“So I heard and then read the article…” Kyla started and trailed off as one of the staff passed by to eavesdrop. Once the woman met her icy gaze, she quickly made an exit and out of our earshot. “How are you?” she asked when the coast was clear.
“I’m okay, Kyla. You’ve warned me already. Though it was overwhelming to read, those are just pitiful words from a sore loser.” I remarked with a grin.
Kyla smiled and nodded in agreement. “I never really like her when she was dating Julian.”
“She’s a piece of work.”
“Had Julian’s publicist contact him yet? I have something in mind, but we need to hear from him first.” She turned to check on Julian, who was by his desk working.
“I haven’t got a call yet,” I replied since I took care of Julian’s business calls.
“Well, if he hasn’t, then he’s not doing his job right,” she scoffed.
“I didn’t know he even had one.” I truthfully informed.
“He’s listed as a Lawyer than a publicist really.”
“Would that be Atty. Fergusson?” I asked.
“Should I call him instead?”
“No. Wait for the call. If he doesn’t before noon, come and find me. I’ll do it.” From her look, she would be having some serious conversation with that man.
“Okay. Thank you, Kyla.”
“It’s my pleasure, Zoey. Just let me know if this whole situation is making you uncomfortable, I’ll make sure you won’t be bothered as well.” She offered.
“I’ll be fine, Kyla. No worries. I can handle a few office gossips and stares.”
Kyla nodded and slowly retreated back to her office. “Just let me know, okay.”
I held up a thumb up in assurance.
By noon, when I still haven’t received a call from Julian’s Attorney and Publicist, I made a quick trip to Kyla’s office before I headed out to get lunch. With all this gossip flying around the air, I told him we should have our lunch in the office – to be safe. Though I haven’t seen any paparazzi lurking yet.
“So he didn’t call,” Kyla stated rather than greeted me as I entered her office.
“Yup. Not even an email or a text message.” I sadly informed.
Kyla nodded and picked up her phone, which was within arm’s reach from her computer keyboard. She went through her contact list until she saw the name she was looking for. I was impressed by how she had the man’s contact. He must not only handle Julian’s public image, maybe the rest of the family as well. The Hawksley isn’t just a typical family business – from what I’ve perceived from today’s experience. They were a public figure as well.
“Hello, this is Kyla Hawksley. Is Mr. Fergusson available right now? I want to have a brief talk with him about a personal family matter,” Kyla started as someone picked up the call. From her tone, she called his office.
There was a brief pause while Kyla listened to the response. Her eyebrow scrunched at whatever the person was saying across the receiver.
“So your office is already aware of this controversy, yet you haven’t even contacted my brother-in-law,” her words nearly cut like a dagger for its sarcastic edge.
Then another pause as Kyla patiently listened to the person’s excuses.
“Get him on the phone for me. If this is how his office conduct business, I’m sure my mother-in-law won’t be delighted to hear about it.”
I felt the threat in her words, making me slightly shiver. From then on, I could see Kyla’s mischievous smile forming at the edges of her lips. “Good. Don’t make me wait,” she stated rather icily.
Once her call connected to the man himself, Atty. Fergusson, I suddenly had a rush of remorse for the man. He wasn’t really good at his job for not being aware of his client's well-being. And Julian and his family might not be his only concerns. But now Kyla got his attention. I’m sure he’ll think more how to prioritize his clients.
After the conversation ended, the tension in the room lifted and Kyla returned to her calm yet bubbly self. It was then I knew Kyla was a Hawksley, not just being married to one.
“I got it all settled. You don’t have to worry about it anymore. So tell Julian not to call the man when he realized Fergusson hadn’t done his job right,” she said.
“Thank you so much, Kyla. I’ll sure to let him know.”
“If you’re going to stick to this family, Zoey, you’ll have to learn to depend on us and stand by your own at the same time. I’m confident you can handle Julian; however, you need to handle what it means to be with a man like him in public. You can’t hide this relationship forever, you know.”
I nodded in reply. “Of course.”
Kyla smiled. “Welcome to the crazy life of being with a Hawksley.”
I chuckled and thanked her again before making my exit.
The next few days were unforgiving. Today, Julian’s first meeting was scheduled at seven in the morning rather than the usual eight. Plus, after the article about Julian and me came out, the paparazzi appeared the next day out of thin air. Julian looked as annoyed as I was. But we were professional. Work is work, and we have to see it through, even with the distractions.
By the time we reached the office, I was relieved to see no flashing camera’s pointed at us when we got off the car. Nonetheless, Julian’s newly hired security was there to escorted us in. The sudden changes made it difficult to do my usual legwork. So I got an intern to do most of it now.
