Don't Make Me
"I don't see why I have to go."
"Because it'll look strange if I go alone."
She looked at the pained expression on Lucky's face and sighed. Why was he doing this to her? To them? "Don't make me go with you," she begged. "Please."
Lucky hunched his shoulders. He took her hands and pulled her to him. "You know I wouldn't make you do anything you didn't want to do." His knuckles grazed her cheek. He bent forward and kissed her nose. Then, he trailed a fiery path from her cheek down to her neck. She was moaning by the time he reached her collarbone.
"Is this working?" he asked, his voice husky and mildly amused but mostly aroused.
"Almost," Emily murmured. Reluctantly she pulled away and moved back to her desk. Dara was a generous boss, but Emily didn't take advantage. Her job as Dara's research assistant was one she took seriously. She obtained the position based on merit and not on family connections. It was something she was very proud of.
"What time will the Boss Lady return?"
Emily glanced at her watch. "Her meetings with the Commissioner usually run long."
"Oh yeah?" A wicked gleam darkened his sapphire eyes.
She grinned. "Don't even think about it."
He pouted. It didn't work. He then released a long, dramatic sigh. "I tried." He hesitated and then said, "But back to Greece. I told Nikolas we'd come. It's his birthday…"
"Our brothers hate each other, Lucky. I really doubt if Nikolas will be upset if I don't come with you."
"You're friends." He frowned when she released a harsh breath. "Aren't you still friends?"
"I don't know. Look, we can't let what happens between Nikolas, Dawn and Jason affect us."
"We haven't." He perched on the edge of her desk. Lightly, he fingered a loose tendril of hair on her cheek. "We won't."
She frowned as she mentally reviewed the options. "I guess going with you won't be so bad. The worst is over, right? Jason and Dawn are gone. Nikolas has moved on. And I am overdue for a vacation."
"Which has already been approved," he added smiling.
Emily returned the gesture. "Okay, I'll go with you."
Dara returned a couple of hours later. Emily joined her in the office. "Have you had any more problems with Westlaw?" Dara asked as she hung her overcoat and purse on the coat rack. "I spoke with Darren. He promises that everything should be fine."
"It is," Emily assured her. "He called about an hour ago. He gave us a new login and password. There they are on your desk."
Dara glanced at the post-it, memorized the information, and tossed the scrap of paper into the shredder.
As Dara sat down, Emily said, "Do you have a few minutes to talk?"
"Of course. Have a seat."
Emily settled onto a guest chair. Her fingers laced together. Nervous tension wrapped around the younger woman. Dara noted this and wondered what was going inside her assistant's head. They'd never had a problem before—not even when Dara's younger sister ran off with Emily's older brother. Their working relationship was amiable. She hoped.
"You look ready to burst," Dara commented. "Just relax. I'm sure whatever's wrong, we can work it out."
"It's not that there's something wrong…" Emily stammered. "Well, there is, but it doesn't have anything to do with us directly."
Something clicked. Dara nodded knowingly. "This is about our siblings."
Dara sucked in air and shrugged. "What about them?"
"Have you heard from Dawn?" Emily asked. "They've been gone for sixteen months. I know…because I count them. I haven't heard from Jason. He said that I wouldn't, but I worry about them. Don't you worry about them?"
Dara's strength wavered. Her voice was husky and sad. "All the time. I received one postcard from Dawn. It was postmarked New Orleans, but I would guess that's not where they are."
Emily nodded in agreement. "Lucky wants me to go with him to Greece for Nikolas' birthday."
Dara grunted. She didn't mean to, but there it was. Her brother-in-law wasn't on her list of favorite people. He hadn't been for a long time.
Emily released a humorless chuckle. "My feelings exactly."
"So why go?" Dara asked, unable to stop herself.
"I don't know… Maybe this is a chance for me to see for myself that it's really over for him and that I don't have to worry about Jason and Dawn anymore."
"Do you believe that's possible?"
Emily shrugged. "I hope so."