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Arousing Consequences

By

Cam Johns































Copyright © 2016 by Cam Johns

ISBN-13:

978-1537493930


ISBN-10:

1537493930

Edited by Codi Johnson of The Parchment


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from copyright owner.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.


camjohnscom.wordpress.com























Dedication:







For Kasib…. Thanks for giving me the confidence to go for it!















Chapter One



Choices. They can be simple or frivolous…or life altering. There are always helpful hints leading you to the right choice, but do we always accept them for what they are? I certainly haven’t. I made a choice. A choice after my father died that led me here to start; major choices that brought undesirable characters into my safe life. Here I am, sitting in a courthouse waiting to face my “monster”. Not the hide under your bed imaginary monster, but the destroy your life monster. Six months ago, I would have never imagined being here. Then, staying within my safe comfortable limits was more important than being hurt once again. Choices. We all make them. Will yours affect the ones you love?

I want today to be over so we can move on with our lives…he doesn’t even know-

“Karisma Washington”

Oh, there’s the clerk. Standing, I think about what led up to today…the day that everything changed. The day I face consequences.

Breathe, Karisma. I thought to myself. Taking a long shower would relax me but I’m too anxious. Today marks day one of the beginning of my career at the top rehab facility in Seattle. I’m so excited! I’ve always wanted to help people, so being hired at Healing House is remarkable, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. I’m elated to finally take steps forward instead of wallowing in my father’s death…murder.

“Babe,” Kevin says, sliding the door to the tub open, “you know you’re getting ready for work, not for us to go out. You can’t be late!”

“Ok smart ass! I’m coming!” He is right, I’m always late. I slide one of the glass doors to the shower open and step out reaching for my “Pretty in Pink” towel on the rack, but it isn’t there. I glance behind me to find him holding it, giving me an I could eat you up right now look. “Oh no... don’t even think about it buddy. Didn’t you just say I was late?” I try grabbing for the towel, but he pulls my wet body into his, staring at my nakedness.

“You’re lucky Mrs. Matthews.” He puts his finger under my chin to lift my head.

“No, you’re the lucky one.” I say giggling. He plants a soft kiss on my forehead handing me my towel. “By the way, I’m missing some hardware on my finger...let’s not get ahead of ourselves with the Mrs. Matthews.”

“Hurry up and get dressed woman!” He slightly taps me on the butt before disappearing into the bedroom.

After a half hour of getting dolled up, I run downstairs to grab a bite to eat. Luckily for me Kevin doesn’t mind cooking. I take a seat at the center island in the kitchen to enjoy my turkey bacon, egg whites and a cup of coffee waiting for me. “Thank you baby.” I lean over to kiss Kevin, who is already seated, awaiting my presence. “So…what’s work gonna be like for you today?” I ask, vigorously stuffing my face.

“You know…same ol’ BS. Mike is gonna get on my damn nerves as usual and a few business meetings. We may get the contract for the new condominiums downtown. That would definitely help out a lot.” Mike being his business partner I’ve only met once…he seemed shady.

“That would be fabulous babe. So I assume if you do get it, you’ll be home late a lot again.” I say hesitantly.

“Don’t worry…it won’t be like last time.” He says grabbing my hand and caressing my knuckles against his lips. He must think that will disarm me. Nope.

“I should hope not, ‘cause you know I’m not going for that shit…this time.”

“Izzy,” he says grabbing my chin to pull my face in his direction, “that’ll never happen again…promise.” I want to believe him, but I am truly not convinced.

“Okay…I gotta go.” I get up from the table and kiss him goodbye. His slumped posture shows his defeat. “I’ll call you later.” I grab my keys and I’m gone.

As I walk out the door, my mind replays the events of last year. It doesn’t help that I have a constant reminder in my garage. I walk towards the car Kevin got me then...when he was lying and keeping secrets. If it weren’t a BMW M3, I might have told him to kiss my ass…it’s too beautiful and I’m not stupid. Waiting for the garage door to rise, I scroll through my iPod looking for the perfect song. I’m sure I’m not the only person who does this. I need something upbeat, especially today, to get me pumped for my first day. Finally landing on Turn up the Music, I back out to Kevin standing at the end of the driveway. He walks over to the driver side and leans in with his hand behind his back.

“Now, wasn’t it you that said never leave each other angry?” He asks, showing off his convincing smile. Why can’t my fist be strong enough to knock him out?

