Katherine held her breath as the elevator doors opened to Mr. Jonas’ private entrance into his penthouse, and let it out once she stepped into the large entryway. She doubted he was even home from the office yet, but she always got a nervous feeling in the pit of her stomach whenever she came back to the apartment. Only because he made her nervous – but not necessarily in a bad way, just in a way where he made her stomach turn and her skin tingle just by being in his presence. She unlocked the front door with her key and stepped inside, wiping the soles of her shoes on the rug because if she were to track dirt in the house, she was the one who was going to have to clean it.
“Where have you been?” Katherine heard Mr. Jonas’ low scolding voice, startling her. Her head immediately snapped up to find him standing in the living room by the couch looking at her sternly.
Her heart leapt into her throat as she froze, staring wide-eyed at him. She was so confused. Why was he so angry? Surely she could have an afternoon to herself every once in a while. She furrowed her eyes, watching Mr. Jonas as he walked quickly around the couch. She had no idea what he was going to do or say, so she cowered back slightly as he made his way toward her.
“Answer me,” he said, but sounded less intimidating, because his voice took on a worried quality.
“I-I had a doctor’s appointment. I told you I would be out this afternoon,” Katherine stammered, her mouth going dry as he stared her down.
“I got a call for you while you were gone,” he said sharply, and her cheeks heated up, knowing he probably wouldn’t like her receiving personal calls at his home.
“I-I’m sorry,” she apologized quietly as her eyes fell to the floor.
“Katherine…” Her name fell from his tongue with an air of offense, causing her to look up into his wondering eyes.
“I’m not scolding you. Please do not think that,” he said softly, his facial features evening out. She took in a ragged breath and let it out.
“It’s your father,” Mr. Jonas continued.
“My father?” Katherine choked out, her mouth falling opening in disbelief.
“He’s in the hospital,” he went on.
“The hospital?” She repeated, emphasizing the words.
“He’s alright, but…” Mr. Jonas said, cutting off his sentence as he pursed his lips together.
“But, what?” She nearly growled, knowing her father was usually up to no good.
“He was drinking… and driving,” he informed her.
“Oh my god,” she breathed, her hand coming up to press against her forehead as all the nerves in her body started working overtime.
Katherine’s father was a no-good drunk who never seemed to get his life back together after her mother died. He drank himself into a coma nearly every night afterward, and said and did horrible things to her and everyone around him when he was drunk. He was a dead-beat, but at the end of the day he was still her father.
“How bad is it?” She asked quietly, knowing it wouldn’t be good.
“I didn’t get many details, but it sounds like he is under police supervision while he is in the emergency room getting checked out,” Mr. Jonas answered swiftly.
“Jesus Christ,” Katherine growled under her breath.
“They called not long ago. I’m sure he’s still there,” he informed her, and her eyes shot up to his.
They locked gazes for a few weighted moments as her brain rushed in circles, trying to put everything into perspective.
“I have to go,” she told him moments before she turned on her heels and headed back toward the door.
“Wait!” He nearly shouted out at her.
“What?” She called back to him, stopping in her tracks.
“You don’t have a car,” he pointed out.
“I’ll get a cab,” she told him as she pulled the penthouse door open. She heard him scoff from behind her and knew it wasn’t going to be that easy to evade him.
“I’ll drive you,” he said sternly.
“It’s okay. I can—” Katherine started to argue.
“I will drive you,” he said, nearly breathing fire with his words. A shiver made its way up her spine in response.
“Thank you,” she said quietly as he moved toward her and out the door of the penthouse.
Katherine followed closely behind him as he smashed his finger into the button to recall the elevator car. They stood in silence as they waited for it, and when it dinged and the doors slid open, they quietly slipped inside. As the elevator took them down, Katherine pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and pressed the power button, making it come to life. She turned it off for her doctor’s appointment, and failed to turn it back on. She knew she never should have put Mr. Jonas’ house phone as her emergency contact, but it was her work phone – and technically her home phone – where she could be reached when she couldn’t be by cell.
When the elevator doors slid open, they were in the underground garage underneath the apartment building. Without a word, Mr. Jonas guided her out with his hand on the small of her back toward a car that must have been his, because it chirped once he pressed a button, unlocking the doors.
Katherine didn’t know much about cars, but this one was hot. It was a two-door sleek black Mercedes sports car, and it left her in awe. It was expensive and beautiful, and she knew not even her life cost as much as it did.
