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Beg Me(10)

By:Cassandra Dee

The big man looked at me speculatively.

“I hear Hudson University’s expensive, that’s all,” he drawled. “Tuition’s something like thirty thou a year right?”

I colored. It was forty plus living expenses on top of that, and I bit my lip again. Jim and Brenda were paying most of my bills and I knew it was a strain, my parents had taken out a second mortgage because of me.

So I gulped, looking at the big man again.

“Why?” I asked quietly. “Is there a scholarship or something I could apply for? Is United Electric sponsoring a grant for students this year?”

It was possible, sometimes local businesses chose a student to support in return for an internship, maybe as a marketing gig more than anything else. And I’d be a perfect fit, the kid of an employee, I’d grown up in this community with strong ties to the school, to other families, it’d be fabulous advertising for United Electric.

But Mr. Jones just rumbled in his chest, smiling slightly.

“Yeah, a little like a scholarship,” he said. “Kind of, but not exactly. Because you know Lindy, I fired your dad last week, gave him a month’s notice but after that he’s gone.”

I sat stock still, stunned for a moment. What the hell? My dad had been perfectly fine this last week, maybe drinking a little more at night, but he’d made no mention of being let go. And why did Mr. Jones come to my parents’ twentieth anniversary party yesterday if he’d just fired my dad? That was like rubbing salt into the wound, making my dad feel even worse on his special day.

As if reading my mind, the big man answered.#p#分页标题#e#

“Your dad asked me to come,” he said casually. “I wasn’t going to, but he didn’t want to ruin your mom’s day.”

And I gasped again.

“So this entire week, my dad’s been fired and he’s just been putting on a show?” I asked, my cheeks coloring.

And the big man shrugged.

“Yeah, pretty much. Jim’s got one month before he’s gone for good.”

And at that, I began struggling to get out, futilely yanking the latch, trying to unlock the door.

“Let me out,” I struggled, hissing. “You’re an animal, treating my dad that way, I hate you!”

But my struggles were futile, the big man had locked the doors and I was stuck inside, the dark tinted windows shielding us, the big silver SUV rock steady even as I thrashed inside.

“I can’t believe it!” I shrieked again. “You fired my dad!? Jim needs his job, my mom doesn’t work, I’m in school, how could you do that to him?” I cried, my eyes welling up with tears. “How could you?”

And I was about to throw myself bodily against the door, go crazy and escape somehow, some way, from this confinement. But Chris grabbed my shoulders and turned me to look at him, gazing deep into my eyes, his blue ones piercing, arresting.

“Listen to me Lindy,” he said roughly, giving me a small shake. “I didn’t want to fire your dad but Jim was stealing from me,” he ground out. “Hear that? Stealing, caught red-handed, admitted the whole thing.”

And I was stock still now, gazing at the big man with shock, tears streaming down my face now. Stealing? My dad? Oh no, it couldn’t be. But in my heart, I knew it probably was. Times were tight, I was in college now and my brother was starting soon, my parents had two giant mortgages and my mom hadn’t worked in years, she was sick. So yeah, maybe Jim took a little, but it was all for his family, for us. And I choked on my sobs, my tears streaming uncontrollably as the strength went out of my body, my head dropping, the fight dissipating.

“Oh please,” I said, begging Mr. Jones, and suddenly my hands were the ones grabbing at him and not the other way around. I took his big forearms in my small palms, holding tight onto the muscled strength as if for dear life. “Please,” I pleaded, “give my dad his job back. We’re so dependent on him,” I choked. “I work but it’s just at the coffee shop on campus and you know my brother starts school soon, too, please, Mr. Jones, please.”

And the big man sighed wearily, sitting back in his chair, running a hand through his hair, ruffling the black strands attractively. I was ashamed, like I was betraying my family even noticing his looks at a time like this, but he was just so gorgeous that my body’s reaction was instinctive, growing soft and desperate in his presence.

“Please,” I begged again, my hands grabbing one his big ones again, squeezing the square, strong fingers. “Please, I’ll do anything. Just ask.”

And there was silence in the car, my sniffles the only sound until slowly, Chris turned his head towards me.