His eyes were what got my attention. He was tall with broad-shouldered, with a mop of dark hair and heavy, solemn brows that were offset by a boyish grin. I didn’t mean to stare. That was not me, some foolish school girl gushing over a man. Hell, I was twenty-five, way past the gushing age. But his eyes, a pair of eyes the color of sea glass gleamed behind square-framed glasses that kept slipping down his long nose. Standing on the other side of the room talking to a group of co-workers. This was my boss, Stone Chadwick. Owner of Landers Communications. The jolt of desire flooded through my body. How in the world was I going to maintain, being in an office with him just feet away from me? My best friend Abby poked me in the shoulder.
“What you are looking at Avery?” she asked while following my gaze to the man in the corner. She giggled, “Oh, I forgot you haven’t met him yet.” She started pushing me towards him. I tried to resist being taken to where he stood.
“Don’t worry Avery, he is the sweetest guy, down to earth, not big on titles. I think the two of you will get along just fine.” She pushed me closer in the direction where he stood. If I had known, he was going to be in the office today I would have taken time to tame my hair. I had over slept, barely having time to take a shower let alone curling my hair. I pulled it back into a pony tail, applied little make up, pulled on a sweater and jeans. I wanted to be dressed better when we finally met. I could feel myself trembling.
We reached the group of people, Abby cleared her throat. “Mr. Chadwick, I would like to introduce Ms. Avery Taylor, she is your Executive Assistant.
He stared down at me with those eyes, my legs were wobbly as he reached for my hand.
“Ms. Taylor, it is finally nice to meet you.” He smiled down at me his glasses slipping.
“I hope I didn’t take you off guard arriving today instead of Monday as I previously said.” He held my hand, gazing down at me.
I finally found my voice after what seemed like minutes. “It is nice to finally met you Mr. Chadwick.” I smiled looking down at his hand on mine. A girl in the group caught his attention, so I could sneak away. I made a bee line to the ladies’ room off the breakroom. I found an empty stall and stood there trying to catch my breath. Leaning against the door closing my eyes. All I could see were his eyes, forget the rest of him, the classic Tall Dark and Handsome. I took two more deep
breaths before I felt stable enough to head to my desk, outside of his office on the twentieth floor. Why didn’t I try to look more presentable? I had my outfit all planned out for our first meeting on Monday. My navy pencil skirt, white blouse and blazer. It made me look sharp and professional. Now he had seen me in my grunge look. Tacky oversized sweater and jeans. I shook my head, what a horrible first impression on my new boss. Exiting the stall, I wet a paper towel and dapped it over my brow. Straighten my shoulders, pulling my sweater over my hips, heading to my desk. Abby caught me when I exited the bathroom.
“Avery, he has been asking for you!” she exclaimed.
I looked around the room but did not see him.
“He has gone to his office, you better high tail it up there.” She pulled me to the elevators.
His door was closed when I stepped off the elevator. I quickly sat at my desk trying to look busy in case he came out. My phone buzzed, it was him.
“Ms. Taylor could you please come for a few minutes?” how did he know I was at my desk.
“Shit.” I pulled out my note pad going to his door. I knocked as I opened his door. I didn’t see him when I stepped in. “Mr. Chadwick?”, I called out. His voice came from the on suite to the left of is desk.
“Ms. Taylor, please make yourself comfortable, I will be out in a few minutes.” His voice was warm and comforting, yet just a little throaty, sending pulses through my body. This was never going to work, he was attractive physically and his voice sent electric waves through my body. I would start looking for a new job next week. I rolled my eyes, I liked my job and now I would have to find another because I was attracted to
my new boss. I was lost in my thoughts when he cleared his throat. I looked up from my note pad, he was smiling at me.
“Sorry Mr. Chadwick, I was sort of day dreaming.” I smiled at him.
Sitting down at his desk he thumbed through a stack of papers, turning to his laptop.
“I must say Ms. Taylor you’re very efficient. You have set all my appointments for next week. I would like some type of refreshments in the conference room for my Tuesday board meeting, as well as lunch for the meeting on Wednesday. I don’t usually leave for lunch, so if you could order something from Bill’s Deli the other days, that will be good.” He paused looking up at me.
“Is there anything particular you like from the Deli?” I asked as I finished taking notes.
