Unexpected Guest Ch. 11byAda Stuart©
"Jared, I got a job for you," Cade said as soon as Jared answered his mobile.
"Oh? What kind of job?"
"Redecorating a small apartment."
"Doing what exactly?"
"Changing a few plastic boards, putting up some new wallpaper and paint a couple of rooms."
"Sounds easy enough. I'll send someone over to give you a price."
"No need. I'll pay whatever it costs."
"You will?" Jared said a little thoughtful. "Okay, so what's the catch?"
"The catch? There is none."
"Oh course there is. I know you well enough to recognise that tone. You're up to something, aren't you?"
"Not at all. My only demand is that you do the job yourself – you can't send any of your men on this one."
"Why not? I have plenty of staff that is both professional and discreet if that's what's needed."
"Well, this matter is slightly more delicate."
A wild idea occurred to Jared. It couldn't be...
"Does this have something to do with Ann?"
"What if it does?"
"Then you should reconsider my offer to send some of my men. Your sister and I are not at the best of terms at the moment."
"All the more reason to correct the misunderstandings between you two."
"I'm not sure that is possible."
"Look, Jared. I know that you care for her and she needs your help after the accident..."
"What accident?" Jared almost screamed into the phone.
"You didn't know? Ann fell down a ladder."
"Is she all right?"
"A twisted ankle, that's all, but she's finally agreed to accept some help to finish the redecoration before she manages to kill herself. I thought you would be the perfect choice."
"How on earth did you manage to persuade her to accept any help at all?"
"I threatened to give her a hand myself."
Jared laughed out right. "Yes, that would do the trick. But, do you think she'll see me?"
"Look, Jared. Maybe you should tell me what really happened between you two. You're both so terrified of stepping on each other toes that it's really annoying."
"Do you have any suggestions since you've become such an expert on the subject?" Jared asked ironically.
"Yes, it's all very easy. If you really care for her you have to give her another chance."
"What if she hates me? She might get a restraining order on me for trespassing?"
"You're both too stubborn to see your own good, that's what's wrong with you two," Cade was sounding a litlle annoyed.
"Ah, so that's why you're helping us along and providing this little push?"
"Why not? What is there to lose?"
Jared thought about it for a moment. Nothing except his pride and self-confidence.
"Nothing," he smiled into the phone. "As long as you're paying me no matter the outcome."
"I don't have to pay you anything if you can't even get passed the entrance," Cade laughed.
A few hours later, Jared found himself outside Ann's door, ringing the doorbell and listening as she told him to wait. A few seconds later she opened the door and gasped while her grip tightened on her crutches.
"What are you doing here?"
"Good afternoon, Miss Mason," Jared stated in his best business tone. "I'm here to fix your house."
"You're joking, right?"
"Not at all," Jared answered smoothly. "Your brother hired Anderson Construction to do some light redecoration." He went inside and set down the paint and tool box he was carrying. "So, where would you like me to start?"
"Will you just stop that!," Ann started to sound a little annoyed. "You know very well who I am and I know who you are so there's no need to act like a stranger."
"Sorry about that. I just thought you would feel more comfortable if I treated you as a client," Jared smiled at her. He almost laughed as she gave a grimace.
"If you wanted me to feel comfortable you should have sent someone else in your stead. So, what are you doing here?"
"Cade sent me."
"I knew it!" Ann snarled at him. "He tricked me into receiving help. What's your excuse for getting involved in this?"
"I need the money," Jared lied easily.
Ann just snorted. "You must be joking."
"No, it's true."
She stared at him for a long time. Finally she seemed to accept his lie.
"Oh for gods sake," she muttered and leaned on her crutches as she limped into what seemed to be her living room.
Jared felt a sense of relief as he closed the front door and followed her.
"How are you feeling?" he asked as he nodded toward her injured ankle.
"Bored and annoyed. But thanks for asking."
"Is there anything I can get you?"
"No, I need the exercise. These things are just damned inconvenient," Ann murmured as she gave her crutches an angry stare.
"You just let me know if you want something." Her answering look made him wonder if perhaps she thought the same if he: that she could request his presence in her bed. But she stayed silent. Jared decided not to push his luck any further for the time being. "So, where would you like me to start?"
