Beg for Me(8)

By: Natalie Anderson

Of course not. They were headed to Manhattan—there weren’t abandoned factories in Manhattan anymore. There were art galleries, cute boutiques and conversions. And this was Logan Hughes. Extreme playboy he might be, ruthless murderer he wasn’t.

Inhale. Exhale. What’s the worst that can happen?

Trouble was there were some serious possible repercussions. Her business. It was only just getting off the ground and she was still living hand to mouth—loss of clients, a bad rep would kill it as easy as a bug under a boot. She was going to have to grovel.

But surely Logan Hughes of all people would be okay with the concept of a second chance? Surely Logan Hughes understood how people sometimes screwed up?

Except Logan Hughes wasn’t the kind to ever admit a mistake. Logan Hughes didn’t bat an eyelash about being the star of a sex tape, about being labelled the city’s most notorious slayer. Logan Hughes never showed any weakness.

Min stared sightlessly at her phone, trying to formulate a plan. What she had to do was emulate Logan Hughes. Fight fire with fire, right?

No more frozen panicking. She had to pull on the ‘professional’ persona.

She put her phone on the seat beside her and patted her jacket pockets hopefully. No comb sadly, but there was an ancient lip-gloss at the bottom of the inside breast pocket. Squaring her shoulders she quickly rubbed some on, using the window as her mirror. She determinedly ignored the berry stains on her fingers and hoped he would too. Then she loosened her hair and rebraided it more neatly.

It wasn’t that she was beautifying herself for him. Definitely not. This was armor. Frankly it was a vague attempt to look halfway respectable given her clothes.

The car slid to a smooth stop in front of a tall building. Min stared at the conspicuous expense of the place, her spirits sinking deeper into her sneakers. Her last minute snap-it-together effort wasn’t going to be enough.

“Remain in the car please.” The driver said.

Min did as she was told. Authority figures did that to her—made her obey despite the fact she was bristling inside. But this guy had ‘obey-or-feel-the-consequences’ stamped all over him.

Next second he opened her door and waited close by for her to get out. Once she was standing on the sidewalk he escorted her to the building’s entrance. He walked on the awkward side of personal space, his arm pointing the way—not that there was any question as to where they were headed, or as if there was anyone in their way. Did he think she was about to be set upon? Or did he think she’d try to do a runner?

Damn tempting idea. In a ‘fight or flight’ moment, Min was more one to flee than throw a punch.

But this was different. She had to be different. Because this was her business—her identity, her income, her dignity.

You’ll never succeed. It’s a waste of time. Who’d want to contract you—you haven’t any experience.

Her mother’s pessimistic doubts haunted her. Her mother’s bitter disappointment when Min had called her to say she’d ended her engagement...

Words. Just words.

Min tucked her chin into the collar of her denim jacket as the driver let her through the door. More of her mother’s mantras taunted her. Tatty jeans and an old tee didn’t fit in around here.

If you want to make it in the world, you have to fit in. Look the part. Sound the part. That’s how you’ll meet the right match.

It was all about the match for her mom.

Or be nothing.

“Ms Jones is here.” The driver informed yet another scary looking enforcer type who was stationed behind a high reception desk.

Min switched her phone to mute and decided she was quite glad of the driver, his presence meant she’d not needed to speak and she had a few more minutes to combat the nerves and relax enough to be able to talk at all.

“Follow me please, Ms Jones.”

Enforcer Number Two accompanied her into the lift. He swiped a card and entered a stupidly long key code before pushing the top button. Min barely refrained from rolling her eyes. Where was the retinal scan? The whole-body x-ray? This all round security seemed ridiculous.

Yet smooth as the elevator was, she still lost her stomach.

Logan stood in the middle of the room and glared at his massive computer screen currently showing the live security feed from the lobby. A slim thing in jeans was walking alongside Ed. With her jacket collar turned up and that denim, tee and sneaker combo she looked positively boyish. Godammit, how old was she, twelve? Was he breaking all kinds of child labor laws employing her?

It might be just past working hours, but didn’t she want to make a better impression on the client she’d just pissed off? Jeez, that was the last time he trusted Tyler. What had the guy been thinking? Had his brain gone ‘I’m-about-to-be-a-daddy’ soft?