In Love With My Boss

By: Audrey Tolhouse

“Are you done with that?” His voice was hard and angled. Frowning, Jennifer started to begin to say more, but James continued, this time with a softer voice, “I know you, Jennifer. You can do this. She’s been cheating on me. I don’t know how long—I don’t care. I already bought my ticket. I’m sorry to drop this on you. You’ll have to step in.”

The anger was back. Jennifer’s hands started to shake. She wanted to say more, but she knew that tone all too well, the tone that reminded her that he still paid her salary to tell her what to do.

“What the hell do you expect me to do?” She said through clenched teeth.

After another pause, James answered. “He’s qualified. I know he is. How is he? Do you like him?”

Jennifer tried to blink back tears of frustration. She looked up at the sky, trying to take the advice she had just given and took big gulps of forced air into her lungs. Hanging low through the Terrance were meticulously placed Chinese lanterns. Their warm glow blurred as she sought to latch her eyes onto something. She found the anchor by settling on the John Hancock beacon.

The blurs and swirls slowed and then stopped. After several more seconds, Jennifer looked towards her table. Andrew was finishing the rest of his glass. Once the last of the wine fell into his mouth, he leaned forward to set the cup down. As he sat back, leaning against the loveseat, he turned his eyes to her. They locked, and neither looked away.

“I think I could like him,” she said softly into the phone.

“Then tell him he’ll have a test run in the partnership. See what he knows about our clients in Aurora. Get him a ticket and still plan to leave Wednesday,” there a moment of brief silence before he added, “And take him to the benefit.”

“Your speech,” her words were strained, but even she heard the silent plea and beg within her vocals for him to reconsider. There was another pause.

“You give it.” The line went dead.

Jennifer’s jaw tightened and locked. She clenched the phone in her head, looking away from Andrew, aware that he still looked in her direction. He couldn’t know that anything was wrong; but, he could likely already guess that things weren’t going according as planned.

She put her back to him again, facing the clear glass doors of the establishment. A few waiters glanced at her but, knowing who she was, kept their distance. She hadn’t caused a scene, and the ambiance was still perfect with soft music in the background and a gentle hum of voices from other guest and patrons.

Jennifer closed her eyes and forced several more breaths. She wasn’t sure how much time had elapsed and didn’t care. After the compliments Andrew had just given her, she didn’t want to destroy her image with him. The interview went both ways.

In a second she turned and pulled up a smile, meeting Andrew’s eyes readily. He looked her up the length of her full frame as she approached the table. The closer she neared, the more he smiled. It was a sexy smile that hinted of experience he could share with her.

“Please forgive that interruption, Mr. Wiles,” her voice had returned to the silky smooth liquid it was known for.

“You can call me Andrew,” he responded, voice still as deep and alluring as before her phone call, only now, the sound seemed to stretch towards her very soul and smooth the wrinkles in her anger out. “Everything all right?” He watched her carefully.

She nodded and broke the eye contact. Using the brief moment to replace the phone into her clutch, she tapped into her game face, the one she wore when it was time to put her little girl aside and play with the big dogs. She met Andrew’s gaze and she wet her lips.

“We were speaking about your interest in the Melone Group. Tell me about it,” she picked up where she left off and took another deep, calculated intake of air.

Andrew didn’t miss a beat. “I’ve been tracking the Melone Group for quite some time. I know who your partners are and your biggest competitors keeping you from hitting the firm’s real potential.”

Jennifer smirked and raised a brow. “That’s a killer line, but be more specific.”

“Dolls Kill, Adore Me, and Rocket Panda,” he paused, smiling as Jennifer’s smile faded. “They’re your biggest and Seogen in Denver will finally help you crack that half a million dollar ceiling of retained clients.”

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