“This is your car?” She questioned as he opened the passenger door for her.
“One of them,” he said, looking at her intently.
“Wow,” she said under her breath as she slid into the seat and Joe shut the door after her. She almost felt like she would damage the leather just by sitting on it in her inferior clothing.
Katherine’s eyes scanned the immaculate interior as Mr. Jonas walked quickly around the car and got in on the driver side. The engine purred to life as he turned the key, and quickly he was backing out of his spot and driving out of the underground garage.
It was a short trip to the hospital, but the tension Katherine felt being in Mr. Jonas’ presence mixed with the mess her father was in had her praying for it to be over in a flash – especially when he turned to look over at her and asked why she went to the doctor that afternoon.
“Uh…” She stammered, looking at him wide-eyed. Was he just trying to make conversation or did he think he had the right to know about every detail of her life? From what she’d learned about Mr. Jonas in the short time she worked for him, she knew it was the latter and it caused goose bumps to speckle her skin.
“If you don’t mind my asking,” he said as he cleared his throat, his eyes falling back on the road ahead of him.
“Just… you know, a check-up,” Katherine said hesitantly, which caused him to look over again with a cocked eyebrow.
“And… uh, birth control,” she admitted, feeling her cheeks heat up immediately.
His eyes flashed momentarily before they evened out again. She felt like an idiot for even bringing it up. Why must he know that part of her life? It’s not like she wasn’t on birth control when they… fornicated.
“I was under the impression you were already on birth control,” he said firmly, looking like he came undone a little from her confession.
“Oh. Oh! No, no. I am. I am on birth control, don’t worry,” she said, fumbling over her words, her face becoming flush and hot. She couldn’t believe they were having a conversation like this. But then again, she couldn’t believe a lot of the things that happened lately.
“Then what was the appointment for?” He asked, his eyes narrowing slightly.
“Uh… well, uh… I guess I just wanted to talk to my doctor about… I don’t know… stuff. And to… to renew my prescription,” she stammered, feeling put on the spot in a very personal way. Did he really need to know every intimate detail?
He nodded his head and put his focus back on the road.
“Is that it? You don’t have any more inappropriate questions to ask me?” She asked boldly, feeling blindsided by him because of the whole conversation. He was acting like they were more to each other than what they really were.
His head snapped in her direction as his eyes pierced through her. She bit her lip, wishing she didn’t say anything in the first place. Sometimes she didn’t know when to hold her tongue.
“I think I have the right to ask about your birth control,” he snapped. She had to bite back the laugh that threatened to spew out of her.
“Do you find humor in this, Miss Mason?” He asked, quirking his eyebrow at her.
“No. Well, yeah. Only in the irony that you are my boss and we are talking openly about birth control,” Katherine commented, trying to stifle her smile. Mr. Jonas did not find the humor in it.
“Hmm,” he hummed as he turned into the hospital parking garage.
Her heart was nearly beating out of her chest as she sat quietly in the passenger seat next to him. Why did this man so easily put her into a panic? And why did she so easily let him possess her so thoroughly?
“We’re here,” he said obviously as he parked the car.
“I see that,” Katherine replied with a little more sarcasm than she probably should have after he so willingly drove her there.
“Err—thank you, Mr. Jonas,” she added, her cheeks flushing.
“You’re very welcome,” he told her quietly.
She nodded her head and pushed open the passenger door, stepping out of the vehicle. When she noticed Mr. Jonas do the same, she looked up at him wide-eyed.
“You don’t have to come in,” she said, feeling the panic rise in her chest.
She really didn’t need him seeing the shambles her father would no doubt be in. He was usually a pathetic mess when he was drunk, and she really didn’t want Mr. Jonas to hold her father’s indiscretions against her – because she wasn’t like her father at all.
“I would like to,” he told her flatly.
“But, seriously. It’s probably going to be a mess—” Katherine told him, feeling flustered.
“Miss Mason, I drove you here and I have every intention to see to it that you make it back home safely,” he said sternly, in the no-argument-necessary kind of tone.
Katherine sighed, but nodded her head as she headed toward the door that would take them inside of the hospital. Once they were in the elevator, she couldn’t help but wonder how Mr. Jonas got so much information about her father during the phone call he received. She knew he was a pushy megalomaniac, but usually the hospitals only released information like that to immediate family.
“How did you find out so much about why my father was in the hospital? Surely they don’t go around breaking protocol for just anyone,” Katherine said as she pursed her lips, looking over at him.
