I entered the room, head down dreading to look up and show how nervous I was, I swallowed a gulp of air and started to look up as I catch Robert on his mobile, when he notices my presence he turns towards me.
“So, this is Angela Morley.” He says in a very familiar voice.
I was dumbstruck seeing Robert as the guy who annoyed me earlier but instead of a jogging outfit he was in a crisp suit. He had a timid menacing smile, as he knew who I was. I stared in shock, his piercing eyes tantalizing me, he was young and from the years Aunt Brenda talked about her work she never mentioned he was close to my age and she certainly never mentioned that he was incredibly good looking.
“Good morning, Mr. Sleigh. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Trying to act like I didn’t know him, I say drawing out my hand as he drew nearer to me.
“The pleasure is all mine. Come.” He says as he shook my hand and gesture for me to sit on his white sofa. Aunt Brenda follows and sits beside me as he settles in a leather chair. His soft rich brown hair has been pushed back revealing his magnificently arranged face, eyes hooded, piercing and commanding, nose just the right slope and those lips-. I never noticed them while getting annoyed at him this morning. I couldn’t help being drawn from hate to liking him. Trying to stray from my malicious mind- I refocused myself before I blush and really give myself away. No wonder he was able own a company. With presence and charisma like his it isn’t unbelievable.
“Ms. Morley, I assume that Brenda has briefed you of your duties and responsibilities that you need to do. So basically you are in charge of a part of my life that I could not attend to. Schedules, meetings, flights, evening soirées and etc.”
“Yes sir, I have been briefed.” I say surprisingly still keeping it together and how he hasn’t brought up the coffee incident. Honestly, Angela he’s not that good looking. I lied to myself over and over as he talked of responsibilities and the need of sufficiency in my work.
“So. Brenda, I would like you to hand over everything to Angela, make sure she is competent when you leave. Also I want her to shadow all of our meetings today so she could know all that she needs to do.” He says
“Yes, of course.” aunt Brenda says in a professional tone that she has been using since this morning.
“Brenda, if you could update the calendar and move my next meeting for an hour or so, I need to speak with Angela alone.” He says. I was startled and scared, was he firing me already? Try to get back at me from what I did in the coffee shop? It wasn’t my fault he cut in line.
“Certainly.” Aunt Brenda says acknowledging me as she leaves equally baffled as I was.
As aunt Brenda left an uncertain strange yet strong electric sensation floating about the room. Scared to look straight into his eyes, I glanced about the room to get a glimpse of who he was and how I never heard of him, probably because I never watch the news. As far as I can tell he is a CEO who has such a pristine office and talks formally. With all in the room catalogued in my head I sneaked a peak at him who seems to be occupied with assessing me. I consciously fixed my skirt and tucked a loose strand of hair from my face. After what seemed like a decade of him just observing me as if I was a gold fish in a glass bowl.
“I’m sorry about what happened in the coffee shop. It was just, it was really early and I got really annoyed.” the suspense was killing me so I blurted out.
“Ms. Morley, indeed the fault was all mine. You don’t need to be apologetic just because I’m your boss. In fact it was a bit refreshing you reprimanding me, it rarely happens.” He explains. I finally was able to breathe thanking the heavens he wasn’t an immature jerk. Now he seems to be more attractive.
“So, Miss Morley, were you previously employed?” He asks as rested his head on his possibly soft hands. Stop this Angela Snow Morley, if you don’t concentrate you’ll be flat on your arse on the sidewalk. Boss, off limits.
“Well, I worked as an assistant to the editor of a local magazine for party planning and home decors.” I say feeling completely inadequate, due to the fact that someone more likely my age have achieved so much that I only dreamed to have done. I suddenly felt a film of shame run through me, but I held my poise.
“Judging from your glowing recommendation and on your experience, This Job would be a smooth transition for you especially when Mrs. Grayson speaks highly of you.” He acknowledges.
“I guess you can put it that way.” I say wishing this meeting ends. I needed time to breathe and gather my nerves and lock them away into oblivion on the other hand I’m pleased Mrs. Grayson made me look good.
