“It’s really easy, Clara. When he opens the door, you say I quit.”
But no, it wasn’t that easy. I had said those words months ago. Heck, a year ago. It was just a huge mistake falling for my boss! Other than that, anytime I was near him, my emotions took over. Just one look from his hazel eyes could turn me into a puddle of goo. I kept my emotions to myself even if I was extremely attracted to him.
The first four years was fine until the bridge where I could hide my attraction to him was finally opened when he brought me to a gala last year. Then, he started acting up like he was a gentleman and talked about himself as if we were friends.
He was different back then. At the end of the night, he looked directly into the eyes, then he said, “Thank you, Clara. I wouldn’t know what to do without you,” then he told me how thankful he was that I came to his life and that I’d given him courage because I was an excellent assistant to him.
Maybe for him, it was only like that. But for me, it wasn’t. I started to look at him as a man. A woman like me who needed a man like him. He was powerful, rich, a good brother and a responsible son to his parents. Oh, I forgot to mention how sexy he was, how chiseled his jaws were, and his hazel eyes that could make every woman melt.
Yup, that’s what I thought of him. A total attraction. The attraction was for nothing. I realized that I had to stop. I even had him on my wet dreams. Damn me.
But this time, I’ve made my decision.
I swung my legs out of the car, slammed the door and then stared up at the big blue townhouse of Rafael he had bought this summer. I inhaled sharply, deeply enjoying the scents of freshly mowed grass and a hint of the ocean breeze.
God, I was almost convinced of my decision. When the front door open and slapped against the wall, Rafael stepped out onto the wide front porch.
Tall and lean, he was wearing gray sweatpants, a black shirt then his features were sharp, angular and his dark unruly hair was flowing about on his forehead.
Damn, he looked like a movie scene.
“Clara!” he took five steps down the yard in two long strides and crossed to where I was still standing. He swept me up into a brief, hard hug that lit up my inside, then let go of me abruptly. I staggered back steps. This was why I was becoming more attached to him. His simple gestures that’s nothing to him.
“Hey, thank god you’re here.”
“What’s wrong, Mr. Sloan?”
“I made coffee this morning and it pretty much tasted like motor oil and I can’t cook. I’m tired of eating fast food. The housekeeper is on vacation. I cannot call anyone in this deserted place.”
Okay. Hope dissolved into reality. Of course, he didn’t miss me the way I mistook it. He just missed me because he couldn’t even do his own chores.
Who would like a mere assistant like me? We had shared moments in the office for five years, but there was nothing special about it. He was the first person I saw in the mornings and the last person I spoke to at night. Since he requires me to be available twenty-four hours, he was the last person I saw every weekend.
Mr. Sloan was a type of man who wears a brand new thousand-dollars designer suit and watches every day. He was a person who ate work each breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Unfortunately, he was also the type of man who could make me wet at night despite treating me like I had superpowers. There were moments I wanted to slap him from being oblivious.
“Sir?” I sighed, accepting the truth.
“What? Did you bring me a real coffee and cookies?” he asked.
“Yes,” I sighed. My shoulders fell. He was completely clueless. “Rafael...” I bit my lip.
His eyebrows met, “When did you start calling me that? Anyway, come in. I need you this afternoon. I need you to take these papers in the office. I’ll be in the office early tomorrow and I am expecting you to come early too. I can’t manage all of this alone. I am sorry Clara if I had to steal your weekend.”
Always. You’ve been stealing my weekend most of the time. I sighed, “Alright,” I gave up, maybe later or tomorrow.
I came in after him. The townhouse was a mess. Clothes and garbage were scattered on the floor. Damn, he was a neat freak in the office. Why is he so untidy here?
“What happened here? It looks like a garbage dump.” I scowled. My brains were about to explode out of my head.
“Johnna was here.” He chuckled.
“You mean, Johanna?” I rolled my eyes. He was talking about the blonde woman he brought to the office three days ago. Did he take her here? Oh! I’m going to be sick. I am going to be sick!