Mr. Jonas turned his head, looking at her with the slightest of smirks on his lips.
“What?” She asked him, rather curious as to why his disposition brightened all of a sudden.
“I may have told them I was your husband,” he said evenly as he looked ahead once again, the elevator coming to a stop and the doors opening.
Katherine stood inside the elevator car, her mouth agape as Joe stepped out into the hospital.
“Are you coming, Miss Mason?” He turned to ask her. Katherine took a deep breath and let it out hard. That man had serious nerve.
“We’re not done with that conversation,” she told him, her voice low as they walked up to the front intake desk.
“We’re here to see Roger Mason,” Mr. Jonas told the front desk nurse.
“Are you family?” She asked, looking up, her mouth falling slightly agape as she took in all the beauty that was Mr. Joe Jonas.
“I am his daughter,” Katherine told her quickly, rolling her eyes slightly at the effect he had on the female population. The woman was practically salivating over him.
“Roger Mason is just around the corner in bed two,” the woman said, looking up at her, pursing her lips together.
Katherine could tell a judgmental look when she saw one. Her father was no saint. Katherine paid it no mind though. She needed thick skin to be her father’s daughter.
“Come,” Mr. Jonas said, putting his hand against the small of her back to lead her through the ER doors.
“I can go back by myself,” she told him, shaking his hand off of her.
“Must you be so stubborn?” He breathed in her ear as he continued on next to her, opening the door for her.
“Must you be so stubborn?” Katherine retorted as the two of them turned the corner.
She stopped dead in her tracks as soon as she heard the sound of her father’s voice, cussing out a nurse that was probably only trying to help him.
“God damn it,” she growled and picked up her pace.
“Listen here, honey! I was paying my dues for this country before you were even born! Get out of here! Leave me alone!” Her father yelled at the woman trying to adjust his blood pressure cuff on his arm.
The two police officers that were stationed by his bed were just about ready to jump in as Katherine walked up.
“Dad!” She snapped, a scolding tone in her voice. His head turned quickly to her voice, his hazy eyes searching for her.
“What are you doing?” Katherine said in a hushed tone as she came up to the side of his bed he was handcuffed to.
“Katy. Oh, Katy,” he cooed, his demeanor going from angry to content in an instant.
“What happened? What did you do?” She asked him quickly, her eyebrows furrowed in concern as her eyes racked up and down his blanketed body.
“Are you family?” The nurse asked her.
“Yes. I’m his daughter. W-what happened?” She asked her quickly, watching as she looked up at the policemen.
“Your father was under the influence of alcohol and got behind the wheel tonight, nearly killing an entire family when his car veered across the median and hit them head-on,” one of the policemen spoke up.
Katherine could hear the disapproval and disgust in the man’s voice as he spoke of her father, and she couldn’t blame him. He probably already had the pleasure of being belittled and berated by him, on probably more than one occasion as he stood there. Her father was not a pleasant man.
“Oh my god,” Katherine gasped, her hand coming up to her mouth.
“None of them died!” Her dad spat at the officer.
“Are you crazy!? Are you CRAZY!?” She yelled at him, smacking him in the arm repeatedly with her hand.
“KATY! Jesus Christ!” Her father shouted.
“Ma’am,” one of the officers said, trying to stop her, but even in her shocked state she knew he wasn’t too concerned with getting her to stop hitting him.
“Katherine,” she heard Mr. Jonas’s voice as he gripped onto her arms and pulled her back, away from her father.
“Your father has a broken ankle and minor cuts and bruises. Once his leg is set, he should be fine to be released in police custody,” the nurse spoke up.
“And the other family?” Katherine asked, her voice trembling as tears welled in her eyes.
“The brunt of it lies with the father who is in the ICU with minor brain trauma. The mother and the children escaped with very little scrapes and bruises,” the nurse informed her.
“Brain trauma? Oh my god,” Katherine gasped.
“He is conscious, though having a little trouble remembering what happened,” the nurse went on to say.
“Like amnesia?” Katherine asked her.
“See, he doesn’t even remember it!” Her drunk father spat out.
“Shut up!” Katherine snapped at him as she stepped forward, ready to hit him again, but Mr. Jonas held her back.
“Yes. A mild amnesia,” the nurse nodded.
“Oh my god,” Katherine said as she quickly wiped at the tears that were threatening to fall.
The nurse quietly excused herself as the police officers stood watch at the end of her father’s bed. She felt Mr. Jonas’ hand on her shoulder comforting her, and although she wanted him to stay in the car away from her crazy father, she was almost glad he was there with her.
