Chapter 1 New guy in office.
Amy wouldn’t have been late that morning to work if she hadn’t gone for that late-night corroboree celebrating Cassie’s twenty second birthday. Cassie’s parties were always wild…but Cassie was her only friend and her best friend at that…she couldn’t but skip her birthday party. But then considering that it was a weeknight and the fact that she could not hold on to her alky after her second drink she should have refrained from the temptation of God Liber Pater and stuck to her orange juice. But when Bacchus calls who can resist? So, Amy tippled on her second Tequila and got totally fermented and sloshed before the party had actually begun. But no, the predictable did not happen, she did not wake up naked in bed with some unknown hot guy! Nah! That’s not our girl… and out story is not THAT exciting…. she sat singing ballads and ballyhoos, most tunelessly and with an intolerable yowl, in the pavement outside her house till 2 am in the morning much to the disgust, anger and surprise of her neighbours. They knew her to be a soft, gentle and rather quiet girl and could not associate her with the yob that howled at their doorstep. It was finally the friendly neighbourhood policeman who intervened and managed to get her into the house. It was then that she went to sleep. So, then she woke up pretty late next morning… all embarrassed and severely hungover…. She did manage to overcome her hangover but not her embarrassment. So, her easiest exit route was to rush to the nearest bus stop board a bus and rush to work.
So, it was only natural that Amy Wilson was late to work. But as she sneaked into her cubicle from the back door, she realised that something was wrong. The usual silent hum of a working office was not there…in its place there was a complete foofaraw for no apparent reason. All the girls in her department were in a state of absolute excitement. They were talking too loudly, finding everything funny and laughing at everything too loudly and there was a constant whisper and giggle going on. There were too many empty coffee cups on each of their table.
“Is there any news on the bonus?” Amy asked Tinsy, the girl who sat next to her trying to find some reason to this over-caffeinated regalia.
“Hell no,” said Tinsy looking at her.
“Then what is this excitement all about?”
Tinsy giggled covering her mouth and then nudged her lightly gesturing at someone sitting in the design department, “Did you see that guy? He is superhot, isn’t he?”
Amy’s cubicle was at the very end of the room. She was the youngest and the junior most in the public relations and advertising department of Bianchi Motors. She got the worst seat which no one wanted...the one near the restroom! Tinsy joined 20 days before her, sat next to her. So, Amy had to crane her neck real hard to see who this guy was. But all she could see was the back of his head.... the glistening jet black hair sported a very trendy hairstyle which clearly exposed an enticing neck. The rest of him was covered in a white shirt and navy-blue suit. He seemed to be busy working in his laptop.
“He joined the design team today,” whispered Tinsy adding, “Oh, he is a Greek god, Amy. All the girls in the department have been going up and down the aisle eyeing him. Debby, that bitch, has already got herself introduced to him.”
“His dark hair reminds me of Rhett Butler. But who could match the God of The Gone with the Wind?” signed Amy wistfully. Yeah! Amy was a fiction freak who tended to associate people she met with the characters she read in her books and Rhett Butler of The Gone with the Wind got her real weak in the knees.
“You are medieval,” said Tinsy.
Amy laughed adding, “Can’t see his face.”
“Go and fetch a cup of coffee and get a peek on your way back,” she suggested, and then she sighed, “oh, God must have made him on a Sunday…he is so handsome.”
“Is it?” Amy stood up, “Lemme check him out then," she said as she began walking towards the coffee vendor which was at the other end of the sprawling room.
The Public Relations and Advertising department was one of the smallest departments at Bianchi Motors. There were ten of them. Nine Girls and one guy, Rob, who generally got bullied by all the girls. He sat next to Tinsy. The office design was very open and interactive. The whole floor area was divided into workstations with low glass dividers. Each department was divided by a wide passage. The design department comprised of almost the whole floor. Since, the Greek god was a new recruit and he sat at the fag end of the design department, it gave the predominantly female PR department which was just after it, a full view of him. He distracted the whole department creating a flurry. Ah! Good looking men and their impact on women! (The author notes -It is the truth universally known but never admitted that an extremely good-looking man is bound to make every woman’s heart flutter as she lays her eyes on him. Well, not all of us will hit on him or try and seduce him…but he sure will have it easy with us. With one smile he will off load his work on us and we will willingly and happily do it…This part is called, bringing out the angel….and we play the angel till of course the ungrateful bastard sashays his sexy and much more better-looking girlfriend at the office party. Then, of course, he will face complete non-cooperation from women of all forms and formats at work from the next day. This part is called bringing out the bitch. Women can be very ruthless when they bring out the bitch.)
