Fixed on You

Fixed on You: Page 5

He stood so he could reach the printer on the corner of the desk behind me. "For the record," he said as his arm brushed my waist. "I don't disapprove of this outfit in the slightest."

I, on the other hand, wanted to burn the whole ensemble. It had caused me nothing but trouble all night-drunk patrons thinking they could touch me and say things to me that they otherwise wouldn't.

But I'd worn it for David-for the moment when we'd be alone. This was it.

I put on a fake pout. "Too bad your opinion isn't the one that matters."

David leaned in close. "My opinion doesn't matter?"

"Actually," I said, grabbing his jacket by the lapels, "your opinion matters very much."

His voice lowered. "Then I think you look sexy as hell."

He covered his mouth with mine, plunging his tongue deep inside. I wrapped my arms around his neck and darted my own tongue between his lips. The arousal that had been ignited by the heated stare of Hudson Pierce hours earlier had remained just at bay throughout the night. Now it returned full force with David's kiss.

I moved my hands along his torso and downward to his pants. But when I began to fumble with his buckle, he pulled away.

I opened my eyes and startled. For a moment I'd expected to see the gray eyes of Hudson staring back at me instead of David's dull blue. What was wrong with me? Man, that Hudson could mess with a girl's mojo.

David caressed my shoulder. "We need to stop this, Laynie."

I blinked. "What do you mean? Why?"

"Look, I like you. I really like you. But..." He appeared to be struggling with himself. He dropped his arm from my shoulder. "If you're serious about getting the management position, do you really think we should be messing around? How would that look? I'm sure that Pierce wouldn't approve."

I hadn't thought about it quite like that. In my fantasies, David Lindt and Alayna Withers-Lindt ran The Sky Launch as a couple, driving the club to new and unbelievable success. The fantasy had never included a part where the rest of the staff and the club owner accused me of sleeping my way to the top.

"We could keep it secret," I said softly, not willing to let go of a vital part of my dream. Not willing to lose my safety net.

"It doesn't have to be forever. But for now, especially when I'm not sure what Pierce's plans are for me or for the club. I think we need to take a break."

"Sure." I forced a smile. I didn't want him to realize the extent of my disappointment. We hadn't even been dating. We'd barely been fooling around. Why did I feel so crushed?

I thought about what had drawn me to David in the first place. He wasn't the smartest guy I knew and not the hottest. I didn't even really know him all that well. And it wasn't as if I didn't have other options. I was an attractive girl working at an elite nightclub-I'd had plenty of opportunities for sex in the city. Yummy opportunities. Not anyone as yummy as Hudson Pierce, but yummy nonetheless.

I shook my head as I hopped off David's desk. Why did my thoughts keep leading back to Hudson? Even in the middle of a sorta-not-at-all break-up, I was thinking of him. And Hudson was exactly the kind of guy I shouldn't be thinking about. At all. Ever. Not if I wanted to maintain the modicum of control I'd managed to acquire in the past few years.

"Are you okay, Laynie?" David's voice brought me back to the present awkwardness.

Damn it. I'd been so sure of a relationship with David that I'd pictured us sending Christmas cards together. Okay, maybe I'd fixated on him more than I wanted to admit, but not so intently that I was going to wig out about ending it. The biggest bitch of the whole situation was that now I didn't have a safe guy to hide behind. Now I was vulnerable to notice other not-so-safe men. Men like Hudson.

Oh, god, was this the beginning of an obsessive episode?

No, I'd be fine.
I had to focus on my promotion. I was stronger than this.

"Yeah. I'm fine. If you're almost done, I'm going to get changed."

David nodded. I hurried to the staff break room across the hall. Stripping out of my corset and tight pants, I changed into sweat shorts and a sports bra, stuffing the troublesome outfit into my duffel bag. Since there wasn't a straight subway line from Columbus Circle to my apartment at Lexington and Fiftieth, I usually ran it. Sometimes after a long shift I'd take the bus or cab, but with all the stressors of the night, I needed the cardio to direct my focus.

