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Captive Heart: Hearts In Peril (Episode 21)

Posted by on September 15, 2016.

Captive

Helen stood still as a statue as Lionel’s eyes moved over her. His gaze felt like a warm hand running over her body and she shuddered when the heat reached her breasts. She wondered what he was seeing. The room was chilly from the air-conditioning and her body was reacting to a combination of that coolness and the heat of his gaze. She wondered if her nipples had grown hard; she could feel them aching.

Lionel stepped back, with some effort, and slid his hands back into his pockets, looking away. Helen felt a sense of disappointment, mixed with relief. She was glad he hadn’t touched her and yet she wasn’t.

“I think we have to talk, Miss Bassey.” He said, turning slightly away from her. The flickering light from the muted television danced on his blue t-shirt and reflected in his eyes as he stared at it.

Helen used the opportunity to quickly close the top buttons of her white shirt, and swallowed a smile as she noticed his hands were still deep in his pockets. Wasn’t that a ploy men used when they wanted to hide evidence that they had reacted physically to a woman? She felt slightly better knowing his body had reacted just as strongly as she felt.

“What about, Mr Thomas?” she asked, injecting a brisk tone into her voice. If she couldn’t feel professional around him, she was determined to do the next best thing. Fake it.

Lionel turned to her, and she could see he had regained some of his self-control. She could see a bit of heat still lingering in his eyes, but he appeared to have gotten a handle on his feelings as well.

“You have been avoiding me, Miss Thomas.” He raised an arm as she began to protest, stopping her. “I don’t expect you to admit it, and I understand why. I don’t need you to talk, just… please listen.”

She kept a straight face as he bent to pick up the remote control, switching the television off. It wasn’t easy to act casual, though. His t-shirt gripped his body tightly when he bent over, and she had to stop herself from biting her lower lip as his muscled arms and toned chest were briefly shown off to perfection. She wished she were that t-shirt.

“I almost went out of line yesterday, while we were upstairs.” Lionel said, and Helen was surprised to see real regret in his face. “It was inappropriate behavior and I won’t excuse myself by saying nothing happened. As your employer, I should show better self-control. So I apologize, Miss Bassey, and if you feel a need to resign, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Helen stared at him with her mouth hanging open. He expected her to resign because they had almost kissed? And why was he taking the whole blame on himself? She had been there, an almost-willing participant, and just as guilty. A feeling of indignation ran through her. Was he one of those chauvinists who taught only men had feelings of lust and women needed to make a romantic connection before they felt the same way? What was she…. A piece of wood?

Helen’s lips tightened in anger. She had not resigned when her life was in danger because of him, and she was not going to resign now because of a kiss that never even happened. Lionel needed her around, even if he didn’t know it. Somebody had to look out for him around here, and it was neither his plotting cousin nor fiancée and friend who were busy kissing when he wasn’t looking.

“The thought of resigning never crossed my mind, Mr Thomas.” She said evenly. “I’m not quite sure what inappropriate behavior you are referring to, but I barely noticed it. I didn’t attach that much importance to it.”

She felt pleased when she saw a frown wrinkle Lionel’s forehead. Good. She hoped she had punctured his male ego by pretending he didn’t affect her as much as he thought he did.

“Well then, I guess there’s nothing to worry about.” he said, and stretched a hand out towards her. “Back to business as usual, yes?”

She hesitated for a moment, and then gripped his palm in a firm handshake, ignoring the jolt of awareness his touch caused. “Of course, Mr Thomas.”

He nodded and stepped back. “Good. This reminds me, I have a request to make.”

“Anything, sir.” she responded briskly, determined to keep things strictly business-like.

“Bukola… Miss Deinde’s parents and one of her cousins are coming into the country in two days. I managed to convince them to spend a night here, while their own house is put in order. So, please see to the arrangements for keeping them comfortable and see that they are picked up when they arrive at the airport.”

Helen nodded, her heart sinking at the crushing reminder of Mr Thomas’ upcoming wedding. “Of course, sir. I’ll make sure everything goes like clockwork.”

Lionel nodded a silent thank you and walked away from her. She avoided watching him as he left and headed back to his office. The moment she heard the office door close behind him, she sighed and sank back into the chair in which she had been sitting.

It was time to stop pretending that things were strictly business between them. The thought of his soon-to-be in-laws hurt her. Her worries about Bernard, compounded with concerns about Mr Kelechi Dike, would now be mixed with daily reminders of Mr Thomas’ upcoming wedding to Bukola.

Truly, the next few days would be difficult for her.

To Be Continue

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One Response

  1. This writer is blessed! Or is it just me?

    by Anthony on Sep 24, 2016 at 5:54 pm

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