"Page eight needs an adjustment in printing. The frame should be moved over to the left," Gretchen circled the raw copy of the next issue of Runway, "This picture is too far to the right. When printed, it will cover up the logo. I don't know about you, but I don't think I want to deal with the flack we'd get about that. How is the interview with Ice going?"
She looked up to see Marcus Bourdeux smiling at her.
"Ready for the final print," her assistant replied.
"Good," Gretchen sighed, then gave everyone a half-smile, "Alright, it's lunchtime, folks. Go have a break."
Marcus stayed as the crowd dispersed. He was one of the top photographers in the world, and could read people so well that it was unnerving. Since she had been appointed editor, Gretchen had found his imput a mis of valuable and frustrating. He was always blunt about his opinions.
"You look tired, cherie."
"A little," she said, "This article on your Miss Adams is going to be popular. Especially the photoshoot with her and her fiance."
Declan McShane was the fiance of Moriah Adams, who was known on a national standpoint as the model Ice. From what Marcus said, it was no uncommon that the stage crew would capture Declan in a few photos. Since the wedding was one a few months away, some of the engagement photos were published. Marcus had taken them himself.
"You changed the subject," he said.
Gretchen leaned back in her chair, "I broke up with Abe last week."
It had been a little over two weeks since the car incident. She had tried to chalk it up to the heat of the moment, and tried to go back to her life with Abe. The truth of the matter, was that Jake's words had sunk into her. She loved her job and her family, but when it came down to it, she wanted the freedom to choose what she wanted to do. Her family had been scandalized that she parted ways with Abe, who was in their eyes, the next best thing to God.
She scowled. Abe hadn't understood why she was leaving him. Instead he had told her that he would take her on a cruise through the Camen Islands and they would forget everything. He wanted to marry her and spend the rest of his life with her, and that she was the best fit for him. Gretchen had told him no.
Surprisingly, she wasn't that broken up about it. Abe had always thought that his business was more important than hers. She was always supposed to take back seat to him.
"I broke up with Abe," Gretchen repeated, "And I had an affair with an incredibly handsome, engaging man."
Marcus' eyebrows rose high in the air, "Is there something I should know about this man?"
Leave it to Marcus to get to the heart of the situation. Truth was, Gretchen missed Jake. She missed him more than she ever thought possible. They had only known each other for a day, but she wanted to see him again.
"Nothing," she suddenly looked sad, "I'll probably never see him again."
Marcus sighed, and then stood, "You should take a break. Get away from this place. The next issue is about to be released, and then take a week or so off."
"You're probably right. I'm just working too hard, I think," she smiled, "Thanks, Marcus, for being such a good friend."
He pouted, "Always the friend. More than that? Heaven forbid."
He had so many women friends. Rumor had it that although he would joke around about flirting with them, but there was one woman in his past that he was still in love with. Even though he had dates and never treated them with anything other than respect, it was plain that there was something in his eyes. There was a person in his past that Marcus was still tied to, at least emotionally.
Gretchen chuckled and watched him leave. It was four in the afternoon, and she began to gather her things to head out.
"Ma'am," the intercom from her desk buzzed, "There's someone in the lobby who is wants to see you," the secretary sounded a little uneasy. It was probably another one of Gretchen's associates in the magazine that was having a tantrum about something. "I told him that you would be leaving soon and he needed an appointment, but-"
"It's okay, Becca. Send him in."
She stood up from her desk, and began to pick her things to head out. Whoever it was would have to say their piece and leave. Gretchen really wasn't in the mood to handle whining from some over-payed business associate. Hearing the door open and close she pulled out her PDA.
"I apologize, but I won't be able to meet with you very long. If you would like, you can schedule a meeting with my secretary."
"I don't need an appointment for what I have to say."
Gretchen froze at the voice, her purse sliding off the top of her desk, the PDA dropping from her hand. Looking up, she saw Jake standing in her office, arms folded. He was dressed in jeans and a turtleneck, wearing a long black coat, and looked so out of place at her office that it was almost silly.
The look he was giving her was almost lethal.
"Why didn't you come to pick up your car?" he growled.
"My car..." was that was this was about? "I had someone pick it up. It works great. Was there something else you needed for it?"
He teeth gritted, and he marched across the room towards her. There was a bubble of fear that rose in the back of her mind as he grabbed her arms and practically dragged her away from the desk.
"This isn't about the damn car."
She frowned, struggling slightly, "So, what gives you the right to manhandle me? You'd better release me-"
"What happened to the lawyer?"
"The lawyer?" Gretchen grumbled, "You mean Abe?"
"Yeah. Him. Are you still together?"
"That's none of your business."
"You're damn right it's my business," he said, hauling her closer, "So? Are you?"
He yanked her into his arms, and kissed her.
She gasped, gripping on his arms in order to steady herself. Jake dug his hands into her hair, pulling her head back so he could ravage her lips. His heat and smell filled her senses, barraging her with feelings and emotions that she had tried to let go. He didn't want her, he had made that perfectly clear.
Finally, he pulled back, resting his forehead on the top of her head.
"Why are you here, Jake?" she asked, after gaining her mind back.
"You left my place that day, and I realized something."
His eyes closed, "I really wanted you to come back."
Her body was trembling slightly, "Jake?"
Gretchen pulled back, and stared at his face. He was absolutely serious. His eyes were narrowed and fixed on her, waiting for his next move. Suddenly, she sighed, and settled more comfortably in his arms so she could look at him.
"I tell you what."
"I want you to take me on a date," Gretchen said, nodding seriously, "I want to go to that swing dance bar over on Central, and I want you to buy me fish and chips. I want to dine-in so we can dance for free. I want you to take me on dates for a while, and then I want you to bite the bullet and ask me to marry you. If you do all that, maybe I'll forgive you trying to act like it wouldn't work out between us. Is that a deal?"
Jake stared at her a moment, and then a big grin split across his face. Bending over, he picked up her things that she had dropped on the floor. Bowing with flourish like a gentleman of the high court, he stuck out his elbow for her.
"Can we start now?"
She took his arm, and smiled, "Only if I get to drive. I do have a newly repaired car after all."
He chuckled, "It's a deal."
a/n: Thank you all for the wonderful reviews! This is the first in a series of shorts that I plan on starting. Some many overlap characters, and some will include new ones :D Keep an eye out, and I wish everyone happy holidays!