“Goddammit all to hell! Delacey!”
My boss’s voice rang out through the office, and out of the corner of my eye I saw several people wince at the tone. I kept my face blank even though I wanted to do the same thing, dreading going into his office. I took a silent, deep breath as I pushed away from my desk and walked into Mr. Walker’s office.
“Yes, Mr. Walker?” I kept my voice neutral, knowing it was the safest route. My eyes widened as I took in the scene on his desk, knowing this was bad. Oh, so very bad.
Spilled coffee covered the posters spread out on his desk, posters that he needed for a presentation he’d been working on for months for a huge client.
Of course, when I say he’d been working on them, I meant the team he bullied around. He’d been bragging about this client since the moment they were assigned to him, telling anyone who cared to listen- and many who didn’t- that this one was sure to land him a promotion and an office upstairs. So naturally, he had other people do the work for him.
Chester Walker was what I liked to call a brilliant idiot. He couldn’t do any actual work with any intelligence, but he somehow figured out a way to keep climbing up the ladder. Either he knew exactly how to blame the right people when things went wrong, or his daddy placed money in the grubby hands of the higher ups. Probably a little bit of both.
“I need you to get down to the third level and have them print another copy of this presentation. Run, yell, do what you fucking have to in order to get this to me on time.” He was already trying to clean the mess up off his desk, not looking at me once.
“B-but, sir, it’s going to take at least 20 minutes for those to print again. The meeting is in less than five!”
He looked up from his desk, his thin hair falling over his sweaty face as he glared at me. “Well then you should’ve been down there fifteen minutes ago! Just get your ass down there and bring them up to the meeting when they’re done.”
I snapped my mouth shut, fuming silently as I rushed away to do his bidding. There was no point in arguing that there was no fucking way I could’ve had them reprinted for him on time when he literally just ruined them. He’d only yell some more, wasting both our time. And there was no way I could just tell him to go to hell- I needed this job, as much as I hated it.
I burst into the printing room, and my eyes locked onto one of my best friends. Samantha saw me, and the look on her face must have clued her in to how desperate I was.
“What do you need, girl?”
“Chester just spilled coffee all over his presentation for the meeting that starts in,” I glanced at the clock on the wall, “thirty seconds.”
“Shit,” she muttered. Placing her hands around her mouth, she yelled out to the three other workers down there. “Everyone, drop what you’re doing. Start reprinting Chester’s stupid posters. My girl needs ’em!”
I relaxed just a bit as she turned back to me with a grim smile, the other workers clacking away on their keyboards to find the project she was talking about. Everyone in the building knew who Chester was. He made sure of that.
“With everyone printing different pages, we can cut the time in half. Sorry I can’t do more than that, sugar.”
“It’s alright Sammy. That’s better than nothing.”
She sighed and turned to her own computer, pulling up the project in the database history and calling out which pages she wanted everyone printing. I paced back and forth along the carpet, watching the clock tick by second by grueling second.
Eleven minutes later, I was pounding up the stairs towards the ninth floor where the meeting was. I knew it was a risk going into the meeting sweaty and out of breath, but I was desperate to get there as fast as possible. Thank god I wasn’t completely out of shape, or they would’ve found me dead in the stairwell after three of the seven flights I had to climb.
I shoved open the last door, gasping and panting but glad no one in the meeting could see me from here. I leaned against the door, closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths to calm down before walking at a clipped pace to the meeting room. I knocked on the door sharply and waited for Chester to invite me in- as I knew he preferred.
I kept my breathing as steady as possible while I walked to the front of the room where Chester held court. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me, burning into my skirt and blouse that I hoped to god didn’t show how sweaty I was.
“Took you long enough, Delacey. I apologize again gentleman. I’m sure you all know how hard it is to find good help.”
Tittering laughter filled the room at Chester’s words as I stiffly shoved the posters at him.
“Careful girl, you already ruined the first set.” Chester’s snide words made my back stiffen and I opened my mouth to contradict him. He raised an eyebrow at me, shooting a glance towards the rest of the table and my mouth snapped right back shut. If I mouthed off to him in front of these people, I was for sure going to lose my job.
“Sorry,” illegal bahis I grit out. I knew had to get out of there before I exploded. I spun on my heels as Chester began his presentation, his nasally voice grating on my every nerve as I mentally eviscerated him.
