Home » , , , , , , » The Reclusive Billionaire, Book One: The Meeting by D.C. Chagnon

The Reclusive Billionaire, Book One: The Meeting by D.C. Chagnon

Nicki regretted coming to this party. She knew her best friend, Paz, had meant well. Paz dealt with any break-up with a solid week of partying. But now that Nicki was here, in some record executive’s house in the rich part of town, she wished she had stayed home instead. The thought of watching bad television and stuffing her face with ice cream seemed like a better balm for her break-up wounds than whatever this party had to offer.
The Reclusive Billionaire, Book One: The Meeting
The Reclusive Billionaire, Book One: The Meeting by D.C. Chagnon
But Paz had been so excited when she had agreed to go to this party. Still, Nicki’s party days had long since wrapped up once she’d graduated from college three years ago. Paz was always asking her to come out with her, swearing she would have a good time. The truth was, Nicki just wasn’t much of a partier anymore, and usually she would decline her friend’s invites. But in a lapse of judgment brought on by the fact that her five year long relationship had officially crumbled last week, Nicki had agreed. Now she was being bumped into every two seconds as she tried to make her way to the kitchen, where she could get a drink. Paz had been thrilled about getting invited to this party since it was apparently some big-name record executive throwing it. Her friend was firmly entrenched in the music world, even working as an assistant at a record company, so this party was a big deal for her. For Nicki, not so much. Nicki, who worked as a dental assistant at a place in town, knew nothing of anyone here, even when Paz would point them out and whisper in her ear who they were. When Nicki finally got into the large kitchen, Paz was already there. She was talking to a tall, lanky man with glasses. Her hair, which she had dyed purple, was thrown up in a bun, and she was wearing a sundress that had cost her a dollar at a thrift store. Nicki knew no one would be able to tell, though. Her friend had accessories draped over her – necklaces, bracelets, and rings – that made the sundress look almost like a designer outfit. Paz saw Nicki enter the kitchen and waved her over. Nicki managed to get to her friend intact. The man took this as a chance to ditch the conversation and was gone by the time Paz turned around. “Scared him off already?” Nicki said, half joking. “Maybe I was too forward,” Paz replied thoughtfully, “I was grilling him about where I could find the guy throwing this party, but no luck.” She gave a small shrug, “Oh well.” “I can’t believe how huge this place is and how it can still feel so crowded.” “There are so many connections for me to make here, Nicki. I also cannot believe some of the people here,” Paz gushed excitedly, handing Nicki a drink. “People not even involved in the music industry are here. I even saw David Ackerson here.” Nicki took a sip of her drink, “Who?” “He’s the richest guy in town. Like, I mean, a billionaire. Runs some sort of international company in construction. I saw him really quickly when I was by the pool. Surrounded by people, of course. He rarely makes public appearances.” “Why?” Nicki asked, wondering if the guy was regretting his choice to come here like she was. “No one knows. Very mysterious,” Paz cut herself off and waved at someone who was in the dining room, “Come with me? I have to talk to her. She’s an up-and-coming DJ.” Nicki let Paz drag her into the dining room, where she quickly ended up lost in trying to follow the conversation that Paz had forced herself into. She admired the way her friend was socially fearless. She didn’t care who it was. She would strike up a conversation with them and be confident the whole time. They had an unlikely friendship, but Nicki couldn’t imagine being friends with anyone else. The conversation was over Nicki’s head. She decided she would try to look around the rest of the house. At least seeing the opulence might take her mind off her own break-up. Nicki was craving a distraction. If she had to think about Noel one more time, she would start screaming. She kept replaying their break-up over and over again in her head. Nicki weaved her way out of the dining room. Instead of fighting the crowds this time, she merely let them take her along, like she was a fish going with the school. She found herself pulled along into one of the large lounge rooms. Here, the floor vibrated with the rock music being blasted over speakers. An extremely drunk woman was dancing on a table in the corner. There were more people dancing in the center of the room. The couches had all been pushed against the walls. Nicki let herself be pushed forward to another room. This one looked like it was an actual living room. The flat-screen TV on the wall was massive and was playing a music channel. It clashed with the rock music from the other room and started giving Nicki a headache. She took this as time to go outside for some fresh air and went out a side door. Nicki found herself on pool grounds. It was just as loud here. People were drunk and swimming in the pool while others were playing beer pong. The sight of the beer pong table brought back brightly-colored memories of Nicki’s time in college. She could almost see Noel bent over the beer pong table, lining up his shot with that lop-sided grin on his face. It made her chest suddenly ache so Nicki turned around to go back into the house. Nicki collided with something hard. In a spilt second, she realized she had collided with a guy. Her drink had spilled across her shirt and she’d almost lost her own footing in her high heels. She’d saved herself at the last second and managed to stay upright. The man, who Nicki thought must work out because his chest was like steel, loomed over her. He looked irritated, although half his facial features were cast in shadow. “Can you watch where you are going?” He snapped at her in a rough voice, “Or stop drinking, at the very least.” Nicki shoved down her irritation at his rude tone and tried to sound friendly, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you there.” “Clearly.” “Let me go get some napkins or something for your shirt.” “The shirt is dry-clean only,” the man sneered, “Napkins won’t cut it.” “Oh, well,” she found herself shrinking under his imposing glare, “Let me dry-clean it for you then.” The man seemed to pause for a moment and consider this, but then shook his head, “No need. I’ll take care of it. This gives me an excuse to leave this forsaken party anyway.” Nicki suddenly felt relieved that someone else was not enjoying this party, and shook her head vigorously in agreement, “It is so loud here, isn’t it? And everyone is so absolutely