Leigh was excited about starting her new job. She had applied for a position in a warehouse and was pleased when she had been called and told that if she wanted the job, it was hers. After reporting to her immediate supervisor she waited for the rest of her department to show up for their morning meeting. As people started to trickle in, she was not overly shocked that she was one of the few women present. Out of the twenty people in her department only three, including herself were women. She had never seen so many young and hunky men in one place. Especially after her last place of employment. They had only one man in the whole building. What a switch this was going to be. After being introduced around the department, she started her first shift in her new place of employment.
As she was walking out at the end of her shift, she left in high spirits. She was tired but it was a very rewarding tiredness. As she walked out to the parking lot, she saw her current boyfriend impatiently waiting for her. When she got into the car, she saw his nose wrinkle with distaste. Looking down at herself she noticed how dusty and dirty she had gotten during the course of her shift.
"Sorry, Douglas. I'm a bit of a mess. I'll take a shower as soon as we get home." She assured him.
"You look like you have been rooting with the pigs, Leigh."
"I know. But I'll wash up just fine." She replied as they pulled out of the parking lot.
Time flew by quickly for Leigh and she settled into her new job like a duck to water. She was for once happy to go to work. But as her joy in her new job increased, at home her relationship with Douglas was getting worse. He had become more and more condescending about everything she did. From her clothes to her job, nothing was left untouched. It seemed that there was no pleasing him as of late. But as far as anyone at work could tell, she was always happy and she was eventually being asked to go out with the rest of the department after work for drinks. She was hesitant to accept without Douglas's permission. So she made her excuses and went home to listen to Douglas complain that the pot roast that she had put in the crock pot was overdone and rubbery. Sighing she wondered what the rest of the guys from work were doing. Next time they asked she was going to go with. And screw what Douglas thought. She was free, white and over twenty-one.
It wasn't long before she was asked again. And this time she accepted. She called Douglas and told him that he didn't have to pick her up and she would be home later. Then she hung up before he could give her the third degree about what she was doing. One of her co-workers, Jason offered to let her ride with him. Shyly she accepted his offer. She knew that if her girlfriend, Gloria, had ever met him, she would rate him as total stud muffin. Even though Leigh was five-ten, he towered over her by at least six inches. And he was a well-built man in his prime. From his chocolate colored hair and bronzed skin to his deep blue eyes, he just screamed testosterone. And if she had been single she would have more than jump at the chance to see him outside of work. But that was just wishful thinking on her part. He was a fun guy to work with and quickly becoming a good friend. It was a definite switch from having girlfriends. When they arrived at the local hang out, she relaxed and enjoyed herself. She had a few cold ones with the guys and then called herself a cab to take her home, even though Jason protested and said that he was more than willing to take her home. After reassuring him that it was for the best she left.
Jason and the rest of the department were surprised when Leigh called in the next few days. She had been a very dependable employee up til then. Finally Jason asked his boss if everything was okay.
"She'll be back in a few days, Jason. She has a doctor excuse. She needs a couple of days on her pain med. She said that she tripped over the curb outside her house and landed on her hand. She sprained her wrist really bad." Randy, his supervisor replied. Jason didn't say much but he hoped she would be back soon. Everyone missed her sunny disposition.
When Leigh finally returned to work, she was happy to see everyone and she thanked them for the card and the flowers that they had sent to her. But it was almost noticeable to everyone that she was more subdued than she had been before she had fallen. For the next few weeks most of the department became more concerned about her. They talked amongst themselves and were baffled about Leigh's mood change. Where had their happy, outgoing co-worker gone to? They missed their Ms. Sunshine, as they called her. Then it finally came to a head the day that Leigh came into work with a bruise on the side of her face. She had tried to cover it with makeup.
Leigh had hoped that no one would notice the bruise on her face. She had broken up with Douglas and he hadn't taken it well. And he had left a reminder of his displeasure on her cheek. And she promptly called the police and had him escorted out of her apartment. He was spending the night in jail as a result. She was no man's punching bag. With any luck none of the guys would notice it. They had all become close as family and she didn't want to explain what a jerk her ex had been. Unfortunately luck was not with her. The first one she saw in her department was Jason. He took one look at her and his brow furrowed and he lifted her chin to get a better look at her face.
