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The Interview: Chapter 30

MIMI

“I’m a big girl. I don’t have to stay here.”

I blow out a breath as I pause in my pacing the living room, catching my worried frown in the mirror above the modern, oversized fireplace. “And I can also talk to myself without feeling like a complete idiot.”

Or at least I can try.

I turn to the window and watch the sun’s rays dapple the blossoming treetops. It’s amazing what a difference a day or two can make. And I’m not just talking about spring. I’ve discovered that my life is becoming way too complicated, and after getting off the phone with Doreen, it’s not about to become any easier. I guess I know what the little pig in the straw house felt like. Not that a wolf has blown down Aunt Doreen’s house. It’s still standing, but half the street has been declared unsafe for the foreseeable future. Doreen mentioned something about structural engineers being called in by her home insurance company. Apparently, the streets around the garden with the EOD, or whatever it’s called, are still crawling with police and army personnel.

The good news is no one was hurt. But when I asked her if there was a timeline for when the street might be deemed habitable, she said no, before adding how lucky we both were to be staying in the homes of “our lovely men.”

Just a couple of weeks ago, she was cautioning me against getting involved with Whit, but now she thinks he’s “just gorgeous!”

And he is gorgeous. He’s sweet yet spicy and all the good kinds of wrong. And his family is so lovely, it’ll be so hard to keep lying to them. But I really feel like I shouldn’t be exposed to this lifestyle for too long. I might not want to stop and that’s just not feasible.

Whit didn’t understand when I said I’d have to ask Doreen not to mention to my parents what had happened or where I’d be staying.

You’re twenty-four, Mimi. You can do what you want.”

And he’s right. But I haven’t given him the whole story.

It’s not about doing what I want, it’s about protecting them.”

Protecting them from understanding they have a grown-up daughter?

“It must be nice to live the kind of life where you don’t have to take other people’s feelings into account,” I’d tried not to snipe. “But sometimes you have to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. This would be one of those times.”

And sometimes you do the wrong thing for entirely selfish reasons, but that’s a different story.

Meanwhile, here I am, wandering around Whit’s gorgeous apartment, living my very own version of Pretty Woman, without the sex work aspect. Although the kind of sex we have is likely to melt my brain. Anyway, Doreen had ended the call with a cheery, be good! before adding, but if you can’t be good, be careful!

What kind of advice is that? And be careful of what? My hips? My sanity. Maybe the current state of my fertility? Two out of three I don’t need to worry about.

Before we left Whit’s mom’s house yesterday, she offered to make up the spare room for me. Heather offered me a room at her place, too. I felt so awful lying to them both, but I could hardly tell them Whit had taken care of me already. On lots of fronts.

But I didn’t need to lie because, in front of everyone, Whit casually suggested I stay with him. It would make the most sense, he’d said. We’re both going to the same office most days, and it wouldn’t be for long. Besides, he had space, he’d offered magnanimously. So much for not encouraging his mom because I don’t think we were fooling her. I also think we both know we’re fooling ourselves. I have a feeling this won’t end well.

I rest my butt on the arm of the tactile velvet sofa and slide over it like a sloth, my new black pants aiding my descent. Whit was already gone when I woke this morning. He had a flight to Zurich to make. He’ll be gone a few days, which will give me time to devise a plan. Maybe Doreen’s place will be given the okay, or perhaps I could look for a temporary flat share? Or I could just stay here and gorge myself on all that Whit has to offer. All those bedroom delights, my mind supplies, making my insides flutter.

My phone begins to ring next to my morning cup of coffee, flashing with Whit’s name. I consider ignoring it, but I find I don’t have the willpower.

Will I ever learn what’s good for me?

“Hello, gorgeous.”

“How are you there already?”

“It’s only an hour and a half away. Plus, no airport loitering when you fly private.”

“Oh fancy.”

“It is a bit. But don’t be too impressed. It’s a company jet.”

“Yeah. It’s not like you own a huge chunk of the company or anything.” Leaning forward, I straighten a pile of artsy-looking books on the coffee table until square, smiling at the sound of his carefree laughter.

“Sometimes I think I should pinch myself.”

“You definitely shouldn’t,” I reply. “You should ask me to do it.”

“I told you last night I wasn’t ticklish.”

“I’m not sure I believe you. If you truly weren’t, you would’ve let me try to tickle you.”

“Hmm, but that’s not how the game goes.”

“Why do the games always have to go your way?” I almost whine. Can you complain while smiling? Picking up my coffee cup, I realize it’s gone cold. And that I’d forgotten to use a coaster. Oops!

“Because I’m in charge and that’s the way we both like it.”

“I’m not sure I do,” I lie.

