Only For One Night Ch. 01byavrgblkgrl©
He looked out of the front window of the car, watching the rain and lost in thought. "I still have love for you," he said. "I just can't say that I'm in love with you."
She on the other hand watched him, oblivious to anything else in this world. She could not remember not loving him. In spite of herself, she still did. "What does that mean? Are you 'in' love with her?"
"Damn it Naomi," he exclaimed, frustrated, hitting the palm of his hand hard against the steering wheel. He was losing patience with her. "I don't think we need to be talking about her. She has nothing to do with us."
"Then what should we be talking about," she whispered, her voice thick, low and strained from the weight of her emotions. "You'd think that she was your wife the way you protect her. Obviously, you talk to her about me. She knows every thing about me. Why shouldn't I know what my husband wants more than his family? I deserve to know."
His jaw was clenched tight and the muscle at his temple pulsated. She used to think that was so sexy. When she was younger, she would gently kiss him there. She would lightly whisper in his ear to calm him down. Then, she would make it better--letting him use her body as he pleased till he was fully satiated. Now it only made her dive deeper into sadness. Her husband recoiled from her touch.
"I guess I better go," she said holding the handle of the door. Tears streamed down her cheeks and dripped off her chin, staining the silk blouse that she wore. She would do anything for him to ask her to stay, or to just hear him say that he would see her later.
He finally turned to her, raising one eyebrow. "Please do. I need to get to the office."
He released the door locks. The sound seemed to echo through the small car. To her it was louder than even the rain outside. She was being dismissed. She opened the door and swung her legs out of the car. Standing on the sidewalk, she watched the Mercedes Coupe pull away from the curb and become lost in traffic.
Her husband had not even thought to ask if she needed a ride home or when her car would be out of the shop.
Thomas held the elevator door open for her as she approached. He thought she had one of the most sexiest walks. He felt an unusual rush of excitement at the opportunity of being alone with her in such a confined space. He was glad he had opted to take the general elevator and not chosen the private ones this morning. He did have to take care of some unfinished business before closing himself up within his own office. Seeing Naomi was an added plus. She was always a breath of fresh air, always smiling, always beautiful to him. He often sought her out on his rare tours of the office, casually glancing at her while she was working. Her self elected mentor, although indirectly, he monitored her progress closely. Thomas wanted to lead her out of mediation and move her toward litigation. She had a knack for it. Naomi just did not know it yet. He took pride in her successes. She was a smart woman. He respected that.
"You're soaked," he uncharacteristically teased, noticing hard nipples under obvious lace, sheathed by wet silk. On more than one occasion he had detected how amazing her body was. It was never more apparent than now. Her skirt hugged her curves just right, not too tight or purposeful at all, but suggestive just the same.
Immediately he regretted where his mind took him. Naomi smiled back up at him and said good morning. The smile did not reach her eyes though. Thomas could tell that she had been crying, even though her face was damp from the rain. There was no sparkle in those shining brown eyes. Usually her thick curly tresses fell loosely around her shoulders. It added to the soft, feminine edge she combined perfectly with her professional manner. It definitely appealed to him. Now, her raven hair was pulled back into a harsh bun at the nape of her neck. Her golden brown skin lacked its normal effervescent glow. Naomi looked thinner since the last time he had seen her and it was obvious in her face.
Something tightened around his heart.
"Are you okay," he asked, his voice firm yet soothing.
"Of course, Mr. Eldeman," she answered politely. There was a little more strength in her voice, but he wasn't fooled.
She expertly slid into her suit jacked, never dropping her stylish leather bag.
"I thought we had this straightened out the last time we talked."
The tone of his voice made Naomi look up. There it was, he thought. The life was back in her eyes, though not quite at full strength.
"Excuse me," she said, confused.
