The New York Weekly
The Misfit strikes again
New York, November 2014 – Thieves in central New York have struck again, breaking into a secure downtown warehouse used for storing expensive artefacts, and heirlooms set for auction. Officials are still currently investigating and so far only one item has been reported stolen.
The auction directors are refusing to divulge information on the item in question, or the details of how they actually came into possession of the artefact, with the total value still remaining undisclosed.
The thief is now being dubbed as one of New York’s most notorious misfits by many newspapers and journalists, tying in with a string of other robberies with similar circumstances. Authorities are yet to comment on whether these recent crimes are related, or if there is more than one criminal out there on the streets of New York. Is there something officials are not disclosing?
I don't even bother finishing the article, instead I fold the newspaper in half and slide it to the other side of the table. Notorious misfit, really?
I shake my head and sip my coffee as I watch the black SUV pull up beside the curb. The sharply dressed man, with an earpiece and gun in his holster under his jacket hops out, and automatically pulls open the rear passenger door – right on time, just like every other day.
I’m not stalking, I’m just merely observing.
I didn’t grow up in the most functional and typical American family. I was born in Poland, where I lived up until the age of eleven, before moving to New York to live with my Uncle Johnny (I use the term Uncle but essentially he was my dad’s best friend).
You see, my family isn’t what you’d call ordinary. I grew up learning the sleight of hand and the art of con, the tricks of a common pick pocket and mastering the art of thievery. The Deminski family was widely known across Europe, and I guess my parents had made an enemy of someone deceitful. Someone I was willing to spend my life searching for, and destroying once the time was right.
My parents died when I was eleven, hence why I moved to New York. Uncle Johnny was one of the best though, and I guess after months of pleading he finally agreed to teach me everything he knew. He reminded me of my dad so much that sometimes it drove me nuts, but in the end he kind of became the father figure and mentor I needed. The person I found myself looking up to and truly grateful to have in my life. He was a brilliant man - smart, cunning, and one truly skilled with a set of knives, no matter how big or small. He liked cartoons just as much as any kid might, and he had a knack for fixing things no matter how damaged they might be.
So upon moving to New York, I went from Krysia Deminski, to Kayla Remy. Remy was what my uncle was going by so I only got to choose a new first name. Apparently he chose Remy after some famous con-artist and thief from the French Revolution – at the age of eleven you hardly care where a surname comes from. After much debate with my uncle, I chose Kayla as my new identity. As an eleven year old I wanted to be named Bunny, after Bugs Bunny, and thinking back to that moment now as a mature adult, I realise it would have been a stupid idea – brilliant, but stupid.
I watch the man exit the back of the SUV that I’m inconspicuously observing, and automatically glare at him. I guess it’s an instinct to let the hatred flow out of me for the man that murdered my parents.
The job section of the newspaper lays spread open in front of me, and I grin as I take my bright red pen out. I pull the lid off with my teeth, and then circle the job in the left column an unnecessary amount of times with a smirk on my face. This will be my ticket into the building, and my opportunity to get closer to this man I hate so much.
Stacking the folders on top of each other is the most tedious task I’ve ever been assigned. I finally get up off the floor and brush off any dust from my skirt.
I’ve got to keep reminding myself that this shit is necessary for the plan to come together nicely. For now it’s just part of the first stages - getting in, mapping the best routes, knowing who was here, and who he kept by his side at all times; start planning a way to finally take him down.
Abram Mikhalov, the man in question, is the current owner of this building I was forcing myself to work in - king in his mighty tower. He’s got the whole top floor to himself, for whatever unnecessary reason, because the building is essentially occupied by different businesses – like I said; he’s just the owner of the building. I’ve been looking at numerous ways to get closer to him and was lucky when I came across this job posted in the paper the other month. A few white lies on my resume and bam, here I was, filing documents like it was my god given gift to organise so well.
After keeping an eye on him I noticed he arrives every day right on seven, but always leaves at different times. It makes it a tad hard to keep track of because there’s no pattern, no similarities on specific days. He lives in an obnoxiously giant mansion on the outskirt of town right on the edge of the hills, and has an intense security that’s going to be a pain to get through. Luckily I’m not one for running away from a challenge, because it’s all the more rewarding when you succeed.
