My feet ached from running around all day for Mr. Bolton’s demands at the office. I kicked off my shoes and slumped on my snug sofa, massaging my sore ankles.
I was glad it was Friday night, it had been a long week of reports, non-stop phone calls, bookings and checking emails. But I wasn’t done with work quite yet. Mr. Bolton requested that I meet him at his house to assist him in planning his project. It was a huge task that he needed to present at a conference in Miami, and we had to get it started quickly. It sounded like he had the world on his shoulders, probably handed to him by the CEO. I won’t lie I wasn’t too thrilled when I heard I had to work with him every weekend at his house for the next three weeks.
I grabbed my blue notebook and checked it. Most of the things I jotted down was about Mr. Bolton’s appointments and work notes. Gosh! I didn’t have much of a life, since none of my notes were about me. My hand reached for my phone and I reluctantly checked the one dating app I was registered on.
I scrunched my nose. Always unseen. Always unnoticed.
I rolled my eyes, not paying it any mind.
My phone rang in my hand and I picked it up. The ringtone wasn’t ‘Blurred Lines’ so I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Hello.” I answered.
“Hey cuz! Long-time no chat.”
“Hey... Stacey? Oh my gosh, it’s so good to hear your voice!” I was happy to hear from my cousin. She studied at a college near Chicago and was three years younger than me. She was fun, energetic, and chaotic at times. The perfect opposite to my organized and introverted nature.
“Hey, I’m taking a break from studies, since my exams are done.” She said. “Congrats on the new job, you need to tell me all about it.”
“Thanks. It’s just a personal assistant position to a very demanding man. Nothing special.” I sighed. “How did the exams go?”
She chuckled nervously. “Well, we’ll see when the results come out.” She said sheepishly. “Is it alright if I come over for a few days, before heading back to my parents? I thought I’ll see how you’re doing in the big city.”
“Sure! You can spend a few days here anytime. I would love the company.” I replied.
“Okay cool. Will chat soon and let you know.”
We said our goodbyes and ended the chat. I smiled. Excited to have some company and girl time with my best cousin, since I lacked in the friend’s department since moving to Chicago. There was so much I wanted to catch her up on, especially gossip about my infamous boss. But for now, all I wanted to do, was kick back and relax. And not think about work or Mr. Bolton or my day with him at his place tomorrow.
The massive tall trees shadowed the morning sun that strained to seep passed the chunky branches. I stood in front of thick black gates, my bag and notebook in my hand clutched against my chest. I Beeped the button on the intercom. I tried to see the big house Penny was talking about, even though she had never been here. But the gate was shrouded with trees blocking the house from view.
“Yes!” A deep voice of Mr. Bolton boomed out.
“It’s me Mr. Bolton... Your assistant.” I said nervously. Not knowing why I was nervous. Maybe it’s because we weren’t in his office and being inside his home made me tense. This was his comfort zone that he brought his women too and I was about to enter it.
I creased my eyebrows at the unsettling thought, as I patted my hair bun.
The gates split opened, and I entered the long driveway, revealing the very modern large double-story house in view. I looked around the front garden as I walked to the entrance. An entertaining area was found near a large pool that had a jacuzzi attached to it. The yard was spacious and neatly kept.
I stood at the front door and raised my eyes to the huge two-story house. It was made of steel, concrete and glass. It was striking. It had a flat roof, giving the place a sleek look. I had no idea why Mr. Bolton would live in such a grand place like this all alone. It must be very lonely, even if he didn’t want to admit it.
The huge oak doors swung open. I took a step back. Mr. Bolton appeared, dressed in a dark jeans and navy blue collar shirt, buttoned up half-way. His black hair, usually always so sleek was roughed up slightly. It was the first time I’ve seen him in casual wear, unlike me. I came dressed like I was ready for the office. But that’s the way I dressed every day.
He looked at me from head to toe, turned his back to me and walked away, prompting I should follow him inside. I strolled into the open space and followed Mr. Bolton to a dining room. His expensive cologne wafted behind him. I inhaled deeply liking the musky smell.
His home smelt like him.
Inside, art pictures of motorbikes hung on the grey walls. The Living room had a huge flat screen TV with speakers beneath it. Black velvet couches lined up on an expensive looking rug. An electronic fireplace settled on the left. The place looked smart and industrial, with steel and black furnishings, just like him.
But the house felt cold. I hugged myself instinctively.
A patter of paws ran up the hall. A big black dog, with a red collar was charging at me!
“Storm! Stop!” Mr. Bolton commanded. But was completely ignored.
I felt firm paws jump on my chest, almost knocking my spectacles off my face. A tickly wet tongue licked the side of my cheek. I was taken by surprise how friendly this menacing looking dog was. I crouched and rubbed the big fella.
“Good boy.” I cooed as I rubbed his head. Earning a friendly woof from the Doberman.
Mr. Bolton looked stunned. “He usually doesn’t take to strangers.” He said frowning.
He eyed me suspiciously and cleared his throat. “Take a seat Miss Harper.” Mr. Bolton pointed to an iron chair, at his oval dining table.
I let go of his Doberman and took the seat as instructed. I set my stationery and notebook neatly on the glass table. I fixed my spectacles and sat up straight prepared for work.
“Need anything to drink?” Mr. Bolton asked while heading for the open-planned kitchen.
The question caught me by surprise. Not used to Mr. Bolton offering beverages.
I shook my head. “No thank you sir.”
He came back with a bottle of water, took a seat opposite me and noticed what I set before me. “You and your damn notebook, you know most people use iPads or their phones these days.”
I nodded. “I like notebooks and diaries, there more trustworthy in my opinion and I like my handwriting.” I replied.
