Chloe looked at the man sitting across from her. His knee was bouncing up and down under the table, his fingers tearing up the paper napkin he’d stolen from her. “But J, I don’t understand how you can ask me this!”
“Why not? You’re my PA after all.”
“Exactly. Which means I take care of your dogs, I make sure your fridge is full. I get you coffee. It’s just…You may pay my wages but it still doesn’t mean I’m willing to become a prostitute!” Her voice had risen and she looked around the quiet Starbucks to make sure no one had heard the last part of her speech.
“I’m not asking you to whore yourself out, for fuck’s sake!” he swore as he took a sip of his scalding coffee. “I just need help while I’m detoxing.”
“You just quit smoking!”
“And it means I have only one vice left, C. Just one. I need sex. I need something to occupy my mind, my hands. All I can think about is one more cigarette. Between that and my craving for alcohol, I’ve reached my limit. Please, Chloe.” His voice was so desperate she felt herself start to nod.
“Why me? Why can’t you find an ex of yours? You’re always going out. I’m sure you can find someone who’d be interested in fucking you on a daily basis.”
“What do you think I’ve been doing this past week?” he growled. “I can’t stand them. I need someone I can trust. I need…you.”
Hell, that was not fair! He couldn’t be nice and expect her to…Argh! “You hired me because I’m not your type. Remember?”
“I remember. That’s why you’re perfect. We won’t get close, I mean closer. You won’t want to become my girlfriend. You’ll still work for me afterwards. Right?”
He continued as if she hadn’t interrupted him. “I’ll make it worth for you, I promise.”
“I don’t want any more money!” she yelped. “Who do you take me for? If I agree to this, it’ll just be because you’re a friend and I don’t want you to, you know—”
“Yeah.” She licked her lips. “Why did you quit smoking if you knew it was going to be this hard? Are you sure it’s necessary—”
He cut her off once again, “The doctor told me I had to quit smoking if I wanted to keep on singing. You know me, babe. You know I have to sing. And if that means no more cigarettes, then so be it.”
“It’s not that easy, J. Didn’t the doc give you stuff to alleviate your needs? Gums, patches, anything?”
“I’ve tried them all but nothing works. I was even at an acupuncturist this morning. But no, the only time I didn’t feel the need for a cigarette was when I was fucking that girl the other night.”
TMI, Chloe thought, wincing at his words. Fuck, how could she think that when if he got his way, she’d be under him soon? He was her boss. She’d gotten used to thinking of him that way. So why did it have to change now? “Are you sure you can’t find someone else? Someone who actually looks like your usual conquests? You know, tiny, dark-haired, etc.?”
“Chloe.” He grabbed her hand across the table. “Do you really think I’d ask you this if I hadn’t tried everything else I could think of?” She stared back at him, wondering if he realized how rude that sounded. Like she was his last solution and even if she wasn’t up to his standards, he had no choice. “Please, Chloe. It won’t be for long. I just need to get all the nicotine out of my system and then the doc said it’d be easier. Please.” His hands tightened around hers, his gaze catching hers. She tried saying no. Really, she did. But all that came out was a mumble and a nod.