Under the Influence
My sister was arrested?! Jade: how are you texting me from jail Chloe??
Chloe: im not in jail yet but i will be soon if you don't come and bail me out.
Jade: what happened?
Chloe: i got caught under the influence.
Chloe: it's not what it seems. I promise I can explain when u get here. and please, please, don't tell mom or dad.
Jade: alright, i'll be right there as soon as i can. you better have a good explanation!
Chloe: I do! I put my phone in my purse and got in my car. I'm going to kill that girl!
30 minutes later: "Jade! I'm so glad to see you! Please can you talk to the policeman who arrested me and tell him to let me go?"
"I will. As soon as you tell me what happened."
"I wasn't drinking alcohol, I swear. But I did eat it."
"It all started when I found out I failed my college exams today."
"I'm sorry sis, that sucks."
"Yeah, it sucked so bad I ate an entire box of chocolates when I got home. They were the fancy kind that Aunt Sue gets us for birthdays. I didn't realize they had brandy in them!"
"One thing led to another and the next thing I know I'm being pulled over by this cop. The breathalyzer showed I was over the legal limit and he arrested me. But I'm sober, I swear! You've got to help me. You can't leave me to rot in jail. You know I'd never survive!"
"I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen."
"You have some lawyer moves you can pull right?"
"Of course! I'm your kick ass sister, after all! Let me speak to the cop and see if we can get you released tonight."
"Thank you, thank you!"
Hmm.. Byron texted me suddenly. Hey, its Byron. Hope you don't mind me using your personal number. This may be a little forward, but I was wondering...are you single? Holy shit, wow! I'll deal with him later. I go to talk to the officer.
"Good evening, officer. I believe you arrested my sister, Chloe Anderson, for a DUI charge."
"That would be correct."
"I think there's been a misunderstanding. My sister hasn't been drinking, she's just had too many brandy chocolates. We can both see she's completely sober."
"That's not what my breathalyzer showed."
"Perhaps it had a malfunction? Officer Banks, my sister has a clean record. She'd never do anything dangerous like that."
"I'm sorry, but I've already written her up. It's out of my hands now. You either pay bail, or she's spending the night here."
There's no way I can afford to pay bail. I haven't even had my first paycheck from the firm yet. I could respond to Byron's text message. I know he has money. Maybe I could convince him to help me.
Jade: hey Byron. i didn't expect to hear from you.
Byron: i know it's bold of me considering you're one of my lawyers... but you caught my eye the other day.
Jade: actually i'm glad you messaged me. yes.
Byron: what are you doing right now? want to grab a drink?
Jade: i would love to but i'm stuck in a police station. my sister needs help. she ate some brandy chocolates and she was caught by a cop and a breathalyzer. i'm trying to sort her bail out.
Byron: shit, need any assistance? actually, why am i asking, you're kicking my ex-wife's butt and your cool for a lawyer. i'll be there ASAP.
I smiled. That was easier than I thought. I find Chloe freaking out. "Did you sort it? Am I free?"
"Not quite. But I've asked for some help."
"One of my clients."
"You're on personal terms with your clients?"
"Only the ones who are handsome and want to take me out." "
Oh, now THAT makes sense."
30 minutes later, Byron shows up. "Hey guys! Nice to see you again, Jade."
"I heard about your incident, Chloe."
"Yup, I didn't know it was possible to get drunk on chocolate."
"I'll go speak to the officer."
He goes to the officer, and once we're alone, Chloe smiles. "You're right, he's handsome. And so sweet! I can see him over there paying my bail...rich too! I approve of this one."
"He certainly is a huge comparison to college boys."
Byron returns with a smile on his face. "It's all done. I'll call a friend in the morning, and we'll make sure they get this out of your record. You're free to go."
"You definitely are not driving tonight."
Chloe laughed. "I know."
"You can stay at place. And Byron?"
"I'll take you up on your drink offer soon."
"Good." He smiled before leaving.
"Oooo, he likes you!"
"Oh stop, he does not!"
"Oh my god Jade, do you not see it?! He blushes when you're around."
"You sure I can stay at your place?"
"Yay, sister sleepover!"
"Oh, and Chloe?"
"Please start studying for your exams. Or next time I'll leave your butt here."
"Don't worry sis. There won't be a next time."
I have a long talk with Chloe on the way home. I wanted her to know that I'll be there if she's ever struggling with college. And in the morning when I wake up, I'm happy to see that she already went back to her classes. I feel awful this morning. Chloe sure knows how to alarm me when I'm least expecting it. I've not even had time to digest what went down with Gabriel and me yesterday. The only thing that could make this worse if going to the office and playing mind games with him all day. I've never called into work sick before. But I think that today, it's reasonable.
