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I normally hated waking up in the morning. I knew nothing would be worse than the sun in your sleepy eyes or having to leave your warm bed. My harsh alarm definitely didn’t help that. But it’s enough to scare me awake. However today I woke up in a completely different way.
There was a soft sound playing at my ears. Music. Lovely piano music. A soft hand was rubbing my back. I felt so soothed I actually wanted to wake up. My eyes stung a little but I woke up to an absolutely gorgeous sight.
Brad was kneeling by my bed. His phone was in his hand and the piano music was being played from that.
“Morning Ms. Cortez. I hope you don’t mind. I peeked at your alarm and thought you’d need a better way to wake up.”
It seems as though smiling was something I’d do a lot when Brad was around.
“Please. The morning after I’m just Mariah. And it was very sweet of you to do this.”
I sat up in bed and turned to face Brad.
“Why are you up so early?”
“I always wake up around this time. I have to leave early because the bus I take is usually late.”
The way he spoke made me sad. It sounded as if he was just used to working as hard as he was and that was all he would ever expect . I might have been crazy but what I heard was no one had ever tried to make it easier for him and he had just accepted that as fact. I damn sure wouldn’t be one of those people.
“Brad what do you like to do during your free time?”
Brad looked up at me with a wide smile. Then his cheeks turned red and he started to chuckle.
“I spend most of my time at the park in the city. Clifton Park. There’s some beautiful scenery this time of year. All year round actually. In Autumn the leaves change and fall. Some people gather to watch it. In the winter it’s like a snow wonderland. Everything looks so picturesque! And there are these plays that go on there. I’ve seen a lot of them. Mostly Shakespeare. 12th Night, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and even King Lear. You’d like Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a great comedy. There are poetry readings. Oh, and picnics! People clean the park once a month as a group too. There are always kids there. Laughing and playing. And sometimes the vendors sit on the blocks around the park and I have my lunch right there!”
In his big speech his eyes had gotten brighter and he was talking faster and faster until he was rambling. I found it absolutely adorable. He was so innocent. So excitable. I couldn’t help but feel it rub off on me. When he realized he was rambling he stopped talking and went back to blushing.
“How about we use this day to spend some time at the park. I can take you to your apartment to get some clean clothes and you can shower here.”
“Really Mariah?! You want to come to the park with me?”
“Of course baby boy. I’d love to. Now let’s have that shower shall we?”
It was strange to giggle. Especially when I was so stern and domineering. But at a time like this I couldn’t help it. I was covered in bubbles and suds and Brad’s hands were all over me. His slippery fingers slid across me and I was becoming very ticklish. We kissed and our hands felt every inch of each other.
I had gotten dried and dressed into something that I thought would be perfect for the park. I found an old pair of jeans and paired it with a black tank top and a white sweater. Thankfully I still had a beat up pair of sneakers to wear as well.
As I came downstairs to where Brad was waiting for me I got a bit self conscious. He had never seen me in clothes like this be for. What if he thought I looked bad?
I found him pouring two glasses of orange juice in the kitchen. He looked up at me and smiled.
“You look very pretty Mariah. I’ve never seen you in such dress down clothes. They suit you. I hope you don’t mind I was looking for something to drink and found the orange juice. Thought you might like some to wake you up a little.”
He handed me a glass of juice and sat down at the table. I sat across from him and made no effort to hide my smile. Boys who are obliging always get rewarded.
“So what do you want to bring with us? Games, snacks, something to sit on?”
Brad thought about it for a little. His head tipped to the side and he scrunched up his nose.
“No. They’ll already have stuff like that. We can find something to do when we get there.”
I let Brad drive to the park and I sat in the driver side. We rode in silence but Brad was humming something. I think I knew what song he was humming. Either way I thought it was really cute.
When we had gotten to the park there were a bunch of activities going on. People were painting and working with clay on one side. There was a woman conducting a yoga class close to the middle. Children were playing with squirt guns and clamoring all over the jungle gym.
The park had for grass hills one on each side and was its own block. It sat in the middle of a neighborhood. It was a little spot of Şerifali Escort peace. I could see why Brad like coming here. Just being around all these happy people put a smile on my face. And then again I was with Brad.
