Beautiful Boss (Page 17)

A supply room just down the hall had a broom and dustpan, and a couple of garbage sacks for everything that would have to be taken out. It took longer than I expected to clean up, reorganize, and stack everything somewhere else, but it felt good to have something mindless to do to clear my head.

With everything done, I put the supplies back in the closet, took a seat at my desk, and powered up my computer. There were a few emails I needed to answer, some last-minute travel details to finalize, and a set of data I needed to check. There was even another interview request, which I filed away until I could look over my schedule and see where I could fit it in. I hadn’t yet mentioned this one to Will, and for just a second I hesitated, remembering our conversation from last night.

But it would be fine. I’d get through them all and we could talk about it when we had actual offers to discuss, rather than getting stressed over a bunch of hypothetical variables.

That settled, I went over to the hood to feed some cells and check some cultures, barely registering that I still hadn’t eaten breakfast or even had a cup of coffee. When I finally resurfaced again, it was to the sound of my stomach growling through the empty room. It was well past lunchtime, and when I looked around for the first time in what had to have been hours, I realized I was still alone. It took a moment to realize why that was: it was Sunday.

Everyone else had probably spent their morning eating brunch or watching mindless TV snuggled up to someone in their jammies—i.e., not here, trying to squint through a hangover at numbers that could easily be put off until Monday.

Dammit. So maybe Will had a point.

The apartment was quiet when I got home. And—I noted—clear of any leftover party debris. I frowned, feeling like a jerk for leaving the mess for him to clean up, and made a mental note to thank him later.

I let the door close softly behind me and peeked out into the living room. It still looked a lot like it had before Will moved in, bookcases and books everywhere, family photographs on every shelf, and my dad’s old desk in the corner. But now Will’s books blended with mine: my first real adult couch sat next to his leather chairs in front of the television we’d bought together—our first joint purchase as a couple. The photographs of my family still hung on the wall in the hallway, but his hung right alongside them, soon to be joined by the framed prints from our wedding.

Until we started packing for wherever I moved us, that is, and . . . I could barely bring myself to think about that right now. I’d ignored the growing stack of cardboard boxes that had been delivered and seemed to take up more and more of the spare room every day, but I knew I couldn’t avoid them for long. I was nearing the end of my interviews, which meant it was almost time to make a decision, but—ugh—I just wanted to be lost in Will for a few hours. To wipe my brain of everything but the way he felt and smelled and sounded . . .

A toilet flushed down the hall, followed by the sound of running water, then the door opening. Footsteps carried along the wooden floors and then Will was there, standing with wide eyes in the doorway.

“You’re home,” he said, not moving from where he stood.

I placed my keys on the table near the door and slipped out of my shoes. “Yeah, sorry.”

“Jesus Christ, Plum,” he said, crossing the room and wrapping his arms around me. “Where in the hell have you been?”

I felt myself sink into his body, lost in the familiar, comforting scent of his skin, and hugged him back. “I went running.”

“This morning. You went running this morning,” he said, pulling back just far enough to meet my eyes. “I talked to Max hours ago.”

I placed my palms on his chest, feeling the solid shape of it beneath my fingers, the heat of his skin against the fabric. “Then to the lab,” I said.

“Why didn’t you call? Or answer any of my calls and texts?”

“Oh . . . my phone was in my jacket pocket I guess, probably on silent. I did send you a text saying I’d be gone for a while, though.” My eyes dropped to his neck, and I had to resist the urge to close the distance between us again, bury my face there.

He sighed and I watched the way my hands mirrored the movement of his torso. “Hanna,” he said, tired.

“I’m sorry, I should have been more considerate.”

He nodded.

I ran a palm over his stomach. “I was still upset.”

Will pulled away and took a seat on the arm of the couch, and waited. “From last night?”

“Yeah. I didn’t like that you just assumed I should take a position at a small teaching school.”

“Plum, I didn’t assume anything. Is it what I’d prefer? Maybe? Believe it or not, I happen to like you. I like to spend time with you.” He shook his head, laughing a little. “I mean, today is a pretty good example of what I’m talking about.”

“I’ll admit I shouldn’t have left for the entire day, but I told you, I needed to think.”

“Well, not to be an a*****e and point out the obvious,” he said, “but you go to the lab on Sunday all the time. Not just when you need to think. And we were married one week ago.”

Oof. Okay, that one sort of hurt. I took a step away, unzipped my jacket, and placed it over a chair. “Going in to the lab is my job.”

“I know it’s your job, and I love that you take it so seriously and are so f*****g good at it. But I’m also trying to express that I want some of your time, too. And I’d like you to take that into consideration when looking at all this. To talk to me about it.”

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