The Shift: Book 1- The Anomaly Ch 4
Chapter 4: Greyson
Wait....what does he mean that he thinks I should be the one to solve the case....and he wants to help? I stare at him flabbergasted and slowly back away. Just a few hours ago, he was telling me to leave the case alone and let Somers deal with it.
"You want to help me solve Grace's disappearance? Th..that just doesn't make sense..." I stammer.
"Do you want to solve it or not?....because you won't be able to do it on your own. AND...against my better judgment...I decided that I am not going to fight you on this, because I know you'll go behind Somers back...against his orders...and you'll tamper with the evidence and try to figure this out. You'll screw things up and slow everyone down..." Cody is right...but I'm not going to let him know that.
"...TAMPER WITH EVIDENCE....SCREW THINGS UP????" I interrupt him with a glare."I'm not going to SCREW up the investigation. I just want to be in charge of it. No one knows Grace better than I, NO ONE! Not even Emma." I state firmly.
"Ari...listen to me. I KNOW THIS. That's why I think you should be on the case. I just mean that you'd be snooping around looking for clues, messing with whatever the FBI finds, which may end up throwing them off track. No one is going to get anywhere. You're headstrong... which I admire by the way...but it can cause problems in situations like this." he leans agains my counter top with a smirk. "So, I figured if I help you, you'll find her quicker without throwing the investigation off....and maybe you'll give me a chance." He flashes a hopeful grin at me.
"Cody...I don't need your help....and there is no chance in hell that I would ever go out with you." I watch as his face melts while I crush all of his hopes.
" Well...I tried. Good luck. If you need anything....don't call me." He throws his arms up. Sighing, he turns and walks toward my delapitated door and reaches for the doorknob. " You HONESTLY think you could get rid of me that easily!" Laughing, he then swoops toward me and slips his arm around my waist, pulling me in closer. "I'm not leaving until you tell me how you truly felt about that kiss. And whether you like it or not, I'm NOT going to allow you to investigate her disappearance by yourself. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET IT THROUGH YOUR PRETTY LITTLE HEAD? I'm not going anywhere, Ari...I'm here, and I care about you. This investigation is dangerous. I'd kill myself if anything were to ever happen to you." I could feel his warm breath on my face as he speaks to me in a sultry tone. His hazel eyes now staring deeply into mine.
"Oh...PLEASE! I've fought off more bad guys than you could imagine." I sarcastically mention while trying to push his arms off of my waist.
"Really?" Cody curls the corner of his lips upward with amusement. "It doesn't seem like you've successfully fought off very many to me..." He teases.
"Well...if you really want to anger me....." I continue to struggle to push him off of me.
"You're extremely adorable when you're sexually frustrated," He leers at me.
"Chase....please. Let me go." I plead anxiously. "AND I'M NOT SEXUALLY FRUSTRATED..." I manage to muster out as I wiggle free of Cody's hold.
"Oh...not sexually frustrated...huh. Tell me... when was the last time you got laid?" Cody taunts as he watches me straighten out my shirt.
"THAT'S NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS!" I shriek. " God! I HATE you.....Get out of my apartment!" I throw the door open and point to it.
Cody guffaws...."You love me. You'll see. I'll call you later....And I have determined, you really enjoyed that kiss and crave another one. You can't wait to prove how right I am."
"Right...." I scorn, slamming the door behind him as he struts out my apartment door.
I flop down on my couch with a sigh of relief and Karma crawls onto my lap forgetting that he's a 85 pound dog. Shuddering, I think about what could actually have happened if Cody had not left. The dreaded day is drawing nearer...and THANK GOD he's finally gone. My one regret is that Cody does not know the real me, but he can't know the real me.
I'm a giagantic black cat lurking in the shadows of the city streets at the dead of night. Carefully creeping around the buildings, unaware of what I'm searching for, I use my feline senses to sniff around and peer into the windows of others unkowing of my presence. I only know of one thing, I am the only one like me....I'm alone watching.....waiting... the reflection staring back at me from a puddle in the ground is a human face...pale...white...with blue eyes....
The following day, I decide to head back into the office with the intention of furthering my discussion with Somers. I hope...beyond all hope....that Cody decided to not show up today. To my dismay, he greets me gremacing. I reach down and unlatch Karma's leash as he trots off to find the first person to force a pet from. He manages to wander off down the hallway toward the break room.
