“Kory! You’re not getting away from me again. I can promise you that,” he yells from somewhere close behind me, but I move faster, pushing through the doors of my building. I scan my ID card to get through and hit the elevator button. He keeps calling my name, and panic rises in my chest. I push the button over and over like it will make the elevator come faster. I’ve got to get away from him.
Too many emotions are pushing forward and I just need distance. I feel like I can’t breathe.
“Kory!” he barks again. I glance over my shoulder to see a security guard pushing him back. The elevator doors finally open and I flee inside, pushing the button for my floor. When the doors close, relief floods me.
I can’t believe what just happened. I fall back against the elevator wall. My pounding heart finally starts to calm as I reach my floor. I take a breath, trying to get myself together. I step off the elevator and head for my office, then drop off my bags at my desk before heading for the lab. I want to get lost in my work and not think about Henry Osbourne.
The man I’ve dreamed about so many nights. The only man to ever turn my head. The only man to ever take my heart.
I try to forget about the incident, but my mind keeps going back to him. That kiss. How long have I wanted to know what it would feel like for his lips to meet mine? God, I’m ridiculous. How am I twenty-eight and just having my first kiss? It’s pathetic. What happened to being strong, Kory? I scold myself. Maybe I’ve been lying to myself all this time. I bet he’s had hundreds of kisses. The thought makes my stomach roll with nausea.
I hate the idea of him kissing other women. In school all the girls wanted him, and they complained about how he never dated. I think it’s part of the reason why it drove them crazy that he asked me to the prom. Not only was he set to be one of the richest men in the world, but he ignored all the girls. Except me. It made me feel special, and for a short time, I let that feeling take hold.
I should’ve known it was too good to be true—the most popular and most handsome boy in the school giving me attention.
A throat clears, making me looks up from what I’m doing. Henry leans against the doorjamb, as casual as can be. As if he owns the place.
I stand up and my mouth falls open. I’m shocked at how he got in here. Everyone needs to be cleared and have a name badge. Or so I thought.
“What are you doing in here?” I demand.
“You’re not running from me anymore,” he replies easily. I glance around the room, wanting to flee, but there’s nowhere to go. He takes a step into the lab.
I shouldn’t be shocked he got in here easily. I bet with one call he was able to pass the security and was told where I was.
I hate how weak I sound. I thought I was past this, but something about Henry makes me unable to think straight. I want to tell him all my problems and have him comfort me. Which is crazy. It’s been ten years. I don’t even really know him, but just like years ago, he feels like home. Like he’s mine.
“I’ll buy this whole company if that’s what it takes to get you to talk to me.”
I stare at him, knowing he has the means to do this.
“What do you want?” I snap, my anger rising.
“You.” His voice is deep and filled with certainty. It’s like he’s been waiting on me to ask the question, and the answer takes me by surprise. My heart flutters.
“You shouldn’t be here.” I pull my goggles off my face. I don’t want to address what he just said.
“There isn’t any other place I should be,” he responds, closing even more distance between us. I step back, nearly tripping over my own feet, and remind myself how awkward I used to be as a teenager. He’s bringing it all back.
“I want you to leave.” I don’t want all these emotions he’s churning up inside me. He’s bringing back everything I’ve fought to forget.
“Have dinner with me.” His voice is like velvet.
“No,” I reply instantly
“I’m not leaving until you agree.”
I study his face. He’s changed over the years. The time when he still had a baby face is long gone; he looks like a man now. But there’s something about him that remains the same, and the part of me that wanted it back then can see it.
Broad shoulders, hard facial features, and his blue eyes aren’t as soft as they once were. It’s easy to see he has power even without knowing him. He exudes control.