I watched in fascinated rapture as the woman stomped out of the room, steam nearly blowing out her ears. She kept her head high, her hazel eyes flashing fire. Her strawberry blonde ponytail swung quickly, the tips of her hair brushing the small of her back. She was a tiny thing, probably 5’2″ without the wicked heels she was wearing if I had to take a guess, and slender with just enough curves to fill my hands.
And fuck, did I want those curves in my hands.
I jerked my head back to the other side of the table where the piece of shit my company had been dealing with over the last few months was standing.
I merely stared at him, not saying a word. It didn’t take long for him to drop his eyes, and satisfaction filled me. He coughed awkwardly, then continued with his presentation. I tuned him out as my mind drifted back to the woman.
Delacey. I scrunched my nose, thinking that the name didn’t really fit her. It sounded too… delicate. And even though she was a small thing, she had steel in those bones of hers. No, she wasn’t anything like a flimsy piece of lace.
Dela. My mouth twitched with a smile at the rightness of that name. In Latin it meant pleasure; delight. Now that, I could definitely see.
A man a couple seats down to my right was speaking now, and I finally tuned into the conversation.
“As you can see by the charts up on the board, we project that sales would go up by at least 15% with in the next year after implementing said changes.”
“Only 15%?” My voice rang out in the room, and everyone turned to me. “By my math, if all the changes that I expect to be put in to place go well, there should be a 27% increase and that’s just within the first eight months.”
Chester’s face went bright red and he glared at the other man. “Did you input all of the data I gave you Aaron?”
“Y-yes sir, I know I did.” He started flipping though the pages of a folder in front of him, his face pale as he frantically searched for the info.
“Obviously you didn’t.” Chester’s sneer was nasty, and my blood boiled even hotter at the way he was acting. I ran a goddamn tight ship, but I always treated my employees with respect. This was only fire on the flames of the annoyance I’d had with him since the beginning, plus the way I’d nearly jumped out of my chair and strangled him with the way he’d talked to Dela.
“Enough,” I said harshly as I stood. “I’ve heard plenty. Aaron, come with me.” I turned and walked out of the room without a backward glance, knowing that everyone on my team would automatically follow; as would Aaron. My reputation as a ruthless business man was slightly exaggerated but it wasn’t inaccurate, and I used that infamy to my advantage when I had to.
“Aaron.” In the next second the man was hurrying to walk beside me, his mouth opening, probably to make another apology. I interrupted him before he could even begin. “Where is Dela?”
“Who?” I glanced to him to see him confused, and I realized I referred to her by my own nickname for her.
“Oh. Um, this way.” He motioned to the left toward the elevators. “She’s three floors below, where Mr. Walker’s office is.”
“What’s her role here?”
“She’s his… assistant.” He pushed the elevator call button.
I turned to my associates. “Jason, Emily, Reid. Go ahead on to the office, I’ll be there shortly.” They all looked at me with a little bit of curiosity, knowing this wasn’t my usual m.o.
“You got it boss,” Jason finally responded. I rolled my eyes at him, ignoring his chuckle as I turned back to Aaron, all of us stepping into the elevator.
“Now why did you hesitate when you said she was his assistant?”
Aaron swallowed hard, but kept eye contact. A kernel of respect for him grew, knowing that not everyone was able to do that when I was in a mood.
“Well, that’s what she is. He calls her his ‘glorified secretary’ though.” The distaste was obvious in his voice and stamped all over his face. My respect for him grew a few more notches.
“Hmm. Can I see the file?” He handed it over to me without hesitation, and I shuffled through the papers. I found and email to Aaron from Chester, notes about the data for today’s projections. I immediately noticed several important factors were missing, and I quickly figured out that those numbers would have affected the data and given us exactly what was presented to me today.
It was obvious that Chester had failed to pass on all the information I’d needed for Aaron to correctly prepare the presentation. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that Chester had barely done any of the work for this, only wanting to take the credit when all was said and done. I made a noise of disgust in my throat, closing the file and handing it back to illegal bahis siteleri Aaron.
“Sir?” Aaron was looking at me warily, and I was sure all my rage and frustration was showing on my face. The elevator stopped, pinging to let us know we were on the floor we needed.
