On His Terms(8)

By: Jenika Snow

Now she regretted tossing the drinks back like they were water, but then again Cora had been buying, and Sorcha’s day had been shitty.

She glanced at the clock again, rubbed her eyes to try and clear her blurry vision, and then did a double take. “Shit.” Eleven in the morning was late as hell, especially when she had to meet Mr. Hartford in an hour, and traffic would be a bitch. Sorcha rolled out of bed and immediately clutched her head in pain. She stumbled over her clothes scattered on the floor, and opted to forgo a shower to make sure she could get there on time, but screw that. She smelled the alcohol coming from her pores.

“You’re up early.”

Sorcha glanced at the small couch in her living room, and saw Cora sprawled out on it. The blanket covered half her face, and she was in her bra and underwear.

“I’m going to be late for the meeting with Mr. Hartford, and it isn’t early, but eleven in the freaking morning.” She grabbed an outfit from her closet, a clean pair of panties and a bra, and headed into the bathroom. She was going to have to take the quickest shower in the history of showers if she was going to be even ten minutes late.

Once she had her hair and body washed, she toweled off, got her underwear off, and quickly rubbed on some concealer under her eyes to get rid of the raccoon look. She put her hair in a bun, and got dressed. It was Saturday, and fuck Rian Hartford if he thought she was snazzing up for this impromptu meeting he had planned.

“Good luck,” Cora said without moving from the couch, or taking off the blanket from her face.

Traffic was, as Sorcha expected, horrendous, but once she reached the office building she finally let herself breathe. Her heels clicked on the marble flooring, and she showed the security officer at the front desk her badge. The Hartford and McNamara office building was pretty heavily secured, even on weekends, and unless a visitor had an access code for the elevators on the day of their appointment, or worked here with a badge, they weren’t getting any farther than the elevators.

She nodded at the guard that was stationed at the bank of elevators, swiped her badge to unlock one of them, and then stepped inside when the doors to the elevator opened for her. After hitting the top floor button, she glanced at the floor to ceiling mirror right behind her. She quickly fixed her bun again, but a few, dark wavy strands refused to be restrained. The outfit she wore was a simple black dress, empire waist and a sheer grey cardigan over it. And then she had on her black pumps, no panty hose, and no make-up aside from the under eye concealer.

So, all in all she looked like a hot fucking mess.

She didn’t look good enough to be working in a place like this right now, but hell, it was Saturday, she was nursing a half-hung-over, half-still-drunk mindset, and so this was as good as it was going to get. She just hoped that whatever Rian Hartford had to say was quick, and that he got to the point.

The elevator reached the top floor, and the doors slid open. She smoothed her hands on her thighs, feeling so damn nervous for some reason, and actually had to make herself take that first step. The office was silent and still, and there was this thickness in the air. Sorcha couldn’t describe the feeling she had as she walked closer to the double office doors, the ones she knew closed her off from Rian Hartford. Her pulse was pounding so hard and fast, and she could feel her heart beating in her throat and hear it in her ears. She gripped the handle with one hand, tightened her hold on it, and used her other hand to bring her knuckle down on the wood.

“Come in.”

His voice was so deep, so penetrating, that she swore she felt the vibrations right through the doors. Sorcha pushed the door open and stopped at the sight before her. There was a caterer off to the side, hands behind his white clothed body, and a cooking station set up in front of him. He was focused on nothing in particular in front of him, and the spread of food that was laid out on the table was impressive. Rian was sitting behind his desk, this impatient and slightly angry look on his face.

“You’re late,” he said in that bastard-like voice of his.

She looked at the stainless steel clock on the wall, noticed she was only fifteen minutes late, but still knew it was no excuse. “I know, and I’m sorry. Traffic was horrible.” She didn’t explain that she had slept in, or that she was suffering from a slowly heightening hangover and was still slightly drunk.

“Timothy, please start cooking two ham and cheese omelets,” Rian said to the chef, but kept his focus on her. “What else would you like in your omelet, Miss. Case?”

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