drunk. I can’t believe how large this house is, though. Have you ever seen anything like it?” The man looked at her with the sort of look that might be reserved for when one had a fly irritating them, “Please. You’re embarrassing yourself.” The irritation that Nicki had shoved down earlier suddenly came back. Only this time, it was like a wave, knocking away any of her last remaining good nature. She didn’t want to be at this party and couldn’t stop thinking of Noel. And now some jerk was talking to her like she was an idiot, even though she hadn’t meant to spill her drink on him? The man went on, “Spilling a drink on me? That is the oldest trick in the book. If you are trying to get my attention, come up with something different at the very least.” Nicki snapped, “Are you serious? I don’t even know who you are. Nor do I care about getting your attention at this lame party. No wonder you are in the shadows here, completely alone. You’re an asshole.” The man’s eyes widened slightly in surprise, but that didn’t stop her. She was on a roll now. Every negative emotion she had felt was now rolled up and being thrown at the jerk in front of her. “So I’ll pay for the dry-cleaning on your shirt, but I’m actually hoping you don’t change your mind because I honestly don’t want to talk to you ever again. Have a nice night, slinking around in the shadows like some loser.” The man opened his mouth to respond, still looking slightly stunned, but Nicki didn’t care what he had to say. She’d turned around to leave when Paz was suddenly there, grabbing her arm, letting out an incredibly fake laugh. “Nicki!” She trilled, “You’re such a card!” “What?” Nicki replied, irritated as Paz dug her nails into her arm hard enough to leave marks. “She’s just joking, sir.” Paz said, this time directing her voice at the man. “No, I’m not,” Nicki snapped, growing even more irritated, “What’s wrong with you?” “Come on, Nicki. Time to go home, okay?” Paz looked at the man, “Have a nice night, sir!” With that, Paz yanked Nicki away from the man. Right before they went back into the house, the man called out. “Wait!” And the two of them stopped. “What’s your name?” “Paz!” “No,” the man said shortly, “Yours.” And he pointed to Nicki. “Me? Why the hell do you care?” She retorted. “It’s Nicki. Her name is Nicki Munne, sir.” The man merely nodded and then turned from them, heading back inside the house. Paz yanked Nicki along the poolside, heading towards another entrance-way into the home. Nicki finally pulled her arm free and stood there, crossing her arms and shooting daggers at Paz. “Okay, seriously, what the hell was that?” Paz’s eyes widened and she lowered her voice as she leaned forward, “Nicki, what has gotten into you? Telling him off like that?” “Because he was a jerk. Why wouldn’t I tell him off?” In the same voice, Paz said, “Because, Nicki. That wasn’t just some guy. That was David Ackerson. The billionaire I told you about earlier.” Chapter Two “Oh.” Nicki said, unsure of what sort of reaction Paz wanted from her. Apparently, it wasn’t enough because her friend instantly went on, “Nicki, I don’t think anyone has ever told that man off in his life. I can’t even imagine what he must have thought of you when you said whatever you said to him. I only came in at the end.” She shrugged, “Who cares? Honestly. So he’s a billionaire. But he is also a jerk. He’ll get over it. I’m sure some girl at a party telling him off is the least of his problems. You said he rarely left the house, right? Must be because he is an asshole.” Paz looked around, as if she was afraid someone would overhear, and started walking with Nicki through the house, “Let’s get out of here. I don’t need to run into him again.” Nicki trailed after Paz, unable to see what the big deal was. It wasn’t as if they ran in the same circles as him. Nicki wouldn’t ever see him again after this night. She thought back to him, trying to remember if he’d had any expression on his face other than disdain or surprise. But he had been mostly cast in shadow, and she hadn’t even gotten a good luck at his face. Soon they were in Paz’s car, heading back to the apartment they shared together. Nicki had moved in four days ago, after her break-up with Noel. He had refused to move out of their apartment and Nicki hadn’t been able to bring herself to fight with him about it. So she’d moved in with Paz for the time being. Paz had been excited, stating that she would get her back on her emotional feet. Nicki recounted to her friend everything that had happened. By the time she got to the part where Paz had butted in, she was shaking her head. “I can’t believe you, Nicki. You usually keep your cool. Remember in our Biology class in college, when that girl accidently knocked some weird chemical on you that made your arm slightly blue for a whole week? And you didn’t even get angry then.” “Yeah, I remember,” Nicki mumbled, remembering how irritated she had been, “But maybe I’m just too quiet. I always hold everything in. I’m sick of doing that.” Paz glanced at her but didn’t say anything. She knew when to be quiet. Nicki fell into a deep silence herself, mulling over her own words. She always tried to be the one who never made waves. It was how she had been her whole time with Noel. No matter what she had gone through with him, she had made an effort to be incredibly understanding and kind, even when she’d wanted to yell at him. In the end it didn’t matter, she thought bitterly, and rested her head against the window for the rest of the drive home. * Nicki was typing away at the computer Monday morning. The new girl they had hired had somehow completely bungled the data entry job they had given her, and now Nicki was trying to fix it. She had tried to throw herself into the data entry, but it was robotic and easy to do. Nicki had been working at this office for two years now, and seemed to be the one who grasped the computer program the best. Because of this, she was being used less and less in actually assisting the dentists in the back, and getting stuck on the computer instead. What she needed today, of all days, was to be in the back, helping out the dentists. It always took over her mind completely while she helped out. Nicki had to focus completely at the task at hand, and it blocked out all thoughts of everything else. In this case, she wanted to block out Noel. Instead, she was doing data entry, which left her brain wide open to dwell on their break-up. She was exhausted this morning. Even though she had fallen asleep quickly, she had found herself waking up all night from dreams of Noel. Half the time, the dreams had been more like memories being dragged up for her to relive. Nicki didn’t want to relive anything to do with Noel. She didn’t want to think of him anymore. Frankly, it