Monday morning. Apollo made it to the office in a brand new suit. He had no choice but to go shopping following the news of his place being burned down. Lots of things ran across his mind as he stepped through the glass doors of the twentieth floor.
Fire was amongst the many. Did one of his own friends torch his house? He shook his head. No. Pheonix wouldn’t do that to me. Had to be someone else. Had to be. Sateria was the next. He left her house the day before with an unresolved issue. He hated to face her this morning. Would she be angry? Would she talk to him? He hoped that she would be angry, so he wouldn’t have to deal with his own emotions.
Ten o’clock. None of the partners saw each other before that, but Apollo had to tell all what happened over the weekend. He would leave Sateria out of it of course, but his team, his friends had to know.
He called them all to his office. They came in one by one and made themselves comfortable. The last through his office door, closed it.
“Hey,” he started. “I just wanted to tell you that Johnny’s, or forgive me, Sateria’s jewelry collection is gone.”
Troya squinted. “Gone? As in none of us have it?”
Apollo nodded. “Yeah. I got robbed. It was taken from my house along with all my own valuables.”
Jayden stood. “What? Years of work just gone like that? What was the collection even doing at your house, Apollo?”
Apollo looked at Sateria. “It’s partially my fault,” she said waving her hand. “The collection was almost taken a few weeks ago, and I took it off display. Apollo offered to store it at his place until we found a safe deposit box for it. We just never got around to it.”
“I wasn’t at home this weekend,” Apollo said. “I’m thinking someone knew the collection was there, and was waiting for me to leave my house.”
“So, someone is watching us?” Pheonix asked.
“I don’t know,” Apollo said. “But if you are keeping your goods in your house, get them out. My penthouse is totally unlivable at the moment. The thieves torched my place.” Apollo glanced hard at Pheonix.
“Oh no. Fuck that, Apollo. I have no reason to set you on fire. When we talk about stuff, and I mention it, I’m only joking. I would never do you like that, and you know it.”
Apollo didn’t respond and rolled his eyes. “Just watch your backs. Someone is watching what I do. I have no idea if they are gonna come after any of you. But if you have stuff in your house, get it out. Move it somewhere safe. Not only did I lose what was in my safe, I lost my life. My wardrobe, my furniture, financial records, pictures of my family…everything. I don’t want you all to have to go through this.”
The room was quiet for a few moments then Sateria spoke up.
“We have to replace what was stolen.” The others in the room stared at her. “I’m serious. I’ll get my shit together, and we’ll rob the entire nation if we have to. We are all a part of Johnny’s legacy. He wanted us all to go on. I didn’t know him half as long as you, but I loved him just like you did. Yes, the collection was technically my property, but that doesn’t matter to me. What really matters is all of the hard work that you put in over the years to collect it. I’ll do what I need to do as far as insurance is concerned, but shit, I’m tired of sitting on my ass, and I’m guessing you are as well.
“So, let’s go. Let’s do it. I promise you all by the end of the month, I will be ready to go, and we can continue like you always have.”
The others in the room looked at each other then back at Sateria.
“I’m serious. Let’s do it.”
Jayden tilted his head. “You sure?”
“Yup. And by the way, I’m tired of the games you play with me Jayden.” Sateria snapped. “You kick my ass in the gym, and you talk down to me whenever you feel like it. I’m sick of it. Johnny wanted me on the team, and I’ll be damned, I’m gonna be on the fucking team. You see me as a waitress, but you seem to miss the fact that I have more money than any of you right now. I’m new to what you do, but on paper, I’m the boss. I can fire your ass from both teams if I wanted too. However, I will not have you disrespecting me anymore. If you want me to prove that I’m supposed to be here, then that’s what I’ll do. I don’t expect you to trust me right away, but you will respect me, trust or not. Got it?”
All in the room surprised by her sudden surge of authority, looked at each other, and then at Jayden. Her question posed to him, and it was on him to answer.
He grinned widely. “Sure boss.”
She rolled her eyes at his obvious sarcasm. “I need to talk to Apollo. Can you all please leave us alone for a second?”
All got up and left Apollo’s office. He sat there, fully erect. She’d excited him by coming out of nowhere and taking over. He was almost afraid of what she was gonna say to him, but he sat quietly as the others left.
“So, what’s up?” He asked being sure no one else heard him.