I stop my urge to bite my nails in front of this composed individual. He looks at me intently as if trying to see through me and I searched the room for some possible topic starters. I took another look at the office and something caught my eye. A beautifully crafted abstract sculpture of what seemed like waves holding the moon, in the middle was a brilliant gray diamond on center. I was marveled in its beauty that I didn’t catch what Mr. Sleigh was asking me.
“I’m sorry?” I ask for him to repeat his query
“You enjoy sculptures?” He asks me, figured that I was staring at the piece
“Not particularly but, I am mesmerized by this piece for some reason.” I say still dazed by its beauty.
“It’s a piece by some unknown artist I hired to create this.” He shrugs at it.
“Whoever it was, he’s good.” I say praising with a praising of that magnificent piece.
A knock on the door stopped our discussion. It was Aunt Brenda informing Mr. Sleigh that he was late for his 10 am meeting. He asks me to leave with Aunt Brenda as he prepares to head out.
“Aunt Brenda, What have you got me into. He is gorgeous; you could have mentioned good looking and is the same age as me.” I say in a whispered hiss, as she prepares her planner in the form of an IPad.
“Honey, He’s three years older than you are and yes he is, but I never thought that was a hindrance to any job.” She says amused at my reaction.
“Ok, maybe not a hindrance it’s a bit distracting, but, I do need this job.” I say finally taming the inner me that craves for him.
“Good. Now this is the planner, all his meetings and the contacts and people you need to know are all in here. Every night, you make a back up. Everything in here is important and you must guard this with your life.” She says showing me the important apps in the device, where to go and how to plan it.
After minutes of crash course to the assistant’s device, Robert emerged from his office. He looked so dashing in his crisp dark gray custom fit suit that hugged his body like a second skin. If it wasn’t for Aunt Brenda standing next to me I could have fainted. He nods and strides off. Aunt Brenda and I walked faster than usual to be able to keep up with his pace.
Emerging from the lobby a black Mercedes was parked adjacent the double doors. A suited bodyguard came out from the driver seat and opened the rear doors. Mr. Sleigh rode first, Aunt Brenda Signaled for me to go sit on the other side. She took the front seat and the bodyguard, who doubled as his chauffer, slid in the front seat. As we settled the car eased out unto the busy streets.
Aunt Brenda started briefing from the front seat of the next clients; she tells him information he needed to know to tackle the clients best. I took notes on the left side of the back seat quietly observing. Aunt Brenda talked with precision and took down notes as Mr. Sleigh dictates.
As we reached another skyscraper Mr. Sleigh and Brenda got out the car still absorbed at the topic at hand, I had to keep up with what Aunt Brenda was briefing him. As we enter the lobby, the people cleared the path that we were taking; I noticed most women we pass seemed thrilled to see Mr. Sleigh. They eyed him closely taking in his presence. I on the other hand felt relief knowing it’s not just me.
The meeting dragged on throughout the morning, almost fainting from dehydration and hunger, Mr. Sleigh dismissed Aunt Brenda and me to take a break. Aunt Brenda and I found a cozy diner and shared a meal. We talked on the details that I needed to know and things I need to stay clear from.
“Has Robert ever lost his temper?” I ask scared
“Yes, of course dear. He has been working very hard and my job is to help him cope and catch up with the facets of his life he hasn’t gotten a chance to consider.” She lectures as we ate our salads and sandwiches.
“Are you sure I can do this?” I ask
“As I have said dear, you can do this. It’s as easy as pie.” She says.
“Now, let’s head back we have a busy day and I still need to teach you regarding the clerical work you do.” Aunt Brenda says taking me out of my seat.
We arrived at office and we settle in her space, Aunt Brenda showed me all the basic things and all the files that she uses. She shows me and explains to me all the clients that were listed in the calendar. Most of them were publishing CEOs and Media tycoons. She handed me out a print out manual that I needed to study.
“Aunt Brenda, could I maybe sync these files to my IPad to make things easier?” I ask her
“Sure, if it helps just make sure to back up all the files every night. You really are like me Angela; I knew I picked the right person to replace me.” She says pointing to my planner side of my IPad mini casing.
“That is why; I’m your favorite niece.” I say
Afternoon came and it was time for my dry run with Aunt Brenda, She made me answer calls and announce arrivals of walk-in clients to Mr. Sleigh. I never thought my planning skills would come in handy in the work place. I had coffee runs and did some clerical works.
