In Love With My Boss

By: Audrey Tolhouse

A chuckle rumbled from Jennifer. She didn’t even try to hide it. Andrew had definitely done his research on the firm. She wasn’t easily impressed, having sat with many men who thought they were just as fancy as the previous peacock. With a firm nod, Jennifer allowed the soft chuckle to grow into a full smile.

“How do you feel about joining me for our bi-annual benefit tomorrow and then again on Wednesday for a flight to Denver? We’d like you to be present at our meeting with Seogen on Friday.”

Andrew’s face hardened. He looked past Jennifer towards the door. “Melone isn’t coming is he?”

Jennifer swallowed and shook her head. “No, I’m afraid he’s not.” She took a deep breath and cursed the fact that James hadn’t given her more details.

After a stalled second, Andrew sighed; a flicker of annoyance crossed his face. “Just like Melone,” he grumbled.

“Is this going to be a problem?”

He shook his head quickly. “No,” his smile returned promptly to his gorgeous face, “not at all.” A passing waiter stopped and immediately began to refill both glasses. A look towards Jennifer was a quiet question of whether or not they were ready to select an order.

“We’ll take the menus now,” she said to the water. They nodded. She reached for the hardback bi-fold menu, using the structure to shield her eyes momentarily from Andrew so she could breathe. His intellect was something the company could use, but James would have to get his act together to keep this self-made man around she mused. He was something to look at and the way he gave her his full attention made her senses tingle.

“Do you know what Melone has in mind?” James asked after ordering. His voice was the first to break the silence once the waiter retreated.

Jennifer re-crossed her legs and looked towards her manicured nails. She knew the company was worth at least a quarter million in stocks and investments, but beyond that, there was no telling how much James would want the partner to pay for a buy-in. Did he really expect her to seal the deal by herself?

“A trial run.”

“With the biggest client to lay eyes on the Melone Group?” Andrew frowned. “Is he serious?”

Jennifer swallowed tact in her throat. She couldn’t agree more with Andrew. James was making a huge mistake ditching the biggest meeting the company had ever seen. She needed to think of a lie, but nothing came to mind.

Instead, she swallowed again and reached for her glass. Her eyes stayed with Andrew’s as she tried to wash the gritty sand down from her throat. When she finished, all she could manage was, “I have faith in James.” She gripped the handle of her glass tightly. “I’m sure he’s already discussed his inability to attend the meeting in person with the board.”

Andrew’s face changed under the dim light. “You’re sure?” He asked with a smirk. “Sounds like you don’t know.” His tone changed suddenly, “Does James make a habit of this?” Jennifer found the strength to produce a smile and shook her head. “And the benefit speech?” He asked. Jennifer forced the smile to grow, showing clenched teeth and a taut jaw.

Andrew barked out a laugh and shook his head in what Jennifer could only assume was disbelief. He took a deep breath, his shoulders heaving up and down. “You must be one hell of an assistant.” He ran his eyes over her body, taking his time before he met her eyes. After a moment, he asked rather curiously, “Will I get one as beautiful as you?”

The question threw her off guard. She choked on the thought and sputtered. Leaning forward, she sat the glass in her hand down quickly.

Andrew laughed again. “I didn’t mean to fluster you,” he said quickly, watching Jennifer regain her composure.

She fanned her face and glanced around. Her eyes darted to the glass doors separating the two sections of the restaurant. A part of her still hoped that James would be just around the corner. After a breath of pause, she let out a visible sigh. No one passed through the doors except the maître d’ escorting a couple to a table.

Turning back to Andrew, Jennifer let her smile drop. “Do you like to fly?”

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