Authors: Isabella Rae
A Workplace Affair
A novel by Isabella Rae
A Workplace Affair
Copyright 2013 by Isabella Rae
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from the publisher.
The book is a work of fiction. A resemblance to any person, living or dead, events and/or location is purely coincidental. All events, the characters and storylines have been created by the author’s imagination and have been used fictitiously.
Cover design/art Melissa Gill at MG Cover Designs
Published by Isabella Rae, Peachtree, GA
This book is intended for mature readers 18 and over.
I want to give a special thanks to James Mason, Megan Martin, Crystal Booth, and all my co-workers at my day job for letting me talk endlessly about this book, and for not duct taping my mouth shut. I also want to thank My House Restaurant and Bar for allowing me to find my culinary inspiration while at work.
A huge thank you to my editor and beta readers, Brenda Wright, Crystal Booth, Angela Druck, Marivett Villafane, and Erin Croft, you ladies are amazing, and to my fellow author Harper Sloan for being inspiration and mentor through this entire process, I would not be here without you!
Another huge thank you to my parents for all of their support throughout my entire life, no matter how good or bad things are, you are always there for me.
I also want to thank the indie author community; so far all I have found with you all is support and as an indie author that is so very important. I look forward to returning the kindness you all have shown me.
Sixth grade is pointless. Fifth grade was necessary, after all they teach you all the basics in fifth grade, but as far as I can tell sixth grade is pointless. My name is Victoria Bryant and today is my first day of sixth grade, and I am terrified. Last year was great, I had a lot of friends, and everyone pretty much seemed to get along. Then school let out for summer and I noticed things started to change. The friends I had known since first grade were all of a sudden too cool for me, and when they were not acting like I didn’t exist, they were making fun of me. I don’t understand how someone you have been friends with for years can be cruel enough to call you fat and ugly. So now standing in my bedroom, inspecting my best Clueless inspired outfit, I am trying to think of any excuse not to go to school.
“You’ll be fine.” My mom is always overly optimistic.
“But what if no one likes me? What if no one wants to sit beside me and I get laughed at.”
“I’m sure that won’t happen, and when you get home from school today I want to hear all about it.”
“Fine,” clearly I’m not getting out of this. Resigned, I grab my backpack and run to catch the bus.
At school everyone is excited, talking about their summers and gushing over The Backstreet Boys. I’m still feeling nervous, but I do my best to put that aside as I close my locker and head to my first class. The girls who used to be my friends point and laugh at some private joke as I walk by. Finally I make it to the safety of the classroom. Math is my first class, and Mrs. Robins is written largely on the board when I enter. So far most of the seats are empty, so I pick one in the middle of the room and sit down. As other students start entering the room, my nerves return when no one seems to want to sit next to me, and only gets worse when my ex-best friend walks through the door. Then I see a pretty redhead come in the door. I’ve never seen her before, which isn’t unusual since we all came from different elementary schools, but she looks right at me. She looks to be about as shy as me, so when she comes over and sits next to me I’m not sure if I should say anything.
“Hi, I’m Sage McCarthy.” She speaks first, flashing me a perfect smile.
“Have you seen the new No Doubt video?” I love No Doubt, and have spent endless hours in my room singing “Don’t Speak” into my hairbrush.
“Oh my god, I love it! I’d give anything to be a singer.” We spend the rest of the time before the bell talking about music and getting to know each other. I was so scared that no one would like me, and I just found a new best friend. Sage and I manage to stay at each other’s houses nearly every weekend, up until the last day of school when Sage and her family moved to South Carolina. The day Sage left was the hardest day of my adolescent life, but we promised to stay in touch. We managed pretty well for a while, I even went and visited her that summer, but then school started and we both made new friends. Once that happened, we just slowly lost touch until we only spoke once a year.
Fifteen years later Sage showed up at my door with a suitcase.
“Sage, what are you doing here?”
“I need a place to stay for a little bit, and you’re the only person I know here.”
“What’s going on?”
“I got married. We’ve been married six months and three days ago I caught him cheating on me.” Tears start to run down her cheeks. “I woke up this morning, ready to leave and he’s gone, he left and took all of my money.”
