Authors: Mia Carson
We were ten minutes from home when he finally replied, “Well, it’s nothing too alarming, but there are signs of a new lesion growing close to the brainstem.”
My heart lurched, and I looked at him with worried eyes. “Okay.” I tried to keep my voice calm, but it shook a little. “What do they plan to do about it?”
My dad stared stoically out the windshield in front of him. “They’re upping my immune-suppressant dosage, and hopefully, that should prevent further growth. They can always do IV cortisol steroids if any symptoms appear.”
I nodded as I focused on the road ahead, and my mind brought up an image of the offer letter from Huntington Productions, which was still tucked into my purse. According to the HR woman, Ms. Levy, Braden had agreed that my dad and brother could receive the same great health insurance benefits I’d get.
After I pulled into Dad’s duplex driveway and helped him inside, I stood in the living room as he settled into his ancient, tattered recliner chair. “Dad?” I said, causing him to look up. “What if I could get you on the best health insurance plan in L.A.? What if you could see the top MS doctor in the city?”
After I’d told Dad about the personal assistant position I’d been offered, and about the inclusive medical benefits, I called Judith Levy and accepted the offer. I couldn’t give up the chance to get Dad to the best doctor and not have monumental bills with long-term payment plans anymore. It had been the final straw, the factor that tipped the scales in favor of taking the position.
The next morning, at five minutes to nine, I stood—temporarily frozen—in front of the glass doors that led into Huntington Productions. Once I’d officially accepted the personal assistant position and called to quit the cleaning service, I’d done a speedy shopping trip to ensure I had something other than my interview outfit to wear on my first day.
So there I was, dressed in my new, dark gray slacks with one-inch heeled pumps, a lavender button-down top, and a trendy, dark gray half-shrug.
You can do this,
I told myself firmly.
Just keep it professional, ignore the strong attraction to your new boss, and get your screenplays in the right hands at the earliest opportunity.
With a deep, steadying breath, I pushed through the front doors, as prepared as I’d ever be for my first day of work.
I was as nervous as a school boy on his first date as I got ready for work Friday morning. I’d been thrilled that Lexi accepted the position yesterday and had sat down to plan out what to do on her first day. I already had a receptionist, so Lexi wouldn’t have to answer phones or greet people for meetings with me or other tasks of that nature. She’d be free to help me with errands, check in on various departments and—this was my personal favorite—accompany me on business-related trips when I deemed it important to have her assistance. In fact, I’d already started setting up our first trip to Rio in two weeks to oversee the filming of our new action-mystery flick.
Once I’d tried on three different shirts and two pairs of jeans, I ended up leaving the house in a sky-blue, button-down shirt, dark wash jeans, and a casual pair of mocha brown loafers. We tended to dress casually at Huntington Productions, especially on Fridays, unless we had a big press conference or meeting.
My commute from Malibu to Hollywood was usually just under an hour, since I knew the best ways to avoid traffic, though sometimes I stayed in my beachfront house in Santa Monica which cut the commute to one-quarter of the time. It was almost eight-thirty when I pulled my shiny black Ferrari into my reserved underground parking spot.
I took a long breath, entered the parking garage elevator, and rode it straight up to the top floor to wait for Lexi in my office. Per my request, Judith Levy had told Lexi to come in by nine that morning, so I had thirty minutes until she arrived.
I busied myself answering a slew of emails, starting with one from the art director for our next big shoot—the one that would be filmed in Brazil—entitled
Hot on Her Heels
. It was a mix of mystery, action, murder, and romance and would, of course, star Keith McCullough and an up-and-coming young actress.
The chime of my phone with an incoming text caused me to pull away from my computer and open the message. It was from my sister:
Remember, act totally professional – NO FLIRTING! You have to make up for your past indiscretion with this Lexi girl. Love ya! ~A.
