Tangled Page 57

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Then she blinks. And her eyes go hard. It’s difficult to tell if she’s more pissed at me or herself.

Probably me.

She shoves my chest, and I fall back into my chair.

“Fuck you!”

She stalks back around my desk toward the door.

“Here? Now?” I look up at the ceiling, like I’m debating the prospect. “Well…okay. But be gentle. My couch is a virgin.”

I loosen my tie and start to unbutton my shirt.

She stutters. Then she points her finger at me and practically growls.

Yeah—it’s f**king hot.

“Ugh!” Then she walks out of my office. She stops in front of the Three Man Band, who’ve been waiting outside. “And don’t follow me!”

As she disappears down the hall, the lead singer looks at me.

I nod.

And they follow in Kate’s footsteps, belting out “Heat of the Moment” by Asia.

Hey—what’s wrong? You look worried. Don’t be. I know what I’m doing. It’s all part of the plan.

Chapter 22

I BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THIS, but lots of guys have a thing for Ariel. You know, from The Little Mermaid? I’ve never been into her myself, but I can understand the attraction: she fills out her shells nicely, she’s a redhead, and she spends most of the movie unable to speak.

In light of this, I’m not too disturbed about the semi I’m sporting while watching Beauty and the Beast—part of the homework Erin gave me. I like Belle. She’s hot. Well…for a cartoon, anyway. She reminds me of Kate. She’s resourceful. Smart. And she doesn’t take any shit from the Beast or that douchebag with the freakishly large arms.

I stare at the television as Belle bends over to feed a bird. Then I lean forward, hoping for a nice cle**age shot…

I’m going to hell, aren’t I?

I can’t help it. I’m desperate. Frustrated.

Horny.

I said I’d get to this later, remember? Well, it’s later. I feel like a shaken can of soda that’s about to explode. I know my previous record is twelve days—but this is different.

Worse.

I’ve gone cold turkey. Completely. I haven’t even jerked off. Not once. In nine frigging days. I think the buildup of se**n is starting to affect my brain. Like sugar to a diabetic.

Why haven’t I used the hand God gave me, you ask?

It’s a new rule. My own self-imposed penance for my stupidity. I refuse to come until Kate comes with me. Seemed like a good idea yesterday. But after seeing her today, I’m pretty sure the wait is going to kill me.

Don’t roll your eyes.

You don’t understand. Unless you’re a guy, you can’t. You have no idea how important regular sexual gratification is for us. It’s crucial. Vital.

I’ll explain.

In 2004, UCLA conducted a survey to determine how highly women valued getting off in relation to other daily activities. You know what they found? Eight in ten—that’s eighty percent—said if given the choice between sex or sleep, they would choose sleep.

In that same year, NYU conducted its own study. With rats. They implanted electrodes in the brains of male rats and put two buttons in their cages. When the lucky little bastards pushed the blue button, the electrodes triggered an orgasm. When they pushed a red button, they were given food.

Care to guess what happened to all the rats?

They died.

They f**king starved to death.

They never pushed the red button.

Need I say more?

Anyway, here I am. Stuck in my own little cage with no goddamn blue button. But…

Maybe I can have the next best thing. I pause the movie. Then I pick up the phone and dial.

“Hello?” Her voice is sleepy. Husky.

“Hi, Kate.”

“Drew? How…how did you get my home number?”

“I looked in your personnel file.”

Yes, those things are supposed to be confidential, but I called in a favor. I play to win. Never said I play fair.

I lie back on the couch while images of Kate in bed dance in my head.

“So…what are you wearing?”

Click.

That went well.

I dial again.

“Hello.”

“You were thinking about me before I called, weren’t you?”

Click.

I smile. And dial again.

“What?”

“Just in case you’re wondering, I still have them.”

“You still have what?”

“Your underwear. The black lace ones. They’re in my drawer. Sometimes I sleep with them under my pillow.”

Sick? Possibly.

“You keep trophies from all your victims? How very serial killer-ish of you.”

“No, not from all of them. Just you.”

“Am I supposed to be flattered? Nauseated is more like it.”

“I was hoping we could add another one to the collection.”

Click.

Now this is just getting ridiculous.

I dial again.

“What. Do. You. Want?”

You.

And me.

Stranded on a luxurious deserted island for about a week.

“Don’t hang up. I’ll just keep calling back.”

“Then I’ll take the phone off the hook.”

The challenge in her voice brings my semi full throttle. Did I say a week? I meant a month.

At least.

“Then I’ll come over. I’ll plant myself outside your door and talk through it. It won’t make you very popular with the neighbors.”

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