“Are you the new office assistant?” says a smooth, deep voice behind me. I’m surprised as I thought most people had already left for the night. What the hell is the time anyway?
“Yes?” I answer and realise it sounds more like a question than an answer.
I wipe my sweaty palms down the front of my skirt as I turn around – hopefully plastering what looks like a casual smile on my face, and I find myself momentarily caught off guard. The man is casually leaning against the door frame watching me with a slight smirk on his face. He is, without a doubt, the sexiest man I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in the last few years. Hello handsome. Either I need to get out more, or there’s a lack of good looking men in New York.
“You do realise it’s after seven right?” he asks as he crosses his arms in front of him and my traitorous eyes follow the small movement. God I need to get laid, or maybe it’s just ingrained in me to watch people and to observe their movements, especially knowing the things I get away with when people aren’t paying attention. It could be a slight movement with my left hand, whether brushing some hair behind my ear or touching my lip, and a quick sneaky manoeuvre with the right to get something without them realising.
“Uh sorry…I must’ve lost track of time down here sorting these files” I lie, knowing full well I was waiting as late as possible until the offices were empty - so I could go snooping, of course.
“What’s your name?”
“Kayla …with a K” I say automatically and stupidly since I’m pretty sure that’s the normal way to spell it anyway. A small smirk spreads across his face as he uncrosses his arms and extends his hand for me to shake, “Well, Kayla with a K, I’m Carter.”
I look from his deep green eyes down to his outreached hand, and warily shake his hand for a few seconds before releasing. His grasp wasn’t the lazy handshake I was expecting. It was firm and warm, yet strangely his calloused grip was soft. I take him in completely – sharp suit, dark hair that makes his eyes stand out like flashing neon signs, and slight stubble – which is surprising to see considering the rest of him looks so refined. Feeling slightly nervous I wipe my palms down my thighs again, before clenching and unclenching in fists quickly out of habit. He notices the small nervous movement, but doesn’t comment.
“Well, Carter, this has been sufficiently pleasant but like you pointed out it’s after seven so…I guess I’ll be going.”
He just nods at me and stands aside while I graciously walk passed him to collect my stuff. I see he’s watching me the entire time I walk back to my cubicle, and when I finally grab my stuff I see he’s still casually propped against the same door frame. His body is tall and lean, yet still defined and muscular. His hair a dishevelled mess that looks like his fingers roamed through frequently, instead of the slicked back hair I’d expect from someone in such an expensive suit.
I shake my head, give him a curt smile, and head in the direction of the elevators. What the hell is wrong with me, and why was he staring? Do I have the word guilty tattooed across my forehead?
I press the button to call the elevator, wait patiently for all of ten seconds, and then press the button a couple more times petulantly to hurry the damn thing up.
After a minute I know he’s joined me in the lobby before he even speaks because I can smell him - not like a gross smell or anything, it’s actually kind of mouth-watering to be honest. There’s a mix of clean body wash, and his cologne that I smelt just a few minutes ago cramped in the tiny filing room with him. He clears his throat and steps up beside me, waiting for the elevator as well.
“You know, I’ve never seen an office assistant so dedicated to work they get lost in filing.”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“No, just merely pointing out that your job must be very thrilling” he says deadpan and turns his face slightly as he grins down at me.
“You do realise that if it weren’t for people like me your filing wouldn’t get done and this whole office would be in chaos.”
His grin seems to only grow at my mocking tone and finally the elevator arrives on our floor, making a soft ding as the shiny doors open in front of us.
He gestures for me to go ahead of him like a gentleman, so I step in and press the button for the ground floor. He takes a step in beside me and stands unexpectedly close to me, considering how much room there is in the elevator. I can feel how warm he is, and surprisingly I’m picturing myself untucking his shirt and ripping it open. I really hope it’s just his cologne messing with my head. Instead I opt to stare at the elevator doors, going through the different ways one can break in to a standard class 125 safe - just to keep my dirty thoughts at bay. Think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts.
“What do you say to a quick drink then to celebrate."
"Celebrate your ability to keep the office chaos to a minimum?”
