Breaking my thoughts, I hear a knock on the door. I tie the bathroom around me and get to the door to open it as the second knock starts. My face falls a bit as I look up at the figure.
“Greg. What are you doing here?”
“Do I need a reason to come see a friend? We have talked since you started that job. You texted me your address so I figured I just stop by, say hi.” A grin spreads over his lips and I step aside, a bit cross about him stopping by so unexpectedly.
“Yea, sure. Come on in”
Greg walks in, but stops and looks down at me.
“Wow. You look different.” He reaches up, curling his finger around a lock of my hair before letting it fall and walking in.
“Nice place you got here”
“Uh, yeah. My boss kind of put me here after seeing my garbage dump of an apartment.” Greg looks back at me and nods.
“Yeah, I bet”
Raising an eyebrow at his comment, I pace over to the phone and cut off Spotify.
“Um, I’m going to go put something on. Make yourself at home, Greg. I’m really glad you came to visit” I put on a smile as I head to my bedroom.
I’m pretty use to random visits from Greg, but it must have taken almost 40 minutes to get here. Did he want to visit me that bad? Pulling a shirt over my head, I grab a pair of shorts out of the drawer and slide them on. I pile my hair on top of my head, wrapping it on a bun before securing it with an elastic as I walk back to the kitchen.
I find Greg behind the counter, pulling my pizza out of the oven.
“Thanks” I mumble, walking around the counter to grab the pizza cutter.
“So, how long did it take you to get here?”
“Uh, about 45 minutes, but I don’t mind. I’ve missed you and I guess you’ve been too busy to talk so I just felt like coming over to hang out a bit. I hope you don’t mind” Greg eyes me as if he is trying to guilt me into something.
“No, it’s fine. Just a surprise and I’m sorry about not calling or texting. When I get home from work, I usually just fall into bed.”
Lies, but I don’t want him to know that. Honestly, I haven’t talked to Greg in a while because I know what kind of guy he is. He looks down on people from this side of the city and now I live here. He has a habit of making rude comments to make people feel bad, including me when he wants. When I was working as a nanny in a nice part of the city, not as nice as this part, but still pretty nice, he immediately judged me. As I recall, he said something along the lines of
"Oh, Thea, you are molding yourself to be the ultimate kiss ass by working for rich people as a nanny of all things. I’m sure the husband wanted to hire you on the spot.”
For the rest of that conversation he made me feel cheap by telling me I’m more likely to let the husband grope me for a raise. I didn’t talk to Greg for a few days after that. I doubt he is aware of how much of an asshole he is. Being away from his has made me realize just how much I was settling for his company to avoid being alone all the time.
After cutting the pizza, I fix us two plates before going to the couch. I turn the TV on and find a movie before settling next to him. As we watch The Lost Boys, I can see Greg eyeing the apartment, picking it apart bit by bit. I try to ignore it, but it begins to make me irritated. Shifting over just barely, I put a few inches of space between us so our arms are no longer touching.
“Thea, can I ask you something?”
Chewing my food for a few seconds, I nod.
“Sure” Here we go.
“How much do you pay for this place?”
“Uh, I don’t pay. Ethan does”
“Ethan?” He looks at me, quizzically, his smug smirk creeping up on his lips. I don’t have to ask to know what he is thinking.
“Yes, my boss”
You call your boss by his first name?”
“Yes. He asked me to.” I sit my plate down in my lap and frown. “Where is this going, Greg?”
Greg turns to face me, sitting his plate on the coffee table. Sighing, he reaches over and rubs his thumb over my jaw line. “I just worry that maybe his intentions are more than you think, Thea. I wouldn’t want him taking advantage of you”
“He doesn’t take advantage of me. Why would you say something like that?” I pull away from his touch and his hand falls.
“Look around, Thea. This expensive ass apartment, fully furnished with expensive shit. He wants to fuck you” Greg laughs and it sends heat to my cheeks in anger.
When Greg sees my expression, he stops laughing, but keeps a smile on his lips.
“That’s not true, Greg. He hasn’t tried anything with me or the other way around, so just stop, okay? It’s not funny. Why can’t I just have a job and a nice boss like normal people?”
“Because, Thea the world isn’t full of nice bosses. Hell, look at my situation. I am the best journalist at that company, but because I don’t kiss ass. I have been promoted in the 2 years I’ve worked there”
“Greg, you haven’t been promoted because all your work makes you out to be a pompous asshole, kinda like what you’re being right now.” Standing up, I grab his plate and make my way to the kitchen.
