A Sentimental Heart Ch. 12-13bytotallyatease©
He tenderly kissed her skin, loving how she squirmed and groaned in his arms.
His tongue delicately tasted her and she shivered and whimpered.
She had invited him into her home knowing full well that she was inviting him to make love to her, and the urgency she seemed to be feeling was intoxicating to him.
That she could seem so desperate for his touch!
"Oh yes Marcus!" she gasped out suddenly, "Yessss touch me there – like that!" she hissed.
She threaded her fingers through his hair and tugged savagely.
"I need you Marcus... I... need you inside me!"
And of course he was only too happy to oblige.
He spent hours lost in Miranda, separate from his troubles and his worries.
But of course it could not last.
He sat on the edge of her bed and slowly dressed, while Miranda lay watching him.
"Don't get up," he smiled crookedly. "Lie there, and try to go back to sleep... I'll let myself out, and drop the catch as I go."
"But I want to see you out, to say goodnight to you properly." She pouted playfully, but there was an edge of sadness to her that transferred to him.
He shrugged into his jacket and leaned over her.
"Say goodnight to me now, say it properly," he invited huskily.
She lay there for a moment staring up with her darkened blue eyes, she seemed to be memorising his features – as though she thought she might never see him again.
His breath pulled in sharply at the idea of them never seeing each other again, and slowly he let out a painful breath.
Miranda lay there savouring the warmth of his breath as it fanned over her – if only she could bottle him, keep a part of him with her for always.
She felt a little tear at the corner of her eye and reached up to wrap her arms tightly around his neck, and kissed him hungrily on the lips.
Marcus, accepted her onslaught with pleasure, and a freshly rising passion, but he knew that if he did not leave her now – he would be in serious danger of not wanting to leave her at all... not ever!
He gently pushed her back down onto the bed and stood up quickly.
"I really need to leave, you need to get some rest and I've things that I need to do before work tomorrow..."
"Is there anything that I can do to help you?" she asked eagerly, and his smile made her heart soar – only to plummet, when his frown wiped it away again.
"It's a personal thing... I don't want our working relationship to blur into our private lives..." he was thinking how stupid that sounded even as he said it, but to the insecure woman lying on the bed – trying to read his expression, and meanings into every word spoken – it was as though he was sending her another message entirely.
He was letting her know that what happened in this bedroom – was to stay in this bedroom; that when they went into work he was her employer – and nothing more.
"You should get going then," she told him sadly. "You need to rest too, and the night is wearing on."
He thought that she sounded tired, sleepily tired and so walked quickly to the door, resisting the almost overpowering urge to crawl back under the covers and snuggle up to her.
"Good night Miranda," he whispered softly before leaving the room.
"I love you," Miranda murmured to the closed door.
She heard him leave the house and a moment later his car engine roared to life, and then faded away again, as he drove home.
Miranda rolled onto her side and closed her eyes determinedly – tomorrow she would pop into the local job centre and apply for anything that might seem suitable.
It took her a little while but she was very tired and so sleep did eventually come and the night wore on.
Marcus let himself into his flat and made straight for the shower, he could still smell Miranda's scent on him and although he would have loved nothing more than to go to his bed smelling of her – he knew that he needed to get some sleep, and that that would be impossible if all he could think of was her. As though a shower could wash her away!
He knew that his feelings for her had developed into something more than just friendship – or lust.
He knew that he wanted to take their relationship to another level – and make it known to their families, he would talk to her and tell her how he felt about her, he would be honest and sincere, and she would be happy.
He pictured her smile, and that look she often gave him – her eyes softening with the love that she had declared. And the glow that seemed to start somewhere deep inside her, and build and grow until it seemed that it needed to shine out – otherwise she'd be in danger of exploding.
As the water washed away the physical evidence of her, his mind kept her fresh and alive.
He crawled into bed, with a happy feeling and an excitement about tomorrow, about seeing Miranda again, and starting a new phase of his life – a phase that he'd never thought that he had wanted, but now he realised that he needed it, quite desperately in fact... a life with Miranda beside him.