was exhausting. She found herself constantly going back through their relationship and seeing all the warning signs she had ignored through the years. Nicki had been taken aback when Noel had noticed her in college. She had been starting her junior year of college, and had been attending a party. Back then, Nicki had lived for the parties thrown around campus. This one had been a big blowout to kick off the year starting. Noel had been surrounded by friends, playing beer pong in the corner of the room. He was hunched over, planning his shot. He turned to tell someone a joke and, when he broke out into that lopsided grin that Nicki would grow to love, she could feel something stirring in her chest. When he came over to her and offered her a beer, it was the start of their relationship. Nicki had fallen quickly for Noel, who had been studying Biology at the time, although he’d ended up changing his major so often that she could hardly keep up with what he was studying at any given time. The two of them had spent every minute together during the first year they had been together. Yet, after their first anniversary, the cracks began to show. Noel grew distant and began to come up with reasons he couldn’t see her. That was when Paz had started to tell her that she should break up with him. But Nicki couldn’t bring herself to do so. Instead, she found herself glued to her cellphone. Anytime she didn’t have it, she began to feel anxious. What if Noel contacted her and she missed the call? Then she would miss a chance to see him. It became almost a sickness, what with how terrified Nicki was over not seeing him. Once they graduated, things only grew worse. Nicki found herself wrapped around Noel’s finger. The logical part of her knew it was unhealthy. She fell for any stray compliment he tossed her way, as if he knew it made her stick around. Anytime she would dare to fight against him, Noel would unleash such a torrent of terrible words that Nicki would end up cowered in the corner, suddenly feeling as if it was all her fault to begin with. Nicki craved Noel’s love, and he seemed to get off on withholding it from her. Their relationship was so warped and unhealthy that she didn’t know how she would be able to function without Noel. He was her everything. But even Nicki couldn’t tolerate it once she came home early from a meeting and caught Noel in bed with another woman. She had broken up with him on the spot, but was only met with a cruel, casual indifference from him. “Then go,” he had said with a shrug, “Just don’t bother me again.” That had been the last time Nicki had spoken to him. Even now, the bitter memory of how their relationship had ended was on a loop in her head. After everything they had been through, the fact that Noel didn’t even care and had tossed her aside like trash had hurt worst of all. Even worse than the cheating. “Nicki?” She came crashing back to the present and looked around. The new girl was hovering in the doorway, holding a big vase full of flowers. She looked as if that hadn’t been the first time she had called Nicki’s name. “Sorry. What is it?” “These came for you.” She held out the vase of flowers. Behind her, the other two girls who worked in the office tittered. Nicki blinked in surprise. “Me?” The new girl – Nicole, Nicki suddenly remembered her name – nodded and put them on her desk. There was a mix of different flowers, all artfully placed and decorated. Her chest tightened. She had been wanting to hear from Noel ever since they had broken up. In fact, she had been wishing that he would reach out to her because she couldn’t believe their relationship could end on him telling her not to bother him. Everyone was hovering behind her, waiting to see who had sent the flowers. Elizabeth, an older woman who’d begun working there six months ago, spoke up. “Bet he is regretting his actions now.” The rest of the girls nodded sagely, as if they had any insight to Nicki’s failed relationship. Yet, Elizabeth’s words gave her hope, and she found herself opening the card, shielding it away from the prying eyes. Quickly she read it. “Nice meeting you the other night. I hope we can speak again in the future. Please contact me. David.” At the bottom was a phone number. Nicki stared at the note, trying to remember who in the world David was. The name was drawing a blank for her. Instead, all she could think of was how much she really had been hoping it would have been Noel sending the flowers. Now that it was someone else, the disappointment was so bitter she could practically taste it in her mouth. “So, who is it from?” Nicole prodded. Nicki closed over the note and shrugged, “Paz. Trying to cheer me up.” The girl’s faces fell and they quickly floated back to their own tasks at hand, having lost interest as fast as they had grown it. Nicole turned back to the flowers, admiring their beauty. It was then that the name David flashed across her brain. He had been the man from the party. The billionaire who she had told off in a huff when he was rude to her. Nicki read the note again, affirming what she already knew. David, of all people, had sent her these flowers. The only question was, why? Chapter Three Paz’s eyes almost popped out of her head. She snatched the card away from Nicki and read it aloud. Then she looked at her. “When are you calling him?” “What?” Nicki replied, “I’m not going to call him.” “Why?” Paz cried out in alarm. Nicki crossed her arms, leaning against the wall in the dining room. She had a headache from work. The data entry had been a dull affair. She also couldn’t help but sit and stew over the fact that a stranger had sent her flowers and Noel still hadn’t reached out for her. “Why would I? He was a jerk.” “Obviously, he knows he was a jerk. Hence the flowers.” “And how did he find out where I worked anyway?” “Well, I did give him your full name,” Paz pointed out, “Plus, he’s a billionaire. He probably can find anyone he wants. And out of everyone he could take the time to find, he went out of his way to find you.” “Well, I’m not interested.” Nicki retorted, heading into the kitchen to find something to eat. She could tell Paz wanted to push it, but she didn’t. Maybe if Nicki had been broken up with Noel longer, her friend would have told her to call David. But she didn’t have any interest in making a love connection with another jerk. So Paz tried another approach, “I think you should call him. See what he wants, at the very least. Otherwise, six months down the line you’re going to regret not calling the billionaire who sent you flowers,” She held her hands up as if to ward off Nick’s reply, “I don’t mean date the guy. Seriously. Just call him to thank him for the flowers, at least. So you don’t look rude. This could be a connection that