As soon as I stop my car in front of my building, I immediately step out of the car to find Flynn anxiously making his way towards me—gripping hard onto his phone in his right hand and a file in the other. His eyes are drifting up to my face and down to my suit, making sure I’ll be looking presentable for the meeting.
”Flynn,” I stop walking to see his eyes widening as he turns to look at me, ”Did you have lunch?” I ask, leaving him glancing down at his wrist watch before shaking his head, slowly. Both of his eyes are looking back at me yet it’s as if he’s too afraid of making an eye contact.
”I had to finish your work and I had to prepare the meeting,” He replies before glancing down at his wrist watch, again. ”Mr. Ashton, is there something wrong? You’re ten minutes late and people are already waiting for you to start the meeting,” He continues to speak.
Within seconds, I’ve already reached out for a fifty dollar bill in my wallet before putting it in his hand which causes him to furrow his eyebrows in confusion. ”Do me a favour and spend that money on food,” I say as he stands still, utterly speechless. ”Fully spend it. I don’t accept changes.” Then, I make my way towards the elevator after patting onto his shoulder, leaving him standing there, all by himself.
”But … Mr. Ashton!” He turns to run after me.
I raise my right hand to wave at him as the elevator doors close, taking me to the floor I needed to be. Just as I walk down the hall, my employees are already making their way to do their work instead of chatting and talking to the other workers. Both of their eyes stare at me with respect as they let out a deep sigh, as soon as I’ve passed.
”Mr. Ashton, you’re late.” One of my employees say, pushing the door open for me as I am greeted by twelve gentlemen who had waited for my arrival.
”No. They were early,” I reply before making my way towards my seat, gesturing for Oliver; the one who is presenting the company’s stocks to begin. The lights are being turned off as he starts to talk, pointing at the screen up front—showing the amount of stocks have risen from last month which is an improvement.
Everyone are paying attention to the screen, not bothered to interrupt Oliver’s explanation on making our stocks to rise even higher starting from next month. His explanation seems to have pulled me in for further interest, ”In my opinion, this can lessen the risk and then, we can have a better income. When the stocks rise, the percentage will, too.” He says, nodding.
”What about our finance company in Australia?” I ask, causing him to stop talking, immediately. People are turning to look at me before turning to look at Oliver again, who seemed to be caught in between—he clears his throat, trying to figure out an explanation.
”Their money currency, uh,” He stops talking, ”We haven’t figured out further details about the company in Australia as it is being handled by your brother, Alain Ashton. He has kept the financial details to himself and it has not yet been shared,” He adds, making me nod.
Just like that, I begin to stand up before pointing at the screen—starting to see the flaws in his presentation. ”You do know that we have to worry about Dubai and Italy, right? If we raise the percentage here in New York … don’t you think it’ll affect the interest there?” My question seems to have silence everyone from pointing out any further details.
”As of my brother, it is also your job to keep up with him. If he refuses to share any further detail as he might think of it as a threat to his … commitment, then you can try harder. There’s nothing wrong with how you present on raising the stocks by next month but I don’t like how you neglect the other finance companies we have in different countries,” I continue to speak, ”You can come back and set another meeting as soon as you’ve earned the details I need,”
”But, Mr. Ashton … your brother is impossible to talk to,” Oliver says, looking at me with slight hesitation yet I appreciate the bravery he holds—something an employee should have.
”So am I,” I reply.
”If there’s nothing else, that’ll be it.” I fix my coat as I head towards the door, ”Please, send me another copy of that to my assistant.” I add before making my way out, leaving them talking about it without my anticipation—at times, it would be unlikely for me to join their argument on the topics because I find it repulsive.
As soon as I’ve stepped out of the elevator and head straight towards my office, I am greeted with Flynn who seem to have been standing at the exact spot for the past thirty minutes as he holds onto an undeniably amount of food which causes me to stare at him, confusingly.
”Flynn, what are those?” I gesture towards food that has been placed on the coffee table and also the ones in his hands, ”Why are you bringing food into my office?” I ask, leaving him to raise an eyebrow—not completely getting my questions.
”Uh, you said to spend the money on food. You didn’t specifically say what,” He replies and I am left mentally slapping myself before letting out a deep sigh, ”You don’t need to worry about the changes because I’ve given them to the homeless … those who are in need,” He grins, pointing at the food before placing them down on the coffee table.
