Still a Bad Boy(6)

By: Ada Scott

It didn’t take him long to spot me either, as if I drew his eyes as much as he drew mine. He headed straight for me and I had this image of him picking me up and carrying me off into the sunset.

There I went again. What was it about him that made me forget who I was?

“Mr. Barlow.” I began to stand.

He held out his hand, halting me, before he sat down on the opposite side of the table. “Please. Just call me Jace for tonight.”

“Oh. OK. You can call me Kendall too.”

“A beautiful name for a beautiful woman.”

I glanced down at my glass of wine for a second, fighting off the shy blush that seemed to blossom anyway whenever he looked at me. Lines like that didn’t help my predicament.

Eventually, I managed to raise my eyes to his with a goofy smile on my face. “Thank you.”

“Have you ordered?” he asked.

“No, I was waiting for you.”

“Well, now you’ve got me, what are you going to do with me?”

It was an innocent question, but the way he said it and the look on his face gave me the impression that he was implying something. I didn’t know if it was just my imagination running wild again, not out of the question when I was around him, or if I was getting hit on by a multi-millionaire.


“But enough about me. What about you? Do you have a boyfriend?”

The whole dinner was like that. A question from me, a dodge by him, followed by thinly-veiled innuendo. I got the impression that the veil was only put there as part of some game he was playing with himself. With me.

No, there wasn’t any doubt about it. Jace Barlow was flirting with me. Me!

“Me? No. Nobody…”

… ever noticed me.

“… I just don’t really have t-time for that,” I lied.

“I know the feeling.”

Jace leaned forward across the table as if he was going to tell me a secret, fixing me with those eyes of his with the game of cat and mouse playing out behind them. I couldn’t help but lean forward, drawn to him like he had me on a string, and I caught a hint of his cologne over the aroma of expensive food.

“There’s one thing people like us have time for. Don’t you think, Kendall?”

Leaning forward as I was, he took a slow and purposeful look down my top and I was caught off guard by a jolt of excitement between my legs. I’d never felt anything quite like that before without even laying a finger on myself, and I gasped quietly at the sensation as his gaze returned to my eyes, holding me there almost like I was spellbound.

No man had ever seen me naked. The very thought of it had always made me want to run and hide, but I found myself having to mentally argue with my own hands to stop them from unbuttoning my top right here at the table. After all this lonely time, I was soaking up this attention like a sponge, and I wanted more.

I also didn’t want to let this opportunity, this scoop, slip through my fingers. Struggling to regain control of myself, I thought back to my research this afternoon, the things I read between looking at pictures of him on a beach, with his top off and that chiseled body on display.

“I… um… Mr… Jace. I… uh… read that you went to the group home when you were six. Do you remember anything about your parents?”

For the first time since I’d laid eyes on him, Jace’s mask of confidence cracked for a moment. Through the seams, as he pulled away and leaned back in his seat, I caught a flash of anger and a slow river of sadness flowing underneath.

Then it was gone, and Jace Barlow, the living enigma, was back. He looked at me through slightly narrowed eyes as he ran his tongue over his teeth inside his mouth before taking a deep breath.

Before he could let out whatever it was he was going to say, a ringtone came from his pocket and the air puffed out of him wordlessly. He pulled his phone out without saying anything to me, looked at the caller displayed on the screen and then answered it.

“Get anything important?” He asked without greeting, then paused for a moment. “Oh, that motherf...”

He looked at me and from side to side at the other diners. “I’ve got to take this. I’ll be back in a few. Order some dessert if you want it.”

“Everything OK?” I asked.

“No. Business.”

He stood and began talking in hushed tones as he stalked between the rows of tables and past the woman at the front desk, who was dealing with a younger couple, and out the front door. Instead of perusing the dessert menu I pulled out my own phone and called my boss, feeling shaky from the rollercoaster of Jace toying with my emotions and his sharp withdrawal.

“Hello?” said Mr. Kinsley.

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