“We aren’t done. I’ve said it before, Apollo. I’m nobody’s toy. You tell me right now what you want from me. I leave this office everyday, go to the gym with the weirdo of the week, and then go home. I live alone, and most of the time I’m alone. I come in here and work my ass off for Johnny and yes, for you.
“So we connected. Do not push me away for no reason. I want to know and I want to know right now why you would chose to sleep with me then push me away. If I know, then I can go forward with a clear head. Because I will be damned if I let Johnny’s dream die. So say it, and say it now. You want me or you don’t. I can deal with it either way.”
Her eyes were a fiery lime green. She paced the room and pointed her finger at him several times. Apollo was at the point of orgasm. Fiery, bossy, and sexy. He could barely take it, but he had to hold back. He already knew he was not ready to tell her how he felt about her, yet he’d been with her intimately.
“Sateria, you need to quit.” There was an heir of authority in his voice.
Shocked by his words, she repeated them. “I need to quit?”
Apollo nodded. “Yeah. I don’t want you here anymore. If we are gonna move forward, you can’t be here.”
“And if I choose not to move forward?”
“Then you stay and I’ll never put my hands on you again. You already know how I feel about office relationships. Hell, everyone knows how I feel. So I will not be the exception. You want a relationship with me, you quit.”
Realizing that Johnny and Apollo were more alike that she wanted to admit, she loved her job and didn’t want to give it up.
“So what about after hours?”
“You quit the team too. You can sit up in your multi-million dollar penthouse and host book clubs for all I care. On paper you are my boss, but you haven’t been around long enough to tell me what to do here or what we do after work. You are inexperienced at both.”
Sateria glared at Apollo. “Fine. What we had this weekend was nice. But I will not quit either job. Have a nice day, Apollo.”
Sateria left his office, slamming the door on her way out. It was her turn to be angry at the office, so she turned off all extra electricity and left work. She drove home fuming all the way. When she stepped inside her house, she slammed the door and went to her room. Throwing all excess clothing around as she took them off, she realized she too was in love, and was angry that the one who supposedly wanted her, suddenly rejected her.
After she left, Apollo didn’t know what to do. Both angry and excited at the same time he walked his office like a mad man until his phone rang.
“Yes, what is it?” he asked loudly.
“Sir, I’m sorry to disturb you. Baxter and King are here for your meeting,” Donna said calmly.
Apollo looked at the clock and suddenly realized that he did have a meeting that morning. Time had gotten away from him.
“Okay Donna. Please have Miss Murphy join us.”
“Miss Murphy has gone home sir.”
“Oh, I see. Fine. I’ll be out in a minute.”
“I’ll let them know.”
“Thank you, Donna.”
Apollo went to his meeting he wished Sateria could have joined him. He planned on her being there so she could learn more about what they did. Perhaps he’d screwed up. Maybe she wasn’t coming back. Like she said, she had more than enough money, and didn’t need to work. Apollo didn’t want to love her, but he still needed to be around her.
The following morning, Sateria was in the office before anyone else. She decided to pour herself into her work to quickly get over her mistake. The sound of her keyboard echoed through the office, seeing no one else was there.
She sat responding to emails she’d gotten the previous day, when suddenly she smelled, familiar cologne. She looked up to see Apollo standing in her doorway staring at her.
Her heart beat was strong. She couldn’t decide if she was excited to see him or still very angry with him. She decided not to let him know that the smell of his cologne sent her into a sexual frenzy. “Can I help you with something, Mr. Leonard?”
Surprised, Apollo replied, “I just wanted to say I was sorry.”
“Sorry about what?”
“About how mean I was to you yesterday. I was angry and shouldn’t have said what I did.”
“It’s okay,” she replied, and continued typing. “I’m fine.”
He took a step closer. “No you’re not.”
She stopped typing and looked up. “Yes, I am. Now if you don’t mind, Mr. Leonard, as you can see I’m busy.”
The sound of his last name coming out of her mouth when she addressed him no longer felt right. He didn’t like it. “Sateria, stop it. Don’t do this.”
Still not willing to let on that she yearned for him to touch her, she remembered that she was supposed to be angry with him. “Don’t do what? Keep our relationship professional? I thought that’s what you wanted.”
“I do but-”
“I’ll be moving to my new office sometime this week.”
Apollo took another step forward. “Your new office?”
“Yeah, you know the one. The big one in the corner of the building. Oh and I want the key.”