Dammit he seems like a funny guy, as well as a good-looking one but looking at the way he’s dressed immaculately, I can tell he’s a wealthy one too. I can’t go there for so many reasons. Firstly, I’d just be dragging him into a whole world of trouble and sin, and secondly he’d just distract me from what I really need to keep a clear head about; so I opt for being a bitch instead.
“You know, I can’t tell if you’re making fun of me yet again, or just flirting very unsuccessfully.”
He runs his hand down his face trying to hold in a laugh no doubt, and as the elevator reaches the ground floor he extends his hand to press the car park floor button. I see his wallet peek out from his back pocket and I can’t resist the urge to take what isn’t mine; maybe just sheer curiosity - I swear I’ll give it back.
I quickly duck out the elevator and give him a small smile in response as the doors slide shut behind me. I feel bad for judging him when we’ve only just met, but Carter certainly comes off as the fuck-them-and-leave-them kind of guy that’ll give you a great wild ride and never call you again. I consider for the briefest second of having a no-strings-attached kind of relationship with Carter, but in the end decide I really don’t need that sort of bullshit right now.
I have to keep my head on the task ahead, right now especially because I’m so close - so close to the depths of Hell that I can hear the faint whispers from Satan himself; and by Hell I mean Abram’s office and therefore Abram himself. Lucifer would have been a much more fitting name for him.
“Hey Bunny, you want a beer?” yells my roommate, Alek, from the kitchen as I close the door behind me. Yes…he calls me Bunny, because as a young kid himself upon my arrival he fully agreed with my decision to name myself Bunny. I think he was more devastated than I was when my uncle said no.
“God yes, maybe even something stronger.”
“Bad day huh?” he asks as he comes into the living room after a few minutes, holding two small glasses full of ice and vodka.
“Not bad, just ridiculously mind-numbing. I don’t know how people do this day in day out” I say and take the drink from him, “I spent almost five hours filing today – the most dangerous thing to happen was almost getting a paper cut!”
“Well not everyone can live thrilling lives like us” he laughs and takes a sip of his drink.
Alek is my roommate who grew up alongside me and my family, and the only non-relative that knows my entire history. Where I followed my parents footsteps, he ventured in a slightly different direction with computers, programming, and hacking systems - doing a pretty good job of it too. We make the perfect team.
He’s easy on the eyes with that playful puppy dog charm, but we thought of each other as family from the day we met. He has one of those smiles that make you want to smile, and a loud booming laugh that echoes through the house when he’s watching stand-up comedians. That’s his thing. He’s this carefree, young at heart, and hard to annoy type of person that has everyone gravitate towards him.
We sit in comfortable silence while I flick through the channels, before finally settling on re-runs of some crime show.
“Hey could you do me a favour and dig up some info on someone?”
“Who would this someone be?” he asks curiously.
“I dunno, that’s why I’m asking you genius” I answer with a grin as I reach for my bag.
I rummage around for Carter’s wallet and finally find it near the bottom, pull it out, and hold it out to Alek. He opens it up and inspects the drivers license, then eyes me suspiciously. I simply shrug at him and return my gaze back to the TV, drinking the rest of my drink in one go.
“Holy shit he has a black visa - where the fuck did you find this guy?” he asks enthusiastically and gets up, heading for his computer in the study. Black Visa – wow, Carter really must be rich then.
We converted the study into Alek’s little private sanctuary with three different computer screens and god knows what other equipment. There is so much stuff in this room that I’d literally be here for hours trying to name it all.
He starts pulling up random tabs on one screen and typing energetically before glancing at the drivers license a few times to get Carter’s details. A few images start popping up accompanied by brief articles – ‘CEO and New York Bachelor rise to success’, ‘Monroe takes over company after sudden death of father’, and a few articles about him at various events with different women.
Alek slides his chair over slightly to start typing on the next computer screen, pulling up what looks like a New York police department system. While Alek continues his search I lean down a little and scroll through what he found on the first computer screen.
I briefly skim read the first few articles until Alek finally breaks the silence, “So…what’s it say?”
I start to read main bits of information to Alek, “Umm…wow, he’s the CEO and owner of Monroe Enterprises where I work – so he’s like my boss’s boss or something. His dad started the company and died about a year ago, doesn’t give much detail on that other than Carter taking over. He’s single and apparently a highly known bachelor around New York.”
