Never in all the years she worked with Gabriel did she anticipate falling in love with him. She had been so determined to keep their relationship purely professional and then, out of the blue, she developed feelings for him. She blamed it on all those nights they worked together on different projects. He was so disarmingly attractive.
Tonight, she was a bit uneasy. She wished she could come up with an excuse not to be there. She dreaded being alone with him. Unfortunately, they had a finite amount of time to work on this project so they had to get started on it now.
Just then, he walked into the boardroom. “I hope you don’t mind, but I ordered takeout,” he announced.
She busied herself with the files and papers so that she wouldn’t have to look at him. “I’m not hungry,” she said.
“You can’t work on an empty stomach.” He came and stood in front of her, forcing her to look at him. “Do you have a problem being alone with me?” He asked suddenly, making her blink.
“Why would I have a problem being alone with you?” she asked, wondering how he could have guessed that. Was she so transparent?
“You tell me.”
“There’s nothing to tell.” She pressed against the edge of the table, her eyes wary.
He was standing really close now and her heart and pulse were racing. She swallowed hard, riveted by the expression on his face and the color of his eyes. His gaze dropped to her lips. For an emotionally charged moment they stood there, close to each other and dangerously close to stepping over the line when she broke the spell by turning away abruptly.
“We have lots of work to do,” she muttered. “We need to get started.”
“Okay,” he conceded and moved away. They sat down at the table and began to work.
The take out arrived about half-hour later and they ate as they worked. It was after nine when they finally finished the project. Gabriel got up and stretched while she gathered the papers together. He looked at her. “Would you like to grab some coffee?” he asked.
“No, thanks,” she quickly refused. She started when he got up and went over to her. She held the files in front of her as if to protect herself.
“Are you going to meet him after you leave here?”
“That character I saw you with yesterday.”
She racked her brain, trying to figure out whom he was talking about when she remembered that she had gone out to lunch with David. Gabriel had seen her leave and he was in the reception area when she returned an hour and half later. He hadn’t looked at all pleased. Much like now. “You mean David.”
“Yes,” he snapped. “Is he the reason why you won’t go for a coffee with me?”
She stared at him in surprise. He looked and sounded furious. There was a glint in his eyes. Was he jealous of David? “David is my friend from college. He invited me to lunch to celebrate his engagement. He and his fiancee are getting married in June.”
He raked his hands through his hair, his eyes troubled as they met hers. “I’m sorry for my outburst,” he muttered. “I thought he was the reason for your behavior towards me. Lately, you have been acting as if you don’t want to be alone with me. If he isn’t the reason, what is?
She could tell him that he was mistaken or come clean. Instead, she asked him a question. “Gabriel, were you jealous just now when you thought that I was in a relationship with David?”
“Yes,” he admitted. “I was insanely jealous.”
Her heart was thudding now. “Why?”
His eyes were dark and stormy now as he moved closer to her. “Why? Because I’m in love with you. I’ve been in love with you for a long time now but kept it to myself because of our work relationship. You always made it clear that it was strictly business between us.”
She took a step closer. “Gabriel…”
“Do you have any feelings for me?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said. “I tried so hard not to fall in love with you because we work together and I never wanted to get involved with someone I worked with but…” the rest of her words were hushed because he was kissing her. The files she was holding fell on the floor as she wrapped her arms around his neck and surrendered to the feelings that she had bottled up inside. For several minutes they exchanged frenzied kisses then she drew back, trying to catch her breath. “It’s getting late,” she gasped. “We should be going.”
He nodded, releasing her. His face was flushed and his breathing was labored. “You’re right.” He bent down and picked up the files after placing the scattered papers in them. He handed the files to her. “We have an early day tomorrow.”
As she took the files from him, his fingers caressed hers. She exhaled her breath shakily. “Do you think it will be awkward working together now?”
“It doesn’t have to be,” he said.
She smiled. “Good.” She grabbed her handbag and they left the boardroom. He walked her to her car. She reached up and kissed him. It felt so good doing that, so liberating. “See you tomorrow,” she said when she pulled away. She was about to climb into her car when he stopped her.
“Have dinner with me at my place tomorrow night,” he said softly. “I will prepare my specialty.”
She laughed. “Your specialty?”
“Yes. Greek lemon chicken and potatoes. Trust me, you will love it. Come at six.”
“Sounds delicious. I’ll bring the wine.”
He smiled and kissed her. “Good night, Olivia. Call me when you get home. If there’s no answer, leave a message.”
“Good night, Gabriel.” She climbed into the car. She waved as she drove off.
She was tired but she knew that she wouldn’t fall asleep for a while. Her thoughts would keep her awake for awhile. She would be thinking about Gabriel, his declaration of love, his kisses and the home-cooked dinner he had planned for her tomorrow night. At work, it will be business as usual between them but outside of the office…she smiled at the thought. Just then, Jill Scott’s song, “He loves me” played on the radio.
Source: All Recipes