“Oo oo oo! Let’s get something to eat first!”
Brad was pointing to a food truck parked on the right hand side of the park. We walked up to it and the smell coming from it was amazing. The sign read “Earthly Eats” and was painted with images of trees, suns and moons in different forms and animals. It reminded me of a hippy van.
I got a burrito with tortilla chips and Brad got a cheese steak with fries. Brad was so cute with cheese on the side of his mouth. I swept it up with my thumb and wiped it off on a napkin.
We had finished our food and were just sitting on the grass. We were talking and laughing. My legs were in his lap and his hands were all over them. He was in the middle of a laugh when his face dropped.
His eyes met the table and his cheeks lost all their color. I looked toward his eyes were going and was met with a young blond guy coming out of at store. He gave off the “snobby preppy boy” look. His face was in a permanent look of disgust on it. And his eyes were squarely planted on Brad.
“Brad who is that?”
I was shocked to see Brad’s eyes filling with tears. I knew I had to get him out of here. Something bad was happening and I had to protect him. I stood up and held my hand out Brad.
“Come on baby I’ll take you home.”
“Can we go to your place instead?”
“Of course we can baby.”
He held onto me as we slowly walked back to my car. His face was pale and sickly. He looked like a wreck. I kept looking at him on the ride back to my place. He just peered put the window with his hands in his lap.
We had stopped at a red light when Brad finally spoke.
“His name’s Adrian. He was my best friend. Until I found out he was one of the guys my first dominant partner Marianne was seeing on the side. I wasn’t completely honest Mariah, I’m sorry. For two months I tried to be in an open relationship with her and it really didn’t work. She brought Adrian to stay with us. Things got so ugly so fast. Instead of all of us being happy together she pitted the two of us against each other.”
“In the end Adrian told me he didn’t care if she picked him or not. He realized he just enjoyed beating me at things. It was at that same time that my partner started taking Adrian’s side in everything. The two of them were always ganging up on me. I couldn’t take it anymore and I left. My job was connected with Marianne so I quit that and asked my father for help. It’s been almost 2 years now.”
His voice broke as he finished his sentence.
His shoulders shook softly as he started to cry. I pulled the car over and slid myself over the counsel. I grabbed onto him and held him to me.
“My poor angel. How could anyone treat you so terribly. I’m here love. Let out every tear. You’re so strong and brave for telling me. And that woman and Adrian are monsters. They’d take anyone and break them down. Whether a person is dominant or aggressive has nothing to do with being a man. Being true to yourself no matter what others say or do makes you a man. And the way I see it you’re more of a man than anyone I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Please don’t cry Brad. Please. I’m right here protecting you.”
I held him against my body and let his cry it out. When he did finish his face was flushed and his eyes were tired. He looked up at me with vulnerable eyes.
“Can I lay my head in your lap while you drive?”
I ran my fingers through his softly hair and smiled softly back at him.
“Yes of course you can my love.”
I don’t recommend this but I spent the rest of the drive using one hand to steer and the other gently running through Brad’s hair. His body loosened up and it almost seemed that he was sleeping on me. I was aching inside for him, but this small gesture made me smile. He was such a sweet boy. Who could ever find in themselves to hurt him? When Brad looked up we were parked in front of his condo.
“I thought we were going to your place?”
“Oh we are. But I want you to pack some clothes for work and just to relax in. As well as something to go out in. You could spend the rest of the weekend and Monday with me and I’ll take you home after work that day.
I loved seeing Brad smile. Especially the tiny bashful one he had on now. So cute. He got out and went into his building and I waited in the car for him. He came back out wit a nice sized duffel bag and we made our way back to my place. We were enjoying a comfortable silence when Brad spoke.
I looked down at him and resumed rubbing through his hair.
“Yes Brad, sweetie?”
“I’m sorry I ruined our day out today. I just got a little overwhelmed by seeing Adrian.”
“Oh, Brad! Don’t you dare apologize to me baby. I would have gone right up to the punk and punched İstanbul Escort his goddamned lights out if I thought it would make you feel better. But I could see at that point you really just needed to get out of there.”