It was a hectic day with things seeming to go wrong all around them,
It seemed that now that Marcus was back, then all the petty squabbles, and problems – all seemed to come out.
Peter had been handling most things – very well, but it seemed that some of the staff had wanted to only deal with the boss.
It was a tiresome lot, but Marcus knew that if he did not deal with these things then they would just fester.
He had several abrupt meetings during the course of that morning, and he left his staff in no doubt that these trivial problems and disagreements would not be tolerated.
His temper was frayed by lunch time, and having sent Peter off for his dinner, he was sitting brooding in his office.
The light, almost hesitant knock on the door, had his temper brewing once more in anticipation of more annoyances.
"Yes!" he snapped out.
The door opened and Miranda's exquisite features peered around at him.
"What is it?" he felt like biting his tongue as his tone continued its sniping.
Miranda's brow furrowed slightly, but she stepped into the room.
"I'm sorry to disturb you, I... I was actually looking for Peter..."
So she didn't even want to see him, he felt a flash of jealousy, add fuel to his irritability.
"Your brother," he stressed the word, "has gone out to lunch already... I... is there anything that I can do?" he didn't add the childish; 'after all I am the boss!' but he saw her react to the implication.
She shook her head stiffly as she backed away from him.
"No... it's nothing that won't keep..."
"It is work related though?" he asked pointedly and watched in disgust as the colour came to her cheeks.
"It... it doesn't matter... I... I'll catch up with him later...so sorry to have disturbed you!"
She was gone before he could take it back, and he sat there for a full five minutes replaying the whole stupid scene in his mind, replaying and changing it to one where he said the right things and she smiled at him, in the way that only she did.
He came to the end and played it again and then again and then again but this time he played it honestly in his mind and saw the way his words and his tone had hurt her.
He was on his feet in a moment, as he lurched away the painful knot in his gut.
He would apologise right now...
"I'm sorry but Miranda has gone to lunch already," Mrs Roberts told him stiffly. "I'm sure that I can be of service though,"
"No... that's okay, I'll catch up with her when she gets back."
"Well if you're certain, she may be a while though, she asked for a longer lunch break, because she had an appointment – or something," Mrs Roberts' lips tightened with displeasure at this inconvenience to herself.
Marcus wondered off to the door with an impatient shrug of his shoulders.
"I'll come and find her later then... you are okay on your own, I take it?"
He asked the question but did not even bother to hang around long enough for an answer.
"Well really!" Mrs Roberts snapped as her own temper turned to peevishness, and resentment, all of which was targeted at Miranda.
Miranda walked quickly down the street and over to another tall block of offices. She had called into the local job centre, the day before and after looking at the clerical and admin board; she had pulled out her notebook and her mobile, and went and found a quiet corner prepared to make a couple of calls to the jobs advertised... or as many as it might take...
One was all it took, and with her determination on full throttle, she promised to be at their offices for an interview the very next day.
The owner of the company was very impressed with her CV – and Miranda was thankful that she had hung on to them, after accepting the job at 'Phillips'.
"You seem eager to move on?" he asked suddenly, as he fixed his gaze on her. "You've not been working at your current job for more than a few weeks?"
"No well it was on a three month trial both ways, and though it is a very pleasant place to work... I... I find that it doesn't stretch me as much as I had hoped that it would."
"Ah yes... I am familiar with Phillips, and I've met Mrs Roberts..." his lips twisted with humour, and Miranda thought what a nice looking man he was.
With swept back fair hair and steely grey eyes, he seemed young, although she guessed that he was in his late thirties – maybe even his early forties.
She guessed that he was a family man, having noticed the gold band on his finger, and a photograph on his desk with himself and an attractive young woman; and so her smile was a warm natural one.
"Yes... well..." she trailed off discreetly, and a little colour came to her cheeks as they shared a moment of humour over one Mrs Roberts.
Miranda left the block of offices, with a spring in her step; she glanced at her watch, and decided that if she was very quick, then she could grab some lunch and maybe a pot of tea before returning to work.
