1|| A Compromise
“The lot has been cleared,” Shaun says, “When should construction start, Miss.”
“Start tomorrow,” I say, “I don’t like to wait.”
Having said what I needed to say, I return to my paperwork. Will, my personal assistant, escorts him out and returns shortly. “Miss,” he says. I glance up. He is standing with a tall man with blonde hair and green eyes. “You must be Mr. Anderson” I confirm.
The man nods and says, “Yes I am.”
“Sit,” I say, gesturing towards the chair in front of my desk.
“Miss. Devereaux” he starts, “I really don’t know why you’ve arranged this mee-”
“Shut up. You don’t start the conversations here. I do. You nod your head like a puppet when I speak to you. Understand?”
He clenches his jaw in anger but wisely chooses to say nothing and nods his head instead.
“Good. As to why you’re here...I want my money,” I say, getting straight to the point.
“What money,” he asks, confused.
“The 1.3 million dollars you stole from me,” I say, coldly.
He chuckles. “Oh, that,” he says, “I didn’t steal it. I asked your personal assistant if you could loan some money and with a little encouragement, she gave it to me immediately.”
“If you still want to keep your limbs, I’d advise you to stop laughing,” I say, coldly, “You seduced my assistant. I want my money. NOW.”
He pales and starts spluttering. “I-I c-can’t g-give you the m-money right now” he stutters, “My business isn’t big enough to repay that kind of money.”
“Either give me my money” I state, “or I take your business.”
“B-But I’ve been working really hard. I can’t afford to give you my business. It’s the only thing that is supporting my family right now. Please. I’ll do anything.”
“Anything?” I ask, leaning forward and folding my hands on the desk.
“Anything” he confirms.
“Okay,” I say, “I am willing to compromise.” He nods and waits for me to continue.
“What’s the name of your son?”
“Um, I don’t have a son,” he says, scratching the back of his head in confusion.
“Really, then who the fuck is this?” I say, pulling out a magazine where there was a picture of him and a cute (read: gorgeous) guy on the cover.
“Um...he’s not my son. He’s my stepson” he says, crossing his arms.
“I don’t really care about the details. I want him in an arranged marriage.”
Because why the fuck not. He is the legitimate personification of a Greek God and this girl wanna get herself some.
He looks at me in shock, his eyes wide and his mouth open, before his lips slowly stretched into a smile. “Hmm,” he says, stroking his chin thoughtfully.
“You have 15 hours to tell me your answer,” I say, even though he really only has one hour.
“No need,” he says, “I accept your compromise.”
“Good, you may leave,” I say, waving him off. He stands up and walks out, wordlessly.
Too bad that wasn’t the compromise. Should’ve asked for a written contract.
I haven’t decided what I want from him yet, but when I do, he will regret messing with me.
Will walks forward and looked at me.
“What?” I ask.
“Why are you getting married?” he asks, confused, “I thought you hated the idea of having a boyfriend and getting married”
“I did,” I said, “But that was before. I mean, have you seen him. It’s only a matter of time before he gets snatched up by these vultures we call women. I’m just staking my claim before that happens.”
Will raises an eyebrow and crosses his arms.
“Mmhmm. Okay...and now the truth.”
I sigh and mumble a response.
“Can you repeat that please.”
“I think he might be my...mate” I mumble, before glancing up to see his reaction.
“Well, I hope he is. You deserve it after everything you’ve been through” he says as he pulls me into a hug.
He smiles at me before walking out.
I glance at the clock on my desk and see it is 9:45 pm. I pack all the paperwork into my bag and turn off the light before walking out. All my employees had already gone home so I lock all the doors before walking outside. My chauffeur is waiting for me and opens the car door when he sees me.
“Miss. Devereaux” he says, bowing slightly.
“James,” I say, nodding my head and entering the car. He closes the door and walks around to the driver’s side before opening the door and climbing inside, shutting it behind him. He drives me home in complete silence, the way I like it. When we arrive, he opens the door and I step out.
“Goodnight, James,” I say, walking to the front door.
“Goodnight, Miss” I hear him say behind me. I walk into the house and kick off my shoes before picking them up. I walk up the stairs and when I get to the top, I turn and walk down the left hallway, before opening the 4th door on my left.
I walk into my office and drop my shoes at the door before walking to my desk and collapsing on the chair.
Owning a company is exhausting.
Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like if I was still in high school.
I sigh and remove some files from my bag, setting them on my desk.
A few minutes later, there is a knock on the door.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Mia, ma’am,” a voice says.
“Come in,” I say, relaxing in my chair.
The door opens and one of my maids, Mia, who is a petite brunette walks in.
“Would you like dinner, Miss?” she asks sweetly.
“No thank you,” I say.
Mia nods and curtseys before picking up my shoes, which are by the door, and leaving.
I try to design pieces for my lingerie line but after a few minutes of sitting there with no ideas whatsoever, I pick myself up and drag myself to my bedroom, which is two doors down from my office.
Once I enter, I close the door behind me and strip off my clothes before slipping on a large T-shirt and basketball shorts.
