There was only one thing worse than waking up in the morning. It was waking up knowing that I would get to see the face of my boss again.
Criiing! Criiing! Criiing!
The sound of my alarm jolted me out of my dream. I stepped out of the bed, turning off the alarm clock on the bedside table. Sighing, I tossed the blanket off my body and went to the bathroom for a quick cold shower.
Afterwards, I slipped into my office clothes and covered my face with a light makeup and put on my favorite red checkered scarf around my neck. I debated whether I should wear heels or the brand new leather boots Chelsea had given to me in my first month.
But then, my phone beeped. I noticed new voicemails on the notification. It was from my coworkers, the other secretaries in the executive department. I picked up my phone and listened to them one by one.
Karen: Congratulations on your 3rd month, Audrey!
Anna: Congrats, Audrey! We should celebrate! How about we dance later?
Dave: Your employment evaluation will come out today! I'm hoping for positive feedback. Congrats!
Ella: Wow, congratulations, dear Audrey! No probationary employee has ever lasted that long with Mr. Stark!
The last message I received was from Jacey.
Congratulations to both of us! - J
I smiled at her text.
I still couldn’t believe time had gone so fast, and it was already in my third month.
Honestly, I didn't know if enjoyed working for Stark. Every day for the last twelve weeks had been painful for me. Ever since Dave Kline went to South America doing some other things from him, Stark pretty much had me do all the job, which I knew it’s going to be my task anyway, but the man freaking meticulous and had set so many rules.
I sat on his meetings among the company’s executives, taking note of every single detail, accompanied in all of his outside businesses, but not riding in the same vehicle with him, read his corporate email and reply to them, make his coffee thrice a day and getting mad if it was late, and lastly, he had me do errands that was not in my job description like picking up his dry cleaning, or sometimes run to store just to purchase a gift to his mistresses.
Unfortunately, he had me dreaming about him every night. In my imagination, he was on my bed, spreading my thighs wide, devouring my body, running his lips on my skin, then he would pound into me until I couldn't feel my legs anymore. But there were also times that I wanted to slap him from being an asshole.
I came into the office early because I didn't want to see a lion like the other day. I overslept and then I came late to the office. I was a bit feverish and my throat had been scratchy for days. It was a symptom if I had an incoming cold. Thankfully, my body could still handle the daily tasks.
As I was about to put down my things on my desk, Mr. Kline knocked on my door,” Audrey?”
“Yes Mr. Kline?”
“I need you to check if the conference room is cleared for Mr. Stark’s meeting at ten o’clock with Miss Prince,” he said,” and also, I need you to contact Miss Jasmine Green and ask her about the new fabric samples from Rome.”
“Right away, Mr. Klein,” I replied, then he turns away.
Mr. Stark wasn't in yet when I came into his office. It was seven forty-five, which gave me fifteen minutes before he arrived. I organized the files on his desk, changed his mug whilst I was brewing his morning coffee using his personal coffee brewer and put away his dry cleaning from his private closet.
As I was checking the coffee machine, my phone repeatedly buzzed in my pocket.
Several chats came in.
Employee 1: Mr. Beautiful is here!
Employee 2: He's wearing a Brioni suit today!
Employee 3: Ugh, he's yummy!
Employee 4: Mom told me he saw him last night at The Lounge with Maxine Perez
Employee 5: Another supermodel he banged? But guys you know that woman is living Barbie doll.
I rolled my eyes and slid the phone back in my pocket.
I immediately poured coffee in his cup and placed it on his desk. At the very moment he stepped on his office, his scent filled the whole room. He was talking on his phone, he walked straight to his desk, looking sexy as ever in his three-piece black suit and his sleek Italian-leather shoes shone so brightly against the office light. And yes, Gabriel Stark didn't wear the same shoes twice.
“Yes, I understand. Thank you,” he ended his call, looking up and down at me.
“Good morning Mr. Stark.”
“Is there a reason why you are still here?” he asked in glacial tone, then he continued behind his desk.
I took a deep breath, then let those sharp words come and go. I usually don't wait for him whenever I was organizing his office in the morning. He’d always tell me to leave before he could arrive. He didn’t want people walking around his office.
“Yes, sir. I have emailed you all the updates you need, and cleared the conference room for your meeting today, and also gave Mr. Kline the spreadsheet you will need in the meeting later.”
“No need to recite that, Miss Hopkins. I can read the updates on the email. What exactly do you want to say?”
I cleared my throat. “I just remembered that I have an important appointment this morning, so I’m getting your permission if I could leave, then I should be back after lunch.”
He raised an eyebrow. “The last time you came out early, I ended up saving you.”
“This is a different appointment.”
“Did you at least call Miss Green?”
“What about Maya? Tanya Claire’s manager?”
“She’s coming tomorrow at one o’clock,” I informed.
I held my breath to prevent myself from sighing. I hated it when he couldn’t fucking stop intimidating me with his scrutinizing gaze. And after all those months I had worked for him, I never even heard him thanking me for making me his slave.
“Well then, I’ll see you after your another important appointment,” he said. “Close the door when you leave.”
An hour later, I stepped into the dazzling reception area of Gilmore Shopping Malls main office. My important appointment wasn’t just a simple appointment. It was a job interview.
I’d passed the first two rounds, thanks for the probation at Stark Apparel. The company’s good name and reputation were known to any other companies. They had welcomed me as if I was a VIP guest. Now, I was approaching the final interview—the last one-on-one interview with CEO. I took an elevator to the executive’s floor.