could help you later on in life.” Nicki sighed. It was true that a billionaire had reached out for her. Even if he did ask her out on a date, it would be good to keep things simple so she had an important connection like this later in life. As if sensing she was winning, Paz added, “Like networking. Think of it as networking.” The word brought back a conversation from when the two of them had been in college. It had been late and both were slightly drunk from a party. Nicki had rambled for ten minutes about the importance of networking, which from that moment on had becoming a reoccurring joke for the two of them. “Fine, fine,” Nicki relented, “But only as a networking connection.” Paz clapped her hands together as Nicki went to her room to get her phone. As part of her post-Noel detox, she had been making an effort not to have her cellphone with her all the time. Results were still varied. She glanced over her shoulder. Paz was in the doorway, looking at her like a dog watching its owner. “You can go now, Paz.” “Aw, I wanted to listen.” She replied, but turned around and left, shutting the bedroom door behind her. Nicki dialed the number on the card. The phone rang twice and then a deep voice answered. “David Ackerson speaking.” “Hi, David. This is Nicki. From the party the other night,” she said stiffly, suddenly feeling like an idiot. “Nicki, hello,” he replied, his voice smooth, “Glad you called.” “I just wanted to say thank you for the flowers. They are very beautiful.” “I’m glad you liked them. I’m also glad you called me. I was wondering if you’re available for a job interview.” “What?” Nicki replied, dumbfounded. “My assistant quit last night. Unfortunate, but she was getting married and didn’t want to work with me anymore. I need someone who can replace her.” “And…you thought of me?” “How could I not? It is rare for me to run into someone who is so willing to tell me exactly what they are thinking. I am oftentimes surrounded by yes-men when I really need honesty. My assistant wasn’t like that. She told me what I needed to hear. I need someone like that again.” “I already have a job.” Nicki replied, still thrown off balance. She had been expecting a date invite, and instead was getting a job interview. “Yes, but it is hardly lucrative, correct?” David replied, his tone casual, as if they were discussing the weather. “Excuse me?” “You’d make much more money here than as some dental assistant. Not to mention how it would look on a resume. It’d be almost stupid to turn it down.” There it was. That irritating tone from the night of the party. It grinded over her nerves again. She was tempted to hang up on him. But what made it even worse this time was that David was right. Working for him would probably be more money than Nicki would ever make at her current job, and having it on her resume would make any place want to hire her. She pushed down her annoyance at his tone and replied with a stiff, “Fine. I’ll come in for an interview.” “Great. Tomorrow at 6 okay?” “Yes, that’s fine.” “Great. I’ll give you the address.” Nicki wrote it down as he recited it. “Got it? Good. See you tomorrow.” The line went dead. Nicki stared at her phone. Today officially hadn’t gone the way she had been expecting it to. * David’s headquarters were located in the financial district of downtown. Now that Nicki was parked in front of the building, she realized she had always thought the forty story building was made up of many businesses, not just David’s. Now that she was here, she could see a smaller sign stating that this was their national headquarters. The parking lot was almost empty since it was close to six at night. In spite of herself, she had spent the entire day thinking about this interview. Nicki wasn’t sure what to expect from it. A job of this caliber had always been so far out of her reach that she had never considered anything like it before. Now it had seemingly landed in her lap. She hadn’t told anyone at work about the interview, even on the down-low. It would just have gotten back to her boss. Nicki got out of her car and walked to the front doors. A few people were milling around the entrance and some people were still leaving. She stepped inside the lobby. Everything looked to be state of the art. The décor was modern, yet somehow inviting at the same time. It made sense, Nicki supposed, to make sure the construction on your headquarters was state of the art, to attract people to use your company. She gave her name to the man at the front desk, who said he would have to take her up to the top floor himself. Nicki followed him into the elevator, where he scanned a key card. “You need a pass to get to Mr. Ackerson’s office,” he told her. Then they were going up. The ride was over in moments and, before she knew it, she was stepping out into a small waiting area. There was a TV on one side of the room, which was currently shut off, and a coffee maker. The floor was covered in plush carpets. They were nicer than the ones in her own apartment. “Wait here, miss.” The man said, and he went through a door on the other side, also opening it with his key card. Nicki was suddenly nervous. She had been fighting the nerves all day. But standing in the waiting room to talk to a billionaire she had told off at a party finally had gotten to her. She stopped herself from biting her nails. The man came back and told her to enter the office. Nicki stepped inside. The first thing she noticed in the office was the windows. They were floor-to-ceiling and overlooked the city. The sun was setting, casting an orange glow over the city, which looked like a glittering gem. She felt transfixed by the view before slowly other things began to come into view. The desk was large and looked to be made from oak. There was a living area off to one side, as if David entertained important clients there. Through a door on the right, she could see a meeting room. There was another door on the left, but it was closed with a lock on it. David was at his desk. He looked up at her from his computer and, for the first time, Nicki got a good look at his face. Her chest tightened for a moment. He was wearing glasses, but removed them when he saw her and stood up. David had black hair that was neatly arranged on his head. She had a sudden desire to mess it up. His eyes were a bright green. How had she not noticed that at the party? His suit was perfectly tailored to him and she could almost see the muscles underneath. She thought back to how hard it had felt when she had run into him. Now she understood why. His jawline was chiseled and he looked as imposing as he had at the party, even though he had been in shadow then. It was as if David had been cut from marble. He made his way around his desk and over to her. Nicki realized