The Publicist's Plight (Book I in The Harrison Inc. Series)

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Chapter 1

I, Leslie Muireall King, after years of being so blind and so naive to the truth in front of me, have finally seen the light.

Not in terms of the light you see when you die, or a light in terms of an innovative idea or thought. No, more of a “spiritual” or “personal” sense of discovery.

After a year with my loyal and successful boyfriend, Hudson Maximus Bradford...the third, to be exact, I have finally caught him in the act to counter argue the loyalty I so liked to believe was part of his nature.

And out of all instances to catch him in said act, it had to be at the Harrison Incorporated charity function...for Leukemia awareness.

And as I now sit, lonely, unable to process the events that have occurred just one mere hour ago, everything else seems to make sense. However, my boyfriend, now ex-boyfriend, Hudson, cheating on me with my assistant, now former assistant, Alejandra, is still something I refuse to believe actually happened.

But one thing that I am certain I can truly understand now, is that I have wasted my life away. A 27-year-old, intelligent, effectual publicist to the revered and also feared billionaire, Garrett Harrison of Harrison Inc., and I have wasted my life away. And this, is the light I am talking about. The light I finally see.

Some-well, most may argue that I have a lot to show for in my life. I attended Berkeley University in San Francisco, California as I was a seventeen-year-old straight-A student, eager to rid myself of my mother and her loveless clutches. I majored in business, minored in photography for something fun to do, and had my head in my books, hand in the air in the front row in all of my classes, and graduated, top of my class. My father convinced me persistently that I was the family jewel after the ceremony, since my mother, in her most caring motherly way, told me that I could have majored in something more useful. All before leaving with my little sister, Samantha, to attend a party in Malibu. Which still confuses me, since my mother coerced me constantly about doing something useful in life that would bring me success. I wish she would have informed me that “business” wasn’t what she was referring to before I majored in it.

Still, I pressed on, unfortunately being forced to publicize the rap group “Cookie Monsterz” as my first real clientele job at the PR firm that hired me. But because of me, they are shockingly and sadly one of the most popular rap groups out right now for teenagers and young adults. Of course, their current publicist must take credit for my work that got them to the top years before he was hired.

From there, I had Jennifer Eaton as a client, who is now the leading role in the TV show “Redbirds” that has won two Emmy’s, one for best drama, as of last year. And it all started with the interview I forced her to go to with Cosmopolitan, the magazine I despise the most.

After her was Paloma Lewinski, now Victoria’s Secret ANGEL, Oliver O’Finnley, now teen girl heart-throb on Disney Channel, and countless others after him. One day, I received an email from billionaire entrepreneur, Garrett Harrison’s assistant, Lucinda Chapman, about his interest in myself being his personal publicist, monthly paycheck and all. I said yes faster than I ran for the Los Angeles Metro Bus in the morning at the time.

Two and a half years later, I never looked back. It was a dream come true to be able to become the publicist for the CEO of one of the world’s leading corporations, Harrison Inc., not to mention have my own office as opposed to working in a hot, cramped firm that smelled like hot dogs from 4:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon, mysteriously.

Life at the time was great. I met Hudson at a press conference and thought he was the man of my dreams. I hired two assistants myself, received raises left and right for my unmatched publication skills, and managed to earn an unparalleled amount of respect in the business sector of the media world. Everything was on track—pristine and organized, just the way I liked it. Just the way it was meant to be.

However, it’s as if God is mocking me. Mocking me, or trying to make me see that my life has actually amounted to nothing. Zip. Zilch. Absolute shit...and a sad amount of Netflix.

After my second assistant, the young and timid yet oh-so reliable, Darcy Delgado sniffed out the suspicious feeling we both had and found Alejandra and Hudson in his car doing a quickie, I had immediately known that something, or someone was out to get me. Why? Because it didn’t make sense. Hudson and I were perfect. Our lives were in sync, we had routines, we incorporated our work lives into our social lives perfectly and he openly followed my routinely lifestyle that I have lived since I was old enough to speak. Standing there in that parking lot as Hudson stumbled out of his BMW with his slacks slipping off his hips and his face smothered in Alejandra’s red lipstick made me feel like a complete idiot.

Still, I went back inside, hid my anger, and spoke with a few reporters as if I never even saw my boyfriend screwing my assistant. Or my assistant screwing my boyfriend. Either way, I despised them both. I despise them both.

