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Pushing the Limits(9)

By:Brooke Cumberland

As soon as I'm out of the shower, I dry off and head back to my room to  search for some clothes. What's his face is still lying face flat on my  bed.

Fucking hell.

I open one of my drawers to grab some jeans and purposely slam it shut, hoping it'll startle him enough to wake up.

No such luck.

On to Plan B.

I walk over to the other side of the bed and start shaking his shoulder.  "Wake up!" He barely flinches. I grab the covers and rip them off of  him, only to realize he's completely naked.

I tilt my head and admire his firm ass for a quick second, but then  shake my head away from the distraction. "You need to leave!" I say loud  and insultingly slow.

He finally starts stirring and mumbles something but doesn't open his eyes.

"I'm going to pour a bucket of cold water on you if you don't get the hell out of my bed," I threaten. "You have three seconds."

"Jesus," he mutters, slowly shifting around, searching for the covers with one hand.

"I have to get to work." I walk back around my bed and start searching  for a shirt in my closet. "Which means you have to leave." I spell it  out for him.

"Where the hell do you work that you have to be up this damn early?" He  finally sits up and starts searching for his clothes that are scattered  on the floor.

"I work at an art gallery."

"Sounds … boring."

I pull my shirt on and grimace. "Out," I say firmly.


He's pulling his jeans up when I turn around and glare at him. "You can get out now."

"I'm working on it. Gees. You weren't this bitchy last night."

My lips form into an oh-hell-no-he-didn't scowl, and I bend down to grab one of my heels and throw it directly at him.

"Ow! What the hell?"

"First, you diss where I work, which by the way, is one of my favorite  places to be in the whole world. And second, you call me a bitch!"

I'm ready to throw the other heel at him, but he finally uses his brain cells to get the hell out.

"BYE, Jake," I yell at him as he walks down the hallway.

"Bye, Satan," he yells back, and I can't help but burst into laughter.

Sadly, this isn't the worst morning-after I've had to deal with before.

The door opens and closes with a slam. A few seconds later, I hear it opening and closing again, this time much quieter.

"Do I even want to know what that was all about?" I hear Kendall shout  from the hallway. "He looked like a scared cat after a cold bath." She  walks to my room with a knowing grin on her face.

"He couldn't handle my classic morning wake up call," I explain, brushing the knots out of my hair. "Amateur."

She snorts and then says with a doe-eyed look in her eyes, "Kellan woke  me up in a way that made me never want to leave the bedroom." She flips  her hair over her shoulder with a smirk.         



"Well, Jake was nearly in a coma until I threatened him with cold  water." I grab my makeup case and begin my routine, but in a  fast-forward motion.

"Are you sure his name is Jake?" she asks, furrowing her brows. "I could've sworn it was James."

I shrug. "It wasn't worth remembering."


"So, I take it your night ended without penetration. How about Zoe's?" I  rummage through my makeup case and grab my eyeliner and mascara.

"Well, from what I could hear last night, it went well. And then again  this morning. He's still there. I think they went in the shower  together."

I shake my head and grin, applying my eye makeup. "Those poor guys never saw us coming."

"Speak for yourself! I'm actually dating the guy I brought home."

I thread my fingers through my hair after unsuccessfully brushing the  tangles out. Since there's no time to blow dry it, I pull it up into a  messy bun and wrap a headband around my head. That's just going to have  to do for today.

"All right, I'm ready. Let's go." I grab my purse off the vanity and follow her out. "Whose turn is it to drive?"

"Yours." She looks over her shoulder and smirks.

Kendall works with me at the Broadway Street Gallery. It's a chic and  popular art gallery where a lot of art students work and visit. It's  across the street from the university, so when I first moved here my  freshmen year, I immediately applied for a job.

I was hired as a paid docent that gives tours to larger groups in hopes  they'll make a purchase. Even if they don't, they often give a donation  at the end. The gallery gets a commission from each sale, which then  they give a portion each year to school art programs in the area. It's  one of the major reasons I applied to this gallery in the first place.

I love going through all the exhibits and watching people's expressions  and answering questions about the art pieces. Exhibits switch out every  sixty to ninety days, so it's my job to keep updated on the artists.

My end goal is to be a curator so I can be the one to pick which artists  and paintings a gallery displays, but that takes years of practice and  more school. Until then, I plan to apply for a curator apprenticeship  after I graduate. Mr. Cross is the gallery curator now, but he's due to  retire within the next ten years or so. All the administrative tasks are  starting to be more than he can handle.

I wave to Ms. Jones, the gallery director, as we walk past her office on  the second floor. She's a widow in her mid-sixties who's been working  here longer than I've been born. She's yapping on the phone in Spanish,  so I can't be sure if she's scolding someone or not, but with the way  her features tighten, I can only assume the worst. She's fluent in four  languages, so she's able to communicate with a diverse group of artists  from around the world.

I think about all the things she's achieved in her life and look up to  her so much as a role model. I can only hope to be as successful and  driven as her one day.

Kendall and I walk into the employee lounge to lock up our things. She's  a gallery attendant and sits at the information booth and welcomes  everyone who enters. She answers phones and takes messages if someone  isn't around. If it's not too busy, I'll sit with her until another tour  arrives.

As I'm adding another layer of lip-gloss, Shane from security walks in.

"Good morning, Aspen." He smiles wide as his eyes roam up and down my  body. I let him look without consequence, but it's as far as I'll ever  go with him. Even though he has biceps bigger than my head and the  bluest eyes I've ever seen, I don't mix pleasure with business. So that  automatically means no sleeping with co-workers.

"And good morning to you, Shane." I flash him a sultry smile in return  and layer it with a wink. I even suck in my lower lip and bite it,  earning a throaty groan in return.

I'm not ashamed to say that I've definitely thought about it. Shane  would be sure to give me one hell of a night, but then what? We come to  work as if nothing happened? What if he wanted more? What if he told  everyone at the gallery that I was an easy lay?

To avoid all the ‘what ifs', I've made it a firm rule to only sleep with  guys I have no intention of seeing ever again. With demanding art  courses and a busy work schedule, the last thing I have time for is a  clingy guy who thinks they own me.

"You are going to make that poor guy walk around all day with a boner,"  Kendall teases, shoving her purse and sweater in her locker.         



"Well, it's not like anyone's died from blue balls before. I'm sure he'll take care of it."

"Yeah, with you in mind."

I shrug. "Whatever helps get the job done."

She rolls her eyes and slams her locker door shut. "Explain to me again why you can't just fuck him out of your system?"

I nearly choke on her words as a few heads turn and glare at us. "Jesus,  Kendall. Parade my sex life a little louder, will you? I don't think  the teenagers in the mall across town heard you."

"Oh, it's not like your little eye-fucking affair with Shane is a secret. You two have been flirting for months."

"Yeah, so?"

"So get on with it already!"

I quickly shove my purse back in my locker and grab my employee vest and  lanyard nametag before locking it. "Maybe you should worry about your  own sex life." I wink, knowing she's nearly dry-humping the air for any  friction at all. I quickly pull my arms through the navy blue vest and  wrap the lanyard around my neck. "I'm heading out. See you at lunch."

I find the gallery manager, Christine, at her desk and sit my ass  halfway on top of it. "Your main bitch is here. When's the first tour?"

"I'm really getting sick of your damn early morning perkiness, Aspen."  She frowns, slouching. "It's making the rest of us look bad," she mocks.  She's a great leader and is almost always on top of her game, but she  most definitely isn't a morning person.

"You're such a hater."

"Yes, of mornings."

I laugh at her groaning. "What you need is a good dose of dick. Because, believe me, you'd learn to love mornings, too."