It was already five in the afternoon when Aunt Brenda bid me farewell, after she had a meeting with Mr. Sleigh.
“Aunt Brenda, you sure you’re leaving me?” I ask
“Don’t worry, I’m just leaving early this afternoon, I’ll be here tomorrow. You are amazing at this. You got my instructions quicker than anyone else that I trained for this job.” She says with pride plastered on her face.
“Thank you so much Aunt Brenda.” I say hugging her as she bid farewell.
“See you at home?” I call out and she turns and smiles to me.
It was late when the final client arrived; as I sent him in I turned to the pantry and grabbed a coffee. The door unlocked and I jumped spilling a bit of coffee on my fingers.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know someone was still here.” She says turning crimson
“Oh. No. My fault.” I say
“I’m Maxine by the way. Maxine Morris, I work in the accounting department.” She says holding out her hand.
“I’m Angela Morley; I’m the new Assistant of Mr. Sleigh.” I say wiping my hands before shaking hers.
“Oh. You’re the new Assistant. You must be Brenda’s niece.” She says delighted
“Um, Yes. How did you know?” I ask a bit worried of what people might think of me.
“Well, Brenda and I are very close here in the office. She’s like a mother I never had.” She says
“Oh. That’s nice. Would you mind keeping my being Brenda’s niece as a secret? If that’s even possible, I mean I don’t want people thinking that I got the job because I was Brenda’s niece.” I explain hopeful that she’s a friend I could confide in.
“Sure, but I highly doubt that anyone would think that.” She says
“Thanks, I’d better head back. Mr. Sleigh might be looking for me.” I say heading out the door
“Sure. If you ever need a friend, I’m on the eighth floor.” She says smiling at me
“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.” I say leaving her and rushing to my new workspace.
Moments later the client heads out the door.
“Good night Mr. Clay. “I say as the man walks pass my table.
“Good night.” He calls out and left the waiting area.
I look at the calendar and the rest of the night was empty. Seeing that I didn’t know when I should leave or should I even bother Mr. Sleigh, I waited on my desk until he comes out.
Getting hungry, I fiddled in my purse and searched for my emergency crackers. I read through the manual that aunt Brenda gave to me to study. Nothing in there told me when I was allowed to leave or if I have to wait for Mr. Sleigh. Hopeless and wanting to rest, I was about to phone Aunt Brenda when Mr. Sleigh headed out his office.
“Good night Mr. Sleigh.” I call out before he could leave.
He turns and looks at me confused and curious.
“Ms. Morley? What are you still doing here?” He asks walking towards my table
“I didn’t know when I was supposed to leave. I thought you might need company, maybe a late coffee run perhaps?” I say feeling like such an idiot.
“My fault entirely, I forgot to let you go.” He apologizes.
“No, it’s my fault. I didn’t ask Aunt Brenda about it.” I say standing up collecting my bag and my coat.
“Ms. Morley. Seeing that I let you wait for me the whole time and I’m sure you haven’t had your dinner yet and I have no plans, why don’t we have dinner and I can bring you home as well since we live in the same building.” He says catching me off guard.
A million scenarios popped in my head and I realized I was over thinking the situation, but seeing that he was my boss it would be awkward to have a non-work related dinner.
“It’s ok Mr. Sleigh, I can manage.” I say formally declining his offer.
“I insist, Ms. Morley. Plus we need to get to know each other. After all I am going to trust you with half my life and I cannot simply hand it over to a stranger.” He says convincingly with his stern yet calm voice that always gets me.
“You do have a point. Ok, Mr. Sleigh.” I say giving up
“Please. Call me Robert.” He says leading me out the office. Like that’s happening, I’m too intimidated to call him by his first name.
I followed him through the narrow dim halls of the office and down the elevator, then out of the lobby to the same black car that we rode earlier this morning. He motioned for me to get in the backseat.
“Aren’t I supposed to stay in front?” I asked gesturing to the front seat.
“You don’t have to, plus how will I talk to you when you’re in front?” He asks me and gleams at me. I got in wondering how he doesn’t look so haggard after a stressful day at work with meetings and site visits.