Fifteen minutes later, I hit the pavement, taking in the fresh morning air with the rest of NYC's early morning joggers. I loved the feeling of unity it gave me, even though most of the other runners were starting their day, not ending it as I was.

Quickly, I got into my groove, running along the south border of Central Park, but the steady rhythm of my body wasn't enough to drown the thoughts of David and my future at The Sky Launch. Wasn't enough to drown my thoughts of the gorgeous new owner who had demanded I meet with him later that night. Worry set in again. Was Hudson planning to fire me? Or did I still have a shot at promotion?

One thing was certain-I'd be a lot more thoughtful about my choice of wardrobe in the future.

Chapter Three

I took a cab to the club that evening, which had been a mistake. Unusual traffic had me arriving at three after nine. I hurried toward the office but was stopped at the upstairs bar by Liesl.

"David and hot owner boy are already in there," she said over the club music, playing with a strand of purple hair. "Hudson told me to have you wait here. He'll let you know when he wants you."

"Dammit! I'm not that late, am I?"

"No, they went in there about ten minutes ago. They have no idea what time you got here."

I relaxed, thankful that my exclusion from the meeting wasn't because I'd been tardy. I hopped onto a bar stool nearest the office and set my computer bag on the floor at my feet.

"Hold on, Laynie," Liesl said coming around the bar. "Let me see you."

I stood up again and turned around, displaying my bodycon dress. I'd picked it because the white tie color had a business style to it, but the tight black skirt said nightclub instead of office secretary.

"Fuck, girl, you look good!" Liesl's validation calmed me more than she could ever know. Or maybe she did know. She was a good friend.

"Thanks. I needed that. Especially after Mr. Disapproval last night."

"He is now known as the Bar and Wardrobe Nazi."

I laughed and hopped back onto my stool. The same stool Hudson had sat on the first time I saw him. "Hey, you know he's the suit I was telling you about, the one who gave me the hundred."

"You're shitting me!"

"I'm not. Do you think he wants me to blow him to get the promotion?"

"Would it be that bad if he did?"

"Yes. It would be utterly, wonderfully, horrible." But mostly it was horrible how not bad that idea sounded.

While trying to empty my mind of Hudson blowjob images, I surveyed the club. The place was slow, even for a Wednesday night. From the bar, I had full view of the ten bubble rooms that circled the perimeter of the upper level. The bubble rooms were The Sky Launch's highlight. Each room, round in shape, featured a glass wall overlooking the dance floor on the lower level, and had private access much like box seats at a stadium. They all had a curved seating area around a table, and fit eight people comfortably. The bubbles provided a relatively quiet and discreet area while still being very much part of the club. When the occupied lights were on, the outer walls of the bubble rooms glowed red. Only two were lit up. A shame. If the club had the kind of notoriety it could have, those rooms would fill within the first ten minutes of being open.

"God, I hope it picks up," Liesl said, draping her torso across the counter next to me. "I can't make it through a full shift at this pace. It's so boring!"

"I hope so, too." We should have been busting with the summer crowd by now. The lack of business made me feel more confident about my ideas for the club. I fidgeted, anxious to get in the office and share them with my bosses.

"What did you do today?" Liesl asked.

"I worked on a PowerPoint presentation all morning. I crashed about two."

Liesl narrowed her eyes. "You need more sleep than that, Laynie."

"Nah. Five hours is plenty." I actually felt pretty good. Gathering the best of my thoughts for The Sky Launch into a presentation had been very therapeutic, easing my concerns about my future at the club. Hudson couldn't fire me after he saw how much time and effort I'd put into the business, could he? Not if my ideas were good, and I knew they were.

I pulled my phone out of my bra cup where I kept it-no pockets in my skin-tight dress-and checked the time. It was almost nine-thirty. How long would they keep me waiting?

They walked out minutes later. I stood the moment I saw them, smoothing my dress down and looked to Hudson, eager for a sign of approval.

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