But damn it, my hormones have suddenly kicked in. It's ridiculous.
Just like that dimple in his left cheek is ridiculous. "Nora?"
"What? Oh." I shake myself out of my weird haze of lust and blink. "Sorry. Been a long day."
"You've been here longer than I have, and I'm running on thirteen hours," he replies, checking his watch. "I think we should both knock off for the day."
"Is it that late?" I check the time on the corner of my monitor and sigh. "Wow. I just have a few more—"
"It'll wait until tomorrow," he interrupts. "Shut it down, Nora. I'll wait for you."
"Wait for me to what?"
He quirks a brow. "To walk you to your car."
"Oh. All right."
Carter nods, then walks back to his office and I sigh deeply. For the love of the baby Jesus in a manger, what in the hell is wrong with me? This is Carter Shaw, my boss, the man I've worked with for most of my adult life, and I'm suddenly nervous around him? It's stupid.
And it's going to stop today.
I make quick work of shutting down the computer, locking up my notes and the physical planner that I keep on hand. Everything is in the shared drive, of course, but I have hard copies of everything, in case the power goes out or there's a zombie apocalypse.
Prepared is an understatement for what I am.
Once I've gathered my handbag and jacket from the closet behind me, which is hidden in the wall and reminds me of a secret passageway, Carter emerges from his office, locks his door behind him, and turns to me with that smile again.
But I'm immune.
I'm immune, I remind myself.
"Ready?" he asks.
"Sure." We walk in silence to the elevator. I glance to the left and see a light coming from Finn's office. This law firm is owned by Carter and his two brothers-in-law, Quinn and Finn Cavanaugh. "Is Finn working late?"
"Yeah, the Barkowski case is driving him crazy."
"Going on three months now," I reply as the elevator doors open. "You have a meeting with them tomorrow afternoon."
Carter just nods and watches me for a long moment as we begin our descent to the garage under the building. Most buildings in Manhattan don't have parking garages. But this is a newer structure, and the Cavanaugh/Shaw brothers wanted fancy.
Fancy is what they got.
"What?" I ask with a frown when he continues to watch me.
"You always know literally everything that's happening in this building."
"Of course I do."
"How do you do that?"
I smirk. "I listen. I watch. It's a matter of paying attention."
"My mom always used to say she had eyes in the back of her head," he replies with a laugh, shoving one hand in his pocket.
"You could call it that," I concede with a smile. "I have to know what's going on so I can be one step ahead of you. Your schedule, what you may need. That's my job."
"And you're damn good at it," he murmurs. The comment fills me with pride. Who doesn't want their boss to say that their work is noticed and appreciated?
"Thanks." The doors open and we walk into the cold. "Jesus, this winter is going to suck."
"It already does," he agrees, pulling the collar of his coat up around his neck. Rather than hurrying over to his own Mercedes, he walks with me to my car and waits as I open the door.
"You didn't have to walk me to my car," I say as I look up at him and freeze when he brushes a piece of my hair behind my ear. Just that simple touch has me forgetting all about the bitter winter cold.
He doesn't reply. His blue eyes watch his fingers as they brush down my neck, and then he backs up a step and shoves both hands in his pockets.
"Drive safe," he says with a nod, then hurries over to his vehicle.
I watch as he starts his car but he doesn't pull away. After a moment, he rolls down his window. "Aren't you going to get in?"
"Oh. Right. Have a good night." I numbly start my own car and follow Carter out of the garage, then turn the opposite way as him and drive home. I live in a small apartment in Manhattan. Close to work and to Carter, should he ever need anything.
Which I know sounds a little too dedicated, but he pays me well, and I don't mind.