"Wow...look who decided to finally show..."
"Hey Cody. What's the matter...your lady friend stood you up?" I pretend nothing happened between us yesterday.
Brandon emerges from the hallway with Karma trailing behind. Brandon walks up to me, boastfully presenting me with a cup...."Your coffee, my lady. Just as you like it...."
"Thanks, Brandon.....At least somebody appreciates me." Bantering, I smile at Brandon....and then turning my grin to Cody.
"HEY...I appreciate you...and you know damn well what my problem is." Cody narrows his brows at me.
"Fairchild! Foxx!..... my office....NOW!" James Somers bellows from his office door.
As Cody and I walk into James' office, (like we were walking on death row)...a tall, well-dressed, very handsome dark haired man waits next to the large bay window overlooking the city. He stands as if he were someone important: stiff like a tree, built like an MMA fighter, with the looks of a Chippendale dancer. His face is chiseled, his eyes are gray, his complexion is flawless. He is oh-so handsome, and he knows it. Damn....the dreaded day floods my mind. That day seems to have skipped forward a coulple of days. The man who haunts my dreams has suddenly materialized in front of my bewildered eyes. Breathless, I feel like I have been punched in the gut.
That attractive Chippendale dancer turns his familiar but sexy smile towards us, making my heart flutter and my body feel like it has turned to rubber but at the same time his face brings forth the pain I have buried a long time ago.
"Foxx. Fairchild. You two remember my son, Greyson. He now works for the Bureau. It is my hope that some day Brandon will be as successful as his older brother." James beams proudly at the tall, handsome man. Admiring Greyson then glancing at James, I wonder how such a gorgeous creature could have been the product of this balding, short, round man's loins.
James continues. "I thought about your argument, Foxx, and decided that the FBI could use our services to help find our colleague. I am teaming you two up with Greyson on Grace's case. Normally, our protocol is if there is an officer that proves to be a conflict of interest, that officer will not take part on the case due to the unnecessary and detrimental jeopardizing of the whole investigation, such as in this case. HOWEVER, due to your knowledge base, and your relationship to the victim, you can serve as a valuable asset in locating the victim. Foxx, I DO NOT want you in the field....do you hear me? YOU are to work on this case behind the scenes. ...Foxx?"
I find myself lost in the memory of the day when Greyson and I first met. I was getting a cup of coffee at the local Starbucks, when I saw Grace talking to a very tall and good-looking man. She seemed to be giving him directions. As I walked towards her, the man stood up and stared at me. He is the most beautiful creature on this planet. "Hi, I'm Greyson," he offered me his hand.
"Ariella...it's a. .a... pleasure to meet you..." I choked as I take his hand, completely forgetting that it was supporting a hot cup of Starbucks coffee. The cup dropped from my arm and spilled all down my shirt, the skirt I was wearing and lands with a splash all over my shoes as well as his pant legs and shoes.
"Ariella! Snap out of it!" James yells. "What has gotten into you?"
" Er...uh...nothing! I'm just surprised, that's all." I jump back to present time. "Why did you call Greyson in for this? Cody and I can handle this without him." I say, narrowing my eyes at James.
He takes me by the arm, as I look in the direction of both young men, and then back to James as he draggs me off to the side and quietly responds, "Because, Ari. With this being such a delicate case, your emotional instability, we can use Greyson's expertise. You do want to find your friend alive, right? I know your history with Greyson was troubled, but put that aside and this team will exceed in finding your friend."
"I'm NOT emotionally unstable." I reply sharply.
"Please. Be honest with yourself. You are the full definition of 'emotionally unstable'. Think about it Ari, Grace is your best friend, your sister. She's missing, and you can honestly say that you are completely in your right mind? Where were you just right now?"
"Here...I was here." I curtsey with confidence, "I heard every word, you don't want me in the field, you want me 'behind the desk'."
"Ari..." James huffs in frustration. "I'm trying to protect you and give you what you want. You need to know that. I can't have my most valuable officer injured on this case because she makes a bad judgement call for a ruthless pursuit to rescue her friend, all because 'she' can't handle 'herself'. I know you think you're invincible with your....uh...talent...and all, but you're not...Ari. My decision is final. Greyson and Chase will work the case from the field. You will work it here, in the office. Consider it a favor." With that, he nods at me and turns on his heels and heads over to the young men.
