Authors: Sean Michael
Tags: #Gay & Lesbian
"I'm sorry, Mr. Cavanaugh."
Samuel bit back his sigh. Damn it. He didn't need this right now. He had a presentation due to the partners in three days, a major case heading to court in four weeks, and he was in the middle of a move.
"Jeannie. Is it an issue of money? I'm more than willing to discuss a salary bump."
Those pretty blue eyes welled with tears, perfectly coiffed blonde hair not moving an inch as she shook her head. "No. No, I told you. Rick and I are finally pregnant and the doctor says I have to quit right now."
"Okay. Not even two weeks' notice, huh?" He smiled over at her, trying to stem the flow of tears. "I don't suppose you can work from bed?"
If someone had told him ten years ago that the hardest part of being a senior partner at Bailey, Billings, Haring and Weir was going to be keeping admin staff, he'd have laughed.
Three years in this big steel and chrome office with its own bathroom and little wet bar, three years of being a biggie-wow and he was about to start looking for admin assistant number five. Damn it. He
"You'll be fine. You will. HR knows how busy you are, how important, they'll get you someone." She stood, held out one hand. "You...you take care of yourself, won't you? You...you work so hard."
Right. Like he couldn't work hard now.
"All your files are accessible and the presentation for tomorrow is--"
"Right where you need them. I've even backed everything up. Karen has been working with me on the Riker case, so she'll be the one you go to."
Oh, shit. Which one was Karen? He nodded to the chair and grabbed a pen without shaking her hand. "You can give me an hour, Jeannie. Now, tell me, which one is--"
"Karen. Tall, looks like a Lithuanian weightlifter with an anger management problem."
"Right. Now, tell me about where the Riker deps are right this second."
He started scribbling furiously as Jeannie sat back down. Maybe he could just keep talking until she went into labor...
* * * *
Jarrod adjusted his tie, cursing his choice in going with the dove grey suit. Sure it looked good on him, but the only tie he had that really popped with it was a light pink one--a t
light pink one--and he could never get the thing to lie just right no matter how many times he adjusted it.
He slid his hand down its length again and then went over the file he'd been given on Samuel Cavanaugh to distract himself.
Thirty-three, a graduate from SMU at the top of his class, great references, had been with BBH&W for ten years, a partner for the last three. There was no reason to believe the man was selling inside information, except that someone was, and the culprit had been narrowed down to three people.
Jarrod had been assigned to Samuel Cavanaugh to find out if he was the traitor.
The elevator dinged softly and he got off, along with several women in high heels and business suits. He stopped one and asked for directions to Mr. Cavanaugh's office.
She gave him an appreciative once-over and smiled. "It's at the far end of the hall. The big office in the corner--you can't miss it! His assistant left so you'll have to knock on the door and announce yourself. Unless you'd like me to take you..."
"No, I think I can manage just fine, but thank you very much."
He smiled and nodded, made sure he looked friendly. The other assistants would be a great resource. He'd have to remember that and make sure he did lunch with them regularly. He'd also have to remember not to question them like he was cross-examining them.
The door to Cavanaugh's office was slightly ajar, so he knocked sharply on it, and pushed it open the rest of the way.
The first thing he saw was a mass of dark auburn curls, carefully shaved on the sides and back, but uncontrolled and metallic and back lit as Cavanaugh bent over a laptop. Then bright blue-grey eyes looked at him through black-rimmed glasses. "Can I help you?"
Oh wow. He'd known Cavanaugh was a good-looking guy, he'd seen the man's HR file, after all, but what the photo couldn't show was Cavanaugh's presence. Strong and in charge, that's what Cavanaugh's whole attitude radiated. And it just made the strong, square-jawed face that much more handsome.
Jarrod knew the man was gay-- Cavanaugh wasn't in the closet at all--and that was one of the reasons he'd been chosen for this task. Not that anyone expected him to sleep with Cavanaugh, just that the men in charge seemed to think it would give them a connection Cavanaugh wouldn't make with a female operative, and Jarrod hadn't expected that to matter.
But then he hadn't expected to want to spread Cavanaugh over his desk and fuck him into next week, either.
He kept all that to himself, though, and just smiled. "Mr. Cavanaugh?" He walked right in like he belonged there, and held out his hand. "I'm Jarrod Tinsley. HR sent me."
"Oh? Excellent." Cavanaugh stood, took his hand and shook it. "Glad to meet you. I'm in the midst of finishing a presentation for the senior partners, so I don't have time to chat, unfortunately. Let me show you your desk and find someone to show you the ropes."
He held onto Cavanaugh's hand for a moment, long enough that Cavanaugh looked up at him, only letting go once he knew the man had actually seen him.
"Well, is there anything I can do to help with the presentation? I mean that is why I'm here, after all, isn't it?"
"That's what they tell me." Cavanaugh ran his fingers through the bright curls, making them stand up higher. "I'm sorry. I haven't even read your resume. I'm in a bit of a crunch, time-wise. Karen is making photocopies and binding the handouts. I'm just proofreading the final presentation."
"Well, why don't you let me do that. Fresh eyes and all. This is the presentation for the Securex System for the company?" He casually leaned over the back of Cavanaugh's chair, reading over the man's shoulder. Mmm. Whatever Cavanaugh was wearing smelled good. Light and male, not overpowering like a lot of executives who somehow thought the crap they piled on made them smell like the top dog.
