Not Planning on You

By: Sydney Landon

Chapter One

“Crapple Dapple, are you kidding me?” Suzy looked at her best friend Claire in horror.

“Crapple Dapple?”

Waving her hand in a vague way, Suzy said, “Oh yeah, I’m trying to stop cursing so much at work. The new receptionist they hired for our section crosses herself every time I roll out a four letter word; it’s kind of creepy.” Suzy gave Claire a few moments to recover from the laughter shaking her body and got back to the question she’d asked. “Claire, earth to Claire, come back.” Wiping the tears from her eyes, Claire finally composed herself enough to continue.

“Um, yeah, sorry Suz but you heard me correctly. Gray is going to take over daily operations at Danvers for the foreseeable future and Jason prefers that he relocate here to Myrtle Beach to do that. He trusts Gray, and although he will continue on as the CEO of Danvers, Gray will step up as the President of Operations.”

Last year, Danvers International had merged with Mericom creating the largest communications company in the United States. Grayson Merimon, or Gray as everyone called him, was the CEO of Mericom which was based in Charleston, South Carolina. Much to her chagrin, he’d been spending a lot of time at the Danvers Headquarters since the merger was complete. Tall, dark and handsome—yes he had it all. The man looked like sex on a stick and he’d made no secret of the fact that he was very interested in her. Suzy however wasn’t interested in him or so she kept telling herself. After being cheated on by her high school sweetheart, the man she thought she’d be spending the rest of her life with, men were now only good for one thing and that one thing was something she wanted to avoid in the work place.

“It’s the kid isn’t it? It hasn’t even been born yet and already it’s turning my life upside down,” Suzy groaned.

“Well, Jason does want to be able to spend more time with me and the baby when it’s born so yes that has something to do with it.”

“I knew it!” Catching herself least she offend Claire, Suzy tried to get control. She also tried to understand why she was suddenly terrified at the thought of seeing Gray daily. She’d spent a lot of time in his company since the merger. She was always careful to have someone else present, though, when meeting with Gray. The strong, gutsy person inside her wondered why that was necessary, the woman inside her knew. There was something in Gray’s eyes that called to her, seemed to devour her soul every time she looked at him. He scared her, he made her want to run and do everything she could to save herself.

Suzy realized that Claire was watching her, a knowing look in her eyes. Quickly putting her defenses up, Suzy did what she did best, bluffed. “Ugh, well no biggie I guess. Just another uptight geek to grace our presence here, right? I mean, why should it bother me, I haven’t given him a thought since he was here annoying me last time. Maybe he will actually buy himself a pair of jeans or something though. Those uptight, heavily starched suits are so depressing. He should really lay off the hair products. Do you think a hurricane could move that hair?” Ending her tirade, Suzy grimaced as she looked at Claire. Ok, maybe she should have limited those comments to no more than two. She was rattled and when that happened, the words kept flowing no matter how hard she tried to stop them. She was grateful that it was Claire though, someone who would never judge her or try to peel the layers back to see what all the protests were hiding. Claire didn’t have to, because she knew.

Suzy had met Claire at Danvers International where they both worked years ago. Claire was the personal assistant to the company president and CEO, Jason Danvers, while she handled all the special events for Danvers, for which there were many. Two people couldn’t be more opposite than they were but it worked. She was loud and outgoing, Claire was quiet and thoughtful. Claire had long auburn hair that hung loose around her shoulders; thank God she’d given up the ponytails and buns she used to wear. Suzy had long red hair that she styled to suit her mood. She also dressed to suit her moods and leather and stiletto heels played a large role. They were both blessed to be a little above average in height, and she couldn’t lie, she loved her perky plump boobs. If you could take half of each, they would make the perfect person.