Sulking, I follow James across the office and approach Greyson. "I'm surprised you left the comfort of your suite to fly all the way here, to help me find my friend."
"Anything for you, Ari." Greyson gloats, "Besides, Dad called. Said he needed my help. I couldn't say 'no'. My guys will do fine without me for a few days."
"Well, you know, Cody and I got this. Why don't you go crawling back to your little hole in Southern California?" I sneer.
"Now, where does a nice little girl, like yourself, get that kind of attitude? I'm the one who got you this job. Remember?" Greyson shot back at me. Then he raises his eyebrows to remind me that I should be nice to him. "You should be thanking me."
Greyson was right. Before I met him, I was working as a P.I. using my talents to find cheating spouses and spying on disloyal employees. I was working out of my apartment, the pay sucked, the hours sucked worse, although the gigs were steady, I was desperate for a more stable paycheck. I ran into Greyson, mentioned to him what I do for a living, and he introduced me to his father. Because of Greyson, I now have Karma, and a nice, fat savings account.
"You're, right... I'm sorry....It doesn't mean that I like this idea." rolling my eyes, I felt degraded as if he just put me back into my place. How am I supposed to compete with those stunning eyes and that smoldering grin? Unfortunately, Greyson knows me all too well. As I spin around to meet up with Cody and walk out of James' office, Greyson calls to me. "Hey, Ari! Want to grab some lunch later?"
Cody's piercing stare punches right through my gut. "Sure." is my answer smirking at Cody, this is my opportunity to get back at him. "I'm famished." Cody's stare throws daggers at Greyson and myself. Smiling brightly at Greyson, I then turn to Cody and brush past him, "What's wrong? Jealous?"
"What? Me? Jealous? Of Greyson? C'MON! Why would I be jealous of Greyson? It's not like he's going to stick around long enough for you to forgive him and go crawling back to him." Cody knows my history with Greyson. He knows that Greyson and I were engaged a long time ago, and ever since then, Cody has been attempting to make me forget about Greyson and what he had done to me. "Besides, he's going to break your heart, again. You know this, I know this....HE knows this."
"Don't worry, I'm not going to fall back into that pattern."
"I'm not worried, you're not that stupid....at least, I don't think you are." Cody said, holding the office door open for me. "Why would you put yourself through that torture again, when you can have me?" He beamed as he watched me walk through the door. I look up at him and chortle to myself. No matter what I said, what I did...Cody will never give up.
As Cody walks me to my office, he reminds me of my brief relationship and the heartache that Greyson inflicted me with. "You remember that he cheated on you with Nora, right? You remember that?" Nora was James's pretty little secretary. She was a red haired woman, looked about half my age. Nora and Greyson hooked up after Greyson and I had a fight. I walked out of Greyson's office, and left for a while. When I decided to go back to apologize to Greyson, I walked in on the unthinkable.
"Yes, Cody, I distinctly remember. I walked in on her going down on him. Remember?"
"You were devastated."
"I mopped you up and put you back together!"
"Then why did you agree to go to lunch with him?" Spinning around, he blocks me from entering my office.
"To make you ask me that." I retort.
"Ari..." Cody's voice becomes serious, glaring at me with those Ken doll hazel eyes.
"Besides, It's been three years, Cody. It's just lunch....to catch up. That's all. It's not like I agreed to spend the night with the guy....or marry him." It sounds reasonable to me.
"Ari...I think it's a bad idea! You can't control yourself around him, you know that."
"Cody....leave it alone." With that, I brush past him and enter my office walking around my desk, planting myself in my rolling chair.
"Ari....listen, I'll make you lunch and bring it to you. You don't have to go with him." His effort sounds tempting, as he has always been a rather talented cook.
"Go, Cody." I firmly order.
"Ari...if he hurts you again, I'll....I'll..." He turns around, and then back at me, "I don't know what I'll do, BUT it won't be good!" Cody turns back around, and then walks away. I chuckle softly and slowly shake my head, and then boot up my computer.
