LEIGH Templeton cradled the phone between her shoulder and ear while she gathered the documents she needed and dropped them into her briefcase. Her husband, John, was calling in response to her message about dinner.
“I’m sorry, hon. I’m going to be here for a few more hours,” John sighed into the phone.
“That’s okay. Is Sheridan up in arms again?” Mr. Sheridan, Leigh’s previous boss and also the CEO of the company John still worked for, had always been a ball-buster. Especially when his stress level was high. Leigh remembered he always acted as if he felt the need to share his stress with those who reported to him. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
“I wish.” He groaned. “It wouldn’t be nearly as boring if you still worked in our legal department. For some reason the projects we worked on together were always much more interesting.”
Through the phone Leigh heard the sound of John’s chair squeak. She imagined him leaning back and running his hand through his sandy-blond hair. It was a gesture she was more than familiar with. Usually, by this time of the day, most of the gel he used to control his unruly hair was gone. In a husky tone she reminded him, “Yes, well, I recall you saying that there are distinct advantages to being married and having me at home rather than just rendezvousing in the office.”
“Absolutely,” he said. “God, I still remember working on the Whitehurst deal with you.”
Leigh flushed at the memory. “Hmm. So do I.” A pool of warmth gathered low in her belly. “You were quite…um, passionate about that deal. I’m surprised someone didn’t walk in on us while we were in the conference room.”
“They certainly would have gotten an eyeful if they had,” he murmured.
They both fell silent as they remembered. Leigh had always been surprised by the intensity of their attraction. She had never experienced such deep sensuality with anyone else. Through her previous mistakes, and those of her friends, she'd learned that relationships faltered if not properly cared for, so she made an effort to cherish their time together.
“Since you can’t make it home, would it help if I brought dinner to you?”
“Would you mind? That would save a little time if I didn’t have to stop what I’m working on and get food. But I hate for you to have to drive all the way across town.”
“I haven’t left the office yet, so it’s not a problem to pick something up. At least we could still have dinner together and you can keep working.”
“Have I told you today that I love you?” John asked.
“Yes. But you can tell me again.”
“I love you.”
Leigh’s heart tripped over itself, just as it always did when she heard those three little words. John wasn’t one to gush sentimentality, but he did make an effort to tell her that he loved her every single day. After four years, the words still had the power to make her heart flutter. She smiled into the phone.
“I love you too. I’ll see you in a bit.”
After hanging up, Leigh finished the couple of things she needed to do before she could leave then called one of the nearby restaurants to place a takeout order. She might not be able to do anything about how much sleep John was getting while he was up to his ears in contracts—after all, he was a big boy and knew his limitations—but she could make sure he got more than vending-machine food at least a few times a week.
Despite it being right in the middle of the dinner rush, Leigh was able to pick up their food quickly. She parked in the visitor parking in front of John’s building and checked her appearance in the rear-view mirror. When she got to the glass entrance the security guard on duty recognized her and, seeing her hands full of takeout containers, got up and opened the door for her.
“Did you bring me anything?” the guard asked playfully.
“Sorry. They were all out of your favorite,” Leigh joked back.
“Just my luck.”
Leigh laughed and headed toward the bank of elevators. Her high-heeled shoes clicked on the marble floor as she walked across the foyer. After hours, when people weren’t coming and going in droves, the sound echoed loudly off the glass and tile walls. It always felt strange to be back in the building where she had worked for ten years. There were lots of fond memories…particularly the last couple of years when she and John had started seeing each other.
She sifted through memories as the elevator doors closed behind her. If people knew half the things they’d done, they would be shocked. She was still amazed that they had never gotten caught. But, then again, the possibility of getting caught had probably added to their excitement.
The elevator dinged, dragging her out of her reverie. When the doors opened, she stepped out into the foyer and checked in both directions. The main lights on the floor were off and she guessed that everyone except John had gone for the day. She turned to the right and followed the hallway through the cubicles toward John’s office in the far corner. Light spilled from his doorway onto the path like a beacon.
She stood in the doorway and took in the sight of John at work. As usual there were neat stacks of paper covering most of his desk. His jacket was off and the sleeves of his dress shirt were rolled up at the cuffs. He was partially turned away from the door and engrossed in whatever he was typing. Her heart tripped around in her chest knowing how important his work was to him. Long ago she’d figured out he felt driven to do more than was probably necessary.
Leigh rattled the bags as she stepped into his office. “Dinner’s here.”
He looked up from his computer and his face relaxed into a smile.
“Hey.” He crossed the room and greeted her with a kiss. “I was expecting you to call when you got to the lobby. How’d you get in?”
“Ronnie was on duty. He let me in.”
“I think he always had a crush on you,” John said with a twinkle in his eye.
“Yeah, right.” Leigh set the takeout packages on the conference table on the far side of John’s office.
John came up behind Leigh and wrapped his arms around her. He kissed her on the cheek and whispered, “Not that I blame him. I’ve had a crush on you for a while now.”
The scrape of his five o’clock shadow against her neck sent goose bumps down her entire body. “Have you now?”
“Mmhmm.” He nuzzled the side of her neck, making her legs turn to jelly.
“You know I love it when you do that.”
“Yeah, I do.” He chuckled in her ear then kissed her exposed collarbone.