“I’ve never heard of him” Alek interrupts me, and I can’t help but roll my eyes at him as I keep talking,
“He’s always with a different woman at every event he’s spotted at.”
I don’t know why my voice came out a little whiney when I said that. What’s with me? Alek swivels around in his chair to fully face me and just stares, then grins widely like the answer is written across my face.
“What?” I ask and look back at the computer screen, clicking through a few photos. There’s a few of him from charity events looking ridiculously stunning in a tux, arm wrapped around a beautiful women in a tight fitting black dress. He looks slightly bored while she looks up at him greedily.
“Why the interest in Monroe?”
“He was just overly friendly in that I’ve-got-lots-of-money and I-can-get-into-any-girls-panties kind of way” I say and shrug, trying to sound unfazed by the tiny tid-bits of information we’re finding out about Carter.
“Oh really? What… was he throwing dollar bills at you?” Alek asks and starts laughing loudly as I smack his arm. He thinks he’s a lot funnier than he actually is which is kind of adorable.
“No, you could just tell he was rich by his impressive suit, probably cost more than our weekly wage.”
Alek just stares at me and raises an eyebrow questioningly, “Bunny, we don’t have a weekly wage and who cares if he has money, it’s not like we’re lacking any.”
“Oh you know what I mean. Anyway what else did you find?” I ask motioning to his computer screen with my hand, trying to change the subject. I don’t particularly want to be picturing Carter in his suit, because then I’ll start picturing him out of his suit and nothing on. Talk about brain over load, am I right?
“Umm..” he says, tapping his chin and scrolling through some random information. “He’s been pulled over a couple times for speeding, had some small issues with lawyers in regards to his father’s death but a part from that he’s clean. He grew up in New York with his dad and now he’s pretty much alone.”
“Wow that’s kind of depressing.”
“We all have depressing histories it seems” Alek says and looks back to my screen where the photos are still up. “Seems like an alright looking guy, is that why you’re so fascinated?”
“I’m not fascinated…I just wanted to do a bit of research on some guy that hit on me in an elevator. Okay, I agree…a very good-looking guy” I amend and laugh a little.
“Just remember why you’re doing this Kayla, don’t get too distracted, okay?” he warns me.
This high rise building in the middle of New York City, the put-together appearance I’m currently emanating with slicked back hair and a stunning suit? None of this is me. For starters, I’m more comfortable kicking back in a pair of chucks than these designer shoes, or my hair a mess like I’ve just gotten out of bed – which it ends up looking like by the end of the day anyway.
When my dad died I think I tried to become something he’d be proud of, continuing in his footsteps and looking after this company. I guess I hoped that having so much responsibility and so many people depending on me it would keep my mind occupied. I tried the whole drowning my sorrows with alcohol, until I was in a permanent state of hung-over. I slept with countless women looking for one to appreciate me for who I am and take my mind off of everything, but in the end all they wanted was the money I’d inherited.
The only reason I’m sticking around is because I know my dad’s death wasn’t an accident like the paper claims. I’m trying to wrap my head around everything – murder, this company, even maybe loneliness. I’m surrounded by hundreds of people in this building on a daily basis, yet I still feel misunderstood, alone. The only person I can depend on these days is my best mate Jimmy, who is a whirl wind of troublesome fun.
Abram Mikhalov is probably the biggest problem I have right now though, but that’s a whole other story that I don’t even want to think about right now.
I hate that my stupid picture is all over the internet too, because now when I meet people it’s always the same – You’re that guy who just inherited the Monroe company right? Oh wow, so you must be like, really rich then?
I think that’s what intrigued me about Kayla. Either she has no idea who I am, or she doesn’t care in the slightest. The moment I realised she’d taken my wallet straight out of my back pocket, was the moment I knew there was something about this girl that I wouldn’t be able to get out of my mind. Could she be someone I can bare my soul to? God that sounds stupid even to me.
Surprisingly I wasn’t even mad about her taking my wallet. I think I was more interested to see what she’d actually do with it. So yeah I started talking to her because she had a nice set of tits and a great ass, sue me. I’d seen her over the past week working far longer than any general assistant I’ve seen the entire time I’ve been in charge here - so yeah, it peaked my curiosity.
