Quench Me by Amy – Chapter 4

Republisher’s  Note: Danny’s dream comes true when he had managed to free himself of the mob before he met Michelle while she was in med school and he was working for Spaulding.

Quench Me by Amy – Chapter 4

I can’t believe I agreed to stay here and talk to him. What was I thinking? I only came here to apologize to him, and now here I am, sitting in front of him, with a direct view of his lap. Even as I question myself, I know the answer. I didn’t come here just to apologize. That was part of it, yes, but it was also an excuse to see him again. For reasons I cannot explain, something propelled me here this evening, and I’m beginning to hate myself for it.

“So Michelle,” he begins, obviously enjoying looking down at me, “you said you were finished with classes for the day. Does that mean you’re still in college?”

I keep my eyes glued to his, never allowing my gaze to wander below his chin. I’m not going to give him the satisfaction of looking at the part of his body he’s so blatantly displayed for me. “Medical school,” I reply in a sharp tone.

“Oh, medical school,” he says, sarcasm brimming in his voice. “I’m sorry. I must’ve offended you.”

“I’m not offended,” I answer. “At least you didn’t ask me if I was still in high school.”

“You get that a lot, do you?” he asks, still staring down at me from his“power position”.

“Evidently, I look younger than I am,” I say. “If I go out and order a drink with my dinner, I always have to show my I.D. I’ve just kind of gotten used to it.”

He nods, and finally moves his body from in front of me, and sits down behind his desk. I don’t know if he’s satisfied that he displayed himself for me, or insulted because I didn’t look. Either way, I’m relieved to not be face to face with his crotch anymore.

“I guess that’s a problem that you don’t have,” I say. “I’m sure no one ever asks to see your I.D.”

“True,” he says, almost reflectively. “People in my life have been looking at me as a grown up for a very long time. I can’t even remember what it’s like to feel like a kid.”

Suddenly struck with sadness for a childhood that never was, I reply, “Your family?”

His defenses go up again, and he starts demonstrating that enormous chip on his shoulder that Phillip told me about. “Yeah Michelle, my family. I know you’ve heard all the stories, but let me assure you, I don’t need you to feel sorry for me.”

“I wasn’t trying to upset you, Danny,” I say in a sharp tone. “I’m just trying to understand you a little better. Phillip told me what you did.”

“You asked Phillip about me?” he asks incredulously. “You were nosing around in my business?”

“Well, yes I asked Phillip about you,” I answer tentatively. “But I wasn’t trying to dig around in your life. I was just a little curious about why you would want to work at Spaulding.”

“Great,” he said with a hint of disgust. “So what did my boss have to say about me?”

I feel the sparks of anger begin to arise, and I cannot hold back. “Phillip said a lot of things, Danny,” I say in a heated whisper, giving the comment time to sink in, and giving Danny plenty of time to wonder just what Phillip said about him.

Danny doesn’t say a word. He just stares across his desk at me, holding my eyes with his powerful gaze the way he did the other day. He’s fidgeting nervously, and I decide I should let him of the hook.

“But what it all boils down to is this – Phillip respects you very much. He told me that you are a good man, and he spoke very highly of you.”

Somewhat relieved, he visibly relaxes a bit. “So, that’s why you came here, isn’t it Michelle? To see if Phillip was right.”

“I came here to apologize to you, nothing more,” I shoot back at him.“After what Phillip told me, I realized that I misjudged you.”

“I don’t know whether to be flattered or angry that you went to my boss to ask about me,” he says with a smirk.

“Dammit, Danny,” I almost shout. “I’m trying to pay you a compliment, so why the hell don’t you just take it?”

He leans over the desk, propping his upper body with his elbows. “Well, I appreciate that, Michelle. And I appreciate the confidence that Phillip has in me. And,” he pauses, “I’m sorry.”

I give him a slight smile, indicating that I’m not angry. He leans further across the desk, and I somehow get the feeling that he’s trying to be close to me, but can’t let himself. The desk between us becomes a mere symbol of whatever it is inside him that won’t allow him to open up.

“So, to answer your question… No, I’m almost never mistaken for being younger than I am. Although, I’m sure one of these days I won’t think that’s such a good thing.”

He smiles at me, and for the first time, it feels genuine. I don’t understand what it is about Danny Santos that affects me so much, but I’m enjoying the feeling of his warmth, so for this moment, I’m silent as I smile back at him.

And, just like that, the moment is gone.

“So Michelle, is that why you drive such a big car?”

I have no idea what he’s talking about, and the look on my face tells him so. He quickly explains himself.

“When you climb into that big Mitsubishi, your little body looks about the size of an ant in comparison.”

“How do you know what I drive?” I ask. My voice is breathy, as I search my mind for answers.

“Well, when you left the other day, you told me to enjoy the view on your way out. So I did exactly what you told me. I enjoyed the view,” he pauses and points to the window. “All the way out.”

It suddenly dawns on me that he has a view of the parking lot from his office window. I can almost feel the blood begin to course faster in my veins as I realize that he watched me all the way to my car. For some reason, the idea of Danny watching me doesn’t frighten me at all, and the fact that it doesn’t shakes me to my core.

Pulling together all my fortitude, I say, “I drive that big Mitsubishi because I like it.”

“Yeah, I kind of figured that,” he says sarcastically. “And, I’ve got to tell you, that those jeans you’re wearing tonight are working just as well for you as that little mini skirt did the other day.”

“I don’t mind you ‘admiring’ me, Danny,” I say as calmly as possible.“But is there a reason why you have to be so crude?”

“I’m sorry,” he says, as if something finally brought him down from his high horse. “You’re a beautiful girl, Michelle, a beautiful woman. And I guess that was just my smart ass way of letting you know that I noticed.”

My heart is beating so hard, and I think that he must surely be able to hear it.“Well, I don’t know if I should be flattered or angry,” I say, using his own words against him.

He chuckles at the realization and says, “I’m just trying to pay you a compliment.”

“Well then, I appreciate it,” I answer.

He’s smiling at me again, and I feel the same warm rush as before. Wanting to hold it as long as I can, I don’t even blink, for fear that I’ll lose the realness of him. To my surprise, he doesn’t blink either, and the two of us seem suspended in time as we silently bare our souls to one another across a Spaulding desk. It’s now that I forgive him for his rudeness, and for seating me in front of him in such an intimidating way. It’s now that I decide that there is definitely more to Danny Santos than the hard exterior he presents to the world. It’s now that I decide that I really would like to get to know him better.

I want this conversation to end on a positive note, so I decide that now would be the perfect time for me to leave. “Well Danny, it’s been nice chatting with you, but I’m sure you’ve got work to do, and I’ve got studying to do, so I’m going to get out of your way.”

“You’re never in my way, Michelle. Never.” The intensity of his voice warms me again.

“Goodbye, Danny,” I say as I stand up and begin walking to the door.

Once again, he stops me. “Michelle,” he says.

I turn to face him, and he’s standing up, the desk no longer between us.

“What?” I ask.

“When was the last time you came here twice in one week?”

I think for a moment, and answer him honestly. “Never.”

“Well, I’ll take that as a compliment then,” he says, still smiling.

“Hey Danny,” I say jokingly. “I’m parked in the same place that I was the other day.”

With that I walk out of his office, down the hallway, and take the elevator to the ground floor. As I prance my way across the parking lot to my “big Mitsubishi”, I don’t turn around to see if he’s watching. I don’t have to, because just like the last time, I can feel his eyes on me.

When I get in my car, I glance in the rearview mirror and I can see him standing there, in the window. His arms are crossed and his left shoulder is leaned against the glass. He watches until I drive away, out of sight.

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