Authors: Ashley Beale
"You're late." The
first words I hear walking into my office this morning.
I close my eyes like its actually going to keep Roman from seeing me.
"Second day of your work and you're late." His voice is much closer to me than just seconds ago.
Opening my eyes, I see his shadow on the floor in front of me. He is inches away from me. "I'm sorry," I say softly. I don't dare move. I don't know what it is about Roman that has me so scared. I guess it’s his vehemence. He has an aura surrounding him that is dark... possessive... dangerous.
Not to mention the tingles I hide from the world every time he is in my presence. I almost compare it to an adrenaline rush.
He walks past me into my office and leans against the wall where the two windows are. The sunlight glow somehow enhancing his five o'clock shadow. I swallow the lump in my throat before taking a step forward. "Excuse?" he asks.
I place my folder on the desk and pull out the chair, taking a seat. I look up to Roman, feigning bravado. "I fell asleep at a friend's house on accident. I didn't have an alarm set because I didn't know I'd be sleeping there. I rushed home to shower and get dressed, and probably would have been on time if not for traffic."
I want to close my eyes and hide in a hole, especially when he crosses his arms. He is already threatening without adding in that gesture. "A friend?" His brow cocks.
"Yes, a friend," I snap. "It won't happen again."
There is a pause between us. It easily becomes awkward, so I use the time to sign into the computer to make sure I'm clocked in. I don't need the time clock to show I'm any later than I already am.
"Are you free tomorrow evening?"
"Tomorrow?" I look up to him once again. He looks unfazed by the fact that tomorrow is Saturday. He never mentioned working weekends. I mean, of course I will if I have to, but I only have two left before classes start. I was hoping to use the weekend to beach it with Clarissa or something else fun with her.
He doesn't answer me, instead he keeps staring at me with his arms crossed, waiting for me to answer. "Yeah. What time do you need me here?" I finally ask.
"Not here. It’s work related but it’s at my place. It’s a business meeting. Dress formal."
He starts to walk away from my desk just when I have fifty million questions to ask the guy. "What do you mean by... formal?" I can't picture being at a business meeting with a freaking prom dress on.
"Formal. Dress. Heels. Hair styled. I'll have Stephanie email you the address and time."
"I don't have that kind of stuff."
The stubborn man doesn't answer, he just walks out of my office, leaving me confused and annoyed. I don't want to attend some formal dinner party meeting thing at his house on a Saturday night. Nothing about the night sounds fun. More like awkward conversations with people I don't know, talking about a business I am obviously new to. It’s going to be a disaster, especially if I show up in my pink feathered mermaid style prom dress, that I'm pretty sure I spilled punch on.
Maybe Clarissa has one. I type out a message to her to see if she has any dresses and matching heels I can wear tomorrow night. Even though our figures are nothing of the same, we weigh almost the same weight, so it’s possible that something she has floating around will fit me as well.
The second day of work so far isn't half as horrible as the first day, but the people I call are still very rude. They're all sketched out about different things, and half of them are paranoid about who I am or who wants them. I swear the list of names and numbers are downloaded from an in home psych ward- if that is even a thing.
By the time lunch time comes around, I find myself needing a stress reliever. In times like this I wish I could light up a cigarette or something else, except, I don't smoke. Instead I get in my car and drive home to make a quick lunch before having to head back in. I take my time at home, not wanting to go back into work at all. It'd be a completely different story if I wasn't scared to call the next person on my list each time I hung up the phone.
I park my car in the same spot I did earlier this morning when I arrive back to work but I don't get out. I sit there and stare at the building across from me, the one I have to walk into sometime in the next ten minutes. I really should be more thankful that I did get such a great opportunity. Maybe after a couple weeks I'll be able to handle the stress a little better and I'll finding myself actually enjoying myself.
Maybe I should make friends with other people in the office so that I can look forward to something each day. It'd be a lot easier if I could actually see Blaise while I was working. Maybe Stephanie isn't so bad and I can actually make friends with her.
Feeling a need of accomplishment, I get out of the car, ready to befriend her. Locking the car door, I turn around and immediately scream bloody murder, swinging my purse at the intruder.
He grabs my purse and throws it down to the ground, scattering the belongings from inside. "What the hell is your problem?" Roman yells.
My face drains from all its color as I back up. I bump into my car and wish I could go further back. My heart is still pounding in my chest, even though it’s only Roman in the parking garage and not one of the assholes threatening me on the phone. "Are you okay?" he steps towards me, putting his hand up.
"Stop," I scream out. "Get away!"
He pauses, watching me intently. "Did something happen to you Liv?" His hand drops as he reaches into his pocket, pulling out his cell phone. I'm sure if I don't hurry up and say something, he'll probably call the police.
I shake my head back and forth. "Just... just give me a minute." I need to find myself again. I need a minute to breathe and process that I'm not being attacked. He is my boss, and although intimidating he is friendly. He isn't going to hurt me... I hope.
