Sunday, October 18, 2009
Jon walked to the door, grabbing his leather jacket. "All right, tell me the rest on the way." He held the door open for her. "Did you find Wes hanging out with them?"
She kept eyes above his waist, now just wasn't the time. She was used to being the bearer of bad news, it came naturally and his reaction was minor in comparison to others. She walked out into the lobby slipping one hand in her pocket "He lives with him, I did the full background checks and their parents died about five years ago leaving Black Watch as Wes's guardian. So yes he hangs around him I didn't see-" She stopped as the sound of Nickleback's Gotta be Somebody blasted through the lobby. She reached around for her clip and snapped her blackberry free. "Sorry," she mouthed to him as he locked the door behind them.
"MacKenzie Cooper," she breathed out as she ran her hand through her hair.
"Hey Mac, David's asking where the Jameson file is. He's rifling through your desk as we speak." Marissa her assistant informed her.
"It's not on my desk, like I told him three times already. It's in the filing cabinet by the coffee machine, filed under J. Jesus Christ! He lives at that machine most days so its not rocket science!" The thought of David moving anything on her desk out of order, okay so it wasn't in order but she knew where to find it if she needed it. She hated, HATED people touching her desk.
Miranda laughed "Tough session with Josh was it?"
MacKenzie closed her eyes and laughed. Miranda always had this uncanny ability to throw her off her rants. "Yes it was, as always. Now tell him where it is, and tell him if he goes near my desk again Jamie won't be having children anytime soon. Thanks M." She hit the red button and clipped the phone back on her belt. "Sorry," she said feeling her cheeks heat. "It seems, good help is hard to find sometimes."
Jon snorted and held the elevator open. "I know all about staff and loving them as much as you want to strangle them sometimes." He leaned against the bar along the back. "Most of mine are family." He snorted. "I can't fire mine."
"I understand that, mine are like my family." MacKenzie had a decent sized staff and she was firecly loyal to everyone of them. Miranda her PA, and David her second in charge were like the siblings she didn't have. She met Jon's gaze across the elevator and felt her heart trip, his blue steely gaze made her toes curl in her boots. Christ. "As I was saying, I have no hard evidence to assume that Wes is actually in the gang but he's hanging around with his brother an awful lot." She popped her knuckles as the elevator pinged on the ground floor.
He let her walk out first, trying not to stare at her ass. They walked through the small lobby and passed his security guard. "Hey George, how's Essie?"
"Right as rain, Mr. Bon Jovi. She's baking pumpkin muffins again. Same order?"
Jon groaned. "You know me and the kids look forward to that every year. Definitely." He put his hand on MacKenzie's lower back to shuffle her through, backing off as she stiffened. Christ, it's not a date, Jon. "See you in a bit." He nodded to his doorman/security man. He was deceptively casual behind that desk, but George was an ex-cop. His building supplemented his city pension nicely to watch over them.
"Well, I have a no thug policy toward the kids themselves, but living around that doesn't give me much hope. Even if he's not involved now, there's no telling how long it will take." He sighed, noticing how easily she fell into step beside him.
She tucked her hands in her pockets keeping the folder nestled securely under her arm as they strolled. "Well, it's none of my business how you operate but if you want my advice, and this did come from my guy in the force, is that these guys you don't want to mess with. Not too much is known about the inner operations of how they run apart from one thing. Once you're in, you don't get out." She explained as they dodged people on the sidewalk.
"Yeah, I was sorry to hear that the Bloods had moved into Philly, but they pretty much are infiltrating most of the big cities." He shuffled through the mass of after work commuters and tugged her into the cave of a building. No one ever noticed him in there. "Hell, Albany even has affiliates now. Freakin' suburbia isn't even safe." He stopped at the edge of the stations that filled the cavernous space. From the outside it looked like a shack. "Hot or cold?" He asked and waved at the buffet and cold sandwich counters.
Her hand again clutched her stomach as it rumbled for the second time. "Hot, definitely hot," she grinned following his lead. Ok, business was half over wasn't it? She could look now, right? She broke the cardinal rule and looked, enough to see below the end of the leather jacket, buns of steel, mercy. You really need to get out more MacKenzie, seriously.
Jon piled on the pasta and sauce. The guy that ran the place, Gio, made the best sauce outside of Richie's mama's house. He winced only slightly when he weighed in and paid for his and waved on for hers. He was going to need to do an extra mile on his run tomorrow to combat that plate. He grinned, looking over his shoulder at MacKenzie's plate. "I like a woman with a healthy appetite," he said with a touch too much flirt in his tone. Well hell, she'd done her job. It was safe to flirt now, right?
She licked the tip of her finger, tasting the best damn pasta sauce she had in a long time. "You got me, it's a guilty pleasure. I love this love/hate relationship with food," she was already thinking about how many push ups this was going to take tommorrow. "Thank you," she said as they squeezed into a corner booth when he paid for both of them. She forked a huge mouthful of creamy pasta into her mouth and groaned, "Oh my god..."