"Yeah. I think it's a solid investment for the firm and it's my turn to suggest something they'll turn down." Clean, simple--the presentation looked good enough to hold attention and quick. "If you want to proof, I'll get cleaned up for the meeting. Can you take meeting notes?"
"Sure." Or at least he could have his tape recorder going and drop the cassette off with the secretarial pool, but Cavanaugh didn't need to know that particular little detail. Besides, he'd take enough notes in his own shorthand to satisfy Cavanaugh if he wanted something in hand right away. He sat in the chair Cavanaugh vacated, and started scrolling through the document.
He glanced around the room as he did so, taking in the big windows, the neat, simple lines of the furniture. The file cabinet against one wall, key dangling in the lock.
Water ran in the washroom, and Cavanaugh hummed with something on the stereo. Things were preternaturally neat, but a quick peek in the jumbled pen drawer of the desk proved things weren't quite as pristine as they seemed. So appearances were important to Cavanaugh. Jarrod had to admit, it made him wonder what else Cavanaugh was hiding with a smooth, clean exterior.
He regretted having agreed to take notes at the meeting now. It would have been a good opportunity to snoop. Well, he was pretty sure he'd have others. He'd make them if he had to.
He made corrections to a couple of typos on the presentation and then clicked on the file manager, checking out the names of Cavanaugh's folders.
Pretty normal--to do, email, projects, personal, blah, blah, blah.
Of course if Cavanaugh was their man, likely he'd have enough brains not to leave incriminating evidence on the company laptop. He wondered where the man kept his cell phone...
And it wasn't like anyone expected him to have proof of Cavanaugh's culpability, or lack thereof, on his first day.
"How does it look, uh... Well, hell. I'm sorry. I've forgotten your name. It's been a long few days." Cavanaugh came out of the washroom, hair slicked down, jacket off.
"Jarrod Tinsley. You can call me Jarrod. And you look fine. Wait."
He stood and went over to Cavanaugh, standing right in the man's space as he brushed off imaginary fluff from one shoulder, and then the other.
"Oh. Thanks. Jarrod. I'm Samuel. The meeting's in an hour, then I'm out of here for the rest of the afternoon. I asked them to have you start Monday, honestly. I'm in the midst of moving and have to be out of the old space and in the new loft."
Score him a whole afternoon to play snoop. "Cool. That'll give me time to get settled in without worrying about needing to service you as well." He smiled slyly at Samuel as he said it. "You want to grab a cup of coffee and bring me up to speed before the meeting?"
"I don't drink coffee. Ulcer. There should be some in the break room, and if you'd like to bring a pot to brew your own in here, that's acceptable. I love the smell and miss the taste." Cavanaugh went over to the mini bar, pulled out a bottle of some green tea thing. "I have green tea, pomegranate juice, water, and milk in here."
Green tea. That had to been an indication of being guilty of
"Water's just fine. They stock you up with any nuts?" He had a real fondness for peanuts with barbeque spices on them.
"Jelly beans and...uh. I don't know. That's your job. Stock what you want. Make sure there are jelly beans."
A bottle of water was tossed over.
"You must work out. Or have a high metabolism." With the jacket off, he could see solid shoulders and decent pecs stretching the material of Samuel's shirt whenever he moved. He added that to the mental picture he had of Samuel stretched out over his own desk.
Jarrod shifted. He needed to go out Friday and find someone to fuck into Monday morning so he could concentrate on the task at hand.
"I work out daily, but I only eat one meal a day." Samuel shrugged and settled in the chair, fingers clicking over the keyboard. "So, what questions do you have?"
Jarrod took up residence in the chair across the desk from Samuel and sat back casually. "Who all has access to your current caseload? I mean I know you're involved in some high-level negotiations and I'd been led to believe it was just you and me working on it, but you mentioned a Katie? Kathie? Karen."
"Two different things. Today's meeting's about an upgrade to the firm. My caseload is heavy and, yes, negotiations are what I do." He got a smile. "A bit of advice. The rule around here is, if you haven't been told to talk about it, don't. People screw up on accident all the time."
He lowered his voice and stared a moment at Samuel's mouth. "My lips are sealed."
One eyebrow went up, but Cavanaugh kept his face schooled. "Good. I have Jeannie's phone number if we run into anything major. Next week will be depositions and getting yourself up to speed on Jeannie's system. I like how she does things. Then we're off to LA for a meeting with some special-needs clients. You were told there was travel involved, yes?"
He nodded and grinned lazily. "Yeah, they told me there was travel." If he was still here by then. The firm really wanted the leak plugged in short order. "I was also told I'd likely be putting in a fair bit of overtime and working closely with you." And didn't that seem like a lot more fun now that he'd met Samuel than it had before?
"Likely, but not this week. This week, you get settled, and I'll try to seduce the old boys and make all our jobs easier."
Now here was something he hadn't been briefed on. "There a problem?"
Samuel chuckled, stretched. "Nothing more than normal. Just the big guys worrying."
Oh, Samuel had no idea just how much they were worrying. "That's what they get paid to do, yeah?" He grinned and took a drink of his water, tongue playing with the opening of the bottle.
"Apparently. I'm just a hired monkey like everyone else." Samuel stood, smoothed the front of his shirt, moving toward the window. "So tell me a little about yourself."