It was a gloomy morning, and as soon as Liezel Anne Blanco stepped out of the cab, the rain poured down like it was mocking her, testing what little patience she had left after spilling coffee on her way to work.
When she got to the office, she settled down at her desk. Today was like any other day at work, except for her. She was wet, cold, and completely uncomfortable.
“Hey, Liezel Anne, what do you think of this? House of Terror slash The Little Mermaid―whoa! What happened to you?” Glen adjusted his big round glasses and ran his hand through his big, curly red hair. “You’re wet.”
Liezel frowned and tried to look for her facial tissue pack in the thick of papers strewn over her desk. It was already a miracle that Sinclair Godfrey hadn’t called her name yet. She was already ten minutes late, and she was supposed to bring her boss his cup of black coffee five minutes ago. She had to fix herself quick. She couldn’t possibly face him looking like a bedraggled chicken.
“Can I help you with anything, Liezel Anne?” Glen pushed, his eyes fixed on the cleavage pouring out of her black lace push-up bra.
She looked up and fixed one button of her shirt, but it was no use since her shirt was almost see-through. Fortunately, she had decided to wear her black pencil skirt and not the white one, or that day would have been a feast for perverts like Glen.
“Help me by wiping that foul look off your face, Glen, or I will write Maddy a strong-worded complaint against you.”
Glen made a face like he just heard her say a not-so-funny joke. “But I didn’t say anything.”
“Go back to your side of the floor with the rest of your geek friends. I don’t have any patience right now to excuse your immaturity and lewd behavior.” Liezel finally found her box of Kleenex and started dabbing at her legs with a tissue.
Liezel’s face suddenly lit up, recognizing that friendly, warm voice in an instant. She looked up and smiled.
“Good morning, Liz,” Will greeted. “Crazy weather outside, huh.”
“You look perfectly dry.”
“I brought an umbrella with me and my coat,” he said, eyeing the items in his hands.
“How’s the house hunting?”
“Okay,” Glen butted in. “Now isn’t this just unfair of you, Liezel Anne? You treat me like I’m some guy with pending sexual harassment complaints while you treat Will like a decent human being whose only crime is looking like the twenty-seven-year-old Brad Pitt with fucking gorgeous hair and fucking blue eyes.”
Will smiled and gave his friend a pat on the back. “If it’s any consolation, you look like Jonah Hill, Glen. Adorable and…funny. Sometimes.”
Liezel made a face and continued what she was doing before Will joined her little exchange with Glen.
“Which Jonah Hill? In what movie? Superbad Jonah Hill or Wolf of Wall Street?” Glen asked like the answer actually mattered to him.
It wasn’t anything new to Will or Liezel. Aside from his jokes that had, most of the time, offended a few people, Glen was also known to pick on the smallest things and make such a big deal out of it. He had quite a few talks with Maddy from HR about his choice of words and approach to women in the office. He had been given warnings more than a couple of times, and it wasn’t because he was Sinclair’s second-best developer next to Will that there weren’t official complaints against him, but people had just gotten too busy to pay him attention after closing a massive deal with two giant distributors in the gaming industry. When people became too happy and too busy after finally having some projects to work on, they started treating him like he wasn’t even there, except for when he was working.
“Superbad,” Will told him thoughtfully.
“Superbad?” Glen made a face. “Really? How dare you even say that to my face?”
“Well, you asked, buddy.”
As the two of them bickered, the ringing of Liezel’s phone on her desk interrupted them. Her heartbeat picked up because she knew who was calling her. She pulled the phone from the receiver and cleared her throat.
The receiver rested against her shoulder as she dabbed a tissue on her face and ran her fingers through her damp dark brown hair that was curled in a bun.
“Ms. Blanco, I’m glad you’re finally here.”
She could tell by her boss’s tight voice that trouble was waiting for her inside his office as soon as he asked for her. She covered the phone and told Will, “This man hates me.”
Will just smiled. “We’ll see you around, Liz.”
She quickly gave him a nod and went back to fixing whatever she could.
“You’re late. And bring that file I need for my meeting with Dole Corp today,” Sinclair ordered.
“Right away, Mr. Godfrey.” A light smirk graced Liezel’s lips when she turned and walked away with the files to the CEO’s office.