“Take me to Delacey.”
I slammed another desk drawer shut, taking my anger out on the poor thing. Everyone had been avoiding me for the last half hour. Wisely. I was in no mood to deal with anyone else’s bullshit today. In fact, I was just getting ready to leave early. I didn’t care if Chester got mad at me for it, there was no way I was staying here to help him after he lied and threw me under the bus in front of everyone earlier.
I took my note to Chester to his office, grumbling out loud to myself the whole way. It was a bad habit of mine, but one I hadn’t been able to get rid of.
“He’s so freakin’ stupid. I don’t know why he even wants this job, when he doesn’t know anything. I mean, that’s just got to be so stressful. Well I guess if you’re smart it would be, but he’s dumb enough to think that everything is perfectly fine when everyone just wants to wring his fat neck.”
I was just saying the last part as I stomped out of his office, freezing when I noticed Aaron standing awkwardly at my desk with a stranger. Aaron gave me a tight smile, but I barely saw it as I took in the other man.
Standing almost a foot above my own height, he was lean but I could see even through the tailored cut of his expensive suit that he was fit, and probably still packed with muscle. He had a confident and intense aura about him, and my mouth went dry at the look in his eyes as he perused my body from my heeled feet to the tie in my hair holding my ponytail.
His eyes were so dark they looked black, and he already had a five o’clock shadow covering his jaw and cheeks, the black stubble that matched his hair calling to me. My fingers twitched, wanting to reach out and feel the prickles against my skin.
“Delacey, I presume?”
Holy shit. A full body shiver went through me at that voice, deep and gruff with the hint of a British accent. I swallowed hard and nodded, taking a few more hesitant steps towards the mystery man.
“Lacey, this is Mr. Rixton Kerridge.”
A lightbulb went off in my head at Aaron’s introduction of the stranger, and I stiffened. This was the head of the company for the presentation Chester had been in charge of, and if he was here at my desk, and only after half an hour, that meant the meeting hadn’t gone well. And since Chester had blamed the lack of visual aids on me, I assumed Mr. Kerridge was here to berate me for it. I had no choice but to save my ass.
“Mr. Kerridge,” I started as I stepped toward him and held out my hand in greeting. “I would like to apologize for the delay in today’s presentation. I hope that my mistake didn’t deter you from working with us.”
He let me finish my apology before taking my hand, and when our palms touched sparks shot through me. I was grateful I hadn’t been speaking at the time, because the effect he had on me would’ve been obvious when I tripped over my words.
“No apologies necessary, Dela.”
My eyebrows shot up in confusion at his words, and the nickname he gave me. It was one that only my grandmother had ever called me, but something about the way it sounded coming from his tempting lips made it right. Despite that, I didn’t know this guy enough to let him get away with a nickname he had no right using.
“My name is Delacey.”
“I know. I don’t like it.”
I felt my face flush, embarrassment and a little disappointment filling me at the blunt words. Turning to my desk and sitting, I replied, “Then feel free to leave.”
I shook my mouse to wake up my screens, focusing on them even though I could feel him staring at me. It was probably irrational of me to be sad he didn’t like my name, since I didn’t either, but I couldn’t help it.
“Aaron, wait for me down the hall.” Mr. Kerridge’s voice brooked no argument, and I watched out of the corner of my eye as Aaron immediately did as he was told. I snorted a tiny bit under my breath at his obedience; I wouldn’t be so easy to order around.
Mr. Kerridge walked around to my side of the desk, spinning the chair so that I was facing him. He bent down to get closer, his words low but commanding.
“You’re going to have lunch with me. I can already tell you want to fight me, but I wouldn’t suggest it. I have no problem putting you over my shoulder and spanking that ass if you do.”
His words made me bristle and warm all at once, the mental image of his threat enticing me and pissing me off at once. I could feel the tip of my nose turning red like it did when I was holding back my anger.
Pushing against the floor, I rolled the chair back and out of his hands so I could stand, grabbing my purse angrily.
“I’m going to go with you so that you don’t cause a scene, but don’t think for one second that I want this,” I grit out so only he could hear. This office canlı bahis siteleri was open and full of gossips, although fairly harmless ones.