“Isaac, off to Mercer Kitchen.” He calls as we settled at the back seat as Isaac eases out the driveway.
“So, how was work?” He asks me looking my way. For some reason I have gotten used to the way he was staring. Maybe it was that moment in the meeting room when I stared too long at him, as he was really passionate in discussing some business, which I didn’t get any information from, good thing Aunt Brenda was there. I really had to pay much closer attention next time and not to the way his eyes would glow bright emerald when he talks or the way he places his head on his hands and caresses his lips. Darn it! Way to go self control.
“It was great. I got most of my job description from Aunt Brenda’s handbook. I also met a friend so I guess she could help me with some things.” I say chatting away like he was nobody special. As soon as I realized how I addressed to him I cringed inside.
“Good. I take it you and I could get along. You share the same qualities that Brenda has.” He says this time facing the driver seat deep in his thoughts.
The black classic door of The Mercer kitchen is right in front of us; Robert went ahead of me and opened the door. When I entered I smelt the delectable food that everyone was having. It was overwhelming and my mouth started to water.
“Mr. Sleigh. It’s nice seeing you today. Shall I seat you at your usual sir?” She says over the moon happy to see Robert. She looks as If she wanted to eat him for dinner.
“Sure. Monica” He answers plainly. I guess he was used to the googley eyes women looks at him with.
“Um. Is she?” Monica queries, as she looks at me somewhat judging my social status, I guess she never saw him with a peasant.
“Yes, she’s my new assistant.” As soon as he said assistant she had a that-explains-it look.
“This way, Sir.” She says as she leads us down the stairs into another world where it’s cozy and warm, with the brick walls and low lighting, it could have been romantic.
We were seated on a booth and it made me feel very awkward, sitting in a booth with my boss, who looks so handsome in low lighting with his crisp suit and tie and those bright green eyes looking back at me. I couldn’t move naturally, this made me nervous and it’s not even a date. Monica was still standing there holding the menus; she gives us each a copy and says.
“The waiters will be here when you’re ready.” Monica says and leaves. Waiter? Isn’t she a waitress? Wait a minute. She must be the manager.
“Order what you want” He says as he skims the menu.
I do the same and skimmed, everything I’ve read was delicious. Right now, I don’t have money and I can’t just let my boss pay. My thoughts went haywire thinking of excuses for me to leave.
“Is something wrong?” He asks eyeing me.
“Oh. No. Mr. Sleigh, I – I just thought that um- seeing that I just started and – you know I have no income yet, so I was thinking that I could go and – Aunt Brenda might be looking for me.” I stutter like an idiot piecing thoughts together in my head.
“You don’t have to pay, Angela. It’s my treat. Order anything you like.” He says amused at me and I can see a discreet smile light up his face, which made me more uncomfortable.
“Oh and that’s the other things, I kind of- don’t know what to order. I haven’t eaten here yet. I’m afraid if I choose we might be here all night.” I say embarrassed and smiled at him.
“Well, would you rather I choose for you?” He asks. Still in this light mood that slowly makes me comfortable facing him.
“Yes.” I nodded.
He calls the waiter and orders our meal.
He looks so divine. How am I ever going to work for him? I ask myself hoping I’m not showing desperation and longing on my face. No man has ever made me feel like a lovesick teenager with her first crush.
Stop it! You are here for work. My brain snaps at me and I try to focus.
I look around the room and marveled at the composition of the interior, everything seems to be glinting and the warm feeling started to sink in
“Are we good?” He asks as he handed the menus to the waiter.
“Oh. Yes. I’m just in awe of this place. The room is so cozy. The interior just gives of a classic vibe. It’s really amazing.” I reply
“I agree, the interior does make a good ambience. Apart from the ambience the food here is good.”
“So. Have you been here in New York?” he continues
“I have once; I came to visit Aunt Brenda when I was little. I loved her she is my best friend. It devastated me when she moved here. After that visit I’ve dreamt of moving here. Become the best event planner, do interior works but my mother says I had to grow up and be more like my cousin Jane, who is successful in marketing.” I blabbed away, he looked really into what I was saying but I knew otherwise.
