His Ink

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Chapter Fifteen


Erika Nadine

With the clicker in my hand, I went through the slides, making sure to explain how this project would benefit both Kingston Textiles and Grayson and Co. if they merge to launch an exclusive bridal collection in Spring 2020. My attention wasn’t really on the slides since I knew it inside and out, I was just trying to impress Mr. Grayson and his team.

As the presentation went on, I got into it with and I also became little hot when I felt Mr. I’m an asshole’s eyes boring holes into me. I wasn’t confident, but I wanted to prove him wrong. If he enjoyed bashing me and felt that was his victory, I was striving to watch him defeat, I had never made someone’s defeat as my life goal.

I was never the one to hear ’Is that really the best you can do?′ from anyone but Mr. Jerk and it only pissed me off, I was definitely never the one to yell and boss people around but my work would shut any big guy’s mouth and that had only fed my ego for years now.

End of the day, I was still the one who would be receiving paychecks, I wasn’t in control, with intimidation, power and money, but that wasn’t really success for me. For me a consistent improvement was success, the rate never mattered.

I never felt defeated or passive to work under someone, I had my head high because I was proud of myself, I knew I was working efficiently and that was my success.

But Kingston was different, he came into my life like a storm, he flooded over my pride with his arrogance and destroyed my peace. I tried to anchor myself but he was a never calming storm and it only challenged me; that desperate appetite to watch him defeat. I wanted to prove him wrong and my strong desire only made me confident today and here I was presenting with no sign of nervousness.

“Alright, so that concludes the vision of this project.” I ended with a smile and heard a round applause, my eyes searched no one’s but that Dick’s and he looked unbothered with a blank expression.

“So Mr. Kingston, my dad will be here in ten minutes and he will finalize this whole thing and sign the contract.” Oliver Grayson announced, Ryan smiled in response and nodded his head.

Mr. Grayson excused himself as he got a call and Liam walked over to me and appreciated me. “Thank you, Liam!” I exclaimed and mirrored his smile.

“Since when did you guys got so close to address each other with your first names?” Ryan scowled, I picked up the files on the table, least bothered about his question. I knew I did well today and I defeated Ryan Asshole Kingston.

“Since forever. Why? Do you have any problem now?” Liam fired and I smiled internally, arranging the files as I felt Ryan’s glare on me. Ryan was the most bipolar being alive on the planet, no one but Ryan would surprise you by saying that rainbow looks so beautiful and the very next moment he would say it would be better if colours were in ROYGBIV sequence or any other sequence.

I ignored Mr. I’m the biggest bitch on this planet’s existence until Mr. Grayson comes back because that would be million times better than having a conversation with him or just being around this man. For the two past months after that drunk night I have been avoiding him like plague.

“Mr. Kingston, I’m extremely sorry but this deal can’t be done.” My jaw hit the ground when I heard Mr. Grayson. This had to be the biggest load of bullshit because just ten minutes back this man was fully convinced and now he was declining.

“Excuse me” Liam exclaimed, my gaze fell on Ryan, I expected him to have a clenched jaw or fists balled or narrowed eyebrows with frown on his forehead but he was calm and collected.

“Can we make any amendments or negotiate terms?” Ryan offered, his voice was intimidating that would make any person in the room nervous.

“It’s nothing we can negotiate,” he sighed and I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion, I wasn’t sure if this man wanted to prank an April fool thingy but this definitely was not April. “It’s about your unprofessionalism, your employees have tattoos and piercings which are unacceptable in business world.” My eyes trailed back to Ryan and he still had his cool which was surprising. “You, the face of the company seem so unprofessional and that would affect the sales.” I gasped. He should honestly stop now because it was uncalled and my employer would explode any moment.

“I would reconsider your offer on one condition Mr. Kingston,” He broke the silence and continued when Ryan gave him a curt nod. “If you manage to cover up your ink I’ll convince my father to accept the deal.” I sighed in relief because deep down I knew Ryan wouldn’t just let this deal slip out of his fingers.

“It was my pleasure to have you here Mr. Grayson,” He smiled but that smile didn’t reach his eyes, his voice was amusing. “Mr. Cromwell escort Mr. Grayson and his team to the parking lot.” With that he was out of the hall in three long strides. I hurried after him when I realised that he turned down Oliver Grayson, this was so unlike Ryan Kingston, the Ryan I admired would never turn back.

I followed him all the way to his office, he was still calm but his veins were basically popping out of his neck and that terrified me. I would be less worried if he would just bite off someone’s head but he did not.

“Ms. Nadine,” he called out my name and stopped dead in his tracks and I did the same, he still had his back facing me, the suit coat hanging on his shoulders making the back view so endearing. “I want Fall 2019 customer feedback file on my table.”

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“Care to explain about these ink stains?” Ryan snapped and I stood there confused as hell, he threw the file onto the table and glared at me.

“What?” I exclaimed in astonishment when I saw ink stains on the papers. Before the meeting with Oliver Grayson this file was perfect but out of nowhere this whole work was ruined. “Sir, I don’t know how this happened.” I said more like a whisper and he groaned.

I never knew what was wrong in this building but all these sort of weird things happen only in this building. Suddenly pages out of files or the whole file went missing, out of nowhere the washroom doors got locked from the outside and ink was spilled on files. I had no idea if there was an unsatisfied spirit that was in this building seeking revenge but hell I was always the victim.