“Yes. Johanna. She was amazing, but I have to finish her off.” He crossed his arms around his chest, “She took necklace that Elizabeth gave me for my 27th birthday. As you can see, all of this stuff isn’t a garbage, Clara. I was looking for the necklace. I bet she already took it. I had to kick her out.”
Oh, really? “Can we just clean this up first before everything else?”
“Yeah, sure,” he agreed.
Rafael helped me cleaning up his mess. He picked up his clothes then he tossed it into a laundry basket. I washed the plates then I vacuumed the floor. This was what I was talking about. Being Rafael’s assistant wasn’t just being his butler and his maid. I was freaking acting like his stand-up wife.
Rafael went to his room and took a fresh bath while I was busy shelving the books at his office. Several minutes later, he came back wearing a black dress shirt, two unbuttoned buttons on the chest and a cream suit he had put on top. He was also wearing matching black trousers.
“Where are you going? I thought we’re working this afternoon?” I had to ask.
“Business dinner with Smith. I’m afraid I am in a hurry. Can you come with me or do you want to stay here? I need to discuss the details of the upcoming meeting this week. I’ll be back soon.”
I shook my head no, “No, it’s fine. I’ll just go home,” and have a good night sleep.
“Come on Clara, you made me sound like a bad guy. You can stay here for the night.”
“I can’t stay here and you know that,”
He frowned, “Why are afraid that I might do something weird to you?”
No. I was afraid that I might do something weird to you. Plus the fact that I was human, and I could still feel emotions, such as being aroused.
“No, of course not!” I answered firmly. “I needed a good damned sleep. You knew I’ve driven a long way. Why didn’t just told me that you have a meeting outside?”
“Exactly, you have driven a long way just to get here and it’s getting really late. Besides, the meeting was out of the picture until an hour ago. It’s an emergency.”
I frowned, “Did something happened?”
“Yeah, it’s something I can handle. Don’t worry,” he winked, “and no more buts. Clars. Let’s not argue anymore and that’s an order. You can use the guest room. I’ll be here in an hour.”
“I have nothing to wear,” I told him. I only had myself and a handbag.
“You can use mine. I’ll just drop by along the way to get your clothes for tomorrow and please don’t use my bathroom. That’s also an order.”
“Okay. See you later,” He said and then just like that, he left. My mouth parted.
I did what he said. I took a shirt from his wardrobe, trying to not touch anything. I’d been in his penthouse and his room in Manhattan countless times, but I still managed to remain professional even if we grew close and enough to say that we’ve been friends.
I used the guest room as he told me so. The room was just as huge as his and the bed looked welcoming. It also had a bathroom suite and a heater so it was fine with me.
I quickly went into the shower to ease the tension he just gave me. I just undressed him in my mind a while ago and what would it be like to smash my lips against his tempting lips.
I had seen him shirtless many times when he’s changing his top or when he asked me to come to the gym to bring him extra gym clothes. I was regularly checking and fixing his neckties. He remained cool about it. How could I not grow feelings for him when I spent more time with him than any other persons? He wasn’t even aware that I was still a woman.
I went to bed after the soothing a bath, but I got extremely bored ours later. It was the exact time he set for himself but he still didn’t come. I just turned the TV on then lied on the bed. There’s nothing much to watch because most of it was old movies and cartoons. I stuck with the cartoon.
While watching, I remembered that I was supposed to quit today. I blew out a sharp breath. I was really nervous about telling him. How was he going to react? Basically, my life revolved around his. My colleagues, were asking me how did I last this long? The thought itself made me exhausted. I squeezed a pillow then unconsciously shut my eyes.
I woke up with tender eyes unaware of the time when I felt someone moved next to me.
“Clara?” He whispered softly.
“Hmmm...” I moaned.
Rafael stood, making the soft bed bounce then he turned off the TV.
I forced myself to sit. I was feeling pretty tired, “When did you come?”
“A while ago.” He said.
“Why didn’t you wake me? What time is it?”
“Three thirty. I don’t want to wake you up but I brought you something,” he said.
I scowled, “What is it? I’m so tired.”
“You need to eat. You didn’t eat anything, right?”
“No, it’s okay Mr. Sloan. I think I should go home.”
