Authors: Jennifer Crusie
Jane looked hurt. “All right. Call if you need me.”
Emily was beyond speech. She closed her eyes and thought only of the heat and Richard between her legs. Vaguely she heard the door close behind Jane, and then Richard was pushing the chair back, pulling her to the floor, his mouth hard on hers, his fingers pulling off her panties, and then suddenly he was hard inside her, and she moaned and bit his shoulder through his jacket. He thrust harder and harder, and she exploded under him, sobbing his name, arching closer to him as she came. When she stopped, gasping in her satisfaction, he was still there, stroking inside of her, and she opened her eyes and looked at him.
He wasn’t the Richard she knew anymore; the control was gone and he was as crazed by love for her as she was for him.
she thought, and her whole body pulsed with his. She drew her fingernails down his back, and felt him shudder under the thick cloth of his suit. She arched and clenched under him, and he responded to her every move, and she laughed with the pure joy of knowing she could make him shiver with need. He felt so good inside her. She pulled his face down to hers and bit his lip, and he moaned and his release had a jarring suddenness.
He fell against her, his face buried in her neck, his body heavy on hers. She stroked her fingers lightly over his neck and ran them through his hair, and he moved his head against her hands.
“I love you, Richard,” she said, and stopped, appalled at her stupidity.
He will now set the land-speed record for leaving an office,
He raised himself off her, braced above her on his hands and looked down at her, his eyes half-closed, his mouth swollen from making love to her.
“I love you, too,” he said. And then he laughed shakily. “I can’t believe I’m saying this. I love you, Emily.” He kissed her forehead. “I love you.” His lips were soft on hers. “I love you.” She felt his mouth move down against the base of her throat. “I love you.”
He kissed her again, and she responded with all the feeling she’d been denying. He rolled to his side and pulled her over on top of him, sliding his hands down the back of her silk blouse and over the bulk of her pulled-up skirt. His hands cupped her to him, and he kissed her over and over again until she gasped for air. Then he tipped her gently back onto the floor and sighed.
“I’ve got to get out of here,” he said finally. “If I don’t, we’re both going to be rolling around naked when Jane comes in to check on you.” He kissed her once more, and then got to his feet, dressing himself as he stood.
He looked down at her, tousled on the floor, and smiled. “This is the way I want to remember you,” he said, and reached down to help her to her feet. When she stood beside him, he pulled her to him and kissed her, pulling her skirt back down over her hips.
When he stopped, Emily sighed and stepped away, tucking in her blouse. “Do I look okay?” she asked, and he smiled and reached for her again.
Jane knocked on the door and came in. “Mr. Parker!”
“He’s just leaving.” Emily patted Richard on the arm. “He came for his memo, so we’ll have to get it done right away. Get your steno pad.”
Jane hesitated and then went back to her desk.
Richard pulled Emily close again. “Dinner?”
Emily leaned into him. “I want more than dinner.”
“You can have anything you want.” He kissed her again and patted her rear end, then headed for the door.
“See you, Jane,” he said as he passed her, and then he walked away down the hall, whistling.
Jane closed the door. “What’s going on?”
“Who are you, my mother?”
“That man patted you on the butt.”
Emily sat down. “We’re...very close.”
“How close? And how did he get in here?”
“You weren’t at your desk. Take a memo.”
“I left my desk half an hour ago. He’s been in here all that time? He couldn’t have been. There was nobody in here with you when I came in.” Jane sat down. “This is really interesting.”
“I knew I should never have hired you as my secretary.” Emily tried to look cool and disapproving but she felt too damn good. “A real secretary would have more respect.” She stretched and yawned, trying to act unconcerned under Jane’s narrowing eyes. “Take a memo.”
Jane’s eyes narrowed. “Where was he when I was in here?” she demanded.
Emily sighed. “Under the desk.”
Jane’s mouth dropped open. “Good Lord.”
“If you tell anybody...” Emily started, but Jane waved her away.
“Who would believe me? He must be incredible in the sack.”