He moved a little closer. “Johnny’s office?”
“My office. And don’t take another step. I don’t recall inviting you in here.”
Apollo stopped in his tracks, and saw her eyes were on fire. “So you’re angry. Fair enough. I’ll leave you alone then. When Donna gets here, I’ll bring you the key. Have a good day, Sateria.”
“Please close my door.”
Apollo stared at her for a moment, left her office, and closed the door behind him. He went to his own office and started working. An hour or so later, Pheonix knocked on his door.
“Can I come in?”
Apollo looked up. “Oh hey. Yeah.”
Pheonix closed the door and sat down. “All right, time for truth.”
Apollo was confused. What could Pheonix be talking about? “Truth? Truth about what?”
“What’s going on between you and Sateria?”
Apollo shook his head. “Nothing, why?”
“Well she’s storming around here barking orders at all of us this morning, everyone but you. So what’s going on?”
“Nothing. Maybe she’s just asserting herself. Trying to be the boss.”
“She’s not talking to you for a reason.” Pheonix grinned.
“Nothing is going on Pheonix. Drop it.” Apollo was quite irritated.
Pheonix giggled. “Okay fine. So, are you gonna keep taking her to the range? Or am I gonna do it?”
“No, you do it.”
“Good enough. What’s the meeting about this afternoon?”
Not remembering anything about a meeting, he asked, “What meeting?”
“Sateria sent out a meeting request for this afternoon. Didn’t you see it?”
“No,” he said. “I haven’t read my emails yet.”
“Well, aren’t you gonna read it?”
Apollo sighed heavily, not wanting to go to the meeting. “What time is the meeting?”
“I can’t go,” he said, relived. “I’m going over to Baxter and King so we can continue with our meeting from yesterday.”
Pheonix cringed. “She’s not gonna be happy, Apollo.”
“Well it can’t be helped. I’ll reply to the meeting request and let her know.”
“You can’t just tip your head into her office and let her know?”
“Nope. She’s busy and so am I. Now if you’ve had enough of trying to pry, you can get back to work.”
“Yes, sir,” she grinned getting up from the chair.
Apollo rolled his eyes, and continued with his work. Another hour went by and he remembered that he hadn’t gotten Sateria the key. He retrieved the key from Donna and knocked on Sateria’s door.
“Come in,” she said.
Apollo opened the door and stepped inside.
“Yes? Can I help you?”
Apollo didn’t move from where he stood. “I brought you the key.”
Sateria looked up from her computer. “Oh thanks. Set it on the table.”
Apollo put the electronic key on the small table close to her door. “What’s the meeting about?” He asked, not moving any closer to her.
“The way things are gonna change around here. It’s about time I took over.”
“You aren’t ready.”
Sateria glared at him. “Don’t proceed to tell me what I’m not ready for, Mr. Leonard. I think I am. We have an excellent group of people here who can help me, if I need it, but I don’t think I will. Now I have to get ready for the meeting that you won’t be attending, so I think you should go prepare for yours.”
His heart going a mile a minute, he began to get angry. “Stop it, Sateria. I already told you I was sorry.”
“Stop addressing me by my first name. We have to keep our relationship professional remember? And I told you I was fine. Now let me get back to work. Thanks for bringing me the key.” Apollo was stunned. So in love with her, he realized that he may never get to hold her again. He messed up and had to suffer the consequences. “I’ll have someone brief you when you get back. Enjoy your meeting, Mr. Leonard.”
He nodded his head. “Thank you, Miss Murphy, I will.”
On the other side of town, Brad was sitting in his office, having a meeting of his own.
“Okay, I have the jewels,” the man said. “I am going to put them on the exchange slowly so no one will suspect that they are Johnny G’s missing collection. You are to purchase them as they come up. When you have them all, I will have someone come and get them from you.”
“That makes no sense. You already have them. Why would you even bother doing this?”
“I can’t quit my day job just yet. If I could, I would be out of the country by now. So, Mr. Morris, you are to buy the collection, and give them back to me. The faster they move, the harder they are to trace. Once I have them back I will pay you quite handsomely for your time, and our business will be finished.”
“Thank you for keeping your promise.”
“Oh the one about not hurting, your friend? I never promised that. But you’re welcome. However, had she been there, it wouldn’t have been pretty. Did you see the news about the high-rise fire on television a couple of days ago?”
