the week off would do her a world of good. By the time she had to return to work with him they would both have their acts together and could be professional about their relationship.
He was out of the car and opening her door before she could protest any further. “It’s not a problem” he said. “I want to come in. The least you can do is invite me in for a cup of coffee. It’s not that late and you don’t have to go into the bank tomorrow.”
“But what about you? Don’t you have to be in early?”
He leaned closer to her when she stopped in front of her door. “I’ll tell you a little secret,” he whispered, “I know the boss, we’re very close.”
Laughing, Kayla walked through the door. “Alright. Come on in.”
They walked into a scene that Kayla had seen countless times in the year that she and her sister shared the townhouse. Her sister sat on the stool at the kitchen counter with her laptop open in front of her. Probably working on another brief or researching a case. She didn’t even glance up as they walked in.
“I hope you’ve already eaten,” her sister Nessa said, “I grabbed a sandwich at the office.”
“That’s fine,” Kayla replied. “Uh…Nessa we have company.”
That got Nessa’s eyes off of the computer screen. When she saw Tal flanking Kayla, her eyebrows rose to almost meet her hairline. Even from across the room Kayla was able to read the silently worded ‘wow’ that emerged as air from her sister’s mouth.
Cocking her head to the side Kayla introduced them. “Nessa, this is my new boss Tal Reynolds. Tal my sister Vanessa, but we just call her Nessa for short.”
Tal walked over to the counter and shook Nessa’s hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet Kayla’s sister.”
A dumbstruck Nessa could only stare at him. “This…this is your boss?”
Tal let go of her hand and smiled. “And I’d like to think Kayla’s friend too.” He turned to look at Kayla and winked. “A very good friend.”
Much like the waitress at the restaurant had done, Nessa kept looking back and forth between the two. A slow grin spread across features very similar to her sister. People who didn’t know them thought they were twins. They were more like Irish twins. They were only twelve months apart. Kayla was the older, but Nessa was the bossier of the two.
“Well it’s a pleasure to meet you, Tal,” Nessa said. “Wait a minute. You’re not Talbert Reynolds, the man with the Midas touch?”
“Nessa,” Kayla shouted, appalled at the sister’s lack of tact, though not surprised. Still, she knew better than to say such a thing in front of a man who just happened to be her boss.
“It’s okay,” Tal said smiling. “I read The Times too. Yes that would be me.”
“Wow! It’s a real pleasure. That was a great article on your latest buyout.”
“It was just good business; which will also be a boon to your sister.”
Nessa turned to look at Kayla. “What’s he talking about?”
“I found out this morning that my branch is one of the ones closing.”
“What!” Nessa gasped. “What will this mean for you? Will you be out of a job?” Nessa glanced at Tal, who didn’t say anything he just looked at Kayla and raised his eyebrows.
Kayla returned his look, raise eyebrows and all, before facing her sister. “No. As a matter of fact, that’s why Tal took me to dinner to tell me the good news. I’ve been promoted. Starting next week, I’ll be a vice-president of Reynolds Banks. I’ll be over seeing all of the banks branch managers in Northern Virginia."
Nessa shrieked as she leaped off her stool and hugged her sister. “Kayla, that’s wonderful news. I’m so happy for you. This is fantastic. Have you called Mom yet and told her?”
“No I just found out myself tonight. It’s too late to call her now anyway. I’ll call her in the morning. Since I have the rest of the week off maybe I’ll take her to lunch.”
“Ah…,” Tal interrupted. “Not lunch. I have plans for us tomorrow.”
Both sisters turned their heads to stare at him with identical expressions on their faces.
“Like what?” Kayla asked. “I thought I didn’t have to go back to work until next week.”
“You don’t. This isn’t about work.”
Nessa removed her arm from around her sister’s waist and stepped over to her laptop. “It’s getting late and I have an early deposition tomorrow,” she said. “I think I’ll leave you two to sort this out. Kayla congratulations again. You go girl. Tal it was nice meeting you.”
“Same here, I’ll see you around.”
“I’m sure you will. Goodnight kids.”
Kayla and Tal watched as Nessa picked up her laptop and notebook and walked up the stairs to the second floor. They didn’t say anything until they heard the sound of her bedroom door closing.
Kayla turned completely around to face Tal. “What do you mean it isn’t about work?”