“I’m not angry, just annoyed.”

“Well, quit all that!” He shows me the jewelry box from behind his back. “I got you a good luck charm for your first day. Was gonna give it you at breakfast but…”

“I hate you sometimes!” I say, rolling my eyes and reluctantly opening the box to see a charm bracelet. "You think you’re slick! This is beautiful Kevin.” I pull his tie towards me, giving him a quick kiss.

“I'm glad you like it boo. Now get outta here… you’re late!”

“Bye babe!” I wave, speeding off down the block and turning up the music.

Luckily for me the ride to work takes thirty minutes, which is fantastic during rush hour. As I pull into the garage beneath the building, all of my earlier thoughts and nerves return. Finally finding a parking spot, I jump out quickly and run to the elevator as it’s about to close. The man in the elevator thankfully sees me in time and holds it. “Thank you so much.” I say, winded.

“No problem,” he says extending his hand, “Jackson Turner.”

“Hello, Mr. Turner. Karisma Washington.” I say quickly shaking his hand. God that was rude. I didn’t even look him in the eye. “So…how long have you been working here Mr. Turner?” I ask fixing myself from the run.

“Since the beginning…never seen you here. Just starting?” I glance at him finally after I’ve stopped fidgeting. Holy shit! My heart stops and my breathing follows. This man is glorious. Lord please help me, temptation is real right now. Where are my words? Jeez. Breathe Karisma.

“It’s my first day….I’m kinda nervous.” I say finally, after gawking for far too long.

“Right, I thought the name was familiar. I read through your resume earlier.” He says with an artful grin. “Yes, you seem nervous…you'll be fine. If anyone gives you trouble…just let me know.” He winks down at me with cleverness in his eye, making me blush. Oh goodness please stop tingling, I think, squeezing my legs together.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I say to avoid the temptation. “So, I take it you're one of my bosses…since you went over my resume?"

“Something like that, Miss Washington.” His intimidating disposition towers well over 6 feet, very fit, and his expensive black suit fits him perfectly. He is definitely a sight to look at and smells so delicious. Women must throw themselves at him and his dark features. Except for the eyes. Those strange blue eyes. If it weren't for Kevin, I might throw myself at him…especially if he keeps smiling at me like that. “So, I assume you’re headed to Margaret Weinstein’s’ office…? I’ll show you where that is.”

The elevator opens to the receptionist sitting behind a high, long, Cherrywood L-shaped desk with a marble countertop. The floors are all made of a light-colored marble tile, the windows floor to ceiling, gorgeous artwork throughout and a few comfortable leather white chairs off to the side. Everything looks so clean…and white. I follow Jackson over to the receptionist who is frantically answering the phone that continuously rings. She’s a pretty, fair skinned woman, looks about twenty-five to thirty, with strawberry blonde hair. The glasses she’s wearing keep falling down her nose no matter how often she pushes them back up. Finally noticing us waiting, she smiles. But, I’m not sure if she’s smiling to be polite or because she observes Jackson standing here.

“Good morning Mr. Turner” She says with excitement in her voice, while fidgeting with her clothes. She has yet to regard me at all.

“Hey Julia, this is Karisma Washington. I’m gonna take her over to Margaret’s office if that’s ok?” Her eyes dart over to me while putting up a fake smile.

“Yes...Miss Washington. Mrs. Weinstein is expecting you.”

“Nice to meet you, Julia.” I say extending my hand. She barely shakes it but I don’t take it personally. It’s clear she has a thing for Jackson and she must think I’m competition. Little does she know, I've never really been interested in white men. Although I do understand the fascination…the man is ridiculously hot.

“See ya later, Julia.” Jackson says as he escorts me down the corridor.

We walk through large glass sliding doors that lead towards the corporate offices of the building.

“This is my office.” He says, pointing to the left of us to a large room, but unfortunately he is walking too fast for me to linger. “I think you may be a little late, so I’ll walk in with you. Hopefully I’ll distract the time a bit... Maggie can be a stickler.” I follow his long legs quickly, trying to understand why he's going out of his way for me. Once there, a woman sits nervously behind her desk to the right of us. “Hi Karen,” Jackson says in a whisper, “I have Karisma Washington here to see Maggie.” Karen has mocha skin, a little chubby with a cute baby face but seems older... in her forties maybe.

