The phone rang and Nahla rolled over, groggily reaching for it. “Hello?”
A recording came on reminding her that she had requested a wake-up call. She hung up and rolled on to her back. She closed her eyes and said a prayer. She lay there for a few minutes before climbing out of bed and heading for the bathroom. After brushing her teeth, she took a long, hot shower before getting dressed. She put on her new black and white skirt suit, checked herself in the mirror.
Glancing at her watch, she noted that it was seven. She went over to the window and looked out. The street was far below. She was in New York City, the Big Apple which was pulsating with life even this early in the morning. Excitement filled her. This was her first visit to the city although it was purely on business. She hoped that she would have time for sightseeing. Perhaps she could persuade Simon. Simon. A smile came over her face when she thought about him.
Nahla loved working with Simon. He was very professional but also very easygoing. She heard horror stories from friends and family about bosses who micromanaged everything they did. She counted herself to be very blessed to have a boss like Simon. She wondered if he was awake. Most likely he was. He was an early bird. Every morning, no matter how early she went into the office, he was always there. Sometimes, it was just the two of them. He was the reason why she went to work early. They would sit and talk in his office for half-hour or a little longer until nine o’clock then she would go to her desk. She enjoyed his company tremendously and looked forward to spending that time with him.
Last night on the flight from London to New York, as they sat next to each other, she couldn’t help remembering how sexy he looked in the brown leather jacket and jeans as he walked over to her in the departure lounge at the airport. He had an errand to run so they arranged to meet there. It was the first time she had seen him in anything but a suit and it was refreshing. His usually slicked back hair was slightly tousled. She longed to run her fingers through the silky strands. On more than one occasion when they were sitting in the lounge, he caught her staring at him and she quickly looked away, feeling embarrassed.
When they got on board the plane, he removed his jacket and put it in the overhead compartment. The navy blue ribbed turtleneck sweater looked really good on him, accentuating his broad shoulders, arms and chest. Sitting that close to him was unnerving. Her heart skipped a beat now as she recalled the moment when the magazine slid off her lap as she tried to adjust her seat. They both reached for it and their hands touched.
Immediately, their eyes met and held as they both straightened up and settled back into their seats. He handed her the magazine. She swallowed hard before she thanked him. For the rest of the flight, she couldn’t stop thinking about the strong feelings that stirred in her when their hands touched. The moment, although brief, was charged with the attraction that they obviously felt toward each other. It had always been there, lurking, but in that instance, it was palpable.
The phone rang, making her almost jump out of her skin. She hurried to answer it. It was Simon. “Good morning, Nahla.”
“Good morning, Simon.” The sound of his voice was doing crazy things to her.
“I know we got in late last night,” he said. “Was checking to make sure you were able to get up.”
They had got in to LaGuardia after ten and by the time they got to the hotel, it was time to turn in. They had had dinner on the plane. He had accompanied her to her suite, stayed to make sure she was settled in before going to his. The suite was big and unlike anything she had ever seen. She enjoyed a good night’s rest. “I probably would still be asleep if it hadn’t been for the wake-up call,” she said.
“I was up before I got the call. Have you had breakfast as yet?”
“No.” Just then, she felt pangs of hunger.
“Join me in my suite. We can have breakfast together.”
“All right. I’m on my way.”
Five minutes later, Nahla stood outside of Simon’s suite. She took a deep breath before raising her hand to knock on the door.
“Come in,” she heard him call.
She opened the door and walked in, stopping short when she saw him standing there half-naked, his shirt was in his hand. Flustered, she looked away, her heart pounding.
A faint smile played on his lips as he observed her reaction and how she deliberately avoided looking at him. He could tell that she was attracted to him and that thrilled him because he was extremely attracted to her.
She was his new secretary because the last one he had was very inefficient. The moment Nahla walked in the boardroom, he knew that he going to hire her but as a formality, he interviewed her. When it was over, he told her right then and there that she got the job. That was two years ago. It turned out that hiring her was the best thing he did. They worked very well together. But, he wanted to have more than a professional relationship with her. He was hoping to change things between them while they were here in New York.
“Room service will be here shortly,” he informed her as he pulled on his shirt and started to button it. “While we eat we can go over the day’s schedule.”
She didn’t answer. How on earth was she going to concentrate on anything now when all she could think about was seeing him shirtless? It was hard standing there and trying not to stare at him. She wished he would hurry up and button his shirt.
“Is something the matter, Nahla?” he asked. “You seem bothered about something.”
“What—what if it had been room service instead of me just now?” she wondered. “The person would have walked in and seen you…”
“I knew it couldn’t be room service,” he assured her quietly. “As soon as I got off the phone with you I called them and they said they would be here in about ten minutes. Five minutes later I heard the knock. I figured it had to be you because you’re just a couple doors down the hall. And somehow, I don’t think seeing me half-naked would have bothered the person as much as it obviously bothers you.”
“It doesn’t bother me,” she replied quickly, too quickly and her heart leapt in her throat when he moved closer, his eyebrows raised.
“Doesn’t it?” he asked, his eyes intent on her face. “Is that why you avoid looking at me now?”
He was standing so close now that she could feel his warm breath on her forehead. The heady smell of his aftershave assailed her nostrils making her lightheaded. She was finding it really hard to breathe normally. Her eyes darted to his face and she trembled when she saw the expression on it. “Simon…” his name was a whisper.
His eyes darkened and he pulled her roughly against him. “Nahla,” he muttered thickly before he kissed her. His hands pressed into the small of her back while his mouth hungrily devoured hers making her senses spin. He groaned when she kissed him back. Her hands went under his shirt which wasn’t tucked in his trousers and her nails dug into the smooth skin on his back as they exchanged fiery kisses.
The loud knock on the door startled them and he raised his head, his face flushed. “It’s room service,” he panted. He released her and gave her a moment to collect herself before he called out, “Come in.”
A young man came into the suite pushing a room service table. He pushed it over by the window and spent a few minutes explaining what he had brought for them. “Enjoy your breakfast and please don’t hesitate to call us if you need anything else,” he said and with a courteous smile he quickly left the room. After he was gone, Simon went and locked the door.
Nahla looked at the spread but she couldn’t think about food at the moment. Her mind was on what happened before the waiter showed up. She glanced up as Simon came over to her. Their eyes met. “Are you hungry?” he asked.
She shook her head. “No.”
“Neither am I,” he replied. He reached for her and pulled her toward him, swallowing hard when he saw the desire in her eyes. “Let’s finish what we started.”
“But what about the meeting at nine-thirty?” she protested weakly.
“Don’t worry, we’ll make it,” he promised.
She opened her mouth to say something else but he smothered it with a kiss. Closing her eyes, she put her arms around his neck and responded wildly to his kisses. An hour later they quickly got dressed, had breakfast and left the hotel. They arrived at the meeting five minutes before it started.
On the way back to the hotel in the afternoon, Simon turned to her, “Do you regret what happened between us this morning?” he asked.
She shook her head. “No. Do you?”
He shook his head. “No. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.”
“It’s something I’ve always fantasized about. I didn’t think it would happen here in New York, though.”
“Nahla, I know that we work together but after this morning, I can’t go back to how things were between us. I don’t want to dream of being with you any more, I want it to be real.”
Nahla reached for his hand, her eyes shining. “I want to be with you, Simon. It’s as simple and complicated as that.”
He leaned over and kissed her. And as she kissed him back, she thought, I got my fairy-tale ending here in New York City.