“I told you I want to get to know you better. I already know that you’ll be good for my company. But I’d like to get to know you better for me.”
Kayla held up both hands as though to ward him off. “Now wait a minute. I’m sorry I think I gave you the wrong impression tonight. I’ll work with you but that’s all.”
“Why?” he asked amused. “There’s no law that says if two people are attracted to each other, even if they work together they can’t explore that attraction. And we are both attracted.”
“But that’s the thing both parties concerned have to want the same thing.”
Tal took a half a step which brought him a hand span away from her. “And don’t we want the same thing?”
“Yes, for the company to prosper.”
“I’m not talking about the company right now.”
“That’s all that can be between us.”
Tal leaned down even closer until his mouth hovered inches over hers. In a whispered breath, like a caress that Kayla felt on her lips he asked her, “Are you sure?”
Kayla opened her mouth to say something, but no words would come out. Instead, her tongue reached out and tasted his lips.
There was a moan. Who it came from wasn’t clear. His mouth was covering hers by then. Devouring her. Later—that’s the only way she would be able to think of it, he devoured her with his mouth. He got right into her system and took control. This was like no kiss Kayla had ever had. It was like something she’d read about in a book.
Mouths open, tongues wrapped around each other and a sense of drowning. Drowning, for Christ sake! Kayla was drowning and Tal was her breath of life.
Kayla never knew where she found the strength to pull away from Tal’s mouth. But she didn’t fool herself, he let her go. If he pulled her back she’d suck him dry.
Kayla’s chest was heaving. “I…I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”
Making a visible effort to control his heavy breathing Tal said, “God, yes you should have.” It was obvious that he was having a hard time getting himself under control too. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her mouth. “Can you do it again?”
She slowly removed her hands from his shoulders, she never remembered placing them their, but reluctantly she dragged them down his chest before taking a step back and putting some much needed distance between them.
Boy that was hard—both his chest and what she had to do. “I’m sorry. But we have to work together. I don’t think we should start anything; it’s not worth the risk. Office affairs never work out, especially with the boss.”
“How do you know?” Tal asked with a hint of jealously in his voice. “Do you have experience with affairs and bosses?”
“No! Of course not! I just know. Everyone does.”
“Glad to hear it. But first of all, I don’t want to have an affair with you. There will be nothing secretive about our relationship. I am very attracted to you and want to get to know you and I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks about it. At the office from nine to five I will be your boss and not treat you any differently from anyone else. But after five…hmmm, now that’s a different story.” Tal reached for her. But when she stepped even further away from him he stopped. “Look, I was drawn to you before I even knew who you were. I think you are attracted to me too. If I’m wrong just say so.”
Kayla just stared at him. She wouldn’t lie to him. She wasn’t a good liar anyway. “No. You’re not wrong. That still...”
“Then nothing else matters. I won’t let who we are in our professional lives interfere in our private lives. Have lunch with me tomorrow, get to know me, let me get to know you. I’m betting you’re worth all sorts of risks.”
Kayla stared at him for a moment but it felt like forever. On some level she knew, one way or another, her choice would haunt her for the rest of her life. “Okay.”
“I’ll come by and pick you up around one.”
Kayla thought about that. She didn’t have a car, she had to pick it up tomorrow. With the raise that came with the position maybe she could go ahead and get her new car sooner than she planned. “Okay. My car’s in a mechanics shop in Old Town. If it’s alright with you, can we have lunch in Old Town? That way afterwards it will be easier for me to get my car.”
Tal would have taken her anywhere just as long as she agreed to be with him. “Sure. Not a problem.” He took a couple of steps which brought him closer to Kayla again. Even in three inch heels Kayla found herself tilting her head back to look up at him.
“I guess I’ll say goodnight now. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.”
Energy hummed between them broadcasting his intensions even before he executed them. Kayla had plenty of time to step back, but she didn’t. She didn’t want to. Lowering his head he didn’t stop until his mouth again covered hers. All night long she wondered what his mouth would feel like on hers. What he’d taste like. Now she knew. Heaven. He tasted like heaven.
The kiss didn’t last very long. He pulled away much too soon for Kayla’s liking. Perhaps it was for the best, she could get used to his kisses. She reminded herself that she had decided they would just be friends. But a little voice whispered friends don’t kiss like that!