Really Personal Questions

“Thanks for sending me the samples of the web banner. The two fonts you chose are more like it. I’ll let you know which one you should go with by the end of the day.”

“Thanks.”

“Was there something else?” she asked when he remained standing there.

“As a matter of fact there is.” He went over to the window and leaned against the seat. His gaze flicked over her. She was wearing a black top with fine straps and a green skirt. The matching jacket for the skirt was draped over her chair.

“Well?”

“I looked up the definition for the word, girlfriend.”

“And?”

“It means a female friend.”

“It also means a frequent or regular female companion in a romantic or sexual relationship.”

“That definition doesn’t apply to Briony.”

“Why not? You see each other frequently. You take her out for lunch, dinner and you visited her family’s farm.”

“Do you see Karl frequently?”

“Why do you always have to mention either him or Akello?”

“Well, I know that Akello is out of the picture. Either you weren’t interested in being more than friends or you didn’t want to be in a relationship with him anymore. So, you dumped him and replaced him with Karl.”

“Why do you insist that there is something more between these two men and me? Why can’t a man and a woman just be friends? Why must people always assume that they are romantically or sexually involved?”

“There are some women whom men can’t be just friends with.”

“And am I one of those women?”

“Yes.”

“I see.”

“So, you’ve never slept with either of them?”

“You’ve got a lot of nerve, Mr. Gray, sticking your nose into my personal business. How would you like it if I were to ask you if you’ve slept with your girlfriend?”

“She isn’t my girlfriend and the answer is no. We haven’t slept together.”

“Why do you insist that she isn’t your girlfriend? Aren’t you and she dating?”

“We’re seeing each other.”

“People who are ‘seeing someone’ are dating. They go out on dates regularly with the person that they are seeing. They may attend lunches, dinners, movies or other activities that people in relationships typically enjoy. Why can’t you admit that you’re dating the woman? Are you ashamed or embarrassed about it?”

“No. I’m neither ashamed nor embarrassed. Why should I be? Briony is an incredible woman.”

“I’m sure she is.”

“You sound like you don’t like her and you don’t even know her.” 

“I’m not in the habit of disliking people I don’t know. That wouldn’t be fair, would it?”

“You still haven’t answered my question and I’ve answered yours.”

“I’m not going to stand here and discuss my love life with you, Mr. Gray.”

“I wish you would stop calling me that. Why is it so hard for you to call me Tadeas or Tad?”

“Which does she call you?”

“Tadeas.”

“Have you told your parents about her?”

“No.”

“When are you going to tell them about her?”

“I don’t have to tell them anything.”

“Why not? Don’t you want them to know about your relationship with her? Why are you hiding it from them?”

“I’m not hiding anything from them. For your information, I’m taking her to their annual charitable gala tomorrow evening.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

“Do you think they would approve?”

“Approve of what?”

“Of the farmer’s daughter?”

“Who’s being a snob now?”

“I’m not being a snob. I know how important class is among the British aristocracy. I’m not sure that your parents would welcome your girlfriend with open arms.”

“Let me worry about my parents.”

“Fine.”

“I was right about Akello, you know. He wanted to be more than friends but he didn’t want to rock the boat. So, most likely you haven’t slept with him but what about Karl?”

“How is that any of your business?”

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“I know that it isn’t any of my business but I need to know.”

“Why?”

“Because–“

The phone rang just then and she answered it. When she hung up, she pulled on her jacket. “I have a meeting to go to.”

He moved away from the window. “After the meeting, I’d like to finish our conversation.”

“I’ll be gone for the rest of the day. And as far as I’m concerned, this conversation is over. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get some stuff together before I leave.”

Flushing, he turned and walked out of the office. He didn’t go straight back to his desk but headed for the washroom. It was empty. He stood at the sink, leaning forward with his hands gripping the edge of the basin.

Maybe it was just as well that the phone rang when it did. He had been about to say that her relationship with Karl mattered a great deal to him. It drove him crazy to think of them having sex. He couldn’t bear the thought of another man touching and making love to her. He dragged his fingers through his hair. Damn her.

Face it, old chap, you want to take Karl’s place. You want to be the one touching and making love to her. He closed his eyes as intense, burning heat stirred in his loins making him catch his breath. Yes, he had to finally admit to himself that he wanted Velma. He wanted her so badly that he could almost taste it. What on earth was he going to do now? And what about Briony?

Source: Our Everyday Life

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