Author’s note: Yes, I’m late! Four hours. I was supposed to post yesterday, But I was at the event and then I came back to the hotel, went to get dinner and then ate a pillow. I’m just waking up at my normal time 3 am and I’m a little less tired (took a Motrin for the leg cramps and working on Chapter 11).
Grammarly has been my best friend and eyes during this project and helping me to edit faster. I appreciate you guys comments and feedback. Don’t forget to share what you’re reading with the social media below.
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Chon remembered Austin’s words about Dorian Zane’s kinky male club. What kind of kink was Dorian? Why would he need her underwear?
Chon remembered Austin’s words about Dorian Zane’s kinky male club. What kind of kink was Dorian? Why would he need her underwear?
With a deep frown on her face, she demanded,“Why?” She slipped her finger between her teeth and gnawed on the tip.
He stood up and came around the desk. For a moment he looked down at Chon, before reaching up and pulling her finger out of her mouth. “None of your business, Ms. Tolbert. Just give them to me if you want me to keep my mouth closed to your brother.”
After snatching her hand in disgust from him as if his touch burned her, she reared back and slapped him across the face.
Damn the contract!
Damn her reputation!
And damn Dorian Zane!
“Fuck you. Fuck this job! You can kiss my ass, Dorian Zane.”
She started to storm out of the office.
He didn’t bother to follow her, but his voice was clear in her ears across the office.
“Craig would love to know how his sister is a drunken perverted gorging slut that fucks his best friend at the drop of a kind word.”
His words made her halt in mid step and slowly turn around. Anxiety permeated every bone in her body.
Craig would never turn that money over to her if he knew. Her behavior was based on her getting that money!
And once Craig found out she had been sleeping around with Austin since high school, who’s to say he’ll use that as an excuse to keep the money from her forever.
She just wanted what was hers, and the extra money would certainly help her grow her business faster.
Damn Dorian Zane! Damn him to hell!
“What’s it going to be, Ms. Tolbert?” Dorian asked with a winning smirk on his gorgeous face, which she wanted to punch. “Your way or mine. Either way, I win.”
An eerie calm came over her. Standing there staring at a man she detested from his hair to his toe nails, Chon felt an odd peace envelope her.
“I could tell HR,” she threatened. “This is sexual harassment.”
He snorted. “And what I know would still reach Craig. He’ll want to know why I asked. And Not only will he know, but everyone will know because I won’t care about ruining your reputation. I could give a fuck. They won’t take me off this project, and all my clients need me. You’re insignificant.”
Closing her eyes knowing he was telling the truth, she sunk back into her odd calm state.
What could it hurt to give in? They were just underwear. And she could make sure he never caught her ever again.
She’d still get paid for this gig. Dorian would keep her secret, and she could walk away with her reputation in tact.
Opening her eyes to see he was leaning calmly on his desk with his arms crossed over his chest and staring at her, she was glad that smirk was gone, and he was looking dignified.
Chon stepped out of her heels slowly, keeping her breathing steady. Raising up her skirt slightly, she never broke eye contact with him as she pulled down her stockings taking them off completely and then pulled down her underwear.
These were a good pair that of course matched the bra she had on. Balling them up in her hand, she put her shoes back on and walked over to him.
Dorian extended his hand never breaking eye contact with her.
“You’ll keep your mouth closed?” she questioned.
“As long as you do my bidding and you keep your mouth shut to human resources.”
“I won’t compromise the project.”
“I wouldn’t think of letting you,” he said with that triumphant smirk coming on his lips again. “Unlike you, I have a high reputation to hold up too when it comes to matters of business.”
What all that meant, Chon didn’t care at this time. Dropping the underwear in his hands, she turned promptly, picked up her stockings and slammed out of the office.
Balling the pantyhose quickly up in her hands so no one could see what was there, she headed straight for her desk and sat down.
What the hell had just happened?!
Fifteen minutes later, Debra came over to Chon’s desk catching her staring at a blank screen with her palms down on her desk.
“Are you okay?” Debra asked concerned.
Chon could tell Debra right now – everything. She could tell the lady from HR that Dorian had her sitting there butt naked under her skirt feeling like the world was crashing down around her.
Everything Dorian Zane had said he must’ve found out from Austin, which meant Austin knew about the trust and he knew about the money, and he was aware that Craig was probably never going to give her the money if they continued their trysts. Austin had continued to use her knowing she wanted that money.
. The ass!
All this time, Austin had been manipulating her not only her head and heart but her whole life. He could’ve said something to Craig to get the money for her!
