“I didn’t.” She keeps shaking her head like she doesn’t understand.
“Where’s the money?”
She wilts, like every last speck of energy pours out of her. “In my locker.”
“Get out.” Cole says, voice made of steal. “Your things will be sent to you. If you ever set foot in this club again I will press charges.”
She swallows, looking back and forth between us. It looks like she wants to say something, but she doesn’t. She just goes. Cole calls security to make sure she leaves. And then we’re alone, and the tension is still in the air.
Cole grabs me and pushes me against the wall. His lips are hard on mine, desperate. I push him back.
“What the hell was that?” I ask him, “You really think I could steal from you?”
“No.” He says, voice full of emotion. “Never. But there was proof. I couldn’t. There can’t be any exceptions.”
“We really need to work on you knowing when you’re allowed to break rules.”
He presses his forehead to mine. “I’m sorry. I was caught up in my own shit. After everything that happened last year, stealing is…it’s a thing for me. I promise that I’ll tell you why. It makes me lose any common sense. I should have remembered.”
I move away from him, across the office. I need distance from him right now. I can’t think when he’s so close to me, crowding my senses, dragging me into perfect oblivion with his kisses. “Do you have any idea how that feels? That you say that you love me and then to throw me out without a second thought? You weren’t even going to try to listen to my side of the story.”
“I know,” he says.
I take a deep breath, flexing my hands in and out of fists, trying to deal with the wealth of anger that’s building up inside of me. In the moment I was panicked, and now I’m pissed. “This is not a small thing.”
Cole takes a slow, even breath. “I know.”
“Are you going to say anything other than you’re sorry?”
“That I’m a raging moron, and I never should have let something like this get in my head. I should not have jumped to conclusions so quickly. I should never have asked you to leave.”
I nod. “Well, I’m still going to. I know you’re not asking now, but I think I need some time.”
“Andrea, please,” he says, taking a step towards me. “Please don’t go.”
“Give me a good reason to stay.”
He swallows, and I know from the look on his face that he understands that the next words out of his mouth will determine our relationship. “There’s a lot we don’t know about each other. History, the little details about our pasts that formed us. But I can tell you now, that I have never in my life met anyone like you. No one has ever made me feel like this—alive and whole and happy. I fucked up. God, I’m sorry, and I’ll probably fuck up again, but I swear that I will do everything in my power never to hurt you again.”
My breath stills in my chest, his words resonating deep within me. He makes me happy too. I choose my words carefully, emphasizing every one. “No matter what it is, you will never take your shit out on me again. Got it? You will always take the time to look at the whole picture before making a decision. If you can’t agree to that, I’m done.”
“I swear.” I’ve barely finished speaking before he’s agreed.
“And you still love me?” I ask.
“I never stopped loving you.”
Heat roars through my body, and even though I’m still pissed at him, I want him. I want his hands on me. I want the proof of his words. “Good. Fuck me.”
I don’t have to tell him twice. He spreads me out on his desk, and we’re clawing at each other. It’s not gentle. We’re both still angry and it makes it hot, he slams into me in one stroke, thrusting so hard that the desk moves. I rake my nails down his back over his shirt, and he grunts at the sensation. Last night it felt like we were giving ourselves to the other. This feels more like claiming. He’s mine, I’m his.
Cole sucks his thumb and reaches down, circling my clit. The rhythm matches his thrusting, and the orgasm is so unexpected that it blinds me. It roars through me like a tornado, destroying me and leaving me to pick up the pieces. Cole shouts his own climax, pushing in deep and letting his come flood into me. It feels like fire, like a brand. I’m his, and he’s mine.