I laughed to myself and texted back:
Haha – Don’t worry, will behave perfectly, you’ll see! Love ya too
Adrianna was extremely excited about my plan to win Lexi over, and she loved the fact that I genuinely seemed to like this young woman, unlike my usual conquests, as she put it. The smile caused by her text remained on my face as I finished my response to the art director’s email along with a few others.
Before I knew it, my phone intercom buzzed and Judith’s voice came through. “Mr. Huntington, Alexandra Montgomery is here. Shall I bring her up to your office?”
My heart rate picked up a notch, and I pushed the button to answer. “That would be great, thank you, Judith.” As I waited and tried to look relaxed at my desk despite the rush of nerves, I raked a hand through my purposefully messy hair.
Within two minutes, there was a knock on my door, and Judith entered with Lexi behind her, a tentative smile on her face. “Good morning, Ms. Montgomery, please have a seat.” I stood up and gestured to one of the high-backed leather chairs that faced my desk as Lexi walked around Judith. “Thanks, Judith,” I waved to her with a smile as she closed the door, and Lexi sat down, fidgeting with the purse in her hands.
For several beats, an awkward silence filled the room as the two of us faced each other across the desk. I forced myself to keep my eyes on her face and not even glance anywhere lower than her neck like my instincts wanted to. Lexi’s hair was pulled back into a low ponytail, a few dark strands framing her soft cheeks, which were beautifully pale. A flush of pink around the cheekbones added to her ethereal beauty.
Her eyes flitted from me to the window, then down to her hands and back up, sparkling with nervousness and anticipation. Though I’d only had a few short encounters with Lexi, one thing I knew—and loved—was that her expressions were refreshingly open.
She was definitely physically striking as well, with a toned hourglass figure, those big green eyes framed by thick lashes, and a luminescent complexion which contrasted with her black hair, not to mention her plump pink lips. While that was absolutely a part of what attracted me to Lexi, it was also the obvious passion, intelligence, and sweet naivety in her personality that captivated me.
I cleared my throat and finally broke the silence. “Well… first, I’m glad you decided to take the position in spite of your personal reservations. Thank you for being open about that. I really think you’ll be a great asset to all of us at Huntington Productions.” I smiled a warm, non-flirty smile, which she returned.
“Thank you,” Lexi responded. “I’m really excited to work here and learn the ins and outs of the industry. I… uh, don’t have a lot of experience in film production, though I did some screenwriting in college.”
I nodded, having seen what she’d written as her career objective on her resume. “No worries about being inexperienced,” I started, then cleared my throat and realized she might take that phrase the wrong way. “What I mean is, I’m sure you’ll catch on to the wide world of the film production process quickly. And I’d love to see your screenplays sometime soon.” Her face lit up eagerly, and her eyes glittered with excitement.
I handed her a sheet that briefly detailed all of our departments and listed the names and numbers of the heads of each one. “Here’s kind of a cheat sheet to help you learn the different parts of our company, what they do, and who’s in charge. Why don’t we get started on a tour and you can ask questions as we go? Let’s start with your office, okay?”
I stood and Lexi followed me to the door, looking overwhelmed as she glanced from the sheet to me. “Right, okay. That sounds good, thanks.”
With a polite smile, I gestured for her to go first out of my office door and again forced my gaze away from her hips and butt. I led her to the right, down the hall just one door over, opened it, and motioned for her to go in.
“Oh,” Lexi said as she surveyed the huge office, complete with a wall-length window, a desk with leather chairs, a mini-fridge, coffee-maker, sink with cabinets, and several potted tropical plants. “It’s gorgeous.” She looked at me with narrow eyes and a tilt of her head. “Do all personal assistants get such a plush office? Right next to yours?”
I nodded and walked over to a side door as I felt my cheeks heat. “Actually, it connects to my office from here, just in case we need to communicate quickly.” I tried to sound reassuring and above-board, though I felt slightly sheepish about having her office directly connected to mine. But it made sense if you thought about it—she was going to be my right-hand woman, after all.