"That bastard!" he growled before walking away. Leigh stood there shaken. It was the first time that Jason had ever touched her. Her face tingled where he had touched it. Christ, she thought, now is not the time for my sex drive to kick in. I have one hell of a mess to take care of with Douglas. She worked through her shift and was surprised when none of the other guys said anything about her bruise. It was almost quitting time when she was paged over the p.a. system. Walking into her supervisor's office, she was surprised to see a handful of the guys, standing inside of the office. After entering, her supervisor told Jason to shut the door.
"Leigh. I know this is a touchy subject in today's age, but you are part of our family now. Is your boyfriend beating on you?" Randy asked.
"You mean my ex? Not any more." She laughed bitterly. "I kicked him to the curb last night via the local police. I'm no man's punching bag."
"That's damn straight." Jason said. The rest of the guys echoed him.
"Do you have a restraining order against him?"
"No. But I think he'll stay away from now on."
"Does he still have stuff in your apartment?" Randy asked.
"A few things."
"Well, that settles it. When he gets out of jail, I'll have a couple of the guys come over and stay with you." Jason, Mike and Craig immediately volunteered their services.
"Thanks guys." Leigh said.
It took a few weeks for Leigh to return to her normal sunny disposition. She noticed that Jason seemed to be watching her rather intently when he didn't think she was watching. It seemed like he was waiting for something. And if she only knew how right she was. Finally one night after work, while he was walking her out to her car, he asked her out.
"Will you go with me, Ms Sunshine?" Looking up at him, she stared. "Don't act so shocked, Leigh." Jason said softly. "I know you feel the same undercurrents that I do. I've just been waiting for you to get over him."
"Jason. I can't." She replied with regret.
"Why?" He asked as he leaned against the fender of her car.
"We work together."
"That won't work." Jason said with a smile. "Try again."
"What?" She said with surprise.
"Try again, Leigh. Let's see what other excuses you can find to turn me down."
"I'm not ready to date again." She replied hotly.
"Really?" Jason said before leaning down enough to capture her mouth with a gentle kiss. After he slowly kissed her senseless, he lifted his head. Her breathing was just as ragged as his. "You know where to find me, when you're ready, Leigh. I'll be waiting." He finished. Brushing a quick kiss over her forehead, he walked over to his truck.
Over the next few weeks, Leigh tried to stand firm in the face of Jason's gentle pursuit. He never got overly aggressive with her. She assumed that was due to the fact that he didn't want to act like her ex. He still walked her out every night to her car and asked her out. And tonight was no different.
"Jason." She said as she shook her head. "You never give up."
"Eventually you will run out of excuses, Leigh."
"Tell me why you keep asking me. Other than the fact you don't like the word no."
"Because I want you, Leigh. I don't expect you to sleep with me on the first date. But I am going to be honest with you. I go to sleep wanting you. I wake up wanting you. I come to work wanting you. I'm going crazy with desire. My body isn't going to know any peace until I've loved you within an inch of your life."
Leigh gasped in surprise and unexpected pleasure. Before she could say anything he leaned in and gave her another one of his slow, passionate kisses.
"Just something for you to think on, Leigh. You'll say yes one of these times." He said after he lifted his head. "And I'll make it so damn good that you'll scream with pleasure."
"That confident in your abilities?"
"No that confident in you." He said. "Just remember what I said, Ms Sunshine. Anytime you want me all you have to do is say the word and I am yours."
