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Just pretend to be my fiancé for Christmas.
Sure. What could go wrong?
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“Oh shit,” I mutter to myself.
I pull my car to a stop near the site and stare at the gathered crowd of protesters. It doesn’t take me long to spot the ringleader – the one who always whips these degenerates up into a frenzy. With her raven-black hair, alabaster-colored skin, and seemingly boundless energy, she tends to stand out from the crowd – and piss me off.
Mason, the foreman on my project, opens the door of my BMW, his face taut with tension. He’s clearly as annoyed as I am about the riff-raff cluttering up our construction site.
“They were here before we even showed up. Chained themselves to fences and the equipment,” Mason says, his voice as tight as his face. “We haven’t been able to do shit.”
I grumble under my breath, feeling my irritation ratcheting up a few more notches. I’m really close to redlining already.
“Have you called the cops?” I ask, as I get out of my car.
Mason looks a little uncertain. “N – no, not yet,” he stammers. “I wasn’t sure if you’d want me to.”
“Use your damn head, Mason,” I snap. “I put you in charge here for a reason – I thought you could handle it and deal with bullshit like this. Was I wrong to believe that?”
He shakes his head vigorously. “No, Mr. Anderson,” he says. “You’re not wrong. I can do this –”
“Then go do it, damn it!” I roar. “Get someone out here to clear up this disturbance.”
Mason scurries off to do as I command. I don’t like coming down on him like that, but he needs to understand that you need to be hard when it comes to dealing with these sort of people. You can’t afford to show any weakness. Like the old saying goes, give them an inch, they take a mile.
Nothing can be allowed to get in the way of business or progress. Period.
Knowing I need to put an end to this mess, I stride over to the ringleader – Bonnie, or Betty, or something. She sees me coming and turns on her heels, walking toward me with a determined look on her face, and a gleam in her eye. One thing I can say about her is that she’s tough, and not easily intimidated.
But, she’s also young. Naive. Idealistic. That sort of bright-eyed idealism and optimism would be cute, maybe even admirable, if it wasn’t so goddamn annoying, and standing in the way of getting work done.
As she approaches me, boos and jeers rain down on me from the crowd behind her. They start chanting some ridiculous catchphrase about gentrification they think sounds snappy and intellectual.
“Mr. Anderson,” she says. “Lovely to see you again this morning.”
“Wish I could say the same, Betty,” I say, rolling the dice on getting her name right.
Her eyes narrow and a feral, dangerous smirk touches her lips. “It’s Bailey,” she says. “My name is Bailey.”
“Right. Bailey,” I say, and take a sip of my coffee. “Sorry. My bad.”
“Has anybody ever told you that you’re an arrogant, dismissive, condescending jerk?” she asks.
“Actually, yeah,” I reply. “I think it was the last time I saw you, in fact.”
She crosses her arms over her chest and glares at me. “You can remember a specific insult, but not something as simple as someone’s name?”
I shrug. “Insults tend to stand out to me more,” I respond with a smirk. “Especially the more creative ones.”
Her grin is more amused than anything, but she tries to mask it behind an expression of righteous indignation. Bailey is a very pretty girl. Her midnight black hair – pulled back into a braid that reaches the middle of her back – seems to perfectly compliment her smooth, flawless, pale skin. There is a splash of freckles across the bridge of her nose, and her big, doe eyes are as dark and fathomless as her hair. Her body is soft, feminine, with generous curves in her hips, and full, round breasts.
I give my head a small shake, trying to pull my thoughts out of her panties, and put it back on the issue at hand. And that issue, of course, is the fact that her people are blocking access to my site. I’ve got dozens of men sitting around, being paid for nothing, because these goddamn social justice warriors won’t get the hell out of the way.
“So, what’s the issue today, Bailey?” I say, stressing her name for some added emphasis.
“The same thing it is every time we picket one of your evil, profits-over-people work sites,” she says. “Your continued gentrification of this part of town is displacing a lot of people. Kicking them to the curb with nowhere to go, and no idea what to do.”
“While I sympathize –”
“Yeah, like hell you do,” she spits.
I roll my eyes and decide that I don’t really need to be polite, or political with this woman any longer. Who in the hell is she? Or maybe more importantly, who in the hell does she think she is? She positions herself as the voice of the poor. A champion of the people. Yet, she’s full of youthful idealism and arrogance – the same arrogance she keeps accusing me of. The irony of it all is baffling.