All Eyes on Belle - 6 (UNEDITED DRAFT)
Carson had never witnessed Jonas Kline with his guard down except for the several exchanges he was able to witness between the man and Ariba Simmons. He sighed, his thoughts leading right to her big, deep-brown eyes, full cheeks and those damn lips that fucked him up every time he looked at her. His office caught morning sun and her brown skin would glow under the natural light. That was the first thing he saw when he arrived at the office.
When he offered her the job his intentions were pure enough. He honestly felt bad for causing her undo harm.
She proved to be masterful at her job. His schedule had never been so tight. Handouts and thank you gifts for clients already ordered. All he had to do was sit back and receive the praise.
He settled back in the car’s comfortable leather seat and stared at his emails that he’d been avoiding all day. Work would be enough to keep his mind where it should be. He had to prepare for the trip to Chicago. He liked the city. Maybe he’d spend an extra day there and indulge. He needed to visit his mother in Phoenix as well. Oh yes, her birthday was coming up soon. He wrote a memo to Ariba requesting to send something to his mom.
The car stopped and the unique scent of coconut, flowers and some other unknown elements caught his attention. He tossed his phone on the seat next to him and stepped out the car when he caught a glimpse of her coming down her front steps.
She flashed a brilliant smile up at him as she made her way to the vehicle and he thought he was going to crumble like a school age girl meeting her celebrity crush.
That’s what she looked like in the deep purple cocktail dress, diamonds around her neck and her usually curly hair was in sleek straight strands hanging to the middle of her back. Her dark makeup made the brown in her eyes stand out.
“Hope I didn’t keep you waiting long. It’s harder to get down the stairs in this thing than it looks.”
“You, uh, no it’s-- I--” He closed his mouth before he looked like the fool he was feeling like at the time. He took her hand and helped her in the back of the car.
He got in and the driver closed the door.
Silence along with her intoxicating scent filled the space. Did she always smell like that and he not notice? Or maybe he did notice because it smelled familiar. “You look beautiful.”
She smiled over at him as they pulled away from the curb. “Thank you. I’m really nervous for some reason.” She laughed her eyes falling to her fidgeting hands.
He smirked. “It’s okay, there’s nothing to be nervous about. I won’t let anything happen to you. Scout’s honor.”
“Bet you weren’t even a boy scout.” She laughed and brought her attention to his hand that went dangerously close to her leg to retrieve his phone.
Their eyes met for an extended period of time before he cleared his throat and looked at the phone screen. He cleared his throat again, was something stuck there or was that just a nervous thing he did? “You’re wrong. I was a boy scout through middle school. Made it all the way to Eagle Scout actually.”
“Well, I stand corrected.”
The warm smile that pulled up the corner of her full lips made heat float through him.
He was focused. He let his gaze flow over her face and down to the dress. “You look beautiful.”
She smiled up at him. “Thank you.”
He winced. He already said that.
“Oh, and I’m charging time and half because this is afterhours.”
He laughed when he saw the humor in her pretty brown eyes. “Fair enough.”
He usually walked tall. It was something his father instilled in him at a young age, but he didn’t always feel the confidence that the gesture insinuated. He glanced over at his partner for the evening.
He felt it then knowing he had the most lovely woman on his arm. He shook the thought.
The dinner was almost as good as Jonas Kline’s speech. The man could talk if he couldn’t do anything else. What came out of his mouth was always the truth whether you liked it or not.
It was customary at most of those types of events to mill around and network after the big production. That was Carson’s favorite part. Especially when he saw faces that were friendly in the face of all the false and fake.
He heard the man’s laughter first. Most people did. Lexington Law’s laughter was always followed by a crescendo of others amusment.
“Carson Wolfe!” Lex, shook his hand and pulled him into a manly embrace. “It’s been too long. Still doing all your traveling.”
“Well, these accounts aren’t going to close themselves.”
The man laughed. “I heard that.”
“Lex this is Ariba. She’s my administrative assistant and was gracious enough to accompany me to this event at the last minute.”
Lex took her hand and kissed the back with a charming smile that forced Carson to suppress a foreign emotion that made him want to politely grab his friend up by the collar and slam him against the column enclosure close by..
“It’s a pleasure me--”
“Ariba Simmons.” Everyone seemed to stand up straighter when Jonas Kline walked up to their little trio. “If I’d have known you were accompanying Wolfe, I’d have gotten you a spot at my table.” Jonas embraced her, but his gaze stayed on Carson. The man extended his hand behind him and his wife came forth with a bright smile. “Ariba!”