Liezel had just started working as Sinclair’s assistant three months ago. Originally an assistant to the company’s former COO, Belinda Maxwell, for six months in New York, she was offered to work for Sinclair when Belinda took the same position in another MaxFrey Corp subsidiary in Paris. Belinda’s family and children had moved there, so it was a reasonable decision for her to do the same.
Sinclair may not be fond of her, which may explain the distance he kept between them, but she had gotten used to it. And for the past months, she had seen Sinclair in action and was beyond impressed. Her new boss was a natural negotiator, planner, thinker, and born leader. It was clear that no one can do the job better than he can.
Sinclair’s father, Arthur Godfrey, definitely knew what he was doing when he persuaded the board to offer his son the position and make him CEO of MaxxTech, a struggling tech-focused subsidiary of MaxFrey Corp, at the age of twenty-eight.
“Fuck me,” Liezel whispered anxiously to herself. Before reaching for the doorknob, she regained her composure and knocked instead.
“Come in,” Sinclair responded almost instantly from inside.
She opened the door and stepped in. It was warmer inside. She was glad that Sinclair had set the temperature right. She turned to close the door and walked toward the desk carrying a stack of papers.
Sinclair sat quietly behind a sleek mahogany desk, going through paper after paper, looking already swamped with work.
“You’re…” He paused and looked away, trying to make sense of Liezel’s state. He stared back at his approaching assistant. “You’re late.” He dropped his gaze and shook his head as if he couldn’t believe a thought that just crossed his mind. He set down a stack of papers and folded his hands in front of him.
“The files.” Liezel laid the documents he had asked down on the desk. She eyed the cup of coffee to Sinclair’s left. “You’ve already made coffee.”
“Well, Ms. Blanco, you were late,” Sinclair said without looking at her and directed his attention to the computer monitor in front of him instead.
“It was raining hard. My car is still at the repair shop, and it took me almost half an hour to book an Uber.”
Three months and she was still nervous around her boss. Who wouldn’t? Other than coming from a family of successful business tycoons, Sinclair was also quite known for leaving women mad crazy for him. Liezel had witnessed, on different occasions, three of her boss’s ex-girlfriends begging him to come back.
“And you’re wet.” Sinclair leaned back in his chair and finally looked at her. He cleared his throat.
Liezel didn’t reply and tried to act unmoved by his dark blue eyes boring into her. Her efforts were useless. If anything, her cheeks only flushed into a light shade of pink. She recognized that certain look on his face. The way his eyes couldn’t believe how visible her bra was from under her damp white shirt. It was too obvious, and she suddenly felt cold and hot at the same time as she stood there.
“I forgot to bring an umbrella.”
When Sinclair’s blue eyes became too much for her to look at, she looked down at her pair of strappy heels.
“Look at me.”
Sinclair’s deep voice reminded her of the day they were first introduced to each other. She had dirty thoughts of him, and it made her first week working for him a little difficult. There had been men who looked at her with some intentions, but the way Sinclair was looking at her now was a totally different thing.
Slowly, she looked up and met his gaze. Her heart quickened. “Mr. Godfrey…”
Sinclair couldn’t argue with the fact that Liezel was an attractive woman. She looked as sophisticated as most of the women he had dated. Hence, she could, no doubt, captivate a man if she so chose.
He stood up and walked around his desk to stand in front of Liezel.
Liezel looked around. Their CEO’s office was the only one on the floor with heavily frosted glass walls. She figured her boss very much valued his privacy and didn’t want to give the people outside a view of him. Like what was happening between them right now.
She was fully aware of the hovering figure before her. It wasn’t her first time to stand this close to him, and she was already getting used to the scent of his soap and mint aftershave. But not like this, not when there was no one else in the room.
“Is there anything else you need from me, Mr. Godfrey?” she managed to ask.
She had to pull herself together and stop acting like a nervous teenager around her boss. She was not assisting a mere manager. She was an assistant to a freaking CEO.
Sinclair inhaled and watched her fingers brush strands of her hair out, revealing a pair of well-groomed eyebrows. Since the first time he had laid his eyes on her, he already felt the tension between them. He had ignored it so many times and kept himself buried in video call meetings and paperwork. But that particular morning was a bit different from the rest of his conversations with Liezel because for the first time last night, he dreamed of her.
And it was no innocent dream. It was filthy as the images racing through his mind that very minute.
Liezel closed her eyes, breathing in and out slowly. Her eyes widened when she heard the door click shut. Sinclair had locked them in. She was starting to feel nervous.
