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Chapter 6- LADY'S ROOM

“Good morning, Bert,”

“Alina,” he looked surprised and his eyes appeared to be inquiring, but greeted me with his signature upfront smile. “I thought I won’t see you for long.” He glanced at his watch on his wrist. “You’re always early.”

“I am. Yesterday was quite time-poor that I had to leave work earlier. Nevertheless, I’m here to finish some tasks and get something done by noon.”

“That typical of you. Have a good start.” His phone rang.

And as he answered his phone, I took the other box of tuna sandwiches with almonds that I prepared this morning before leaving the house. I especially made it for him because I knew he’d be much earlier than me. What he had eaten for breakfast must have been digested already in two or three hours that he might need a refill to last until the afternoon.

“Yes, sir, just arrived.” He said to the person on the line as he sent me a grateful smile for the food. I waved at him as I walked into the premises.

I missed my office already. I liked working. I enjoyed manuscript reading and editing books before we bring them to market. Reading diverted my mind to a place completely disconnected from the real world where I get to enjoy and be happy with the fictional characters’ lives. I could only wish I could write my own story.

An hour had passed and workers got to start the day greeting, exchanging a few words before getting back to their own offices and cubicles. I looked at the clock, Mr. Rodriguez would be in his office around 11 o’clock. I had to speak to him. He must have spoken with Alessandro about me and that really pissed me off. I wouldn’t let him middle with my job.

A knock on the door ripped me off away from my thoughts. Fred’s head stuck out of the door.

“Fred...” I gave him a smile as I rounded the table.

He also belonged to the Editorial department.

“Good morning, Alina. I thought I wouldn’t see you this morning. I heard you’re taking a leave...an indefinite leave,” he closed the door behind him.

“Oh, really?...No, not really. I made up my mind. I thought I was going to...but I will miss my job, besides, I still have a lot of things to do.”

“That sounds great. Here, two manuscripts arrived today which need to be done in a week. Yesterday, I finished the one you left off, so no worries.”

“I apologize, Fred. Something urgent just really came up yesterday. I will surely finish this up.”

“I know you will.” He put down the papers on my table. “And, hey, are you free this lunch, maybe we can eat lunch together, what do you think?”

That surprised me a bit, “Yeah, sure. I always go to the Daily Grind diner just across the bank a block away. Are you familiar?”

He nodded, smiling widely. “Yes, of course. I love the place. Been there a couple of times already.”

“Great. We can go there for lunch then,”

″Just great. See you later, Alina,”

“See you, Fred,”

As soon as he left, I took the paper in my hand and went back to my seat. The scripts looked interesting.

I was so engrossed with my job, so engrossed that I forgot to check my phone. Glancing on the watch on my wrist, it told me it was already quarter past ten in the morning. My phone was in silent mode since last night.

“Hmm, you’ve called me many times, huh,” I murmured. Alessandro had made 10 missed calls. He must be upset. Well, he’s always been upset and I knew that not answering his calls infuriated him most. Sighing down, I put the phone back inside my bag. Mr. Rodriguez should be in his office by now.

I took the elevator to the seventh floor of the building where his office occupied. My office was on the third floor.

“Hi, Grace. Is the boss in?” I asked his secretary. She’s a petite woman with dark curls, and that skinny type who I’d say, even if she ate a lot, she wouldn’t gain weight. Good for her though because at 30, she’s looking so much younger. Her height did the trick as well.

“Yes, and a little bit tetchy,” she said with her eyes widening theatrically. I couldn’t help but suppressed a laugh.

Mr. Rodriguez is an irritable man. He’s still single at the age of 50. And I believe that being single came with that prize. Being moody, irritable, grumpy, and short-tempered. I heard from the horse’s mouth that he’s actually preferred to stay single because women will just give him pain in the ass. In consolation, employees are great to work with.

“I got that, but I have to see him. Just have to endure it.” I said. She quietly giggled.

“Alright, I’ll make the call.″ I waited. “Sir, Miss. Taylor’s here to see you,” she tightly smiled on the phone to whatever the boss was saying. Later nodded and put down the phone. Her eyes rolled. “He was speaking to someone on the phone. He sounds like he’s been rubbed up the wrong way.”

