In Love With My Boss

By: Audrey Tolhouse

The crowd began to clap. Several individuals stood. Jennifer flipped to another picture showing Jerome, a medium height, broad-shouldered brown-skinned man wearing a blue gown and matching mortarboard. More individuals stood to clap. She heard a few whistles and allowed herself a small smile.

“When you choose to fund this foundation,” Jennifer regained control of the floor. She didn’t look away or down this time. “You’re doing more than supporting a mere charity, but an organization that establishes life and helps secure futures.” Her last words were swallowed by a surge of a standing ovation. Jennifer sucked in a gasp of air at the reception of the crowd.

The announcer was at her side in a moment and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. “Ladies and gentle, another round of applause for that incredible speech and presentation.” He grabbed her hand and lifted it, “Ms. Rhodes everyone.”

The applause pushed to deafening. Jennifer faced the announcer, taking his face in this time. She had seen him before several times but had never spoken to him. That was James position. He was the president of two different companies, a young software development firm and another SEO consulting practice.

“That’s one hell of a speech, young lady,” He pulled her into another hug, grabbing one of her free hands firmly.

“Thank you, Dave” Jennifer managed. He looked her over before he let her go. As she began to walk towards the short staircase to the floor, she heard the crowd begin another round of applause. It wasn’t until Jennifer began to descend the steps that she began to feel he own heartbeat still rattling around in her chest. She placed a hand over it as she approached the last step.

“What a message,” a smooth voice called to Jennifer.

She blinked, and searched for the sound, eyes settling on a familiar cut of well-carved man. Dark, shining eyes gleamed back at her.

“Andrew,” she breathed.

“In the flesh,” he held his hand towards Jennifer. After a pause, she took it hesitantly.

Chapter Five

Up the Ladder

NO SOONER THAN she had begun to leave the side of the stage, a small gathering had begun to form around her.

“Incredible speech,” a man commented.

“I never knew Melone was such a philanthropist,” another tried to snake in.

“Thank you, esteemed guests,” Andrew spoke, tugging Jennifer’s arm lightly, “We’re going to take our seats in the Atrium now. You’ll have a chance to speak with Ms. Rhodes after the auction begins.”

Jennifer sucked in air, happy to have Andrew keep the hungry wolves away. There were prestigious men and women here, and then there were others looking to make that hotspot connection in the hopes of securing a budding relationship to boost their business. Even though, Melone wasn’t there, speaking on his behalf made Jennifer the go-to “man” now.

Andrew had led her around the side of the tables and just several feet from the back side door which led to the stairs before Jennifer remembered her clutch. She pulled back against Andrew. He stopped and turned to face her.

“My purse,” she said softly, glancing towards the overbearing throng of individuals looking for an opportunity to speak with her. Andrew held up his other hand that she had assumed had been free and saw her clutch. He held it out towards her, and smiled as she took it. She checked the contents.

“Is there a thief among us?” He joked.

Jennifer smiled and tossed her hair. She ignored his comment and moved to his side. He guided her by touching the low of her back gently. His warm touch took her by surprise. She could still feel her body shaking from the adrenaline rush of giving the presentation. Andrew’s presence near her seemed to calm the flutters out and soothe them into silence. She stared up at him from his side until he glanced down at her with questioning eyes.

“Where are you taking me?” She sputtered after a moment.

“Upstairs to our table,” he responded smoothly. He moved through the posted door and towards the small flight of stairs.

“I’ve never been upstairs before,” Jennifer remarked, following behind him. She shrugged, “I usually sit on the first floor with everyone else.”

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