“Uh huh.” Mr. Bolton nodded his head slowly. “Let’s get down to business shall we.”
We worked on the investment policies Mr. Bolton had to strategize, while I typed out the presentation for almost five hours now. I groaned internally when I checked my watch. It was already 3:30pm. I massaged my stiff neck; from all the notes I had been taking and had typed on the laptop. Mr. Bolton was all work as I glanced at him briefly. His eyes buried in contracts, forms and documents. I glanced away when he caught me looking.
“I was meaning to say thank you for my mother’s gift. She liked it very much.” He said smirking. It felt great to have impressed him.
“Just doing my job sir.” I smiled.
He returned to his papers. I looked around his home not wanting to work. I looked to the grey walls, and the pictures that hung from it. Three black and white pictures of a Harley-Davidson, a Ducati Streetfighter and a Honda Fireblade hung with different shaped sizes.
“You like motorbikes?” He asked, catching my gaze.
“Just admiring the art. You have a beautiful home. It’s very big.” I said. Shy that I was caught ogling his home.
“So, where are you originally from?” Mr. Bolton asked. Trying to initiate small talk?
My eyebrows quirked up. “I live at an apartment complex close to work. But I’m originally from Canada.”
His thick black eyebrows creased. “Oh, I didn’t know you from Canada.” He seemed shocked but returned to his documents, nonetheless. “You must miss your hometown?”
“Yes, I do sometimes. Especially my parents. They the best loving parents a gal could ask for. My mom’s a teacher and my dad’s a veterinarian. But it’s good to be out on my own. I just need to find some friends.” I said with a light chuckle, fidgeting with a charm on my bracelet.
He nodded not looking up from his papers. “You must miss you friends too.”
“I think they might be missing me more than I miss them.” I told him, happy to be in conversation with him.
“Why? Because you the life of the party?” He asked with a smirk.
“No, because I’m the designated driver.” I corrected him.
He stopped what he was doing, and snapped his eyes to me, tilting his head. It seemed like me wanting to be a responsible friend caught his attention.
“I just wanted everyone safe.” I explained.
“Interesting...” He said, the corner of his mouth twitching up.
“So, what do you do for fun?”
I thought about my answer. “Well, I haven’t really gone out much since I came here. Work has really kept me busy.” Mr. Bolton shifted in his seat. I cleared my throat. “But if I got free time on my hands, I usually read, catch up on some TV... I even taught myself how to crochet?”
Mr. Bolton still looked at me, like I’ve grown two heads. I decided not to look at his jade green eyes anymore, set in a frown and patted Storm instead, the dogs head was on my lap, giving me puppy eyes.
Mr. Bolton noticed the action and shifted in his seat once more. “What a peculiar woman you are.” He breathed out.
I scrunched my nose, not fully knowing if that was a compliment or an insult.
Mr. Bolton stretched his arms and yawned. “I think we done for the day.” He said to my relief. “I’ve got a date I need to get ready for tonight anyway.”
Another one. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes absent minded.
Mr. Bolton stopped stretching and looked at me. “What was that for?” He asked accusingly.
I in turn stopped with my notes and looked at him, his brow raised. Sugar! Did he just catch me again? Damn him and his jaded eyes. I closed my eyes briefly.
“What was what Mr. Bolton?” I asked with a nervous laugh. Use ignorance, when caught out, USE IGNORANCE!
“That eye roll, when I said I’ve got a date tonight.” He said.
I gulped. “Oh no, that was for something else entirely I was thinking about, not about you in the least.”
“Don’t lie to me.” He said firmly. His formidable nature was very intimidating. “Spit it out Miss Harper?”
I shook my head and faked a smile.
“I wanna know what you think?” He persisted.
I sucked in a breath.
“You go on a lot of dates.” I said. He looked at me and I could read his expression, he gave a nod for me to continue. “And mostly with different women. It must be exhausting.”
“I didn’t know you were so interested in my love life.” He said coldly.
“If you had a love life.” I countered, and instantly regretted my words.
What was running through his mind right now? “Isn’t it lonely living in such a large house.” I asked. “I could never, I would need somebody at least.”
His green eyes studied me. “I prefer it that way. And I prefer being single.”
“I’m sure you can’t be single forever, one lucky person just needs to catch your attention. Like Rebecca.” I said.
He narrowed his eyes at me. Sugar! I went too far. “I’m sorry Mr. Bolton.”
He shook his head. “It’s okay, obviously for people like you it must be confusing, my style of dating.”
“Yes, it’s very savory.”
He twitched his eye. I returned to my notes and hummed a song instead, trying to diffuse this awkward situation.
“Obviously, a lot of women, a lot of flavors to suit my taste.” He said with a sarcastic smile, his perfect white teeth dazzling. “Let me guess, yours is dull?”
“I wouldn’t call it dull, just a complete white blank page, yet to create something beautiful.” I sighed.
“Let me guess, you want a man that’ll be your first love, your fist kiss... to be your one and only.” He mocked holding his heart. “I’m sorry to burst your bubble. But that ain’t gonna happen sweetie.”
I winced at the ‘sweetie’ part. I looked at him. “No, I don’t want that.” I said firmly.
“I don’t want to be a man’s first anything actually. I want to be his last. His last first kiss and his last love, his last everything. Then I’ll be his one and only. I want love Mr. Bolton, not lust.”
Mr. Bolton’s eye twitched again. It didn’t look like he liked what I said. He shifted in his seat, his left leg bouncing.
Suddenly he got up.
“Well, some of us live in the real world and not in la la land Miss Harper.” He said evenly, not taking his eyes off me.
I shook my head and lowered my eyes, feeling the weight of his gaze.
Why can’t I just keep my big mouth shut!