she had been holding her breath. She let it out slowly. He held his hand out to her and she shook it. His hand was warm, which contrasted to his look, which was pure ice. The touch of his skin against hers jolted her. Nicki suddenly felt strange all over and quickly pulled her hand away. “Nice to see you again.” David said to her. “Yes, likewise.” “Have a seat.” He motioned to a chair in front of his desk. Nicki sat down, trying to calm down her nerves. She couldn’t pinpoint why she was nervous. Maybe it was because his office was so luxurious that she realized he truly was a billionaire. All of this was his. “I want to run through what the job will be like if I decide to hire you.” David began, and then launched into what sounded like a speech he had given many times. He detailed how she would be in charge of scheduling his meetings, setting up dinners, and booking any trips he would need to make internationally. He went over how Nicki would be in charge of going through e-mails first and tackling what she could so David was only given the most important things. When he finished, he leaned back in his chair, “How does that sound?” “I’ve handled that on a low-scale status,” Nicki answered honestly, thinking back to an assistant job she’d held for a few months back in college. “But nothing on this sort of scale. You want someone to start right away. I’d need training and to be shown the ropes. I couldn’t be thrown into this. If I get hired, I want things done properly.” Nicki wasn’t sure if David would be open to training her. She wasn’t sure if he was expecting her to be good at everything right away. Yet, she couldn’t bring herself to lie to him and tell him all of these things would be a cakewalk for her, and then get behind the desk and mess everything up. But David merely waved his hand, “I’ll make sure you have training then.” Nicki hesitated and then asked, “Wouldn’t it be easier just to hire someone who could slide right into this position? Surely, there would be tons of people wanting a spot like this.” A shadow flickered over David’s face. It was quick, and Nicki wondered if she had imagined it because his face was still as stone when he replied. “Like I said on the phone,” he began, sounding slightly annoyed at apparently having to repeat himself, “I don’t want someone who is just going to tell me what I am ready to hear. I get that all day from everyone else in my company. I need my assistant to tell me when I’m overbooking my schedule, and to deal with things I don’t want to deal with. That includes the yes-men that float around me all the time. You have to be blunt to get them to go away. If you can tell me off at a party, then this should be easy for you.” “I didn’t exactly know who you were then, sir.” Nicki said, fidgeting with the hem of her skirt. “Even better. You don’t care who it is. You tell them what you’re thinking.” Nicki wanted to protest. For some reason, she wanted to tell David that it had only been because she had just ended things with Noel and had been feeling raw and exposed. She felt the urge to tell him that she wasn’t normally like that. She was used to locking up her feelings and leaving them rotting inside of her. But when Nicki thought of the money she would make here, and what it would look like on her resume, the words died in her mouth. Saying anything to convince David not to hire her was nothing but self-sabotage. The truth was that she was afraid of working here because she was afraid that she would fail. “Sounds good.” She finally said. “Great. I’ll get you the paperwork to fill out.” Nicki blinked, “What, just like that?” David didn’t answer her. He had gotten up and was by a file cabinet near the wall, going through it. She watched him as his eyes flicked over the paperwork. It faintly reminded her of a computer going through data. David didn’t look robotic, but he didn’t look like the sort of man who would hang out and watch movies all night either. So why was her heart beating so quickly? Nicki chalked it up to her getting the job. “I have to give my job two weeks’ notice,” Nicki said, “I can’t just quit.” David looked over at her, “Are you serious? Does it really matter? The job won’t matter on a resume, surely, after you work here.” This rubbed Nicki the wrong way. It was the same feeling she had felt at the party when he had been rude to her for no reason. She crossed her arms. “Yes, I am serious. It matters to me. I put in time there and they deserve two weeks.” She stared him down. His own eyes were impassive. Nicki couldn’t read what he was thinking at all. After a few seconds, he walked back over and handed her a folder with paperwork in it. “Fine,” David replied curtly, “But I want the paperwork by this Friday so I can get you in the system.” Nicki stood up and took the folder. Their fingers brushed against each other lightly and she was hit with the same feeling as before. His skin was warm and it seemed to spread out across her own fingertips. Quickly, she took the folder and took a step back away from the desk. David sat back down and looked at his computer screen. For a moment, Nicki hesitated. Should she thank him? He didn’t seem the type to care about anyone thanking him for anything. David looked up at her, “You’re still here? You can go.” Nicki felt embarrassed, and merely nodded her head. She mumbled goodbye to him and was out of the office, the door shutting behind her. Now she was back in the waiting area. For the first time, she saw the desk in the corner of the room. Nicki wandered over to it, realizing this would be where she was sitting and working from now on. There was a window behind her that offered a nice view of the river nearby. Her chest tightened. Somehow, Nicki had landed a job people would kill for. Yet, she couldn’t help but feel as if she was falling down a rabbit hole. Chapter Four The next two weeks seemingly flew by. Nicki put in her notice and spent the time training the other women as much as she could. For some reason, she couldn’t bring herself to tell them where she was going to be working. She didn’t want anyone to think that she was bragging. Paz had been overly excited about the job. It was as if the excitement Nicki should have been feeling had gone to her friend instead. Nicki didn’t bother to tell her how nervous she was. Paz was convinced this was a fresh start for Nicki, who needed one after her break-up. If there was one plus side to all of this, it was the fact Nicki was too busy to dwell on Noel. She was busy all day training at the office, and then worrying about what working for David would be like. The last thing she had been able to do was think about Noel. The first day of work, she expected to see David. When the woman who was going to spend time training her, named Gwen, told