Even after all the ruckus in my life, everything went smoothly in the office, even our short lunch break was uneventful – since I had the intern picked up Julian and mine’s lunch as well. Also, there were no more whispers in the air and judging gazes from my female co-workers. It made me curious whether Kyla did something about that. When I asked her how she’ll make the article go away, I always get her confident yet secretive smile as assurance.
“You’ll see. I’m sure this will go well, Zoey. So don’t sweat it, okay?” She has said.
Yet nothing happened yet.
As the days passed, I hinted Julian’s façade was cracking a bit from tiredness. It was subtle but I got a hang of it now. He slouched a bit then caught himself and straightened up his poster on his chair. Then I noticed a stifled yawn, which he’ll hide with a light cough after. Then he’ll lightly rub his right eye. Little things like that made me more and more aware and get to know him better, which is why it was difficult for me to visualize what Kyla said over the weekend. Julian was Julian to me.
Looking out for him also served as my own distractions to get my mind off the paparazzi and Kyla’s plan of revenge.
In the middle of the week, it was past ten in the evening when Julian and I finished the work for the day. The office was nearly deserted except for the reception area, where some of the security stayed and waited to escort us back down since the paparazzi doesn’t seem to sleep. Amy wasn’t thrilled at the new addition of staff to share her space, but she knows it was necessary. And she felt safer with the added security.
I knocked on Julian’s office, checking if he was ready to leave. He looked engross with something on his computer.
It was after office hours, so I took the opportunity of addressing him informally. “Julian, are you done?”
He looked up and smiled. “So I guessed it’s already past work hour, huh?” he teased. “You’ll only call me by my name after office hours.”
I rolled my eyes and walked up to his desk. Julian mistook my action. He pushed back his chair, still sitting, and held out his hand to me. I stopped mid-stride when I reached a good arms length from his table.
“What are you doing?” I asked in feign innocent.
He smiled and tapped his lap. “Come on. I know you want to.” He teased, grinning. “No one’s here. The office is empty.”
I scoffed. “I won’t do something that childish.” I took a step closer once I know he won’t grab me and pushed me down on his lap. I then turned his monitor to check what he was working on. He was on a website for vacation trip guides.
“What’s this for?” I asked out of curiosity. “Is the company doing seasonal marketing for the new resort?”
“It’s not for work, Zoey,” Julian replied and slowly rolled his leather chair closer back to its original position.
“Not for work? Then what is it for?” I asked in wonder. Julian rarely does anything these days which didn’t involve work.
Julian shook his head and stood up. He pressed the power button, shutting off his monitor. “It’s for us.”
“What do you mean us?”
“I haven’t taken you to a proper first date.” He pointedly informed. “And I think you’d want to get away from all of this commotion as well.”
I gasped at the news. “No. What? No! We don’t have time for something like that!”
Julian snorted and wrapped his arm around my waist, pushing me closer to him. I held up my hand over his chest so I could lean away and study his face. His devilish grin was giving me all sorts of feelings. My stomach slowly curled with need. My face flushed.
“Are you sure we don’t?” Julian leaned closer. His hot breath brushed against my cheeks.
I flushed some more. I nodded in defiance. “Yes. I’m sure.”
“Even if it’s this weekend?”
“Especially this weekend.”
“Even if it’s at the Bahamas?”
I gapped at him.
“I feel like being in our own private villa. Waking up in the morning with you in my arms, and the view of the ocean. Swimming with you underneath the sunlight. Laying down on the white sand beach, sipping cocktails, but I prefer whiskey,” he said dreamily. “Don’t you think that’ll be a good getaway for us?”
“Are you serious?” I breathe out the words.
“Yes, I am. But it also depends on you. You’re the one who’s going to reschedule the meetings,” he cheekily suggested.
I groaned. “That’s sly. I can’t reschedule all of those again. I feel like my face is going to have muscle pain from smiling whilst I apologize to the department heads, designers, and engineers. And the marketing head would have a field day if she knew we’ll be taking off a weekend to the Bahamas.”
Julian laughed at my childish tantrum. “Kyla would jump on you if she knew I’m taking you out of the country on our first date,” he stated. Shaking his head at the image of his sister-in-law fussing all over us again like that time Julian and I were hiding our feeling for each other.
“Have you taken a girl out of the country before on your first date?” I impishly asked.
Julian abruptly assured my jealous heart. “No. You’re my first.”
I paused and thought again.
“So no to the weekend to the Bahamas then?” he asked, weakening my resolve.
“Julian…” I groaned and sighed, leaning my head on his arm. “Why are you making this such an undeniable offer?”
“I didn’t. I’m not holding it against you if you said no,” he said with such sad eyes I know he was only acting.