“That’s pretty encouraging for a newbie here,” I almost snorted when I saw how her face tried to look contrite but failed miserably.

“You should go now,” she winked and smiled.

I sauntered to the door, knocked twice, and went inside. Mr. Rodriguez was still on his phone with his palm massaging his forehead. He indeed looked vexed. I diverted my eyes to the single painting on the wall in his office.

“She’s here,” my back straightened as my head snapped in his direction. “you talk to her.” He gestured his hand for me to get closer to the table. In anger, my head prickled. I grabbed the phone, completely forgetting I’m in front of my boss.

“Why are you doing this? I don’t understand why you have to do this. This is my job, Alessandro! Are you trying to embarrass me in front of my boss because you succeeded? I’m so embarrassed right now, so embarrassed that I could kick your ass out of his building if you were here!” I hung up and stared at the phone.

“What did you just do?” I heard Mr. Rogriguez ask. His tone appeared to be ticked off.

I turned to fully face him, “I ended the call,” I replied. He dragged a sore sigh through his nose. Before he could speak, I stopped him. “Mr. Rodriguez, with due respect, Mr. Lucchese has nothing to do with my job and positively, with you. He’s only bothering you because he wants to bother me. That’s all. So now, tell me, what is it about him? What did he ask from you?”

“Women,” he muttered under his breath. The word came out like a sour fruit that left a terrible taste on his tongue. He brought himself down to his seat and rubbed his face with the palm of his hands. “Miss. Taylor, Mr. Lucchese owned 50 percent share of this company, and he wished to give you an indefinite leave effective yesterday—”

“That’s not possible. He’s in the fishing industry. A publishing company won’t be interesting for him.” I cut him.

“The man is interested in many things and I owe it to him that this company is still running.”

“I still don’t get it,”

“Three weeks ago, five shareholders liquidated their assets. The other creditors and shareholders saw these as unexpected problems. The company would have faced a force liquidation hadn’t it been for Mr. Lucchese. Whatever it is that you two have to sort out, spare the company, Miss. Taylor.” The cheerlessness in his voice squeezed my heart. He seemed to grow older than his age as he let his palms rub against his face.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Rodriguez. I...I should...see myself outside. And I’ll talk to him about the leave you grant him.” I stealthily walked to the door. He’s right. This is between me and Alessandro. We shouldn’t air our dirty laundry that’s meant to be dealt with in private. I only have one last thing to say. “Mr. Rodriguez, just... next time don’t decide on something I don’t know about, especially that leave I didn’t even file for. This is my job. My decisions. Have a good day, Mr. Rodriguez.” I said and left his office.

Grace was not in her post, so I quickly made my way back to my office. I couldn’t afford to stay longer for an idle talk when I knew my phone now must be bombarded with miss calls. How he managed to get my number was also a wonder to me. He’s very resourceful, I got that. Even so, I needed to speak with him.

I made it to my office. Fred was already there, waiting. I almost forgot about the lunch.

Actually, I forgot, but I’m not gonna say it.

“There you are, I knocked but you weren’t here. You don’t mind, do you?”

“No, of course. Are we going? Just let me get my bag.”



“How do you find the company?” He asked as we eat our lunch together.

“So far, I’ve been enjoying my job. Too early to say it, but I like it and I’m happy to be part of the company.”

“You’re hardworking. Other colleagues were saying you’re too preoccupied with your job. You missed the party last week, you know.”

“I heard about it. As much as I’d love to attend I couldn’t. I’d surely feel like a fish out of water. I haven’t memorized all their names and which department they belong to. You can think I’m an introvert, coz, I feel like it.”

He drank from his beverage. “That’s why we have those kinds of parties, so you’d get to know them, get to talk to them. Socialize. Being an introvert doesn’t mean keeping yourself alone or stay shy with people. It’s a common misconception. Truth is, whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we need alone time for ourselves, hence let’s cut to the chase, you didn’t attend the party because you didn’t want to. Don’t get me wrong, but I saw that sadness in you.”

I chuckled, “You’re very observant, Fred. You’re not missing any trick.” I shook my head.

He snorted. “I can’t help it. My eyes chose who to observe,” he said and smiled as he gave me that look, taking his time chewing his food.