“No, pretty much anything they have will do, I like sandwiches, you can choose.”
I looked up and he was checking me out. Damn, me in a ponytail, with this old sweater. It did nothing for my figure. I wasn’t drop dead gorgeous, but have been told I was pretty when I dressed up.
I went to stand to make adjustment to his schedule. He called out to me as I reached the door.
“Ms. Taylor, Olivia Michaels will be arriving in a few minutes, just send her in when she arrives.” He went back to his computer. Olivia Michaels, did I not read he was once engaged to her? I shock it off as I got to my desk. I ordered the refreshments for the Tuesday meeting, then pulled up the menu for the deli. They had three pages of sandwiches. I order a selection of sandwiches to be delivered on Monday, Thursday and Friday.
I also ordered a lunch platter with assorted sandwiches, salads and drinks for Wednesday lunch meeting. He was firing emails at me in rapid succession with instructions. Not paying attention to notice the elevator door opening. As I looked up, stepping out was a woman dressed in a flowy pink strapless dress. There was not one thing out of place on her. Her reddish-brown hair was perfectly style, resting on her shoulders, her dress was expensive, and her make-up looked like a professional had applied it. I stood as she approached my desk.
“Ms. Michaels, I am Avery Taylor, Mr. Chadwick’s assistant, please go right in. She ignored my out reached hand, giving me a skirmish smile as she entered his office. I heard her address him as she closed the door behind her. “Stone darling, it has been a while.” The door closed.
I busied myself with the task he had emailed me. She was beautiful, but a little bit of a snob. It seemed odd that he would go for a woman like her. He did seem down to earth. But who was I to judge, I had not dated
anyone since college, that was three years ago. Ben Christian was my first boyfriend in college, but he was an ass. He would make dates with me then never show up. Or there would be rumors that he was sleeping around with everyone. We broke up in sophomore year. He decided he was not ready to be in a relationship. I was not hurt by it, I didn’t care that much for him. We were thrown together because Abby dated his best friend and once they broke up there was no need for us to stay together.
The door to his office opened as he escorted Ms. Michaels out. “Will I see you later Stone?” she asked. “Mother and dad are excited to see you after so long.
They are throwing a small get together this evening. You should try to make it.” She reached up to kiss him. He turned his face only letting her kiss his cheek. She huffed, turning to stare at me. I quickly diverted my eyes back to my computer.
Stone went back to his office, but didn’t close the door. Ms. Michaels shot me a dirty look as the elevator door close. What the hell did I do to her? If she was jealous of me she had no reason to be. They were both way out of my league. I didn’t have the pedigree for men like Stone Chadwick to be interested in.
Exactly at 11:59 the elevator opened, the delivery guy from the deli brought a sack of food to my desk. I checked it over to make sure they didn’t miss anything, signed for the food. Once he was gone, I buzzed Stone.
He answered, “Yes Ms. Taylor?” I loved how my name rolled off his tongue. Yep this was going to be a hard job to keep.
“Your lunch as arrived, may I bring it in?” I asked.
I looked up from my desk, he was standing at his door.
“Ms. Taylor?” He smiled, and I could have melted.
“You didn’t need to order lunch today, I have to go out to visit my mother. I will be gone for the rest of the day.” He was checking me out again. Damn it, was he upset because I looked like I was going hiking instead of being his assistant.
“I am sorry Mr. Chadwick, I didn’t realize you were leaving today.” I could feel the blush on my cheeks.
He just smiled as he closed his door. Turning as he got to the elevator. “Avery?” he called my name, I blushed more. “Why don’t you just take off the rest of the day and I will see you bright an early Monday morning” he stepped into the elevator still staring at me.
When he called my name, I had to hold onto my desk. The way he said my name made me weak at the knees. I had to stop this, there was no way on this earth I was even his type. My hair was a mousy brown, my eyes were huge brown round circles. Abby told me I had beautiful eyes, “like a lake of chocolate.”
