At the Greek Tycoon's Bidding(7)

By: Cathy Williams


‘Give me a minute.’ He returned to the office, hesitated for a few seconds in front of his computer before shutting it down, grabbed his coat, his laptop and his briefcase and then exited, switching off the light behind him before closing and locking his door.

Heather was still there by the lift, looking utterly bemused. A revelation of his own sentiments, he thought wryly. No time to fulfil his commitment to Claudia, but now perversely driven to accompany this stranger to her house because she had succeeded in rousing some kind of a sense of duty in him. He likened it to the sentiment someone might feel when confronted by a defenceless animal accidentally caught under the wheels of a car and in need of a vet.

‘Are you leaving work?’ Heather asked in surprise, looking up at him, wishing, for once, that she wasn’t quite as short as she was. Short and stocky and stupidly thrilled just to be taking the elevator down with him. ‘It’s just that you don’t normally leave this early.’

Theo paused to stare at her.

‘You know what time I leave work in the evenings…?’ He pressed the elevator button and the doors opened smoothly, as though the lift had been sitting there, just waiting for him to appear and summon it into immediate action.

Heather blushed. ‘No! I mean,’ she continued, dragging out the syllable, ‘I just know that you usually leave after I’ve finished cleaning most of the directors’ floor.’ She laughed airily as the lift doors shut on them, locking her into a weird feeling of imposed intimacy. ‘When you do something as monotonous as cleaning, you start paying attention to the silliest of details. I guess it just makes the time go past a little quicker! I know you’re usually the last to leave in the evenings, along with Jimmy and a couple of others who work on the floor below.’ Best change the subject, she thought. She was beginning to sound sad. ‘Do you know,’ she confided, ‘that sandwich has done me the world of good? I feel fantastic. Do you often send out for food from the Savoy?’ She sneaked a little sideways glance at him and found that he was looking at her in a very odd manner. ‘Sorry. I’m chatting too much. Have you got plans for this evening?’

‘Only ones that involve dropping you back to wherever it is you live…’

Heather’s mouth dropped open.

‘Deprived of the power of speech?’ Theo said dryly. ‘That must surely be a first for you.’

‘You’re dropping me back to my house?’ Heather squeaked. Now she really did feel guilty. ‘Please don’t. There’s no need.’ She laid her small hand tentatively on his arm as the doors opened and they stepped outside. The contact with his forearm, even though it was through a layer of shirt, sent a burning sensation running through her and she quickly removed her hand. ‘I’m not as feeble as you seem to think I am. Can’t you tell from my girth that I’m a bonny lass?’ She laughed self-deprecatingly but he didn’t laugh back. Didn’t even crack a smile.

Theo was not a man accustomed to delving into the female psyche. He had always prided himself on pretty much knowing how women operated. They expressed their interest in a certain way—the lowered eyes, the coy smile, the slight inclination of the head—and then came the game of hide and seek, a game he thoroughly enjoyed. It was only after that things took a downturn, when inevitably they began questioning the amount of time he put into his work, insinuating that he would be far better amused if he paid them more attention, because after all wasn’t that what relationships were all about? They were all about trying to build a relationship with him, trying to pin him down. Insecurities never raised their heads, although in truth none of them had ever had anything much to be insecure about.

Now it occurred to him that this girl had insecurities about her weight and Lord only knew what else. Insecurities that had made her the sort of gullible woman who might be tempted by a man for all the wrong reasons.

‘Your coat,’ he said, ‘and then I shall take you out and feed you…’





CHAPTER TWO




BECAUSE there was no convenient underground car park for the office, most of the employees who chose to drive in—willing to pay the Congestion Charge because it gave them flexibility to leave London at the drop of the hat to attend meetings elsewhere—parked at the nearest multi-storey car park.

Theo, however, had a chauffeur permanently on call. Within minutes of speaking into his mobile phone, a long, sleek Mercedes had pulled up outside the building, engine gently throbbing as it waited for them to get in.