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Part Eight

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The week rolled around with Kate feeling that she hadn’t had a real break. Work was more hectic than usual, she was in the process of closing a big account so she had a lot of presentations and meetings. She was working late every night, then there was Peter, she headed straight to spend the evening with him afterwards, and then on Tuesday she headed back into the office after that. Coupled with the emotional trauma the last few weeks had evoked, by the time she left work on Wednesday she was dead on her feet.

The thought of the tube ride home caused her pain she was so tired, but she had no real choice. She swore she’d just collapse into bed; she was too exhausted to even think of food. As she paused waiting for a break in traffic to allow her to cross the road, a sleek black coupe pulled level with her, and the window slid down. Glancing in to the car she spotted Mason leaning across to see her.

                “Can I give you a lift? Apologise? You look shattered.” His voice was humble and he genuinely looked concerned.

Kate had a split second to decide what to do. Fight her way home on the tube, or slide in to this warm comfy car and be driven. In her head there was no choice, she trusted Mason, he’d get her home, it was always herself that she worried about.

With a groan at her own weakness, and a snappy and very sarcastic “haven’t you got the greatest timing...yet again!”, she reached for the door and sank into the passenger seat. Unable to look at Mason for a moment, she twiddled her thumbs watching the road as he pulled out into the moving traffic.

He ignored her iciness, “You ok? You look awful.”

She laughed, turning to look at him, “you sure know how to make a gal feel good!”

His smile was dazzling and tinged with more than a little relief. He’d intended to park the car and walk into the building, catch her off guard, but she’d appeared earlier than he’d anticipated. As soon as he’d seen her step onto the pavement from the security of her office he’d been worried. She did look gaunt, and he’d felt an urge of protectiveness wash over him. The devil on his shoulder also could tell that tonight she was too tired to fight him, or any of his advances. Part of him wanted to take advantage of that, but whilst he hadn’t always been, he was now a gentleman, and she deserved better than that.

Mason hated London rush hour traffic, they barely moved, creeping along the main route away from her business. They were silent for a few minutes, and when he turned to her to ask where she lived – though he had a rough idea, he saw she was fast asleep.  In that moment he made the decision to head to the apartment he was renting in central London, she’d probably be mad, but she looked like she needed a meal cooked, a hot drink. Her brother said she lived with a couple of men who weren’t the most domestic. So he swung in the opposite direction and made for his place.

In the underground car park below the apartment block, he pulled into a space, then taking a deep breath headed for the passenger door. Kneeling Mason slid an arm under her knees, the other behind her and pulled her out of the car and into his arms. She was so deeply asleep that she allowed him to lift her, even nuzzling against him for a moment.

Calling the elevator was awkward and it woke her, glaring up at him confusion lifted from her frown with each prolonged second.

                “What are you doing? Where are we?”

Mason took another deep breath, “you were asleep, so I brought you back to mine, thought you’d be glad of a meal, someone to look after you. Plus I didn’t know where you lived.”

She sighed, both loving and hating the proximity to his hard and warm body, “can you put me down?”

He shook his head, “can’t you accept I’m a friend?”

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