Total, utter suspension.
That’s the only way you can describe this feeling.
Everything suddenly hits pause. Your lungs. Your limbs. Your heart. Even time itself.
A severe, almost animalistic glare fills your entire line of vision, peering down at you. Scrutinizing. Examining. Penetrating.
For seconds without motion or measure, you stare speechlessly into the most exceptional, breathtaking eyes you’ve ever seen…
And the stunning face of the man they belong to.
A solitary, singular thought comes to mind:
A mesmerizing, almost indescribable intensity fills them, infused into a graduated, golden hue.
Like priceless jewels harvested directly from the sun.
Their sharpness feels like a blade; like they could cut right through your soul as they bore into yours, pulling like a magnet because, for the life of you, you can’t seem to look away.
Long, thick lashes frame them, a shade or two darker than the soft, dense waves on his head.
Belatedly, you sense the stronghold on your body, as if you’re trapped in free-fall. That’s when you notice large hands gripping your upper arms, effortlessly holding you up.
And, consequently, breaking your fall.
Before you can react, he helps you up, inadvertently pulling you closer to him as he does. Your heart thunders in your chest, now only a whisper away from his, so loudly that you’re afraid he can hear it, too.
Embarrassed, you’re suddenly very aware that you’ve been straight-up ogling him.
But…he’s been staring at you, too.
He still is.
This is, by far, the strangest interaction you’ve ever had. With anyone. Ever.
Neither of you says anything.
You just…stare at each other.
As if it’s the only thing you can do.
But a distant voice and advancing footsteps abruptly puts a stop to that, snapping you out of your trance and ending your brief…exchange.
You step away from him and out of his grip, awkwardness speeding back into every vein in your body, dousing you mercilessly when you realize just how crazy you must look.
“Uh…th-thank you,” is all you can manage when you finally find your voice again, albeit cracked, promptly averting your gaze as heat stings your cheeks.
You turn to your fallen documents splayed on the floor, your skin buzzing as you sheepishly bend over to pick them up, wishing you could ignore the feel of his gaze on you. While you’re glad you didn’t end up joining them, you feel just as embarrassed as you would have if you did. Actually, more.
You’re one hundred percent positive that plummeting flat on your ass would’ve been far less jarring than having this imposing, insanely attractive stranger stop it from happening.
“There you are,” the voice from earlier calls out.
Impulsively, your eyes dart behind him to another man approaching you, going wide with recognition.
The CEO of Earth Capital.
Double. Holy. Shit…
For a split second, you find yourself completely star-struck, your brain scattering at the sight of him…until something dawns on you.
You look back at the elevator, a major, virtual face-palm coming down on you like a hammer when you see the number next to it.
Sigh. Of course…
You’re on the wrong floor.
That explains a whole lot.
Before the CEO gets any closer, you mutter an apology and excuse yourself, feeling unusually timid as you put much-needed distance between you.
You take off again, glancing at your watch and hoping you can still catch Schapiro in time. You hail the elevator, poking its button incessantly, exhaling in relief when it opens soon after.
Against your better judgment, you look back at him, unable to resist the sheer urge to…and your stomach erupts in a flurry of wild, angry moths.
He’s still watching you, effortlessly securing your sense of sight in its entirety. Your heart races as he stares you down, piercing yellow-gold focused on naught else.
It’s unnerving. And strange. And disturbing.
You re-avert your gaze, practically running into the elevator, mortified when your heel wobbles again just before you step inside.
Staggering, both body and mind, you wince, more flustered than you’ve ever been in life. With a trembling finger, you hit ‘5’ repeatedly, your heart thumping, your other hand shaking as it grips your documents…able to feel his eyes on you long after they’re within sight of yours.
You run into Schapiro again and, this time, you get him to sign the form—but long after his meeting is over.
After that point, the day seems to disappear right before you; time dissipating in a monotonous haze despite your new environment, spent entirely on getting sorted and situated within it. It’s well after lunch when your company ID, authenticated Pass and other clearance is finalized. There’s only an hour left till closing when your payroll account is set up. From start to finish, the whole process is convoluted and long-winded. None of it should take nearly as much time as it does—and from reports of previous interns, all the preliminary stuff typically doesn’t—but, glitch or not, you have no option other than to roll with the punches. And, God knows, there are many.
Having said that, the unexpected, substandard quirks of Earth Cap’s registration protocol haven’t bothered you as much as they did earlier in the day. Or should. Not an iota of you can claim it’s because you’ve progressively gotten accustomed to the wonky system, however, you suppose some of your impatience has been buffered by…other things.
You concentrate on why you’re here, getting yourself acquainted with this ecosystem as a whole and your department, in particular—doing your damnedest not to think about him.
But, as much as you try, you can’t, for the life of you, get the peculiar individual and his haunting, golden eyes out of your head.
It’s hard to imagine that a total stranger who didn’t utter so much as a word could leave such a deep, lasting impression with just one look.
One unforgettable look.
It’s a little before five when you’re encouraged to leave—along with a pile of binders, each full of files that you need to familiarize yourself with by tomorrow.
You’re not assigned to anything or awarded specific tasks yet so you do so with no objections, feeling unusually restless even though your excitement has long worn off. You can only chalk it up to the up-and-down-back-and-forth marathon you’ve unwillingly competed in all day.
Oh…that and actually seeing Sam Covington in person.
You’d hoped it would happen eventually, some time over the course of your three-month stay, but you definitely were not expecting to see the head of your dream company on your very first day.
And certainly not while recovering from almost tripping over yourself.
Still, while it was quite brief and accidental—not to mention, less than ideal—the sighting itself had no less impact.
Michaela’s out before you get back, the apartment pin-drop silent when you walk in. Nyxon is asleep in your bed, purring contentedly as he snuggles against your pillow.
You set the binders down in the living area, resisting the urge to brew a pot of coffee in fear that it’ll only make you more agitated than you already are.
With a trusty marker and multi-colored Post-Its, you get to work, going through each binder carefully and making detailed notes for every one so you don’t forget their respective key points.
All the projects seem interesting, but one, in particular, stands out over the rest.
Definitely up my alley, you think to yourself, excited by the prospect of assisting on it.
By the time you’re on the last one, your eyelids feel like cinder blocks. All your motivation to do pretty much anything is one hundred percent gone. You can’t even muster the energy for recreational reading when it’s usually the one thing that relaxes you.
You retire to your room, grateful that the feline of the house has decided to relocate to his mother’s chambers.
You lie in bed, beyond exhausted yet unable to sleep, feeling idle as fuck for some reason…trying to ignore the very noticeable, very unusual throbbing between your thighs.
After a prolonged pause, your fingers travel south. You barely even graze your flesh when an intense, heated stare flashes before you. You gasp, taken aback, stunned by the abrupt, vivid imagery, your heart racing.
Your own eyes go wide at the strange, novel occurrence. Brows furrow above them as you try to temper your suddenly erratic breathing, pulling your fingers away from your core.
You settle back in under the covers. Another hour passes with no change. And then another, marked by constant tossing and turning and mindless fidgeting despite the fact that you truly don’t have the strength to do any of it.
With no end in sight to this odd, exhausting restlessness, you actually resort to counting sheep.
Committed, you tally imaginary livestock as they jump over a wooden fence, one after the other, until you’re muttering absolute gibberish. Until you lose track of what you’re even doing or why…finally falling asleep at an unknown hour to the golden eyes of a wolf.