A week passes and neither Ethan nor I bring up my journal incident or the overly sexual scene that followed in his office. Although we haven’t spoken about it, it hasn’t stopped me from thinking and dreaming about it. The way he spoke to me was so inappropriate yet I wanted nothing more than for him to do the things he had threatened.
Whenever we ride to and from work, Ethan only talks about work and if it doesn't work, he is simply asking me what my plans are for the evening, which usually involves me writing or listening to music while I cook and try to keep my apartment tidy. It is still new to me and I was to keep it looking as such.
Now that it’s Friday, I’m a lot more comfortable in my role as financially stable and employed. The job is easier and the people are nice, but it’s a little lonely. Ethan doesn’t drop by unless it’s for work-related tasks and even then, he just stays at the door. Every night in my apartment has been quiet. My vibrator has been my friend and confidant. It never lets me down.
After clocking out, I head down to the car that is always waiting for me and Ethan. Climbing in, I play in my phone until the door opens again and Ethan slides in. I look at him briefly before turning my attention back to the phone as the car begins to move.
“How was your first week?” He finally asks as he flips through emails.
“It was good. Thanks for asking.”
“So what are your plans for the evening?” Same question, different day. Sitting the phone down in my lap, I turn to him slightly. “Dinner, TV, ice cream, sleep.”
I smile as Ethan chuckles softly. “Nice”
“What about you?”
Ethan’s eyes flicker to mine for a second “I have a party to attend tonight.”
“Cool. I’m sure it’ll be fun. What kind of party is it? Techno, glow rage, birthday?”
Ethan presses his lips together, trying to hide a hint of amusement as he stares down at me. What is so funny? “Just a get-together. Nothing specific.”
A frown develops in my forehead at how he tiptoes around the question. It makes me curious about his nightly activities. My mind instantly goes back to those black masks I found in his office and apartment. I have my theories, but nothing makes any sense to me. Maybe he’s been to a costume party or two.
“Oh, okay. Well, I hope you have fun. I’m sure your night will be a lot better than mine” I give a chaste smile as turn back to my phone, letting the car fall silent again. After about 20 minutes of playing Candy Crush, I realize that the car has stopped. Looking out the window, I see that we’re in the middle of traffic.
“Car accident. We’ll be here for a while” Ethan says, grimly.
“Oh, okay. I hope it’s not too bad.” I roll the window down and peer out to see if I can spot the accident. When I stick my head out the window, a drop of water falls on my forehead. I pull back, quickly and flop into the seat as more drops begin to fall. When I look over, Ethan is smirking at me.
“You have a little something right there” Reaching towards me, Ethan wipes the small drop of rain off my forehead.
I don’t know why, but his touch sent a small electric current through me. It was a simple touch, yet it affected me. “Thanks”
After rolling the window back up, rain starts pouring down around us and the sound of raindrops on top of the car soothes me. I lean back against the seat and stare out the window as my visibility lessons the harder it rains. Thoughts of Ethan begin entering my tranquil thoughts and I discreetly press my knees together. I wouldn’t be so damn attracted to the man had we not had that intimate steamy moment in his office. Since then, all sorts of filth has been running amuck in my brain. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see Ethan reach for something. Following his hand, I watch him grab my journal as it hangs out the top of my bag. Reaching out to take it back, Ethan pulls it out of reach.
“Can I read a few pages?”
“Uh, I don’t think...I mean...its personal” If he reads what’s in that journal, he will think I’m a total weirdo sex freak. My eyes dart from his eye to the book. Ethan sees my panic and sighs
“I’m not going to judge you, Thea. I’m just a little curious about what you write”
“Well, you know what they say about curiosity” I mumble and when I reach for the journal again, Ethan pops my hand away causing me to unintentionally pout at him.
“Don’t make that face. It makes you look far too young.”
“I am young”
“Yes, but pouting makes you look adorably too young. You could have a man in the palm of your hand with that pout” He chuckles. Did he just say I’m adorable? Out of all the adjectives in the world, the only one he could muster up is adorable.
“Well, apparently my adorable pout doesn’t apply to you. Now, gimme my journal” I shoot my hand out, but instead of slapping it away again, Ethan grabs my wrist, firmly. My breath catches in my throat as his fingers wrap perfectly around my wrist, sending electric currents through me. Instead of pulling away, I just look at him.
“Stop.” Ethan says in a stern tone.
Parting my lips to say something, nothing comes out. His dark gaze sends all my thoughts scattering about. I let my shoulders fall and exhale gently. Ethan’s fingers loosen and I pull my hand back. Watching him intently, Ethan flips open the book and turns a few pages before stopping.
“In the dark, her body lays...”
“No, please don’t read that one.” I say louder than needed, putting my hand over his. Ethan looks down then back up to me.
“Why? What’s wrong with this one?”
“It’s too personal. That one is private” I had written this on one of my more dark days when I was starving and out of peanut butter. Depression sets in without my Jiffy.
Ethan eyes me for a moment, rubbing his thumb over the edge of the page.