“Shit, Sage. I’m sorry. Of course you can stay with me.”
“I just don’t know what to do. We moved back to Atlanta two months ago. I was just about to open my business, and now it’s all gone. Ten years of savings, gone.”
“I’ll do whatever I can to help you, but the first thing you need to do is file for divorce, then we’ll figure out about the business. I have some money saved up, I don’t know if it will be enough, but you can have it.” Just like that we are together again, and this time, nothing is going to keep us apart.
can feel the warmth of the sun across my face as my mind registers the music coming from my phone. Silently I wish I could hit the snooze and roll back over into the heady sweetness of my dreams, but I am nothing if not responsible. Reaching over, I switch off the alarm and pull back the covers. Sitting up, I sit there for a moment stretching and enjoying the view from my bedroom window. For the last year and a half, that view has kept me going. The fog on the pond silently moves as if trying to escape the rising sun. The light coming through the trees gives it a kind of halo, making it appear as though it is magical.
Making my way to the shower I note the time, 7:08, my only thought is to hurry. At exactly 7:18, I’m drying off and rushing to my closet. Running my eyes over the items that are haphazardly hanging there, I decide that casual Friday deserves a cute dress. I am meeting friends directly after work for a lot of drinks and a little karaoke. Slipping into a loose fitting bright yellow sundress, I make my way back into the bathroom to finish getting ready. I only have about 10 minutes to get out the door. I stand there a moment and appreciate what I see, after a year of working out and watching what I eat, I can finally look in the mirror without criticizing myself. I know that I’m cutting it close but I take the extra few minutes to curl my hair. Giving myself a mental high five, and praying one of the other secretaries brought donuts to work, I back out of my driveway with 2 minutes to spare.
I’ve only been working for United Real Estate Investments for five months. In my time there, I have proven to be a valuable member of the staff. I started at the front desk, answering phones, and signing in visitors, but after one of the executive’s personal secretaries quit without notice, Harold Sneck asked me to fill in. Harold is the head of human resources in the Atlanta branch, and had been too busy that day to look any further than the front door. I had been sure that after a week or so they would find someone to fill the position and I would be moved back to the front desk. After all, I lacked the experience necessary to be hired for the job, but after a month as Robert Marks’ secretary, he offered to make my position permanent. Now, after four months of officially working for him, I know I made the right choice. Mr. Marks is a hard man, but he is very fair, and pays what is deserved.
Settling in at my desk, I review e-mails and send the necessary replies. A contract that needs to be signed is coming through on the fax and I take the opportunity to seek out the donuts in the break room. The break room was small but three other secretaries stood around talking and enjoying the fresh Krispy Kreme donuts from the box on the counter.
“So did you hear, Victoria?” Mary from accounting asks as she fills her coffee cup.
“Hear what?” Surely I can sit through boring gossip long enough to enjoy my first donut.
“The owner is coming in on Monday, some big deal coming up that he wants to personally oversee.” Mary’s eyes sparkle a little as she shares the information. Almost all of the women at United, both married and not, have crushes on the owner. His name is Leland Ambrose, and from all accounts he is gorgeous and rich, and anything beyond that doesn’t seem to matter to them.
“Oh yeah, of course. Mr. Marks has me arranging his accommodations while he’s in town.” All three women look at me as if I’ve just been crowned prom queen. Backing away from the tension in the room, I grab a cup of coffee and walk quickly back to my desk. It’s now eight o’clock and Mr. Marks should be getting off the elevator any second. I place the coffee on his desk and turn on his computer before taking my seat at my desk. Precisely ten seconds after I sit down, Mr. Marks comes around the corner and greets me with a smile. Mr. Marks is very punctual. I wait ten minutes and then re-enter his office for our daily meeting.
“Good morning, Mr. Marks” He glances away from his computer screen and nods his head.
“I trust that all the arrangements have been made for Mr. Ambrose’s visit.” It’s a statement, not a question, but I answer anyway.
“Yes sir, he is due in at seven tonight, and the hotel is preparing his suite.”