Her breath came in waves that rocked her body in the water, making subtle ripples that disappeared as quickly as they formed. The room hummed around her but her ears were underwater so all she heard was her own breathing and the occasional movement of the water.
Her body was air-light and colorless when she was in the pool, her arms outstretched as if to touch the edges of the marble that surrounded it. Her eyes were closed but she knew they were there, could feel the fingers of chill that reached for her in the hopes of stealing some of her warmth for themselves. Marble collected sunlight but there was none here, in this dimness. Its only hope was the woman floating in the center of the shallow pool and she wasn’t about to let it get its way.
The water was cool, not cold, because she demanded it. There were heaters but she rarely turned them on, preferring water that was closer to room temperature so it wasn’t a shock when she got out. She opened her eyes for just a moment and raised her arm so she could look at it, a pale reach in the semi-darkness. Water ran down from fingers that were somehow not wrinkled in spite of the fact that she’d been in the pool at least twenty minutes. She submerged her arm again, not liking the feeling of the air on her skin. There would be plenty of time to deal with that particular sensation.
“I don’t think you’re supposed to swim in there.”
The voice that echoed through the room broke the silence and Tasha sat up, her hair streaming noisily into the pool while her bottom brushed its edge. A swirl of anger rose, then fell in her chest. This was supposed to be her time. No one was supposed to know about her time.
“Why are you naked?”
“Because I can be,” Tasha said, hoping he heard the frost in her voice. It was meant to cover the fact that her heart was racing more than anything, and she dropped the temperature another few degrees. “I was under the impression that I’d locked the door.”
“This is important,” her assistant said as she stepped out of the pool and walked around to her desk. The walls of her office were lined with spectacularly sized aquariums, and their whispered hums were barely louder than when she’d been in the pool. As she passed, the fish gathered around to watch, flitting back to their hiding places when her assistant followed. Just like everything else in the office, they were immaculate. They weren’t part of the décor, they were the décor. Between the aquariums and the marble pool, more than half of Tasha’s office was comprised of water. “Noonan called. They want to delay the hearing until next week. One of their witnesses is sick.”
“Why is that my problem?” Tasha picked up a towel that almost matched the mahogany wood of her desk and began to dry herself off. She doubted that anyone would have seen it if they hadn’t known where to look. That was good.
“I told him I’d talk to you about it,” her assistant said, trying not to look at her naked body. That was good too. Let him be uncomfortable. He was the one who had walked in uninvited. “She has cancer and the chemo is making it hard for her to get around.”
“I’ll send her a card,” Tasha said, putting on her panties. “But my client is not going to sit in jail one day longer than necessary. Tell him it’s out of the question.” Her assistant looked like he wanted to say something else, but nodded at her. Tasha could feel the sigh he was holding back and almost dared him to release it.
“Yes, Ma’am.” Her assistant turned to go, then paused and frowned. “What happened to the koi?” She didn’t answer him, instead pulling her silk shell over her head. He waited for a moment longer, then left. It may have been the first time he walked in on her in the pool but it wasn’t his first day on the job. Tasha gave the pool a wistful glance, then finished dressing, stepped into her shoes and sat at her desk. Out of the question.