When we got back last night, Whit said he had work to do, but I eventually persuaded him to watch a movie with me. I might’ve implied there could be a little action under the cashmere throw I’d pulled over our legs. When it didn’t happen quick enough for him, he’d pulled me down on the couch and began ruthlessly tickling me. I blame him discovering my ticklish feet.

Anyway, it wasn’t a random act of deviance but a premeditated undertaking to get what he wanted. His demand? That I’d run my choice of “friendly dates” by him. There might’ve been some mention of a veto vote, but that was in the heat of the moment.

I mean, how can he choose when I’m only planning on playing pretend?

“You’re a lovely little liar.” How does this sound like a compliment? “You like the sense of being powerless.”

“Do I?”

“The vulnerability. Feeling helpless in the face of my dominance.”

“Sounds like something you like.”

“I’m not going to lie,” he answers reasonably.

“Really?” I draw the word out, kind of, tell me as between my legs throbs at the recollection.

“I like that you laugh, whether you mean to or not. I love the fight you put up. Your hips between my knees. The way your wide, wild eyes stared up at me when you realized you wouldn’t be able to wriggle away.”

“I must’ve looked like a crazy person.” A crazy person being tortured by the devil.

“You looked beautiful, balanced between panic and pleasure and pain. Laughing and begging and all breathless, your skin still so sensitive when I slipped my tongue between your legs.”

I release a tremulous breath. “It’s way too early to be having these conversations.” It’s way too early in this non-relationship for me to be feeling like this.

“You’re saying it’s a good thing I didn’t wake you before I left this morning?”

“You couldn’t possibly have—”

“Next time, I’ll be sure to wake you up to show you the evidence for yourself. I had to take care of myself in the shower.”

“Oh.”

“Yes. Oh.”

“It hardly seems fair.”

“We’re not keeping score, darling.”

“No, I just mean you might’ve woken me. I would’ve liked to have seen that.”

“Amelia, you make it so hard—”

“Just how I like it.” Gosh, listen to me, living my best life, giving as good as I get.

“Make it so hard to stay coherent. I have a very busy day today, and all I’m going to be thinking of is the many and varied ways I intend owning your delectable arse.”

“Sounds like you’re saying I make you a little crazy.”

“You sound entertained by the prospect. Make the most of your alone time, darling.”

“That sounded like a threat.”

“Good.”

The phone goes dead. I find myself staring at it. Staring and smiling.


George picks me up for work, and no one seems to realize that I arrive on the executive floor by means of not available to mere PA’s. But my security swipe card seems to have all the access I need.

I’m not sure which is crazier, that Whit has his own plane or elevator. It makes him sound like some kind of control freak when he’s really just a regular guy with lots of money.

I prep the file Whit wanted last Friday, the one that led to our fumble in the supply closet, which seems to have happened a lifetime ago. I whip a few tasks off the Monday list of Jody’s PA bible, do a little filing, and organize Whit’s expense reports.

Finding myself with a whole hour on my hands for lunch, I grab a sandwich from Sainsbury’s Metro, along with a couple of ridiculous items that I think will make Whit smile and find a bench to soak up some spring sunshine as I eat my New York-inspired (maybe squinted at over a great distance?) pastrami on rye.

When I return to the building, I pull out my purchases and line them across my desk.

“Nice cactuses,” someone says as they pass.

“Thank you.” It’s cacti, but I forgive you, little philistine. There are also succulents. I bought ten of the tiny little suckers, all in bright pink and yellow pots. One pot is even pink with yellow spots! I think I’ll keep that one for my desk, but the rest are going in Whit’s office. The place could do with a bit of brightening!

Oh, the satisfaction I feel as I peel off a pair of googly eyes from their sticky backing before pressing them carefully to one of the plants. That one gets pride of place on his desk. I can’t wait to hear what he thinks of them.


“How has your day been?”

My stomach does a little flip at the sound of Whit’s deep, smooth tones. That voice should come with a warning label. This isn’t the first time he’s been away from the office since I started to work at VirTu, and it isn’t the first time he’s checked in, either. But it feels different. It could be the silky tone he uses.

“It’s been busy. I’ve got lots to do. Lots of work to get through. You see, the boss man likes to keep me busy.”

“Does he now?”

“Yes, he’s very demanding.”

“That doesn’t sound like a complaint.”

“I can’t help that I like to impress him.”

“And how are you aiming to do that?”

“Well, I had this report he wanted me to prepare, and I have,” I say straightening the perfectly bound, brightly colored report on my desk. “But you know what? He’s not even in the building today.”

“What an idiot. How could he not be there?”

“Well, he is quite important. Lots of people want his time, but I guess I’m just not at the top of the list of his priorities.” I don’t know where I’m spinning this stuff from.

