I was a demanding and hard man, but I’d never thought I was an asshole until Sara. While I hated disappointing her, the fact that she was annoyed by me avoiding sleeping with her showed that I was wise to keep us in separate rooms. Clearly, she wanted more than I could or would give.
After breakfast, she went to her room while I stayed on the terrace reading the morning news and financial reports. When she came back, she was wearing a tank top and tiny shorts that nearly showed her ass.
“What are you doing?” I asked, liking what I saw but not liking the idea she was going to go out into the city dressed like that.
“I’ve still got money to spend.” Her expression looked like she might try to buy a new husband. That wouldn’t happen.
“Maybe you could change and not go out looking like a teenager.” Jesus, I sounded old.
“I am a teenager.”
Fuck. Just when things had been going well, and now this. What had I been thinking marrying a nineteen-year-old? Sure, she was generally more mature than most women her age, but she was still young.
“You’re also Mrs. Chase Raven,” I said, trying to keep my voice even. I wasn’t going to come off sounding like a possessive husband or worse, a father. “You need to dress like it.”
The defiance in her features dropped, replaced by something I couldn’t quite read. Resignation? Sadness? Wariness? She appeared smaller as if she was trying to hide. She turned and headed back into the apartment.
I rose from my chair and went inside as well. For a time, I thought she might just stay in her room, but eventually she came out wearing the same tank top and a pair of jeans. I might have expected her to have an attitude about me asking her to change. Instead she just stood in front of me. As I looked at her, it was like a part of her was gone.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Do you think I’m being unreasonable?”
“No.” After a beat, she said, “You’re the boss.”
I frowned. “I’m your husband.”
She shrugged as if to say, what’s the difference?
I couldn’t fathom where this change was coming from. The only thing I could come up with was that she felt like I was being too controlling. The resignation in her voice suggested maybe others had been controlling too.
“I have expectations…”
Her jaw ticked, suggesting she’d heard that before.
“But I’m not going to control you. The door is right there, Sara.” I pointed toward the exit. “I won’t stop you from leaving. Or you can stay. You’ll have the freedom to do what you want, but you do need to remember that you represent the Ravens. If things go right, you’ll be a mother within the year. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that you look as grown up as you act.”
She bit her lip showing me the first sign of breaking through whatever wall she’d build. She nodded.
“I’m going to do some work. Have fun shopping,” I said, leaving her in the living room.
In my home office, I tried to focus on work, but couldn’t shake that strange interlude with Sara. What was her story? In retrospect, I probably should have done more research on her. All I knew was that she was a college student who was struggling because of a personal issue. Did that personal problem involve a man? She’d been a virgin, so I doubted it. But something in the way she’d reacted to my telling her I didn’t like what she was wearing unsettled me. She looked at me differently.
I wondered if it would last. There could be a benefit to her viewing me differently if our marathon sex resulted in a pregnancy. If she now found me distasteful, she’d stay away from my bed and ideas of a real marriage, which would allow me to focus on the business. My dick wasn’t too happy about that. He was enjoying all the attention he was getting. But something inside me was relieved to not have to worry about emotional entanglements.
Still, I didn’t want her to be unhappy or afraid of me. I wasn’t a total and complete asshole. There had to be a balance where we could cohabitate peacefully and happily. Perhaps with even the occasional round of fucking.
When she returned that afternoon, the Sara I knew was back, and apparently ready to continue with the deal.
“I went back to the fancy stores and bought clothes suited to being Mrs. Chase Raven.” She laughed. “At first, I was afraid they’d call security on me.”
I frowned. “Why?” I wouldn’t stand to have my wife disrespected.
She looked down. “Because I’m a nineteen-year-old. Anyway, I showed them the card you gave me and then they were all, ‘come this way Mrs. Raven,’ and ‘can we get you something to drink Mrs. Raven.’” She smirked.
I laughed. “Money makes people act different.”
“No doubt.” She set her bags down. “I bought this too.” She shucked off her tank top and took off her jeans revealing a dark purple teddy. “Men seem to like this sort of thing.”
“Men?” I quirked a brow. “Are you taking a survey?”
She laughed. “You. You seem to like this sort of thing.” She nodded toward my pants where my dick was straining against my zipper.
“I do like it, Sara. Are you going to help me take care of this?” I maneuvered her to my desk. “I can’t work with this distraction.”
“We can’t have you distracted.”