I climb into bed and clap my hands once. The lights immediately dim.
I try to sleep but thoughts plague my mind.
I am still thinking about the compro- agreement I had made with Mr. Anderson.
What if his son is a cocky bastard?
I don’t care if he’s a legitimate greek god, I don’t want to have a mate that’s a snob who only cares about how a girl looks.
I hate when a girl is bullied because other people think she is fat or ugly or weird.
The truth is...we’re all weird in our own way. Some of us just choose to embrace it.
And I also strongly dislike when brands make a whole different fashion line for bigger girls.
They say that they should be proud of their body but they’re practically separating them from the general population of girls.
If you really think she’s not different, why not include her in the actual collection instead of making a new one.
She’s not fat. She’s thicccc.
(That’s right. I put 4 Cs.)
She’s not ugly. She’s beautiful.
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk today.
I sit up in bed as the idea comes to me.
That’s the theme for my next line.
I clap my hands so the lights turn on and jump out of bed excitedly before running towards the desk in the corner of my room. I pull out a sketchbook from one of the drawers and start sketching. The ideas just keep flowing and soon the whole desk is littered in designs.
Now, I just need a name for the collection.
‘Gorgeous’ Dalia suggests.
Nah. Too basic.
No. Same as gorgeous.
‘I’m just gonna start throwing out words now.’
’Distinctive, exclusive, eccentric, indivi-”
That’s it. Uniquely Eccentric.
I grab a manila folder from the 2nd drawer and a black sharpie from the small cup of sharpies to my right before writing ‘Uniquely Eccentric’ in big, bold letters.
I wake up with the sun shining in my eyes.
I squint and cover my eyes with one arm before snapping my fingers.
The blinds close as I sit up and yawn, stretching my arms to loosen my stiff muscles and joints.
I climb out of bed and strip off my clothes before walking to the bathroom. When I enter, I close the door behind me and enter the shower.
I take a quick shower and wash my hair before drying my body with a towel. I rub lotion on my body and dry my hair with another towel before stepping into my walk-in closet to pick out my clothes. I decide on a white deep v-neck long-sleeve crop top with and some tan-colored trousers which I pair with my light pink Christian Louboutins.
I walk to my vanity and sit on the chair before opening my makeup drawers.
I decide to go for a natural look and use brown eyeshadow, which matches my skin tone and nude lipstick.
I had straightened my natural hair the day before, so it was still straight.
I brush it and tie it in a low, messy bun before grabbing my white Botkier Mini Cobble Hill Calfskin Leather Crossbody Bag from my pocketbook collection.
I glance at my reflection one last time before walking over to the desk and picking up the manila folder.
I walk out of my room and towards my office. When I enter, I walk to my desk and place the folders on it and my MacBook inside my work bag.
Then I walk out and down the stairs.
When I get to the bottom, I look around for my butler and when I don’t see him, I yell, “FULLER.”
“Yes, Miss. Devereaux” his voice answers. I glance up and see him coming down the stairs.
“I need you to prepare a room,” I say, as I start walking towards the front door.
“Why,” he asks, confused.
“I am getting married soon and he needs room to stay in.”
“You’re ENGAGED,” he asks, pure shock and disbelief etched in his voice, “I thought you weren’t interested in love.”
“And I’m confused,” he said, scratching his head.
“I think he’s my mate and the only way I can be sure is by getting married” I lie.
Fuller is a human so he doesn’t understand the full concept of mates. I’d rather tell him that instead of telling him that we sniff each other to find to see if we are mates.
How weird is that?
Fuller nods his head in understanding but I can tell he is still a bit confused.
We arrive at the kitchen by and Fuller sits on one of the kitchen stools. He rubs his temples for a little while before looking at me.
“You’re completely positive about going through with this,” he asks, “Because once you do, you can’t undo it. It will ruin your business and destroy your reputation.”
I mull over it for a bit.
After a lot of thinking, I nod and say, “Positive.”
“Have you called James, Fuller?” I asked, impatiently.
“Yes,” he says, chuckling at my bluntness, “I called him while you were getting ready. He should be here any minute now.”
As id on cue, I hear a loud honk outside. Fuller opens the front door and I can see my driver holding the door of the limo open for me. I nod at Fuller as I walk past him and enter the car. James closes the door after I enter and proceeds to walk around the car and get in the driver’s seat.
The limo pulls drives around the fountain in the front of my house before stopping at the entrance gate a few moments later. It opens and we drive out.
The limo arrives at my building in about 15 minutes, give or take.
James opens the door and I step out, smoothing my pants once I’ve done so. I nod at him as he enters the car and drives away.
I enter the building and most of my employees turn to look at me.
Most of the men are cautious not to check me out.
I guess they still remember what happened to Jason Walker. It’s not like I planned to completely shatter his wrist.
Things just happen.
He had it coming. He was such a cocky dipstick. I should’ve fired his sorry ass the minute he decided to call me ‘Babe.’
I internally shudder. Disgusting.