It was not often that a senior partner in the law firm addressed you out of personal concern. It was rare for someone in her position to be spoken to directly at all. Naomi knew she was one of the blessed few at her level to have had an opportunity to work directly with Thomas Eldeman on not one but a couple of occasions. It was a noticeable achievement. She knew him to be more casual than the older partners at times--especially more friendly to her at least in the presence of few. She however did not want this type of attention. She did not want him to think that her personal life was out of control or that she was one who took to crying when under stress.
"You don't recall."
Naomi simply looked at him, her mind fishing desperately to recall whatever it was he was speaking about. She was a stickler for detail, generally catching things that others missed. That skill doubled when it came to people.
He smiled again, liking the fact that she met his look straight on and unblinking. The expression on her face, however, was giving her away. "I told you to call me Thomas."
"Oh," she smiled that warm sweet smile that he remembered. It was the one that first caught his attention, the one that disarmed the opponent during negotiations and caused them to continuously underestimate her. It was not quite reflected in her eyes, yet closer than the last. "I'm sorry. Thomas." She returned her gaze to the floor.
"Naomi," he questioned.
She looked up. The way he said her name was not unfamiliar to her. It had caught and held her attention before with its intimacy and distinctiveness. No one said her name like him. She could not remember the last time her husband had said her complete name. He simply called her Nay, like so many others. She hated that.
In one smooth movement that seemed too graceful for a man of his stature, Thomas stepped in front of her and pushed the button to halt the elevator. He pierced her with his steel grey eyes. He could see her chest rise just a little higher as she tried to control her breathing. There was no desire to embarrass her, just to let her know how serious he was. "Naomi," he asked gently again, "What's wrong?"
When the alarm sounded, Naomi jumped slightly. Thomas' eyes never left hers.
"Is there a problem?" an irritated voice came through a speaker.
Damn, Thomas had almost forgotten about the security they had in the elevators. He knew where the camera was but did not bother to acknowledge it. He simply positioned himself between it and her.
"This is Thomas Eldeman. I stopped the elevator." It was more of an implied command rather than a simple statement, in sharp contrast to the way he had just spoken to Naomi.
"Sir let us know if you need any further assistance."
The alarm was silenced.
Thomas kept his voice purposefully low. "You can tell me now or you can tell me later. I honestly want to know. You are a part of my team, therefore under my care."
The band around his heart loosened just a little when he saw her relax her shoulders.
Naomi had felt a connection between herself and him when they had worked together before. There was something in the way he looked at her. At first it had been unnerving. There were times, however, when she searched it out for assurance. Thomas obviously appreciated her as a professional and made that clear to the ones that she worked with. Initially there was the expected display of jealousy from her peers. She was asked, point blank by a rival, who had she fucked. Eventually it dissipated, at least to her face. Even the ones who generally supervised her seemed to give her more autonomy. After working with him she had received a considerable pay increase with little fanfare and independently handed cases that carried more weight.
However, during their first meeting, she was merely one of three assisting. The mediation team rarely roamed outside of their area, however in special cases they were called upon for advisement. A big money client originally wanted to merge his businesses with a rival company. Suddenly there were problems coming from the other side. They were stalling, that was obvious. Why, was not so obvious. This merger would bring in a lot of current and future money to the firm.
After sitting in on one session, Naomi noticed a reaction on an opposing team member. Tell tale signs that things were not only being left out, but purposefully hidden. She made a query into the person's significance in the situation. Her curiosity led to one thing after another. She was an excellent researcher, finding the right people to answer the right questions. After presenting her discoveries to one of the more approachable leads, Naomi was upset that it seemed to be ignored. She felt like it was of major importance.
Seeing an opening, she spoke out. Every eye at the table turned to her. She held fast, asking a few pointed questions. The lack of answers made it obvious where she was leading.
The opposing council attempted to discredit her by questioning who exactly Naomi was. One of the key players vehemently made it clear that they did not answer to her. Another actually rose from his seat, indignant and indicating that they were all leaving.