“Ms. Blanco, I believe I can’t let you go around the floor looking like you do right now,” Sinclair said, his voice low. He stood behind her, so close that his warm breath fanned the skin under the thin fabric of her shirt.
Liezel slightly shivered. The shirt she was wearing may still be damp, but the warmth building up within her was fighting the cold she felt. Suddenly, she felt his fingertips scorch on the skin at her nape, tracing a path down her spine.
“Mr. Godfrey…” Her breath hitched when his hand came to rest on her waist, slowly moving over the curve of her hips.
“I can’t let you leave my office wet, Ms. Blanco.”
“I’ll make sure to dry myself in the ladies’ room,” she replied. “This won’t happen again.”
She couldn’t seem to grasp what she was exactly feeling right now. She was scared and excited at the same. It was the first time someone like Sinclair acted like this around her.
Sinclair smirked. “I tried, Ms. Blanco. You have no idea how much I tried…”
“Tried what?” she asked.
Of course, she knew what he meant. She wasn’t born yesterday. She knew what he was talking about, and just like him, she tried to control herself around him too.
“To keep my hands off you.”
She couldn’t believe what she had just heard. After all those months of wondering whether her boss hated her or not, it was all because he wanted to keep his hands off her? She thought he was disgusted by her, which she thought was the reason why he couldn’t look her in the eye.
No wonder his replies were brief and direct. It all made sense to her now.
“But after the stunt you pulled in my dreams last night―”
“You dreamed of me last night?” she cut in. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
Sinclair Godfrey had dreamed of her.
She took a sharp intake of breath as he pulled her against him―against his hardness. His fingertips gently massaged the area just above her hips. She bit her lip to stop herself from moaning, but Sinclair’s hands didn’t stop there. His fingers moved up and traced over her ribs underneath her shirt.
“Mr. Godfrey, what are you doing?”
“What does it look like?” Sinclair whispered behind her ear. “You’re a smart woman, Ms. Blanco. I’m sure it has already occurred to you what I’m doing. And you know me. I’m a man who gets what he wants.”
Liezel slowly closed her eyes when she felt his fingers grab the hem of her shirt and begin lifting it upward. Her body was already burning, and she was utterly confused. A part of her wanted to stop Sinclair, yet there was another huge part of her that was urging her to stay still and accept what her boss was about to offer.
Just as Sinclair’s hand had gone under her shirt, they heard a tentative knock on his door.
“It’s Will, Mr. Godfrey. Royce from New York called me and―”
“Wait a second. I’m just wrapping up a call.” Sinclair hurried back to his desk.
“Goodness! Roy from New York?” Liezel quickly fixed herself.
She understood how important a call from Royce was. The sensation she felt against Sinclair’s touch instantly left her system upon Will’s interruption.
Royce was the second big fish they’re eyeing to close a partnership with. She saw how her boss had dedicated most of his days for that official meeting, which they finally scheduled next month.
Will championed the design, which Royce favored, to launch together with his company’s upgraded VR tech. As a gaming subsidiary business of MaxFrey Corp that nearly got shut down two years ago (had it not been for Sinclair’s leadership), it’s apparent that every partnership and business meeting meant so much to all of them.
Sinclair finally gave her the signal to open the door for Will.
“Tell him you accidentally locked the door when you came in, Ms. Blanco,” he told her.
Liezel gave him a nod, walked to the door, and said the exact same thing to Will.
“Are you okay?” Will asked.
She swallowed and flashed him a quick smile. “Of course. I’m just suddenly feeling under the weather.”
“Glen and I are going out for lunch later. I’ll bring you some soup.”
Liezel exhaled. “Thank you, Will.”
“No worries. I got you.”
She turned to her boss. “Mr. Godfrey, good luck with your meeting. I hope you will close the deal.”
Sinclair smiled. “Of course, I will. What Sinclair wants, Sinclair gets, Ms. Blanco. You know how it is.”
As soon as she was out of Sinclair’s office, Liezel pushed a few strands of hair out of her eyes and noticed how her knees where lightly shaking. But as soon as she realized what had just happened—or had almost happened—she walked down back to her desk, her ass moving from side to side with enough confidence to consume the entire city.
There was no doubt that the CEO of the company couldn’t keep his hands to himself, and Liezel couldn’t be more self-assured.