Brad sat up but let his head rest on my shoulder.
“Thank you for understanding. What are we gonna do now?”
“I’ll make some snacks for us and we can just sit in front of the tv together.”
“Alright, I’d like that.”
“Before we do that we should
After we got out of the car and headed toward my apartment’s entrance Brad clasped hands with me. I didn’t even try to keep the smile from spreading across my face. Next we were in the elevator, hands still together. I rested my head on Brad’s shoulder for a few seconds, just enjoying the closeness. We made it to my apartment and from there Brad and I went right to the bed room.
We decided to change into some comfy clothes and made our way to the living room. I sat Brad on the couch and grabbed him a fleece blanket from the linen closet which he gladly took. In the kitchen I went to work getting all the feel good snacks I could find. I put cookies and chocolates on a plate along with a bowl of chips and a jar of dip. To drink I pulled out a few bottles of water and two cans of soda for us.
It took two trips but it was definitely worth when I sat down and Brad laid his head in my lap. We spent the next few hours watching movie after movie and gorging on junk food. It wasn’t long after the fourth or fifth movie went off that the two of us felt the day start to wear on us. I was dozing off when my phone went off. My assistant texted me and told me there was an emergency meeting that I was called to. I cursed under my breath and told her I’d be there. Regretfully I had to rouse Brad from his half sleep and get dressed again.
“Is everything okay, Mariah?”
“Yeah hon, I just have to go into the office to make an appearance at an emergency meeting. It’s probably nothing. You’re welcome to stay here. You’ve got the tv and I’ll leave my card here in case you wanna order some dinner. You’ve got free reign in the kitchen if you find something in there that you want instead. I won’t be home too late.”
I look at the wall clock and see that it’s almost 6:30.
I kissed Brad goodbye and while leaving my apartment building I started thinking about how much I missed things like that. Having someone to kiss hello and goodbye, someone there to cuddle on the couch. If he let me I wanted to keep Brad around for as long as I could. Getting to know him for even the short time has probably been the best time I’ve had in forever.
The drive to the office was short and uneventful. Even though I didn’t want to I pushed Brad to the back of my mind and made it to the meeting. Emergency was the wrong word to use for it. One of the senior partners past away and I needed to be witness and discuss the particulars with his family who would receive his shares in equal parts.
The clock read 9:30 when I finally came up for air. My lower back ached and I desperately needed something to drink. I had the majority of my work done and thought it was time to go home. Anything that was left over could be quickly done tomorrow morning. As I was packing up I of course was thinking about Brad waiting for me at my place. He might be hungry. I should pick up some take out if he hasn’t already eaten.
Brad was answering his phone. Damn he was probably sleeping. I guess we could just order when I got home. And the faster I do that, the faster we can finish dinner and spend the rest of the night canoodling. Maybe I could make a habit of finishing early on the nights Brad and I are together. Most of the lights in my building where off. The glittering from the city lights on the glass gave me enough direction to get through.
I was in the middle of a long hallway of boardrooms when I heard a soft whimpering sound. I leaned my ear against two doors before I found the one that the noise was coming from behind. I tried the knob and found it was locked. I think had a key somewhere, if I didn’t give it to my assistant. There they were, two keys on a ring. One for my office and one for all the board rooms on this floor. The room was dark, but that sound was still there. Shit, maybe someone is hurt.
“Hello? Are you okay?”
The whimpering sound got louder and I could that it was definitely a woman. She was shuffling around and almost screaming. It sounded muffled like she had something in her mouth. With my hand against the wall I tried to move toward the sound. I was in the farthest left hand corner of the room when I tripped over something. Oh fuck, someone. I tripped over someone! My hands immediately reached out and I felt legs.
“It’s alright, can you move? Are you hurt?”
I trailed my hands downward and they stopped at the bindings around her ankles. Fuck I can’t see how to get them untied. MY PHONE!! When I shined the light Ümraniye Escort on her my blood ran cold. I knew who she was. One of the interns in Brad’s group, Jenny. Her hands were taped together behind her back and some dirty cloth was taped in her mouth. I pulled the cloth out and sat her up.
“Please hurry! I don’t know where he is but he’s going to come back!”