He let out a low laugh, and the hairs on my neck raised in appreciation of the sound. Traitor body, I thought to myself as I stormed past Mr. Kerridge towards the elevator doors. I punched the button and waited, listening to him and Aaron talk behind me.
“Although your charts were wrong, they were not incorrect Aaron. You weren’t given the information you needed, so your data was off by no fault of your own. Give me your email address and I will send you the correct information. I expect to see the updated charts in two days.”
“Yes, sir.” Aaron sounded a tad confused, reflecting my own thoughts. Why would the owner of a giant corporation want to deal with someone lower on the totem pole? Usually men of Mr. Kerridge’s status thought they were better than all that, preferring to deal with the higher ups.
The elevator doors opened and he followed me in, leaving me trapped with him in a big metal box. His scent enveloped me, and I took a slow deep breath to really appreciate it. It was something smoky with a hint of freshly cut wood, and I only wanted to get closer, imprint it in my mind forever.
Shaking my head to get myself together, I turned to the man who’d somehow managed to discombobulate me without even trying. “What am I doing here, Mr. Kerridge?”
“Please, call me Rixton.” I made a non-committal noise, and his mouth twitched, a ghost of a smile appearing for a moment. He moved closer to me, backing me into a corner and placing his hands on either side of me, caging me in.
My mid was telling me to push him away, but my body had different ideas. My pulse quickened, beating hard in my veins as his dark eyes captured my own light ones.
“I can see you want to fight me Dela, and I like that. But I have an offer you can’t refuse.”
I paused for a moment, then burst out laughing. “You’re really going to use that on me right now?”
He chuckled and stepped away from me, breaking the tension. “I know, it’s cliche, but I couldn’t help myself.”
With that one sentence, I learned something about Rixton. He was intense, but a bit of a goof underneath that. I wasn’t sure why that made me instantly more comfortable with him, but it did. I finally relaxed, but crossed my arms over my chest and raised an eyebrow at him, still expecting an answer to my previous question. His eyes flicked down to my cleavage, now more pronounced by my crossed arms. A sliver of satisfaction filled me at the heat that flared up in his eyes before he snuffed it out and got to business.
“I want you to come work for me.” His tone brooked no argument, but that wasn’t the kind of person I was. I didn’t follow commands like a dog, and I wasn’t going to start with him no matter how delicious he looked and smelled.
I stared down at Dela, hiding my shock at her answer. I was trying to avoid looking at her tits again, because I wanted her to know I was serious about this. I didn’t want her here with that shit head Chester. I wanted her in my space, around me. All the fucking time. It was a little disconcerting how suddenly this need for her had consumed me, but fuck if I was going to try to fight it.
“Because I don’t take orders from anyone.”
“Oh really? You mean like Chester?” I knew it was a dick move, but I wanted to get my point across. “You would rather stay here and take the blame for all his mistakes? Let him walk all over you?”
“And what’s the alternative here? You want me to come work for you, where I’ll probably end up spread out on your desk or under it, sucking your cock while you try to have a conference call? I’m not an idiot, and I don’t want my life to end up like some trashy romance book!”
My dick throbbed painfully at the images she painted for me, and though I was guilty of wanting just that, I wasn’t the kind of man to expect that.
I crowded her against the wall again, ignoring the ping of the elevator saying we’d reached our floor. I spoke in a low voice, so she was the only one that could hear me if other people were around.
“Although I’d love to have those pretty lips surrounding my cock, that’s not what I meant. I see your drive, your passion, and it would thrive in my office instead of being stifled here in this one.” I stepped back and turned to leave the elevator, ignoring the looks of the couple of people standing outside watching. “Let me know if you change your mind, Dela.”
That woman was so goddamn stubborn. It’d been nearly a month since my visit to the office, and she had avoided speaking or seeing me at all costs. My takeover of the company was almost complete, although only two other people knew that it was happening. I hadn’t said anything to Dela, but after I bought that company out I was going to promote her.
I didn’t want her to think I was doing it because I wanted her under me. And I didn’t want her to think I was using that to get her to like me. Not after all the gifts I’d tried sending her that she’d sent back in the same day. Every time I’d gotten the gift back, I’d grinned and chuckled, storing it away for later. She was going to accept the gifts someday, whether she knew it or not.