Secret Daddy(65)

By: Lucy Wild

“I am.”

“What are you studying?”

“English Literature.”

“What’s the plan for after that?”

“I haven’t really thought about it yet. Maybe write a novel.”

“Good at typing, then?”

“Okay, I guess.”

“Then let’s get started,” I said, slipping my tie back on.

“It’s crooked.”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“Your tie, it’s crooked. Have you got a mirror?”

“Not in here. Would you mind having a look?”

She stood up, and as she walked towards me she looked more out of her depth than ever. She looked scared of me, as if I might bite her. She was right.

I lifted my neck as she straightened my tie out. From this close I could feel her breath on me and even better, I could smell her. She smelt of freshness and innocence. But still she looked so scared.

I felt an anger rise up in me. Someone had treated her badly in the past, I could just tell. I found myself wishing I knew who it was, so I could find them and punish them for it. How could anyone mistreat such an innocent person? “Do you live with your parents?” I asked, the words falling out before I could stop them.

She shook her head. “I live with my housemate. There, how’s that?”

“Much better,” I replied, glancing down. “What’s your housemate like?”

“She’s all right, takes a bit of getting used to but I love her all the same.”

“What about your parents, do you get on with them?”

“Why are you asking?” Her voice was colder and I realised I’d gone too far. Whatever had happened in her past, she was not going to share it willingly.

“Never mind. Let’s get going, shall we?”

She sat down on the far side of the desk and I was glad. I needed some distance between us else the conflicting emotions inside my head would have overcome me. It was hard to explain how I felt as I began to dictate and she took neat notes, her tongue sticking from the corner of her mouth as she concentrated. Part of me wanted to protect her. It was like coming across a bird with a broken wing. It was impossible not to feel a pang of compassion towards her, seeing how frightened she appeared. But there was another part of me that I’d be a fool to pretend didn’t exist.

That part of me, the part that I kept hidden from a world that would never understand, that part wanted to do things to her that were the exact opposite of protecting her. I forced myself to ignore those thoughts as best I could. The only reason I’d been able to keep my reputation in the world was by making sure I only did those things in the most private of places with the few people able to keep my secrets.

A tiny smile flickered across my lips as I thought about introducing her to my world. It would ruin me, for certain, but it would also be a very sweet thing indeed. With her eyes fixed on the pad, I was able to look at her more closely. Natalie Brook, she had called herself. That was far too grown up for my liking. Someone like her, someone so innocent, she could only be a little Tilly. It had been a long time since I’d met someone I’d given a nickname to, and never someone who wasn’t part of my private world.

She looked up at me suddenly and I realised I’d stopped talking. “Where was I?” I asked. “Read it back to me so far.”

“Dear Sirs,” she began and I listened to her talk, wondering if she had the slightest idea what I wanted to do to her at that moment. She must not have had a clue because if she did, I had no doubt she would have sprinted away from my office without ever looking back.

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