He raked his hands through his hair, astounded by the coincidence that she had popped up on one of the rare days when he had not been reading yet another report detailing the futile search to discover her present location.
After much soul searching, he finally decided that he would wait for twenty-four hours before informing Dominic that she had called, and in the meantime, he would pray like hell that she called again.
It was logical to assume that the matter was important and that she would contact him again. After all, it was highly improbable that she wanted to meet with him just to have a chat.
Further along the corridor in a corner office that overlooked Sydney Harbor, Dominic stood at the large plate glass window gazing at nothing, his mind in the past.
He did not notice the rain beating against the windowpane or see the flashes of lightening brightening up the grey, overcast sky.
Mike’s latest report on Rebecca’s whereabouts lay unopened on his desk.
He saw no point in reading it as it would be like all the other reports he had received over the years – failure to locate subject at this location.
A shudder shook his muscular frame as he recalled the first report he had ever read concerning Rebecca shortly after he had first met her here in this building.
The contents of that report had given him nightmares, and he had felt unbearably sorry for the young girl whose life up to that time had been hell.
‘Name:---Rebecca Ann Wilson. Age:---Twenty. Appears to be homeless. Injured in a car accident at age sixteen’.
Her parents had been killed in that accident and her fourteen-year-old brother had suffered massive brain damage that had left him in a vegetated state.
That brave sixteen-year-old girl had walked out of the hospital two months after the accident and worked two full time jobs for the next four years to pay for her brother’s full-time care.
The world had dealt her a damn lousy hand but in all the weeks he had known her he had never heard her complain or had seen her depressed.
Except when she had lost their baby.
She had sobbed in his arms as if her heart was breaking and would never be whole again, and all his attempts to comfort her and to share her grief had failed miserably.
Don’t go there, his mind screamed. Those memories were too soul destroying, too painful. Leave them in the past where they belonged.
But he could not prevent his mind from returning to the day he had first set eyes on a ragamuffin named Rebecca.
Five Years Ago.
Mike’s call on the intercom had been the final straw that morning.
Dominic cursed when the intercom on his desk began to beep. Reluctantly, he glanced across at the annoying machine and noted that the number three button was flashing.
He had given his secretary strict instructions that he was not to be disturbed unless the building was on fire, and only then if his life was in imminent danger. Apparently, he should have given Mike the same message.
Cursing under his breath, he rose to his feet, grabbed hold of the folder that contained the report on the costings for the new hotel in Queensland and strode out of his office.
He gave up attempting to read the detailed report in this madhouse. It was worse than Central Station during peak hours. The old conference rooms on the first floor were never used he would go there.
His secretary looked up in surprise as he halted in front of her desk. “I thought you said you---“
"I know what I said," he interrupted her brusquely, scowling down at her confused face. “I’m going down to the old conference rooms to read this report in peace and you are forbidden to tell anyone where the hell I am.”
“Yes Sir,” Meg acknowledged. She felt as if she should jump to her feet and salute.
“And see what the hell Mike wants,” he growled stalking out of the office and slamming the door shut so hard it vibrated through the entire office.
Meg glared at the shuddering door in disgust. ‘See what Mike wants.’ What a stupid thing for Dominic to say, she scorned. Obviously, Mike wished to speak to him, and as he had just stormed out of the office that would be an impossibility.
When Dominic had walked into the conference room, he had found Rebecca asleep on the couch and all thoughts of reading reports or sending for security had flown straight out of his mind.
She was one of the cleaners who came in each night to clean the offices and would often catch a few hours of sleep on the unused couch after her shift had ended before she began her second job at eleven o’clock later that same morning.
A loud crack of thunder that rattled the window glass dragged Dominic back to the present and he sighed, remembering what he had lost.
Even today, he could still clearly remember her thin body curled up into a ball with her cheek resting on the palm of her hand.
“Oh, Becky,” he whispered, the pain in his heart as unbearable today as it had been the night she had walked out of his life.
He sucked down a sharp breath as an icy shiver raced up and down his spine. He could feel her presence. The feeling was so strong, so powerful that he glanced over his shoulder expecting to see her standing across the room.
Of course, no one was there.
Don’t be a damn fool, he berated himself with disdain. Your imagination is running away with you.
He had been thinking of her---again. Obviously, that was why he felt as if she was quite close to him at the moment.
But he had never experienced this feeling before and he thought of her daily, so why should he suddenly sense her presence today?
Rebecca! She haunted his dreams at night and constantly popped into his head during the day. Her gamin grin, her bubbly laughter and zest for life.
Hair as black as ebony and eyes as green as the brightest emerald. Her body warm and wanton in his arms, and he craved that body with a hunger he could never satisfy.
Dominic groaned in anguish as his manhood grew hard, his arms aching to hold her again.
“Damn you, Becky.” He rubbed his hand around the back of his neck in a futile attempt to relieve his frustration. “Must you haunt me forever?”
Muttering curses under his breath, he strode out of the office informing Meg on the way past her desk that he was going down to the squash courts.
Meg sighed in sympathy as she watched his back disappearing out the door. He had been thinking of Rebecca again. She knew that.
Every time he thought of her he would take off and play a few games of squash on the courts in the basement until his libido settled down again. But then sadly the pattern would repeat itself all over again the following day.
All the sleepless nights and work filled days over the past five years were written in every inch of his body. He was thirty-eight years of age, but he looked ten years older.
His thick black hair was sprinkled with streaks of grey and he no longer strode the corridors like a young, virile man. He was six feet two inches tall, but he appeared to be much shorter.
Meg sighed in despair. She felt so helpless.
The three of them, Dominic, Mike and herself had been friends since their university days and had started out in this business together, but their camaraderie could not help Dominic forget the waif named Rebecca.
The following morning, Mike jumped on the telephone every time it rang but the