His parting words preyed on Leigh's mind through the next few days until she was about ready to crawl up the wall with desire. She had pleasured herself several times while thinking about him. But it never seemed to be enough. She still felt the heat of desire and need running through her whenever she saw him. She had never felt desire this strongly before. She was afraid that she would fall for him. And after her experience with Douglas she didn't want to fall for another man. Maybe she wouldn't fall for him but she knew herself and there was every chance that she would. He was funny and a nice guy. He was a bit of a jokester but it only seemed to make him all the more irresistible. And the man did know how to kiss. Sighing she dressed for work and wondered what would happen today, if Jason would be waiting outside to follow her to work or if he had finally tired of it. Since she had thrown her ex out, Jason had taken to following her to work and home from work. Walking out her front door, she was surprised to see Douglas standing on her porch. Glancing around him, she saw that Jason was nowhere to be seen.
"What do you want, Douglas?"
"No boyfriend today?" He mocked.
"I'm not in the mood for this Douglas. Tell me what you want."
"I came for the rest of my stuff and to give you this." He said harshly as he pushed her back through the door. Shoving her into her livingroom, he turned and closed the door behind him. "Now, Leigh, shall we discuss the little issue of you screwing around on me?"
"Douglas, I told you weeks ago that I didn't want to see you anymore. I am no man's punching bag. And I'm not screwing anyone." She told him as she edged closer to the table where the phone was.
"Ahh, yes. You know you really could have gotten me into a lot of trouble at work when you had me arrested." Douglas said coldly as he stalked closer to her.
"You didn't leave me any choice. Just because you're bigger than me doesn't mean that you have the right to smack me around." Leigh replied as she bumped up against the stand that the phone was resting on.
"You think that was smacking around? That was just a little discipline. If you wanted me to smack you around all you had to do was ask, Leigh. I would have been more than happy to oblige you. And if you didn't want me to see you screwing around, then you shouldn't be letting a man grope you in a public parking lot."
" You've been spying on me?" She asked in disbelief. "Leave, Douglas. I don't want you here. I'll send your things to you. It's over."
"I still have something to give you before I leave." He said before he backhanded her. "You told the cops that I was beating on you. Well, we better make sure that I'm guilty of what I am accused of." He stated cheerfully as she fell to the floor. "Now what are you doing down there?" He scolded. "Stand up and take it like a real woman." He jerked her to her back to her feet. Just as she expected to feel the next blow, it never came. Opening her eyes, she saw that Jason had grabbed Douglas arm.
"You okay?" Jason asked her. Nodding silently, she watched as he twisted Douglas's arm behind his back. "Why don't you call the police, sweetheart? I'll take Mr. Congeniality outside to meet them."
After the police finally had left, Leigh stood in front of the bathroom mirror and tried to conceal the darkening bruise on her cheek. Same place as last time, she thought ironically. Suddenly she felt Jason's presence behind her. Looking in the mirror she could see him in the doorway of the bathroom.
"Will you go with me, Ms Sunshine?" He asked softly. Turning around she looked at him.
"Where to?" She asked.
"Well, to breakfast for starters." He said as he pushed off the doorframe.
"What about work?" She squeaked.
"I've already taken care of it." He said as he stopped inches from her. Lifting her chin, he observed the bruise on her face. "You know that he really is a bastard."
"I know." Leigh said with a sad smile. "He saw you kiss me in parking lot."
"So what? I'm not going to stop kissing you, Leigh. Only if you tell me that you don't want me to, will I stop." He said before pressing a soft kiss on her upturned lips. "Besides how else would I persuade you to go with me?" He asked after he lifted his head. "Christ, Leigh. I thought I was gonna die when I saw you on the floor. You're gonna file a restraining order now?"
"I don't have much a choice now, do I?" She said as she brushed by him. She stifled a soft moan. Every nerve in her body seemed to be alive with desire. She really should stop him from kissing her. As she left the bathroom Jason reached into his pocket and pulled out a peppermint. Unwrapping it, he popped it into his mouth. Damn, he thought, I really should stop torturing myself. It is gonna take even longer now to get close to her. But I don't care if takes forever, he told himself. I'll wait as long as I need to. Leigh will be mine.
As time flew by, Leigh became too accustomed to having Jason, become her shadow. He really was a wonderful friend. He was still asking her out, much to her amazement. One afternoon, she and Gloria went out shopping and had a late lunch. After ordering, they sat chatting. She was not surprised to see Jason stop by the open air café that she and Gloria had chosen to eat at. Smiling she asked him to join them.
