Chapter 14 : Say Anything

5.6K 380 33

Lizzy had been distracted, that much was obvious. The coffee she'd spilled was hot but luckily, he couldn't see any visible burns on her fingers. "I didn't mean to startle you," Asher said.

She didn't reply, merely stared at him in stunned silence.

How odd. The only time he ever spoke to her, the woman only had biting remarks for him. It was like everything she said biting remark for him. And she looked at him like he was a toad that had hopped up on the conference table. Now, she was strangely quiet. And avoided his eyes. Was there something on his face?

"Lizzy?" he said.

Oh. Right.

As though reading his mind, her gaze shot up to meet his.

He smiled. "It's not that bad," he said. He lifted the hand holding the mug and brushed a knuckle against his nose. "I was taken by surprise, is all."

Her throat worked as she swallowed hard. "Oh," she said, looking at his nose. "Good." Her voice sounded like whatever it was in her throat was still lodged there. It was low, and a little husky.

The hairs on his scalp rose as awareness tingled from his spine up to the back of his neck.

What the hell?

"I, uh..." He trailed off. What was he going to say?

Her eyebrows shot up in a silent question.

He blinked. Words. Words would be great right now. Say something, you idiot. Anything.

The silence stretched until Lizzy gave a slight shake of her head, her eyes closing briefly. "What are you doing here?" Her voice was sharp with an edge of suspicion.

Asher sighed. There she was — the Lizzy her barely knew and tolerated. "I came to apologize," he said. Gesturing toward her office with his head, he added, "You got a minute?"

Her nod was stiff. She reached for the mug, which he handed back to her. When she took it, she also handed him back his handkerchief. He followed her toward her office, both of them walking in silence.

"I didn't know you watched movies for work," he said, eyeing the tablet on her desk. He leaned over her desk to peer closer into the screen. The movie was paused. "That doesn't look familiar."

"It's French."

When he straightened and glanced at her, she was biting her lower lip.

"You speak French?"

She swallowed. "I read subtitles."

Was she nervous? The thought brought a grin to his face. Did he make her nervous? It wasn't that surprising. He'd been making women nervous since he was fourteen. While Lizzy initially reacted to him with suspicion and disdain, he should have known it was just a matter of time before she got around to liking him. Give or take a week, she'd be eating out of his—

She slapped the cover of the tablet case shut and laid it face-down on her desk. "I have articles to edit, Mr. Darcy," she said, dropping into her chair. "Please make it quick."

He narrowed his eyes. She was acting really strange. Nervous one second, cold the next. If he didn't know any better, he'd suspect she was hiding something from him. What that could possibly be, he had no idea.

She didn't offer him a seat, but he cheerfully slid into the chair across from her. "I'd like to apologize for missing our appointment last week."

She nodded. "I see."

"My sister dropped in on me unexpectedly the day before." He couldn't help the smile that tugged at his mouth at the thought of his sister. "I haven't seen her in months. You can understand, can't you?"

CONTROLWhere stories live. Discover now