“Thea, I’m not here to judge you in any way, I promise. You should trust me”
Before I can catch it, it rolls off my tongue “But I don’t. I don’t even know you, Ethan” I snap, instantly regretting it.
A deep frown burned into his forehead and his lips press into a firm line. Oh, God, I’ve completely pissed him off. He’s done so much for me and I can’t even bring myself to give him an ounce of trust. I trusted him enough to let him out me into a new apartment, but not to read my journal.
“I’m sorry, Ethan”
“No, don’t be. I understand. I myself don’t trust a lot of people, but you can trust me, Thea. I know it’s only been a full week, but I’m here for you.” My whole body nearly melts into a puddle at his words.
Since moving to New York, I built myself up not to trust anyone. This isn’t home, this is a large ruthless city that will eat me up and spit me out. Then Ethan swoops in like a modern-day Clark Kent and treats me like I’m his personal Lois Lane. I wonder if they ever slept together. Oh God, get a grip, Thea.
Turning my attention back to Ethan, I run my fingers down the bridge of my nose and take a deep breath. “Go ahead.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, just read it before I change my mind.”
I cover my face with my fingers, peaking between them as Ethan clears his throat, shooting me a quick glance before starting again.
“In the dark, her body lays naked stripped of her dignity. Her eyes blinded, from the lack of hope. Her hands bound, ridding her of control. The darkness has engulfed her and enslaved her, using her body for its needs. Legs spread, the darkness has its way with her, uses her, breaks her down. Sweet whimpers turn to screams as her own climax betrays her, drains her of all senses, yet she craves more. She just wants to feel the assault to know she is still alive. No one to save her, no one to shed some light. The darkness is her home. Her heaven and hell. Her love and hate. Her pleasure and pain. Her days and nights. Her sweet death.”
The car falls silent and I wait for Ethan to say something, anything. I can literally feel my pulse thumping in my fingertips as I squeeze my hands together in my lap. Outside, the rain is giving up and the car is moving up only to stop again. Closing the journal, Ethan hands it to me. I take it and quickly slide it back into my bag.
“Thea, what was it about? Did someone hurt you?”
I shake my head “The darkness isn’t a person. It’s a place. It’s New York. I moved here on a whim because I was naive. It was hard, but I couldn’t leave. People wouldn’t understand back home. They would think that I was a failure. So I stayed and struggled. I lost everything about myself for a while, but I still wanted to be here. So stupid.” I force a laugh, shaking my head at my own words. I could have been home, living an okay like, but who really wants mediocre?
“It’s not stupid, Thea. It’s a rough place here. It’s not meant for just anyone.” Suddenly, Ethan reaches over and places his hand on my knee, firmly.
His warm touch sends a jolt right up to my core and a shudder runs over me, that I’m sure he felt.
“Your determination is commendable, Thea. You didn’t give up and that’s why I was so open to helping you. I knew when you walked into my office that the job would mean more to you than any other candidate.”
I feel my eyes water and I look away before he can catch it. It’s odd to have someone be so kind to me and not know me that well. He is foolish to go on blind faith, I mean I could have been a total con artist or something.
“Thank you” I mumble.
I turn to him and wipe the corner of my eye “For seeing something in me that I didn’t see in myself. You’re a good boss, Ethan”
A proud smile spreads across his face and he chuckles. “I try. But in all honesty, if you need someone to talk to, I’m around. I know I’ve been quite distant. I just wanted to try to stay professional, but it’s quite impossible with you around”
“I’m not that bad” I sniff.
“No, you’re not. You’re one of the good ones.” Reaching over, he taps his index finger under my chin, making me smile at the simple gesture. Ethan holds his hand out.
Hesitating for a moment, I look into his eyes, finding sincerity and kindness in them.
“Friends.” I say, shaking his hand firmly.
When I finally get home to my apartment, I drop my things by the door and kick my shoes off. In the kitchen, I grab my tried and true peanut butter and a spoon before flopping down on the couch to watch TV.
After a half an hour, I realize that I don’t know what’s happening on the show, because I’ve been thinking about Ethan the whole time. Fuck. I’ve managed to trap myself into having a pathetic crush on the man. My recent journal entries have been about office sex, surely inspired by him. I lay in bed at night and thinking about sex on desks, copiers, tables in front of clients. It’s getting out of hand. Thank God he didn’t read any of those.
After sitting on the couch for 2 hours doing nothing of substance, I decide to put a pizza in the oven and take a quick shower. By the time I get out, it’s dark outside. Flicking on a few light and lighting some candles, I head to the kitchen in my bathrobe to pour a hefty glass of wine that’s much needed from the busy week I’ve had. Whoever said being an assistant is easy is a damn liar. Ethan is a demanding man.
Going over to the couch, I turn the tv off and open Spotify on my phone, choosing a 90′s RnB playlist to set the mood for my lonely Friday night. I wish I had parties and events to go to like Ethan. A part of me wonders if I would have asked to go would be have taken me. Most likely not. I’m not exactly the type to do fancy parties. Don’t know the first thing about them. I’d probably eat steak with my salad fork for all I know. Me attending a fancy party makes me think of Ariel and the dingle hopper.