Where most woman had issues with certain parts of their bodies, I hated everything about my body. I wasn’t tall like Abby who was nearly six feet, my measurements were none existent. I didn’t inherit an hour glass figure from my mother, who was beautiful, she could have had anyone on the plant, but she choose my dad, a plain simple man. But my mother told me he was so handsome. She told me I took after my father, “You look just like your father.” She would say. I hated that, I wanted to look like my beautiful mother. She was the youngest of eight girls, and not an ugly on
in the bunch. My mother died when I was a freshman in college, she was the last of my family, my father was killed a year earlier in a freak accident. My aunts had all died over the years, being much older than
mother, she had said she was a late in life baby. All her oldest sister was twenty years older than her. I missed my mom.
Around three, I packed up my desk, put the food in the breakroom frig on the third floor, then made my way to the garage. I spotted Elliot from accounting standing at the back of my beat up green mustang. It was my first car and it was ten years old then. It got
me where I needed to go, it was reliable that was all that mattered. I had no idea what Elliot wanted, we had had dinner a few times, but I never encouraged him. He was nice, but I was not attracted to him in any way. He tried to kiss me a few times, I would explain I didn’t see him that way.
He smiled as I got closer. “Hey Avery.” He stepped away from the car. I smiled at him as he stood with is hands in his pockets waiting for me.
“Hi Elliot.” I smiled. I greeted him the same as I greeted everyone.
He took my keys opening my door for me. He was standing very close, pushing his pelvic into my thigh. I huffed, sliding past him, into the car. I rolled down the window.
“Did you need something Elliott?” I asked sharply.
“I was wondering if you were going to meet up with the gang at the Boardroom for drinks?” he leaned into the window.
“I am sorry Elliot, I hadn’t planned on it. I am really tired.” I recoiled for his hand on my arm.
“Augh come on Avery, you always bow out on Friday nights. Come on just this once join us. You might have fun.” He winked at me and rubbed my arm.
He thought he would get lucky. I cringed at the thought of being in bed with him. I was not a virgin, but I wasn’t experienced either. Ben got my cherry in college, but it was a horrible experience. We never did
it again, thus his cheating. Elliott stood with his hand on my arm, trying to give me those puppy dog eyes. He thought it would get me to come out with everyone. I sighed turning the key in the ignition. “Okay Elliot, I will come over but just one drink. Then I have to get home.” I sighed knowing this was a huge mistake. He smiled, sticking his head in my window kissing my cheek. I rolled my eyes, “I will see you there shortly.” I backed my car out of the spot leaving him standing there alone with a goofy smile on his face.
I didn’t have to go far, The Boardroom was two blocks from the office, but it was Friday afternoon, the traffic was horrible. After driving in circles for what seem like forever, I found a spot in the back of the parking lot. I
wasn’t dress for this place either. I swear I will never wear jeans to work again. I would set the alarm clock on the side of my bed as well as the one on my phone. I could not look like a bag lady with Stone in the office. I knew I didn’t have chance with him, I wanted to look good in case he wanted to slum it for a day or two. I laughed at myself. Right Stone Chadwick slumming it with me. I laughed out loud this time. The people walking by must have thought I was crazy.
Pulling my hair out of the ponytail fluffing it with my hand. It was hopeless, so I gave up as I headed to the bar. Abby came up to me as I was about to open the door.
“Hey you.” She smiled at me.
“How was your first time with Stone?” she asked.
“Wait, what are you talking about my first time?” I snapped at her.
“You know, him being in the office and all. Was it weird?” We entered the bar finding a table near the entrance, just in case I needed to make a speedy escape.
“It was okay I guess. “I said without emotion, one slip that I thought he was yummy enough to eat she would be all over me.
“Oh my God Avery, you are working with the sexiest man on this earth, not to mention one of the top bachelors in the City, spending the morning with him was just okay you guess?” she squealed.
I smiled at her. “Really Abs it was okay, he is a very nice man, way out of my league.” I shook my head.
“Awe so you did notice how hot he was?” she poked my arm. “Come one Avery, give me the low down. Every girl in the office wants some of that anyway they can get it, including me.”
She giggled taking her seat next to me, while motioning for the waiter. “What you gonna drink Avery?” she asked as the waiter brought two glasses to our table. “Champagne ladies from the gentleman in the corner.” He pointed to the back corner of the bar. There sitting in the booth with two other men was Stone. Abby waved vigorously at him winking. I turned quickly so he could not see the shock on my face.
I pulled her by the arm, “Will you stop acting like you are twelve!” I barked at her.
