Smiling, I don’t turn around when I respond. “You have no idea.”
Sitting at my desk staring blankly at my computer screen, I shift in my seat to find a comfortable position. My body still aches from the long weekend of sexual escapades with Vinny, and I find myself replaying his words over and over again. I’m going to bury myself so deep inside of you it’ll leave you feeling hollow when I’m not with you. Fidgeting in my chair, I realize he’s done it. It’s only been three days since I’ve last seen him, yet I feel empty this morning without him.
As if on cue, my phone rings and I smile lifting it to my ear. “I was just thinking about you.”
“Oh yeah, what were you thinking?” Sex exudes from Vinny’s deep raspy voice.
“I…” Remembering where I am, I look up and find Summer’s eyes glued to me, waiting for my response. “Ummm…I’ll have to tell you later.”
“Oh no you don’t. You started it, you’re going to finish it. None of this leave me hanging crap, Liv.”
Lowering my voice, “It was just something you said.”
“Who’s sitting so close to you that you have to whisper?”
Laughing, I respond, “Yes.”
“That’s even more reason to tell me. Come on, Liv. Let me hear it,” he says, his voice low and enticing. “You know you want to.”
Lord, this man is impossible to keep things from. I really need to start watching what comes out of my mouth in the future. “It was about feeling hollow.” I whisper and look up at Summer, finding her wide-eyed. Guess I didn’t whisper low enough.
Vinny groans. “You feel hollow without me buried inside of you, Liv?”
I hesitate, feeling my face flush. “Yes.”
“Are you crazy? I can’t. I’m at work.”
“I’ll pick you up at twelve for lunch.”
“Vinny,” I warn.
“See you in a bit, Liv.” He hangs up before I can respond again.
Looking up, I find Summer still staring at me. If eyes could shoot daggers, I’d look like Swiss cheese about now. “Sorry,” I shrug my shoulders and offer, my voice as thick and sweet as maple syrup, matched perfectly with my over the top fake smile. It’s clear that neither is sincere.
I struggle through the next few hours, my eyes constantly checking my phone for the time. By the time twelve rolls around, I’m anxious and equally excited. After our weekend together, being apart for a few days feels like a lifetime. But my work schedule took me out of town for two days and then Vinny was busy doing promotional stuff for his upcoming fight.
The minute I push through the revolving glass door, I catch sight of him. He’s leaning casually against a half concrete wall to the right, his legs casually crossed at the ankle. He stands as I make my way to him, but makes no attempt to come to me. Instead, he watches my every move with a devilish grin on his face.
As I stand before him, neither of us says a word. Vinny hooks one arm gruffly around my waist and pulls my body to him as his head lowers and he takes my mouth in a kiss. It’s so powerful, I literally lose track of where I am for a minute as we both come up breathless.
“Hey.” He leans his forehead against mine.
His eyes dart over my shoulder and then quickly return. “I think we have an audience.”
Turning around, I find Summer gaping. She’s stopped in her tracks, her mouth actually hanging open. Embarrassed, I turn back to Vinny to hide my face. God forbid he follow my lead and try for low key.
“Hey, Summer.” The hand not around my waist raises in a casual wave and I want to kill him for making it worse.
“Ummmm…hi.” She scurries off, completely frazzled.
We spend the next hour catching up. Vinny tells me about his promotional photo shoot and pokes fun at the photographer, a man who made no secret of his crush on Vinny and spent four hours calling him “Mr. Sweet Muscles.”
I’m ten minutes late by the time he walks me back to my office, so there’s no time for games when Vinny locks me in his grip and demand I tell him what I was thinking about earlier.
“Do you really need your ego stroked that much?” I tease.
“If you’re not stroking something else, I do.”
Rolling my eyes, I try for serious. “I’m late coming back from lunch.”
“Then you should hurry.”
“But you’re holding me.”
“You know what you need to do to get released.”
“You’re such an arrogant ass.” Playfully I smack at his chest and try to pull out of his grip.
“You knew that seven years ago.”
Smiling, I can’t help but laugh. He’s so right. He’s always been confident, the pendulum leaning towards the side of arrogant on the full of himself scale. “Seriously, I need to get back.”
Lord, this man is not going to give in. “Really?”
A huge grin on his face, he nods his head. “Really.”
Rolling my eyes, I give in. “I was still a little sore this morning from, you know, from our weekend. And I was thinking about something you said.”
“Go on,” he says, his smile wide and eyes sparkling.
“Fine. You told me you were going to bury yourself so deep inside of me that I’d feel hollow when you weren’t inside of me.”
“And do you?” Vinny beams, clearly delighted at being quoted.
“Feel hollow?” he says, a cheeky dimpled grin on his face. He clearly already knows the answer.
“Yes, Vinny. I feel hollow without you inside of me. There. I said it. Do you feel better now?”
“I’d feel better buried inside of you.”
“You’re impossible. You know that?”
