Until You're Mine (Fighting for Her)(4)

By: Cindi Madsen


I stopped a few feet short of the half wall the front desk was nestled behind. “I know that in theory they were just friends, but did he at least tell her he cared about her before she left? Did he fight for her at all?”

“What do you think?”

I sighed. “Of course not—the Roth men are famous for being emotionally stunted.”

“Hey!”

I patted Finn’s cheek. “Except you, of course. You’re all evolved and shit.” My sense of humor evaporated when I rounded the wall and looked at the stacks of disorganized madness on the desk. “Are you frickin’ kidding me?”

“I told you it was rough over here. We’ve had the hardest time keeping someone behind the desk since you left. We’ve tried nice old ladies, mean old ladies, college kids, and a couple of uptight accountant dudes.” Not sure why the ages mattered, but Finn always was a bit of a chatty oversharer. “The last chick—a pretty coed who mostly distracted the guys by doing yoga in the corner—just up and quit, and when we started going through the books, it was clear that she hadn’t been inputting anything for months.”

“Of all those people, how many did Dad scare off?” Like I’d said, gruff and blunt was his M.O. Any losses the gym took, he, in turn, took out on whoever sat behind this desk. I’d told him dozens of times that a receptionist and an accountant were two very different things, but he’d insisted on saving money and getting a twofer deal. I was pretty sure I was the only twofer deal who could handle it, and that was because he couldn’t plow over me as easily as everyone else.

Finn shrugged, and I crossed my arms, giving him the narrow-eyed look that—if I still had it—would get him to crack. “Fine. Like seventy-five percent.” He lowered his voice and mumbled, “Plus, maybe another twenty.”

“This is really why you wanted me back for the summer.” I lifted a stack of unopened envelopes that most likely held overdue bills. “So I can fix the disorganized shit pile and do all the crap no one else wants to.”

“Wow, a little heavy on the poop metaphors, sis.” At my glare, his grin only widened. Then he sat on the desk, facing me. “It’s not just that we don’t want to do all that stuff—even though, yes, a valid assessment—we seriously don’t have time. We can’t keep up with our training and do the training and admin stuff. I’ve already had to postpone a fight, and if I do it again, it’ll be a bitch to ever book another.”

I shook my head at the mess, doing my best to avoid Finn’s puppy-eyes, but then he dipped his head, and damn him for being so charming. “I’m such a sucker.”

“We’ll all do some shit-shoveling, I swear. You can even direct it.”

I dramatically threw a hand over my heart. “It’s the job I’ve always dreamed of. Why bother putting a paintbrush to a canvas in an attempt to create a beautiful masterpiece when you can direct shit-shoveling instead?”

He laughed, and that made me laugh.

Unable to help myself, I began sorting the mess on the desk into piles. “I’ll get everything back up and running on this end, but come fall, I’m gone, Finn. I won’t be guilted into staying, either, so don’t even try it. I have a huge opportunity with a big gallery, one that’s also giving me a chance to work with one of my favorite artists, and I can’t afford to put my life on pause for any longer.”

“I hear you.” His goofy grin spread wider. “It’s good to have you back. Even if it’s temporary and you have way too many rules. I’m totally going to let your attitude problem slide, too.”

I plucked the paper weight off the desk and cocked my arm like I was about to throw it at his head. “What was that about my attitude problem?”

“No idea what you’re talking about. I fuckin’ love your attitude.”

“That’s what I thought.” I glanced at the computer on the corner of the desk. “You don’t expect me to use that dinosaur, do you?”

“It’s all we’ve got. You can get a new one if it’s in the budget, but you probably won’t know that until after you sort the receipts.”

That whole got-my-work-cut-out-for-me saying? I definitely had that going on, and for the first time, I was glad Trey didn’t end up moving down here with me. It made it easier to simply crash with Finn—I doubted they would’ve cohabitated very well, and I wasn’t sure Trey and I were quite ready to try living together. And, even if he’d relocated to San Diego for the summer, with how much work I had to do…? I wouldn’t have time to spend with him anyway.