He frowned, “At this hour? It’s late, Clara.”
“Well, I want to go home. It’s not that it’s uncomfortable here, but I really, really need to go home, Rafe, please.”
“When did you start calling me by my first name?”
“There’s something wrong with you.” His eyes peered.
“I just wanted to go home, that’s all. Besides, your house will be safe now. I can just call a cab or an Uber,”
“No one is going to call for a cab,” he snapped.
“Stop. You make me seem like I’m a heartless person. I did not leave you here so you could guard the house,” Rafael stood.
“I’m sorry. I just thought--”
“Enough. Why are you being like this all of the sudden?”
“I can’t... talk right now.” Stupid Mouth. I just gave him a hint.
“Oh! I see so, there’s really something to talk about,” he said.
“Speak, Clara. Come on.”
“Tomorrow, Mr. Sloan,” I said, firmly.
“There’s something wrong with you. You wouldn’t be like that if there’s nothing.”
“I quit,” Words were spoken so easily, so lightly. I knew it meant nothing to him.
“What?” a solitary thread of shock slithered through him. He frowned.
“It’s about us! I can’t stay with you forever!”
Now he was really confused. “Us? What about us?”
“You don’t get it at all do you?”
“Apparently not, Clara.”
“So typical,” I whispered.
“What did I do?”
I unfolded my arms and slapped it on my hips. “Nothing. Ever. Just nothing!” before he could speak, I held up a hand for silence, “Never mind, Rafael. Let’s just say that I’m quitting because we can’t keep going on like this.”
“Like we are, Rafael!”
“What’s wrong with it?”
Oh God! I’m not making any sense to him at all. “It’s like we’re married. Rafael, Only without any of the good stuff, like sex.”
I blew out a frustrated breath. Someone slap me right now, because of my stupid mouth. Why did I ever choose those words to define my quitting?
“You want us to have sex?” Rafael reached out and combed my hair with his fingers. Oh, God! Here we go, it’s the start of the real battle.
“Of course I want sex. But it’s not that Rafael! I want to have a husband, kids. A home. I’ve been working for you for five years, and all I’ve got is a nice savings account.”
“Are you seeing someone is that it?”
She groaned, “No, but in the future. How can I have the time to date when I’ve been working for you twenty-four seven?”
“So you’ve been miserable working for me? Is that it?”
“No, the fact is that I didn’t notice that I wasn’t getting anywhere.”
“Hold on,” he countered. “This is all coming out of the blue for me Clara. As far as I knew, everything between us was working great!”
“Well, sure,” I snapped, throwing my both hands high and letting slap to my sides again. “Why wouldn’t it be great from your point of view? I take care of everything for you. I pay your bills, talk to your clients and handle your publicity, pick up your dry cleaning... You can’t even make a decent pot of coffee on your own.”
“Hey!” he snapped and then he sighed, “That’s a low blow, Clara.”
“Well, it’s not your fault.” I conceded. “God knows, I’m working hard at making myself indispensable.”
Rafael forced to smile then a stab of disappointment appeared in his eyes “How about a raise? Would that make you feel differently?”
“No!” I said loudly. “It’s not about the money, it never was!”
“Please, Clara, you can’t quit. I need you too damn much! I can’t work alone without you.”
“I’m tired, Rafe. I’m not going to change my mind.” I picked up my clothes and everything I had, except I didn’t care if I was in a robe, wearing nothing inside but a thin shirt I borrowed from his wardrobe.
“Hey!” He called out as I walked away to the door. “You can’t just walk the fuck out on me like that,” He followed me outside, “Please let’s talk about this or at least let me take you home,” he offered, his eyes sincere.
“No. I can’t. And please stop following me. You don’t understand.”
“I can’t let you go out like that,” his glowered at my body, “wearing only that.”
I took her home and didn’t mention anything the entire drive. I decided not to talk to her for now. She was obviously mad and I didn’t fucking believe that it was the only reason. I went to my penthouse in Manhattan. It was only a few minutes away from the office building. I didn’t have the energy to go back where she put an end to it. I went straight to the mini bar and grabbed myself a bottle of brandy. I poured the liquid into a glass. I drank the liquor straight to my throat.
