Playing the Bosses

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23rd Floor

Eva spent almost all night doing her research on PMC Group. Although she was reluctant about taking the assistant job to spy, when she did do something, she wanted to be great at it. So, Eva learned all she could about Caleb Peterson, Justin Matsuda, and Adrian Collins as well as the culture of the their company.

Caleb Peterson was the Chief Executive Officer of the company. At 32, he was one of the youngest executives in their industry other than Eva’s sister Alexis. He came from a wealthy family in Pennsylvania and earned a degree in business administration from UPenn.

Justin Matsuda, 34, served as Chief Operations Officer and like Caleb, he came from a rather affluent family as well that owned a chain of high-end hotels throughout the world. He got his degree in management from UPenn.

Adrian Collins, who held the role of Chief Financial Officer, was 33-years-old and held a degree in accounting from UPenn. Unlike Justin or Caleb, Adrian came from a more modest upbringing — his family didn’t seem to own anything and it appeared he was a first generation graduate.

It was obvious that the men met at university and began their various business ventures from there. Even with families as wealthy as Caleb’s and Justin’s, Eva questioned how they were able to afford their failed ventures in food, hospitality, and tech before seeing success in opening a holding company.

She also took a look at their social media to get a sense of their personalities. Caleb’s photos were abundant — he regularly posted pictures of himself working out, relaxing on the beach, or in swanky restaurants or hotels. Justin’s posts were much rarer than Caleb’s and mostly included photos of him with his girlfriend or with family. Adrian’s social media was more active than Justin’s but less than Caleb and he’d mostly post images of furniture he built as a hobby. The most consistent thing across all three of the men’s social accounts was that they had no shortage of women chasing after them.

Following additional research on PMC, Eva was sure to dress accordingly for her first day — the photos on the company’s website showed a pretty uptight environment. As such, she decided on a chic all black suit with a skirt modest enough to fall below her knees, back seam tights, and black pumps.

When she arrived at the high-rise office building, she was directed to the 23rd floor where she’d meet with an administrative assistant who would direct her to her desk and train Eva during her first week there.

“Hi!” a perky blonde beamed when Eva reached the PMC offices that took up the entire floor.

“Hi,” Eva replied. “Are you—”

“Shannon!” she chimed. “Yes! And I’m assuming you are Eva Nelson? I am going to train you this week. Welcome to PMC Group! Let me show you to your desk first so you can set your bag down and then I’ll give you a tour of the office!”

“Oh, okay... thanks.” Eva was thrown off at Shannon’s enthusiasm because the rest of the office seemed rather dry and based on employee reviews online, the work environment sounded toxic.

“I’m so glad that you’re joining our firm. Jennifer said great things about your work ethic and I know you’ll do an awesome job. I’ve been handling misters Peterson, Matsuda, and Collins’ schedules since their previous assistant quit. But doing it on top of my existing work has been tough, honestly. Trust me when I say that you’ll be plenty busy!”

“Great! I’m looking forward to it,” Eva feigned her excitement. “So, what’s it like working for them? I know you mentioned it’s tough, but anything else?”

“It’s been pretty good. I mean, they’re relatively young CEOs in their early 30s leading a rapidly growing luxury goods holding company, so as I’m sure you can imagine, there are excessive amounts of press engagements on top of meetings and travel that you’ll need to handle for them and all three of them have their own quirks and can be a bit particular about different things.”

“Oh geez...”

“It’s okay!” Shannon assured. “I’ve already made an onboarding binder for you with notes on each of them that should help you quickly acclimate to their preferences. I’ll also give you the rundown at lunch today. Normally, I don’t leave, but the big three — that’s what we call them since saying all their names can be a mouthful — will be at a conference until about 3:00PM and my actual boss, the Chief Marketing Officer, is on vacation this week. It all works out so I can focus on training you until she returns next week.”

“Awesome, thanks.”

As they toured the office, Eva noticed that other than Shannon, no one was particularly enthusiastic, though they seemed friendly enough when doing introductions and offered to answer any questions as Eva transitioned into her role.

