Resisting the Billionaire

BOOK: Resisting the Billionaire
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Resisting
the Billionaire

 
 

By C.C. Snow

Copyright

Resisting the Billionaire

Copyright © 2016 by C.C. Snow

All Rights Reserved

 

Kindle Edition

Photo from Depositphotos.com

 

This book is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events,
locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

 

No part of this book may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without
prior permission of the author.

 
 
 
Chapter
1

“Cora, have you heard?” Jamie Parker whispered to me as she
popped her head over the cubicle and folded her arms over the dividing wall.
Her light blue eyes were gleaming with excitement, a clear sign she had a juicy
rumor to share.

“No, what?” I asked, trying to sound curious, but I had
little interest in office gossip. Jamie, on the other hand, loved sharing every
piece of dirt and I had long realized she would tell me regardless of whether I
wanted to hear it or not.

We both worked as low-level administrative assistants–
essentially secretaries– at Weston Enterprises, a huge conglomerate in
downtown Chicago. It wasn’t what I had imagined doing at this point in my life,
but when my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, I had to drop out of my sophomore
year in college and take care of her. And when she died last year, I became the
sole guardian of my eleven-year-old brother, Marcus, at the ripe old age of
twenty-one.

So I pulled on my big girl pants and looked for a job. Not
surprisingly, there weren’t a lot of options for a young woman with no college
degree and no work experience to speak of. It turned out my
gig
as a summer camp counselor at age fifteen did not impress recruiters.

But I wasn’t the type to cry over the shitty cards life
dealt me. I made enough money to put food on the table and a roof over our
heads. Granted it was a shabby roof, but we could muddle along on my meager
salary. When Marcus was older, I wanted to go back to college to finish my math
degree.
One day,
I promised myself.

“Mr. Weston fired his executive assistant,” Jamie said.

“So, what’s the big deal? He goes through them like tissue paper,”
I pointed out. Jake Weston was the billionaire CEO of Weston Enterprises, but
the junior staff never saw him in person. He had reached an almost mythical status
on our floor.

I thought I saw him once when I walked out of work late one
night, but I only got the general impression of a tall man with dark hair. His
face was in shadow so I had no idea if it was the big boss. Not that I would recognize
him if he stood on stage under Klieg lights. I wasn’t curious enough about him
to look him up, even though I’d heard plenty of salacious gossip.

The rumors about him had been circulating furiously since my
first day. Apparently, he was impossible to please. Within four measly weeks,
every one of his assistants somehow managed to do something to warrant the
termination of their employment. Nobody was ever able to confirm what the
reasons were, but countless theories abounded among the staff.

Personally, I thought he must be a despot. But I supposed
you could afford to be capricious if you were a billionaire.

There was always someone young and eager to step into the vacancy
though.

“Thank goodness I’d never have to,” I muttered under my
breath. Not only did I not have the temperament to work for someone like him, I
needed stability in my job.

Jamie’s slender arm flapped, drawing my attention. Her
button nose crinkled. “No, you don’t understand! I heard Mr. Weston asked
Stewart for a replacement from our floor!”

Horror crossed my face at the thought of being picked, but
logic came to my rescue. It was beyond unlikely that I would be chosen since I
was one of the newer secretaries. I’d only been with the company for six
months. Most likely, Stewart, our supervisor, would recommend one of the more
experienced staff.

Besides, I had seen a couple of Mr. Weston’s previous
assistants and both were tall, beautiful women who wouldn’t look out of place
on a Paris runway. At the time, I had been disdainful of his shallowness, but
now it worked to my advantage. He’d want to pick someone who had striking
looks, like Samantha, a redhead bombshell or Jamie, who was a leggy blonde with
a cute face.

I was under no illusions about my looks. I had been called
pretty by some, but I thought I looked rather ordinary, with straight dark
brown hair that reached past my shoulder blades and light brown eyes. Even my
height was average at five feet six. I liked my straight nose, but I always
felt that my lips were disproportionately full. For some reason, men assumed
women with naturally pouty lips were sluts.

Boy, were they in for a rude awakening when they dated me!