her that David was out of town for the next two weeks, Nicki felt a bitter disappointment. She wasn’t sure why she cared so much that he wasn’t going to be there. In fact, she should have been feeling relieved. This meant she could learn the ropes without David breathing down her neck. “Where has he gone?” “He had business over in London. He has a second house there, as well.” Gwen replied as she pulled out a thick training manual and got right to business. Nicki decided she’d throw herself into the training here, as well, so when David got back, he would be impressed with her. * Finally, it was the morning of David’s return to work. Nicki knew it had been almost a month since the last time she had seen him at the interview. The past two weeks of training had gone well enough. Once she was showed something, she could usually pick up on it quickly. She had always been good with computers, as well. It was with bated breath that Nicki waited for David that morning. She had dressed to impress, taking care with her appearance so she looked the best she could. When the elevator doors opened, she turned to see him entering the room. David looked unchanged from the last time she had seen him. He was wearing another dark suit, with his hair slicked back and his green eyes piercing the room. “Good morning, sir.” Nicki said to him. David barely glanced in her direction, “I have a conference call this morning, so block all calls.” “Yes, sir.” He walked past her, not saying anything else before shutting the door behind him. Nicki stared at her computer screen, suddenly feeling crestfallen. She had been hoping for a slightly longer conversation than that barked order at her. Was it always going to be like this? The answer was yes. Nicki was left alone the rest of the day. David stayed in his office. She thought back to the party, where Paz had said he was a shut-in and didn’t really go to social functions. Nicki hadn’t thought that would have translated to his office, as well. At four-thirty, David came out of his office with his things. He stopped in front of her desk. “I have an unfortunate function I need to attend tomorrow night. I’ll need you with me to take notes,” he pulled out his phone and typed something quickly before looking back up. “The information you need to plan the reservation is there. It’s with a rival company head, so it won’t be pleasant.” “Yes, sir.” Nicki replied, studying him. As usual, his face gave nothing away. It was blank, as if every emotion had been expertly drained from his face. Nicki suddenly had the urge to lean over the desk and shake him just to get a reaction from him. Instead, she tried something else, “What makes it so unfortunate?” David hesitated, briefly, as if he wasn’t sure if he wanted to talk to her before replying, “The company head, Tony, wants to merge our two companies. But I have no interest in it. We meet once every six months to battle it out. He always brings his daughter with him.” “Why?” “To set us up, I imagine. She always throws herself at me. I have no interest in her, of course. But she’ll be there tomorrow. You’ll be my assistant and my buffer.” Nicki nodded. David turned to go. She couldn’t help but watch him as he stepped into the elevator. He caught her staring. Quickly, she looked away. “Nicki,” he said right before the doors closed, “You look nice today.” The doors slid shut, leaving her alone in the office, her heart beating quickly. * The restaurant the meeting was located at was in the center of town. It was an expensive place called The Garden that Nicki had never been in before. Apparently, they had special dining rooms that were sealed off from the rest of the floor, which offered the privacy David wanted whenever he left the office or his house. Nicki was feeling nervous only because she was nervous she would make a blunder somehow in front of Tony and his daughter. Not to mention that she couldn’t help but replay David’s compliment in her head over and over again. Nicki arrived early, as per David’s instructions. When she was taken to the back room, no one else was there. She got settled in a chair and took out her tablet to get ready to take notes. David arrived ten minutes later. He stepped inside the room silently and Nicki didn’t see him until she looked up. She let out a surprised gasp as he sat down next to her. “You scared me.” Nicki said. “Sorry.” He replied, although he didn’t sound sorry at all. Silence filled the room. It didn’t seem to bother David like it bothered her. He was on his phone, typing away as he answered e-mails. Nicki couldn’t help but notice how close she was to him. Had they ever been this close before? She supposed they had been at the party when she’d run into him, but that didn’t really count. Now Nicki could smell his cologne. She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. He had some stubble lining his face and was wearing his glasses as he typed. Nicki looked away before he noticed she was staring. She tried to quiet the butterflies in her stomach. Finally he spoke, “They’ll be here soon. I need you to take notes, although I really just need you to throw his daughter off of me.” “Are we…pretending we are dating or something?” David let out a harsh laugh, “No. No, of course not. But I’m hoping, if she sees I have a new assistant, she’ll be thrown off and leave me alone.” Nicki nodded. She opened her mouth to reply, but that was when the doors opened. An older man stepped inside. His hair was going gray, yet he still looked dignified with a narrow face that looked almost snobby. His suit was as well-fitted as David’s, but his eyes were a dark brown. He was slightly hunched over, as if old age was slowly settling in. Nicki hadn’t been expecting Tony to be old. After he entered, a woman trailed in after him. Nicki knew this had to be Tony’s daughter. She was dressed to kill. Her long blonde hair flowed over her shoulders in sexy waves and she was wearing a gold dress that ended mid-thigh. It looked as if the dress had been poured onto her from the way it clung to every aspect of her body. Her high heels matched, and sparkled in the dim lighting. She had bright blue eyes that sparkled when she saw David. Nicki suddenly felt like an ugly duckling. David stood up, “Tony, nice to see you again. I see you brought Rebecca.” “Don’t be silly, David, of course I came.” Rebecca answered in what sounded like a purr. Nicki stood up, as well, and David gestured to her, “This is my assistant, Nicki.” Nicki shook Tony’s hand, but Rebecca looked at her with complete boredom before saying, “Hello.” They all took their seats. Nicki felt awkward. Rebecca had clearly not been thrown by her at all. The conversation got down to business, with both Tony and David bantering back and forth about the