As I wait for my computer to boot up, I remember every little detail of Greyson. The scar on his chest that he got from his childhood. The way he smelled, the way he made me feel, the first time he kissed me and how I tried so hard to resist him. He made me melt with his touch, and the way he made it so that all I ever wanted was to please him. I remember when he convinced me that I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and how that made me fall for him.
"I saw this and it reminded me of your unbelievable eyes." Greyson held out a long thin red box, and flipped it open. Inside was a stunning silver snake chain necklace with a sapphire blue heart-shaped diamond pendant. "I had to get it for you."
"Oh, Greyson, it's beautiful. You didn't have to do that." I said, blinded at how bright the necklace shined. "I can't accept it. It's way too much."
The look on his face was that of disappointment."Ari, I bought it for you." He took the necklace out of the box. "For your birthday. Yes...I remembered you said that today is your birthday." He chuckled softly, and then leaned in towards me to place the necklace around my neck and latch it under my hair.
"Shh....just kiss me." He whispered, as he lifted my chin and pressed his lips against mine. He pulled away, and stroked my chin gently with his thumb. He smiled softly, "I could swim in your eyes all day. I could drown in them. God, you are so incredibly beautiful..."
"Greyson, we should be getting back to the office. Your dad..." blushing shyly, I turned back to the office.
"Ariella, my dad will be fine. You already got the job, I made sure of that, don't worry about him." He clutched my arm and pulled me back to him, tucking my hair behind my ears. "C'mere. I want to hold you for a little longer." He kissed my forehead, carefully wrapped his arms around me and watched my face. I could see my reflection in his incredible gray eyes. The cool November breeze carried the fallen leaves past us and rustled the trees pulling more of the discolored leaves down, carrying them away. His warm arms comforted me as I almost fell asleep against his chest. He smelled so good, I held on to him while he whispered "Happy birthday, Ari."
"Thank you...." I spoke quietly, feeling awkward. I haven't ever gone on a secret date before, and never felt like this. Ever. Greyson was a mystery to me.
My computer is finally booted up, asking for my password.
Searching through Grace's emails, time escapes from me.
"Ari..." Greyson is tapping on my door frame. I look up at him. "Lunch..." He reminds me with that same sexy smile.
"You know what? I'm really pressed for time, so I should probably pass for now." I mention, pointing at my laptop.
"No...you can't do that to me. You're 'famished', remember?" He stresses, looking rather disappointed.
"Greyson, look...you can come in and take over my cases, charm your way to my boss's favoritism...and stir up trouble at my job, but you will never win me back!" I assert firmly.
Greyson sniggers..."You think that's why I'm here? By the way, your boss is my father...I'll always be his favorite. I'm not here to win you back, Ari. I'm here because your boss...MY father... asked me to be. I just asked you to have lunch with me because you are a much more appealing lunch partner than Cody....and way easier on the eyes. But whatever, if you would rather work on an empty stomach, be my guest!" My stomach rumbled, but the same fluttering has returned and so had the weakness in my joints. Is that because I hadn't eaten anything all day, and I really am famished, or is that the affect Greyson's presence has on me?
"Fine... you win. Just don't try your usual mind games on me." I slam my laptop shut, and push my rolling chair out.
"Don't worry, I won't!" Greyson replies with a rather gratified look.
We walk across the street to Fancy's, a local diner. "You're looking better than ever." Greyson is studying me.
"DON'T..." I put the brakes on immediately.
"What? I can't compliment you now?" He flashes an innocent grin in my direction.
"Greyson, I can't deal with you, our history, and Grace's disappearance right now. SO, please. Just don't!" Frustrated, all I really want to do is run and hide under my covers and hug on Karma right now. Just being around him, my body starts to yearn for him...gravitating toward him. I feel the day has come...THAT day...the dreaded day. Seeming to have arrived early, and I am fighting hard against nature, against all my desires. Cody is right...I can't seem to control myself around Greyson...and I have never been able to figure out why. I have to fight my urges.
"Ariella...you know that I never meant to hurt you right? I thought we cleared that up. I thought you understood that." He stops walking, taking my hand into his, and staring into my eyes. "You are the girl that got away, the girl I let get away. I never should have let you go, I should have fought for you. Fought to keep you."
"You should have kept your DICK in your PANTS!" disputing, I throw his hand away from mine, and turn to enter Fancy's.