“I’m so sorry, I’m talking too much.” I say.
“It’s fine. You really seem close with Brenda. I can attest to that, she has been a mother to me and I was really keen on not letting her go, after countless of failed attattempting other applicants , but she convinced me, you were different.” He says. Thanks a lot Aunt Brenda, now the bar has been set too high.
The waiter arrives and brought us our food. The food smelt so good and my mouth started to water. I looked at it in childish delight and wanted to consume all of them in one swipe but I had to behave, after all we are in this swanky restaurant and I didn’t want to embarrass my boss.
“Yes, thank you”
“Angela, you don’t have to be shy around me, just act like you do with Aunt Brenda, It’s much comfortable like that. Plus, I’d figure we’d get along easier since we don’t have a generation gap.” He says
“Are you sure? I don’t think you’d like that very much, plus I think I’ve been born old. I think that’s why aunt Brenda and I get along well, because I’m old.” I say recalling my moments with aunt Brenda.
“Well, just don’t be too stiff around me, you could do that in the office.” He says and I take a spoonful of lentil soup, it tastes so good, and I am in food heaven. He is right, I’m going to be around him, I have to be comfortable and not be quite reserved but not too relaxed.
“Mmm. This is really good and it’s just the soup.” I commented and he looks at me amused.
“I’m glad you like it. I hope you can eat a whole meal cause I ordered us a hefty one or do you prefer a salad?” He quizzes me
“Oh yes, I eat a lot mind you, a salad can’t stuff me and I don’t intend to start dieting. Plus what’s the point in coming to a restaurant when you’re just going to order a salad? ” I say and he gives off a small laugh.
As we ate, I had to take another look around the room. Instead of seeing the fine interior, people were staring, women were eyeing Robert and others were giggling. Other women were giving me their vicious stares that drowned my self-esteem down in a dark cave. The women who were giggling now were louder and looked at me and laughed.
“Are you ok?” I hear his voice, as I looked away from the crowd.
“Oh, ye-ye-yes.” I say nodding with bruised self-esteem.
“You seem to be bothered by something.” He says raising his eyebrow as if guessing what I really was thinking.
“Are you used to it?” I ask, I couldn’t sit there acting nothing is bothering me.
“Used to What?”
“The attention? The googley eyes of women, the admiration and the other men that look up to you?” I say a bit faster than I usually talk. I really hope he’s not offended.
“What are you talking about?” He asks genuinely ignorant to the fact that women adore him.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to ask such personal question.” I say looking down at my food and picking at the salad.
“No. It’s alright. But what did you mean by attention?” He asks no intrigue has invaded his face.
“I mean, Monica, the women in this restaurant? Longing looks?” I asked with confusion plastered on my face.
“Oh. Is that why women never refuses to converse with me?” He says tilting his head to the side.
“Uh.-” I was rendered speechless.
“Joking.” He finally unfreezes me and I give off a forced giggle and he joins in. His laughter is somewhat contagious and I completely melt like butter inside.
“I still don’t get what you mean, though. I do casually meet women but I think I still need to work for them to like me enough. Looks aren’t everything” He explains.
“But it helps” I side commented not meaning for him to hear but he did.
“Surely, but what good is a beautiful face if I couldn’t have a decent smart conversation with her?” he points out his opinions.
“Point taken.” Yeah right, what’s the use of smart conversation if he’s busy taking their clothes off? Surely smart conversation interests him while doing the deed. Shrugging off my thoughts,
“But you really don’t see it?” I ask once more.
“Nope.” He says continuing to eat his food. He smiles again and I just can’t stop admiring him in my thoughts
As the course of meals ended we found ourselves chatting. He was drinking his sparkling wine and I drank my fresh mint tea.
“So, Jane. You’re cousin. – “He continues our conversation regarding my family.
“Yup. She just is snotty, she always out shines me, plus she makes that face that says I’m-better-than- you.i don’t know what happened, she just out grew me I guess.” I say animatedly imitating a royalty.
“And my mother? Eats it up, she always told me to be more like Jane. It’s crazy. I just wish she’d be proud of me one day.” I say this time in a more serious tone.
