How humiliating. I wondered if anybody would notice if I climbed under my desk and hid there for the rest of the day.
I couldn’t believe I had spilled a drink on Derek Dorian. How klutzy could I have possibly been? I had only daydreamed about the man since my first day on the job when he entered his father’s office and took my breath away.
At least now he knew I existed. Sure, I’d be remembered as the assistant who spilled a cup of juice on his lap during a business meeting, but hey, at least I had left a lasting impression.
Being in such close proximity to him had my insides going haywire. I bet he thought I was a complete idiot. Luckily for me, I knew differently. I was a braniac. I could’ve gone to one of the Ivies for med school if I had wanted a life full of blood and gore, but, unfortunately, they weren’t my thing. Romance was.
I studied English Literature, a useless major, right? I used to debate that question repeatedly, especially while teaching high school students in an underprivileged area of town. Sadly, a life-changing event altered my entire view of the profession, one so great I quit my job halfway through the school year.
It certainly wasn’t like it fulfilled a deep calling or anything anyway, so changing careers was a no-brainer. My ideal would be to live in one of the fantasy worlds of the many heroines I read about in romance novels. Their lives always seemed so much more exciting and thrilling than mine. But I was rational enough to know that the odds of doing so were pretty much nonexistent. However, since I had always been the type of person who never said never, I decided to merge my background in English with my love of reading and find a job which capitalized on those two interests. That job happened to be in the editorial department of Dorian Publishing.
I currently worked as an assistant editor and other than my narcissistic and demeaning supervisor who drove me absolutely bonkers with her incessant nagging, I couldn’t have been happier. It was an amazing opportunity for me, especially considering Dorian Publishing was one of the largest publishing companies in the world. Sure, I had an entry-level position, but at least I had my foot in the door. I felt grateful each and every morning when I entered the thirtysomething story building, knowing I had my very own desk inside it.
If things went well and I played my cards right, I would hopefully move up the corporate ladder and become a senior editor, my main goal. My job felt more like a dream than a reality, other than the parts that included my heinous supervisor. A job I thought I had been performing splendidly up until about five minutes ago when I made a complete fool out of myself in front of all the Dorian men.
“Emily, can you please go through this to see if I missed anything?” Carolyn stood impatiently in front of my desk after dropping a flash drive on it, her condescending tone loud and clear. “And please reschedule my two o’clock meeting for next week. I’m too back-logged for a meeting today.”
“Sure. No problem.” My standard answer since she was my superior.
“Great. And as soon as you’re done, I have another one waiting.”
Ugh, what a piece of work. From day one, she never hid her dislike toward me. I had no clue why either. I always acted professional and did my job to the best of my ability. Yet she never once offered to teach or help me with anything. Instead, she dispassionately threw things at me. She probably just wanted me to fail, something I’d never give her the satisfaction of doing. What she failed to realize was she only motivated me to work harder.
So I was basically a secretary who fetched her beverages, picked up her lunch and dry cleaning, and any other menial tasks she didn’t want to perform. And why should she? She had me to do them for her.
In the meantime, I didn’t let her negative attitude get to me. I simply reiterated to myself repeatedly how much Melanie Griffith in Working Girl
and I had in common. One day I too would have the opportunity to show my hellcat of a boss what an asset I was to the company, like she did to Sigourney Weaver. I just had to be patient and bide my time.
I stepped out of my dad’s office, the cute assistant who had spilled the juice on me glancing my way as I did so. I sensed her bashfulness by the way she adjusted the collar on her blouse.
“Hi, Mr. Dorian.” The floor bitch approached, holding a stack of files.
“Hi, Carolyn, how’s the Simon script coming along?” It’s a good thing I had my briefcase to shield the stain I still sported.
“I’ve already submitted the final edited draft to the copy editor assigned to the project.”
I nodded at her efficiency. “That’s good to hear.”
And then there was silence. She basically stood in front of me as if she wanted me to do something. I was usually pretty good at reading women, but right now I had nothing, absolutely nothing. “Will that be all?” I didn’t have time to stand here and twiddle my thumbs. I had work to do and pants to change out of.
“Oh yes, sorry. Are you going to be working in this department full-time now?”
Ah, I started to get a sign. Her questioning wasn’t meant for business purposes. Sorry, babe, it’s never going to happen.
“No. I’m merely helping out Noreen because the flow in this particular department’s hitting a few speed bumps.”