Lexi’s eyes widened as she looked at the connecting door. She cleared her throat. “Well, it’s a beautiful office, thanks. I’d like to go on that tour now, if that’s okay?” She hurried to the door, clearly flustered by being alone with me in her new office. A tension filled the room, one that made my entire body heat up and my pulse quicken.
“Of course, afterwards, you can have some time to get settled in your new office. I have a meeting with our post-production graphic designer, and later, we have a meeting with all the department heads to discuss progress on our latest project.” She blinked at me, overwhelmed yet again as we walked down the hall towards the elevators. I gave her a sympathetic smile, pushed the down button, and said, “Don’t worry. I know it’s a lot at first, but by this time next week, you’ll be used to everything.”
Lexi released a sigh. “Thanks. I know, Mr. Huntington,” she smiled.
Arching an eyebrow, I responded, “Of course. And by the way, you don’t have to call me Mr. Huntington. Only Judith Levy does that. Everyone else just calls me Braden. Unless you prefer Mr. Huntington, of course,” I added, hoping I hadn’t sounded too flirty.
“No, Braden’s better, I think. And you can call me Lexi.” She offered a partial smile.
The elevator doors opened, and as I let her go on in front of me, I couldn’t stop my eyes from flickering down to below her waist for just a moment. Even though she wore simple, dark gray dress pants with the shirt tucked into the waist band, Lexi looked hot as hell from behind. The pants clung to her shapely hips and her toned, rounded ass very snugly.
I felt a prickle of heat shoot from my stomach to my crotch as I wondered absently what kind of exercise she did to get such a firm butt, and also how it would feel beneath the grip of my hands as I…
You can’t think like this when working with her,
I scolded myself.
For heaven’s sake, get it under control
Once in the elevator, I made sure to stand several feet away from her, staring stone-faced at the doors as they closed. The elevator felt unbearably hot, though that might have had something to do with the fact that my veins ran with fire. I was relieved to get out on the first floor and away from the enclosed space with my beautiful new assistant.
We made quick work of the tour from the first floor all the way back up to the fourth and top floors where our offices were because we breezed through each level and department. Lexi scribbled frantically in a large notebook she’d brought, trying to keep up with everything. She looked like a really cute, really earnest student.
After we finished the tour, I left Lexi in her new office to get settled in, look over her notes, and get situated with passwords and access to our company files on the brand new Mac laptop I’d bought for her. Our IT guy would come up shortly to help with that last part. I made a beeline for Scott’s office, who’d been out while I’d given Lexi the tour.
Shutting the door to my best friend’s office behind me, I sank into a spare office chair and told Scott, “Okay, the whole not flirting and pushing down my attraction for Lexi thing is going to be a lot more challenging than I thought.”
As soon as Braden left and the door to my new office clicked shut, I released a long sigh and dropped my head onto my desk on top of my arms. It was only eleven in the morning, and I was utterly exhausted, both physically and emotionally.
On top of the normal first-day-on-the-job jitters, as this was my first career-oriented position, I also had to deal with the stomach-twisting magnetism between Braden and me. While he’d been nothing but the perfect gentleman, as he’d promised, I could feel the sexual tension zip through the air when we were in the same room, and it wasn’t a one-way feeling—Braden positively exuded heightened testosterone around me, though he hid it well.
And that connecting door between our offices—which was logical to have since we’d be working closely together—felt secretive and suggestive. I lifted my head, and my gaze darted over to that door. I swiveled around in my leather office chair to look out the huge window at the view of Hollywood Boulevard.
My veins filled with adrenaline as I surveyed my view, which had a far-off glimpse of the ocean. Thoughts of Braden momentarily left my mind as I took a picture with my phone and sent it to Clara. I texted a message along with the picture that read:
Okay, this might be totally worth it – lol
This is the actual view from my own private office—wtf!!
I hit send and giggled.