“Well. You’ve never met my father. He always pushes me and even if I’m this successful he still isn’t impressed.” He matches my tone.
“How about your mother I bet she’s kind.” I ask suddenly realizing I was told by aunt Brenda not to ask about family.
“Oh! I’m so sorry – you don’t need to answer that. It just came out. Aunt Brenda told me not to. I really am Sorry,” I say in a panic voice.
“It’s ok Angela, Stop apologizing.” He says lifting his hand up
“My mother, she was beautiful, she loved me and my brother, and she always knew what to say. When she died my father’s world crashed and burned. He sent us to boarding school and dove into work. We rarely saw him until college when he met Catherine. She helped my father become the man that he used to be but not all his qualities. She loved me and my brother like we were her own.” He explains
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to pry.” I say sinking deeper into my seat.
“Again, stop apologizing. I’d better pay. Will you excuse me for the moment?” He asks leaving the table and headed up the stairs. I felt awful bringing those things up. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Angela, when will you learn? My brain once again schooled me.
Tonight was amazing and he was a delight to be with. Everything that happened makes things much harder for me to resist him. The way he smiles, the way he laughs, his intoxicating scent, the way he is genuinely ignorant when it comes to the way he makes women feel, including me. He is such a –
“Angela?” His voice resonates as I snap back to reality. I hadn’t notice that I was staring at the gleaming candle.
“Yes? Are we leaving?” I ask trying to pretend to not be lost in my thoughts.
“Actually, I’m leaving. Isaac will bring you home. I had my car delivered here.” He says. Out of confussion, I didn’t notice at first but he was holding someone on his side, a beautiful long-legged blond in a sexy number, soaking in the attention of the other guys in the room and the jealous stares of other women. Smart conversation my Ass!
I was taken a back and struggled to respond hiding my deep hatred and embarrassed feeling. I stood up, grabbed my bag and face him with my professional face.
“It’s ok. No need for Isaac to drive me home. Mr. Sleigh.” I say in my calm unaffected voice.
“Angela, I insist.” He enforced
“I can manage, Mr. Sleigh.” I retorted.
“Haven’t we gone pass the last names?” He asks
“I have to grab something for aunt Brenda, She texted me while you were up. Honestly, I can manage.”
“Ok.” He says defeated by his offer.
“Robert. Ms. I’ll leave you now.” I say professionally and turned my back from them suffering from the judging glances of the women as I head up stairs.
When I reached the front door, I finally let out my irritation as I breathed out. Isaac sees me looking puzzled.
Isaac is in his early forties, a father figure stance; he doesn’t really look like a bodyguard. I guess that was his tactics, after all I heard from the stories aunt Brenda tells me. His smile made me want to share my sob story but seeing that I just met him I’ll save him the sob story.
He opens the door to let me in but I stepped back and refused.
“Oh. Not tonight Isaac, I have errands to run for Aunt Brenda.” I say
“Ok Ms. Morley let me call you a Cab.” He says and hails one for me.
Not wanting to stay longer and once again see Robert and that girl I ran for the cab.
“Thanks, Isaac.” I say as I get in.
“To the Centurion, please.” I say really annoyed and confused. Why should I really make a fuss out of this? I have decided to be professional and you will die trying! My head was unclear and was blowing out of proportion.
I arrived at the Condo and was to worn out when I got there. I went up to the 8th floor and got in. I found Aunt Brenda on the couch watching TV. She gazed up at me and smiled.
“Angela, your back. How was your day? It’s late where have you been?” She asks sitting up and looking worried.
“It was great. I met Maxine.” I say in a perky way.
“I was late, Mr. Sleigh, I mean Robert had me accompany him to dinner because I didn’t know when to leave.” I say exhaustedly.
“Oh dear. I forgot to tell you that you, he’ll inform you when you can leave or you can inform him through text when he’s in the office.” She explains.
“Oh. Tomorrow, surely.” I say to her, determined never again to see him off with another model.
After Aunt Brenda briefed me of my task in the morning I took a warm bath. Sitting up on my bed, I ran through the meetings, arranged his schedule, made sure emails went through necessary papers were printed and alarms were turned on. I slid under my sheets and dozed off mentally and emotionally preparing my self for a week of self-control.