“It sounds like he doesn’t deserve you. In fact, if I were you, I’d go and sit in his chair right now.”

My stomach flips pleasurably. “But what would that achieve?” I ask innocently.

“I’m sure I’ll think of something before you get in there.”

“It sounds like you’re trying to get me fired because my boss specifically said there was to be no shenanigans in the office.”

“And that was the word he used?” he asks, sounding amused.

“It was something like that. But the bottom line is I’ve got to be a good girl while I’m here.”

“Because he’s keeping an eye on you?”

I sit a little straighter. “How?”

Whit chuckles, breaking character. “No, there no cameras in the office.”

“What about at home, I mean, your apartment?”

“No, but it could be arranged if you want to try that.”

“Oh, I’m sure,” I reply, full of snark.

“It was just a suggestion. Currently, there’s a camera in the hallway between the elevator and the front door but that’s the extent of my current depravities.”

“What about Friday night?” My heart skips a beat. “When we came back from the club.”

“You’re asking if it recorded our elevator shenanigans?” he asks in a terrible Irish accent.

“Be serious. Is there footage somewhere?

“No, the camera is motion activated once you step into the hallway.”

“Oh.”

“You sound disappointed.

But it’s not that. It’s the implication of what I’m about to say next.

“I’m going out this evening.” I close my eyes, my shoulders hunching as though expecting a blow and press my hand to my head. “I’ll give it a wave as I pass by.”

“Going anywhere nice?”

“Out for coffee.”

“One of your dates?” he says as though he’s been expecting this. Expecting it and is totally okay about it. Unbothered, even.

“Yeah.”

“So you decided to go out with Greg, after all?”

“Gosh, you’re invested,” I reply lightheartedly. Because his tone isn’t the same as it was. Where’s the snark? The vitriol?

“I thought I’d made my feelings crystal clear last night.”

Oh, there it is…

“You don’t really mean that. You can’t want to help me pick my dates.”

“We agreed you’d run them by me.”

My expression kind of twists. “I don’t think I did.”

“It looks like we’ll be revisiting last night’s conversation,” he says, his tone suddenly dark.

“That wasn’t a conversation. It was more like you were waging war on my body.”

“Look, Mimi, I don’t want you going out with any old creep. I also don’t want you going out with anyone you might prefer over me.”

I actually laugh because he doesn’t even bother to sound serious. That wasn’t a chink in his armor, more a man throwing me a bone.

“I don’t agree with your methods, but I know why you’re doing this.”

“Of course you know why,” I retort as my stomach flips unpleasantly. “I told you why.”

“I know what you said. I also know you want to make me insanely jealous.”

“You’re ridiculous,” I say flatly.

“So insanely jealous that I’ll kidnap you and drag you to my lair, spank your arse, tickle you until you can’t breathe, and then fuck you over and over again.”

“So basically, a repeat of this weekend?” Now I’m amused, mainly because he sounds like he is, even if this conversation is really weird.

And the prospect strangely tempting…

“For me, yes. For them, they’d better not even look at you in that way.”

“That’s not what this is about.”

“As long as no one else gets to fuck you. You do want me to fuck you, don’t you Amelia?”

That sounds so nasty. It shouldn’t make me feel good, and I shouldn’t agree with him, but I do.

“What was that, sweetheart? I don’t think I quite heard.”

“I said yes, I only want you to…” I turn my head so I’m facing away from any passing foot traffic, not that we get much on this floor, but it wouldn’t do to be caught dirty talking on the company dime. Even if it is to the boss. “I only want you.”

“Want me to what?” he whispers back. Asshole.

“I’m not saying it.” I shake my head in denial. “I’m seriously ruined.”

“Oh, not yet you’re not.”

“Ruined that I would allow you to sexually Svengali me during office hours.” There’s more than a hint of grievance in my tone.

“It might take me a minute to dissect that, meanwhile, you’re missing the point. I’m just looking out for you.”

“What, like you’re my dad?”

“No, darling, like your daddy. You want Daddy to fill your aching pussy, don’t you?”

“Stop,” I say without conviction.

“We’ll do this my way because Daddy knows best.”

“Again, that’s not how I remember the conversation going down.”

“I’m sure you remember me going down. The rest is probably a blur. Who is it you’re going out with? Not the idiot from Hinge, I hope.”

“Who?”

“The rose bloke, Garrett, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, that’s it.” My stomach plummets off a cliff. He is way more invested than I’ve given him credit for. “Garrett. That’s who I’m going for coffee with. I know you didn’t like his profile of his prompts but—”

“He probably isn’t that bad.”

“No?” Talk about a change of direction.

“Just don’t let him buy you any lemonade.”

“Okay. Wait, why?”

“Remember his profile. Surprise anal!”


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