Yep, things were back to normal, I thought as I fucked her on my desk. The rest of the evening went smoothly, having dinner, fucking some more, and then her sleeping in her room and me in mine. Finally, things were on track again.
On Monday, I woke early, exercised and then got ready for work. Sara hadn’t woken up yet, so I left Mrs. Childs instructions for taking care of Sara’s needs and then headed to work.
I got to the office as usual and dove into work. While I’d done some work over the weekend, it wasn’t nearly as much as I normally got done. Sara had been a distraction, but it was difficult to regret it. I’d had more sex over the weekend than I probably had over the last few years. It was nice to know my dick still worked and that orgasms were as enjoyable as I remembered. Actually, with Sara they were more intense than I remembered. I chalked that up to the long dry spell in my sex life.
I was in the middle of reviewing financial reports when Ash poked his head in my door. “Hey, you’re alive.”
I frowned. What did he want? “Was there a question about that?”
“I didn’t get the fifty emails that you usually fire my way over the weekend. Since you’re not one to take time off, I wondered if you died.”
I smirked. “I can see you would have been broken up about it.”
Ash grinned. “Devastated. So, what did you do this weekend?”
I didn’t usually talk about anything personal with my brothers, and they didn’t with me. All of our conversations since we’d become adults had been about the company.
“I was a little distracted,” I admitted, trying to decide how much to tell him now.
With an intrigued smirk, Ash sat on the couch in my office. “By…” he prompted.
I felt strange sharing my personal life, and yet at some point I’d need to. I decided to start small. There was no need to jump into the whole married thing. “I was with a woman.”
Ash’s eyes widened. “Working on dad’s ultimatum?”
I nodded. “I’ve worked too hard to have that old man take it away. I will admit, this weekend was a nice change.”
“It must have been a long time for you.”
Had my brother been keeping track of my sex life? I couldn’t believe I was discussing my personal life with my brother. “A while. I’ve been focused on work. Something you’d think dad would appreciate.”
Ash shrugged. “I know how you feel.” He looked down for a moment and then back at me with a serious expression. “If she’s special, hold on to that, Chase.”
I tilted my head studying him. I had to imagine he was talking about his own experience and loss in the relationship department.
I was going to ask him about it, but Ash moved on to a new topic. “Where’s the hot intern?”
I flinched a little, although I wasn’t sure if it was because I was going to have to deal with this topic or because Ash was calling my wife hot. “She’s on another project.”
Ash laughs. “Is that the project you had over the weekend?”
Annoyed, I grumbled. “I have to get to work. There are at least fifty emails I need to send you.”
Ash stood holding his hands up. “Alright, alright. I’ll go.”
I let out a relieved breath when Ash left, but immediately started to feel tense when I considered that I needed to tell him, and my other brothers and our father about Sara and that we were married. I couldn’t imagine how they’d take it. They’d see it for what it was; a marriage of convenience. I wondered if my father would once again change the rules since his goal was to have his sons discover love or a life outside of the company.
If she’s special, hold on to that, Chase. Ash’s words came back to me. I wasn’t a man to believe in love and fairy tales. But I couldn’t deny that there was something compelling about Sara. I wondered how long our mutual friendliness would last. At some point would she grow to resent me as my mother had my father? That was why this situation was perfect. There were no expectations that come from traditional marriages. She’d get the security she wanted, and I’d get the company, or my child would.
While love wouldn’t be a part of the equation, Sara and I did get along and were extremely compatible in bed. Committed friends with benefits actually sounded appealing to me. But would it be enough for Sara? Right now it was, but I suspected that was because she was coming from a life that stifled her. Now that she had the financial resources to do and have more, would she be content to be a corporate wife and mother? It was alright with me if she wanted to pursue her education or even hobbies, as long as the child was cared for.
And, if she wanted, she could leave, although not with the child. But the thought of her leaving didn’t sit well in my gut anymore. There was something about Sara that brought out the protective side in me. I couldn’t help but think somewhere in her past someone wasn’t good to her.
She also brought out jealousy in me. First Hunter and now Ash made comments about her sexiness. She was sexy. But she was also smart and sweet, and I’d kick their fucking asses if they hit on her. She was mine.
I pinched the bridge of my nose in frustration. Not mine. I couldn’t think that way. It wasn’t just a sexist attitude, but it wasn’t true. She wasn’t mine nor was I hers in the way other couples belonged to each other. We had a business deal. That was it. Now if only I still believed it.