In Love With My Boss

By: Audrey Tolhouse

Katie didn’t know his business—didn’t care anything about it. She didn’t know about his financing, competitors or understand the incredible relationships he had built along the way.

Of course, Jennifer had a hand to play in all of that too. The business relationships that had made his name in Chicago had been equally her success as well. Together, they were truly a dynamic team. She attended important meetings and had met, dined with, and sat in on several other high paying clients back when they were just potentials, and he needed her charm to seal the deal.

James paid her well for the life she breathed into the growth management consulting firm, but none of that money meant anything against the recognition she craved from him. She took a deep breath and took in the sight of her shapely frame adorned in an emerald vintage dress, the hem of which rested just above her kneecaps. It resembled a faux wrap-around with buttons along her left side. A thin, black felt belt held her poise together. Formal business casual. She nailed it every time.

With a wistful sigh, she turned from the mirror and walked from her bathroom into the living room where the potential new partner’s information had been laid out. His name was Andrew Wiles. James hadn’t given her any information as to other candidates for the slot. From what she could tell from the man’s track record, based on credentials and experience alone, he seemed like he would make a killer presence to the company face.

He had worked on big name accounts in the past and had even sat on a few private corporation boards, a thought that lingered with Jennifer as she reviewed his credentials. His previous work labeled him qualified for whatever James was planning, but the real question was whether or not they would click as a partner. Not just between James, but her as well.

Jennifer eyed the thin wrap of watch around her wrist. It was show time. There was nothing like showing up thirty minutes early to give the illusion to a candidate that you were waiting specifically for them. She grabbed the keys to her Continental Bentley and scooped the candidate’s files into her nicely manicured hands. If anything, dinner would be glamourous and the evening fun.

Twenty minutes later found her relinquishing her vehicle to the valet outside of Shanghai Terrance, mere blocks from Lake Michigan on E Superior Street in downtown Chicago. She was shown to the table within minutes of the reserved time and immediately requested a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, 2009.

Jennifer relaxed against the plush cushions of the small loveseat. The atmosphere of the Terrance was incredible and at night, it was beyond stunning. With a breathtaking view of the John Hancock shining against the dimming sky with random offices lit, the Terrance captured a mood and atmosphere was that was fit for lovers and businessmen alike. Jennifer smirked at the thought and lifted the crystal glass to her lips for a drink.

She’d exercise self-control and only have one smooth glass before the candidate arrived. Afterward, she’d leave it full during the interview and finish off whatever remained once the men departed to go their separate ways.

Crossing her legs, Jennifer drew her right arm into her lap and considered the time. Fifteen till seven. Taking a deep breath, she let her shoulders rise and fall accordingly. She closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of the Chinese cuisine floating through the atmosphere.

She didn’t think James would show up exactly at the start of their reservation—that’s what she was for—but she did expect him to arrive before their guest. At this rate, if the candidate were any sort of professional, he’d be coming within the next five minutes.

After another deep drag of the Chicago air, Jennifer opened her eyes and scanned the room. With reservations for an outside table, she wouldn’t have the luxury to see the potential first. Instead, he’d get his first glimpse of the back of her head before he’d be graced with a full front view of her body. She wondered briefly what he would look like? Was he older than Melone? Younger? Would she even like him?

Jennifer forced herself to keep calm. She had been the front “man” in a deal setting many times before. If there was anything she learned from being at James’s side throughout the years, it was that the other team couldn’t see her sweat, and that included masking her curiosity. She glanced at her watch again and pressed her lips together with a tart sigh. It was getting closer to game time, and there was still no sign of James.

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