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Boss with Benefits
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New apartment, new job, and a smoking hot piece of man candy living next door.
Why god, WHY?
I try to break it off.
The company has a strict policy against dating your boss.
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The late afternoon sun came in on beams through the floor-to-ceiling windows of my penthouse apartment, covering the mess of spreadsheets and appointments and chat windows on my two monitors in a harsh glare. It felt like the universe was trying to tell me to call it quits for the day.
I leaned back in my Italian leather office chair and let out a sigh as I tried to organize my thoughts before organizing them on the computer.
OK, I thought. Meeting with the board tomorrow—that’s at eleven. Then lunch with Rod Cranston…no, Rich Carter…no…fuck.
I sat forward, trying to rally my mental faculties and make sense of what was on my screens. But my brain felt like one of those old TV channels back before cable, when programming was over for the day and there was nothing but static and a droning beeeeep.
My hand shot out by instinct for my cup of coffee. A little caffeine was usually just the thing to get the gears of my brain turning again, but when I grabbed the cup, I was surprised by how light it was. A glance down into its dark interior revealed nothing but a small pool of java at the bottom. I dipped my finger inside.
Lukewarm. That meant I’d already drunk the coffee without thinking and it hadn’t done me a damn bit of good. I could make more, sure, continue breaking in the custom espresso machine I’d just had shipped in from Florence. But I’d been through this stage of the game enough times to know it’d only make me jittery.
I placed my hands on the edge of my desk and heaved myself out of my chair, casting one last frustrated glare at the computer, as if it were the machine’s fault for overloading me with too much work, before turning around and stepping toward the window.
The view from my office was spectacular—one of the reasons I’d gone with the penthouse here at 166 Bank, one of the newest condos in the West Village. The city below was abuzz with Sunday afternoon activity. Pedestrians in spring clothes packed the sidewalks, and traffic moved down the wide roads in orderly lines. The sun high in the cloudless sky shined down on it all.
A gorgeous day in New York, and I was stuck inside moving around numbers in Excel.
“Fuck,” I said out loud to no one in particular. “I need an assistant.”
And just like that, a massive weight shifted off my chest. I’d been fighting against the idea tooth and nail for the last few months, waving away the nagging of the other members of the board. My reasoning was simple: I was the CEO of the company, which meant that no decision should be made without me at least laying my eyes on it first.
But it was becoming far, far too much. So many small details to keep track of. So many appointments and deals and handshake agreements. I’d realized it was only a matter of time before I slipped up and ended up costing Paradigm Investments, my company, serious money.
No more screwing around. I’d finish what was on my plate at that moment, then I’d start the process of finding an assistant.
But I realized that would be its own problem. Who could I trust to handle the ins and outs of my schedule? Was I really ready to hand such an important responsibility to someone else?
I turned back toward the screen and hit the “sleep” button on my keyboard, the twin monitors flicking from on to off, my blurry reflection visible in the black. For the time being, I didn’t even want to look at the work.
A walk was in order, a stroll through the neighborhood was usually just the thing to clear my head, something that always did the trick when caffeine had pulled all the weight it could.
I stepped out of the office and into the expansive main room of my penthouse, the crisp whites and moody blacks of the walls and furniture bathed in sunlight. Excitement tingled through me. After spending the first half of the day cooped up in my home office, just the thought of getting some fresh air and sunlight was enough to make me feel downright giddy.
After a keys-wallet-phone check, I opened the door to the elevator and stepped inside, the doors opening a few moments later once I was in the lobby.
Not a moment after I stepped out, however, my phone buzzed in my pocket. My first instinct was to ignore it, to put whoever was trying to talk to me on hold until I got back. But I realized that in my hurry to get out, I’d forgotten to end the chat I was in the middle of.
I slipped my iPhone out of my pocket as I hurried along, my eyes fixed on the small screen. It was a text from the executive I’d been speaking with, the text reading nothing but “AFK, huh?”