When Dad passed on the CEO position to me five years ago, I thought my world was going to fall apart. Being the firstborn in the family had always been my struggle because I almost had to take every responsibility.
The Sloan group of companies consisted of five branches. We do almost everything. From real estate to yet another venture with technology. As time passed by, we were able to enter the industry of fashion and media. We were unstoppable across the States.
I was able to do everything with Clara. She was the most brilliant person I’d ever met. She’s detailed, sharp, sensitive, she was my other eyes. We were having fun. Everything was working perfectly. Until...
Damn, how could she quit?
My phone rang suddenly, interrupting my thoughts. I answered right away.
“It’s me, Jared. I’m outside.”
I walked to the door and then I opened it. Jared appeared on my doorstep.
“Yo? What happened to you?” Jared asked, frowning hard as he tried to sniff me as well, “You reek of alcohol,” he said then he continued to step inside.
“I had a glass,”
“Why did you call me?” He asked.
I frowned, “I fucking need to talk to you right now.”
Jared raised an eyebrow, “At this hour? It’s almost morning.”
“Yes. I need to tell you something.”
“Alright, what is it?”
“Huh?” He frowned, “What are you talking about?”
“She left me,” I pressed a thin hard line on my lips. “Clara...”
“Your assistant?” he asked, “Wow, she must be very tired of you,” he chuckled.
“She can’t quit, Jared. Do you understand?”
“Calm down, easy. You sound like an ex-boyfriend.”
“I am serious,”
“Uh-huh? So you are admitting that you like her?” Jared asked then he grabbed the glass in my hand to drink the brandy for himself.
“I don’t know. She said she wants more of her life, like getting married and having kids,” I explained, “But I don’t believe her.”
“Oh... So, she has a boyfriend?”
I shook my head, “I’m not sure,” I muttered.
“I really think you like her,” he smiled, “I know you. Rafael, you’re my best friend,”
“I need a solution, Jared. I don’t fucking need your mocking right now.” I glared back.
“What if you seduce her or give her what she wants. You can have her back.” He suggested with a wink.
“What? Like marry her and have kids with her?”
“I didn’t know you’re this slow, Rafe. It’s not what I meant.” He said, “I mean you should try doing what you are good at. I can’t believe a skilled womanizer like you can’t even put you assistant under your control,” He laughed, then he gave me an occasional tap on my back. “Ha! I like her guts! The young, rich bachelor finally found a woman who would ditch him. This is new. I should tell this to our friends.” He laughed.
“Shut up. It’s impossible, dude.” I pulled his arm away.
“Man, don’t be serious. She’s just your employee. Use your skills. Or better yet, try to understand her. She’s been working for you for half a decade. Does she even have time to date?”
I shook my head, “She never said anything about her personal life.”
“Because there’s nothing to share. She never had because she’s working for you seven times a week. Let her rest. Give her some time.”
“Why do you know all of this stuff? Are you even friends?”
He chuckled, “It’s just an observation.”
“What should I do?” I asked.
“Why don’t you try to date her or maybe something more to your expertise. You know...” He cocked his head.
“That’s not possible,”
“What? She said she wanted a husband.”
“What are you thinking?” I asked.
“Maybe you’re the husband she’s waiting for!” he suggested jokingly.
He seemed too convinced with his own suggestion. I turned around then I slapped his back.
“Don’t think too much Jared,” I told him, in a tone that clearly contradicted his words. His suggestion could be a better idea.
“Of course, I was only joking.” He forced a laugh, “But it still up to you. It’s just a piece of advice coming from a friend,”
“Do you think it will work?”
“Definitely. So, just to change the mood, I just wanted to remind you of the meeting on Monday. Your uncle will be there.” he said then he put the glass. He walked towards the living room, “Does Netflix released a new good stuff?” he asked.
God, I needed her, especially at the upcoming board meeting. She was smart and attentive! She could always come up with something when my uncle was trying to fry and toast me.
Maybe there’s nothing wrong about Jared’s suggestion?