“She’s late, Mr. Turner.” She snaps back at him as if I'm not standing here.

“Don’t worry, I’ll handle her.” He replies gesturing towards Mrs. Weinstein's office.

She points at the door, giving us the go ahead. This whole situation is unnerving. Jackson politely knocks on the glass door waiting for her to signal us in as I admire his tall stature.

“Good morning, Maggie.” Jackson walks calmly over and sits on the desk beside her.

“Good morning Jackie. I see you brought Karisma here personally. Do you know each other?” she asks confused.

“No, I ran into her in the elevator. I hope you don’t mind, I kinda gave her a little tour.”

“Of course not. Don’t be silly.”

They continue to talk quietly. Thank goodness he helped out, I think to myself. I may have to buy him a drink one day.

Now that Jackson has put out the flames and I’m totally being ignored, I finally calm my butterflies. Mrs. Weinstein is a short woman with ivory skin and brunette shoulder length hair. Her thin, frameless glasses are hooked to a chain around her neck and well dressed in a black pencil skirt, white blouse and black pumps. The office is huge and well decorated, with floor to ceiling windows like the reception area, the walls are painted an eggshell white, two black leather club chairs facing her desk, one large black leather couch to the left of the entrance, and a wall of plaques and photos. The desk is well organized with one photo of a young woman, man, and their children, and another of her and an older gentleman, perhaps her husband.

After admiring her large office, I marvel at the sight of Jackson’s charm. He sits comfortably on her desk flashing that compelling smile. Jeez. Oh, here he comes…get it together girl.

“Okay Karisma, I’ll catch up with you later.” He stares through me with those blue eyes, shaking my hand, sending that tingle through my body again. What the hell was that? He leaves the office and his glorious scent follows.

Jackson

“She looks just like her.” I whisper to myself as I am leaving Weinstein’s office. Jackson, get it together man. She is not her… but she is definitely beautiful. Ugh, fuck it, I have to know more. I go right for my phone to call Jonathan.

“What’s up man?” My brother says, answering on the first ring of course.

“Listen, the new girl…Karisma Washington.”

“What about her? Michael checked her out already.” Of course he had our head security analyst look into her.

“She’s hot man.”

“Finally bro…you haven’t dated since…well you know how long it’s been.”

“I know…can you just look into her a little more? I know you won’t let me ask her out until you do.”

“You damn right! I’ll let you know.”

Karisma

Focus Karisma, he’s gone…let’s try and keep your job.

“Nice to meet you Karisma…welcome to Healing House. I’ve heard great things about you, but let’s try to be on time from now on...Jackson won’t be able to save you every time.” She says, walking past me and closing her office door. All I can do is shake my head in acceptance as she leads me to one of the black leather club chairs. Surprisingly, she takes the seat next to me. “Okay, so your duties here are simple. You will meet the current clients for follow-ups so we can evaluate your therapy practices and be trained with the Chief Executive Physical Therapist downstairs…you’ll love her. Eventually, you will work with the new clients as they come in. With me so far?” She asks finally taking a breather.

“Yes, absolutely.” I say nervously.

“Also, your assistant Physical Therapist is the only one allowed to wear scrubs or dress down here. You will wear professional attire as you are now at all times. Jackson wanted this place to feel less like a hospital and make sure the client is treated as family. Therefore, you will talk with the client, making sure they’re comfortable while instructing your assistant PT to perform his duties properly. Questions?” She states, being sure to keep constant eye contact with me. This is Jackson’s center?

“Yes...who is the lead PT I'll be working with?”

“Oh yes, that reminds me.” She walks to her assistant’s desk and picks up a plastic card. “Okay, you’re going to go down to the third floor, ask the receptionist for Alyssa Monroe. She will train you from here on out…or at least until you can handle things on your own. Miss Monroe is the best we have here so you'll be in great hands.” She then hands me an ID card with a magnetic strip. “This is your pass to use throughout the building. Be sure not to lose this because you will need it to get into certain areas of the facility. Understand?”

“Oh...okay. I got it.” Why does this woman make me so nervous?

“Okay,” we get up from our seats, “have a good day Miss Washington. Remember, be on time.”

“Yes I will. Thank you.”