He stopped mid-roll his fork stuck in the bowl of his spoon. Pasta was suddenly not even remotely what he wanted. Clearing his throat he tucked a small bundle of angel hair into his mouth. "Gio's a master of all things cream sauce and red sauce." He said around a bite. He cracked the top of his beer and hers. "Too bad he doesn't have a wine license. Then all would be perfect."
"Gio needs to come live at my house, although maybe that wouldn't be a good idea. I'd have to live in the gym," she winked chugging back her ice cold beer. Just what the doctor had ordered for a hard day's work. She watched him delicately spoon his pasta into his mouth. He was cultured, no doubt about that.
Suddenly her client had become the one she was slightly more interested in knowing more about. Obviously he was divorced, as no wedding ring and no sign of a wife in that spacious bachelor pad. Why had they divorced? Had he cheated like so many other of her clients? She snapped back to reality when he was grinning at her, he'd asked her a question and she'd had no idea what it was. Whoops. "God Jon I'm sorry I was a million miles away," she apologized. Crap. That’s what you get when you take your mind off the job Mac.
He broke off the crusty end of his garlic bread. "I said, when do you get a day off?" He hadn't meant to ask that one. The first question had been where her gym was. Shit.
Days off? God, what was that these days? She scooped more pasta onto her fork and waved it out. "Well, my names MacKenzie Cooper and I'm a workaholic," she admitted before snagging the pasta off her fork. She chewed and then continued, "Seriously, Sundays I do try and block out the world if I can, I usually hit the surf, veg out on the beach. Anything that doesn't involve computers, cell phones and paperwork." She took another sip of of her beer, god this food was good. The company wasn't bad either.
"Sunday is football, woman." He smiled. "Talkin' sacrilege! Mercy where's your American roots?" He dunked his bread in his red sauce. "Not to mention, the cell phone. Shit, I have three of the same damn phone." He looked down, trying not to picture her in a wet suit. Don't go there, Jon. "Besides, it's almost winter. What do you do when November puts the kibosh on the beach?
She chuckled. "Yes I'm aware every male in the country orgasms on Sundays," she took another swig of her beer. She used to love to love Sunday football, tail gating back in college. God that was a long time ago, and so much had changed since then. She'd not watched a single football game or followed it. She refused to let herself be reminded of what she lost back then.
"Ahh well I still surf a little in the winter, that's what wetsuits are for." She grinned watching his brow quirk. He totally just pictured it, men. "Apart from that, I run, climb, anything that keeps me moving. Somedays, I can't sit still."
"I'm exhausted just thinking about that list. Well, I have season tickets and my kid crapped out on me for the game Sunday..if you're not," he shrugged. "Hell," he muttered. At the way her face closed off he cleared his throat. "You know what? Never mind." He upended his beer and downed more than half of it.
Shit, she hadn't meant to have that reaction. If he'd asked about a movie, dinner or anything else, she would of probably accepted. Just not football. She couldn't go back there, it was a part of her life so far removed, and full of hurt that she just couldn't go back. Dammit, this is why you don't date. She let her fork fall to the plate with a clatter, and brought the napkin to her lips. He kept busy chasing the pasta around his plate with his fork. She reached out her hand, and almost touched his but pulled it back quickly, she was hopeless at this. "I really should be going," the awkwardness hung thick over them.
"Right," Jon stood. "Thanks for all you've done Ms--" he stopped. No, he wouldn't make her feel bad about it. He'd just felt something there. Something he'd been prepared to explore, but she'd probably saved him anyway. The next month and a half was going to be insane with the Democrat stomps and dealing with the Soul Foundation. He didn't have time to deal with a woman, even if she was the first one to make his dick twitch in too many months to count. "MacKenzie. I appreciate the work you did. I don't want to have to give Wes up," he slid the folder over and tucked it under his own arm. "But you made it easier to make the decision. I'll have my lawyer finalize all your fees and such." He held out his hand. "Pleasure working with you."
She wanted to take it back, tell him that she'd of gone out with him, but the moment had gone. And she didn't have the guts to be honest with him about why she'd pulled back. She clutched his hand and their eyes locked. "You're very welcome, it was a pleasure I hope everything works out for you." She lifted her bag, "Thanks again for the meal, just what I needed. And if you ever need any help or......just anything don't hesitate to give me a call," she swallowed. She was so damn stupid sometimes for all the brains and sense she had, she sucked at this side of life. As much as she wanted to deny it. There hadn't been this much of a spark since Bryan and that scared her. Good thing she was about to walk back out of his life and into her own world where all she had to worry about was herself.
Jon watched her turn away, her footsteps quick and sure. Hell, she didn't even want to walk back to his apartment with him. "Way to go, Jackass," he mumbled. He headed out the opposite entrance and flagged down a cab. Maybe he could find Richie at the studio still. He flipped open his phone and texted him.
Within three minutes he'd gotten his answer. "Studio it is," he said and rattled off the address.