I was, after all, worse than ordinary, a 27-year-old bespectacled workaholic who cared so little about her appearance that she didn't mind leaving the house without taking a shower.
I never wore makeup and had my hair up all the time so I wouldn't have to drag a comb through the occasional knots. The only reason people didn't think I was a social misfit was because Korean fashion had claimed global domination; I could now leave the house in hoodies and sweat pants and still have my outfit considered as stylish.
So I was that kind of person, and Ioniko being another kind of person, you could see why I had to think I was imagining things.
There were times when I would be on my desk, tapping away on my iPad when I'd feel his gaze on me. Times when I would browse the latest magazines on the racks and I'd feel his eyes following every unconscious sway of my hips. Times when his stare would just burn so effing much that my body couldn't help reacting, and I'd start tingling and aching all over. Times when I wanted to forget all my inhibitions and be just like almost every other girl at Associate and imagine him making love to me.
There were lots of times that it almost felt undeniable he was staring at me, but even so. Every time I felt he might be staring at me, I simply told myself nope.
Just nope, nope, nope.
Could he really be staring at me while I was waiting for his sister to issue me a replacement card at the counter? Nope.
Were those his eyes digging holes into my back while I was chatting with Wyatt? Nope.
I was determined to never let myself think otherwise, thinking that would end things, but it didn't.
"I told them you're the old-fashioned type of Greek," Kat confided to him, "and that's why everyone's on their best behavior now. So if there's something about Associate that you want to double check, now's the perfect time to do it..."
Her motives had then become clear, and Ioniko's gaze bored through hers. "In other words, you want me to make sure you're not going to lose money on this?"
His baby sister flashed him a cheeky grin. "And face. Don't forget how much I hate to lose face as well." And then she started pushing him out of her office. "Now go, and make sure you don't come back empty-handed. I want a thirty-page report---" She caught sight of the deadly glare Ioniko shot at her over the shoulder and said quickly, "I'm just kidding. A yes or no would also suffice, seriously." She finally managed to get her brother past the door. "Have fun!" And then she slammed the door on his face.
But he was more amused than annoyed, just as how big brothers typically were, and a part of him was secretly pleased that his little sister still sought his help. Very well, he thought generously. He would---
A slender but full-breasted woman walked past him, head bent, gaze pinned to the book she was reading. He caught sight of her lips curved in a fond smile, and something about it was so intensely familiar that it had him spinning around to keep her in his line of vision.
The color of her hair was some divine shade between auburn and burgundy, with the lightest streaks of cinnamon, and her clothes were casual-slash-sporty, a black hoodie paired with matching sweat pants and shoes.
His gaze continued to follow her even as he tried to figure out what made her feel different and familiar at the same time.
Just something about her...
He watched her take one of the desks at the unreserved area. Watched her plug her ears and take a sip of her coffee before reaching for her iPad. She started typing. Kept typing. Was still typing even by the time he folded his length into one of the available desks across hers.
He pretended to read a book even as once in a while his hooded gaze would drift towards her. She had to know by now he was staring at her. But not once did she meet his gaze, and it didn't feel as if she was playing coy.
He came back to Associate the next day and tried to hide his impatience as he made some excuse to Katya about why he hadn't flown back to Athens as scheduled. He didn't want his little sister to know of his interest in the other woman; if she was what he believed she could be, then he didn't want to risk having Katya baulk at his plans to make the woman his mistress.
Days turned into weeks, but she still remained pretty much a mystery, mostly because she stuck to herself and the only time he saw her talking to another member, it had to be a man (fuck you, Wyatt-somebody).
It was also that one time he had heard her name mentioned - Schuyler - and had found himself savoring her name in his thoughts. Schuyler. The name perfectly fitted her, but he also felt instantly possessive about it. He wanted to be the only one to call her that and no one else.
And when it became clear to Ioniko that she was actually deliberately ignoring him, it only amused and intrigued him all the more. As soon as the perfect opportunity arose, he seized it and followed his beautiful little doll into the kitchen, just as a lion would corner a sweet unsuspecting lamb.
And in that moment, he found out everything he needed to know.
The way she had stiffened when he came close. The way she had held her breath and closed her eyes. The way he could practically feel her body throb into life at the mere proximity of him.
Ah, koukla mou.
That was when he knew.
She wanted him back.
As the story's all done, I'm just waiting for it to be formatted, uploaded, and approved for publishing. Fingers crossed we'll see it go live on all stores tomorrow.
Thank you again for everyone's patience!