His Ink

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Chapter Eighteen

Ryan Kingston

I groaned and snuggled closer into my bedsheets when the bright sunlight glared at me through the window, I shifted in my bed and finally decided to wake up since the sunlight wouldn’t stop annoying me.

I rolled out of my bed and walked into shower, quickly stripped down my clothes and turned the tap on and let the warm water flow down my muscles as my mind drifted off to last night.

Last night after Ana had ditched Erika with Rodger she was left alone. Since the keys were with Ana, Erika had nowhere to go and she obliged when I offered her to stay at my place.

When returned back home, I offered her one of my sweatshirts to change into and she took it without throwing a fuss and slept in my room while I slept in the guest bedroom or Rodgers’s room for now.

I had never fantasized the idea of being a bitch to my employees but I still did the deed because I needed efficiency in my work, I needed success and I couldn’t risk my reputation. I was challenged by the BOD of Kingston Industries and I do everything to watch them defeat, even if it’s behaving like a dick. The fact that the BOD was one hell of self-esteemed judgemental bitches and impressing them was the last thing I would ever do if I hadn’t given my word.

I had given a word to my dad.

I should take over Kingston Industries! There was no way around that. The only ways I knew was to work harder and make my employees work the way I need. Tardiness, negligence, inefficiency, disobedience, lack of manners were never something I had ever tolerated.

I always felt gratified to fire inefficient employees but Erika was different. The way she worked took me by surprise, I just couldn’t find a valid reason to criticize her and although I sprouted bullshit that I would fire her I would have never done that, it wasn’t something any sane person in the right state of mind would do.

As annoying it was for me to admit I always knew I had to work on my anger issues and I had tried to work on it but damn that thing was infuriating.

The project with Grayson should skyrocket our profits according to my expectations and I had invested my money, efforts and time into it only for Grayson to cancel me about what? My bloody body ink, that was fucking discrimination, there the thought alone makes my blood boil beneath it’s surface and I lost my cool when he turned me down.

Hold the fuck on! That doesn’t sound right, he didn’t turn me down, no one in NYC will dare to do that, I turned him down. Fuck! Yes, I turned him down.

I certainly turned him down but still when I thought of the project I couldn’t help my urge to break things and I hated that Erika had just become my rage’s victim. If it was someone else, a less efficient employee I wouldn’t have given a flying fuck about the way I acted but Erika was different. She was outstanding in everything she did and she didn’t deserve to be here, she should be working in the headquarters as a top tier executive.

The moment I returned to my office I realized how irrational I acted. I wanted to apologize not only because she was one of my best employees but also because no matter what I couldn’t call someone a waste of space. When she stepped into my office with files in her hand, I wanted to apologize and I told her ′we need to talk!′ because I had to apologize. But damn she was quick to throw her resignation on my table and it felt like a facepalm.

I spent three days thinking how could I apologize because I fúcking knew that was intolerable and no amount of apologies could unsay my words. It bitch hurt me when she said ′honestly if I remember it I have to remember you, you never gave me any good reason to remember you′ but she couldn’t be blamed.

Every time I looked into her gorgeous green eyes I was damned. I had seen a whirl of pain in her jade eyes. Her eyes were a constant reminder of Hayden to me, no matter how deep I was buried in my work but my friends were always on my mind.

I had seen that cheeky bastard turn to an empty nutshell when Diana Winters left him, he was broken but there was nothing any of us could do, we couldn’t bring back Diana to him all I managed to do was show him his little bundle of joy Darcy and she gave him a reason to live.

For some unidentifiable reason I didn’t like to see the pain in her eyes, I didn’t know why but deep down I felt she was broken like Hayden, I wanted to reach out for her and I wanted to comfort her.

That sounded like a load of bullshit but I really did feel that way last night.

It irked me when I realized that I was always an assholé to her and there is no way she would trust me. After Gigi she was the only woman I actually liked and trusted but she wouldn’t feel that way —not that she should be blamed.

I turned off the shower and stepped outside the shower after wrapping a towel around my waist and tiptoed into my room not wanting to wake Erika up. She was curled up into a ball on the middle of the bed and damn she looked so cute while she was asleep.

When I opened my closet to take my clothes the front door opened with a light creak as Sarah walked in.

“My goodness! Is that Gigi?” The grey haired woman enquired with a frown on her face when she saw Erika’s back

“No! That is not Gigi.” I whispered, the frown disappeared instantly and her eyes went wide in surprise.

“Who is she?” Sarah smiled as she looked at Erika.

“My emplo- ugh! She is my friend.” I replied gruffly and walked out of my door to Rodgers’s room and after closing the door behind me changed into my clothes.

“Ryan! Son the news- what are you doing here?” I heard a familiar masculine voice yell from outside.

“Ugh I- me!” Erika struggled to answer, her voice low but it was audible enough for me to recognise it. I quickly pulled my sweatshirt down my head and opened the door.

Andrew was staring at Erika with wide eyes who was tugging at the ends of my sweatshirt, Sarah was at the other corner of the room watching everything like it was some soap opera.

“Ryan!” Andrew yelled when he looked at me.

“Damn! Why are you shouting?” I groaned and turned to Sarah, “Sarah can you bring us two cups of coffee and a cup of hot chocolate?”

“Yes, right away.” Sarah hurried off to the kitchen and Erika looked absolutely perplexed with everyone walking in.

“We need to talk.” He said in a stern voice, I gave him a curt nod and his gaze shifted to Erika. “You have things to explain young lady!” He warned her and her eyebrows shot up in surprise.

“What?”

“I need to talk to both of you.” He started and took a seat on the chair. She gave me a flat expression, later walked past me towards the couch and sat on it.

