Authors: Tia Siren
''No, I don't suppose you have.''
He reached into a chair a took a T-shirt. ''Come on, let's go outside and leave them to it.''
Alina was thankful for the suggestion. They walked back onto the lawn and sat down in a couple of wicker chairs. ''I'm glad you're here,'' he said.
''Why did you choose me?'' She'd been dying to ask. Halfway down a glass of Champagne, she dared to ask.
''Because you were the best.''
''I don't believe that.''
''Well, on Monday you will meet Steffi. She'll tell you the same.''
''But there must have been hundreds of applicants from very experienced PA's.''
''Yes, there were.''
She looked at the damp hairs on his inner thighs. They all seemed to be screaming at her to touch them. ''Then I don't understand.''
''Simple. I took a decision a while back to help young people wherever possible. You were the best qualified in the under twenty-five category, so you got the job.''
Alina took another sip of her drink, but her glass was empty. She realized she'd drunk the rest of it in one go when she was looking at his thighs. ''But that's illegal. Age discrimination.''
''Who the hell cares. I got what I wanted. That's all that matters.''
From that moment, it was quite clear to her that Ryan Jacobson always got what he wanted. ''Well I'm glad you chose me. It's a great opportunity. I won't let you down.''
''I know you won't'' he said confidently.
''What kind of a place do you want to live in? You can stay here for a few weeks, or as long as you want for that matter. But I'm sure at some point you'll want some freedom.''
''I don't know what LA has to offer.''
''A lot. I have hundreds of apartments in the city. You can have one of your choosing.'' He went to fetch some more Champagne.
It was all too good to be true. Her own apartment. ''It depends on what I can afford,'' she said when he returned.
He ran his hand through his hair and sat back. ''What do you mean afford?''
''Well, I'm sure LA is very expensive, and I don't suppose I'll be able to.....'''
''You don't have to pay for it. Tell you what, tomorrow I'll take you for a ride round, and show you a few places. You can take your pick.''
Most girls would have been ecstatic about the opportunity to live in a luxury apartment free of charge. But Alina wondered what his motives were, and she could only come to one conclusion. He wanted to make her reliant on him, so she felt obliged to give herself to him. ''No Mr. Jacobson, I don't want a free place, I'd rather pay for my own apartment, even if it's a tiny studio.''
It was the first time Ryan had ever heard a woman turn one of his offers down, and he wasn't used to it. He was sure she'd change her mind when he showed her a few penthouses.
''Okay. Whatever you want.''
''Why do you feel lonely sometimes?'' she asked, then regretted it.
''What do you mean?''
''You told me when we stopped to look at the house after I'd arrived, that you get lonely sometimes.''
He let out a sigh. A half naked woman came outside. ''Come on Ryan, I want you in the pool.''
He waved her away and concentrated on the question Alina had asked. ''I find it hard to trust people. That's why I'm not married.''
She didn't know what to say. She fiddled with her hair and drank some more. ''Why do you think that is?'' The look he gave her made her sit up straight. ''Sorry Mr. Jacobson, it's none of my business.''
''Ryan call me Ryan. It's okay. I'm just not used to opening up to people; that's all.'' But she was different he told himself. She wasn't like the girls in the pool. He could never imagine her wiggling her tits around and being frivolous. She was the real deal. Beautiful, serious, good-humored, and he imagined one day a perfect wife. ''My dad left us when I was six, and my mom couldn't cope. She killed herself when I was ten.'' Now it was his turn to down his Champagne in one go. ''I shouldn't have burdened you with that. Just ignore it.''
But how could she? He was now even more attractive to her. A man with such a terrible upbringing, a virtual orphan, who had managed to drag himself out of such a horrendous situation and become one of America's richest men. She was sure most people would have turned to drugs and violence. ''But that doesn't mean it will happen to you. I'm sure you could find a woman who would be faithful to you. In fact, I know you could.''
''Maybe. Perhaps one day. But, hey, there's still plenty of life left in the old dog before I need to get tied down,'' he said, his face suddenly brighter. Alina saw through the pretense, though.
On her first day at work, Alina couldn't believe her luck. She was working in beautiful surroundings, with a great salary and an important position in the company. Steffi was kind to her as were all her other colleagues.
''Why do some people say Mr. Jacobson is bad to his tenants?'' Alina asked when they sat down for a cup of coffee.
''It's the nature of his business I'm afraid,'' Steffi said. ''It's just economics, and sometimes some poor unsuspecting people get in the way. But that's life.''
''I understand he buys dilapidated buildings and refurbishes them, then charges higher rents.''
''That's right, just sometimes some people don't want a better apartment where they have to pay more. He's not a bad man, just very driven and focused on his business.''
''I know he's not a bad man. In fact, he's a very kind man indeed.''
''Are you two talking about me?'' Ryan asked. ''Caught you.'' He was in good spirits; Carl had just called to tell him the papers were ready at the solicitors.
''No Mr. Jacobson, we aren't,'' Steffi lied.
''Alina, can you come to my office?'' Alina wondered what she'd done wrong. She followed him. When he sat down, he noticed how great she looked. The perfect PA. In fact, he was turned on by her. She was dressed simply but style-fully in a black skirt, blue blouse, and black jacket. Any woman wearing stockings and heels, as she was, was a likely target for his attention and his eyes soon drifted to her legs. ''I wondered how you were doing on your first day?''
She sighed with relief. ''Very well thanks. Steffi is great, we're getting along just fine.''
''Great. Steffi will be here another four weeks to help you. By then I expect you to know most things. Okay?'' He was different at work. Far less relaxed. But of course, he was, he was the boss of a multi-million dollar business, there was no time for fooling around.