I bit my lips in concentration. Julian studied my expression. Whatever he saw suddenly made him smile. He then brushed away my hair and kissed my forehead.
“I didn’t mean to make this choice difficult. I know we’re busy until groundbreaking for the new hotel resort, but it’s good to take some time away for us, especially now – when we’re under the public’s eye. I want to make sure that I take care of this relationship as well as I take care of my business.” Julian firmly said.
I couldn’t help but smile at his proclamation. “Thank you for thinking about me. It makes me guilty that I didn’t even think of giving time to be with you.”
“Well, from how torn you look not a minute ago about going to the Bahamas, I’m sure you were thinking about me,” he pointed out.
I chuckled and nodded. “I did. It was a good offer.”
“Then why don’t we go?” he asked and mindlessly kiss my hair.
I remained silent for a good minute, looking him in the eyes. Julian patiently waited through his hands started fidgeting with my hair. When I smiled, Julian’s triumphant grin mirrored my own.
“Okay. Let’s go. But not this weekend. Maybe until everything dies down a little.”
“When would that be?”
“Soon, I hope. For our sanity sake.”
He chuckled and leaned down to gave me a feverish kiss that made me glad no one was present to witness.
Our planned trip was the only thing that kept me sane as the week neared to a close. It wasn’t until on Thursday I finally saw Kyla’s handiwork to thwart Grace’s article about my relationship with Julian. And it was in a form of another article. My breath became ragged, my lips dry as I read the headline.
“What the heck was Kyla thinking?” I shoved my phone in front of Julian. “What’s with this headline and article?”
“It’s our love story,” he lightly replied like this wasn’t anything new.
“I know what it is, Julian. Why the heck is there a story about our relationship in the media? Did you write this yourself?” I grumbled.
“I don’t have the time for such things.” He paused before telling me the truth. “I told Kyla the story and had her draft it.”
“She should have told me this was the plan…”
“Are you having doubts now about asking her help?” Julian smugly inquired.
I groaned and shook my head. I then read the article.
Julian Hawksley, known bachelor, and CEO of the Hawksley Holding Inc. in the Chicago Branch, has more than business in his attention. The Hunky CEO who was recently linked to the former model – now businesswoman with her own Clothing line, Grace Allen, had split. In exchange, the CEO is dating his executive secretary, who had taken the position from Julian’s known secretary Rufus Fletcher. A close source from the couple says the two fell in love when their previous relationship crumbled at the same time. So the previous article about these couple having an affair was a tall tale made from jealousy.
This lovely liaison between the CEO and his secretary blossomed after their hearts were shattered in two. It was then they found love in each other’s company. It might sound like this relationship is a rebound, but it isn’t. The blossoming love between the CEO and his secretary had gone beyond merely healing a heartache. The relationship is serious enough that over the weekend the two introduced each other to their family. Eyewitnesses saw the pair cuddling while having afternoon tea at a famous restaurant by the Loop. We could already smell an engagement soon from how quick this relationship is progressing.
It looks like this Hawksley has finally found his other half in the workplace like his brother had a couple years. Jensen Hawksley had fallen in love with a Marketing Executive at the hotel he currently managed. Now he’s married to the said Marketing Executive and has a daughter. Maybe the key to getting men like the Hawksley brothers are working closely with them…
I didn’t bother finished everything as I felt my stomach curled at the thought of my life being put in display for the world to judge.
“Are you okay, Zoey?” Julian walked up to me, rubbing my back in circles to comfort me.
“How am I going to face everyone now?” I muttered in defeat.
“Like how you face me the first day we met, with confidence and wit. I wouldn’t have allowed Fergusson to get that article published if I know you won’t survive it.”
“You have such confidence in me.”
“Because, as I have said before, you’re the woman I chose to love. You’re not going to crumble easily. You’ll stand firm and face it with an iron fist. And people will see why you’re by my side, as I see it every day.”
“I don’t need people to see why…” I muttered dejectedly.
“Of course. But I’m a proud man. I sometimes like to flaunt to the world how lucky I am.” He grinned coyly.
His words pushed aside the tension in my body, making me smile and chuckle in reply. “What am I going to do with you?”
“All I ask is just to love me, Zoey. I’m merely a simple man than what they say.”
Now I had to laugh. “Oh, you’re not a simple man at all Julian Hawksley. I won’t be in love with you if you were anything other than being plain simple.” I teased. “You’re my personal train wreck.”
“And you’re the railway that makes my life right.” He commented with a childish grin.
Hello everyone! I apologize for the late post. I should have posted yesterday but I did some last minute changes on the chapter. I will be updating another one within the day. So please don't fret. I will upload the rest of the Chapters by this weekend. Until then, happy reading.