“He is,” Emily said slowly, and sighed.
“So what’s the problem?”
“I want a partner.” Emily felt suddenly sad. “I want a fifty-fifty deal.”
“Not the Hun’s style,” Jane agreed.
“Right. Richard is always the one in control. If I make a decision, he approves of it or says no. If he makes a decision, he just informs me of it. If I say something he disagrees with or feels isn’t important, he ignores me. Today is a perfect example. I was on the phone, and he just came around the desk and put his hand up my skirt.” She closed her eyes for a moment at the memory.
“And you loved it.”
“That’s not the point. The point is that he always decides everything, and he never listens to me. I want a little power here, too.”
“Maybe you should go crawl under his desk.”
“No.” Emily shook her head. “Not my style. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I really love him.”
“Whoa. This is serious.”
“Very. But he pushes me around too much. I can’t live with a man who ignores what I say if he doesn’t agree with it. Even if he does make my knees turn to jelly every time I look at him.”
“Maybe I better meet Ben for lunch.” Jane shifted in her chair. “Just what was Richard doing under the desk?”
“Just what you think he was doing.” Emily sighed at the memory. “And he’s very good at it.”
“I’m definitely meeting Ben for lunch. I’ll be back late.”
“Bite him on the lip for me.”
“I’ll do that.” Jane picked up her pad again. “In the meantime, is there really a memo?”
“Oh, yes.” Emily pulled the papers toward her and read to Jane from her draft. “Memo to Richard Parker...”
* * *
Richard with predictable results.
“The Hun’s on line two,” Jane said an hour later, and Emily went a little dizzy at the thought of him.
Pull yourself together, woman,
she told herself, and picked up the phone.
“Emily Tate,” she said.
“Hello, Emily Tate,” he said softly.
“Don’t do that. Talk in your usual Hun voice, or I can’t think.”
“Have dinner with me tonight.”
“Only if it’s at your place, and we eat in bed.”
“Let’s start with lunch. My bed is a great place to have lunch. I’ll meet you in the lobby in ten minutes.”
“No,” Emily said with much more conviction than she felt. “We’ve got to get some work done first. Now pay attention. Did you have time to read the ruby memo?”
He sighed. “We can’t afford real rubies.”
afford real rubies.” Emily tried to keep calm. “Move some money around in the budget, but I need two things, bottom line. Real rubies and a product placement.”
“No,” he said.
“Try,” she said. “Try to cut some other corners. I need these two. I won’t ask for anything else.”
“Try. You haven’t tried yet.”
There was a long silence. “If I can’t, what happens to you and me?”
Emily heard the tension in his voice. “We still have dinner in bed. I don’t use sexual blackmail. And besides, I want you too much to say no.”
He made a sound she couldn’t identify. “Richard?”
“Just trying to breathe. You have that effect on me.”
“Well, I definitely want you breathing. As heavily as possible. But I want the rubies and product placement, too. You can do it, Richard. It’s important.”
“It’s not going to work, Emily.”
“You’re not listening.” She stopped and tried again. “It’s important. The money is there. Find it. We’re partners, remember? Don’t say no to me. Find a way to make it work.”
“Saying no to you is impossible. Can I take you home with me after work?”
“Give me time to shower and change,” Emily said. “Then I’ll come to your place. But no more tables, closets, desks or floors.”
“Just an old-fashioned girl,” Richard said. “I’ll turn down the bed.”
“I love you.”
“Say it again.”
“I love you. You’re a Hun, but I love you.”
“I love you, too. Make it a fast shower.”
* * *
that night in Richard’s huge bed, discovering each other, finding themselves so in tune with each other physically that they didn’t need to speak, even though they did because they both loved the sound of the other’s voice.
Any doubts Emily had were gone. She’d always scoffed at the idea of knowing without a doubt when the perfect lover showed up, the perfect life partner. Jane had told her she’d known within the first week of meeting Ben that he was all there was.