“What the hell Avery, the dude bought us drinks. Show some appreciation, smile at him or something.” She poked me, but I didn’t look back at him.
“Stop it Abby, I just met him today, what do you want me to do go give him a lap dance for a simple drink?” I snapped again.
“Woo, sorry girl, why are you so touchy today?” she rubbed my arm trying to get me to face her.
I shook my head pushing the drink away from me. “I found Elliott waiting for me at my car. I just need to keep work at work. I don’t want to cross any boundaries with him, he is my boss after all.”I sighed pulling the glass back to me.
“Look Avery, it is not uncommon for a boss to buy his employee a drink if they come across each other at happy hour. What in the world are you scare of?” she looked at me with concern in her eyes.
“Unless of course you like him.” She smiled a devilish grin at me. “But believe me, you would be one of a hundred women who want in his pants. So, get in line baby.” She laughed throwing her head back.
That was her signature jester if she was trying to get a man’s attention. I grabbed her arm leaning into her. “Abby, have you slept with him?” I was just a little irritated.
She stopped laughing. “What? Not yet girl but the night is young, and I have an itch that needs scratching.” She laughed again.
I cringed finished my drink and stood up. “I am heading out Abby, I need to stop at the market, Booboo is out of food and so am I.” I slung my purse over my shoulder.
“Wait Avery.” She grabbed my arm. “Why are you leaving. It is not that late, and we haven’t hung out in ages.” She whined a little. I had to admit we hadn’t been going out like we use too. But I was uncomfortable at the idea she would leave with him. I just looked at her. “Come on Avery, one more drink
and then we can both head out.” She smiled at me. “Pleaseeeeee girl, I need a night out so bad and so do you.” She smiled sticking her bottom lip out.
I sighed putting my purse on the back of the chair sitting down. “Okay Abby, one more drink then I am out of here, just promise you won’t leave me her alone” She called the waiter over and order two glasses of wine.
She stared at me for a few minutes. “Avery do you like Stone? You know you can tell me I won’t say anything to anyone.” She sipped her wine.
“I think I am going to look for another job starting on Monday.” I said.
“Why would you look for another job?” she waited for me to answer.
I thought for a few minutes. She was my best friend, she would calm me down. “It’s nothing really Abby, it’s just he makes me nervous as hell.” I smiled at her.
“I think it will be hard to be that close to him every day.” I laughed nervously.
“Avery, you like him.” Mmm, she said.
I shook my head, “Like is not the word I would use, more like I want to jump his bones.” I laughed. I never thought I would admit that to anyone.
We laughed together. “Oh, Avery, that is what every woman feels when they met the him. He is one hot
mess. Every girl in the office feels the same way. He oozes sex wherever he goes. Give it a few weeks before you go jumping ship. Once you get use to him, he will be just like dealing with Elliot or Scott.” She finished her drink and ordered two more. I was beginning to relax, she was right he was a hot mess and every girl in the office wanted to sleep with him. Most likely they had a better chance than I did, but to compare him to Elliot or Scott, not hardly. I downed the rest of my wine.
“I am not sure he will ever be like Elliot or Scott. They are such tools, I don’t get that he would be that way.”
I started on my third drink when Elliot came waltzing over to the table. He was drunk, wrapping his arms around me trying to kiss me. Abby was getting drunk and thought it was cute. “Awe, go on Avery put the fucker out of his misery, give him a kiss.” She laughed and fell off the stool she was perched on.
I shoved at him, “GET the hell off me Elliott.” I shoved at him again. I was trying to pry his arms off me. He came around in front of me trying to spread my legs to get closer. “I swear Elliot this is your last chance, get the fuck off me or I swear you will regret it.” I pushed at him one more time. He continued to push his body towards me, pushing between my legs as he pushed his pelvic area against my sex. I got one leg between his and brought my knee up to his groin. As I did I pushed him hard causing him to fall into the floor. He was moaning holding his groin area, swearing at me.