''Go ask Steffi if there are any messages, please.''
Alina disappeared for a moment and came back with the news that a woman called Cindy had rung, and that the Mayor of LA wanted to speak to him about the development of the Old Post Office.
''Whose Cindy?'' Alina asked when she got back to her desk.
''I don't know, but she rings up a lot. I think she's one of his conquests,'' she whispered.
The next four weeks flew past, and Alina suddenly found herself alone, the PA to a very important man. She was still living at Ryan's house. Every weekend he'd thrown a party on both Friday and Saturday evenings, some she attended, some she didn't. But she'd always left around the time it got rowdy or overly sexual.
One Sunday morning, Ryan had taken her in the Rolls Royce, to a luxury apartment building he owned in downtown LA. He'd taken her in the elevator to the top floor, and shown her two of the most expensive apartments in the city. Both open plan with floor to ceiling windows, and great views over the city. ''You can have either,'' he'd told her. ''Free, on me.'' He'd almost pleaded her to take one.
''What's you're motive?'' she'd asked.
''Because I'm a nice guy, and I want to give you a good start in life.''
''I don't believe you.'' Then she'd leaned to him and whispered in his ear. ''It's because you want to get into my panties, isn't it?''
''Er....'' It was the reason, but he had to deny it. ''No, of course not.'' He wasn't used to being refused. Why would someone refuse such a generous offer? He simply didn't understand.
''I still don't believe you,'' she said.
'Ryan I'm moving out. I've got an apartment of my own,'' she said one morning.
''Never mind that now. Go home and pack some clothes. We're going on a trip.''
''France?'' He looked at her, and she knew she'd been dumb. ''What shall I pack?''
''Ryan. What are we going to do there? If I know, I will be able to pack accordingly.''
''We're going to do a deal on an apartment building. We'll be gone three nights, so take business clothes and clothes you can relax in. Oh, and take an evening dress.''
''But I haven't got one.''
''Jesus Alina. Do I have to mother you?''
''No, you don't.' She stormed out of the office. It was the first time he'd really snapped at her. Perhaps he was under pressure; maybe a deal was going wrong somewhere. Or maybe he was just tiring of her. Maybe she ought to accept his offer of an apartment.
Actually, she was driving Ryan nuts. She wouldn't accept his offers nor stay long at his parties, and he wanted her so badly. He'd given it a lot of thought. He'd even considered knocking on her bedroom door and helping himself, but she was very young, and he didn't want to overly upset her. He'd always gotten women by giving them things, expensive things that they had to feel guilty about taking. And the result had always been the same, until now. He'd decided to see if he could crack her resistance in Paris. After all, if she didn't feel a bit sexy in the French capital she must be frigid, he concluded.
''It's a BBJ,'' Ryan shouted as they walked from the Rolls Royce to his private jet.
''What's a BBJ?'' Alina shouted back.
''Boeing Business Jet.''
''Is it yours?''
''Of course, it is.''
Alina was apprehensive. She'd had so little time to find a nice dress she was sure she'd look like a sack of potatoes in Paris. She didn't like flying much, and the thought of flying so far made her very nervous.
Inside it wasn't at all like a commercial jet. It was like a small apartment. There was a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen and a wonderful sitting area with large leather seats.
''Who flies this thing,'' she asked when they were strapped into a seat.
''Father Christmas. Heavens Alina.''
''I'm just really nervous, that's all. Sorry.''
Ryan looked at her and took a more sympathetic approach. ''When we get up above the clouds, we'll have a glass of Champagne. That ought to settle your nerves.''
Alina didn't have time to answer. The plane sped down the runway thrusting her back into her seat. She closed her eyes and said goodbye to her parents and wished she'd stayed in New York.
''Here drink this,'' Ryan said shortly after the Captain had turned off the seat-belt signs.
Alina took the drink and gulped it down, then held out the glass for more. Ryan laughed and obliged. After two full glasses, she was much calmer, even enjoying the flight.
''You know you're a great PA,'' he said. ''Really good.''
''Thanks. You're a great boss.'' She smiled at him. He decided to take a chance. He leaned forward and tried to kiss her. She turned her head away. ''No Ryan. I like you, really like you, but I don't want to mix work and pleasure.''
Maybe she would change her mind after some more Champagne he thought. He offered her another glass, but she refused, aware of what he was doing. They spent the rest of the flight in silence. She fell into a deep sleep, and Ryan sat and looked at what he so badly wanted but was unable to have.
The Four Seasons George V Hotel in Paris is so luxury-laden only the worlds richest people can afford to stay there. But that's where Alina found herself, courtesy of her job with Ryan. It was ridiculous, her bedroom had a chandelier. The bathroom was an echoing chamber of marble and gold, and she spent an age pampering herself there.
They'd arrived in the middle of the morning. In the luxury limousine which had picked them up from the airport, Alina saw very different architecture than she was used to. The center of Paris took her breath away. The hustle and bustle, Notre Dame and L'Arch de Triomphe and all the Baroque buildings. She instantly fell in love with the place.
Ryan and Alina had agreed to get some sleep and meet up for dinner at seven. The business part of the trip was to begin the following day. At six, Alina was already in her evening gown. She stood and looked at herself. She held her stomach in and let it out. She cursed when she saw, what she perceived to be a huge belly appear again.
''My God, you look stunning,'' Ryan said.
''So do you,'' she said. He was wearing black tie evening wear.
They sat down to dinner, and Alina felt Ryan's eyes on her throughout the evening. Her hair was pinned back over her ears, and she wore droplet earrings that looked like real diamonds. Around her neck a perfectly good copy of a diamond necklace.