If You Dare(4)

By: Evelyn Troy

Any amusement that Dawson had been feeling flew out of the window along with his surprised expression. A look of complete disbelief was now on his face as he took in what Zoe had just said to him. “Everything you’ve had to put up with?” he blustered, incredulously. “Please explain; if you dare, of course.”

Zoe did more than dare. “I’m not sure if there’s enough time, but you asked for it.” Zoe held up a hand and pointed to her index finger. “Firstly, you’re rude and overbearing and you never give me a chance to do anything exciting.” She moved to her middle finger. “I’ve had to put up with you cavorting with women of unsavory character; during office hours, no less, and that’s not even counting the numerous female interns that I know you’ve had in here at every available moment!” She ticked off another finger. “For what I do, the wages are crap. Have you seen that banger I drive around in? I can’t even afford to get new tires put on the damn thing, let alone get an oil change! The very least you can do is give me enough money to tide me over until I can find a new job.” She named a sum that had even her wondering if she had gone absolutely crazy.

Zoe paused for breath and Dawson cut in quickly before she could continue. “And all of this is my fault why, exactly?” He held up a hand to stop her when she opened her mouth to answer him. “And before you go on any further, Zoe, let me remind you that you knew what the wages were before you accepted the position, and you’ve had two pay rises since then. And furthermore, the interns I’ve had in here, as you so eloquently put it, were in here because I was training them.”

“But I didn’t sign up to lie for you! It wasn’t in my contract and I sure as hell don’t get paid enough to put up with all the snarky looks off the trollops you screw!” If Zoe had been completely sober she would have been mortified at the words that fell so easily from her mouth right now. “A decent severance package is the very least you owe me in my opinion. And I bet you were training them.” Zoe had to throw that little nugget in because she could just imagine the kind of training he’d been giving them.

She should have been paying better attention to his expression. She really should. And later on when she reflected back on the night’s turn of events, she would kick herself for not noticing how stony-cold Dawson’s face had become and how his eyes flashed with angry fire. She did notice when he slowly came to his feet and placed both hands on top of his desk, glaring at her in a blatant fury that even her intoxicated self was fully aware of.

For the first time since she’d walked into the office, Zoe became nervous. She didn’t think she’d ever seen him look so menacing; not even when he was up against a tyrannical client. She gulped and took a reflexive step backwards. But even then she couldn’t stop her mouth from running away with her. “Y-you’re nothing but a g-glorified gigolo, and I’m sure the p-press would be very interested in hearing all a-about your indiscretions!” Her head nodded again as though to give credence to her words, and then her lips snapped shut when his gaze became even angrier. Okay Zoe. Maybe it’s time you calmed down a little bit. Her inner voice was trying to be the voice of reason, but it was a case of too little, too late.

“Let me make one thing perfectly clear to you here, Ms. Castle. If and when you are paying my salary, then you will have the right to judge and condemn me. Until then, and only then, you have absolutely no right whatsoever to come into my office and make such ludicrous accusations and demands.” He walked slowly and menacingly around his desk. “Now, please by all means, feel free to leave my office, and you can obviously use your right to not come back to work tomorrow. In fact, I insist upon that little point.”

Dawson took a few steps forwards, coming closer to her with each one, but Zoe defiantly held her ground and his gaze. “As for talking to the media about my so-called indiscretions.” Dawson’s voice had dropped so low that it was almost a whisper, “Please feel free to carry out that little threat as well. If you dare.”

Opening her mouth to say something else, Zoe sensibly decided against it and instead turned to leave the office. The hairs on her neck stood up and her flesh tingled when she realized that he was following her. Did he think that she wasn’t going to leave or something, she thought to herself. Her head turned to look at him as he drew level with her and in a blur he’d taken hold of her hand and snapped something around her wrist. When Zoe looked down to see what it was, her eyes opened wide in disbelief. He’d shackled her with one half of a pair of handcuffs. You’ve really gone and done it now Zoe. She told her inner voice to shut the fuck up as she spun her head to glare at Dawson.