“Yeah. Is that where she lives?”
“No, but someone very close to her does.”
“I don’t want to know. I’m just glad she didn’t get hurt.”
“Well you’re welcome. All right, Mr. Morris. I think were done for now. I’ll call you with a description of the first piece before it goes up.”
“I’ll be waiting for your call.”
The man got up from Brad’s office and left. He drove to see the woman he loved. The woman he was doing this for. She opened the front door, and he went in. Knowing that they didn’t have much time together, he wasted no time at all. Practically ripping her clothing from her body, he took her right in her living room.
As he pounded her unremittingly, she screamed his name. “Oh, Jayden!”
He couldn’t stay as long as he would’ve liked. He had a meeting to get to. He began to get dressed. His woman stroked his cheek as he was putting on his pants.
He pulled her close and kissed her deeply. “We’ll be able to leave soon. Once Brad buys the last piece, we’re outta here.”
She smiled up at him. “How long do you think?”
“I’m not sure. But it shouldn’t be more than a couple months. Look babe, I gotta go.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too. I’ll talk to you later, Venus.”
Jayden put on his suit jacket and walked out of the door.
Barely making it back to the office in time, he grabbed a note pad and pen, and went to the conference room. Jayden stepped in the door in a hurry.
“Sorry I’m late. I had a meeting at the bank, and traffic was nasty on the way back.”
“It’s okay,” Sateria said. “We were just getting ready to get started.”
Jayden looked around the room, “Where’s Apollo?”
“Mr. Leonard had a meeting outside the building. I want you to brief him when he gets back.”
“I can do that.”
“Good. Now let’s get started, shall we?”
Sateria sat at the head of the conference table with all of the officers present minus one. She let everyone in the room know what was going to happen in the coming weeks. She explained to them that she was ready to take over as head of the company. She sat and asked questions about the departments she didn’t work directly with in her current position, because she was going to have to know.
The meeting lasted and hour.
“Any questions?” She asked. No one had any. “Very good. Jayden, Troya, Pheonix, please stay for a moment.”
All in the room left but the names she called.
“What’s up, Sateria?” Troya asked.
“We are going to have another meeting tonight, at my house about our other business. I meant what I said. I’m ready to get going.”
“So, you want me to tell Apollo about that too?”
“Yup. He’s a part of the team, right?”
An hour later, Apollo walked through the glass doors, and went straight to his office. He immediately began to check his emails. There was one from Jayden telling him to call when he got back.
Apollo picked up the phone and called Jayden’s office.
“Hey,” Jayden said, picking up the phone.
“What’s up?” Apollo asked.
“Come on in here. I’m supposed to brief you on what was said in the meeting.”
“On my way.”
Apollo got up and walked past Sateria’s office to see that she was still working. He didn’t bother to stop. He walked into Jayden’s office and closed the door behind him.
“Okay, so what did Miss Murphy have to say?”
Jayden tipped his head. “Okay, what’s up with this Mr. Leonard and Miss Murphy shit?”
“Just tell me what she said,” Apollo said smirking.
Jayden told Apollo what Sateria said in the meeting, and what she said afterwards. “We have to go to her house tonight so we can talk about our other business.”
Apollo shook his head. “Nope, not going.”
Jayden’s jaw dropped. “Apollo, you have to come.”
“No I don’t. Between you and Pheonix, you can handle it, I’m sure.”
“She’s gonna jump your ass tomorrow if you don’t show up at her place.”
“Tell her I had a date.”
“Do you have a date?”
Jayden chuckled. “Oh I get it. You and Sateria got into a fight. What about?”
“None of your business, Jayden.”
Jayden laughed aloud. “You’ve slept with her. Took a little longer than I expected, but I know you have, so don’t even try to lie.” Apollo only sat and stared at Jayden, and Jayden threw his head back and laughed louder. “Yup!”
Apollo shook his head. “I don’t wanna talk about it. Just tell her I what I said.”
“Oh boy. Fun times.”
“Are you done with me?” Apollo asked, preparing to leave.
Jayden nodded. “Yes, I am.”
“Good. I gotta go catch up on some stuff. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Jayden grinned. “Can’t wait.”Apollo started on the way back to his office. As he passed by Sateria’s office, he noticed that she’d left for the day. He was glad. Now he could get some work done without wondering how much longer he could stay out of her office.