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Authors: CM Hutton

Loving Her

BOOK: Loving Her
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Loving Her

Novel by CM Hutton


For my family.

you for putting up with the long hours of typing, ignoring, thinking, sassing
and general grumbling over the last few months.  I love you!

Chapter 1 – Jen

I hated going to these stupid
functions!  Weird guys with slicked-back hair and way too much cologne on gave
me the creeps.  If it weren’t for my boss, I wouldn’t be here.  But, when he
asked me to come in his place while he was gone out of the country, I couldn’t
say no.  He’d never asked me to go to anything in his place, so I saw this as a
positive sign that he was beginning to have confidence in me and my abilities. 
Hell, I’d only worked for the crazy bastard for six years!  It was about time
he recognized my strengths.

I strolled into the swank hotel
all decked out in my new black strapless dress and red Christian Louboutin
heels.  I loved these heels. They were a gift to myself for….something. 

I found my seat at a round table
near the front of the room.  This was a once a quarter dinner set up for all
the execs at the top ad agencies in the San Diego area.  I had been working for
Sullivan & Jackson since finishing my masters in marketing.  I’d done
fairly well moving up in the company, so I guess I shouldn’t complain about the
lack of recognition.  I just never knew that Michael Camden noticed until

I didn’t know anyone at the
table, but I’d never had a problem socializing.  I was getting a delicious
meal, a few drinks and some much needed self-promoting this evening and I
planned to enjoy every moment.

I noticed him walking toward my
table with his impassive face and stiff body language.  I was hoping he would
pass on by because as good looking as he was, he looked like a total ass and I
didn’t want to be stuck with a pompous jerk for the evening.  But, as luck
would have it, he sat down directly across from me with barely a nod of
acknowledgement.  Wow, how did this guy get a job in marketing?  What does he
sell….sticks to shove up assholes?  I nearly laughed out loud.  Nice one, Jen! 
I silently patted myself on the back. 

I was about to introduce myself
when a two more men walked up to the table and found their chairs.  One smiled
the cheesiest smile and said, “You must be Michael’s girl.”

“Excuse me?”  Did he really just
say that? 

“Sorry, I meant that in the best
way.” He laughed nervously.  “I’m Jim Davis.  Michael and I have been friends
for years….went to college together.  He phoned today to say you were coming
here tonight in his place.  Asked me to stick close by and make sure you were
doing okay.”  Hmm

“Well, then hello.  I’m Jen
Bailey and yes, I work for Michael.  Unfortunately, he didn’t mention you or
anyone that would be sitting at the table with me.”  I stuck my hand out. 
“It’s nice to meet you, Jim.  And, thank you for the help.”  I really did
appreciate the fact that Michael thought about whether I might feel out of
place and need a little coaching.  Not that I’d admit it to him or anyone else,
but I was a little out of my element at this ‘Good Ole Boy’ gathering.

The man next to Jim stuck his
hand out and said, “Hi, Jen.  I’m Sam Hartford.”  I extended my hand and shook
Sam’s.  Through this whole exchange, asshat just sat there across from us not
saying a word.  He just stared back and forth between the three of us.

I finally got up the courage to
say something.  “And you are…..?” I leaned in a bit, waiting for the hottie
with the attitude to answer.  He looked to be close to my age…maybe a few years
older; somewhere around thirty.

“Rylan Daniels.”  And, that was
it.  I got nothing else.  He didn’t stand to shake anyone’s hand and he didn’t
offer any more information.  I just nodded my head, glanced at Jim, who
shrugged his shoulders, and sat back down in my seat.  Time to move on.  My
life was too short for any more assholes to take up residence in my head.

As the evening started, I enjoyed
really great conversations with all the people at my table.  Thankfully, two
more women showed up, so I wasn’t the only girl amongst these men.  Apparently,
Michael had phone these ladies too and asked them to show me around.  I was
beginning to really appreciate the fact that he wanted me to be comfortable
tonight in his place.  Maybe I misjudged the man. 

