Ambrosia May Berger is standing in the elevator bank, peering up at the numbers. She hiccups again. I stop beside her and watch her eyes go wide, then narrow, then cross. Mirrored elevator doors are possibly the second greatest invention known to man.
First, of course, is the internet.
I stare at Bro in the door mirror.
She stares back.
For all the shit she gave me growing up, I always respected her spine. As much as one can respect something that infuriating. She got away with everything. Even when she was reckless.
I can honestly say no woman I’ve been with since her has ever tried to make a break for it in the Bratwurst Wagon.
As long as I block out the month that followed, I can think of the Bratwurst Wagon with a smile.
“Working late or coming in early?” I ask.
“The hogs are mating again,” she replies.
The world believes this woman to be a sane, competent adult. Mind-boggling.
“Do you always wait in elevator banks for women you want to harass?” she asks.
“Only when I’ve gotten bored staking out the bathrooms.” I reach over and hit the up button, because she hasn’t. “Do you always assume the elevators can read your mind?”
“They were doing better than you. I didn’t want to go up.”
“And you’re standing here because…?”
“It’s my thinking spot.”
“It’s 3 AM on a Wednesday morning.”
“Do you see me judging you on wanting to use an elevator at 3 AM on a Wednesday morning? No, you don’t. So why do you have to judge me for wanting to think in an elevator bank at 3 AM? Hmmmmmm?” The hum trills up on the end, right in time with her swiveling to face me. She squints one eye, then the other, before scrunching her face, pointing her index finger at my nose, and making pew, pew noises.
If this is what the security guards were worried I’d find, I’m rather disappointed.
“Drinking on the job again?” I ask.
“Again implies I’ve done it before. Which I have not, unless you count that time the guava kale juice fermented, which I don’t, because it only counts as drinking if I enjoy the alcohol. Also, all whiskey was consumed off-premise.”
“So you’re drunk.”
“I’m not drunk. I’m barely buzzed enough to be able to tolerate you.”
I eye her, and decide she’s telling the truth. Her eyes are too focused and her tongue’s too sharp for her to be drunk. I can’t even smell anything on her. Tired, maybe, but not drunk.
“Was it organic?” I ask dryly.
“It’s whiskey, dickhead.”
Christ, that mouth. I want to lick it and tape it shut all at the same time. “You shouldn’t call your superiors names.”
She blows a raspberry. The sight of her ripe pink tongue makes my cock leap to attention.
“Looking for disciplinary action?” I murmur.
“Oh, don’t you wish.” The elevator dings, and she lists inside. I’d try to catch her, but frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing her crash to the ground.
She comes to a solid stop at the railing along the back paneled wall. “And you’re not my superior,” she says.
“I write your paycheck.”
“Not yet you haven’t.” Spittle shouldn’t be sexy, but her second raspberry gives me a longer look at her tongue. I remember that tongue. Long as a lizard’s, hot as a volcano, talented as a porn star.
That’s as complimentary as I get where Bro Berger is concerned.
“So Mr. Liver-bellied Bratwurst-runner-away-er,” she says, “wouldn’t you be happier owning a grocery store that I don’t work for? Because I’m sure we can find another zagillionaire to take your place.”
I punch the button to the eighteenth floor—where the fresh greens for tomorrow are being picked and packed right now, if all’s on schedule—and give her my worst smile. “Aw, Bro, your inflated opinion of my bank account is touching.”
“You could be a mega-ka-billion-trillionaire, and you still wouldn’t have enough money to buy a soul.”
I’m relatively new to the ranks of the ten-figure club, but it’s still been years since anyone has insulted me to my face.
Her blatant hatred is oddly erotic. “Who needs a soul when I have the power to sack tempestuous employees?”
“Go ahead. I dare you.” She bangs the button for the fourth floor. Then the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and every odd number to the top.
With a frown, she draws her hand down the row of even numbers until every single floor is lit, and if I’d still thought this was alcohol motivating her, the sharp, devious intention in her cold eyes removes any doubt.
She’s fully in control and she’s intentionally trying to bait me.
Heat creeps over my scalp. It’s working.
She’s making this elevator stop on Every. Single. Fucking. Floor.
I whip out my cell phone—security can override her little prank—but as the doors close, my signal dies.
She does the MC Hammer dance, and her breasts jiggle under her swishy spring dress in a way even a celibate Tibetan monk couldn’t resist. There’s no fucking way she’s wearing a bra.
My cock twitches harder.
How did a woman so insanely evil land the world’s most perfect tits?
“Go on, rich boy.” She switches to the Lawnmower, and now her hips are rocking it too. “Buy your way out of that.”
Good Chase, the businessman, the gaming tech genius, the face I show the world, the smarter part of my brain, hops off when the doors open on the second floor, because he appreciates stairs and getting the hell away from this deranged woman.
Bad Chase, though, has possessed my body, and keeps me in the elevator.
I wave goodbye to rational thought and better judgment—who needs those bitches anyway?—and turn to Bro with a growl.
She’s wiggling her sweet curvy ass at me now, arms circling, stirring the batter. “It’s my birthday, happy birthday, it’s my birth—oomph!”
Huh. Emergency stop button works, but it’s a little choppy on the execution. Better have maintenance look at that tomorrow.
I take one large, purposeful step toward Bro.
She fists her hands on her hips and calls me an asshole with her dark, heavy-lidded, fuck-me bedroom eyes.
She’s feeling it too.
That pull. That hate. That inexplicable force of rage that can only be satiated with a hard, hot fuck.