Right now, she couldn’t tell anyone, especially not to Debra. Chon remembered how highly Debra had spoken of Austin. Her words had almost been compliments, and there had been this empty look in her eyes when she looked at Austin as if she wanted him.
Debra was married to the vice president of the company. And Austin wouldn’t… Would he? Debra was older, white, a red head… married!
Chon was apparently confused and unsure what to think.
“Yes,” Chon said, forcing herself not to sound flustered. “Did you need something?”
“I wanted to let you know I received your first week’s invoice and we’ll pay that out by Monday to your account. I read your weekly summary, and I’m very impressed. The partners are ecstatic about your results.”
Chon was feeling very fragile sitting there with no underwear, but she decided against telling Debra. “Thank you, Debra.”
Debra pulled an extra chair from another cubicle near Chon and sat down. Chon tried not to show her discomfort just by Debra’s proximity or by the lack of clothing that was about ten feet away most likely in Dorian Zane’s pocket.
“They asked to see if you’d be interested in extending your contract to July.”
Chon gripped the chair tightly in stress. “That’s five months. I only signed a deal until February.”
“We’re well aware of that, Chon, but with the success you’ve had with Mr. Zane and the importance of this project to the firm, we desperately want to make sure the project is presented successfully,” Debra implored. “Yes, we could hire a temp to come in at a lower salary and keep up what you’ve set up, but I have a feeling none of them will work. You are the first – the very first – that has worked a miracle on Dorian Zane’s life without quitting or running out of here in the midst of a nervous breakdown. You’ve handled his workload like a genius. I’ve tried everything and everyone, and you are our last hope to get things in line for this account to be a success.”
Chon started shaking her head until Debra put a hand on top of hers. The HR manager’s palm was cold and clammy, but there was some urgency behind the pressure she applied.
“Please,” Debra begged. “I can include a five thousand a signing bonus, and if the project is a success, there’s a twenty thousand dollar completion bonus.”
Never have been offered that in her life, but often hearing about these type of incentives from others in her professions, Chon never thought her services would be so valuable to a company.
The money would hurry up and get the business she’s always wanted. What was four months with the worst man this side of the planet in exchange for that amount of money?
“I have to think about it,” she said seriously. “Can you give me the weekend? I’ll have an answer by Monday morning.”
Debra was wringing her fingers in worry. “Yes, I understand,” she said agreeing. “That’s fine. Early Monday.”
“I do want to ask you something and I’m not usually nosey about office affairs, but I was worried.”
“Really? About what?”
Debra quickly cut her off, smiling pleased. “Yes, we’re replacing him on the project with Austin.”
That wasn’t what Chon was going to address. “I saw the police detective inquire about him.”
“Yes. Walter hasn’t shown up for work for two days and seemed to have … Um, disappeared according to the detective. They found his vehicle in the Detroit River this morning.”
“Not according to that detective,” Debra answered. “Walter was one of the best garden and eco-designers I’ve ever seen, but Austin said he was off a little with all his conspiracy theories and always going on about someone watching him.”
“Austin said this?” Chon asked for clarification.
“Yes, even though his water garden designs are second to none and Dorian wanted him on the project, Austin told me Walter’s psychological state was very fragile.” Debra put her hands on her chest as if in relief. “I’m happy to assign Austin to the project.”
Chon wouldn’t agree Austin’s strong suit was gardens or even outside ecosystems. She had put his portfolio together personally after college and concluded his work was mediocre. She didn’t think it had changed much since college.
“I hope this won’t be a problem working with Austin. I do know he is an ex, but with him getting married-”
Chon interrupted her politely with a smile of reassurance. “It’s fine, Debra. I can deal with him, and my decision won’t be based on Austin. It’s about if I have the endurance to deal with Dorian Zane for a longer period.”
“Deal with me?” Dorian questioned, walking up to them instead of leaning over the cubicle.
She noticed how he kept his hands in his coat pocket as if hiding something special. For some reason her brain made her remember him doing the same action when she initially met him.
“You don’t have to deal with me, Ms. Tolbert. It’s a free country, and you’re free to do whatever you want to do,” he said.
Debra looked uncomfortable suddenly.
“I’ll speak with you, Monday, Debra,” Chon told her dismissively. Before she even finished her sentence, Debra jumped out of her seat and was gone.
He leaned over her chair putting both hands on the arms cornering her in as he leaned down. “You could just quit.”
“You could just make my life easier and give me back my underwear,” she whispered.