Now, as I sit on my couch, the reality has hit me. Hard. A full carton of Vanilla ice cream lays by my side as I sit in my spacious yet desolate Los Angeles apartment. Pedro, my Chihuahua that has trust issues even the dog trainer I took him to a few months ago can’t comprehend, is sitting on the other side of the carton, licking the side of it most likely for the taste of the ice cream that has dripped down the side. That, or something is seriously wrong with him.

Oddly enough, I haven’t shed one tear. I haven’t even called my best friends, my only friends as a matter of fact, Beth and Paul to tell them what happened. Instead, I’m taking out my anger and sadness on the carton of ice cream I’m eating vigorously, ignoring the fact that a few droplets have landed on my black long-sleeved Neiman Marcus dress I bought, specifically for Hudson who just loved me in black, since he thought it “made me look slimmer.”

“Why am I wearing a long-sleeve in May?” I mumble to myself, with ice cream sticking to the corners of my mouth pathetically.

I hear my phone ringing, and for once I don’t have the urge to get it. It’s probably Hudson, which makes me angry. But then it probably isn’t Hudson, which makes me extremely sad and desperate.

I try to reach for Pedro, hoping that I can catch him off guard and actually hold him without him having an anxiety attack, but he dodges my advance and runs through the hallway into my room. I sit in complete silence now.

Eventually, I fix my tightly executed bun before I push myself up off the couch and walk into the kitchen. Ice cream isn’t going to cut it. I need alcohol, though I’m not sure if this is the proper way to deal with a break up. Although Hudson and I haven’t officially broken up yet, I’m pretty sure there’s no way in hell we’re together.

Wine. Moscatto to be exact. Wine happens to be my first resort for everything, actually. Whether it’s work biting my ass or my mother calling to blame me for her and my father’s divorce again, it numbs the senses.

I settle for half a glass, then the rim, then I just grab the whole damn bottle and set the tall wine glass I had received as a gift from Beth for my 25th birthday on the counter as I close the Rosewood cabinet in my Rosewood kitchen, in my Rosewood apartment.

Before exiting the kitchen, glass in one hand while the bottle is in the other, I glance at myself in the reflection of the window above the kitchen sink. Serious. That is all I see. I’m not one known to smile genuinely; it seems Paul is the only one who can make me smile for long periods of time. Beth as well but our conversations are more serious, involving relationships or family struggles.

I rub my nose on my shoulder, and notice the excess of powder on my dress. Damn freckles. To everyone else they may seem cute and adorable, but to me they’re a distraction. It’s hard to be taken seriously when you’re some kind of commodity for having freckles, which is why I cover them up. But without my freckles I’m just plain. Not ugly, at least not to myself, but plain; dark brown hair, big dark brown eyes that fortunately each come with a set of long eyelashes, pale skin, round face. I have my Scottish blood to thank for my distinct facial features I suppose, but I don’t find my physical appearance interesting one bit. It still amazes me how my younger sister received most of my mother’s Italian traits, with her tan skin, plump lips, long curly hair that doesn’t hiss at you when you try to tie it up, and tall frame. It seems I’ve gotten the short end of the stick in the gene-pool.

Which is probably why Hudson finds Alejandra more interesting.

A knot is caught in my throat. I down the wine to suppress it, and when all the wine is gone out of the glass, I quickly drink out of the bottle, but unfortunately rogue tears start to overtake me. I’m at the beginning stage of a full-on break down in my kitchen and I don’t know why. I never cry. Never. I thought I was good. Crazy, for not reacting to Hudson and Alejandra but...good. Now I’m on the tiled floor of my kitchen, crying so hard that a mixture of mascara and tears land on my hands.

I realize that I’m not crying just because of Hudson. Actually I feel like it would be a respectable cry if it was only about him. A cry that could be easily comforted by friends, if I had many. But it’s more than that. As I look around my empty apartment, then at my phone, which only lights up when my job is involved, then lastly at my socially awkward dog entering the kitchen, staring at me as if I’m crazy, the entire realization hits me.

I’m alone.

Completely alone, except for my job, which is my life, and my two best friends, who have actual social lives. But I’m alone.

I was alone when my parent’s divorced and my mother fought relentlessly for custody, lying to her family and the judge who believed her sob story in the end. I was alone in high school to battle the teasing and fabricated slut-shaming on my own. I was also alone in college when I spent my whole four years studying and only studying for a degree no one but my father cared about, and I’m alone now, as I cry on my kitchen floor with a bottle of wine in my hand.

Sadly, enough, I realize despite all of my hardships, all of my hard work, effort, lack of sleep, and overdoses on wine and commitment, my life has amounted to absolutely nothing worth mentioning but successful consecutive Netflix marathons, which pitifully makes me fall into complete, and utter sobs.

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