Ann smiled at him, before starting to explain all the things that she planned to do with the apartment. Her demeanour changed completely as she talked and explained her way from room to room. Jared interrupted with small questions, getting as much details as he needed to complete the tasks.
Jared returned the next day as they had agreed and started to work on some plastering. Ann followed him with her eyes, noticing the ease in which he worked. He would complete the job in just a few hours while she would probably have spent several weeks. Maybe she should have considered hiring help much earlier. It would have cost her, but it was sure worth it the way the work seemed to progress. She looked out of the window.
There was only one catch: she had to be in close company with Jared again and the last couple of weeks hadn't been enough to make her forget the warmth of his naked skin or the manly scent that surrounded him and made her stomach flutter. After he had left her at the cabin, his scent seemed to be engulfed into every part of her, hanging in her nostrils and in all her clothes – surrounding her with dreams of what could have been but would never happen.
She had wanted to take a bath to rid herself of the scent, but at the same time she wanted to keep him close to her for as long as possible. In the end she pulled herself together and took a bath before heading back home the same day. No way if she wanted to spend another night at the cabin and surround herself with the self-pity and lust that seemed to pervade the place.
Instead she had returned to her old life and flung herself headfirst into creating the perfect apartment.
And now he was here in her home, showing off his broad back and making her follow his every move as she recollected how his strong hands had held her as he slowly made love to her. At least she had thought it was love at the time, but now she knew better. It had just been a frantic meeting between body parts if Jared was to be believed.
If so, she wondered how much stronger the real thing would be. It still hurt looking at him, so a real love affair would probably leave her completely broken. She hoped she would never experience that. This affair had been quite enough. Still, the weeks that had passed should have made the wound less severe. No matter what, she had to keep a strong facade in front of Jared. It wouldn't take him more than a week to finish up if everything went according to plan and she should be able to endure that week.
"Would you like some coffee, Jared?" she asked as casually as she could in order to interrupt her wayward thoughts.
As they shared a cup of coffee by the kitchen sink, Jared gave Ann a look-over. She looked thinner than he remembered her. He wondered whether it was the redecoration that was to blame or if she actually had taken some wounds by their affair. He hoped the last theory was the correct one. If only he hadn't been the only one that wanted something more from their week together.
"How have you been?" she suddenly asked him.
Jared was surprised by her question. Did she really care or was she just trying to make conversation?
"I'm fine," he responded after a while. "I have been working a lot. It has been busy lately."
"Why don't you hire some more men?"
"I'm considering it."
The silence amounted again between them. Each of them seemed totally at lost for what else they could talk about. Finally, Ann seemed to take a deep breath before continuing their conversation.
"By the way, Jared,..." Ann started asking before pausing slightly as if she wasn't sure she wanted to ask the question or not.
"Yes?," Jared tried to encourage her.
"How's your hunting these days?"
"It's quite good, actually."
"So, the hunting season hasn't all been a complete waste of time then?"
"I wouldn't say so." He gave her a wink before continuing. "In fact, I've started to hunt for bigger prey."
"Oh?" Ann seemed confused. She was probably wondering whether there was a mixed message behind his words. If only she knew. "So the birds couldn't fill the dinner plate?"
"It wasn't enough, no."
"Oh well. I'm glad that you've improved your target practicing since last we spoke."
"I wouldn't say it was my aim that was to blame."
"It was more a lack of determination."
"Sounds bizarre. So now you spend every waken hour chasing after birds to shoot at?"
"Something like that."
"I've never understood what is so great about hunting."
"Maybe it's because you're a woman."
"I'm glad you would point that out. Maybe I'm part of supreme beings that take their pleasures elsewhere?"
"Or perhaps you enjoy being a vegetarian?"
She laughed suddenly. "You got me there. I suppose I prefer buying my food from the supermarket and not wanting to admit where it came from."
"That's just part of the modern society."
"I guess so. 1-0 to you for scoring that hit, by the way."
"I wasn't sure we were counting."
"Maybe I should simply become a vegetarian and take that point back?"