By the time dessert was being
served, our table was nothing but a loud bunch of laughing fools…except for
one.  Rylan Daniels just sat quietly, watching all of us snort and laugh over
just about everything.  For a while, I forgot he was even sitting there.  Well,
not really.  I could feel him staring at all of us, especially me.  Maybe he
thought I was sleeping my way to the top or something, but I tried to just
ignore him and have fun.  Who knew if I would ever be invited back to this

As the last of our food was being
cleared, some of the men started talking business, which I was more than happy
to not engage in. I had no place spouting off crap in this group of execs.  I
didn’t want to look like a fool….especially since I’d had a few glasses of

“Shall we excuse ourselves and go
to the ladies room?” Ah, my escape plan….the bathroom.  Thankfully, the lovely
lady to my far left suggested it first.  Ellen, I believe was her name, looked
to be about fifty and was friendly and hilarious.

“Yes, let’s head that way.  Thank
you.”  I was trying not to act like I was nervous about the ongoing
conversation at our table.

“So, Jen.  How long have you
worked for Michael?”  Ellen asked.

“About six years.”  I answered.

“Wow, and he’s just now showing
you off to the other execs?  He’s a dirty little bastard for hiding you away. 
Maybe he thought one of us would snatch you up…take you right out from under
his nose.”  Ellen laughed and patted my arm.

“Oh, I’m not so sure about that. 
Maybe he wasn’t so confident about my abilities.”  Loose lips Lucille here
needed to slow down on the wine.

“I know Michael very well.  We
worked together for years at Williams Advertising until I left the company and
started my own agency.  He likes to hide his talent away.”  Really.  Interesting.

“Well, I wasn’t sure what to
expect here tonight, but I’ve had an amazing time getting to know all of you.” 
All true.

“Same here.  And, I will be
keeping touch with you, Jen.”  She winked and it made me laugh.

“So, can I ask….what’s with Rylan
Daniels?”  I had to know.

“He’s a quiet one for sure, but
an incredible Marketing Director for Redman, Daniels & Smith.  Not sure of
the story there.  He just kept to himself.  He started coming to these events a
few years ago, but never really says much unless it’s related to business.  His
grandfather is the ‘Daniels’ in the firm…one of the founders.  What I hear is
that he didn’t want to be a part of the family firm and actually moved to New
York after college and worked for another firm there.  So, I’m not sure what
brought him back to San Diego.”  Ellen stopped to put on lipstick then
continued.  “He’s a nice enough guy, just seems to have no personality or
doesn’t care to show it.  Whichever it is, he doesn’t put the effort forth to
be friendly, so neither do I.”

Well, there you go.  He’s either
a real dud or an unfeeling asshole. 

“Come on, Jen.  The dancing is
about to start!”  Ellen laughed and began pulling me out of the bathroom.

“Wait!  What?  Oh, hell!”  Ellen
turned to look at me and nearly tripped over herself with laughter.  Things
just kept getting stranger and stranger, but it sure had been a fun evening.

We made our way back to the table
and saw all the men with some sort of dark drink in their hands, a port maybe. 
The other woman at our table had left us and were mingling amongst the other

“Would you care for an after
dinner drink, ma’am?” Freakin’ waiter came out of nowhere.

“No, thank you.  I’m just fine.” 
I would have loved one, but I needed to keep my good reputation with these
people.  I could always have another glass of wine when I got home.

I noticed that Rylan Daniels was
no longer at our table.  Maybe he’d left for the night.  We must have been too
much for him to handle.  I smiled to myself.

Music started up and people were
making their way to the dance floor.  Where did that band come from and how did
I miss seeing the dance floor? 

I took my seat and watched the
others move away.  I wasn’t about to get up and ‘cut a rug’ in front of these
people.  They all knew each other well enough to make fools of themselves, but
I knew no one and certainly knew better than to get on that dance floor.

I sat for several minutes, alone
at the table when I felt someone walk up and stand behind me.  I made a slow
turn to see none other than Rylan Daniels standing directly behind my chair. 
We just stared at each other for several long seconds.