“I understand. I’ll be ready by the end of the week to discuss the status of my manuscripts.”
She didn’t have to try and impress me. I knew she could do her job efficiently when she put her mind to it. For some reason though, her mind had taken a trip, which was the main reason for my presence and assistance in the department.
“Good, because we have several meetings lined up for next week, so we need to remain focused and steadfast.”
“I always am.”
Hopefully she would prove it.
“Very well.” I turned and walked away. I’d had enough of the small talk.
I seized the opportunity to stop by Emily’s desk to have a brief chat with her. After all, I did have to pass her desk to get to my office, so it wasn’t like I had to go out of my way. I certainly didn’t expect the reaction I got though. She looked as if she had just seen a ghost, her face quickly turning pale.
“Thanks for the juice.” I wasn’t about to bust her chops. She seemed panicked enough.
“Anytime,” she replied, her tone soft, revealing a half-smile.
Witty. I liked it. I also liked seeing relief take the place of worry when her cute smile formed.
“Emily, the manuscript’s not going to read itself. You’re wasting valuable time. And did you make that call like I asked you to?” Carolyn asked, now standing in front of Emily’s desk next to me.
Wow, I needed to find out why she still worked for us. Her attitude sucked.
“Yes, your appointment’s been rescheduled for next Friday. You’ll see it in your calendar.”
I couldn’t hold back my amusement. Carolyn, on the other hand, appeared a bit miffed by Emily’s competence. She nodded in acknowledgment, turned, and stormed off.
I didn’t want to hear that whiny voice of hers anymore.
“Ouch, The Devil Wears Prada
.” I tried to make light of the situation to lessen any embarrassment Emily might still be feeling. “Don’t let her get to you. She should be grateful she has you here to help her out.”
“Thank you, Mr. Dorian.” She nodded politely, clearly intimidated by my presence for some reason.
“Derek. Please, call me Derek.” I knew I shouldn’t have gone there, but the words had already slipped out, and I couldn’t take them back.
She pretty much did a double take. “Okay, Derek
.” She sounded almost hesitant in her reply.
“You better get back to work, or she might just bring out the whips and chains.” I chuckled at the nasty thoughts taking place in my mind. Oh the things I could do this little one with some of those props.
“Oh yeah.” She nervously fidgeted with her pen. “I’m sorry again for spilling juice on you.” She glanced at my crotch.
Guess I had moved my briefcase without thinking about it. The problem I currently faced was if she kept her focus on the wet spot any longer, I wouldn’t be able to prevent my cock from making its presence known. As it was I had to consciously think idiotic thoughts to prevent it from getting hard. This girl had my testosterone level climbing off the charts. “For now, why don’t you keep your career in waitressing shelved?”
She smiled shyly, revealing perfectly straight white teeth. Fuck.
Emily was like student-professor-shit pretty. I could almost picture a firm ass and nice tits underneath the navy suit she wore.
“Is there a problem with Emily?”
For Christ’s sake, Carolyn was a fucking hemorrhoid, a total pain in my ass, one who kept showing up without an invite. Even worse was she spoiled my libidinous daydream. Hopefully she wouldn’t notice my dick saluting the adorable girl sitting behind the desk. It was now like an iron rod, and I had a wet stain in front of it. Sadly, it wasn’t the result of Emily’s mouth.
I nonchalantly slid my briefcase a few inches to the left to conceal what my inappropriate thoughts about the little assistant had caused. “There’s no problem whatsoever, Carolyn. I was just introducing myself.”
“Oh, Emily’s my assistant.” She gestured as if Emily was a mere peon.
What the hell was up her ass? Nobody deserved to be treated this way. I would have to remember to speak to Noah and my father about her poor behavior.
“Hmm, you were once one of those yourself, right?” Someone had to put her in her place—might as well be me. “According to my father, she’s doing a great job.” I threw that part in solely to piss her off.
Emily’s cheeks responded very well to my praise. In fact, they responded almost too well. They were now a nice shade of pink.
“Please forgive me. I didn’t mean anything rude by it, Mr. Dorian. I apologize if I came off as cross. I only wanted to make sure Emily hasn’t done anything wrong since she’s been assigned to work under my supervision.”
It was too late for her to kiss my ass, the damage already done. “And you’re under my supervision, Carolyn. Let’s not forget that. You can get back to work now. It was nice meeting you, Emily.” My tone came across a bit more abrupt than I would’ve liked it to. Fucking Carolyn.