Plus, I really didn’t have the body type he seemed to favor.
I would never be considered svelte; I was blessed with plenty of curves. My dad
said I inherited my body from my grandmother, who was Portuguese. I wish I had
also gotten her bronze complexion, but alas I took after my mom’s Welsh side
and was pasty white.

Reassured that I wouldn’t win the assistant lottery, I
relaxed. “Well, maybe Stewart will recommend you for the position,” I said.

Jamie’s smile stretched her cheeks. “Really, you think so?”

I mentally shook my head, wondering why she would want to
work for a guy who’d most likely fire her within the month. “Would you want to
work as his assistant?”

“Sure, why not? It’s bound to be a lot more exciting then
being here.”

We both looked at the sea of cubicles. Young men and women sat
quietly with their heads bent over their work. The carpet was a drab gray and
the walls were painted an institutional white. It looked depressing.

“Yes, but the job doesn’t seem to be…” I grappled for the
right words. “Very secure.”

Jamie brushed that aside carelessly, “Life is short. Besides,
I bet the other assistants didn’t have nearly as much experience as I do.”

I envied Jamie her happy-go-lucky attitude. “Yes, I suppose
you’re right. Well, if you want the job, then I wish you luck.”

She beamed at me, showing off her straight white teeth.
“Thanks, Cora. Oops, here comes Stewart now. I’ll talk to you later.” Her head
disappeared behind the cubicle wall.

Glad to have some quiet, I turned my attention to the stack
of contracts I needed to revise in the system. The work was tedious and I lost
track of time until I heard the phone rang.

I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was my manager. It
was already four-thirty and I sighed, hoping he didn’t have extra work for me.
To maintain a semblance of normality, I liked to have dinner with my brother
every night. If I left Marcus alone, he’d eat junk food or forget to eat
altogether.

“Hi, Stewart,” I answered.

“Hi, Cora. Could you come into my office for a minute?”

Apprehension gripped me.
Did
I do something wrong? Was I going to be fired?

“Um…sure. Can you tell me what the meeting is about?” If I
was going to be fired, I’d like to be mentally prepared.

“I’ll tell you in my room.” He hung up.

That was not reassuring.

I listened to the dial tone for a second before I hung up,
giving myself a few extra seconds to gather myself.

I could feel curious gazes burning into my back as I weaved
my way through the maze of cubicles to reach Stewart’s office. Most people
realized a late day meeting with the boss did not bode well.

I rapped smartly on the door.

A muffled “come in” greeted me.

I turned the knob and walked him. The smile on Stewart’s
face was strangely comforting.
Surely he
wouldn’t be happy if he had to fire me,
I reasoned.

Stewart looked like the stereotypical model of a middle
manager. His body looked soft, with a beer gut big enough to hide the waistband
of his pants. He was groomed, but his clothes never seemed to fit quite right
on him. His pants sagged at his thighs or his shirt collars were too tight on
his thick neck. Looking perpetually stressed, he always had
a
sheen
of sweat on his balding head.

He gestured to one of the flimsy chairs in front of his
desk. “Cora, please have a seat.”

Cautiously, I lowered myself into a chair and folded my
hands in my lap. Deciding not to beat around the bush, I asked, “Why do you
want to see me, Stewart?”

His doughy fingers combed through the remaining tufts of graying
hair above his ears. The display of his nervous tic made my anxiety crawl back.

He laced his pudgy hands together and placed them on the
desk. “As you might have heard, the CEO is looking to promote someone from our floor
to become his executive assistant.”

I held back my snicker.
What
a diplomatic way to say the big boss had picked the next guillotine victim
.
“I heard the rumors, but what does that have to do with me?”

He tugged on his collar. “Well, Mr. Weston has requested
that you become his new EA.”

My jaw dropped.

Say what?

Surely I had misheard. “What?” A disbelieving laugh issued
from my mouth. “You have got to be kidding me.”

Stewart did not appreciate my flippant comment and frowned
severely. “You’re to report to his office first thing tomorrow at eight am.
He’ll go over the details with you.”

My hands gripped onto the edge of the chair tightly. “But
what if I don’t want the promotion!” It was all I could do to keep my fingers
from forming air quotes around the word “promotion.”

“Why ever not? You get to work on some exciting projects and
you get paid more for it! It’s a wonderful opportunity.”

