Into The Fire(3)By: E. L. Todd
“I am, Roger. And you’ll find someone else.”
“I guess.” He shrugged. “But even after everything my wife did to me…I still want her.” He stared at the floor as he moved. “Does that make me pathetic?”
My heart ached. “Not at all. You loved her with all your heart. And real love doesn’t die overnight.”
He nodded and kept dancing.
At the end of the night, we said goodbye to everyone then left. The limo took us back to the office while we sat quietly in the backseat.
“I hate the way they look at me,” he whispered. “I feel like a loser in high school all over again.”
“Who cares what they think,” I said. “If they really judge you the second you hit hard times, they’re terrible people anyway. Fire them if they cross you.”
He chuckled slightly. “I could never fire anyone. I don’t have it in me.”
He was too sweet. And that made people take advantage of him. I’d seen it too many times not to recognize it.
We arrived at the office and Roger walked me to the door in the rear. “I can take you home. There’s no reason for you to walk.”
Roger seemed harmless but I didn’t take any chances. “I’ll be fine. I have paperwork to do anyway.”
He stared at me then stepped closer. His hands were in his pockets and his eyes looked distant. “Thanks for being my date tonight.”
“It was my pleasure, Roger. Take care.”
He didn’t move away. It seemed like there was something else he wanted to say.
I patiently waited.
He quickly leaned in and aimed his lips for mine.
“Whoa…” My hand flew to his chest and pushed him back. “What the hell are you doing?”
He stepped back and ran his fingers through his hair anxiously. “Sorry…I wasn’t thinking.”
“I laid down the rules before I agreed to this. Don’t cross me.” I had a taser in my bag and I wasn’t afraid to use it.
“I’m sorry…” He held up both hands. “I’m not myself lately.”
Since he was going through a hard time, I let it slide. “It’s okay. We all make mistakes.”
He opened his wallet and pulled out a wad of cash. “What if I made it worth your while?”
He did not just go there. “I’m not a prostitute, Roger.” I unlocked the door to the office and stepped inside.
“Shit, I’m sorry.” He shoved the wallet back into his pocket. “I just thought—”
“Good night, Roger.” I slammed the door and locked it. Once his face was out of my sight, I collapsed into the chair at my desk. I’d have to stay there for the rest of the night just in case he was lurking outside. He seemed down on his luck and too depressed to function, but I knew he was harmless. Even so, I never took chances—not with this kind of job.
I sat across from the banker in the office with glass doors. He was a typical suit who hated his job. His voice was always full of boredom, and his desk lacked any personality at all. It was a typical corporation, void of life.
“Just give me the loan,” I barked. “How are small businesses supposed to start up if you don’t give them a chance?” I wasn’t asking for a kidney transplant or something.
“I’m sorry.” He seemed bored out of his mind. “You don’t have the right credit.”
“My credit isn’t even that bad.”
He eyed his computer again. “Sir, you need to get it up and then we can talk again.”
Dammit, why did I buy that motorcycle? “Fine. I’ll just go somewhere else.”
“And they’re going to tell you the same thing.”
I wanted to growl but I managed not to. “How about some free ink? I’m the best in the business.”