His eyes traveled down to her midsection, and he slowly licked his lips. “I could do a lot of things, Ms. Tolbert, but we won’t go into that.”
“Is there something else you require of me, Mr. Zane?” she asked, crossing her arms over her chest, feeling very vulnerable inside, but forcing herself to keep outwardly business to him.
Having no underwear on was not very freeing.
If Grandmother Wei were alive and knew Chon had no panties on that would be thirty lashes instantly across her backside.
“I’m changing the details of our meeting this afternoon.”
Frustrated about being disregarded again, she said, “Why can’t you just-”
He cut her off, sitting in the chair Debra had vacated, moving it closer, which was easy because all he had to do was roll forward. “Why don’t you shut your mouth and just listen? I’m hungry. I’ve had a long day, and I’ve decided to get a private booth at Gaston’s.”
Chon knew Gaston’s Restaurant”s exclusive private booth were five hundred minimum and hard to just come.
“If you’ll freshen up and join me in thirty minutes in the lobby, you can be my guest,” he said. “I’ll let you rattle off all your little things, while you give me the pleasure of eating anything and not protesting.”
That sounded too good to be true. A chance to enjoy the five-star world renown Gaston’s Restaurant and not on her dime was an unbelievable opportunity.
“Would this be a business dinner?” she asked warily.
“I am personally hungry, and I don’t mind you being there,” he said with that gorgeous wink and the amazing smile that was starting to get to her.
Did he know whenever he smiled, her fingertips tingled and her stomach did this weird flip flop?
Leaning close to him, she said, “I can’t go without proper attire.”
At first, he looked confused, but then realization spread over his face. “If that’s your way of asking for your underwear back, Ms. Tolbert you are sadly mistaken.” He pulled out a little of the underwear in his jacket pocket.
Chon blushed deeply inside and out. Had he been fondling her underwear the whole time?
“These are mine,” Dorian Zane said firmly. “And you shouldn’t feel the least uncomfortable. Only you and I know your secret. Plus you do have your stockings… For now.”
He walked away as if he had done a mic drop after solving world peace.
She couldn’t walk into an establishment like Gaston’s without underwear?!
Someone would know, wouldn’t they?
Why was she against Dorian Zane being right?
Only he would know, but how does this information help him and why the hell was he carrying the underwear he had demanded from her around?
Going into the bathroom, Chon freshened up. If she was going to walk around with no underwear, she wanted to make sure no one else could sense her. Using tissue and soap, she cleaned herself up then freshened up her makeup.
Gripping the edge of the counter in the bathroom, she took long deep breaths as she prepared herself for what was to come. Dorian Zane seemed to have put her incident behind him, and he almost acted normal about the matter, yet her instincts screamed for her to be alert about him.
When she returned to her desk, she came upon Austin who looked as if he were surprised to see her.
“Wow, you look beautiful,” he said.
Looking around her cubicle to see if anything had been disturbed, she said, “Why are you here?” She noticed the pile of extra notes she had planned to shred before leaving had been rustled through. Mostly doodles and her weird shorthand, but nothing where she couldn’t leave out where people would know what she was doing. “You acted last time I was the seventh plague.”
He cajoled, “Aw, Chon, don’t be-”
She cut him off despite the fact he had said her name perfectly, “Please, Austin, stop messing with my head for your satisfaction. Why are you in my cubicle?”
“I wanted to ask you about the project?”
She couldn’t be sure if he disturbed her desk. As always, before leaving her work area, she locked her computer, and it was always in her practice to never leave any work out on her desk. She kept all her drawers secure because she sincerely valued her client’s work.
“Is that why you got me this job, Austin? Because you figured you could use me, yet again?”
He looked very guilty. “Chon, you know I care about you.”
“Really? That’s why I’m a tramp, right? I heard you and Tracy talking about me the other day. I heard what you told her.” It was hard not throw all her emotions into what she was saying. “Why’d you lie like that? Why’d you tell her I was with other guys when you know I’ve only been with you?”
He narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips together. “Chon, you sure you heard right?”
Chon wanted to scream. He was deliberately trying to manipulate her mind again. “Get away from me, Austin! Now!” she ordered.
He looked like he wanted to say something else, but didn’t.
When he was gone, she sat at her desk, took a deep breath and logged into her computer.
Trying to stay calm and not getting upset about her unresolved feelings for Austin, she focused on emptying out the voicemails and emails from Dorian Zane’s account. Amazingly, he was on schedule and task for all his clients, and if he worked this weekend, he’d be ahead of schedule with the project.