I rest my head back against the car, closing my eyes while taking a few deep breathes. It only takes a minute or so to bring myself back to a calmed nature. When I peek at Roman again, he is standing a little closer, holding my purse with all its belongings back in it. Maybe I was meditating longer than I realized.
"Why are you out here?" I ask him. Reaching forward, I grab my purse from him and lean back against my car. Immediately I sift through my belongings to make sure all the important stuff is in fact put back in my purse.
Roman chuckles, catching me off guard. I look back up to him with a questioning glare. "You're one of a kind if you didn't know that already." He starts walking away so I quickly catch up to him, wanting to know what he means by that.
"How? Because I want to know why you scared the shit out of me?" It’s probably not the way a person should speak to their boss but countless times today he has driven me completely insane. I hate it.
He doesn't stop, and although he speaks it isn't to answer me. "Did Stephanie email you the information about tomorrow?"
"Yes, but I don't get why I have to wear a prom dress to a business meeting, or why the meeting is at your house. Which, if you didn't know, is in the middle of nowhere." I hate that I nearly have to jog to keep up with his long struts.
The more he does little things like this, the more I realize he is a selfish person. He doesn't answer questions he doesn't want to, he can't have a real conversation with me, he just asks questions and expects an immediate answer. It’s frustrating. We reach the building and he still doesn't say anything to me. Surprisingly he does open the door for me though.
I walk through and smile over to Stephanie who nearly jumps out of her chair at the site of Roman. "Hello Mr. Pelletier. You have a message." She holds up a white folded piece of paper for him.
He takes the paper from her without so much as a word- proving again his selfishness. I'm at the elevator seconds before him, but not quick enough. We end up in the same one. I stand in the corner with my arms crossed, not looking at Roman. I find myself being dramatic and childish, something I'm normally not, but he brings out things about myself I don't recognize. Fear and emotions.
"A prom dress?"
I look over at Roman. He has a small smile on his face. He is amused about something.
"That is the only formal thing I own. I just graduated high school less than three months ago."
His lips lift higher. "Don't wear a prom dress."
The doors open and he walks out without another word. Not even a glance. I feel exhausted by his back and forth. Maybe he is bipolar or something.
I throw myself into my work the rest of the evening, finishing up the phone calls and the few small tasks that Stephanie emailed me to do. As soon as my time is up, I clock out and nearly race to my car. Once Clarissa messaged me back earlier to say she did have semiformal looking dresses, I asked her to meet me at my house for dinner time. She should be there by the time I get there, and hopefully she snuck in a few alcoholic beverages.
My dad isn't exactly anti-drinking even though I'm underage, but he'd rather I waited until I'm older. He also lectures me to not turn out like him. It’s hypocritical but I completely understand it. I couldn't live my life that way, waiting to get home just so I crack open a beer. I can find too many other things to waste my money on.
Clarissa shows up less than ten minutes after I do. Her hands are filled with garment bags while she sports an overnight bag over her shoulder. She throws everything onto the bed. "Figured after a couple tumblers of wine I'd be too intoxicated to drive." That is her answer for the overnight bag, and my answer to if she brought booze or not. Her parents always keeps their in home bar stocked with delicious drinks.
I sit on the bed as she stands next to it and opens each bag, revealing a different dress. Six to be exact. Each one quite different than the last. Clarissa pours us each a drink, then she takes my place on the bed as I start a fashion montage. The first two dresses barely fit over my hips, and although the third dress does, it hugs them so tightly that I look like J. Lo's booty twin. The fourth is a beautiful silver gown that falls to the floor around me. The material almost like a silk, with a strapless top. I fall instantly in love with it.
Even though I absolutely love it, Clarissa has me try on the other two. The fifth one is way too short. My butt cheeks are almost hanging out the bottom. "I can't believe you've worn this," I tell her!
Clarissa just shrugs her shoulders while taking another sip of her wine. "I got into a twenty-one-plus club."
I roll my eyes as I shimmy out of the dress and try on the last one.
It's another strapless one but it’s purple. It’s not as long as the silver, but it still flows nicely down my legs. It’s more suitable to my style but doesn't make me feel nearly as elegant.
"Which do you think?" I ask.
She presses her lips together as she thinks about it. I spin around for her for the full effect while she ponders on it. "I think the silver," she finally admits.
"Good," I tell her, clapping my hands. "I just hope it’s not too dressy for the meeting."
"I still don't get why you have to dress up for a meeting."
"Did I mention it’s at my boss's place?" I curl my lip up.
Of course Clarissa laughs about it. "Well if that isn't weird. Where does she live?"
"She? Oh... my boss? Not a she. A he. A very relentless, infuriating he."
I strip out of my dress to finally get into comfy clothes. "Sounds sexy," she giggles out.
I glare at her as I slide on my yoga shorts. "You don't even know what he looks like, hooker." Before climbing onto the bed, I help Clarissa rehang all the dresses and slide them into the garment bags as we continue a pointless conversation about Roman.
"I don't have to. The words infuriating and relentless say it all. Not to mention the face expression you gave me when you mentioned him."