"Ari...I told you that I'm sorry. You're right. I was stupid. Nora was there, you had left... left me hanging...and Nora was there to pick up where you left off." He follows me into Fancy's, grabs my arm,"Ari....you're right... I messed up... I know that, now. It doesn't change how I feel about you or how I ever felt about you."
"Really.....then say it." I demand crossing my arms and furrowing my brow. He knows exactly what I want to hear.
"Ari....right here?" He asks...hesitating.
"Yes." I look around, "No one is watching."
"Fine..." He steps closer to me, clears his throat, and leans in so I can hear him clearly, "you are the most beautiful woman that I have ever laid eyes on. You know that. Even the past three years, since you left me...I have never met anyone who makes me feel the way you make me feel. I'm crazy in love with you. I always have been, always will be. I've loved you from the moment you spilled coffee on my shoes. And I'll never stop loving you." He articulates carefully, as if he's been rehearsing.
"You're full of shit. I thought you weren't here to 'win' me back." I snort.
"I'm being serious right now...and I thought I 'couldn't win you back.'"He recounts.
"And I didn't leave you, you CHEATED on me!" I voice quickly and frown at him. I turn towards the hostess, who is patiently waiting for us to finish our conversation. "Two please." I hold up two fingers.
"Ariella, I know. I fucked up. You're right, but my foolish mistake made you leave me." He walks past me after the hostess, as she leads us to the table. Greyson holds the chair out for me as I walk past him, yank the other chair out and plant myself in my chair. Perplexed, Greyson shoves the chair he held out for me off to the side. He patiently grabs a chair from the next table, drags it over next to me and places himself into the chair. Resting his elbows on the table he declares, "Nothing I can do or say, will ever make up for what I did to you, and will never make you forgive me. I don't expect you to forgive me. But I'm hoping that enough time has passed, and you've healed enough that maybe you can try? Maybe you'll allow me another opportunity to prove to you that we belong together?"
"Greyson...." I sigh rubbing my forehead, knowing that I'm wearing down his patience.
"Yesterday, as I was packing my bags to come here. I found this." He sits back and pulls the sparkling blue sapphire heart-shaped diamond necklace out of his pocket. "I was hoping for the chance to give this back to you." He drops it on the table. "It's the real reason I asked you to have lunch with me." His smile is that of self-satisfaction.
Stunned, I pick it up, and tears fall down my cheeks as memories come flooding back, along with all the feelings I had buried so long ago.
I look up at Greyson. His eyes meet mine."I'm being completely open and honest here. My reason for being her is to help find Grace, but I would like the chance to make it up to you, to show you how much I truely love you." He lovingly wipes the tears away with gentle strokes of his thumbs.
"So you're thinking of staying?" I push his hand away, still confused, and bewildered, and stunned. I try like hell to keep my wall from crumbling because of the words that Greyson had spoken. All of these mixed feelings...the pain he caused, the love I still feel for him, the desire to forgive and trust him, the nature of my being...bubble up inside me.
"That really depends. I'm not leaving until we find Grace, and her...uh 'captors'. But, if you'll have me back, I might consider staying." His smile is very convincing. I can't fight my instincts anymore. I want him. I need him so badly. My body aches for his touch, yearns for the feeling of his lips against my skin, longs for his fingers in my hair.
I throw the necklace back down on the table. "Excuse me..." I choke while tears well up in my eyes again. I stand up and run out of the restaurant. I cannot go down this rabbit hole again. I run across the street, leaving Greyson behind. I fly into the office and make my way undetected to the women's restroom. I fling a stall door open and hide inside, locking the door behind me. Falling onto the toilet seat, I let it all out. Sobbing, every scenario runs through my mind.
If I give myself to him, I run the risk of being heartbroken again.
If I don't give myself to him, his presence alone will be complete torture on me.
I'm completely screwed from all directions.
I need my friend.
My phone starts buzzing...ridiculous timing...
"This is Ari... " I try to clear my throat, attempting to wipe Greyson's affect from my face.
"Ariella....we have a lead...."
Read Chapter 5 here.
- The Shift: Book 1- The Anomaly Ch 5
The agency receives a clue about Grace’s disappearance, but Ariella has more pressing things to worry about. Find out how this affects Ariella.