The whole weekend I spent checking my bank account every half hour to see if there’d been any excessive purchases, but to my surprising disappointment there was nothing. Why I was disappointed I have no fucking idea – believe me I’ve asked myself a thousand times what I was even expecting. Why didn’t I report it? Why didn’t I call HR and fire her perfect peach ass for theft? I got no clue.
Her dark eyes held this mischievous glint that had me wanting to know all her dark, dirty secrets, and maybe it would occupy my mind trying to figure them out. Even her smirk had this playful little devious spark behind it that made her eyes shine – almost like she knew something you didn’t. But then again what would I know; I didn’t know a thing about her.
First thing this morning when I sat down at my desk, Emy my receptionist knocked on my door and handed me my wallet. She said it was handed in to the front desk this morning after being found in the elevator, which left me with my mouth wide open. Even as she left in confused silence and shut the door behind her, I still didn’t know what to think.
Did Kayla actually take my wallet, or did I imagine the whole thing? Whether she did or didn’t I was still left fascinated with her for some strange reason. Obviously she’d pulled a fast one on me and actually got away with whatever it is that she wanted to achieve.
Why did she take the wallet? Who is she? And what the hell is she doing working here of all places?
For the majority of the following week I can’t seem to keep my mind off Carter, which is quite annoying considering I barely spoke ten sentences to the guy. I can’t seem to stop my thoughts from drifting to him sitting alone in his apartment without any parents, or any siblings. Then I’d start picturing him with all those different gorgeous women he seems to be pictured with and feel stupid for even giving him a seconds worth of sympathy for being alone - because he most certainly is not.
Tuesday is the first day I run into him. I head up to one of the top floors to drop off some files to management, and the overly friendly and incredibly beautiful receptionist ushers me inside while chatting on her earpiece. I automatically like her as soon as she offers me a handful of skittles from a bowl on her desk.
At first I panic thinking I’m heading up to Mikhalov’s office, but find myself surprised to see Carter sitting behind the big, lavish desk instead. He’s momentarily shocked to see me (I’m equally surprised as he is) before he notices all the files in my hands and again asks me out for a drink.
“So you never answered my question about joining me for a drink?” he smirks.
I panic, practically dumping all the files on his desk, and high tail it out of there after giving him a brisk and quick no. I hear his soft laughter fill the room behind me as I shuffle my way out in a hurry.
After that I seem to always bump into him around the office. Wednesday he’s sitting in the cafeteria reading a newspaper, which is apparently very unlike him, or so the chatty intern, Sarah, tells me anyway after gushing about how good-looking he is - his smile, his eyes, his muscly body. I don’t need another reminder so I grab the first thing in front of me, and make my way over to an empty table.
He spots me, salutes me with his coffee cup and grins widely before returning his gaze back to his newspaper.
“Wow, he never smiles” Sarah says as she slides in next to me. I find that hard to believe considering I’ve been graced with a smile and a laugh every time I’ve seen him. I could literally get his full life story from her without even asking, she’s like a gossip magazine crammed up into a petite frame, with blonde locks and killer legs – quite the chatter box.
“Oh my god, I can’t believe he smiled and waved at you. Do you know him? Are you guys secretly dating?”
I busy myself with my sandwich so I don’t have to answer the million questions she’s firing at me.
Thursday I run into him on a few various occasions – once when I’m in the photocopier room just as the printer jams. He comes in and offers to help fix it so I stand there silently watching him work, entire time trying to hold in my laughter. He looks so lost, and not about the printer. I mean deep down inside on a more personal level, but then again what would I know.
He takes off his dark grey suit jacket and hangs it on the back of a spare chair, then rolls his sleeves up and starts fiddling with the printer. I watch fascinated as his forearms tighten with each movement and he runs his hand through his hair in annoyance. That’s when I notice the few tattoos peeking out from under his shirt on one forearm and around his neck, and it makes me ridiculously curious as to how proper and clean cut he really actually is. What kind of man in a suit, that’s running a billion dollar company, has so many tattoos?
After about five minutes he gives up and grins at me sheepishly before admitting he has no idea what he’s doing - “Sorry Kayla, I gotta admit I haven’t worked in many offices before…Never really came across printer problems, you know? I’m probably making myself look like a chump.”