Lastly, before shutting her computer down, she responded to the email Thaddeus Newman invite and then noted her urgent message to Walter Stoepel had yet to be responded.
Chon made a note to address this at the meeting with Dorian Zane just to show she was on top of the matter.
To be facetious, she also wrote a list of other items to make sure she addressed them as well.
Once finished, Chon grabbed her purse from her locked desk drawer and headed to the lobby. She was looking for Dorian’s small black sports car, but only a large sedan with dark tinted windows pulled up in front with a driver.
Dorian moved behind her. She smelled his unique scent of dark musk and his manly scent. Why she noticed more than necessary, she didn’t know.
He circled her like a shark. “I see you freshened up.”
Looking at him appalled, Chon hissed, “I didn’t smell.” Although it was odd that he was checking out her smell the same time she had been checking out his.
“I didn’t say that,” he said with a smirk. “I noticed the smell of soap from the bathroom, along with your natural scent.”
Chon knew she was blushing yet again and hated him for making her uncomfortable. If he would just return her underwear, maybe she wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable.
His eyebrows crinkled. “I’m not deliberately trying to make you uncomfortable, Ms. Tolbert.”
“Are you serious, Mr. Zane?” she questioned, her eyes going towards his pocket where his hand was stuck, and she knew where he had been keeping her underwear.
Dorian Zane smirked guiltily. “Are you ready to go?”
“Yes,” she said, wanting to get this dinner over as soon as possible.
She followed him to the large black sedan but hesitated as he ducked inside the rear cabin.
“What?” he questioned, looking up at her.
“Where’s your car?”
“The shop,” he said.
Sitting in the car next to him, she made sure she scooted away to the door from him to give them some distance.
“We can start our meeting,” he said, giving her permission
Relieved of the tension to speak about her work she had been doing for him, Chon said, “I’ve been doing a lot of cloud storage for you. And I wanted to start compiling your contacts. I see you have lots of doubles.”
He didn’t look as if he was for or against this suggestion, so she moved on to the next point.
“Walter Stoepel didn’t respond to the email -”
He cut her off. “I’ll handle that matter of the project.”
She moved on to the next point. “I ran reports-”
Dorian cut her off rudely again. “The idea of this meeting was not to toot your own horn. Anything and everything you do on my account, I’m aware. Your little app sends me a damn update every morning. Your need to talk about yourself makes me believe you like to brag about yourself.”
Chon shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t,” she protested. “I’m just not used to a client acclimating themselves so quickly. Most don’t even open the report to see the changes or the progress I made.”
“I don’t like people over me.”
“So I don’t need to continue this assignment after my month is up?”
They arrived at the converted industrial warehouse where the five-star Gaston’s Restaurant housed inside. Initially, a bakery, Gaston’s Delights were known all over the world as being a melt in your mouth climatic experience in eating.
Lines used to be out of the door until the bakery transformed into a restaurant for waiting customers, who would eat dinner and then always ordered dessert. The second floor had private booths, some could be seen from the first floor or not, yet were exclusive, and the third floor was transformed into two types of banquet halls and other private rooms for large parties.
Chon had been there in client meetings, but only on the first floor where people crowded about small tables excited just to be there.
Often she had dreamed of climbing the stairs, wondering what was on the second and third floors.
The driver opened up her door, and she almost fell out because she was practically leaning all the way on the door.
Dorian whispered something to the driver and then walked in the restaurant, without even knowing if she was going to follow or not.
She did follow, not caring about Dorian Zane being an asshole. There was too much excitement in her blood at the opportunity of eating at Gaston’s more than talking business with Dorian.
The hostess confirmed Dorian’s name and then asked, “Do you have your key card, Mr. Zane?
Chon was confused because why would one need a key to sit down at the open table booths, even on the second floor?
“Yes,” Dorian confirmed, producing a gold card in the size of a credit card, but completely blank, except with the name Gaston’s on the front in black scripted letters and a metal strip on the back.
“Good, follow me,” the hostess said pleased, before mounting the private stairs behind her.
Chon’s heart wanted to drop in her excitement. She was getting her dream come true with a man she couldn’t stand, but dammit if felt as if she was about to have a heart attack in happiness. She was determined to have a good time and tolerate Dorian Zane all the way through dessert, no matter how awful or how much of an ass he acted.
She would put up with anything for Gaston’s Delight.
All rights reserved. 2016(c)Sylva Hubbard