The Rules Series

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Broken Rules 6: Landon

My morning proves tedious. I have a meeting with my key account directors. The ten directors are sat around the boardroom table. I turn to Andrew Contius, the director responsible for the Stone Publishing account, “how is everything going with the new book?”

“Great,” He says confidently, “my team have been working solidly on this for the last month. We presented two possible avenues yesterday. They went with the more indie route but I think that is fitting for the book and its author.”

I nod, leaning forward; Stone Publishing has always been an advantageous account and had really been a key account when I started the company, so I take particular interest in what he is saying. It was a risk giving the account to Andrew, he was young compared to many of the other directors, although barely two years younger than myself. He was good though and had fantastic instincts, something I had noticed when he interned for me during his final year at university several years ago. I saw something of myself in him and it seemed like a good investment and so far he’s proven me right countless times.

“The face of publishing is changing,” Andrew was telling us, “Mr Stone has taken a particular interest in this book. The name of the author is to remain a secret until the release date. That’s part of their production angle to generate excitement. So our entire campaign is to be mysterious and enticing. Secret events with handwritten invitations... Secret notes at the bottom of empty billboards. It’s an indie murder mystery, previously self published, and just like the reader is wondering who wrote the book, they will wonder who murdered the girl.”

I grin, “Sounds interesting.”

“YouTube videos, advertising giffs – we’re going to go viral on this. We’re going to completely take over social media,” Andrew gives me a smirk; he knows his idea is good, “And Mr Stone said that he has another book for us. He says this one is by an author friend of his daughter, Aurora.”

That really catches my attention. I act as uninterested as I can; politely checking my watch.

“His name is Theo Pollard and he’s just finished writing a book on the cost of tourism to the environment and local wildlife.”

I glance at my phone. I really want to call her. I push the thought away as I step to my feet. I don’t even have her number and I don’t think she’ll respond well if I get it for myself, I think as I recall her reaction to me knowing her address this morning. I’d fucked up. I was so used to just doing what I want that I hadn’t even considered that it wasn’t the polite thing to do; it was just the easiest… that’s not true Landon. It wasn’t easy. You asked Henry for the address because you didn’t want to waste a second of your time with her on meaningless trivia. The easy thing to have done would have been to ask for her fucking address, “great everyone. Keep it up.”

As I get to my feet, one of the directors catches my attention, Louisa Kennley. “Sir, can I speak to you in private.”

“Sure,” I gesture for her to follow me out of the boardroom and into my adjourning office. “What can I do for you Louisa?” I ask as I take a seat behind my desk.

She sits in one of the chairs in front of the desk and takes a deep breath. She’s nervous. I’ve never known her to be nervous. She’s impeccably dressed, just like I expect all my employees to be. Her pencil skirt falls just below her knee and her blouse is well fitted. She looks professional and I’m proud to be able to call her my employee, “Sir, I need to hand in my resignation.”

I’m baffled. I thought that Louisa was happy with her position at TWR. “May I ask why?” I notice the letter in her hand. She’s shaking slightly as she places it on the desk in front of me.

“I’m pregnant,” she tells me, “and I need to move.”

“Move?”

I’m completely lost. I’m about to tell her about our fantastic maternity cover when she replies, “Closer to my boyfriend. He lives in Birmingham.”

“Ah... of course,” I’m disappointed but I’m happy for her all the same, “there are several very successful advertisement agencies in Birmingham. Apply for senior positions with them and I will ensure you have the best possible reference.”

“Thank you Mr Peters,” she gushes.

“You are very welcome,” I tell her. “You will of course need to speak to Human Resources regarding the cancellation of your contract and the length of notice they need. You will also need to speak to Andrew about possibly taking over your accounts temporarily, if we don’t find a replacement quick enough.”

“Yes sir,” she’s no longer anxious. “Thank you for being understanding.”

When she leaves I press the intercom button, “Lisa, can you get me Catherine from Human Resources, please.”

“Yes sir,” Lisa replies kindly. Lisa is without a doubt one of my favourite employees. She‘s in her late forties and has a motherly disposition.

Whilst I’m waiting for Catherine, I make a quick call. It’s a call I’ve been trying not to make all morning. It’s a number I have on speed dial. “Henry.”