Anyway, back to the story. Rob looked up at Amy when he saw her walking out. “Not you too, Ams…if it goes on like this, they will run out of coffee cups, I tell you,” he said, and then thumbing at the supervisor’s seat he said, “Caveat.... the she- dragon is in.”
“I know. But she wouldn’t grudge me a cup of coffee, would she?”
But then she did! Amy just taken a few steps when Susan Harris her supervisor bellowed. “Amy Wilson did you just walk out of your sleep to work?”
Amy stopped as she saw the Greek god turn his head to look at her. His black mop was lustrous and thick and had been gelled to give a formal office look. His black hair co-ordinated completely with his equally dark, and aboudingly deep and beautiful eyes where one could easily jump and keep falling and downing for ever without wanting to return. They however presently held a rather amused and interested expression as he watched Amy. It did not give Amy the drowning feeling. She was too embarrassed by them. His face was oval and ended with a rather strong and stubborn jaw line. His bone structure was near perfect and symmetrical. His full lips which were flirtatiously slightly parted, had an intoxicating sensuality which made one only fantasise how it would be to kiss him…. There was a manly arrogance and something extremely snobbish about his good looks which was attractive and forbidding. Added to that his appearance extended a feeling of power which would made him appear intimidating and extremely unapproachable. His appearance hit the nail at the right spots in the heart to make it ache for him. Okay he is super-hot....and could give a good competition to Rhett Butler, thought Amy biting her lips. If only he did not give that cheeky look at her Amy would have found him extremely enticing. But that look was kind of irritating and put her off. She immediately turned away from him.
“Did you oversleep again, Amy?” bellowed Susan.
“Err, Susan,” she said rather softly.
“What’s wrong with you child. You did not even comb your hair.”
Shit, thought Amy as she ran her hand over her hair. “I am sorry Susan.”
“No dear, I am sorry to say you look absolutely terrible. Look what is it you are wearing.”
Amy looked at her ripped jeans and rather crumpled checked shirt. She agreed she should have dressed better.
“How many times do I have to tell you- ONLY FORMAL CLOTHES ALLOWED. You could at least rub a bit of lipstick on yourself.”
That women and her loud voice, thought Amy, grinding her teeth.
By now the whole design department was looking at her. This was the problem with Susan. She was very good at heart, very loving and affectionate but generally yes, a she-dragon especially when she had to get work out of them and in moments like this.
“Where exactly where you heading?” She demanded.
“Do you have a hangover?”
“No, Susan,” she lied. This was too much, she thought, the she-dragon was hitting under the belt with the Geek god as the spectator. Only if he was not THAT good looking it wouldn’t hurt so much…more so because she saw from the corner of her eyes, he was still watching with his grin intact..
“Ok, go to the restroom and comb your hair first. Do you have a lipstick on you?”
“No,” Amy was beginning to hate this conversation.
“What kind of women doesn’t even have a lipstick in her bag. Here take mine. Let me see you when you come out. We have work to do.”
Amy sulked her way to the restroom. As she looked at her reflection, she was rather embarrassed. She did not deserve Rhett Butler…she did not even qualify for Scarlet O’Hara’s hand maiden. Rob had once said, “you should at least, try to look good when you have such a goid face. Who would want to even look at a girl who looks like she has been struck by the lightning?”
Indeed, Amy looked the part. She forgot to comb her hair often. Even when she did her hair did not stay where it was supposed to stay. By afternoon she invariably looked one ruffled mess. She never used make-up on herself at work except when she had to go for a party, which was rare. Yes, yesterday was a rare thing. She just had one lipstick. She often forgot to trim her hair. In the present case it was almost seven months since she had her last haircut and her mane had no shape at all… but somehow it did not look that bad. But if you managed to look beyond all this, which was difficult right now, I admit, she really had a near perfect bone structure, her skin was flawless. She had a clear complexion (which was of course, hereditary), classical features and her eyes had a naughty intelligence (which was an extension of her personality) and added a wildness to her beauty. She was tall, lean and athletic and if she wore nice (read sexy) clothes, had a good haircut, waxed her hands and legs more often, applied some cream (yes...all of that) she could look a stunner. But she didn’t do any of that. She would rather hole up in her attic like apartment curled up with a book. She had a student loan to clear and whatever salary was left of her monthly loan repayment was too less to lead an extravagant lifestyle. But she did manage to look sweet, cute and lovable none the less. But when you are working in a stiff upper-lip corporate environment, you needed to look prim, proper and sharp as well.