"Naw, thanks for the offer Leigh. But I don't want you wiggling out of a date with me by claiming this as our date. I'll see you later." He winked at her before leaving.
"Girlfriend, you have got to put that man out of his misery." Gloria told her the minute that Jason was gone. "Besides he's yummy."
"Hey whose side are you on?" Leigh joked taking a sip of her drink.
"Your's, of course." Her friend assured her. "Why don't you just give in and go out with him? It's obvious the man is crazy about you."
"I know. I just don't trust myself yet. I was so wrong about Douglas. And there is the fact that we work together. If something goes wrong, then one of us will have to quit. I don't want to chance that."
"Have you asked him how he feels about that?" Gloria asked as she took a bite out of her salad.
"Yes, he says it's just another excuse. And tells me to find another one."
"Really?" Gloria said with raised eyebrows.
"Yes, his theory is that I'll eventually run out of excuses."
"Well have you?" Leigh paused as she raised her sandwich to her mouth.
"Getting there." Leigh said around her sandwich.
"Then why won't you go out with him?" Gloria asked her. "He doesn't do anything for you? I'd find that hard to believe."
"It isn't a question of attraction, Gloria. It's a matter of my trust in myself."
"Well then, Leigh, isn't high time that you started trusting yourself again?"
Leigh got ready for bed that night and thought about her talk with Gloria today. She wondered if she was ready to take the next step. Her body was crying yes, but her brain was still hesitant. Maybe she should just go on a date with the man. He had already told her that he wasn't expecting her to sleep with him. But could she trust herself not to fall into his bed on the first date? When her head hit the pillow, she sighed. Maybe she should risk it, she thought as she dozed off.
When she woke the next morning, she finally decided. She would try it providing that Jason wasn't expecting to much from her. She would just have to be careful. Take baby steps instead of the leaps and bounds that she wanted to take. Stepping into the shower, she winced as the hot water hit her sensitive breasts. She had to do something to get him out of her system. These torrid dreams had to stop. Sighing she reached for her shampoo.
Jason watched Leigh out of the corner of his eye. Something was different about her today. She was cheerful as ever but there seemed to be a new level of tension between them. Whatever was going on with her, was slowly driving him crazy. He was sorely tempted to pull her aside and find out was going on in her mind. As they left for break, he sighed when he heard Randy call him over. Turning around he headed back to see what he wanted.
"When are you two gonna quit pussy footing around each other?" Randy asked after Jason shut the door.
"What?" Jason asked in surprise.
"You and Ms. Sunshine. Do you think that everyone around here is blind, Jason?" Randy asked as he leaned back in his chair.
"No." Jason responded as he sat down. "I just hoped that it wasn't that obvious. I don't wanna scare her off."
"So just go ahead and ask her out." Randy replied. "She isn't the type to scare very easily I think."
"I have asked her out. But she keeps coming up with excuses not to go out with me. She is afraid of how it will look if we start dating each other."
"Nonsense. You, two, are perfect for each other. And any fool can see that. And as long as you aren't in a position of authority over her, we have no problems with employees dating each other."
"I know. I guess I'll just have to be more persuasive." Jason said softly.
Leigh waited on pins and needles for the end of the shift to come. She was just waiting for the moment when Jason walked her out to her car and asked her out again. Well at least she was hoping that he was still interested. It was hard for her to believe that she had known him for almost six months. When the whistle blew, she waited for a brief moment before panic hit her. Was she sure she wanted to do this? She questioned herself a bit wildly. Looking around she saw that Jason was no where around. She would talk to him later, she decided. But it was not to be, she saw as she exited the building. There stood Jason in all his masculine glory resting against her car. Walking slowly she took a couple deep breaths and approached her car. Pasting a smile on her face, she greeted him.
"Hey there, I didn't see you on the floor when I clocked out. You must have run to beat me out here." She said as she moved around him to the driver's side door.
