Kiss a Ginger Day: Chapter 4

Note: ffyc is the Welsh word for f*ck. So not a typo!

Theodore stood before Alice’s larder and sighed. “Bloody hell, what you Americans try to pass off as tea is a crime.”

“I suppose you found the Lipton tea bags?” Her voice was strained. “I don’t need any.”

He peeked through her kitchen archway to where she lay on the couch, ice pack held to her forehead. “No one needs these.”

He pulled out the yellow and red box, strode over to the trash bin, stepped on the pedal and when the lid lifted, dropped them into the bin. “There. In their proper place.” A Starbucks had to be around the corner. They were around every corner here. Not that their offerings would be better.

She needed a proper tea kettle in here with some loose leaf tea. Chamomile to calm her easily-rattled nerves.

The ice pack crinkled in the living room. She still hadn’t looked directly at him. He supposed fainting in front of the whole office—because they’d gathered a crowd somehow—would be humiliating to her. She was just so… buttoned up. And Americans called the English uptight.

She’d finally emerged from her fainting spell in the lobby as he carried her in his arms. She wiggled so hard, trying to get free, they had to have resembled two fishes in some weird mating dance.

Convincing her to get in to the uber so he could escort her home wasn’t any easier, either.

Still, once inside, she plopped down on her couch, immediately, not bothering to shed her shoes or coat so she had to be suffering.

Bloody great. Suffering was the one thing he couldn’t abide by.

He leaned against the archway, stared down at her. Even under present conditions she was still quite pretty, still stubborn. “You get bad headaches like this a lot?”

“Only when I drink too much, get no sleep and crumple in front of men who hold my future in their hands.”

That last part wasn’t exactly true. Even if his assessment found she was lacking somehow—and that was growing doubtful—it wasn’t a guarantee she’d be sacked. He was there to tell the truth, as he’d said. And his brief stint that morning at Edison tech revealed she was a dedicated worker.

He sighed and pushed off his lean. “Take the day off. We have your car to retrieve. Just call in sick.”

Finally, the ice bag was lifted from her forehead. She looked aghast at him. “That’s not very management consultant of you. Aren’t you here to get us to work more?”

He winked. “Smarter, not harder love.”

“I’ve always hated that saying. It hides a multitude of sins, like delegating to everyone but yourself.”

She was most definitely a smart one. “What patronizing, cliched saying do you think would work at Edison Tech?”

“Ah, so the interview has begun.” She let the ice pack fall to the floor, then reached over to rummage in her purse. She pulled out a bottle of Tylenol.

He moved to where she lay prone on the couch, a blanket over her legs. He handed her a bottle of water. “Afraid given the sad state of your larder, this is all you’re getting.”

She popped open the Tylenol bottle. “Thanks, and you can go, really. You have work to do, and I won’t be any more trouble to you.”

“What?” He slapped his chest. “And miss a chance to celebrate Inconvenience Yourself Day?” He waved his hand so she’d curl her legs under her. He sat on the opposite end of the couch.

She lightly tapped him with her foot. “You’re making these days up.” She threw back 2 pills and took a long swig of water.

Ah, cynical, too. “Google it.”

She snuggled back down against her ice pack. “Later. First, I need just a few minutes. Then, we can go back to Edison.”

He crossed his arms. “What do you think of the company?”

She pointed at him. “Oh, no. We will be doing this in the office. Nowhere else. We’ve already crossed a million lines.”

“Well, technically you did the crossing—”

“What?” She sat up and punched his arm.

“Ow.” He rubbed his bicep, not that it hurt him. “Still trying to cop a feel, I see.”

“You’re unconscionable, you know that?”

If she only knew the thoughts in his mind—being this close to her again. But he shouldn’t voice them. “Ah, not today. It’s Be Humble Day. Now, why do you want to go back to work so badly?”

Her phone buzzed on the coffee table. She pointed at it. “Because that will happen all day if I don’t get back.” She lifted her phone and peered at the screen.

“One of the main delegators?”

“It’s Roger trying to call. Probably wanting to make sure I wasn’t trashing him over crab cakes at the Palm restaurant with you.” She slapped a hand over her mouth. “I shouldn’t have said that.”

“Don’t like your boss?”

“He’s… fine.” She kicked off the blanket, tried to rise but fell back down.

His hand landed on her back, just to steady her, of course. “Tell him you’re taking the day off,” he said. “Unless fainting is just an everyday occurrence for you. Plus, there’s the matter of your car. I’ll go with you.”

“Like I said, I don’t take days off.”

“Not even for International Accounting day? November 10.”

“Not even then.” She swung her gaze to him. “Why are you so obsessed with these days, anyway?”

He shrugged and lay back a little more. “My question is why aren’t more people? The chance to go ‘round today and say things like ‘Happy Supermarket Employee Day’ and ‘Happy Pink Shirt Day’—only that’s in Canada today.”

She eyed him. “I think it’s because you enjoy disarming people.”

“Who me? I’d never. Especially not today. It’s Scout’s Founder’s Day. Chance for all Scouts and Guides to reaffirm their oaths of duty, service and truth and contemplate how such values are still relevant in today’s world.” He nodded his chin sharply.

“Oh, Theodore.” She let her head fall back. “You at least make me laugh.”

Her phone buzzed again. She brought it to her face, let it fall to the seat cushion.

“Let me guess,” he said. “Roger wanting you back at the office.”

“Maybe.” She swiveled her head to find Theodore still smiling over at her. “You’d really take me to my car?”

“I’d love nothing more.” He rose. “Come on then.”

She texted out a quick message. Held it up to his face so he could read it. <<Not feeling well. Taking a sick day if that’s okay.>>

“Happy?” she asked.