“You too, Derek.” Emily said in a hushed voice. She then slouched in her chair. Maybe the heated interaction that had taken place between me and Carolyn rattled her.
I walked away and went inside my office, closing the door behind me. I had to change out of my pants. Jerking off in the bathroom didn’t sound like such a bad idea either.
“Don’t call him Derek, Emily. His name is Mr. Dorian to the staff. Do not address him like he’s your friend or acquaintance. Do you understand?” Carolyn again admonished while standing in front of my desk with her arms crossed over her chest, wearing a fiendish scowl.
“He told me to call him Derek,” I almost hated to admit it, especially with the way she glowered at me.
“He did no such thing. Don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to. You may have Mr. Dorian fooled but don’t think for one minute I am. You have to prove yourself here like the rest of us did. You come in here every day all dolled up, trying to put on a perfect good-girl image, but I can see right through it. Remember, you’re a mere assistant working under my
supervision, so I wouldn’t get too cozy in that chair of yours if I were you.”
I didn’t know how much more patient and tolerant I could be with her. I took a deep breath to reel in my frustration. “I don’t understand what I’ve done to you, Carolyn. I come to work on time every day and do my job to the best of my ability.”
“Oh please. I saw how you fawned all over Mr. Dorian. Trying to sleep your way into a senior editor position may work in some companies, but it won’t get you far in this one, especially if I can help it. Keep your eyes on your work instead of the Dorian brothers and we’ll get along fine.”
I opened my mouth in awe. Her claws were definitely out, and I didn’t deserve to be the recipient of her lashing.
I took another deep breath and nodded in acknowledgment, letting her words flow in one ear and out the other, a tactic I had learned long ago when dealing with people like Carolyn. I bet she was just jealous because Derek told me I could call him by his first name and she couldn’t. Ha-ha.
I had to hide my smile because I didn’t want her to see it.
Seemingly pacified, she sped off in the direction of her office, hollering at me from across the room. “I want that manuscript finished in one hour!”
“Just ignore her.” A friendly voice to my left caught my attention.
A tall, slender and absolutely gorgeous black girl stood next to my desk, her hair tucked neatly into a bun and her clothing very J.Crew. “I’m Trish. I work with Mr. Noah. Lucky you. I see you got placed under Carolyn’s direction. Just focus on your work, wear a happy face, and don’t take what she says to heart. She’s got her eyes on the Dorian brothers and is intimidated by any pretty new face that comes into the office.”
“Thanks for the warning.” I half smiled, her unexpected presence and words of encouragement significantly lifting my mood.
“Anytime. This package is for Mr. Derek.” She held up the box in case I hadn’t noticed it. “And if you ever need anything, my extension is 102.”
I jotted down the numbers and her name on a sticky note. “Great. I might just take you up on the offer.”
“You know what? Instead of me bringing it to him, why don’t you make sure this gets into his hands? Let Carolyn eat her heart out.” She set the package down on top of my desk and flashed me a devious grin. I liked this girl. She had sass.
“I really don’t want her to hate me any more than she already does. She can make my job a living hell.”
“She’s going to try and do it either way, so you may as well have a little fun during the process. Show her your balls and you’ll be fine.” She gestured toward Derek’s door. “Now go on, bring him the goods. And don’t be afraid to reach out—you have my extension.” She waved good-bye, turning and leaving the department without giving me a chance to respond.
I peered down at the parcel addressed to Derek. It sat right in front of me, staring at me as like it wanted me to do something with it, what, I wasn’t too sure of. I didn’t know whether to call into his office to announce a delivery or simply knock at his door.
I stood and smoothed my skirt. I felt my hair to make sure it stayed in place. I picked up the package and strode to his office. It was almost as if I had tunnel vision, the short walk feeling more like a 5K run.
Once in front of his door, I stopped. I scanned the area to make sure nobody watched me in my discomfort.
The coast was clear. There wasn’t a person in sight who gave two shits about my odd presence in front of his door.
I took a slow deep breath. It was now or never.
One… Two… Three…
His voice was deep and sexy. I could barely turn the handle since my hand trembled with anticipation. That was how much Derek Dorian affected me, sheer insanity if you asked me.
Yes, I did it.
I had effectively opened a door. With that accomplishment behind me, I froze in the doorway, not knowing what to do next.
“Can I help you, Emily?”
How in God’s name was I supposed to respond when his blue eyes pierced through me the way they did?