My eyes wander to the food he had bought which can ruin my diet, without a doubt. ”Flynn, I told you to spend the money on food … which meant on your food and not mine,” I say which causes both of his eyes to widen, ”You were supposed to head out and eat lunch, not buy me a stock of food for a week,” I add, leaving him standing uneasily at his spot.
”I’ve misunderstood,” He mutters.
Flynn has been by far, the only assistant that has lasted long enough than the others. The assistants before him was a pain in the ass as they weren’t committing themselves to their work but to only complain about the amount of tasks they were given. Women or even men, they were all the same—always finding excuses to leave early or even call in sick.
Due to my temper, a lot couldn’t stand the pressure. They thought they were working with the devil instead of a man. Flynn is too different and too good to compare because he would, at times, apologise for the mistakes he did not do. It annoys me but I’d rather have an employee who realises how much toleration is needed other than working with ego.
That’s why I enjoy his company.
”Do whatever you can to make sure that they’re all out of my sight,” I say before turning on the laptop, pressing my palms onto my desk as I see him quickly opening the door to take one food at a time, placing them all on his desk in his cubicle.
”I’m really sorry, Mr. Ashton. If you would only just give me a second to clear these out,” He replies as he grabs onto the boxes of donuts before placing them on his desk—leaving me stand and play with the pen in my hand, waiting for him to take them, one by one.
Minutes have passed and finally, he has already cleared out the whole amount of food in my office before closing the door behind him—leaving me, all by myself with an uncountable amount of work to be finished which I have left hanging for the past couple of days. Just as I’m about to go through the files, the sound of my phone ringing, interrupts me.
”Aidan Gabriel Ashton!” I immediately pull the phone away from my ear at the sound of my mother shouting through the other line, ”I thought I raised you better than leave your mother, your future mother-in-law and your sister hanging. We waited for you and we even called but you didn’t even consider to pick up the phone! I called Flynn and he told me you were in a meeting … which you could’ve told us,” She continues to speak as I let out a deep sigh.
”Mother, I’m working.” I reply.
”Yeah, how about I ask your brother to take over the company in New York, too? How does that sound?” Her voice sounded serious as I begin to pinch the bridge of my nose, closing my eyes in order to control the annoyance I’m currently feeling, spreading all over my body.
”Are you threatening me?” I furrow my brows as the amount of stress are starting to radiate, leaving me sitting down on my seat—trying my best to just ignore her voice but it appears, she’s good enough to annoy the hell out of me.
”I’m doing everything you’re telling me to do! You asked me to get married and I’m getting married but now, you’re making it a big deal just because I didn’t show up to discuss about the caterers?” I continue to speak, ”Give me a break, mother. For god’s sake … I just need you to let me live a little. You’re not even giving me a second to breathe,” I groan, slightly annoyed.
She sighs, ”You’re getting married next month.”
”I know and you don’t need to remind me—I’m sorry but I’m really busy and I need to go,” I reply before slowly hanging up the call, leaning my head back onto my seat. My eyes are getting tired from the lack of sleep and also from the amount of stress. This is why I didn’t want to get married at such a young age when I’m still busy trying to alter my future.
Hours have passed and I didn’t come to realise how time flies. My eyes wander out to the glass window to find the sky has darkened, leaving me glancing down at my wrist watch to look at the time … almost ten. Just as I turn to look at my laptop, I see how my work is only halfway done, which will take a few more hours to be settled.
I look up to find Flynn entering my office, ”Why are you still here? I thought I asked you to go home?” I ask, not expecting to see him still working. My back feels strain from the hours spent bending down to look for files and type down the details in my laptop which leaves me leaning back, sighing deeply, again.
”I couldn’t let you do your work alone,” He replies. ”Here’s your coffee. Please take care of your health, Mr. Ashton. I can finish it up for you in the morning,” He adds which causes me to shake my head—not letting him finish my work. There’s nothing wrong with him trying to help since he’s my assistant but he has done my work to an extent, he would forget about his own health.
”I’m heading home and you should, too.” I say and he nods, making his way towards the door before stopping.
”Have a good night, Mr. Ashton.” He says.
”Goodnight,” I reply, watching him leave the office until he is out of my sight—causing me to lean back on my seat, again. My eyes are wandering around the office at the mess from all the files on the ground and a few papers are scattered from trying to find the exact paperwork.