"No way! I like my steaks far too much to even consider it," Ann smiled widely at him as she manoeuvred herself into one of the chairs, lowering her crutches to the floor.
Jared looked at her injured leg.
"How is the leg?"
"Hurts like hell, to be honest. But, I've heard that's a good sign."
"I don't know why, but I suspect that the pain means that the leg is still attached to my body."
"Sure it is," Jared smiled as he let his eyes roam over her body from head to toe before he gave her another wink. Immediately a blush was evident on her face. Jared felt thrilled by the sight. Maybe she wasn't as composed as she appeared. He decided to push his luck a little further. "Would you like me to help you relieve the pain?"
"Gladly. What did you have in mind? Sleeping pills?"
"Not exactly. I need you awake for what I had in mind."
Her eyes widened as she gave his words a lot more meaning than he had originally intended.
"Are you inviting yourself back into my bed, Jared?" Ann suddenly flung out. Her eyes portraying more curiosity than anger at his flirting.
"What if I were?"
"I thought we were passed all that," Ann responded defensively.
"Maybe all isn't solved to my satisfaction."
"It doesn't matter right now. You're not well. My offer was completely nonsexual", Jared assured her.
"How boring," Ann suddenly smiled.
"A true gentleman would never ravish an injured maiden."
"Ha, and since when did you become a gentleman?"
"Why, I've always been one."
"Apart from a few times when you and Cade pulled some awful prank on me."
He coughed a little. "Apart from a few little incidents, yes."
Ann laughed heartily. "I think you have to work a lot harder if you're going to convince anyone that you're a gentleman – true or otherwise."
"I'm gravely insulted," Jared teased lightly. "What would you call me instead?"
"Hm, I rake, perhaps. No, you're a seducer. That's what you are."
Jared laughed heartily. "Thanks for the compliment."
"It wasn't supposed to be a compliment." Ann expression seemed grimmer.
"What? You think I seduced you on purpose?"
"No!," he spat out before he managed to arrest himself.
"Then, would you rather say it was an accident?" Ann's voice sounded a lot colder all of a sudden.
"If anything, it was the other way around. You seduced me, then dumped me when you got tired of it." Jared knew he sounded more vulnerable than he wanted her to discover but he didn't care anymore.
"Oh, no. You're not pinning this on me. You were the culprit here and don't you dare deny it."
"Culprit? You talk to me as if I was criminal when all I did was fall in love with the wrong woman," Jared flung at her.
"You did?" Ann gasped, barely whispering the words.
Too late Jared discovered that his quick words had revealed far more than he had wanted. It was too late to wish them unsaid so he might as well bury himself completely, he thought.
"Yes," he muttered, before turning his back to her and retreated out of the kitchen. He wanted to collect his things and head out of there. No way if he was willing to expose himself to her ridicule any longer now that she knew the truth.
"But..., but...," he heard Ann stutter behind him.
That damn man was dropping a bomb on her and now he seemed to be leaving all together. No way if she would allow him to leave her again. Ann gaped after him. He was in love with her. Jared was in love with her. How could it be possible?
She shook her head and decided to leave the questions for later. Right now she had to stop a certain man from leaving her.
"Wait. Wait!," she shouted after him.
"I'll send someone over to finish the job," she heard Jared say from her living room. A sound notified her that he was closing his tool box. Oh my god, she thought. He was leaving already.
She quickly reached for her crutches and moved as quickly as she had ever moved on crutches, placing herself in front of her front door. Soon after, Jared came rushing from the other room and came to a halt in front of her. His expression looked closed.
"What now? I promise to send someone else to finish the rest of your apartment."
"Forget the apartment," Ann's voice broke as she forced out the words while gasping for breath after almost running on her crutches. "You love me?" she asked with a slight shiver in her voice.
"I don't think it's any use discussing this any further," Jared said flatly.
"No use? You just admitted that you fell in love with me and now you want me to forget it?" Ann shouted almost in hysteria.
"I don't need to listen to this," Jared announced before he tried to walk out the door. Ann just stood her ground. "Just let me pass," Jared said quietly.
"No. The only way for you to get out this door is over my dead body."