I enter the elevator press the button for the 17th floor where my office is located. When it arrives, I walk out and turn left before opening the 1st door on my right. I walk into my office and place my bag on my desk, before removing my MacBook and setting it on my desk as well. I walk around my desk and sit down. As if on cue, Will walks in and hands me a cup of tea.
“What’s my schedule for today,” I ask, blowing before sipping my tea.
“You have a meeting with Executive Chefs and Sous Chefs of all the Devereaux restaurants in 10 minutes,” Will says, looking at his iPad, “You have an appointment with Mr. Anderson and his son in 30 minutes. Also, you have a presentation with the FD about your new lingerie line at noon. You also have a meeting with Mr. Clarke about the contract at 3:45 pm. Then you can have your lunch break at 5 pm.” I nod in understanding and stand up.
I grab the manila folder from my bag, tuck it under my arm, and begin walking towards the door. Will follows behind me, silently. My heels click on the tile floor as we walk towards Meeting Room 1B. I open the door and walk inside. All the chefs from all my restaurants are in here.
Once I sit down at the head of the table, all conversations cease as everyone looks at me and gives me their undivided attention. As I open my mouth to speak, the door flies open and a tall brunette woman rushes in. I recognize her as Maria Duncan, the sous chef at the Devereaux restaurant at 8733 Kuter Street.
“Sorry I’m late, Miss,” she said, breathlessly, “I woke up late.” I could clearly tell she was lying from her accelerated heartbeat.
That among other things.
Her lipstick is smudged, her neck is littered in dark hickeys, her lips are swollen and her hair is mussed up. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the real reason she is late.
I narrow my eyes.
“Really,” I ask, incredulously, “Then what are all the marks on your neck.” She turns a vibrant shade of red.
“Well...I...uh” she stammers, “They are...um...bug bites”
“What type of bug,” I ask, feigning curiosity.
“I...um...I...uh...I...um...I...uh” she stammers, trying to find a response.
‘I am so fed up with this nonsense’ I think, exasperatedly. “YOU’RE FIRED” I scream. She stares at me in shock.
“B-But...I...W-Wait, M-Miss...I...I...I... you c-can’t be serious” she splutters, struggling to complete her sentence.
“Uh yeah. I can. Leave,” I say, pointing at the door.
“B-But...b-but...I” she stutters, still trying to speak.
“SECURITY” I scream. Two of my security guards come in and escorted her out, with her kicking and yelling the whole way. I simply walked back to my seat and sat down.
“I have 2 new dishes that are going to be added to the menu,” I say, “The first is Rigatoni Filetto.”
“It’s Italian so add it to the Italian section. Do you understand?”
I receive a chorus of ‘Yes Miss. Devereaux’ in response. I smile in satisfaction as I lead the chefs to the back of the room where there are some 8 or 9 kitchen stations.
In the middle of them is one slightly bigger one.
I roll up my sleeves, put on an apron and walk towards the big kitchen.
The chefs gather around to watch me as I wash my hands with soap and hot water.
Will brings me a basket filled with all the ingredients I need.
“For this dish, you’ll need-WHY AREN’T YOU WRITING THIS DOWN.”
They scramble to their seats and get out a pad of paper and a pen.
I’m such an intimidating boss. I love it.
I hide the smirk on my lips as I roll my eyes and continue.
“You need 10 whole plum tomatoes, 8 garlic cloves, ¼ cup olive oil, 8 ounces pancetta, cut into thin strips, 2 Tarantino’s mild Italian sausages, casings removed, 1 large onion, diced, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, ½ cup white wine, 2 tablespoons chopped shallots, Salt, Black pepper, 1 16-ounce box rigatoni, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, and Shredded Parmesan cheese,” I say, taking out each ingredient.
First, I preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I put 2 quarts of water in a large pot to boil and add a dash of salt.
Next, I core the tomatoes and place them in a roasting pan with garlic cloves. I add olive oil and stir to coat it.
I roast the tomatoes and garlic until the garlic is golden brown, rotating them in the pan to cook evenly.
Then, I remove it from the oven and let it cool. I remove the tomatoes and garlic from the pan and chop it. Then, I set it aside.
I pour the oil from the roasting pan into a large saucepan and heat it over medium heat.
Then, I add the pancetta and sausage to the pan and cook it, stirring to break up sausage, until it browns.
I add onions and shallots and cook until it browns
While the sauce simmered, I added the rigatoni to the boiling water and cooked it my own way, ignoring the instructions on the box.
To finish the sauce, I stir in butter until it melts.
I drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. “Make sure you mix well,” I say.
Finally, I topped each serving with shredded Parmesan.
I plate it and each of them grabs a fork from Will. They all taste it and their eyes widen.
“This is amazing,” Joshua says.
“Magnificent” Alicia praises.
“Well, what did you expect,” I say, brushing off the praise.
“Now go make it yourself,” I say. I snap my fingers.
Will, my best friend Kiana, and one of my security guards come in holding 6 baskets of ingredients. They give one to each of the cooks.
“NOW COOK” I order.