“You bitch, why the hell did you do that?” Standing I took my purse from the back of the chair. “I told you to stop Elliot, No fuckin means no!” I gave Abby a hateful look leaving them all staring at me as I left the bar. I shock off a chill as I hit the chilly air. I was almost running to my car. If he recovered, he might follow me. I am sure no woman had ever kneed him in the groin before or he would have stopped when I asked him to. Once in my car I locked the doors, starting the engine. I leaned back against the head rest closing my eyes. I knew if I went out this would happen. Elliott had been trying to get farther with me then I was willing to go. The last date we had he basically attacked me in the front seat of his car outside my house. Pulling out slowly, I saw Abby helping Elliott out of the door as I waited for the traffic to open so I could get out of the parking lot. Right behind them was Stone, he was carrying Abby’s jacket and purse. My heart sank, if he slept with her... I stopped the thought immediately. I didn’t want to be a notch on any man’s bed post. Instead of going to the right which was the easiest way to the market I went left so they wouldn’t see me. It took me blocks out of my way, but I was embarrassed about what I did. Elliot had it coming but still it was embarrassing.
Then to see Stone following them out the door. I was really going to have to find a new job now.
I made it to the grocery store pulling out my list to make sure I got everything I would need for the week.
The weekend came and went quickly. Before I knew it, I was pulling into a parking spot in the garage at the office. I was early on purpose, one to miss Elliot and two to get down to work before Stone came into the office. I packed my lunch as usual, I shoved the sandwich and chips into my new briefcase, I had bought over the weekend, along with two new suits. I even went to a hairdresser to get my hair trimmed. I hadn’t done that in years which when it was all said and done she had to take two inches of dead ends off. My hair now rested gently on my shoulders. I treated myself to a mani-pedi, along with a deep spray tan. I didn’t want to wear stockings; my legs were white as paper. I examined myself in the doors of the elevator. I didn’t look half bad. I cleaned up rather well. My collar was button to the top, looking
too prudish. I unbutton the top three buttons down just enough to show what cleavage I had but not too much to be slutty. When I got of the elevator his door was open and I heard voices. It was only seven fifteen and he was here already. I made noise as I opened my desk drawer to let him know someone was out here incase his conversation was meant to be private.
While my computer booted up I went for coffee in the little kitchen next to my office. Stone Chadwick occupied the entire top floor of the building. I had my own private bathroom and mini-kitchen. When I made it back to my desk my email was blowing up with emails from Elliott and Abby. Two people who I did not want to hear from. Elliott because he was a prick and Abby because she slept with Stone. My heart was broken, she could have any man in the world and she took him. But then she was single and so was he, like I would ever have a chance with him.
Abby was beautiful, long silky blonde hair, bright blue eyes and a figure to die for. I sighed as I slumped my shoulders and by passed both their emails. I was mumbling about Abby and Stone softly. “Of all people she decided she was going to get under. Really could she not contain herself, always running after guys, I am surprised she doesn’t have some reputation following her. “REALLY!” I said out loud. He laughed, I looked up. Shit, what did he hear.
“I am sorry Mr. Chadwick, I didn’t see you there.” I laughed nervously.
“Not a problem Ms. Taylor, is everything alright?” he continued to smile at me. What did he hear.
“Yes Mr. Chadwick, I am sorry just a little disappointed in a friend. Was there something I can do for you this morning?” I grabbed my pad and pencil getting ready to stand, he stopped me.
“No, I just heard a noise and wanted to make sure
it was you. Also, could you get my mother on the phone? I never made it to her house yesterday, then give me about ten minutes and come into my office.” He turned going back into his office before I could answer. I reached his mother patching her through. When the light on my phone went off I went to his office as he requested.
“Mr. Chadwick?” I spoke up when I didn’t see him. He was smiling when his chair swung around. “Ms. Taylor, please.” He pointed to the chair in front of him.
I sat down crossing my legs. I looked up, he had his elbows on the desk resting his chin on his fist.
I smiled at him, his was so contagious. “What can I do for you Mr. Chadwick?” I asked still smiling at him.
He chuckled leaning back into his chair. “First, let’s stop with all the formality. Mr. Chadwick was my father, I am just Stone.” He ran his finger over his chin.
“Well I am Avery, that was my father’s name.” I smiled at him.
“Good, now that, that is all taken care of.” He smirked.
“Is there something funny Mr. Chad, Stone?” I found myself chewing on the end or my pencil, quickly taking it from my mouth.
“I was concerned Avery, after witnessing your attack on Mr. Graham at The Boardroom Friday night.” He smiled again.