“Here’s the copy room where you’ll probably spend a lot of time. The big three like physical briefing binders for big meetings and conferences and for certain documents, there’s a printing and disposal protocol,” Shannon explained. “And then next to here is one of three break rooms in the office and this one is typically used by the other receptionists and entry-level staff.”

“So the break rooms are based on your level at the firm...?” Eva asked.

“Kind of? All the executives have rest areas in their own offices equipped with couches and a coffee table. They sometimes take naps there or hold more casual meetings without using the common areas. As for everyone below them, we tend to gravitate to people with similar job titles and levels — it just makes it less awkward than being on break with your boss, if you’re even allowed to take one.”

“Ah,” Eva nodded. “That makes sense.”

“Right, so let’s get started on some of your training and then we’ll go to lunch before the big three come back.”


Eva straightened up in her desk when she saw Caleb, Justin, and Adrian enter the floor. The first thing she noticed was the way they held themselves with absolute confidence — not surprising given that they owned the company.

“We fucking killed that!” Caleb exclaimed triumphantly as soon as they walked in before lowering his voice and explaining something to Justin and Adrian while the three of them made a path toward their offices.

The way it was set up, Eva’s desk as the receptionist sat front and center of the big three’s offices. Adrian’s office was diagonally back and to her right, Justin’s was on the left, and Caleb’s was at the center. Anyone entering their offices would have to pass Eva.

She pushed a cheerful smile to her face to greet them once they neared her desk. She wasn’t looking forward to meeting the men or working for them, but Eva reminded herself that she was there for her family, so she’d fake whatever jovial demeanor she needed to accomplish her mission as quickly and effectively as possible.

“Hello, Mr. Peterson—”

“You’re our new assistant?” Caleb cut her off to ask. He had a slight look of disgust on his face as he scanned over Eva.

“Yes! It’s nice—”

“Large coffee, black, Colombian origin,” he said curtly and continued into his office.

“Same for me, but with two sugars,” Justin Matsuda added, following Caleb’s lead, but not even bothering to look at Eva.

Eva furrowed her brows at the two men as they walked away and she had the urge to march into the office and tell off Caleb and Justin. It was already clear that to keep her cool, she would often need to remind herself why she was there.

“Sorry,” Adrian said once the other two went into Caleb’s office. “They’re a bit busy and can sometimes forget their manners. Do you remember their orders? If not, I can write them down for you. It’s always the same thing.”

“Nope! It’s fine, I remember,” Eva shrugged. “Did you want anything?”

“Oh, um... Yes, coffee for me as well, but with two creamers and one sugar.”

“Okay, I’ll get right on that.”

“What is your name?” Adrian asked.

“It’s Eva. Eva Nelson.”

“A pleasure to meet you, Eva Nelson, and thank you in advance for dealing with our three crazy schedules and demands,” he replied with a warm smile.

“Adrian!” Caleb called from his office. “Bring your ass here! And tell the assistant to hurry up with the coffees!”

By the time Adrian turned back to Eva to apologize for his friend again and say goodbye, she had already gotten up from her desk and was making her way to get the coffees. He swallowed as he watched the way her wide hips swayed while she walked away with almost a strut and his eyes drifted further down, taking notice of the lined seam of the tights she was wearing — a style he had a preference for — and her high heels that she almost seemed to float in.

“Adrian!” Caleb called again and broke him out of his trance.

“Geez, I’m coming,” Adrian grumbled before going to join the men in the office.

“You couldn’t have been nicer to our new assistant,” he said when he got inside and sat with Justin and Caleb in the lounge area of the office.

“Why would that be necessary?” Justin questioned.

Caleb scoffed and rolled his eyes. “You act like she’ll still be here next week. I bet she thinks it’s an easy job and she can just sit her fat ass at that desk and eat all day. When she’s too busy for lunch a few days in a row, I’m sure she’ll quit.”

“Whatever,” Adrian huffed. He was used to Caleb making obnoxious comments and learned it usually wasn’t worth challenging him on anything.

“Anyway, on to business...” Caleb leaned back in his seat and propped his legs up on the coffee table. “We have six months to set ourselves up nice and pretty before we go for our next target: Thompson Luxe Group.”

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