She felt confident and... Free.
For too many years now, she had been drifting along without any real aim or purpose, in her life, always responding to the needs of the moment – rather than thinking about what she wanted, and planning for it, and working towards it... and that had to stop!
Miranda was feeling happy and optimistic, by the time she arrived back at work; it was just unfortunate that no one else seemed to be in that frame of mind.
Mrs Roberts was snippy, and resentful that she'd had to wait for Miranda to return before taking her own lunch break.
"I can't think what would have taken this long!" she muttered accusingly as she slipped into her coat.
She was almost at the door before turning back suddenly. "It's so late now I can't even see the point in coming back..."
Miranda smiled at her encouragingly. "I quite agree Mrs Roberts you go on home, and I'll finish up here."
"Yes well..." she seemed to run out of steam and once more turned for the door. "Oh and Mr Phillips was looking for you earlier..." she pinched her lips as she remembered how abrupt he'd been with herself. "He was very short – I can't think what you might have done to upset him, Miranda!"
As usual Miranda was not sure what she might have done to upset him either, and to be quite honest she was getting more than a little bit fed up with his blow hot, blow cold treatment of herself.
If he had need of her, then he would have to come and find her! She decided defiantly.
She finished the day's work and at five o'clock on the dot; she rather cowardly – bolted from the building, skulking down corridors trying to be invisible and only letting out a sigh of relief when she actually managed to escape the building – without running into... anyone at all.
She would have to face him tomorrow – would need to hand over the letter of resignation that she had typed out.
But tomorrow would be soon enough – or so she told herself.
Marcus stood glaring at her empty desk.
He'd been trying to get in to see her all afternoon – only to be thwarted at every opportunity.
Now when he finally managed it – she was already gone.
He turned and headed back for his office with a fixed smile on his face.
"Why don't you get going Peter...? I'm sure that you've things you want to be doing tonight?"
Peter glanced up at him, and a guilty little flush winged up his cheek bones.
"Well actually... I've been out rather a lot since I got back, and so I thought I would spend an evening in – have a bit of a chat with Miranda... catch up on things..."
'So he would not even be able to go round to see her tonight either!'
"Well, we're pretty much finished here, so you might as well get going..." Marcus forced the light tone out of his mouth.
Alone in his office he began to make his plans – how to let people know that he and Miranda were a couple – but without making a drama out of it.
She would be pleased; she would be happy that he thought that much of her... he was sure that she wanted this as much as he did... he was certain of it
It was difficult to persuade Peter that this move was for the best, he felt that she would be letting down the side, that it would be awkward for him...
"But this job was only as a favour to you in the first place Peter," Miranda stated firmly. "Believe me when I say, that I know that it wasn't on my own merit that I got this job – and before it was even advertised."
"I appreciate that you're probably right Miranda, but it was good of Marcus to come and see you that time, and give you this opportunity... it's like you're throwing his kindness back in his face!"
"Oh please Peter!" Miranda exclaimed feeling more and more frustrated. "Marcus is a business man through and through, it's all business with him, and I'm pretty sure that I won't be the first employee... or the last – to leave, 'Phillip's Pharmaceuticals'."
"Well... I suppose..." Peter mumbled. "But I just don't know what he will say?"
"He'll be fine," Miranda reassured her brother, 'he'll probably be relieved!' she told herself.
"Well... whatever..." Peter suddenly forced a bright smile. "What say we order out tonight – save you having to do the cooking?"
It seemed that Peter was making an effort to keep her company this evening, and at any other time Miranda would have been touched by his concern for her wellbeing.
Tonight however she really wished that her brother would just go out – as he had been doing ever since he'd come home from his trip...
She could have done with the space and time to get her head together.
As the evening wore on and Peter remained home though, Miranda began to suspect he had something that he needed to get off his chest.
"Is everything alright with you Peter?" She cut in to his empty chitchat at one point, as the seed once it had been sown seemed to want to grow in abundance.
His slightly guilty look, pretty much confirmed it for her, and she found herself smiling encouragingly at him.