I reach over and open a compartment in the printer and pull out the paper that jammed it, and then shut it back up. I push the crinkled piece of paper against his chest gently and say, “Nice try, Carter”, leaving him standing there with a huge grin on his face as I walk away. There he goes, grinning at me again. One of those genuine smiles that are so wide they crinkle the corners of his eyes.
Later in the day I have to take minutes for a meeting and he’s there for that too, watching me almost the entire time. He might think he’s been sly but I catch every movement and every time his eyes roam my way (only because I’m probably staring at him just as much). I’m not being myself to be honest, so fascinated with him - watching him cross his arms in front of him, run his hand across his stubbled chin, scroll through his phone, and picking up on small details about him.
He has a deep green colour to his eyes and dark wild hair, and a soft warm colour to his skin which gets a slight flush to his cheeks when he catches me looking at him. It’s like high school or something – it’s crazy how giddy one stupid look from him is making me feel.
At lunch he actually starts a conversation with me while I wait to pay for my food in the cafeteria, commenting on the lack of choices, and then again asking me to join him for something to eat after work. I laugh, because I can’t help it. Never has anyone tried this hard and sucked so badly at asking someone out, or trying to get them around for a quick screw - either way you can tell he’s not someone that usually has to try hard to get things he wants.
All I can do is brush him off yet again because I know deep down I need to get my head back in the game, back into planning an action - maybe if I said yes and had a stupid drink with him he’d finally leave me alone. It’s probably just because I said no in the first place that he’s even trying, probably a man that doesn’t hear the word no often.
By the end of the day I’m exhausted – who would have thought working behind a computer all day would be so demanding. I pack up my desk, and turn off my computer after doing actual work since I spent my morning studying the layout of the building, trying to form a plan or scope any ways around all the stupid security. His house might be easier to get around than this fortress, maybe because everyone feels safer at home.
I make my way downstairs and groan when I see how heavy the rain is just outside the lobby. Ugh why didn’t I drive? I step out through the doors and quickly try to hail a cab, instantly feeling the rain start seeping through my thin sweater.
I hold my bag over my head to stop myself from looking like a drowned rat, but there’s honestly just no point. Just as I’m about to turn back around and rush back inside, a black sleek looking Maserati pulls up beside the curb in front of me (only one guess who it could be). The window rolls down smoothly and Carter grins at me from the driver’s seat, looking dry and comfortable - “Need a lift?”
My hands drop down to my sides still clutching my bag, and I seem to be slightly speechless, standing in the rain getting drenched further. All I can do is stare.
“You do realise it’s raining pretty fucking hard, right Kayla?” he smirks slightly, small dimple in his cheek. Dammit I’m a sucker for dimples - why cruel world are you tempting me so much? And did he just drop the f-bomb on me?
I take one quick look back towards the lobby contemplating running back inside, but then decide against my better judgement and jump into the passenger seat of his car with a wet squeak against the leather seat. He gives me a quick look, eyeing my wet clothes and what no doubt looks like a birds nest on my head, so I quickly untie my loose knot and let my dark hair fall down with a wet flop.
“You wouldn’t happen to have a hair dryer in this fancy car of yours would you?” I don’t know why I hate that he has money, because in all honesty I have lots of money too – it shouldn’t be something that puts me off other people. It’s mainly just because about 99% of people I meet with money are the type of people that think they’re better than everyone because of it, so I guess I’m quick to judge – which is ridiculous, because I have money. Does it make me better than anyone with less? Heck no it doesn't.
He lets out a low chuckle and pulls away from the curb, merging with the rest of the traffic smoothly.
“My dad never needed a hair dryer…so no, I doubt there is one.”
“Sorry? Why would your dad need a hair dryer?” I ask, slightly confused and unsure what to say since I know his dad is no longer around - but I don’t know what to say without sounding like I’ve stalked him.
“This was his car” he answers simply, and I watch him clench his fingers around the steering wheel a tiny bit harder. My mouth gets the better of me and I ask, “Was?”
He nods before answering, “He’s…no longer around.”
“Sorry to hear that” I say with understanding, as I place my hand on his shoulder gently. He gives me a soft smile in response.