I take out my phone and send Gabriel a message: Good morning, Gabriel. I'm not feeling well this morning, and I won't be coming into work today. He immediately got back to me: You seemed fine to me yesterday.
Jade: well..I was fine then..but I had an awful night and still don't feel like myself this morning.
Gabriel: okay, you can have the morning off. But there's a lot to do this afternoon, so I'll need you to come in later.
Jade: I'll see how I'm feeling.
Now that I have the morning off, I think I just want to lay in bed and try to catch up on some sleep. Unfortunately, I still struggled to relax. My mind's eye kept wandering back to the thoughts of Gabriel. I've always disliked men like him, but every time I think about the way he handled me in his office, I can't help but blush. Part of me even misses seeing him today.
My phone went off again. It must be him. Gabriel: Have you recovered yet? The office is hectic, and I still need you to come this afternoon.
I suppose I'm feeling better now. I should get changed into my office clothes and catch up on some missed time. Plus, it would certainly satisfy my Gabriel withdrawals. Staying home when I know he's struggling with his own workload could definitely be seen as unprofessional.
I report straight to Gabriel's office as soon and I arrive at work. The moment I step into his office, his eyes lock onto mine, in a way that makes my heart melt. I try to maintain my breathing, but the tension in the room seems to have doubled since yesterday. He raises an eyebrow and looks me over...head to toe.
It feels as if he's undressing me with his eyes. I suppose he thinks I'm hot! "I've been waiting for you all morning. If you pull any shit like that again, I won't be so forgiving the next time."
"Am I not allowed to have a sick day?"
"Not when there's so much to be done here."
"Why do you need me so badly?" He glances at me sharply, and I realize my question sounded crazy. "Last time I checked, we were ahead of schedule on the case. Plus you have a whole firm of people."
"No one knows the case like you. I need you close at all times. Being my assistant is YOUR job."
"Are you sure that's the only reason?"
"What are you implying?"
"Oh, I don't know. It's just that yesterday you seemed to need me in your office for more of a personal reason."
"Is that why you called in sick?"
"Was it not good enough for you?"
"No, I just meant, um..."
"I've never had any complaints in that department" he said, smirking.
That smirk he gives me drives me insane. "I'm here now. Just tell me what you want to do."
"I want you to tell me the real reason why you called in sick today. Because I sure as hell don't see any signs of a cold or flu. In fact, dressed in that outfit makes you look better than ever. I certainly hope you're not trying to get me to fuck you again."
"I drank too much last night with my sister."
He raised his eyebrows.
"Is that it?"
"I see... Well, this is the exact reason why I don't mix business and pleasure. We shouldn't have had sex in Barcelona. It was a bad idea. And the second time was a flat out mistake."
"It was YOUR idea!"
"Don't lie. You don't realize I notice the way you look at me when we're all alone? Or the way you stop breathing when I touch you? The way you roll your head back when I kiss the back of your neck?"
"It's Mr. Howard. Can you please work from your desk for the rest of the day? My secretary will fill you in on the tasks required."
"As far as I'm concerned, this is over in terms of pleasure. Am I being clear?"
Once again, I found myself confused at how the hell our relationship flips back and forth. He's a bipolar asshole! How could he turn his feelings off so easily? I guess he is used to being a cold-hearted jerk.
I silently focus on my work for the rest of the day, until it's finally over. I promise myself tomorrow will be a better day.
*The next day: I need to remember I'm in this job to further my career. I can't let anyone get in the way of that. As I sit at my desk, I think to myself hmmm.. Gabriel hasn't emailed me any tasks for the day. So I decide to message him.
Jade: Morning, Mr. Howard. I'm just waiting for your email to come through for the day.
Gabr: AutoMessage: "MR. GABRIEL HOWARD is currently out of office. Messages will be responded to as soon as possible." That's strange. Here comes Kelly. Maybe she'll know where he is.
"Good morning, Jade."
"Mr. Howard hasn't sent me an email this morning, and he's offline on the messaging system. Is he out for a meeting?"
"Oh, did he not speak to you before he left?"
"No. Where did he go?"
"He went back to Barcelona last night. Said he had some business to finish up there."
"He went without me?! Without telling me?"
"I don't know what you did, but he mentioned you were "too inexperienced" to handle this case. He asked me to transfer you to another boss and he's put a request in for a new assistant."
"What. The. Hell."