Page 18

By My Side Michele Zurlo 2022/8/3 13:56:53

She glanced down at her strappy sandals and up at Fuller. He shrugged and spread his hands. “Has he been in a bad mood all day?”

Marcella shook her head. For a man who’d enjoyed three orgasms, he sure didn’t seem to feel the calm relaxation that was supposed to follow.

“Well, we’ll see if I can find out what crawled up his butt before you finish with your calls.” He patted her on the shoulder and brushed past to follow Sean.

By the time she had confirmed the caterer, straightened out a problem with the menu, and put out fires with the florist and the cleaning service, nearly an hour had passed. She entered the living room on silent, bare feet.

The living room had been done by a decorator whose tastes ran opposite to Marcella’s. White and cream furniture filled the room. Cream-colored, textured wallpaper coated the walls. The crown molding and all the wood furniture in the room had been painted white. Marcella thought it looked like an angel had exploded and left its mark all over the place, and not in a good way. This room did not suit Sean at all.

He sat on the center cushion of a large, deep sofa. When he saw Marcella, he scooted back and slung his arm over the top of the back cushion. She settled next to him in the place he’d so casually indicated.

She wanted to curl her feet under her bottom, but she sank down too deeply into the cushion to make that comfortable. Sean took her laptop and put it on the white, painted table in front of them. She opened her notebook and clicked her pen.

Glancing up, she spied Fuller sprawled in an oversize armchair. The damn thing nearly swallowed up the big man, yet he looked comfortable. He threw an amused grin in her direction. When Sean lifted her feet and turned her so that they lay in his lap, Fuller burst out laughing.

“Well, that explains a lot. It took you long enough.”

Marcella fought a blush. She hadn’t expected Sean to do anything that would indicate they had done a scene—not yet, anyway. “Sorry. There were a few issues with the benefit I had to see to.”

“He didn’t mean you.” Sean rubbed his palm over the top of her foot. All tension left his shoulders. He lifted his gaze to meet hers. “Is there anything I need to do?”

She shook her head and flashed a smile. “You just show up and do your thing. I’ll handle the rest. That’s why you have me.”

His eyes narrowed, but he didn’t reply. She had made similar comments many times. Before, he had at least smiled in response. Now he looked away. “Fuller has an idea for spending more of my money. I want you to listen and take notes.”

His cool response to her smile left her feeling a little uncertain. Under other circumstances, she might have said something about how Fuller always made Sean’s money back tenfold, but now she said nothing.

At Sean’s nod, Fuller explained the plot of his latest idea. Despite Marcella’s reluctance to banter with either of them, she felt herself opening up in the face of Fuller’s obvious passion. The relationship between the hero and heroine of the screenplay sounded like it would make for an entertaining, passionate, and sometimes funny action-romance. Soon she found herself commenting on his ideas and offering alternatives.

Conversation flowed and time flew. Sean’s hands moved constantly over her feet and calves. He caressed up as high as her knee. Marcella liked the possessiveness of his actions. Fuller’s eyes followed the movement every now and again, but he didn’t say anything.

When the chef’s assistant came in to announce dinner, Marcella’s gaze flew to the white clock on the white mantelpiece. It chimed six as she looked at it.

Fuller pushed to his feet. He stretched and yawned. “I think it’s time for me to hit the road.”

Sean patted her ankle, a dismissive gesture. Marcella drew her legs back and put her feet on the ground. She tried to stand, but her muscles were too relaxed to respond immediately. Closing her notebook and stacking it on her laptop bought her some time.

“Actually, I’d like you to stay. If you haven’t already figured it out, Marcella has agreed to be my sub for the benefit. Only she’s never done anything in front of an audience.”

Fuller’s brow, two shades darker than his fair hair, rose. “You want me to watch?”

Marcella started. Good thing she hadn’t forced herself onto her wobbly legs earlier. This request would have made her knees buckle. Not once had one of her fantasies involved Fuller. To be fair, he would be at the benefit, watching with the rest of them. But then he would be a face in the crowd, not the lone observer. She stared up at Sean. Her jaw dropped open, useless.