Anyway, Amy returned to Susan’s desk fixing herself. “What is the work you wanted me for?” she asked rather disinterestedly.
“Don’t give me that face.... Bianchi Motor’s Zen 1 publicity thingy is your baby...you stunned all visualizing the ad and came up with all bright campaign ideas. Now, the press release has to be written for the upcoming event.... here are the details and coordinate with Lisa and Maureen to get the CEO and the MD’s bytes. Also, ready all the probable questions which might be asked at the press con. We will be having a brain storming session this afternoon on this.”
“Yeah! Okay,” replied Amy heading for her desk. Zen 1 was her company’s about-to-be launched sports car. Susan and the hired Ad agency ran pillar to post making as many as 21 adverts but none of them gained approval of their new CEO. So, then Susan was open to any ideas coming from her team. It was then that Amy came up with her idea of an ad. She was asked to do a pilot project. Strangely her ad got accepted and was given full charge to handle it. So, then Amy the unknown newbie whom her colleagues saw as a perpetually distracted, weirdo, suddenly got catapulted to the position of the company’s new star, the advertising genius.
“Did you drink your coffee?” asked Susan in her motherly tone that she had…Yeah! She kept oscillating from the motherly to the dragonly …. tic..toc…
“I will, just now,” said she sauntering up the aisle heading straight towards the coffee vendor. As she crossed the Greek God a faint smell of musk seemed to deliciously tingle her nostrils. Okay he smelled good as well. She turned her head one wee bit to take a peek of his much talked about and drooled over godly face… but the predictable happened…She tripped on the obstacle less level ground and fumbled her steps a bit which made the Greek God look up. How embarrassing was that! She immediately looked straight as her ears felt hot as warm colour rose to her cheeks. But Amy held her head high and walked on or rather rushed on. She was not going to give any importance to the Greek god…Like her silly, giddy colleagues. Okay, fine. She was checking him out…but she did not want him to know.
As she filled up her cup, she was mulling over the fact that she was indeed one of her worst dsys at work and she regretted coming to work like this. This new guy must have been sniggering at her appearance. It made her really depressed. She was absentmindedly sipping her coffee while walking back when she saw the Greek God still looking at her in that strange amused expression. Amy looked away and increased her pace as she headed back. But her eyes kept going back to him, and she found him steadily staring her, with that annoying regalia in his eyes. When she crossed him, she realized his body language had become a little more aggressive. He was leaning back in his chair and staring at her unabashedly with a rather insolent smile in his lips. His eyes followed her turning to look at her where she sat, catching her eye for a moment before returning to his work.
“Tinsy, what is the Greek God’s name?” She queried.
“Glade Maxwell,” she chirped.
“He should be named Thanos.” she shrugged returning to her work.
“Why?” Tinsy was surprised.
"He gave me a real cheeky-sarky grin when he heard what Susan was telling me.”
“I knnnnnow,” she said dragging her n and w, “I heard that. It was really bad.”
“And then that Glade Maxwell gave me a real roguey stare as I was returning from the coffee machine. He creeped me out.”
“I would do anything to get a roguey stare from him,” she said giggling, “I think he found you interesting.”
“Oh! That’s preposterous and a ludicrously impossible thought.”
“Chill… I think he found you funny.”
Amy looked at Tinsy for a while… trying to understand what she meant “You mean he thinks I am some sort of an office comedienne dishing out free entertainment?” Amy looked shocked.
Tinsy was not a combative girl, she was rather friendly and steered clear from any controversy. She looked very distressed. “I didn’t mean that…may be today is not your day, Amy. I think you should ignore everything.”
“Yeah! Maybe,” she said and the rest of the day she felt everyone was scoffing and laughing at her. More than reality it was a thought. It just made her more withdrawn and she barely left her desk for the whole day. That was how she was…. the snail in the shell.