“Who are you? Are you fucking my daughter!? Is that why you’re here?” Her father spat out all of a sudden, looking straight at Mr. Jonas.
“DAD!” Katherine screamed at him.
“What the hell is this guy doing here, Katy? Do you even have any respect for me? Pssh, bringing your dirty laundry here,” he grumbled, almost incoherently by the end.
“You should apologize to your daughter,” Katherine heard Mr. Jonas speak up.
“What the hell did you just say to me?” Her father spat, his eyes going manic as he stared back at him.
“You should apologize to your daughter,” Mr. Jonas said more sternly this time.
“Joe, don’t,” Katherine said turning to him, his given name slipping off of her tongue without thought.
“I don’t have to do anything! If my daughter doesn’t have enough respect for me to not bring assholes like you around, then she can leave and so can you! Filthy whore, just like her mother,” her father pressed on, making her want to crawl under a rock and die.
In a split second, Mr. Jonas bypassed Katherine and gripped onto her father’s hospital gown, sticking his nose right into his face.
“You will apologize,” Mr. Jonas threatened him, his voice coming out fierce and angry.
“Whoa. Step back, sir,” one of the officers said quickly.
“Joe!” Katherine yelped, gripping onto his arm, trying to pull him back.
“Get. Out. Of. My. Face,” her father said callously.
“Sir, step back,” the same officer said, his hand placed on his nightstick.
“Joe, please,” Katherine pleaded, tugging on his arm.
With a violent shove, Mr. Jonas let go of her father’s hospital gown and took a step back, looking back at her for just a split second. She could see the fire in his eyes, and it scared her.
“Pathetic – the both of ya,” her father spat, and Mr. Jonas took a quick step forward, making her father flinch away from him.
“Joe! That’s enough,” Katherine shouted, gripping onto his arm. And surprisingly he let her pull him back. She pulled him down the hallway with her, back to the waiting room.
“Please wait for me here,” she told him sternly. She could see the anger in his eyes, his jaw tensed, his knuckles nearly white from gripping them so tightly.
“Please wait. I will be right back,” she said more calmly. He let out a breath through his nostrils but nodded his head.
“Thank you,” she told him as she made her way back to the ER doors.
Katherine turned her head to look back at him just once, seeing him run his hands through his hair violently as the anger radiated off of him. She let out a sigh as she pressed forward through the doors and headed back to her father’s bed.
“How dare you!” Katherine shouted lowly at her father.
“Katy,” he said, trying to schmooze her, pretending everything that just happened, didn’t happen.
“No! Do not ‘Katy’ me. That is my boss, Dad. My boss!” She yelled at him.
“I don’t like the way he looks at you,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest like a child.
“I don’t care what you like or dislike, okay. You are an embarrassment,” she spat at him viciously.
“Katy,” he breathed, his mouth falling open slightly. And it looked as though he might actually cry from her words, which of course made her feel bad immediately.
“Gahhh, Dad,” she said, shaking her head, looking away from him.
“Katy, I’m sorry,” he said quietly. She took a deep breath and a step back.
“Sometimes sorry just isn’t enough. And tonight your drinking could have killed someone – multiple people. I am ashamed to be your daughter right now. Absolutely ashamed,” Katherine said, her voice quivering with emotion.
“Katy, please,” he whimpered, looking at her with his sad watery eyes.
“I will not stand by you on this. You’re destructive. You’re going to end up killing yourself or someone else,” she pressed on, really letting him have it.
“Please don’t—” He choked out.
“You can spend the night in jail. And please, do not call me to bail you out. Because I won’t,” she told him finally before she walked away with him shouting her name after her.
Once she was out of his sight, Katherine stopped and took a deep breath, trying to settle her nerves, before pushing through the doorway heading back into the waiting room. Mr. Jonas was standing by the wall, still looking overly stressed. She walked up to him and it took him a moment to realize her presence, but when he did, he just looked at her, his brown eyes softening immediately.
“I would like to go now,” she told him quietly. He nodded his head and the two of them made their way back to the parking garage in silence.
“Would you like some tea, Miss Mason?” Mr. Jonas asked once they arrived back at the penthouse.
“I’d just like to go to bed,” she told him, feeling defeated.
“Just one cup. It will help you sleep,” he pressed, giving her a look that she couldn’t say no to.