Emily wasn’t quite as confident about Richard’s feelings for her. She knew he adored her—she wasn’t a complete fool. But sometimes with men, adoration wasn’t followed by commitment. Maybe he wasn’t thinking marriage.
“We’ll live here when we get married,” Richard said, holding her, kissing her hair. “It’s closer to work, and it’s bigger than your place.”
Since she’d planned to suggest the same thing, Emily really had no reason to be annoyed. But she was.
“Did I miss the proposal?” she asked coolly, pulling away from him.
He flushed. “I did it again, didn’t I? Do you want me to go down on my knees?”
She relented. “Well, it was wonderful the last time you did, but I think I can make do with one from where you are.”
He pulled her close and kissed her, and she felt the length of his hard naked body against hers.
“Will you marry me, Emily Tate, so we can spend the rest of our lives together like this?”
“Yes.” She ran her hand down his side, feeling the rope of muscles there. “Absolutely.”
He shuddered and rolled on top of her, kissing her with such heat she was lost. He slipped his fingers inside her and moaned a little at the warmth and wetness there. Then he moved against her, and she realized he was ready, and she tried frantically to push him away.
“Richard, wait, no,” she said, but he was inside her, and he filled her so completely she finally fell back into his arms, back into the throbbing ecstasy of him in her.
Later, when they were trying to breathe, still clinging to each other, Emily put her head on his chest and started to cry.
“What?” he asked, sounding panic-stricken.
“You don’t listen,” Emily said quietly. “I keep telling you, but you don’t listen.”
“What?” he asked again, holding her. “I love you.”
“You better.” She swallowed hard. “I’m using a diaphragm for birth control.”
“I know.” He held her, bewildered. “I asked you if you wanted me to use a condom and you said...”
“You have to use foam with a diaphragm. Fresh foam, every...single...time.”
“Oh.” He held her tighter.
“I told you to stop,” Emily said.
“I didn’t hear you,” Richard said.
“I know,” Emily said, staring at the ceiling. “I know.”
Later that night when he was asleep, after he’d sworn to her that he’d love a child, that she wouldn’t have to stop work, that everything would be all right, that he’d take care of her forever, after he fell asleep worn out from reassuring her, Emily stared at the ceiling in the dark and thought.
This is worse than I was afraid of. This is much worse. He’s got to change. I’ve got to do something.
But she couldn’t think of anything, and she finally fell asleep, spent from love and worry and passion.
In the morning, they made love again, and Richard was scrupulous about not rushing her. He was also tender and strong and passionate, and she went into work with a lovely physical buzz spoiled only by a nasty nagging fear.
* * *
Jane asked when Emily told her what had happened.
“If counting the days works, I’m positive I’m safe.” Emily looked down at her calendar again. “But you never know. This could be the month I decide to ovulate late or something.”
“Are you worried?”
“About a baby, not yet. About Richard, very. When he almost pulled out my hair because he wasn’t listening, it was vaguely amusing. Starting a baby because he wasn’t listening isn’t. What will it be next time? Dragging me out in front of a speeding bus?” She shook her head. “And he really
loves me. I don’t get it.”
“I don’t, either.” Jane frowned. “But you were right. This is not a little flaw.”
Emily shook her head in misery.
“Well, here’s something to take your mind off Richard.” Jane handed her a message. “Laura called before you got in. She needs to have a bottle of Sizzle by the day after tomorrow if you want it in the shoot. What do I tell her?”
Emily thought about it. Richard had said no, but this was important. She knew it just as she knew that he loved her, in her bones. Emily’s instincts had taken her far, and she wasn’t about to start ignoring them now.
Richard had said no.
Maybe she just hadn’t heard him.
“Did we get a prototype bottle from advertising?”
“Fill one of them with Sizzle and express it out to her.”
“Do we have an okay from Richard?”
“He said he’d try to find some money.” He had, sort of.
Jane tried again. “But do we have an okay from Richard?”
Emily looked at her. “I didn’t hear him say no.”
“Oh.” Jane considered it. “Well. That’s an approach I hadn’t thought of. I’ll get the stuff off to Laura right away.”