Just as I’m about to leave after picking up my car keys, I am suddenly hit by a sudden headache which causes me to close my eyes. A normal headache would always bother me from the lack of sleep and it has by far, concerned mother. I glance one more time at my wrist watch, not really having the strength to drive all the way home before suddenly, thinking of an idea.
I scroll down my phone to call Kenna.
”Kenna, are you home?” I ask, as soon as she has picked up her phone.
”Yeah … I just arrived,” She replies, hearing her closing the door to her apartment as she walks further inside, ”What’s wrong? Do you want to stay the night?” She asks.
Staying the night at Kenna’s apartment has been nothing but something casual. At times, when I’m too tired to drive back to my own apartment, I would just stay the night at Kenna’s apartment—my shirts are also there, also my other necessities such as my toothbrush.
The distance to her apartment from my office is lesser than to my own apartment which is one of the reasons why I’d stay the night, especially when I’d be too tired to drive back. She has never complained or anything as we’ve always been close; it’s like a second home whenever I stay the night at hers.
”That would be great. I’ll be there in ten,” I answer.
She breathes out, ”Drive safe.”
Without further ado, I’m already making my way out of my office and straight towards the elevator before arriving at the lobby. My legs stride down the lobby and to my car, unlocking it. Once I’ve stepped inside, I immediately start the engine to drive down the road, heading to Kenna’s apartment according to the directions in my head.
The traffic at night is less heavier than it was during the day which eases me slightly, especially with the sound of music coming from Kenna’s favourite ’heartbroken’ playlist she saved on my Spotify. By far, it would be my night jam whenever I’m on my way home from work or just when I’m in the mood for long car rides at night.
With my left hand up to run my fingers through my hair as my right hand gripping hard onto the steering wheel, I begin to feel myself being lost in the music. The lyrics seem to bring waves of uncertain emotions overflowing in me, even without having to experience it, truthfully.
I park my car before stepping out and heading straight towards the front door, lifting my hand to knock but before I can—Kenna has already opened the door for me. My lips curve up into a smirk, ”You’ve got to stop doing that.” I mutter, chuckling softly.
”What? I was downstairs when I heard your car,” She replies as she closes the door behind me. Then, I am already taking off my coat after throwing my shoes off at the ground before quickly making my way towards the sofa and drop down, letting my body release the stress from haunting me.
Kenna chuckles, ”You look exhausted.”
”Thanks,” I mutter as I peek through, seeing her standing near me before sitting down and turning on the television—pressing onto the remote to search for her favourite television series. It’s the one and only, Once Upon A Time … her all-time favourite.
”Your stuff are where they’re supposed to be,” She says before glancing at me, ”Go on and take a shower because you stink,” She laughs, making me throw the cushion pillow towards her face which causes her to yelp as she pushes it away from hitting her, directly.
Just like that, I’m already making my way towards the bathroom after taking a pair of shirt and pants from the wardrobe. The warm water sprinkles down my skin, causing my body to relax as the heat open up my pores—letting me close my eyes at the sensation. It would always feel great to come home and just have a warm shower or bath, by far the most relaxing.
When I’m done changing into my new pair of clothes, I brush my teeth after cleansing my face and dapping my face dry with a towel. Without further ado, I’m already making my way out of the bathroom to find Kenna leaning back on the sofa with her blanket wrapped around her as she smiles, watching the show without paying attention to her surroundings which is typical of her.
”Can I join?” I ask, sitting beside her as she moves to give me some space. As I lean my head on the sofa, she is already leaning closer towards me before placing her head on my shoulder.
”So … is Emma going to die?” My question seem to have caught her off guard as she smacks me on the shoulder, leaving me groaning in pain before chuckling. She has always shipped Emma and Hook together, no doubt she would be upset if anything happens to them.
She looks up at me, ”If you’re going to stay here and watch, you’re going to keep quiet or I’m going to castrate you.” She says, threatening me which causes me to laugh before nodding my head and lean back, eyes drooping at the screen.
Slowly, I begin to find myself falling asleep even if I try hard to fight it. My eyes are starting to close as I feel my head leaning back on the sofa without further support, letting me blink a few times, trying to stay awake before looking down at Kenna, seeing her still focusing onto the television screen.
Everything seems to disappear around me as I hear the voices coming from the television yet I pay no further attention, only finding myself giving in to my tiredness—forgetting about my best friend who seems to be snuggling close towards me, in search of warmth but she could just turn off the air-conditioner. Then again, she has always loved the cold.