The two women embraced as if they didn’t just see each other a week before.
Mrs. Kline examined Ariba almost as closely as Carson had. “I was telling Jonas that I had to have your dress before I knew it was you. It’s great to see you again.”
“Likewise. How’s the little one?”
THe woman smiled. “Thanks to you sleeping through most of the night. I think I finally got four straight hours of sleep.”
“I told her we could hire someone, but she insisted.” Jonas chimed in.
“Some things money shouldn’t buy Jonas.” THe woman scolded her husband who just gazed upon her adoringly. “We were heading to get champagne would you like to join us? I’m afraid to say I have another issue that I’d like your opinion on.”
“Uh,” she looked back at Carson for second. “Okay.” She smiled at the woman who took her arm and led her away from the group. “You coming?” She paused the trio to address him. He smiled using the still frame to capture the concern in her eyebrows as she waited for his reply.
“I’ll be along in a moment.”
Carson caught Kline’s little smirk before the man turned and followed the women away.
“Secretary my ass.” Lex said, nudging Carson’s arm. “How many times have you had her bent over your desk?” The man laughed.
“Executive Administrative Assistant and no times.” He brought his gaze to Lex’s smiling face which quickly sobered.
“What? Where the hell did you meet her?”
“At the Barbara Sahara Foundation Gaya a month ago.”
His friend frowned. “Whose arm was she on for that event, or was she a donor?”
“Are you making me chase this on purpose or are you hiding something?”
“You’re chasing this because you’re nosey, and I’m not hiding anything, you’re just not asking the right questions.” He clapped the man on the chest and made his way to where Ariba stood with the Klines and a senator from a southern state were engulfed in conversation.
He slid his hand along her back and leaned into her getting a pleasant whiff of her fragrance. “Thanks for holding down the fort.”
She smirked up at him leaning back into him a bit. “Don’t worry,” she smiled. “You’ll repay me in full.”
It was quiet in the car as they bumped down the road. He was churning over the event. She snuggled closer in his jacket that he threw over her when they got outside and it was windy.
“I don’t think I had to opportunity to thank you for accompanying me. In fact, these passed few weeks you’ve been most gracious with your time. I appreciate it.”
She opened an eye and smirked at him. “You’re welcome.” He held onto her eyes for an extended period of time noticing that they were tired, but still big melted chocolate orbs that he could gaze into all day as corny as that sounded to his own mind.
He didn’t blame Jonas for being drawn to her. He was the moment he laid eyes on her. THe moment she stepped forward for what she thought was some kind of crime. She didn’t have to but she did. She jeopardized everything to--
As if a brick that smacked him in the side of the head, he understood Jonas’s statement quite clear. He looked over to Ariba again when he felt her run her hand down his arm and her fingers link between his. She rested her head on his shoulder her eyes were closed. He let her hand go to pull her into his side. She sighed and rested against him. The light patter of rain on the roof of the vehicle kept time.
She pulled away a little bit. “ I guess I owe you a response.”
“Hmm? A response to what?” He looked down at her.
“ I told you I’d have a response to your whatever you want if we win this account statement back in Vegas.”
He smiled with a nod. “Ah yes, of course. So what will it be?”
“I want to go to L.A.” She smiled slightly and looked away in thought. “Movie premiere, nice dinner, maybe a walk on the beach. Sunshine.” She smiled up at him with her eyes closed as if the sun itself were shining on her. He smiled too imagining seeing those golden rays dancing on her skin. He cleared his thoughts. She didn’t say anything about him tagging along. Why was he so quick to assume she was as foolish as he was?
“For you and your family?”
She opened her eyes and held his for an extended period of time before her gaze fell to his mouth and lingered there before finding his eyes again. He grazed her cheek with his thumb and she sighed and closed her eyes, leaning into his hand. He clasped the back of her neck and pulled her face up to meet his. She sighed into his kiss running her hand up his shirt.
A tingling sensation ran from her fingertips all through his body. He angled his face over hers and delved his tongue in her mouth. She moaned and pressed closer to him meeting his tongue’s teasing play with her own.
The car door opening broke them from their enraptured exchange. Her eyes opened with a heavy fog of confusion.
She cleared her voice taking his jacket from around her shoulders. “Guess this is when the fairytale ends.”
He stopped her from removing the jacket. “I’ll walk you to the door.”
She smiled and nodded. “Ok.”
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