"There is no need to get hysterical," Jared said with a patience that annoyed her immensely as he carefully lowered his tool box to the floor.
"Hysterical? I'm not hysterical. I'm furious." Jared took one step away from her and closed his arms in front of him as if he was trying to calm a screaming child. The calm expression on his face made her see red. How could he admit to something like that and then try to escape her as soon as possible. "How dare you say that you love me and then run off like I was some kind of plague?"
He smiled at her. "A plague? Now that's actually quite a good comparison."
"Don't make fun of me. You're not much better yourself."
"In case you don't know it you've made me sick with longing. I don't sleep and I barely eat."
"Is the leg bothering you that much?"
"Forget the leg. I love you, you moron," Ann blurted out.
"You do?" Jared suddenly smiled at her.
"Yes, and there's no reason for being so smug about it," Ann snapped at him.
He just answered her with a wide smile.
"How long have you known?" he suddenly asked her.
"Since you jumped into the stream to rescue me," Ann admitted. "How about you?"
"I've known for years. Ever since you were a teenager and going out with that Dave-fellow."
"No. You nearly broke my heart."
"But you've had several girlfriends since then. How do you explain them?"
"Stupidity, most likely. I knew that Cade would kill me if he knew so I tried to find someone else to love."
"Oh my god," Ann felt as if she was hit by an earthquake. "I never suspected anything. I thought you would never be interested in someone like me and all the while you did your best to ignore me."
"Your brother is a frightening fellow."
"I even had a crush on you. Did you know that?"
"No, I thought you saw me as a clumsy brute that wasn't even worth spending a word on. You barely said anything when I came around."
"That's because I was too busy blushing and trying not to stutter," Ann smiled ironically. "How incredible that we could both misunderstand each other that much. But why didn't you tell me at the cabin?"
"And risk having you flung my feelings in my face? You called me a boytoy, remember?"
"No, that was you acting like an affronted virgin when all I wanted was to prolong our affair."
"By offering me payment?" Jared sounded a little annoyed.
"Well, I might have explained it badly at the time."
"I suppose we both did. I thought you were just using me."
"So did I. I wondered if this was your usual way of spending your holidays."
Jared laughed heartily. "Not likely. You're the first woman I've ever encountered in Cade's cabin. Well, except Erin, of course."
"Good. And you'd better keep it that way."
"What? Are you making demands on me, darling?" Jared almost purred at her.
Instantly Ann felt the heat spread throughout her body and gathering in her lower regions. She placed both her crutches in her left arm and raised her right arm and slowly moved it from her Jared's chest and down to his stomach. The scolding heat from his body was burning through his thin shirt and she wanted to rip his shirt to shreds and lick the tempting skin underneath.
A sharp intake of breath was heard from above her ear and Ann smiled at the thought of Jared being as affected by her touch as she was. She moved her hand further down and felt the hard ridge that tempted to force it's way through his jeans. She had a clear memory of what he looked like without his clothes and she closed her eyes to the wonderful memory as she let her fingers circle the outline of his shaft.
Suddenly Jared laughed deeply and caught her hand in his own.
"Careful now, honey. You don't want me to come in my pants."
"Don't I?," Ann smiled as she opened her eyes and met his.
"Vixen. You're not making this easy for me, are you?"
Ann just smiled as she dropped her crutches to the floor and sank down on her knees in front of Jared. He just stared at her. His mouth opened in surprise as she slowly unbuttoned his jeans to reveal the treasure inside. Pushing both his jeans and boxers down she could finally hold her hands around his erect cock. The smoothness of his skin surprised her as she had almost forgotten how good he felt to touch. She moved her head toward him and longed to take him into her mouth and make him beg for mercy.
At the same time Jared seemed to collect his wits and he lifted her up into his arms before he gave her a scorching kiss.
"You're making me insane," he purred as soon as he released her mouth. Her lips were still tender at the unusual event of feeling his lips against her own again and she let herself enjoy the feeling of happiness that seeped through her.
Just as quickly, Jared sat her down on the floor, put his arm behind her knees and lifted her as if she was a small child.
"But, Jared...," Ann managed to gasp as he quickly carried her into her bedroom and dumped her on the bed.