"Leigh." He said softly, stopping her as she passed him. "Why are you avoiding me? What have I done to scare you? You have been acting strange all day."
"Nothing, Jason. I keep telling you, it's not you, it's me." She told him.
"Let me in, Leigh. Will you go with me, Ms Sunshine?" He asked her again.
"Where?" She asked.
"Somewhere we can talk." He replied as he held onto her hand. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath before opening them.
"Come on, lets get out of here." He said with a smile before opening her car door.
Leigh looked around the quiet play ground that Jason had taken her to. She was surprised at his choice. It was not completely deserted but had about ten kids running around. Sitting at a picnic table, she watched as Jason brought over a couple of cold sodas. She smiled as one of the kids hit him with a frisbee and he tossed back to them with a laugh and a smile. Picking the sodas back up he brought them over to her.
"Here you go." He said as he settled down across the table from her. She was still trying to get use to the fact that he was such a direct man. When he spoke to her, he always looked her directly in the eyes. Which was such a change from most guys who had a tendency to talk to her bust. "He hasn't tried to contact you again, has he?" Jason asked.
"No. Since I filed the papers against him, he hasn't so much as called me. I mailed his belongings to his work. Hopefully it's all over and done with."
"I hope so." Jason replied. "You know Randy had a talk with me earlier today?"
"He did?" Leigh said taking a drink of her soda.
"Yes. He wanted to know when we were going to quit pussyfooting around each other."
"He what!" She gasped as she choked on her soda. Quickly Jason leaned over and rubbed on her back.
"The guys aren't blind, Leigh. They all know how I feel. I haven't made a point of hiding it from them."
"Oh great." She groaned. "So what do we do now?"
"Will you go with me?"
"You know you are starting to sound like a broken record, Jason."
"I know." He said with a smile. "It's not against company rules to date a co-worker, Leigh. Just give us a chance." He coaxed.
"Well, I-" she started automatically.
"Haven't you run out of excuses yet?" he teased.
"Yes." She groaned. He stilled.
"So what's stopping you, Leigh?"
"Just me." She said as she ducked her head down. She wasn't surprised when she felt his fingers on her chin.
"Look at me, Leigh." He said softly as he raised her face to his. "Don't hide from me. I would never hurt you." Leaning forward he brushed his lips against hers. "You just need to trust yourself, Leigh."
"I know. But I've already made one huge mistake with Douglas." She explained.
"Leigh, honey, you can't take responsibility for his actions. Doesn't matter how angry a man gets, he shouldn't hit a woman. It's just natures way to make a man stronger than a woman. A real man doesn't hit on things smaller than him."
"Then you don't hit on much at all do you." She laughed. "You're big as a house."
"No, I don't." He chuckled. "I prefer to think first. I really wanted to kill Douglas the day I walked in and found you on the floor. But I wasn't going to lower myself to his level. And I didn't want to scare you. But believe me I would have loved to take him out behind the woodshed and teach him a thing or two about hitting you."
"I guess I should thank you for that." She said softly.
"Don't get me wrong, Leigh. I have a temper just like the next man. But I prefer to control it than have it control me." He said before he took a drink of his soda.
"You know that makes sense. But I still have a hard time believing that you have a temper. You are such a clown." She said with a smile.
"It's much easier to be happy than angry." He replied as he took hold of her hand. Turning it over he traced the lines of it with his thumb. Leigh shivered a little.
"See, Leigh, how we react to each other." Jason stated as he continued to caress her hand. "This kind of chemistry is unique. It only comes around once a lifetime. But I want more than a quick roll in the hay, sweetheart. And I hope that doesn't scare you."
"A little." She admitted. "Can we take it slow?"
"As slow as you need." Jason agreed.
"Okay. Ask me again?" She said with her tongue in cheek. Jason roared with laughter.
"Will you go with me, Ms Sunshine?" He asked still laughing.
"Yes." She said. Laughing with joy, he pulled her off the picnic table and spun her around.
"Put me down." She squealed.