I knew I still didn’t receive an employment evaluation at Stark Apparel, but my three-month contract was ending today. I needed to find a new job whatever the evaluation result might be. Moreover, I didn’t think I could work properly around Mr. Stark without undressing him in my thoughts.
I already got over to the fact he was Liam’s dead ringer but I didn’t move on to the point that he could still make me wet despite being an asshole. I didn’t want to be treated like a slave anymore.
“Are you Miss Hopkins?” the receptionist greeted me with a bright smile the moment I stepped into the lobby.
“Yes, for my final interview.”
She grinned. “Follow me, Miss Hopkins. Mr. Gilmore is ready to see you now.”
I followed her into the bright halls. I was already envisioning myself walking down these halls next week—walking with confidence and smiling at everyone. The blonde receptionist opened the glass door to a spacious office, and inside, the late fifties gray-haired man was smiling back at me as I approached his desk.
“Good morning, Mr. Gilmore.” I reached out a hand to him and then he stood and then I shook his hand.
“Good morning, Miss Hopkins. It’s great to finally meet you and congratulations on passing the interview rounds.”
“It’s great to meet you too, sir.” I smiled.
“Take a seat.” He sat behind his desk as well, then I did as I told.
“You came from a good company—one of the best should I just say. Mr. Stark and I have a good relationship in comes to business. But you said your evaluation for the full-time position is supposed to come out today. Do you not want to continue working there?”
“Ah, the fashion industry isn’t really my strong point,” I said honestly. “I came here because business is my specialty.”
“Ah, I see. Well, I am impressed with your resume. I don’t think we have anyone here who was a first in their business degree and a former employee from Stark Apparel.”
I smiled sweetly. I already had a good feeling that the next thing he was going to say was, when can you start?
“Considering your application, I think you would bring a good deal to my company, Miss Hopkins,” he said after a few seconds. “I think I can—”
“I can start today, Mr. Gilmore. Like today, right now.”
Mr. Gilmore stared back at me. “Well…” He looked down on my resume on his desk,” let me just say this, Miss Hopkins. You are impressive, but I don’t think you would fit in here.”
“I-I don’t understand. I’m sure I didn’t have a problem with the previous interviews. You said I would bring a good deal—”
“Listen, Miss Hopkins,” he interrupted. “As I have said, Mr. Stark and I have a very good relationship in the industry. I can’t hire you because I don’t want to become blacklisted to Mr. Stark.”
”I’m sorry?” I frowned, confused. “What does my application here have to do with my future ex-boss?”
He sighed. “We called Stark Apparel’s HR, and they say you are working directly to him and also a candidate for the executive assistant position.”
I blinked. Me? A candidate? What? ”I am working directly to Mr. Kline, his right hand man.”
He cleared his throat. “You know what I mean, Miss Hopkins.”
“What if I wanted to work with someone else? What if I don’t want to be his assistant? Your company has nothing to do with Mr. Stark.”
“He does. Mr. Stark invested in this company two years ago and also one of the reasons why this company is still running Miss Hopkins. He started selling his premium apparels in my shopping malls, giving me twenty percent of the sales in addition to his investment. I don’t want to pay him back by pirating his prospective executive assistant.”
I finally let out a sharp breath, unable to speak.
“Besides, when he called me, he made it clear that if hired you or even give you consideration, he would rather sue me.”
I felt the blood in my cheeks drained. “You told him that I was here?”
“No, not at all. He called me just a few minutes before you arrived.”
My shoulder dropped to the floor.
“It’s really a pleasure meeting you, Miss Hopkins. The executive assistant with Mr. Stark will make you a successful individual in the corporate world. I highly suggest that you would grab the opportunity.”
I forced a smile, shook his hand once more and left the room nicely.
I was pissed and confused at the same time. I couldn’t believe he blocked me from getting a new job! How did he even know I was coming here?
Ah, I was thinking the HR.
Stepping out of the Gilmore building and into the scorching sun of Manhattan, I went into my Uber app and booked my apartment’s address because I was still one of the people in New York that didn’t have a car. But when I was about to type my address, a familiar silver Aston Martin stopped in front of me.
The driver seat’s door slowly opened, and then a pair of Italian-leather shoes stepped into the pavement. Gabriel Stark turned around the passenger seat and held the door open. He took off the shades he was wearing and then put it inside his suit jacket.
“Not getting on?”
I blink unbelievably. I didn’t answer, then shove back the phone in my bag and slid into the car. Stark sat back to his respective seat and pulled the door.
“How’s your important appointment?” he mocked, smirking.
“So you are picking up employees on the streets now after their job interviews?”
However, it was my first time sitting in his private car. Stark didn’t usually drive around the city with Mr. Jones, his driver, so I wondered what’s gotten into him now. I was guessing probably he had somewhere to go that wasn’t in his schedule. Perhaps, the supermodel everyone was talking about.
He flashed out a sexy smirk, then he opened the glove compartment and picked out a small yellow box with a pink ribbon around it. “I find it amusing that you would do that to me.”
I realized I can’t put up with your demands anymore, I thought. But I didn’t say it. I didn’t want to jeopardize my existing job.
“I even wanted to congratulate you myself for passing the evaluation period.” Stark carefully tossed the box on my lap. “Congratulations, Miss Hopkins. You are now officially my executive assistant.”