“I think you should leave. I’m sorry you have to come this far. I’ll give you cab money to get home.” I frown as I put the two plates in the dishwasher. As I’m closing it, I feel his hands on my waist.
“Thea, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you angry”
“Well you did.” I push his hands off of me and step around him.
“Oh, come on, Thea. You don’t see me all bent out of shape over your rude ass comment about my job. I know you didn’t mean it”
Naturally, I roll my eyes “No, I was telling the truth. Something I should have said all those times you asked me to read your columns. I’m sorry, Greg.”
I lean against the counter and run my fingers over my hair. Greg stands in the middle of the kitchen looking at me, his expression no longer humorous. Suddenly, he paces in front of me and wraps his arms around my waist.
“Thea, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything I said. I’ve just missed you and I guess I’m a little jealous. Please forgive me”
Without letting me answer, his lips are on mine, rough and too eager as always. Needless to say, none of my journal entries have starred him. Letting him kiss me, I feel his tongue slip over my lip and it makes me cringe which Greg interprets as a shudder of excitement. Not!
Pushing him back, he holds me in place, his mouth now on my neck, sucking too hard.
“Greg, stop trying to give me a hickey”
“I want that boss of yours to see who you belong to” He mumbles and push his back more forceful.
“Stop. I don’t belong to you. I don’t belong to anyone”
“Thea, don’t ruin the moment, I know you want this.” He tries to step closer, but I slip out from in front of him.
“I think you should go”
Greg huffs, letting his arms fall to his side “Come on, Thea, don’t act like this. You’ve never turned me down before”
“Well I am now. Bye” I gesture towards to door and surprisingly, Greg turns to walk to it.
Following behind him, I can’t wrap my head around why he is acting like a total ass wipe. We’re almost to the door when Greg turns around, making me jump.
“You know what, I don’t even want you anymore. That boss can have your ass. Maybe if you fuck him tonight, he’ll buy your trash ass a car”
Suddenly, I pull my hand back and slap him.
“Fuck you. You never complained when I was in bed with you. The sex wasn’t even that great. I don’t even know why I put up with you. You’re the one who cheated on me”
“That’s because I knew you were desperate. I just didn’t know you were this desperate. Fucking for money, real classy, Thea” Greg step forward and I step back.
“Get out, now!”
“You know what, fuck you, Thea. I should have kicked your broke ass to the curb a long time ago. You’re nothing. You fuck your bosses to get where you want. You fucked your last boss and now you’re fucking this one. I hope you’re proud of all of this”
Swinging his hand out, he knocks over a glass vase off the stand by the kitchen and it hits the floor, sending glass everywhere. Jumping back, Greg steps toward me again, knocking over the bottle of wine from edge of the counter.
“Stop it!” I yell, but Greg goes over to the living room, leaving me barefoot with glass around me.
“I tried to be nice to you, Thea. I let you use my apartment for whatever you needed. I helped you whenever you asked. We had a good thing going.”
Picking up my phone from the coffee table, he tosses it in his hand before throwing it into the wall, breaking it apart. Standing there with wine around my toes, my body shakes in fear. I’ve never seen him act like this.
“Greg, get the fuck out before I scream so fucking loud I’ll have every person in this building at my door in seconds” I have a stare down with Greg until he marches over to me. I go to step back and a sting of pain shoots through my foot as I step on glass. Greg gets into my face and I immediately fear he’s going to hit me.
“When he drops your ass, don’t come running to me. I hope you rot on a corner” As he turns to leave, he rams his shoulder into my chest, knocking me off balance.
I try to find my balance, but I can’t. Falling to the floor, my hands press into the glass. Thankfully, none of the glass gets into my knees, just wine. Hissing loudly, I look up, tears in my eyes and see Greg swing the door open. As he walks out, I hear him yell for someone to watch where they are going.
When it’s quiet, I look down at my bloody hands, with tiny shards of glass in them. Body still shaking, I can’t bring myself to get up. Suddenly, I see the half open door being pushed open. Blinking, tears run down my cheeks and I see Ethan standing there in a black suit.
“Thea, what the hell happened?!” He rushes over to me, shoes crunching over glass every step of the way.
“Who was that guy?” Ethan asks as he kneels in front of me, taking my wrists his hand. I sniff, fighting the urge to ball my hands up in frustration.
“My ex. He’s kept saying things and I asked him to leave and then he did all of this” I can’t help but stutter over some of the words, still in shock.