Leigh stared at herself in the mirror. She had just applied the finishing touches on her make up. She wanted to look her best for Jason tonight. He was use to seeing her in faded jeans and T-shirts. She really wanted to wow him tonight. Smoothing her skirt down she stared in the mirror with a critical eye. It had been a long time since she had worn this outfit. Douglas had hated it. It had been a present from Gloria, who had known that she had fell in love with it the first time she had seen it in the department store window. It was a rather simple outfit. She looked like a country girl. Which in all realities she was. That was probably why Douglas had hated it. Then the door bell rang. Well, lets see if Jason likes it any better than Douglas, she told herself as she went to answer the door.
As the door opened Jason had just popped a peppermint into his mouth. He almost choked when he saw her.
"Are you okay?" Leigh asked with concern.
"Yeah." He said after he took a deep breath. "Damn, woman, you should have warned me about that outfit."
"Oh, you don't like it?" She asked with a sigh.
"No, I love it. And if the timing was a little different, I'd show you how much I like it. Turn around for me." He requested. A little self conscience she did as he asked. Jason couldn't believe his luck. She had chosen to wear a pretty jade top that matched her gorgeous green eyes with a soft flowing skirt in a pale cream color. And she had left her long blond hair down. She looked like the girl next door but it sent his libido into overdrive.
"Is it okay." She asked.
"For what I have planned, yes. C'mon, Ms, Sunshine. Let's go have some fun." He said as he offered her his hand.
"All right" She said with a smile as she pulled the door closed behind them.
Leigh laughed with joy as Jason lead her back up the walk to her house. She had a wonderful time tonight with him. Even with all the undercurrents that she could feel tugging between them, she still had enjoyed herself. Somehow, Jason had gotten a hold of a couple tickets to see Robin Williams. She had never laughed so hard in her life. Then afterwards he had taken her back to the same park that they had gone too earlier and they had done some stargazing. And other than stealing a few kisses from her, he hadn't pressed her for anymore. Which she was glad for in a way. She knew that if he had persisted she would have let him do anything he wanted to her body. When they reached the door, he took her keys from her and unlocked it. Turning she smiled up at him.
"Did you want to come in for coffee?" She asked shyly.
"Not tonight, Ms. Sunshine." He said softly. "But perhaps one day I will."
"Oh." She said surprised. "I see."
"No, I don't think you do, Leigh." He whispered before he captured her lips again. Immediately Leigh went up on her toes and wrapped her arms around him. She did love the way that he kissed her. And this time, she took over the kiss. Shyly rubbing the tip of her tongue against his lips, she heard him groan before his lips opened and he accepted her offer. As they stood there kissing, the fire flared up even higher than it had earlier. Jason groaned and tore his lips from hers. He was barely holding on. He had promised that he would take this slow. And he would even if it killed him. Which just might, he mused to himself. "Shh, Ms. Sunshine." He soothed when she protested. He held her till the trembling stopped. Then he released her.
"Are you sure you don't want some coffee?" She asked again.
"Leigh, sweetheart. I only drink coffee in the morning." He said softly and watched as understanding dawned on her. The only way that he would ever be having coffee with her is if he stayed the night.
"Oh." She said softly.
"I'll see you in the morning, Ms Sunshine. Sweet Dreams." He said as he walked back down the walk.
"But we don't work tomorrow-" she started as he got into his truck.
"I know." She thought she heard him say as he pulled away.
Leigh was surprised when Randy called her into his office a couple weeks later. She wasn't sure what he wanted.
"Sit down Leigh." He said with a smile.
"Did I do something wrong, Bossman?" She asked.
"No. I'd say that you did something right, Ms Sunshine."
"I did?" She replied as she sat down.
"Yes. You know that we are all one family in the department. And I wanted to reassure you that we all are in favor of you and Jason getting together."
"Well-" she started.
"Now I know that you might think this is awkward but I don't want it to be. Just be careful with him."
"Careful with him?" she asked, not understanding.
"Yes. I don't want to see either of you get hurt."
"Me hurt him." She said with a laugh. "Somehow I don't think that will ever happen. In case you didn't notice, Bossman, he's twice my size."