“I’m waiting, Ryan.” He called me out, I huffed and slumped down on the couch away from Erika. This was certainly not the way I expected this morning to go on.

“Ryan,” Sarah came from the kitchen with a tray and three cups on it. She handed each one of us our cup and hurried off to take care of laundry.

I glanced at Erika and she was gazing at Andrew intensely to start the conversation. I must admit damn she looked so amazing in that sweatshirt her creamy legs blended perfectly with my white sweatshirt which reached her mid thigh.

“So Mr. Kingston what do you want to talk to me about?” Erika broke the silence and took a sip of her hot chocolate. I supposed this would be about her resignation but damn it was all my mistake, any sane person would have resigned.

Fuck! This is gonna be interesting.

“I want you to get engaged to Ryan!” Andrew said with a blank expression and she instantly choked on her hot chocolate, I glanced at her with wide eyes while she was coughing. I was rather surprised to hear him joke something like that. It sure as hell must be something about her resigning.

After her cough died down she glanced at me and later shook her head in disbelief, she started laughing when Andrew gazed at her. “I’m serious Erika, why are you laughing?” He snapped and she flinched back at his tone.

WHAT THE FUCK!

“Excuse me!” He ignored Erika’s protest and turned towards me.

“Do you know how big of a mistake you have made Ryan? It is a matter of time before the press asks who this girl is.” His voice clouded with worry and a deep frown on his forehead.

“She is my assistant.” I replied dryly and ignored Erika’s burning stare. She wasn’t my employee anymore but damn what should I tell him, not to mention the fact that she is still in my sweatshirt.

“Is that so? Then explain this-” he threw a newspaper on the patio table and I reluctantly glanced at her. That was fucking Rodger and Ana, the article had a picture of Rodgers’s face and Ana’s bare back, they were having sex!

DAMN! I’M SCREWED AGAIN!

“The pictures on the tabloids are definitely not ours, it was Rodger and his fuck. You might want to ask him who she is and as always the press will write trash but I don’t care anymore, Andrew.”

“I know the naked photos spread aren’t yours but explain this to me.” He groaned and threw another newspaper on the patio table, Erika glanced at the newspaper with a curious expression and gasped when she saw the picture, it was a picture of Erika kissing me.

Fuck! It’s from that night at the club when Rodger challenged her.

“That was a drunken mistake.” I sighed, catching my head in my hands.

You were perfectly sober! LIAR!!

I ignored the voice inside me, this thing would become talk of the town and the BOD would come for my ass.

“Yeah but you can’t give that explanation to the press not at least when they want to write ′RYAN KINGSTON MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELOR AND WOMANISER IN NYC′ as the headline on the cover page.” I gazed at Erika from the corner of my eyes she was wiggling her toes, pursing her lips and glanced down at my sweatshirt.

Damn did she look super cute and adorable just by doing that.

“Fix it Andrew, you know that wasn’t me.” I growled and glanced at him, my ring cladded fingers ran through my thick raven hair.

“I can’t do it lad. Not at least when the BOD wants to screw you, not at least when your brother is a horny fucker and a trouble, not at least when the paps want to write your tale as their articles and not at least when you provide them with photoshoots and videos and I’m certainly not buying it when the girl is dressed in your shirt and woke up in your bed.” He snapped, crossing his arms across his chest and slumped back in his chair. His gaze averted to Erika, she was flushed with her head fell down and she seemed to be too interested with the fabric of the sweatshirt.

“What is your point now?” I growled, my hands already balling into fists.

“I lied to the media that she” he paused and glanced at her and turned back to me, “is engaged to you.”

“YOU DID WHAT!” Erika and I yelled in unison.

“Calm down! That will stop the paps from trying to ruin your image.” He replied calmly.

What about her image?

“Eh? What?” Erika asked, I rolled my eyes and slouched in my seat. Fuck! Not this faking shit.

“A real and cheesy relationship. One that will last long, no other girl with him, if the paps see him out with the same girl for a longer time, may be six months, they will eventually have to believe the truth that he is in love and not a womaniser and if you fake an engagement it would be even more convincing that he purposefully made you as his assistant.” Andrew explained and she started laughing by the time he ended.

“Ryan and me? This will be a disaster.” She chuckled, ignoring my stare, she glanced at Andrew who was also glaring at her, she didn’t look intimidated at all.

“The dress shirt says otherwise.” He shrugged and heat rose to her cheeks and I wanted to roll my eyes in annoyance. “Well he can pretend, can’t he?” He raised an eyebrow and I frowned this time. No! She had already been through shit or at least she wasn’t happy, this would only fuck up things more.

“Pretend? He is good for nothing rather than trashing his employees.” She mumbled and looked away.

Damn! She is sassy now.

“I heard that.” I barked and she rolled her eyes. She fucking rolled her eyes, she had fucking audacity to do that!

If any other person did that I would have been mad.

“I understand completely it will be almost impossible for him to do that but he is comfortable around you, look at the tabloids. Just fake it for six months and the paps and the BOD will be bored out of their minds at the thought of engaged Ryan and it will be worth faking everything.” He tried to convince, her eyes widened and my heart started hammering as reality sank in.

“I’M NOT DOING THAT.” She sneered and I looked at her with a pleading ‘don’t yell’ look.

“Ryan has a contact with the Board of Directors of Malik Industries, and he cannot break that or else he will pay the consequences, the consequences are he can never take over his company after his grandpa. Erika, if you deny my request, he will pay for it, there is no way anyone can help him out of this.” He warned and I groaned when her gaze shifted towards me.

Fuck me! Fuck him! Fuck the BOD! Fuck everyone for him being damn right. If Erika rejects now this would be the end of me.

WHAT. THE. HELL!

Fúcking Rodger!

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