“Yes Sir,” Henry responds automatically. I shouldn’t be doing this.

“Can you get me a telephone number for Aurora Stone?” I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’m breaking all the rules now. But more than that, I’m not sure she’s going to be happy about it. The right thing to do would be to drop her a currier message or something. At least then when I get her number, it will be because she gave it to me but no; I want the instant gratification of a quick and easy reply.

“Of course sir,” Henry replies. I can hear typing in the background, “just give me a moment... got it; I’ve sent her contact information to your iPhone.”

“Thank you Henry.” I struggle not to ask him to do a complete background check. I want to understand her better but her voice in my head tells me that that would be unforgivable. She’s a Stone; she values her privacy. I stop myself from automatically picking up my phone when I hear the beep that signals I have her number. He’s sent me her mobile number and her email address. I smile because now I can contact her any way I want.

“You are welcome sir. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“No Henry. Have a good day,” I hang up before I can change my mind.

I manage to work for twenty minutes before the temptation to text her gets the better of me. I pick up my phone. It’s 1pm. I really need to stop for lunch at some point. Perhaps I’ll ask Lisa to get me a sandwich. I don’t really know what to say to Aurora but I’ve got to say something.

Hi Aurora, it’s Landon. I had a really great night last night and a fantastic morning too. I would really like to see you again. Let me know. Landon.

I consider adding a kiss but I think that might be too much. It would certainly be very uncharacteristic of me, but then texting a girl after fucking her was new to me too.

I don’t have to wait too long for a reply, much to my relief;

I had a great time too. I especially liked the part in the shower. A x

Fuck! I’ve never gotten hard from a text before but after reading that I am painfully hard. I need to reply. Hell, I need to fuck her again.

I particularly liked that part too. Although my favourite part was having you tied to my bed. L

She’s sent me a kiss. I consider again sending her one but opt against it. Her response is slower this time, but when it comes it is worth it.

I’m in the library. Supposed to be studying and all I can think about is you... your hands, your fingers inside me... your tongue bringing me off... I’m wet. A x

I wish I was there with you. L

Fuck! For someone who lost their virginity just hours ago, she’s very good with her words. I am never going to get any work done at this rate. She’s innocent and new to this but she sure knows how to affect me.

Me too. Got to go. I need to finish this paper before I go to my parents’ for dinner. A x

Yeah. I should probably try and get some work done too. Although you may have made it a bit of a challenge. My focus is definitely NOT on work. Naughty girl, Miss Stone. L x

This time I send her a kiss. I’m not sure why but I think it’s because I want her to know I’m thinking about her.

I’m sorry for distracting you. I’m usually so well behaved.

I don’t think anyone’s ever called me naughty... I like it. ;) x

I laugh when I realise that she sent me a winky face.

Cute use of emoticons. Now behave and go study x

I would but you keep texting me! Lol. X

That’s because you keep texting me, princess. X

Now she’s got me using pet names. What the hell is she doing to me?

Well you need to stop replying or we’ll never achieve anything. X

I don’t know... I might achieve getting you to agree to go out with me tomorrow night. X

You might, if you ask nicely. X

I grin as I type out my reply:

Please can I see you tomorrow? x

It felt like she took longer to respond this time.

Just let me know a time and place. X

I’ll pick you up at seven. X

See you then x

Have fun at your parents tonight. X

I’m saying goodbye but I’m not ready to stop this conversation.

Thanks. Have a good evening too. X

I laugh. That’s unlikely. I’m spending it with my father.

Of course, I’ll be spending it thinking of you. X

It was cheesy and definitely not the sort of thing I would usually say but I couldn’t bring myself to regret it when her reply arrived.

I’ll be thinking about you too... x

My attention is torn away from Aurora when Lisa announces over the intercom that Catherine has come up from Human Resources. I stand to my feet as Catherine enters my office. “Thank you for coming Catherine.”

“What can I do for you, Mr Peters?” Catherine asks. She’s pretty; blonde hair, blue eyes, tall but she’s not Aurora and my mind is full of Aurora.

“I’ve just received an employee’s resignation,” I tell her, “I need you to start advertising for a new account director.”

“Yes sir,” Catherine makes a note on her iPad, “is that all sir?”