business. Tony seemed to truly want to merge the two companies, but David wasn’t interested in the least bit. “I built this place up from the ground,” David said as their meals were put down in front of them, “I have no interest in merging, as I’ve told you plenty of times.” “Then at least marry Rebecca here,” Tony pushed, gesturing to his daughter, “She’d be a great asset to your company. She could be your assistant.” In spite of her promise to remain quiet and in the background, Nicki couldn’t help but clear her throat. She didn’t like being treated as if she wasn’t even at the table. Rebecca’s eyes flicked over to hers. Yet, all Rebecca did was give her a small smirk, as if she knew something Nicki didn’t. It unnerved her. Tony pretended he hadn’t heard her and barreled on, “You be with my Rebecca for a few years, and then we can discuss a merger.” “Not interested.” David replied shortly. The rest of the meal went on like that. By the time it was finishing up, Nicki wanted nothing more than to go home. She felt like she was being treated as an irritating fly. Everyone barely looked at her, David included, and when they did, it was either with complete boredom or a smirk. She was itching to go. As they all stood up to finally leave, Tony pulled David aside to speak to him. With them whispering in the corner, Nicki was alone with Rebecca. “It was nice meeting you.” Nicki lied, hoping to fill the silence. “Yes, it was smart of David to bring you along.” Rebecca replied before turning away from Nicki and heading to the door. What the hell did that mean? Nicki thought, at a loss for words. She wasn’t sure how to respond. Before she could trail after Rebecca for clarification, David was by her side. “Let’s go.” He said to her. She watched Tony and Rebecca leave ahead of them. She was waiting for Rebecca to turn around and stare at them, but she got in the car with her father and they drove off. Her shoulders slouched. She hadn’t realized how much tension she had been holding. “Is it always like that?” Nicki asked David. “Yes. But it should be done for another six months or so.” “If you always say no, why does he keep trying?” “He doesn’t like someone young in the game. Bothers him. He thinks if I marry Rebecca, he can get his claws in my company, but it isn’t going to happen. My company means everything to me. Anything else is just something on the side.” Nicki fell silent, thinking over his words. She realized how little she knew of him. It felt as if they had been tossed together. In fact, the entire situation – from how they’d met to how she had gotten hired – felt like something out of a sitcom. How had David gotten to be a billionaire so young? She couldn’t think of any other billionaires in their mid-twenties. Of course everyone saw him as a threat. Tony was probably smart in trying to get him to marry his daughter. “Anyway, you did fine tonight. Whatever notes you took, you can delete them. I’m not interested in anything with Tony. These dinners give him hope and keep him from getting aggressive. That’s all I care about.” Nicki nodded and he turned to face her. In the distance, she suddenly heard thunder. Not for the first time, she realized how close she was to David. She could feel the heat off of his body. She took a step back, as if she could bring herself to stop noticing small things about him. “I guess I should go,” she finally said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” “Goodnight.” He turned and began to head towards his car. In spite of the fact that Nicki wanted to leave, she somehow felt disappointed that all he’d said had been ‘goodnight’. It was stupid. She didn’t understand it. She decided to head home and put thoughts of the dinner completely out of her mind. Chapter Five Nicki’s dream started off as a memory. In it, Noel was over the woman in bed, moving under the covers. Nicki was turning around to run out of the room, feeling horrified. As she ran out of the bedroom, the room shifted. She was no longer in Noel’s apartment. Instead, she was in David’s office. He was standing in front of his desk in the same suit from the dinner. Yet, the view was not of the city. Instead, they were underwater. Fish were swimming by in schools and she could see a shark in the distance. When she looked down at herself, she saw that her clothes were soaking wet and clinging to her skin. “You’re making a mess.” David’s voice floated over to her, sounding muffled, as if they were outside underwater, as well. Nicki opened her mouth to speak, but the only thing that came out was bubbles. David began to walk towards her. She realized that she couldn’t move her feet. She glanced behind her to see if Noel was following, but the door was closed. When she turned her head back around, David was directly in front of her. The heat was pouring off his body, causing Nicki to start to shiver. He lifted one of his hands and rested it against her cheek. The warmth spread from his hand down her body, warming her up. Then he was leaning in towards her, his lips parting… Nicki woke up with a gasp, as if she had suddenly broken the surface of the water. She sat up in bed, looking around wildly to get her bearings. She took in a deep breath of air and finally managed to calm down. She was in her bed with her sheets tangled around her. She felt clammy, as if she had a thin layer of sweat across her body. Slowly, Nicki untangled herself from her bed sheets. The clock on the wall said it was a little past three in the morning. She padded into her bathroom and looked at her reflection in the mirror. Her skin was flushed. Nicki splashed some water on her face, thinking back to the dream. Just nonsense, she told herself, absolute junk. There was no rhyme or reason to the dream. It had just been a dream. So why was her heart beating so quickly? * “I need you to set up a meeting on Friday.” David was telling Nicki that morning in his office. “Who am I inviting?” She asked, and then wrote down the names he rattled off. “I might be needing to go overseas soon for an important convention,” David said next, “But I’ll let you know when I need something in regards to that.” Nicki made a note of that, as well, avoiding his gaze. She still couldn’t get that dream out of her mind. It was stupid and she kept telling herself it was stupid. But the thought of being in soaking wet clothes in front of David as he leaned in to kiss her was hanging over her head. She could still picture it perfectly. “Nicki,” his voice floated over to her, “Did you hear me?” “Yes, sir, you were talking about going to a convention.” “No,” he replied, “I was asking about if you ordered the laptop I requested last night. What is wrong with you today?” “Nothing,” she lied quickly, “And yes. The laptop has been ordered.” David was getting