What Should Have Happened at the Hardware Store

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Saturday at the store is a nightmare. It's been so busy I haven't had time to have lunch, so I grab my bagel as I head to the till computer to check on our weekly orders. I'm engrossed in the task, trying to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible so that I can enjoy my bagel and then help tidy up the store.

I nearly jump out of my skin when I glance up and realize there's a customer standing at the counter.

My heart catches in my throat when I realize that it's Christian fucking Grey.

"Miss Steele. What a pleasant surprise." His gaze is unwavering and intense, and my throat is dry. I can't believe this guy had the balls to come here. How did he find me, anyway? Did he seriously do a background check and find out where I work? There's no way this is coincidence, and it's seriously creeping me out.

"Mr. Grey." I clear my throat. What do I say? I thought I was pretty clear at the interview that I didn't want to spend time with him. After he'd acted like such an arrogant prick. Maybe he was here because he was mad about the questions I asked? Or because I refused having a tour? Either way I was contemplating lunging for my phone.

"I was in the area," he says by way of explanation. "I need to stock up on a few things. It's a pleasure to see you again, Miss Steele." The suggestive way my name rolls off of his tongue makes bile rise up in my throat and I swallow hard. Bullshit you were in the area, Mr. Stalker.

I give myself a mental shake. Customer service first. I am on the clock. Unless something super inappropriate takes place, I need to focus on taking care of this customer. Then maybe afterwards I can get a restraining order.

"What can I help you with, Mr. Grey?" My voice is sickly sweet.

He smiles, and it's like he's privy to some big secret. It is so disconcerting. "To start with, I'd like some cable ties," he murmurs, his gray eyes cool but amused.

Warning bells go off in my head. Cable ties? "We have various lengths in aisle eight." I point and he raises an eyebrow.

"Please. Lead the way, Miss Steele," he says. So you can check out my ass and chloroform me? I don't fucking think so.

"I need to get these orders in, but I can point you in the direction of the other items on your list if you like." I'm pretty sure my voice will crack at any moment, revealing the distaste beneath.

"I'd like some masking tape." He smirks, and I have the uneasy feeling he's laughing at me.

"That would be in the decorating aisle." I say quickly and point it out to him. "Anything else?"

"Some rope, I think." His voice is slightly husky and now I'm really starting to panic. He stalked me here to buy cable ties, masking tape, and rope? Is this guy seriousy planning my murder? Right in front of me?

"How's the article coming along?" He asks before I can send him off to get his items and retreat to safety.

"Kate's really happy with it." I blurt words in my nervousness, and he smiles as if it's endearing to him. Am I coming across as girl-next-door-shy, or is he turned on by my fear? My heart pounds and my mouth keeps blabbing on. "She was devastated that she couldn't make it to the interview, but she has lots to work with. Her only concern is that she doesn't have any original photographs."

"What sort of photographs does she want?" He raises an eyebrow, and I mentally kick myself. I hadn't wanted to give him any more of an in on my life. Or Kate's, for that matter. He can just stay the hell away from everyone I know, thank you very much. "I'm around tomorrow, let me know about a photo shoot." He slides his business card across the desk and I stare at it. No way I'm touching that thing.

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