“Fine. Just one cup,” she agreed, and followed him to the kitchen where she watched him carefully prepare two cups of chamomile tea.
It always impressed her to see him move so fluidly in the kitchen, whenever she got the rare glimpse of it. He was a natural, and she quietly wondered what it would be like to have a man like him take care of her. This thought ravaged her mind for longer than she should have let it before she shook it out of her brain. Scenarios like that were cruel, because she knew it would never happen. They were on different wave-lengths, practically living in different dimensions. He could fuck her better than anyone ever had, and stand up for her to her father when no one else would, but at the end of the day, she was still his housekeeper.
“Thank you,” she said quietly when he set a steaming hot mug of tea in front of her as she sat at the island counter.
“You’re very welcome, Miss Mason,” he said as he leaned back against the countertop, never taking his eyes off of her as he dunked his tea bag in and out of his own mug.
“Thank you for driving me to the hospital. And… and for standing up to my father,” she said even quieter than before.
“He never did apologize,” Mr. Jonas seethed under his breath.
“He never will,” Katherine said matter-of-factly.
Mr. Jonas watched her, and she could see questions swirling in his eyes, and more than anything in the world, she did not want to answer them, so she looked away, focusing on her tea.
“Is he always like that?” Mr. Jonas asked, causing her to flinch slightly with his words.
“Yes,” she whispered as she nodded her head lightly.
“Has he always been like that?” He asked, his voice sounding dark and angry.
“Not when I was little. Not before my mom died. But… but I think he was that way with her. And… and now…” She trailed off, realizing she was answering the questions she didn’t want to answer.
“And now?” Mr. Jonas pressed, and Katherine sighed.
“Now he takes out all his anger on me. I-I try not to get involved with his life anymore. I’ve moved out and moved on, but… but there are times when I can’t avoid him. Times like tonight,” she went on to explain.
“Is he violent with you?” Mr. Jonas asked, his voice came out ragged and fierce. Her eyes shot up to his, feeling overwhelmed by the emotion in his words.
“I-I…” She stammered, but her voice cut short.
“Katherine,” Mr. Jonas pressed, his thunderstorm eyes focused straight on her.
“He… he never used to be,” she admitted, bowing her head, breaking their gaze.
“And now?” He asked sharply.
“Not now. But… but before,” she admitted, feeling embarrassed that she let her father dictate her life for so long.
“What kind—tell me,” Mr. Jonas’s fiery voice made her skin prickle with fear, but she wasn’t afraid of him – she was afraid of letting out her demons.
“Not what you’re thinking,” she said, shaking her head, still keeping her eyes from him.
“You have no idea what I’m thinking,” he spat out.
“He used to hit me, that’s it. He never… he never sexually abused me. But… but I used to have to… I’d have to cover up bruises on my body so that people at school wouldn’t see them,” she confessed, feeling ashamed of herself and of her father.
“’That’s it’?” Joe spat out her words angrily.
“It’s over,” she snapped back, looking up into his stormy eyes.
“God damn it,” he growled, letting out a large sigh as he set his mug down on the countertop hard. Katherine jumped at the sound it made hitting the surface.
“Mr. Jonas…” She breathed.
“I-I didn’t know. You should have told me,” he growled, violently running his fingers through his hair.
“What? No. I-I don’t… why would I—no,” she stammered, feeling her cheeks heat up with embarrassment as she stood up from the chair.
Apparently, in this man’s mind, a fitting resume would have her entire fucking life story written in fine detail, itemized and particularized to his liking. Just, no.
“You allowed me to… to spank you,” he gulped, saying the word as if it held a whole new meaning of dirty.
“Joe,” she breathed, shaking her head as her stomach turned.
“I wouldn’t have—I just… I didn’t know,” he said, looking so afflicted and vulnerable.
“It’s okay,” she told him as she walked slowly around the counter toward him.
“It’s not okay, Katherine,” he said, looking at her with a stern eye.
“I allowed it, because you’re not him. Because it was completely different with you. It was completely different,” she found herself saying, comforting him when she wasn’t sure why she should.
He took a deep breath as he looked at her, his face evening out – the storm in his eyes passing in an instant.
“I’m sorry, Katherine,” he said quietly. Her eyes looked between his, trying to read him, but he was a closed book.
And after a few weighted moments, he stepped around her, and made his way out of the kitchen. She was left standing there, feeling completely blindsided by almost everything involving him. He was a complete fucking mystery to her – one that she was certain she would never figure out.