That is when Thomas Eldeman spoke for the first time during the entire negotiation. He directed his attention directly to the company's owner. "Mr. Harriston, if your hired help is finished posturing we can get down to business. Your first act, of course, would be to tell your leech to sit the fuck down and shut up. As a matter of fact, he may want go ahead and lay his bar association card on the table. I do plan on taking that before I'm done here, along with a few others."
Apparently, Thomas had been on to something as well, but was missing a few pieces to the puzzle. These were pieces in which Naomi had uncovered out of pure curiosity. The picture was bigger than Naomi could have imagined. From that point on when Naomi was called upon, she could request her own assistant if need be. Thomas included her on the ground floor of a few situations. He did not volunteer why she was present and no one in the meetings questioned it. Sometimes she herself wondered why her presence had been requested. He often asked her opinion or had files delivered to her with a simple note. There were a few times when he requested her to come to his office. Behind closed doors, he was warm and often charming. Sometimes he would make a side remark that made it hard for her not to laugh. Business, however, was business. His eyes would harden and at times he was extremely blunt. Naomi would stand firm and proceed, refusing to be easily intimidated. Once, he had quieted with a strange look on his face. Naomi could not tell what he was thinking. Then from out of nowhere he told her that her husband was a lucky man.
The sudden turns in his behavior could give a person whiplash.
Then, things changed. He left to go overseas for a client, or so it was rumored. It was so sudden. A month later he returned and, to her, it was as if he had not known her at all.
Now, she stood before him on the verge of a breakdown--holding on by a thread. Work was the only escape she truly had from her life. Here her mind was busy, precise and focused. She was Naomi Mitchell, up and rising third year associate. Now it seemed as if the two worlds were crashing together.
"Naomi," he questioned again. "Is it the Stanley Hart mediations?"
"No," she said. "That is on schedule and going well. I think by end of business next Wednesday every thing should be taken care of."
Why he would be concerned about such a minor situation, she wondered.
"You are good at what you do," he reassured, fighting the urge to touch her. "You know that don't you?"
She was shocked that he had said that. It was absolutely unexpected.
He continued to probe her with his eyes.
"It's personal," she finally said.
"Husband," he asked.
There was no need for her to answer. Her eyes gave her away.
He turned around and reached out to press the button. The elevator slightly jolted and began its ascent.
He spoke just before the elevator doors opened. "I'd appreciate it if you stopped by my office this evening before you leave."
Then he stepped out onto the accounting floor. The door closed before she had a chance to answer. Then again, she knew that it was not a request. This alarmed her. However, he had said she was doing a good job. Maybe something positive would come out of today.
When she reached her floor, she told herself to pull it together. When the door opened, she took a deep breath and stepped forward.
"Good morning Naomi," an associate greeted her smiling.
"Good morning," Naomi smiled, and began her day.
"Well, I really do appreciate this Mom," Naomi was saying into her cell. "You know you don't have to keep them for the entire weekend though."
Trying to convince her mother to drop her two daughters off Saturday was a waste of time. Her mother had made her mind up that her only child needed a break. She hated Naomi's husband. From day one she had felt that he was selfish and not worthy of her only child. Naomi's mother wanted her to go to a spa or hang out with some girlfriends. Basically, she just wanted Naomi to concentrate on herself for a change. What she did not know is that without her kids, Naomi was lost. She had no friends and she had nothing to go home to.
"What do you mean she wouldn't sign the papers," Thomas' voice boomed.
Thomas' secretary was not at her desk. Something that Naomi found unusual. Thomas was notorious for working his people late. Rumor had it that he actually slept in the office. Nevertheless, his secretary's desk was tidy and it appeared she was gone for the evening. However, when Naomi stepped past the double doors of his office, the anger in his voice made her pause. She considered retreating.
Earlier today she had overheard that he had fired two people on the accounting floor. It was said that Thomas had actually took one up by the collar and threw him into the elevator. Naomi could not imagine that, Thomas was way too professional for that behavior. Right now, the tone in his voice made her wonder. He definitely was strong enough to do it.