“Whatever, hollow woman.”
“Mr. Sweet Muscles.”
“I kinda like it coming from you.”
Laughing, he almost makes me forget how late I am. Almost. “Seriously, I’m so late. I have to go.”
He kisses me chastely on the lips, not yet releasing me. His voice low and sexy, “I got tested a week ago during my pre-fight physical. I’m clean.” Leaning his forehead against mine, he offers and waits, searching my eyes cautiously for a response.
Barely able to swallow, my mouth dries up as I try to form the words to respond. “I’m on the pill. No partners since my last physical.”
A mischievous grin spreads across his face. “You aren’t gonna be hollow for long then.”
The heat from my blush spreads from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. Vinny chuckles, clearly enjoying my embarrassment. “Tomorrow night?”
“Tomorrow night.” I walk away feeling his eyes keen on the sway of my ass.
Back at my desk, I’m greeted with a scowl from Summer. Jealousy doesn’t befit her. It makes her normally pretty face contorted and mean, ugliness crawling out and making its way to the surface.
“Guess I know why Vince requested you. He wanted someone easy.” Looking down at her manicured nails, she tries to act like it doesn’t bother her, but I know better.
Before I can respond, Sleezeball comes out from his office and beckons us both to his lair with a leering smile that makes my skin crawl.
I smile at Summer, determined not to sink to her level. Grabbing a pencil and pad, I head to Sleezeball's office. Normally, I try to avoid alone time with him, but today I’m thinking even his company is better than the princess’s.
Sleezeball comes around from behind his desk, and inserts himself in the little space between us and the front of his desk. As if sitting with my eyes almost perfectly aligned at eye level with his crotch isn’t bad enough, he reaches down with his right hand and adjusts himself before he speaks. Gross, just totally gross. “So ladies, we need to do a little juggling of assignments. Summer, I’m going to need you to take over covering the publishing merger story.”
“But…,” I attempt to protest. I’ve been working on that story for three weeks and it’s going to be a big story. One that could help me land the job in the end.
Summer smiles. I’m sure she doesn’t even know anything about the merger, or what’s going to make it a big story. But she sees how upset I am and that’s enough to satisfy her. “No problem, James. I’d be happy to fix up whatever Olivia has started.”
Fix up? She’s got to be kidding me. I see the chance of finally landing my dream job dramatically decreasing and I can’t let it slip away without a fight. “James, I’m almost done with the story…I really only need another few days and I can piece it all together. I wouldn’t want Summer to have to go through all the work to get caught up on all the research I’ve done.”
Waving away my plea without even considering it, Sleezeball walks back around to the other side of the desk. “Summer should be able to handle it just fine. In fact, Summer, why don’t you go grab Olivia’s file on the story and start going over it. Give Olivia and I a few minutes.”
Gloating, Summer smiles at Sleezeball and smirks at me. I can see in her step as she leaves the office she thinks victory is within her reach. And I’m afraid she might be right. There’s no way I’m giving in this easy. “James, I...”
Interrupting me, as if I wasn’t in the middle of speaking, Sleezeball talks right over my short lived attempt to protest. “Olivia, you’re being given a special assignment. One that can make or break your career.”
Now he has my full attention.
“We have it from a very reliable source that Senator Preston Knight has an illegitimate child.”
Without question, that is a life-size story. One that drives newspaper sales to daily highs and is read, and noticed, by people around the globe. I’m excited, but surprised, that they would let me, a nobody, take a shot at such a story.
“Wow. I can’t believe it. The implications are huge.” Preston Knight is running for his fourth term. His re-election campaign is squarely centered around his Christian values. But even bigger than the effect such a news story could have on the man himself, if he loses his seat in the Senate the majority will shift, allowing the other party to regain control.
“It sure is. And we’re trusting this to you. Do you know how big this is?” Sleezeball leans back in his chair and clasps his hands together, a failed attempt at looking dignified.
“Absolutely...” My mind races. “I don’t want to sound ungrateful in any way…but I’m surprised you chose me.”
“I didn’t. The editor-in-chief did.” Sleezeball leans in and motions for me to move closer, as if he’s going to tell me a big secret. Even though the door is closed and we’re the only two in the room. Whispering for added drama, he continues, “And I’ve been authorized to tell you, Olivia, if you land this story, the job is yours.” He winks.
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and yet I sit here feeling jittery for some reason. “That’s amazing. I can’t wait to start.”
“Good, good, I’m sure you’ll do great, Olivia.” Reaching into his drawer, he pulls out a file in an inconspicuous manila folder. “One more thing.”
I don’t know why, but my heart drops. Something just told me there was more. More that meant something big.
Opening the folder, I’m confused as he begins to turn pages and pages of blown up photographs. All of them, the same subject…Vinny. In the gym, on his motorcycle, coming out of the vitamin store…he turns and turns until he comes to one that makes my heart stop…me and Vinny kissing in front of the building. Not more than two hours ago.