The Other C-Word(10)

By: MK Schiller

“She’s definitely one of a kind.”

It was funny, I never told people about my name. At least Rick didn’t seem judgemental.

“Do you want to know anything else about the company?”

“Why does your mom think I’m a cheapskate?”

Oh boy, he wasn’t taking the high road. I tightened my grip on the steering wheel, cringing noticeably.

“Did you think I was just going to let it go?”

“I was hoping you would.”

He patiently assessed me with his eyes, not yielding to my silent plea. He wanted an answer.

“It was an assumption on my part because you didn’t get a rental car. I’m sorry. It was wrong.” I hoped the apology sounded sincere, because I did feel terrible about calling him that, although my new nickname of ‘Dick’ was even worse.

Rick was quiet for a moment, contemplating my excuse. “It’s a fair assumption,” he replied.

“There are no fair assumptions. I hope I didn’t offend you.”

“There are fair assumptions. We all make them, but please allow me to disillusion you of it.”

“It’s okay, you don’t have to explain,” I replied sheepishly.

“I want to. There are two reasons I needed a ride. First, this was supposed to be a business meeting. Kathy Carver was going to fill me in on the company, but I think you’re an excellent substitute. I’ve very much enjoyed the conversation.”

Seriously—he was enjoying this? I was a hot, squirming, embarrassed, irritated mess, and he was enjoying talking to me? Although I had to admit, I was taking pleasure in looking at him and smelling him.

“Secondly, I live in New York and it’s prohibitive to have a car there.”

Oh great, he’s going to tell me he can’t drive, and I’m going to be stuck as his chauffeur. Well, at least I’ll have a job.

Rick smiled at me, continuing his explanation, “I love to drive, but I didn’t want to be limited with what they had at the airport. I’ve arranged to have a car delivered to the office for my use while I’m here. I’ll be working with you for the next four months, so I wanted to get something I’d like.”

We pulled up to the tall building where Henley Inc rented a large suite on the top floor. The conversation had gone by very fast, and I probably should have pointed out some of the Chicago sights on the way instead of jabbering his ear off about my crazy family.

“There’s my rental car.” Rick gestured to a black BMW. My jaw dropped. He was definitely not cheap.

“I guess I stand corrected.”

“Thanks for the ride, Marley. I hope I can return the favour.” He grinned mischievously, causing his green eyes to appear darker. A sudden heat rushed to my face. It was most likely a nonchalant, friendly comment, but in that moment, it sounded completely…sexual. It made me dislike him intensely. He’d been inappropriate to me, and somehow I’d divulged a ton of personal stuff he’d probably spread all around our gossipy office.

I pressed the button to open the trunk and remained seated inside the car. I expected him to retrieve his luggage while I regained my composure. He surprised me by coming around to my side and opening my door. He held his hand out to me. I took it hesitantly, but he tightened his grip and pulled me up gently. It made the heat on my face increase exponentially. Yep, he was a gentleman, but a dick too.

I stared at his ass as he walked away, checking to see if he had a wet spot as a result of my spilt coffee. Thankfully, he did not. However, I continued staring at him—oh my God, I was leering at his fine ass.

Chapter Two

We had a company-wide meeting shortly after I delivered Rick to Mr Henley’s office. I noticed Kathy was there. She wasn’t sick after all. I smirked when she did a double-take of Rick. Yep, she was regretting her decision to fake sick. Her sour expression towards me almost made the airport misunderstanding worth it.

The purpose of the meeting was to introduce Rick and dispel all the rumours that had been circulating about his role. Mr Henley explained that Rick’s goal was not to lose jobs, but rather retain them, and make headway in creating a decent profit margin. It sounded positive, but had an air of forced optimism, which was necessary to keep up the moral that had dipped to a dangerously low level.

Mr Henley smiled warmly at all of us and it was easy to see he cared about his workforce. Not only did he know all of us by name, but he also knew the names of his employee’s children and grandchildren too. I’d always liked the man, who was just a kid at heart. He was in his fifties, but had the air of a much younger man, with his salt and pepper hair, bright hazel eyes and muscular build. Mr Henley was an avid mountain climber and adrenaline junkie too. He’d started the company when he’d been only twenty, selling active sportswear out of his parents’ basement. We now employed sixty full-time staff, had a strong internet presence, and our clothes were in some major retail outlets—although prospects were grim for our future.

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