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Chapter 26

Her bum still throbbed when she sat at the meeting she called that afternoon.

Without prelude, she started talking about the only agenda she had for the meeting.

“Vivere just launched their fall collection of lipsticks. I noticed they focused more on the earthy, orangey colors of fall and shelved the classic favorite, red, which I’m sure have always been a color of fall.” She said as she shifted on her seat.

The throbbing kept calling for attention, so she got out of her chair and continued talking while she stood and walked around the conference room.

“Why is this our concern?” she looked at the puzzled faces waiting for an answer, “Because Agatha Pierce is Vivere’s country director for the US market, and as you may have guessed, she’s back with a vengeance.

“Did you see that Vivere billboard that went up on Times Square yesterday? That ad pushed their sales up more than double, eclipsing our market share.”

“Do you think we should come out with a new line of lipsticks for fall?” said Vanessa, head of marketing.

“I think we already have all the best colors to trump them down. Red should be our flagship color this season. We only need to reintroduce it, and show it in a different light.” Amanda said. “We have to come out with a bigger billboard in five days— can we do that, Vanessa?”

“Five days is kind of tight, but we can do it. I’ll get the creatives working on it ASAP.” Vanessa said with an uneasy smile.

“That’s great, you can call me any time you need me, but don’t put your team up so late. They need to be well-rested to get their creative juices flowing, okay?”

“I get that, of course. I will give you an update as soon as I can.”

“Thanks, Vanessa. Well, that would be all. Anything else you’d like to bring up? No? This meeting is adjourned. Thanks, everyone.”

Her ass thanked her for the relief, but her feet started complaining from her stand-up conference. She looked forward to a warm bath when she gets home.

Joan met her at the foyer as she walked out of the elevator. “Let me take those off your hands, Miss Fox.” She said as she took the pile of folders from Amanda’s clutches. “Miss Wang is in her office, and she wanted to see you as soon as your meeting is over.”

“Oh, she’s back from Paris, I see. Okay, thanks, Joan.” She strode back to the elevator and went straight to Valerie’s office.

Val was at the door of her office when Amanda entered the lounge. She gave Val a big smile. “Welcome back, Val.” She kissed her mentor lovingly. “Wow, you look amazing. I can imagine what Paris can do to put that glow on anyone. I’m so happy you’re here, Val, there’s so much I want to tell you.”

“I’m happy to see you again too, Amanda. We can have our chat tomorrow, but I’d like you to meet my Paris date first…” she took her hand and led her inside. “This is Bruno Borelli, my partner in Paris. Bruno— I’d like you to meet Amanda Fox, my CEO.”

Amanda suddenly felt the muscles in her abdomen tighten, her feet refused to take another step. The man seated on the divan was none other than Adam. She wanted to turn around and run, when he smiled at her and offered his hand.

“I’m pleased to meet you, Amanda, Val told me so much about you when we were in Paris.” He took her hand and kissed it.

She shuddered at the touch of his lips. “Nice to meet you, Bruno… um are you related to…”

“You mean Alex? He is my son, my only son.” He said with a proud grin.

She had to hold on to the wall behind her to keep her balance. What she just heard blew her off the rails. She ran a hand on her collar and felt the thumping pulse on her neck.

“That’s… quite a surprise, I never thought…” she mumbled.

“I know you’ll be surprised to know that I’ve been dating Alex’s father, Amanda.” She laughed. “We met at the cruise too, little did I know at the time that he owned the Pleasure Cruise.”

“Wow, that’s a lot to take in, I can imagine how overwhelming that must feel, Val.” Her eyes wide with feigned amazement. She glanced at Bruno and saw him give her a warning stare. “Well, I must leave you two now, it’s great to meet you, Bruno. Have a nice evening, love birds,” She waved as she turned and walked out of Val’s office, while her heart begged to jump off her chest.

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