Look The Part(6)

By: Jewel E. Ann



“You knew?” I toss the rest of my sandwich in the bag. The unsettling beat above me has ruined my appetite.

“Yep. How do you think I know about the videos?”

“But you didn’t think I needed to know this before you allowed me to offer her the space?”

“I assumed you knew. You’re the smartest guy I know. It’s like my idol has fallen today. I no longer see you as an all-knowing god, but just a mortal of average intelligence like the rest of us.”

Note to self: Never hire a female secretary again.

“I’ll be back.” In less than five strides, my feet eat up the floor between my desk and the front door to my office. My fingers drum the railing in the elevator. When it dings open, a young girl and her mom step on as I step out.

“Flint. Happy Monday.” Ellen smiles, kneeling on the floor while she piles various percussion instruments into a basket.

Who says happy Monday?

She stands and brushes the carpet lint from her cream pants that hug her curves in a way that pisses me off, almost as much as the tight, blue turtleneck sweater hugging her perky breasts. The woman played me, distracted me with her body and happy dance for her new space, then wham! Bongos all day long.

“It was a ‘happy Monday.’ I won a case this morning and grabbed lunch from my favorite sandwich shop. But then I sat at my desk to eat it and heard this awful banging sound coming from above me.”

“Not awful.” She shakes her head. “That particular young girl has made great strides with her rhythm. She couldn’t keep a simple beat when I first met her. Now she can play six different songs with complex rhythms. She’s more focused in school and her speech has improved dramatically.”

*

Ellen

There’s something thrilling, even a little forbidden, about a man in a perfectly-tailored suit. Flint Hopkins wears the hell out of a three-piece suit.

Not a single wrinkle.

Not a hair out of place.

Not a scuff mark on his shiny shoes.

His lips move, but all I hear is “I wore this suit for you today” as his hands make their rounds: caressing the buttons on his jacket, twisting his cufflinks, and adjusting his tie. It’s sophisticated fidgeting.

“You said you’re a therapist, not a music teacher.”

Observant men are sexy too.

“I did. And I am. Specifically, I’m a music therapist. Do you want me to explain what a music therapist does?”

“No. I just want you to look for a different space to rent. I’ll give you two weeks.” He turns and makes it out the door in three long strides.

My toes are on his heels in seconds, chasing him down the stairs. “Wait? You’re evicting me?”

“I’m giving you notice.”

“Notice? You’re kicking me out for what? Doing my job?”

“Preventing me from doing mine.” He pushes through the door at the bottom of the stairs and makes a sharp right.

“Hey, Boss, how’d it—” Amanda’s gaze moves from Flint to me as I follow him into his office.

“Hi, Amanda. Would you happen to have the name of a good real estate attorney? I may need to sue my landlord for wrongful eviction.”

“Um …”

Flint turns, halting my forward momentum a second shy of slamming into his chest. “Shut my door, Amanda.” His eyes narrow.

I don’t care how hot this guy looks in a suit. I won’t recoil under his glower. “Please leave it open, Amanda. I may need you to be my witness.”

Arrogance tugs at his mouth. “A witness?”

“For when you threaten me.”

He unbuttons his jacket and takes a step back. A whoosh of oxygen leaves my chest like it’s attached to him. The man has an air of confidence and mystery about him that commands attention.

When he turned around to face me a few seconds ago, I sensed the slightest agitation in his narrowed eyes and flared nostrils, but not anymore. It’s not hard to imagine Flint Hopkins in a courtroom—cool, calculated, ruthless.

“You seem to be an intelligent person, so surely you can see how the noise level of your profession could distract me from doing mine. I think sharing space with other businesses is not a good idea. You need a building of your own or maybe you should work out of your house.”

“I live in an apartment. And I’m sorry, Mr. Money Bags, but I don’t have the cash flow to buy or rent a building all to myself. You’re an attorney. How often are you even in your office? And when you are, what are you doing that requires complete silence? Charming snakes? Narrating audio books?”

He adjusts his tie and fiddles with his cufflinks while pinning me with a cold glare. “I’m thinking. That’s what I do when I’m here. Thinking is what wins cases. My job requires concentration.”

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