It was so hard to believe that the person sitting in front of her now was married to Jason Danvers the CEO of Danvers and pregnant with his child. The fairy tale had finally come true for Claire and her prince charming had slayed all of her dragons. Suzy couldn’t think of anyone who deserved it more. After a lifetime spent with an abusive father who was killed along with her sister in a car accident several years ago, Claire had struggled to support her ailing mother. When her mother suffered a stroke, her medication was altered and her recovery was miraculous. The very medication meant to help her was actually harming her. Now she lived next door to Claire in a house designed by Jason. Claire had given up the boring clothing and hair style she’d always favored and now she practically glowed. She was still Jason’s assistant, until after the baby was born. If Suzy were a person prone to crying, this story would certainly have her sobbing.

Claire reached over and covered Suzy’s hand with her own. “Suz, it’ll be fine. Gray really isn’t that bad when you get to know him. I’m actually quite fond of him now. His brother Nicholas will also be moving here to assist with the daily operations.”

“Nicholas? Stuffed shirt has a brother? God please don’t tell me he’s smoking hot too!”

Laughing, Claire said, “Well I don’t know what you consider smoking but he looks similar to Gray in coloring and he’s quite good looking. Not as good looking as Jason because no one looks that good but well above average.”

Looking at Claire in horror, Suzy sputtered out “Geez, where do these guys come from? Jason, Gray, and if Nicholas looks even half as good, every woman here will stay in heat.”

“Every woman, Suz?”

“Um, well not you obviously, I mean, except for Jason and not me because my head isn’t turned by a good piece of eye candy, but for sure every other woman here.”

Suzy knew that her friend wasn’t fooled for a minute by all of her protests so she wisely decided to change the subject. Even as she asked all the right questions about Claire’s new life, her mind was on a tall man with dark hair and compelling green eyes that seemed to look through all of her defenses and she was deathly afraid that the battle to storm the walls to her heart had already begun.

Chapter Two

Suzy stepped off the elevator at the fourteenth floor of Danvers International. This floor was primarily the hub of the advertising department for Danvers. Handling all the special events required her to work closely with them so having her office on the same floor was beneficial and saved her considerable time running between floors. It would be nice to be closer to her friend Claire, but she was just an elevator ride away.

Suzy cringed as she saw the new receptionist up ahead waving frantically at her. Ella was someone she tried to avoid as much as possible. She couldn’t possibly be more than thirty years old but had hair like a seventy-year-old church lady. Ok, not that there was anything wrong with that, but come on, this girl was never going to catch a man with that big old teased-up mullet hair style. If she could stand one second of extra time in her company, Suzy would insist on giving her a makeover.

“Ms. Denton, Ms. Denton, I didn’t think you’d ever come back.” Looking down at her watch in disapproval, Ella shook her head and stared at her as if waiting for an apology for being longer than an hour.

Just managing to keep from snapping at her, Suzy asked, “Was there something you needed Ella?”

“Yes, I have a letter for you from Brittany.” Dropping her voice to almost a whisper, Ella handed her an envelope and said, “I don’t think you’re going to like this at all.”

Never one for patience Suzy ripped the envelope open with Ella practically hanging over her shoulder and read the short paragraph inside. Feeling smoke literally steam from her ears, Suzy yelled “Fu….” Seeing Ella’s eyes widen in alarm Suzy quickly made a substitution, “truck!” Truck, really? Where was the satisfaction in that particular word? Even Ella looked confused fully expecting the mother of all curse words.

“Ms. Denton, what is it? I saw Brittany take all her stuff with her, even her stapler.” Ella’s face reflected horror as if she’d just admitted that Brittany had stopped in the lobby and smoked a joint on her way out. “I knew she was up to something.”

“Ella, it’s nothing to concern yourself with. I’ll handle it.” Seeing Ella forming a protest, Suzy gathered herself and walked towards her corner office at the end of the hallway. Slamming the door behind her, Suzy let the curse words flow. Brittany left her letter of resignation. She was going to elope with her boyfriend and would not be coming back. No notice, no nothing. She should have known better than to hire someone that popped bubble gum constantly and said, ‘like you know’ at least fifty times a day.

Under normal circumstances, replacing Brittany wouldn’t be a hardship; she’d been fed up with her for some time. Since getting involved with her boyfriend who played in a band, she’d gotten more and more unreliable. She was late almost every morning and had been calling in sick at least once a month.

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