He held out his hand. “Not in the slightest. You shouldn’t have to beg to take care of yourself.”

He pulled her up to standing and she immediately collapsed into him. His arms went around her. This time she didn’t push off or try to do the wiggle fish dance. For long seconds they stood there, wrapped in a hug—sort of. It was nice.

“If you really have the bubonic plague, give it to me, and I die,” he said. “I will haunt you forever. Especially on National Accountant’s Day.”

Her body shook with laughter. He didn’t let go of her. She should make him. They were work colleagues. Technically, he was a consultant. She was an employee of Edison Tech. And he was supposed to evaluate her performance, right?

“You really do smell good.” Her words were muffled into his shirt.

So did she. “Flowers. Jasmine. That’s what you smell like to me.”

Her body rumbled with a murmur, and her mouth moving against him went straight through his shirt to parts of his body that were most definitely inappropriate. He hardened almost instantly.

She had one thing right. Whatever this strange attraction was to each other had to be managed—properly.

She lifted her head up to gaze up at him. “I don’t know what is into me today.”

“You’re overcome with lust and longing for me.”

She threw him a disbelieving look. “You have it backwards. You’re finding it impossible to be separated from my magnetic charm and ability to wrestle numbers into submission.”

His hands moved to cup her face. “Yes, impossible.”

They stood there, staring at one another for a one beat.

She broke first. “We can’t.”

“Can’t what?”

She was back to clutching her fingers. “This chemistry thing.”

Ah, so it wasn’t just the wine she consumed last night. She felt their pull to one another, too. “We haven’t done anything. Yet.”

She grasped her bottom lip between her teeth. “See? That… yet thing is a problem.”

“It’s not a problem. It’s merely a delay.” This Edison Tech job was only three months long. Once it was over, they were free to do as they pleased.

“Oh, really?”

“Which.” He cocked his head back and forth. “Actually may be a problem now that I think about it. I mean, the way you kiss…” He glanced down at her lips.

“It was Kiss A Ginger Day,” she whispered.

His chin jutted back. “Broke out the special ones for me last night, did ya?”

Her dark eyes were fixed on him, and the need to work over her mouth with his arose so hard he found himself almost advancing on her. “You know, to even things out, perhaps I should be the one to kiss you next,” he said. “That way, it neutralizes the line crossing. Cancels it out.”

“Oh, good point. That way it would be like it never happened.”

Who were they kidding? There was no way he could think it never happened. “Tell you what. When this project is over, if you still want my bod, I’ll meet you at the Bobblehead store on National Bobble Head Day.”

“That’s a year from now. And wait, there’s a store?”

“Ah, you were listening.” And didn’t that light up his ego. “And, yes, there’s a store in London.”

“Pick a day that’s closer and I’ll consider it.”

“Can’t wait, can you?”

She crossed her arms. “Test me.”

Smart woman, keeping the ball in her court. He rather liked the challenge. See how long they could last? “Okay. I’ll pick a day. But the deal is you must keep your hands North of my privates until then.” He pointed at her. “As hard as it’s going to be.”

She scoffed. “Your hands are not allowed near mine, either. Including my…” she circled her breasts.

“Oh, come on.”

“I mean it, because…” She nibbled on her lip.

“You like your assets…” he dipped his chin to her chest. “…to be well appreciated?”

“Well, they are high value assets. They deserve special treatment.”

He closed the distance between them. “Everything about you should get special treatment.”

She cocked her head. “Who are you?”

“Theodore Gaston the fourth. Again, at your service. What about kissing? Before National Bae Day? So we can do the neutralizing thing.”

“Is that the day you’re picking?”

“June 10.”

“But that’s so far off,” she whined, which made his ego swell. “But I can do it. Now. One kiss. To neutralize.” She stepped forward, tapped her cheek for him to peck it.

“You have got to be kidding.” He scrubbed a finger over his bottom lip. “First you give me the kiss of a lifetime on what really should be an international holiday, and then you give me an opportunity only for a grandma peck? My lips are insulted, to be so rejected…”

“Okay. One.”

He wasted no time. He immediately yanked her closer to him, her breast mashing against his chest. “One. Then it’s countdown to National Bae Day.”

“That’s months—”

He silenced her words with his mouth. Tangled his tongue with hers. Breathed in her jasmine scent through his nose. Her hands slid up his chest to around his neck. Her hands curled into his hair, and he deepened his kiss.

He spun her, lips still connected until her back connected with her front door. She murmured into his mouth, which hardened him further.

Her leg rose up his calf, then circled around him. Bending his knees, he lifted her slightly so he fit more snugly between her legs. Ffyc, his cock ached. He continued to explore her mouth, grinding against her. He could do this for an hour. The kissing part, that is. The rest of him would blow in under three minutes at the rate they were going.

When they finally broke, both panting, his lips stinging, her eyes brighter, he lowered her to her feet.

“Well. Neutralized,” she panted.

He sucked in a long breath. “Uh, not at all.”

“I know, right?” She licked her bottom lip. “We should go. Before…”

“Good idea.” Otherwise, he’d have her back on the couch where all limits would be shattered.

He stepped backward, straightened his suitcoat. “Though I may have to hobble to my car.”

She smiled up at him. “Good.” She spun to crack open the door and nearly collided with Roger.

“Roger,” she said brightly.

“Though I heard moaning. You that sick?” He glanced up, finally catching Theodore was behind her, perhaps. The man held a bouquet of grocery store flowers, the cheapskate. “Theodore.” He spat. “ What the hell are you doing here?”

“I’d ask the same of you.” He crossed his arms. “Always check in on employees when they’re sick?”

He widened his stance, rolled his shoulders. “Only the ones I’m involved with.”

Click here for Chapter 5!