Walking out of her office, relief passes over me. I am so glad that’s over and I still have a job. As I’m passing Jackson’s office, I peek in to see if he’s there so I can thank him, but the room is empty. I fight the urge to have a better look and not keep this Alyssa waiting. I walk toward the elevator, waving goodbye to Julia who awkwardly waves back. While waiting, I take the charm bracelet out of the box and put it on my wrist. It's silver with my initials and a few heart-shaped charms. It's so beautiful. Kevin has his moments, but usually after he fucks up. I'm just glad he's putting in the effort to make things better between us. My father always told me to follow my gut, but my gut tells me not to trust Kevin anymore.

Down on the third floor, I ask the receptionist for Alyssa Monroe as I’m told. While waiting, I notice how different this floor is. It has a relaxed, laid back atmosphere, and looks much more like the entrance to an upscale gym. It has a large juice and Healthy Choices snack bar, with an entertainment lounge used as the waiting area.

“Hi, you must be Karisma.” I turn abruptly to see a woman that looks about thirty, cocoa skin like mine, intense dimples, beautiful long brown hair and short manicured nails.

“Yes that’s me. You must be Miss Monroe?” She stares at me briefly, causing an awkward silence. “Everything okay?”

“Lizzie…and yes…you just look like someone I knew once.” I nod and smile as she finally extends her hand to shake mine. “Anyway…welcome. I’ll be your go to girl for anything you need…so don’t hesitate to ask. Today is more of a tour day, so I’ll show you around this floor of the facility and familiarize you with all of this beautiful equipment we have. Even though you won't be the one using the equipment with the client, you should know how they work and its purpose.” She pauses to make sure I understand.

“Got it.”

“Everything here is state of the art and up to date so you shouldn’t have any problems. It's always best to get to know each client personally, like they're a member of the family…and still make sure the assistant does the work. Last, we’ll meet my final client of the day, Jennifer. For the rest of the week you will learn from my appointments until you feel you’re ready to start on your own. Then I’ll just assist you where needed. We’ll have an assistant Physical Therapist ready for you then. All good?” Whew…what a mouth full.

“Sounds like a plan Lizzie.”

“Excellent.”

After a few hours of being shown around, using the equipment and introducing me to colleagues and her assistant PT, we stopped in the cafeteria to get a bite to eat before her last client. The cafeteria is immense, taking up an entire floor of the building, offering many choices to choose from. It reminds me of a food court at a mall…but bigger.

“So Karisma, tell me more about yourself. Where did you go to school?”

“I went to UMass for my Bachelor of Science and UW for my master’s, to be closer to my family…well, my over the top mother really.”

“And your dad?” I fight the urge to tell her he was murdered. That only leads to more questions I'm not prepared to answer.

“He passed away 3 years ago.”

“Oh God…I'm sorry Karisma.”

“It's getting better now. I'm just glad my boyfriend was around…my mother can be a tool.” We both giggle.

“I hear ya.”

“What about you? What school?” I ask.

“I took the easy way and did everything online. It pays when you know someone, right? I just needed some type of degree. So…you’re not married yet…kids?”

“Nope…not yet…and no children.”

“Well, at least you have someone. It’s hard finding a good man to even date now.”

“I see. So you’re single?”

“Yes! For too damn long!” We both laugh.

"If you don't mind me asking…who’s the “someone” you know that got you started here?" I ask cautiously.

"Jackson Turner. He -"

“Runs the place, I know." I interrupt her.

She looks at me confused. "You met already?"

"We took the elevator this morning together…he helped out a lot."

"Oh did he?" She says raising an eyebrow.

I giggle uncomfortably. "Oh don't tell me you're one of his fans too."

She bursts with laughter. "I see you've met Julia." I nod. "Not a chance…he’s more like family. Now his brother...hands off!" We giggle. “Okay, Karisma, enough cacklin'. My client should be here soon, so let’s head back down.” She stands and I follow beside her. "By the way, Jackson and his brother own Healing House."

"Seriously?" He seemed so down to earth.

"Yup." she says simply. Once upstairs, Alyssa gets her client from the waiting area.

“Karisma, this is Jennifer. She’s here for a follow up, she injured her leg in a car accident a few months ago. She’s been coming here-”

“Oh my god…chill Lizzie,” she interrupts, “what’s up Karisma? Alyssa and I have actually been friends since high school…but you can’t tell by how she's talkin’ right now. How’s your first day?”

“Seems pretty cool here so far.”