I started clawing at the tape on Jenny’s wrists. I couldn’t find the edge and trying to rip it made it worse. Fuck, I had to get her out of here. Jenny was still close to hysterics and it started to rub off on me. The both of us gasped and I felt the bound girl jump. The door had swung open sharply, hitting the wall and causing a loud cracking sound. In the doorway was a man in a janitor’s uniform. He was heaving and growling like a crazed animal. I couldn’t see his face but his silhouette was outline in the dim light.
He let out an almost roar-like shout and ran across the room at us. My first thought was to protect Jenny. I stood up over her and threw myself at the janitor. He grabbed me by my upper arms and pulled me away from the wall Jenny was propped up against. The man was muttering and practically snarling at me while we went back and forth trying to throw the other off. I cried out as he threw me against the wall, the sound like a dull thud against the glass. My body crumpled onto to the floor and I felt so weak.
The janitor sent quick savage kicks at my stomach, throwing me into nausea and an intense pain. I couldn’t speak or move. I just groaned and tried to make my way over to Jenny. Before I could reach her the janitor pulled my hair back and threw me onto my back. My eyes didn’t have to adjust to the darkness to see this. The glint of the weapon he was holding was clear in the dim light. Oh fuck, a knife! I reach out to grab his wrists and wrestle his weapon from him. I could feel the pressure as he laid his weight against he hands.
My grip was slipping. If I couldn’t stop this guy he would kill me and then Jenny. I could hear the frightened intern struggling and screaming as she was unable to move. His legs were trapping mine, if I could only raise my knee up to knock him off of me. I see the glint of the knife again. It was close enough that I could reach my tongue out and feel the point. In a last burst of survival instinct energy I thrashed back and forth. He was so heavy. It was no use.
Suddenly, the janitor let out a loud groan as I heard a Taser go off behind him. His clenched body landed on top of me. When it was moved Brad was standing over me with the Taser clutched in his hand.
“Mariah! What the fuck is going on here? Are you alright?”
Brad reached down and grabbed my arms. My legs were shaking as he pulled me to my feet. I was breathing heavy and tried to turn toward Jenny. As I was moving closer my legs wobbled and I had to grab onto the back of one of the board room chairs. Brad rushed to my side but I waved him away.
“Please help her. I’m fine.”
Brad hadn’t noticed Jenny cowering in the corner. When he did I heard him gasp audibly.
While I caught my breath and tried to steady myself, Brad got Jenny’s hands and feet unbound. He urged me to call the police and while I did he got Jenny’s nerves to ease. Once the police got there Brad went right into telling them what had happened, what he couldn’t account for Jenny was able to tell. The janitor was Jenny’s neighbor who for the past few years had been stalking her. He had gotten work at the office shortly after she did and he had the perfect opportunity to strike while she was working late tonight.
I said my piece to the officers but the entire while all I could think was how I wanted to touch Brad. Have him hold me. He had saved my life and just the fact that I was close to dying made me feel incredibly vulnerable. I could feel the tears burning the back of my eyes. I didn’t want him or anyone else to see it. It would be so wrong to be needy at a time like this. Brad could have lost his life as well. I was only capable of thinking of myself.
After we made official statements and were allowed to leave there was air of silence around us. I wanted to thank Brad, I wanted to throw myself at his feet and weep. But Brad just seemed still and reserved. I couldn’t even tell if he was catching the anxious glances I was throwing his way. The drive was dead silent. The elevator ride up to my apartment was the same. A million awful thoughts ran through my head. If only Brad would talk to me.
I had shut the door behind us. I had tossed my keys on the near by table and before I could slip out of my heels I was taken off my feet. Brad had lifted me by my hips and pushed me against the door. Even the gasp I let out was swallowed by his mouth on mine. It was so easy to melt into his arms. His kiss was deep and insistent, his hips were keeping me in his grasp. Brad pulled away and his hands went to the back of my neck, angling me to look into his eyes.
“I’ve never felt a greater fear Mariah. Then when I heard you in pain. If I had been just a few minuets later, you wouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t have let you go into the office alone. I’m so sorry. I want to protect you, I NEED to.”
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