“Sometimes I don’t know about you. Did I make a mistake hiring you?” He fumed and I ignored, not in an arrogant way but it was my fault and I had to own up to my mistakes. I certainly didn’t do this but the file was with me and I was culpable. “Do you think just because we kissed we share a special bond and it is acceptable-” He went on ranting but he didn’t have to bring up the kiss now.

“Are you still dwelling on it?” I cut him off abruptly, the sharpness of my voice stunned me. It had been two months, although I had been craving for his touch I knew that wouldn’t happen again.

“Don’t you dare talk back.” He warned me, his voice higher than before and his jaw clenching.

“I wouldn’t have to if you didn’t bring that up.” I huffed and he glared at me. It was true if he did not mention that thing I would have bore all his tantrums. I knew he was extra pissed with how the deal went with Mr. Grayson but that was disrespectful of him to point that out and accuse me of something when I wasn’t even the one who spilled ink on the pages.

“Twenty minutes you either redo the file and bring it or submit your resignation.” He broke the silence, I glanced at him in disbelief. I didn’t know if I felt that way or it was reality but he acts so impulsive and irrational at times.

I did not bother giving him an answer or countering I picked up the file and walked out of his cabin.

I decided to go to 14th floor to Gabrielle to get the reprint of the whole file. Gabrielle was a sweetheart who wouldn’t complain about anything except Ryan’s big mouth.

On my way to 14th floor I watched Gigi walking past me through the corridor and scrunched her nose up in disgust but didn’t throw any rude insults on my face for which I was thankful. I had no idea if she knew about the kiss Ryan and I had but every time I saw her I couldn’t help myself but to feel guilty over what happened. I wouldn’t blame her if she hated me because drunk or not Ryan kissing me was cheating on her with me and it was not correct, she had right to throw tantrums.

“Is that true that the deal with Oliver Grayson is cancelled?” Clara yelled since the hall in 14th floor is basically a mess, as I opened the file on Gabrielle’s Mac, Gabrielle was sitting to my right and Clara to Gabrielle’s right.

“Yeah, he said something that Mr. Jerk is unprofessional and shit, honestly that was uncalled for.” I muttered and started tapping on the keyboard.

“Wait! Mr. Grayson cannot be blamed he actually considered the offer and he asked him to cover tattoos. I don’t think there was no need for him to turn Mr. Grayson down.” Gabrielle argued and I nodded my head in approval and gave the final print order of the file after placing the white sheets in the printer.

“I don’t know if that condition bruised his ego or why he felt the urge to dismiss him so rudely but I was disappointed. I didn’t know expect him to chicken out when we spent last two weeks on that project.” I sighed and turned in my chair to face them.

“What is so big deal with tattoos?” Clara huffed and slumped back on her chair.

“I have no idea, I heard that Mr. Evans too have them but his tattoos are barely seen. I remember Ana telling that his ink was the one which screwed him in first place, if I was in his place I would have covered it or get them removed permanently.” I huffed and they both nodded their heads. “Mr. Grayson can’t be blamed completely. Mr. Jerk could have assured something when Oliver was giving him a chance.” I watched their both of their eyes widen suddenly and the room fell into pin drop silence like a hurricane was about to hit.

“With all due respect Ms. Nadine I would love to remind you of your job,” I snapped my head instantly and stood on my toes as soon as I saw him. “You are not paid grands to sit and bitch about your boss.” He growled and I screw my eyes shut. The hall had at least 50 employees and it was so humiliating to be bashed infront of all. “For someone who can’t do a single task without messing up things you sure as hell can’t hold your tongue. Ever wondered why you show up late to meetings and why files go missing?” He paused and I looked back at him, his eyes narrowed as his words hit me like whiplashes. “Because this, this is how you work. I told you to get the file redone within twenty minutes and here you are blabbering without a care in the world.”

My eyes trailed back to the printer and at my watch as he continued to lash out, “everyone in my building knows their work but not you. This is more useful than you, at least it is not waste of space in my building.” He pointed at a trash can and that was when I felt my heartbreak into countless pieces. With that he stomped out of the hall trashing me and threading on my self respect in the most disrespectful way.

I gulped down the lump that formed in my throat, angry tears polling at the corner of my eyes. I sat back on the chair and started tapping furiously on the keyboard. My mind wouldn’t stop replaying his words and every time the words pierce a little more deeper than the previous time.

“Erika, w- what are you doing?” Gabrielle stuttered and I ignored her and took the printed sheets and started arranging them in order.

“Exactly what you see!” I bit back and glance at her face, it was pale with guilt dancing all over it but that was not her mistake.

“Erika, don’t.” She mumbled and I ignored her pleas and got up from my chair, I carefully caught the two files and walked back to Lucifer’s office.

I knocked on the door and waited for his reply, as soon as I heard him bark I opened the door and walked inside. I was took off guard at the sight of files and pens thrown on the floor messily. I wanted to bend down and pick them all up and rearrange them but I did not because I knew how much he would value it.

“Ms. Nadine, I need to talk to you.” He demanded in a gruffly voice. His face was softer than before and his expression was sullen.

I placed the two files on his table. “It has been only fifteen minutes sir.” He looked at his watch and back at me with a slacked jaw, he was quick to compose himself and shook his head with a small smile and picked up the files.

He picked up the second file and looked at me with furrowed eyes. “What is this?” He asked in a low tone, confusion laced in his voice.

“That is my resignation sir.”

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