"Come on and tell me all about it – why don't you... I'm sure that you'll feel much better once you have."
He gave a grateful little sigh. "Well you see... it's concerning Amanda..."
"Yes... you've met her a few times now, haven't you... what do you think of her?"
Miranda shrugged her shoulders, "I'm not sure... she seems nice and friendly... a little bit young perhaps – but time will take care of that for her, and after all there's nothing wrong with that – is there?" she looked across at her brother questioningly, but Peter was just looking uncomfortable.
"I don't know... I think perhaps that you're right, maybe she is a little too young yet..."
It was the 'yet' thing that caught Miranda's ear; but she was not comfortable about prying into Peter's private life, and so didn't press him for an elaboration... If Peter wanted to talk more then he would.
It seemed like he didn't, and after a good half an hour of silence – Miranda decided that she'd had enough for one evening.
"I think that I'm going to have a soak in the bath, and then have an early night," she said suddenly.
Peter had been staring down at his hands, and he blinked up at her blankly for a moment, before understanding registered on his face.
"What? Oh okay... night then..."
"Good night Peter."
In the end though she felt a little too restless for a long soak, and within another half an hour she was in her nightgown and sitting on the edge of her bed looking at the envelope in her hand.
Her letter of resignation.
She would give it to Marcus the first thing in the morning, and she felt sure that she would see relief on his face.
She swallowed back the little knot of anticipated hurt, and straightened her shoulders.
It was work and business, and she would be a fool to try and mix their personal life into that.
She would hand over her letter the first thing in the morning, and she would finish that same day.
"What's this?" he narrowed his gaze on the envelope, which she had just dropped on to his desk.
"It's my resignation," Miranda stated calmly.
He picked it up and tore open the envelope, and it was only as he began to read the few simple lines, that he realised that he'd not really believed her.
"Why?" how he managed to keep the utter desolation, and sense of betrayal out of his voice, and keep his tone coolly curious – he'd never know.
"I want to thank you M... Marcus, for giving me the opportunity to work here, but... I think that it would be better for everyone if I just... moved on. I would appreciate it if you would release me from any obligation as of today... I've been offered a position at 'Fletchers and Craine..."
Marcus frowned up at her. "I know Bob Craine," he said sharply and Miranda gained the impression that he knew and did not like Bob Craine.
"That's nice," she said lightly. "A reference from you will have that much more value then."
"Huh!" he almost snapped, as he felt a wave of relief wash over him. "If they've offered you a position already, then why do you need a reference?" He was being petty – he knew it, but he just could not seem to help himself... she wanted to leave him!
Miranda looked at him in surprise. "The offer is of course pending a favourable reference from my current employer."
"I'll give Bob a call later today, and have a word with him." Marcus put her letter to one side, and bent his attention to the rest of his mail.
"So I can finish at the end of today?" Miranda asked pointedly.
She just couldn't wait it seemed, couldn't wait to leave him!
"Yes I'll make sure that your final wages are paid into your account by the end of the week and if you can finish up any outstanding work – then I see no reason to stretch this out... I'll leave you to inform Mrs Roberts." Now that was just mean – but he couldn't seem to help himself... she wanted to leave him!
He went back to his mail, and Miranda took the hint and walked back to the door.
She turned back suddenly. "You... you won't forget... will you Marcus – to give Mr Craine a call?" she asked hesitantly.
He flicked a hand negligently – without even bothering to look up. "Of course not."
He heard the door open and then close, and only then did he sit back in his chair to glare across at that door.
His scowl stayed in place for a full minute; and then suddenly it smoothed out again, to be replaced with a thoughtful smile.
Bob Craine was an associate – and a good friend... his scowl came and went again.
It didn't alter the fact that she wanted to leave him though!
She had been back at her desk for just over an hour when the telephone rang.
"Phillips' Pharmaceuticals – Mrs Roberts speaking," she listened for a moment before pressing a button. "It's for you Miranda."
Miranda picked up the telephone. "Miranda Redmond?" she said absently.