I didn’t want to further comment on what he had said. It would only prolong the conversation. Besides that, he’s still a total stranger to me. Pouring my emotions in our conversation would make him see me as vulnerable. Although he may have a good intention by noticing it, I still have to be careful not to wear my heart on my sleeve.

Softly, I laughed, shaking my head at his prompt words. “I’d say I didn’t get that,”

He responded with a light chuckle. His blue eyes glimmered. Certainly, he’s an attractive man. Many women must have shed tears for him with his dirty blond hair and good physique, I dare say.

“I wish you get it.”

“Hh-mmm,” lightly shaking my head.

He laughed inwardly.

We talked more.

Fred is a nice guy. He’s not the kind of guy who’s trying hard to impress you. He laughs when he has to and what’s even funny is that he can make a straight face at his funny joke. He’s good company.

“Your phone has been vibrating, aren’t you going to check it? I’ll use the bathroom.” He excused.

“Sure. I’ll wait. I’m also done.”

I took my phone out. He was calling...

I exhaled before I swiped the answer button. “Alessand-”

“Are you trying my patience? ” He asked in a very dangerously cold tone of voice, “Who’s the guy? He’s not a threat, is he?” His question made my stomach somersault. He’s here! I looked around. But he’s nowhere. “When he comes back, tell him to go back without you. Use the lady’s room.”

“No—” The line went dead.

I saw Fred coming back. I gave him a smile.

“Fred, I’m sorry. I’m gonna have to use the lady’s room.”

“I can wait-”

“No. Thank you...Just...Is it okay if you go back without me? I’ll take my time there and I don’t want to keep you waiting,”

He suddenly looked downcast. “If it’s about earlier, Alina, I was-”

“No-no,” I shook my head. He was misunderstanding it, “don’t think that way. It has nothing to do with anything earlier. I had a great time with you, Fred. We can have lunch next time, of course. Okay? If you wait for me, you’ll be late. I don’t want to cause you trouble.” I said as I stood up.

“Are you sure we’re okay?”

“Positive.“I gave him a wide smile. “I’ll see you later,”

“If you say so,” his gentle atmosphere came back and I felt relieved. Giving him the bad vibe was the worst reciprocation for his friendly company.

I heedfully wended my way to the lady’s room. The hall was quiet. Where could he be? He should be here somewhere. When I thought I’d see him here in the hall waiting, he wasn’t here.

You’re beginning to annoy me, Alessandro.

Heaving a sigh, I walked inside the lady’s room. I might just give myself a retouch before going back to the company. As I rummaged for my small makeup kit inside my bag, I was grabbed and pushed against the wall, leaving me quite taken aback.

“You scared me!”

“You infuriate me.” He retorted in a condescending tone.

I saw him lock the door.

“What are you doing?”

“Teaching you a lesson.” He said, making my stomach coiled into knots. He always said that when he’s truly displeased, which will never please me.

“Stop it, don’t—” My words were cut as I bit down hard on my lower lip. His hand disappeared under my dress and cupped my clothed front and kneaded. My chest heaved.

His leg parted my legs as he tilted my head, holding my neck with his hand to fully gaze at him, “You ignored my calls for so many fücking times,” he moved my panty to the side and dipped a digit, making all my hair on my skin stood in attention, “you hung up on me,” he whispered close to my ear and curled his finger inside me. I couldn’t help but moan. “and now I see you having a good time with a man.” And added two fingers, stretching me out. The wetness gathered in his fingers easily gave him access to assault my püssy.

“Alessandro,” his name left past my lips as a moan.

“Now, Cara, what will I do with you?” He asked and sucked on the skin on my neck as his fingers moved in and out in a fast ministration, building up the pleasure so good and intense it was hard not to moan as my hands found the front of his shirt for support.

“Oh-hmm, yes, please, please...” His fingers slowed down. “Don’t stop...”

“I thought you wanted me to stop.” He smirked. And completely stop! One second I was tensing up and gasping because I was so close and then I was left stunned and agape. “When will you learn, Cara?”

He left.

He left me shocked and sexually frustrated! Why am I surprised? I knew he’d do it. How many times had he done that before when I made his blood boil? In the car, at the back of the school, at the parking lot, in my own room, in his room. He taught me that lesson plenty of times already. He was right. When should I learn?

But no. He should also learn that he can’t just do this to me. Two can play this game.

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