A look of darkness spreads over Ethan’s face and he stands, only to pull off his suit jacket. He quickly rolls his sleeves us before kneeling back down.
“I’m going to pick you up, okay?”
I nod and he hooks his hands in my arm pits and lifts me up like a child. I wrap my forearms around his neck as he carries me over to the couch. Sitting me down, Ethan rushes to the bathroom, coming back with a towel and a box. He sits on the coffee table in front of me and opens the box, which is a first aid kit. When he reaches for my hand, I curl my toes and cringe, remembering the glass in my foot.
Ethan slides back and takes my ankle in his large warm hand. Lifting my foot up, he reaches into the box and grabs a pair of tweezers. When he goes to pull the glass back, I pull my foot back in fear. Ethan tightens his grip on my ankle and gives me a hard look.
Biting down on my lip, I close my eyes and after a second, I hear Ethan let out a short clipped snort. When I open my eyes, he is holding the small shard of glass in the tweezers. I watch him as he inspects my feet for any more glass before moving to my hands. Carefully, Ethan picks out the few pieces of glass that are actually in my skin, brushing the piece off that are just stuck to my hand from the wine.
When he is done, he sprays a little Neosporin on my hands and foot before placing Band-Aids.
“All better” He mumbles. I sit as Ethan packs up the kit and sits it aside, moving to the next task.
I sit on the couch for an hour as Ethan cleans up all the glass and wine, removing all evidence of the temper tantrum Greg had out of a jealous rage. A rage that I will never understand, because he cheated on me and we weren’t together anymore. I honestly hope I never have to look at his face again.
When Ethan is done, he runs his hands through his hair in frustration and then eyes his watch. I look over at the clock and it’s almost midnight. Oh crap, Ethan’s party.
“You can go. I’m sure you can still make your party.”
“No, it’s fine.”
“I didn’t mean to ruin your plans, Ethan” I don’t know why, but tears come to my eyes. I blame it on the already high level of emotions I’m feeling. I’m still quite shaken up over the whole thing. Pushing my tears back, Ethan shakes his head.
“It’s fine, Thea. It’s just a party. There will be others.”
Ethan inspects the apartment, making sure nothing else is broken and soon, yawns start creeping up on me. Expecting Ethan to leave so I can go to bed, I’m surprised when he makes no move to actually leave. As if reading my mind, Ethan presses his lips together
“I’m not leaving tonight. If he comes back, I want to be here. I’ll stay on the couch”
“Ethan you don’t-”
“It’s not up for discussion, Thea. I’m staying. Now, go to bed” His voice his hard and stern, sending the message that I’m not going to win this.
Nodding, I stand up and head to my room. Before I can get to the door, I stop at the linen closet. Grabbing a blanket, I walk back to the living room and find Ethan locking my door.
“Here, just in case you get cold”
He smiles briefly “Thank you. Now, go get some rest.”
In bed, the last thing I can do is sleep or rest. I toss and turn, relentlessly before giving up. When I see the clock, it blinks back 2am. Sighing, I throw the covers back and hop out of the bed to get some water. When I open the door, the apartment is dark, the only light coming from the TV in the living room. Walking closer, I see Ethan stretched out on my couch, shoes off and blanket thrown over his legs with his hands behind his head. Eyeing him intently, I take in his now messy hair and the slight scruff developing on his chin. Still deliciously handsome nonetheless.
When I’m done gawking at his face, I notice something laying on his stomach. When I realize what it is, I bite my lip. My journal. Why is he so fascinated with my personal thoughts? Nosy devil. Gently lifting it off his stomach, I tuck it under my arm. I quietly make it to the kitchen and get a few sips of water, looking at infomercials on the TV to distract myself some the man on my couch.
After getting a handful of information on Hot Buns and blenders, I sit the cup in the sink to head back to bed. As I pass the coffee table, I grab the remote to cut the TV off, but before I can, something catches my eye. On the edge of the couch, Ethan suit jacket lays with something poking out. Tip toeing over, I grip the edge of the object and pull it out. I inhale sharply, looking down at a black mask in my hand. My eyes flicker to Ethan and I wonder what kind of parties he’s been going too.
I run my thumb over the material of the mask before deciding to put it back before Ethan catches me. Gently sliding it back into his coat pocket, a small card falls out. I pick it up, feeling like Nancy Drew. When I flip the card over, I take in the fancy cursive in bold red letters. Sinful Desires