Halloween Treats(2)

By: Alexa Riley

“I’m sorry.” I try to offer her comfort, but don’t want to push it. If she wants to talk about it she will. I know better than anyone that sometimes you don’t want to talk about things from your past that haunt you. It’s best to leave them there, and maybe they’ll finally go away.

“I don’t need to be someone’s trophy,” is all she says.

Quickly, the waiter returns, scissors in hand. Dropping in front of me, Tiff goes to work on my pencil skirt, taking several inches off the bottom and adding a slit up my thigh on both sides.

“Damn, Mandy. You look crazy hot now.”

I feel my face warm at her words, but maybe it’s the alcohol coursing through my system. Glancing down at myself again, I can’t help but smile.

“Drink up. The band starts in about thirty minutes, and you need to drink however many drinks it takes you to get on the dance floor.”

I feel so relaxed and sexy sitting back in my chair, the slits in my skirt showing off my thighs. I take a long sip from my new drink, and lick the remaining sugar from the rim. Maybe I should have told her I don’t need another to make me dance, but I don’t have to because as soon as the first song blasts across the bar, I find myself on top of a table with Tiff as she teaches me some of her favorite moves from her shows.

The bar patrons cheer as we lose ourselves in the music. I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun or felt this free—no responsibilities sitting on my shoulders. Tomorrow is a new day. I just can’t bring myself to care about anything other than this moment. Throwing my head back, I close my eyes and let the music take me. Until the spell is broken by the bane of my existence.

“Get your ass down right fucking now.”

Dropping my head forward, I open my eyes to see Mr. Townsend standing there. He looks as hard as ever, with a jaw that could crack stone. For once in my life I’m actually taller than him because I’m up on the table. It’s not often a man towers over me with thanks to my height and my love of heels, but he does. There was no way to miss it, not when he hovered over my every move while I worked for him. He acted like I was an incompetent moron who didn’t know how to do their job. He gave me projects I could do in my sleep, and still micromanaged me. He never trusted me with anything, and it annoyed me every second of the past thirty days.

This past month has been daunting. At first, I bit my tongue because he was my boss, but then a few times I couldn’t help it and made a few snide remarks. When he seemed to like it, I decided to ignore him. It is difficult to do because even though I have the urge to kick him in the balls a few times a day, he is attractive. No. ‘Attractive’ isn’t the right word. He’s hard and gruff—so not traditionally handsome. The attraction I feel for him rubs on my nerves. I feel this draw to him, but I hate it. How can I want a man who thinks I’m a nitwit?

“Make me, Sir.” I throw out the title he hates so much. Every time I use it, he corrects me. Well, he’s not my boss anymore, so the most he can do is kick me out of his casino. I’ll be leaving in the morning anyway, so what do I care.

“Tiffany. Down,” he snaps at Tiff, but he keeps his dark eyes on me. Like everyone around here, she quickly jumps to his command.

“Fine.” I roll my eyes before awkwardly getting down from the table top. I plop into my chair, pretending Charles isn’t standing there. Picking up my drink, I take three big gulps, finishing it off. Why don’t I do this more often? My whole body feels warm and fuzzy. All the stress and strain I normally carry seem to leave my system with each drink I take.

Like always when I ignore him, he pushes himself into my space. “We have a seven o’clock meeting, and you're three sheets to the wind, Ms. Burch.” His voice is thick with irritation. Like he had to come down here and babysit me. This happens every time I stop somewhere after work and hang out for a little while. He always pops up and starts barking orders at whoever I’m with. Either that or asking me a million and one questions about his itinerary, questions he could easily find the answers to if he just opened his stupid phone and looked. A few times he would even track me down when I was having dinner, and join me without asking, just to ask me pointless questions to things he already knew!

“No, you have a meeting at seven,” I respond, correcting him. He’s not my boss anymore. Nope. Contract complete. A contract I only agreed to because the Cortez brothers asked me, and I’d do almost anything for them. They came into my life when I needed someone, and we made our own little makeshift family. We may not share blood, but they are my brothers. I worked as their assistant for six years, so when they came to me about taking up a thirty-day work contract with Mr. Townsend, I agreed. I could tell it meant something to them, and that he must have been holding something over their heads. I didn't ask and they didn't tell me. Knowing he blackmailed them only made me more pissed at the man. But it doesn't matter now. Time's up. I did my thirty days, and I’m free to go. I don’t have to play nice anymore.

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