“Well now you’ve met me so it’s about to get even better.” We all laugh. “Let’s get started ‘cause I need to get this wig done.” she whispers hitting her head.

“Girl, you crazy! Let’s go!” Alyssa says annoyed. After about an hour of working with Jennifer, Alyssa asks me to walk her to the front and make another appointment for her in two weeks.

“Girl, I hate working with Lizzie…she work me too damn hard. She and Claire will be the death of me. I don’t like sweatin’ like this…this shit is ridiculous. Well…unless it's from doing something else, ya ‘know what I’m sayin’.” She says giving me a wink. I smile uncomfortably, trying not to be too unprofessional. “Oh girl, lighten up damn. Don’t worry about it...you’re good.”

“Sorry, just don’t wanna cross any lines.” She bursts with laughter, making me blush, uncertain of the joke.

“Kay, that’s all I do.” I smile, noticing she has given me her own nickname. We talk for a bit longer as we wait for Alyssa to come out of her office. Jennifer is tall, much taller than me, has to be at least 5’9” with short black hair, very thin but still has amazing curves. Her mocha skin is still glistening from her session.

“I see you two are getting along.” Alyssa says surprising us.

“Yeah girl, Kay is cool.”

“Ohhh...Kay is it now.” she smiles looking at me.

“Okay ladies, gotta go. I’ll see ya soon. Kay call me sometime…you have my number.”

“I’ll do that.” She and Alyssa share a hug before she waves bye.

“Okay Karisma…or Kay,” she says smiling, “you’re done for the day. We start bright and early tomorrow morning with my follow-ups. When you think you have the hang of it, let me know and I’ll schedule you new clients. Okay?”

“I got it. See you tomorrow Lizzie.”

“Tomorrow.”

I head to my new office Lizzie whizzed by during our tour. It’s not that big, but a decent size for my desk and a bookshelf. I also have two club chairs facing my desk and a window which is great. Just as I grab my purse and jacket my office phone rings.

“Karisma Washington’s office. How can I help you?” I quip, unsure of what is suitable, but happy that I have my own line. Yay!

“Karisma, I’ve been trying to reach you. How did your first day go?”

“Mom!” I say shocked. “How did you get this number?”

“You know I’m resourceful. You’ve been ignoring me all day.”

“Mother, I have not been ignoring you…I’ve been busy. My first day went well, but I was gonna call you when I got home.” I say annoyed.

“Okay, well it’s late. You need to get home to cook before Kevin gets there. That’s why you’re not married now…you need to put his needs before your own!”

“Okay, yup, time to go…talk to you tomorrow mother.” Now I’m even more annoyed.

“Wait Karisma, don’t you hang up on-” I hang up abruptly.

That’s why I call her once a day. She is very overbearing. I assume it’s because my father isn’t around anymore, considering she evaded me when he was alive. I wish she would get a life of her own, instead of meddling in mine. It’s not like Kevin hasn’t asked… but I don’t trust him like before. But she doesn’t know everything about our relationship, so I just let her have her moments. Come to think of it, I don't understand when they became so close. She used to hate him.

Once again, I grab my jacket and purse to walk out. On the elevator, I am so pleased with how the day went. I may have even gained two new friends, which is great, since most of my friends are back in Massachusetts. Jackson seems cool too, but he is my boss. I don’t think I’ll be seeing much of him…or at least I hope not. The elevator doors open and there he is looking handsome as ever. Why me?

“Miss Washington.” he says smiling.

“Mr. Turner.” I smile back, squeezing my legs to calm my throbbing middle…it worked earlier, at least.

“You on your way home?”

“Yes…thanks for helping me out this morning. Made my day a lot easier.”

“No problem. I’ll walk you to your car since I’m headed home also.”

“Oh, that’s not necessary...you’ve done enough for me today.”

“Yes...that may be true,” he says furtively, "but it’s the right thing to do, right?”

I smile nodding yes. Oh…please stop staring at me.

When the elevator opens, he gestures his hand for me to go out first, then walks me to my car. Once I unlock the car with my fob, he opens it so I can get in and closes the door when I am settled. He then waits for me to roll down the window.

“Nice car.”

“Thanks…my boyfriend got it.” I say smiling. Just thought I'd sneak that in there. He drops his keys on the ground, so I start the car as he picks them up. He stays bended at the window smiling, sharing his beautifully white teeth.


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