As the door closes, Narissa's eyes move to mine. She looks intimidated for a split second. It's a flicker, but I see it before it disappears with a blink.
“You're late,” I say, turning my back to her and going back to work.
“I'm here, aren't I? Isn't that better than nothing?”
“I don't know. You tell me. Do you think showing up late for your first day at the job is a bad look?”
“I'm here, that's my answer. I'm also bringing a peace offering. You want one?” she asks, holding up the bag. Shaking my head, Narissa casually walks to the counter and sets the bag down. “So, this is your shop, huh?”
“Yup,” I say. There's no emotion in my voice. I'm not excited by this at all.
“Well, what can I do?”
With a soft chuckle, I glance at her over my shoulder. “Yeah, right, like you really want to lift a finger.”
“I actually do. Why do you think I'm here? I'm not just here because my dad made me. I'm not a freaking kid, I make my own choices. I fucked up your cabinets, let me help you fix them.”
Is she serious?
It's hard for me to believe she actually wants to work. Maybe she just wants me to give her something easy. She can sweep, she can restock the nails and do all the tedious things I really hate doing.
“How about you make sure all my bins are filled in that cabinet over there. Think you can handle that?” I look back down, and run the pencil across the wood slab, measuring for one of the cabinets she crushed.
She's pretending to care. That's it.
There's no way she actually expects to do any real work. I already know what she's thinking. Narissa is thinking I'll let her off easy. There's no reason to force the issue, it's easier if I just do it all myself.
“You know I'm capable of more than that. You can give me a mundane task like refilling those bins, but it's not what I was sent here for. My father wants me to get my hands dirty.”
“Your father just wants you to do something other than spend his money.”
I can feel her glaring at me, her eyes are so hot they're burning a hole through my skull. Closing my eyes, I let out a slow breath, turning to face her. Narissa's lips are pursed tight, her arms are folded over her chest, and her leg is kicked out to one side.
“I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that,” I say, trying to backtrack my shitty attitude. Her father is my client right now, I shouldn't be mean to her.
“Yes you did. You meant every word of it. There's no point in lying, Oliver. I don't want to be here, and you don't want me here, but here we are.” She holds out her arms and leans over slightly, giving me a much better view of her tits.
My eyes drop, lingering on her chest for a lot longer than I mean to.
“My eyes are up here, asshole,” she snaps.
Flicking my eyes up, I smile. “Fine, you want to get your hands dirty, let’s get them dirty. Come here,” I say, jerking my head. “You can help me cut the boxes for the cabinets you broke.”
“Great, tell me what to do.” She comes to my side, leaning over to see what I'm doing.
Her perfume is intoxicating, making it hard for me to concentrate as I try to explain the measurements we need. Swallowing hard, I clear my throat as I say, “So, we need to cut these two lines, then do a crosscut vertically. Have you ever used a table saw before?”
“I took wood shop in high school.”
“Did you really?” I ask, a little surprised by that. “I figured you would have been a cheerleader or something.”
“No,” she says with a little chuckle. “Not even close. I kept to myself mostly and took things I'd enjoy. Cheerleader was not one of them, thank God for that. I'm more of a bookworm, anyway.”
Our eyes connect, and I study her for a moment. This girl is starting to intrigue me. She took wood shop in school, likes books, hates cheerleaders. I expected she'd come in and whine about everything, from the color of the walls to the thin layer of sawdust covering the floor.
“Okay, let’s see what you got then.” I turn on the saw, then step behind her. Narissa's entire body stiffens, causing me to grin. I can feel the tension that fills her body as I wrap my arms around her.
She's nervous, nervous I'm here, nervous I'm so close. Nervous that she has no place else to go because I'm boxing her in.
My hands slip over hers, helping her guide the wood safely through the cut. Sawdust billows out like a tan cloud. Narissa coughs lightly, but she stays strong, following through the cut to the end.