“Can you make sure that we help Louisa Kennley with finding a new position in Birmingham. She has been a great asset to this company.”

“Yes sir. I’ll get in touch with the larger agencies in Birmingham right away.”

“Thank you,” I dismiss her and check my phone. The temptation to text Aurora returns. I sigh as I put my phone back down on my desk and open the email icon on my laptop. I need to focus on my work.

I get to the restaurant slightly earlier than planned but my father has managed to beat me here. “Ah son,” he stands up and gives me a hug, “good to see you.”

“How are you dad?” I ask. It’s been a few weeks since I last saw him.

“So so,” Alistair Peters frowns, “I actually wanted to talk to you about something particular.”

I sigh because I’m pretty sure I know where this is going. My father has been talking about retiring for years and he’s convinced that I should merge our companies into my own little empire. What he doesn’t realise is that I’m not at all interested in the markets his company specialises in and I’m pretty sure his company would suffer under my stewardship. I’ve tried to explain it to him but he refuses to listen.

“I’m not well,” that isn’t what I expect to hear. It catches me off guard. I grimace.

I don’t know what to say so I settle for nodding my head. “I’m cutting back on my schedule. Your mother and I are moving out of the house in Kensington Square and relocating to the house in Surrey.”

“Okay,” I still don’t know what to say. There are thousands of questions in my mind but I don’t know what I should be asking first.

“We haven’t told your brother yet,” here it comes, “he’s just so young.”

“What do you need from me, father?” I don’t mean to sound harsh but I’m sure I know where this is heading and I am really not looking forward to turning him down again. Especially now that he’s played the sick card. That’s pretty much a trump card, right?

“I need someone to manage the company for me,” my father pleads.

“I can’t dad.” I shake my head, “I’ve told you before.”

“It wouldn’t have to be forever.”

“Why don’t you ask Ayden,” I ask, “he’s fantastic. He’s a natural at all that tech stuff – when he interned with you during the summers you told me how amazing he was.”

“Yes but he hasn’t proven himself like you have,” my father continues, “He’s in the middle of his business degree.”

“He’s not in the middle of it,” I shake my head, “he’s in the middle of his final year.”

“Yes and I don’t want to add to the pressure he is facing.”

“You underestimate him,” I say quietly, “what if I offer to support him through it?”

“No. I’ve made my decision. If you refuse your birthright, I will have no choice but to sell the company. I’m dying and I will not spend what little time I have left watching my youngest son squander everything I’ve ever built.”

“He’s grown up dad. He’s not a child anymore.”

“He still behaves like a child,” my father shakes his head, “Trust me I pay his expenses.”

As I drive home from the restaurant, I consider phoning Aurora. I want to hear her voice. I’ve spent the whole day thinking about her and right now all I want is to be with her. I’ve never felt this way before. I quickly dial her number and wait for the call to connect but it goes straight to voicemail. “Hi, you’ve reached Aurora Stone. Sorry I can’t get to the phone at the moment. Please leave a message. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”

I consider hanging up but decide against it, “hi, I just wanted to say I’m really looking forward to our date tomorrow night. I hope you had a nice evening with your parents. See you tomorrow.”

I laugh at myself as I hang up; this is so out of the norm for me that I can barely take myself seriously. My phone rings barely a moment later, “Hi?”

“Hello,” its Aurora. “You called.”

“I wanted to hear your voice,” I say before I can stop myself.

“Where are you?” she asks.

“Driving home,” I tell her, “I’ve just been to dinner with my father. It was awful.”

“My dinner wasn’t great either,” she sighs. “Do you want to come over?”

“I shouldn’t,” I really shouldn’t. I’ve never been one for talking my feelings out.

“That’s not what I asked.”

“No, it isn’t,” I chuckle as I indicate and do a u-turn in the middle of the road, “I’m on my way. Do you live with anyone?”

“Tallulah and Cameron,” she replies quickly, “but Cameron is out with a girl and Tallulah is asleep.”

“Okay,” I’m smiling as I listen to her telling me to pull into the underground car park.

“Park in the visitors section – bay 21,” she tells me.

“I’ll see you in a minute or two,” I hang up as I pull into the car park aware that I’ll probably lose signal anyway. I’m anxious after the way things went this morning and it amazes me briefly.

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