“You’re not dancing?”  What the
hell?  He was actually speaking to me?

“Um, no,” I said in a slow,
sarcastic tone.

“Would you like to?”  Was he
really asking me to dance or just messing with me?

“Are you asking me to dance with
you or just curious about my abilities?” I had no idea what he was wanting.

A small huff of a laugh came from
the vicinity of his mouth.  “I was asking if you would like to dance…with me.” 
His words came out so quiet that I almost didn’t hear them.

Oh.  My ears picked up the song
that was playing and I realized it was rather slow.  “Um, okay.  Sure, let’s
dance.”  I had this odd feeling like that took a lot for him to ask me and I
didn’t want to make him feel bad… truthfully, I didn’t care to dance at all….with

He held his hand out and I took
it.  He led us to the dance floor and carefully turned to position us facing
each other.  He was so meticulous in his movements and placements that it was
almost mechanical, like he was a dance instructor.  The thoughts that ran
through my head were insanely hilarious.

We began to move to the music. 
It was a really beautiful melody that I couldn’t place.  He was a really good
dancer, but didn’t seem to enjoy it at all.  It made me even more curious about
the man. 

I leaned away from him slightly
and looked up into his face.  I noticed his beautiful gray eyes staring down at
me, so I went for it and asked my question.

 “Rylan?  You don’t seem to be having
any fun with any of this, so why did you come?” I waved my arm around the room
as I asked the question.

He stiffened.  “Obligation.” 
Well, now that was just super.  Yippee for me!  I get to dance with a gorgeous
hunk of a man that is about as dull and boring as wet paper towel. 

I shrugged a little and said, “Well,
that’s an answer, I guess.”  I didn’t have anything else to say.  We finished
the song and I quietly said ‘thank you’ and walked away leaving him standing

It was getting late and I needed
to catch a cab home.  I made my rounds and said all my ‘good-byes’ and ‘thank
yous’ to everyone I’d met.  I didn’t see Rylan Daniels the rest of the evening
and I was glad about it.  He was just a strange man and as much as I liked a
little challenge and as curious as I was about him, there was no way I needed
to spend any more time thinking about the man.

I walked out of the hotel and
found a cab waiting.  I climbed inside and was announcing my address with the
door opened and someone else slid into the back seat with me. 

Shocked, I turned to tell the
intruder to get their own damn cab, only to see
in the seat next to

“Um, this cab is occupied, Mr.
Daniels.”  I was pissed.

“I know.  May I share it with
you?  I saw you leaving by yourself and wanted to make sure you got home okay.” 
He was looking at me funny, almost like he was embarrassed or uncomfortable.

“I can make it home just fine. 
Now, if you don’t mind…..”

“Jen….may I call you ‘Jen?’ I
would like to share the cab with you, please.”  I looked at him for a few

“Fine, but I’m being dropped off
LAST!  I’m not comfortable with you knowing where I live.”  He just stared at
me then nodded his head.  “And, yes.  You may call me Jen if I can call you

“Yes, of course.”  He sat back in
the seat and shut the door. The cab driver was glaring at us through his
rearview mirror during the whole exchange. 

I handed the cabbie my address
typed in on my phone, but reminded him to drop Rylan off first.  Rylan, of
course, just rattled off his address out loud and then stared straight ahead. 
Neither of us said a word the whole ride.

As we pulled in front of Rylan’s
beachfront home, he handed the cabbie a large number of bills and said, “Her
fare is on me.  Make sure she gets inside before you leave her.”  What?

“Uh, Rylan?  I can pay for my own
damn cab ride.  Take your money back.”

“NO!  It’s my treat for letting
me share the cab.  Good night, Jen Bailey.  It was nice to meet you.”  He shut
the door and walked away before I could say anything else and the cab driver
sped off toward my condo.

What a bizarre night.  I needed a
hot bath, another glass of wine and a good book to unwind from it.

BOOK: Loving Her
3.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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