His eyes immediately caught hers and froze her in place. "Tell her that I have no desire to speak with her, sign the papers or I will rescind the offer and she can make a way for herself. I'm finished." With that he hung up.
He inhaled deeply and let the air out slowly. "Naomi," he said. Once again his voice was gentle.
He checked his watch. "I'm starved." He smiled.
Naomi immediately knew she was dealing with the charming Mr. Eldeman by the wide smile he so openly displayed. From what she had heard about his father, they shared the same smile and beautiful eyes too. His father was an aggressive, legendary attorney and a legendary lover as well. He would smile and women would immediately drop their panties. They would just fall off. You would not know what hit you. Or, so the story goes. Thomas, although legendary in his own right as far as the practice was concerned, was either highly moral or pristinely discreet.
He was truly a handsome man. At over six feet, he was more than just a little fit. From the way his tailored suits hung perfectly on his form, the way his broad shoulders led down to a tapered waist and the few looks she had of his tight ass, he was perfect. With his working schedule, Naomi wondered how in the world he found time to work out. His jaw line was strong, nose straight and lips... During long lonely nights, her dreams had drifted to him.
Naomi licked her own succulent lips. She couldn't remember the last time she had been kissed. She used to think that her husband was the best kisser in the world, even though he really was not that crazy about it. The pain in her chest was returning; in a few minutes, she would begin to feel as if she could not breathe.
Her marriage had crumbled into nothing right before her eyes.
Thomas was immediately in front of her. He had watched the play of emotions cross her face. First, she was definitely looking him over with a playful look on her face and a sexy half smile. Then, she licked her lips with a dreamy look in her eyes, right before she shattered in front of him.
He wrapped his strong arms around her and pulled her body close to his. Naomi tried to pull away at first. There was no denying it though; this was exactly what she needed. Once she was in the security of his arms, she fell apart. She cried like she had not cried before, not even to her concerned mother or cheating husband. In the privacy of her own room, she was not even free to truly let go. Fear of the children hearing and becoming upset made her place her face into her pillow and try to control it. With Thomas' firm hands spread across her back and his soothing voice in her ear, Naomi just let go. A gate opened and every thing flowed through.
She clung to Thomas. In his arms, she found comfort.
Thomas would not hear of it. Having Naomi even think about taking a taxi home offended him dearly. Once in the car he had no problem convincing her to come have a drink with him, and possibly some food. He had actually been honest when he had confessed to being hungry. Naomi had to admit that she too was starved. Lately she had been forgetting to eat. He directed his driver to take them to The Renaissance. She was impressed, but expected nothing less of him.
"They serve an excellent porterhouse," he whispered in her ear.
"So," Naomi teased, "it was a vacation."
"I'd hardly call it that," Thomas returned, laying his napkin across his plate. "It was more like a slow grueling descent into hell."
They had confided in each other, baring every humiliation of their now defunct unions. Or, at least Naomi bared herself and took in the details he cared to share.
"Well," she conceded, "you did give it an honest shot. Really, scheduling time away from work so that the two of you could be alone was hard to do."
"People grow apart," he added. "It happens."
"It hurts," she whispered.
He readjusted the sleeve at one wrist. Naomi admired the subtle style of his silver cuff links. He relaxed back into the comfortable leather of the booth as the waiter took their plates.
"Yes," he exhaled deeply, "it does hurt at first. Time heals...other things help as well."
He lifted up his glass of amber colored liquid before taking a drink. She held up hers and did the same. Then she almost choked. She ordered scotch because he ordered scotch. As much as she wished she could not get used to it, she would never be a drinker.
"Not funny," she returned, trying to stifle her own giggles. "You should laugh more often."
"Why," he asked, amused.
She humped up her shoulders dismissively. "Thomas, are you ever completely relaxed?"
"I'm not sure I know what you mean Naomi."
There he goes with my name again, Naomi thought, enjoying it all the same. She took a smaller sip of her drink this time and was more successful. If she finished this one, she was definitely not going to ask for another. That would make three. She was already feeling quite warm.