up from behind his desk now. Nicki vividly saw the image from her dream of David walking over to her with the ocean behind him. She wanted to leave, but stayed frozen in place. He stopped in front of her as if he was studying her. Her heart started to beat quickly. “You look sick. Are you catching something? If so, just go home. I can’t afford to catch anything.” “No. I just didn’t sleep well, that’s all.” “Could be that color. It washes you out.” He said, motioning to her green skirt and matching blouse. “I didn’t realize you were a fashion expert, as well.” She replied quickly. “Don’t be so defensive.” “Didn’t you hire me to tell you when you’re being a dick?” Nicki said, forgetting her earlier awkwardness. David’s eyes rested on hers and she fought the urge to squirm. She couldn’t keep up with her shifting moods around him. She felt irritated with him one second, and the next, she felt thrown off balance. It didn’t help that Nicki could never read what he was thinking. He took a step towards her, just like in the dream, and her breath caught. “I didn’t hire you to be rude to me, however,” he said, and Nicki could sense the iron underneath his words, “So you should go back to your desk now.” From this close, Nicki could feel the warmth coming off of David’s body. How could he be so warm all the time? Did he not feel it? She could feel it just by standing this close to him. “Yes, sir.” She managed to say. She was aware of how much she suddenly wanted him to touch her. Nicki wondered what she would do if he truly did reach out for her. What would it feel like if his hands touched her arm or her face? Would the warmth spread out across her body like in her dream? She made herself turn around, tearing herself away from the close proximity of David. * “What is wrong with you tonight?” Paz asked Nicki as they watched TV together. Nicki glanced at her, “What do you mean?” “You’re totally out of it. I asked you like three questions in a row, and all I got from you was mild grunting.” “Sorry. I have a headache.” “Okay.” Paz replied, but she narrowed her eyes at Nicki, as if she was studying her. The truth was that Nicki was worried about herself. She had to be feeling sick or coming down with something. How else to explain the strange feelings she got when she stood around David? Maybe she just wasn’t used to being around David yet, and the nerves got to her. “Is it Noel? Are you still thinking about him?” Paz asked. Nicki realized her concern over Noel had lessened ever since she’d started working for David. It wasn’t that she didn’t still dwell on him before she fell asleep. It was that working for David was so busy that Nicki simply didn’t have time to sit around and think about him. She avoided Paz’s gaze, “Yeah, sometimes.” For some reason, she couldn’t bring herself to tell Paz that it was David she was thinking about. She didn’t want Paz to make a big deal out of it. There wasn’t anything to make a big deal out of. Nicki was simply nervous working around a billionaire. Her mind drifted back to the way David had told her to go back to her desk. He hadn’t talked to her the rest of the day. Had she gone too far with her snappy remarks? “Well, if you’re dwelling on him, better to just find some incredibly terrible reality programming that we can mock together.” Paz remarked, flipping through the channels. In spite of Nicki’s worries, she smiled. Making fun of trashy reality television was one of their favorite pastimes together. She decided she’d stop worrying and have fun with Paz tonight. * Nicki felt better, going into work the next morning. She wasn’t going to let herself feel strange around David anymore. She knew it had just been because she hadn’t gotten used to the job. That was it. She decided she’d get to work early. There was a big meeting later on, and Nicki wanted to be ready for it. She didn’t want to look as if she wasn’t taking the job seriously. Even though David had hired her for her open mouth, Nicki also made a mental promise not to snap at him today, no matter what he said or did. The last thing she wanted was to be fired. Nicki made her way to his office. She used the key card and felt the elevator rise. Even though she had been irritated at the fact that David had told her the color green washed her out, she’d made a mental note to avoid the shade. Today, she was wearing black and red, and had spent time on her hair. The curls tumbled over her shoulders. Nicki had topped it off with a dark red lipstick that matched the outfit. For the first time in years, she felt as if she actually looked good. The doors opened and she stepped out into her office. To her surprise, the door to David’s office was open a crack. Nicki knew that David wasn’t supposed to be in until closer to the meeting time. She was surprised that he was here already. She decided she would let him know that she was here also. Nicki moved over the plush carpet and went to stick her head into David’s office to say good morning. Instead, she froze as her eyes registered the image in front of her. David was in his office, but he wasn’t alone. Instead, there was a woman with him. She looked vaguely familiar, but her back was to Nicki. David’s arms were wrapped around the woman and it was clear that he was kissing her. His hands travelled down to the woman’s bottom and squeezed it. It was so unlike him that Nicki was shocked. The two of them were still kissing passionately. The woman had her body pressed against David’s. Finally, they broke apart. David whispered something, but Nicki couldn’t make it out. The woman then turned her head slightly so Nicki could finally see who it was. It felt as if her heart was suddenly covered in ice. It was Rebecca. She couldn’t believe that David was fooling around with a woman. But what Nicki couldn’t believe more was the fact that the woman was Rebecca, of all people. David’s words floated back to Nicki, stating that he would never be with her, and that Nicki served as a distraction for Rebecca to focus on. And then Rebecca’s words floated back to Nicki. The small smirk as she’d told her David was smart for bringing her along. Of course David was smart. The two of them must have been fooling around without letting Tony know. Maybe Rebecca still hoped to get a marriage out of the secret fooling around. Nicki didn’t know. She couldn’t move. Out of anything she could have walked in on David doing, making out with Rebecca was the last thing she’d expected. Rebecca fully turned around and her eyes landed on Nicki. She made a soft noise in the back of her throat which seemed to alert David. David looked around Rebecca and his eyes locked on Nicki.


Post a Comment

Read free eBooks, English Fiction, English Erotic Story

Delicious Digg Facebook Favorites More Stumbleupon Twitter