“My attack on him, please, I asked him twice to take his hands off me and when he didn’t I acted in self-defense.” I was not smiling anymore, the thought of Elliot’s hands on me made me want to vomit.
“I see, your friend Abby told me the same thing. She said you don’t take shit from guys who try to take advantage.” He rubbed his chin.
“You know Abby?” I asked hoping he wouldn’t go into detail of their night together.
“Yes, we spoke for a few minutes when I help her get Elliott to his car.” He leaned back in his chair. I was not sure what his interest was in the matter.
“I bought her a few drinks and we talked until I took her home.” I held up my hand to stop him.
“Please Stone I really don’t want to know about you and Abby.” I cringed at the thought.
“Avery, I took her home, that was all, then I went home. I don’t generally take advantage of women who are intoxicated. But she did like to give out information.” He smiled.
I snorted this time. “You’re lucky you made it out alive.” Snorting again.
He stood from his chair walking around the desk then perching himself on the side in front of me.
“Avery, she said you were going to look for another job. That you found it painful to work with me.” He was frowning.
“That is not what I told her, she took my words and turned them around.” I frowned up at him. Damn her for talking to him about me.
“Is that right? So, you aren’t going to look for another job and it’s not hard to work with me?” He rubbed his chin again.
I didn’t know what he wanted me to say, that I had the hots for him like every other female in a hundred-mile radius. That I wanted to feel his lips on mine? I shook my head.
“What can I say she was drunk.” I shook my head, I was going to kill her when I got a hold of her.
“I see, I am afraid your friend told some lies about you Friday night.” He smiled again. He knew how I reacted to him. How could he not know, didn’t every other woman in the world crave to feel his touch?
“Yes, she is good about telling things about me that are fabricated or out and out lies. She has done it since
college. I am sorry if she gave you the impression I was going to quit.” I started to stand.
“Wait Avery.” The desire that flowed through my body as he touched my arm made me gasp. I looked up at him, he was only inches from me. I wanted to kiss him, hell who was I kidding I wanted to do more than kiss him. His eyes were dark as he gazed into mine. It would only take one step, I would be in his arms. He could just reach down and kiss me. I took a deep breath sitting back down. I was at work and he was my boss.
He walked back to his chair sitting down. “I am going out of the country in a few weeks and need you to go with me, is that an issue Ms. Taylor? You do have passport, don’t you?” He was smiling again. Was I giving off some type of signal that turned him from happy Stone to angry Stone.
“Yes.” I said.
“Yes, you have a problem with it or yes you have a passport?” he asked.
“I am sorry, Yes I have a passport and no it is not an issue. What days did you want to travel, and I will book all the necessary reservations?” I went to stand, I was in a daze. I couldn’t take my eyes off his lips. I bit my upper lip. “Where exactly are we going Mr. Ch... Stone?” I turned to ask before I left the room.
“I have some issues I need to handle here so let’s say sometime in the fall, around November, we should be back by Christmas. Is that an issue Avery?”
“No, not a problem Stone, I have no family, so I don’t do much on Thanksgiving. The places? Where do I need to book the reservations?” I pulled my pad out again. He was smiling. First stop will be Vegas, London, Paris, Japan, Munich then home.
You can reach out to Mindy Jacobson at the Jubilee Travel, she can make all the travel arrangements. She will book suites in each city, we will be putting in some very long hours, so two different rooms will not work. Is that a problem for you Ms. Taylor?”
“No Mr. Cha... Stone, I am good with that. Excuse me.” I was out the door, no more embarrassing questions. I immediately emailed Abby telling her we needed to talk, to meet me at the deli around the corner at lunch. I emailed Elliot telling him he deserved what he got and if he didn’t stop touching me I would turn him into HR.
As I got off the phone with Mindy Jacobson, it hit me that I was going to be staying in the same suit with Stone. I had to do some shopping, my usual ripped t-shirt and tattered sweats would not be appropriate attire.
I ordered lunch for Stone, once it arrived I took it to the small kitchen setting it up on a tray then taking it to his office. He was on the phone, so I left his lunch there leaving to meet Abby at the deli.
She was already seated when I arrive. I placed my order then joined her at the table.
“Hey, Avery, this is unusual for you to take lunch out.” She smiled.