From the way he avoided making eye contact, I knew he was
lying. I wasn’t normally Stewart’s biggest fan; he was too spineless and
ineffectual to be a good supervisor, but I never actively disliked him until
this moment.

I took a deep breath to collect myself. Screaming at him
would not help my situation. “Stewart, I really like where I’m at. This
promotion should go to someone who has more seniority. I don’t deserve it. In
fact, I can recommend someone who has more experience
and
would jump at the chance to work for Mr. Weston.
Several somebodies, actually.
Why don’t you meet with him
and present him with these better qualified candidates?”

My supervisor shook his head and muttered, “Sorry. Mr.
Weston made his decision and I’m not going to question it. If you don’t want
the job, you can quit.”

I bit back an unflattering remark. “I can’t quit.”

“Then your only option is to show up for your new job
tomorrow,” he said unsympathetically, shrugging his shoulders.

Obviously, the little wimp didn’t want to risk the
displeasure of the CEO so I left his office with my mouth clamped shut. The
alternative would have been to spew word-vomit and get fired on the spot.

At least now I had a
job for another month before the sexist tyrant fired me
, I told myself
mockingly. And I was being optimistic.

When I got back to my cubicle, everyone had already left for
the day. A yellow note was stuck on my monitor. It was from Jamie.

Hope everything is ok.
Call if you need to talk.

I plucked it off the screen and smiled wryly. It made me
realize how few friends I had made during my time here. Jamie was the only one
who seemed to have penetrated the shield I built around myself after my mom
passed away. But then, Jamie rarely took no for an answer. Affection rippled
through me. As chatty as Jamie was, she was caring and sweet.

After staring at the note of a second, I put it in my purse.
I wasn’t ready to share the news yet, although I was sure the office would be
abuzz when I wasn’t at my desk tomorrow.

“Well, I’m never going to be in this cubicle again,” I murmured
sadly. I might have hated the lack of privacy, but my cubicle had represented
security and stability.

I retrieved an empty box from the copy room and gathered my
personal items. There were pitifully few– a picture of me with my mom and
brother, a potted cactus, my dad’s calculator– it was a sentimental item
that went everywhere with me– and a romance novel I read during lunch. I
stared at the four objects in the cavernous box. They looked so pathetic that I
finally stuffed everything except the plant in my purse and left the box behind.

On the El, I stared blindly out the window, lost in my
thoughts. We lived near Humboldt Park, which was a less than stellar area in
Chicago, but it was all I could afford on my salary. We had to sell the house
to pay off our mom’s medical bills. I always carried my pepper spray and walked
briskly. Other than a few minor incidents, I hadn’t encountered too many
problems. I worried more about my brother, who always had his head in the
clouds.

“Marcus, I’m home!” I called as I closed our apartment door.

“I’m in my room studying!” he screamed back.

I laughed softly. The apartment was small enough that we
could have heard each other if we spoke at a normal volume, yet both of us
persisted in raising our voices. It was a habit carried over from when we
actually had a four-bedroom, two-story house.

I fought back the wave of nostalgia, followed closely by
self-pity. I reminded myself to be grateful we had a decent place to live. The
apartment may be cramped and the super was not diligent about fixing things,
but it was clean and the bills were paid.

The reminder of bills made my stomach cramp. I needed to
figure out a way to get my old job back. Maybe I could convince Mr. Weston that
I was unsuitable for the role. It would take some diplomacy, which was not one
of my strengths, but I needed to try.

But first, I had to get dinner on the table.

“Pasta okay with you for dinner?” I asked Marcus.

“Sure!”

I busied myself preparing the meal. Like all teenagers,
Marcus was always hungry and the smell of food drew him out of his room before
I finished cooking.

He flopped his lanky frame onto one of the bar stools.

“How was school?”

“Meh…our math teacher still sucks,” he made a disgusted sound.

I sighed in relief that he wasn’t moody tonight. I wasn’t
sure if I could deal with his sullenness on top of my work crisis. After my mom
died, a lot of anger built up in him and it inevitably spilled over into our
relationship. It didn’t help that I had to uproot him from everything he knew:
his school, his home, and his friends.

BOOK: Resisting the Billionaire
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