The next hour flew by as she worked on the clam chowder. Setting down the spoon, she moved back to the tomato soup. Judging it cool enough to put into the refrigerator, she grabbed the handles of the stock pot and started to pour it into a storage container.
Jim breezed through the door as she was finishing. Like always, she totally lost her concentration when he walked into the room. Soup sloshed over the side of the container. She cursed roundly, as the soup scalded her hand.
Turning to the sink, she turned the water on and rinsed the soup off of her hand. Jim hurried over and said, “Shit. I’m sorry. Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” she said, “I’m just a klutz. It’s not your fault.”
Jim looked at her and said, “That looks really red.”
Elle waved her hand and said, “Not too bad. The soup wasn’t that hot.”
He reached out and put his hand on her wrist, gently steering her hand back to the sink. Turning the water on cool, he moved it back under the stream. They stood there for a few moments, his hand circling her wrist as she let the water run over it.
Reaching out with her other hand she turned the water off and said, “It’s fine now. I promise.”
“You’re sure?” he asked, concerned.
Rolling her eyes now, she said, “Yes. I’m sure. I’m totally fine. I burn myself quite frequently. It’s part of the job.”
He eyed the red blotch on her hand and frowned again, unconvinced.
“Would it make you feel better if I put something cold on it?” she asked.
“If it’s not a lot less red after we eat, then yes,” he said.
“We?” she asked.
“Yeah, we. I’ve tried to get you to go out with me a couple of times now. I figure this is the only way you’ll let me buy you dinner,” he said with a grin.
She smiled now. He was such a flirt.
“You know. If you keep asking, one of these days I’m going to think you’re serious, Jim,” she said, moving toward the food he’d set on the counter. Then she asked, “Which one of these is mine?” as she rifled through the brown paper bag.
When she looked up, he was staring at her like he was trying to solve a puzzle. He finally asked, “What makes you think I’m not serious? I’ve been flirting with you for months.”
Elle blinked, confused for a minute, and said, “Honestly, I thought it was a proximity thing. When everyone gets together, we’re the only two single people. I didn’t realize you were serious.”
“I see that,” he said. “Proximity? You don’t give yourself a lot of credit, Elle.”
Reaching for one of the containers, he opened it then passed it over to her.
Picking up her fork, she shrugged at him and said, “I’m just a realist.”
He gave an almost imperceptible shake of his head, then said, “Elle,” and sighed.
They moved into the office and sat on the couch. Digging into their food, they were both silent for a few minutes.
Finally, Jim asked, “What did you mean, you’re a realist?”
Elle snorted and said, “Come on. You know you’re ridiculously hot. I just didn’t think you’d be interested.”
Jim grinned and said, “Thanks, but why wouldn’t I be interested in you?”
“You could be dating willowy models. I’m not saying I’m ugly, but I’m pretty average. Not willowy in the slightest,” Elle said, shrugging.
“The willowy model types you think I should be dating don’t have much substance in my experience. They’re usually looking for a leg up in the entertainment industry or they’re after my money. I prefer my women…real. You’re very much my type,” he said, looking her directly in the eye now.
Flushing, Elle smiled and said, “Good to know.”
They ate in silence for a few minutes as Elle thought over everything he said. Popping open the can of Diet Coke he’d brought with him, she took a swig and said, “This has certainly been an enlightening meal but I have to get back to work now.”
“So you’re going to put me out of my misery and let me take you on an actual date, right?” he asked.
Nodding slowly, she said, “That would be nice.”
He asked, “What are you doing Friday?”
Elle winced and said, “I’m working late. Evening event.”
Considering, she said, “I should be free after 5:00 p.m. What did you have in mind?”
“Let me think about that,” he said, pulling out his cell phone. “What’s your number? I’ll call you once I figure it out.”
Elle rattled off her cell phone number. He dialed. A moment later, her phone rang in her apron pocket.
“Now you’ve got mine,” he said. “Lemme see your hand.”
He reached out and took her wrist, inspecting the part of her hand that she’d burnt. Sighing, he said, “It looks better. Sorry about that.”
“Again,” she said, “totally not your fault. It will be perfectly fine tomorrow. What do I owe you for dinner?”
He shook his head and said, “I’ve got dinner. It was well worth the cost of your lemon chicken to finally clear the air between us.”
“Thank you for dinner then,” she said, smiling.
“Don’t work too late, Elle. Be careful please,” he said, gesturing to her hand.
Elle grinned and said, “Only an hour or so left. I’ll be careful.”
“Night,” he said as he walked toward the kitchen door.
She gave him a little wave and said, “Night.”
Standing up now, he moved toward her. He’d been watching her mess with the hem of her dress since she’d arrived. He’d been getting small, tantalizing glimpses of her smooth thighs for the better part of an hour now. She was driving him crazy and seemed to have no idea.
She got off the couch now, smiling, and said, “I had almost given up on dinner.”
He pulled her into his arms and asked, “Would you mind putting off dinner a few minutes? I’ve got something I need to take care of.”
Looking at him curiously now, she said, “Oh?”
He nodded and the leaned down to take her mouth with his. Nibbling her bottom lip gently, he mumbled, “Super important.”
When she sighed against his lips, he deepened the kiss. As tongue swept into her mouth to tangle with hers, he stroked his hand down her back to press her even closer to him. His hands moved down to settle on the curves of her ass. He immediately heard a low moan in the back of her throat and felt himself harden.
Breaking his mouth away from hers, he trailed his lips down the side of her throat, pressing soft, biting kisses against her neck. When he gently sucked on the patch of flesh where her neck and shoulder met, he felt her shudder slightly against him. She pressed closer and rolled her hips against him.
Groaning, he pulled his mouth away from her shoulder and said, “Every time you messed with the hem of your dress, it gave me this overwhelming desire to bury my face between your thighs. Would you mind?”
He felt her sharp intake of breath, then a moment later she laughed and said, “Literally anytime you want to, I can make myself available for that.”
With a groan, he captured her mouth with his again. The kiss grew wild, quickly. Her hands slid around his waist and up his back. She pulled him until he was flush against her. The only thing that separated them was clothing and he had every intention of correcting that particular issue very soon.
He moved them slowly back toward his desk and sat her on the edge, pushing the skirt of her dress up. Standing between her thighs now, he pulled back from the kiss. Pressing his lips to her throat again, he began swirling his tongue against her skin.
He cupped one breast in his palm and felt her nipple pebble under his touch as he moved his fingers against it. He continued to massage her breast gently with his palm until he heard her breathing increase slightly. He moved his hand lower to the damp heat between her thighs and discovered that the filmy lace was soaked.
On a groan, he sank to his knees. Helping her shift, he pulled the panties down her legs and slid them over the heels she wore. He stared at her now and felt another wave of lust hit him. He could see the evidence of her arousal against the now bare lips of her pussy.
He used his thumb and forefinger to spread her open and leaned forward. Running his tongue in a circular motion around her swollen clitoris, he heard her sharp intake of breath. When he slid two fingers into her tight channel, she gave a moan.
Pumping them into her with a steady rhythm, he shifted his mouth slightly, making direct contact with her clit for the first time. He felt her flutter around his fingers as she cried out. Working his fingers against her, he rubbed the flat of his tongue in time with the press of his hand.
She was whimpering with each stroke of his tongue and he could feel her tightening and fluttering around his fingers.