Authors: Chloe Kale
(Billionaire Bared: Rush)
By Chloe Kale
Text copyright © 2013 Chloe Kale
All Rights Reserved
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It was the hottest summer in recent memory, and I – fresh out of college, ready to start my new life – was somehow becoming close with the one of the world’s youngest and sexiest billionaires.
Working as Eric Gambit’s junior assistant had its benefits – after all, he was the richest man in the country at the age of twenty-eight, not to mention a totally gorgeous hunk with rich brown eyes, and an unruly tangle of black hair at the top of his perfectly formed –
Okay, I was getting ahead of myself there.
I glanced down at my temporary nametag they’d given me for my first day at work – “Emma Faro”. Soon the name would be on the lips of all my coworkers.
I worked as Eric Gambit’s junior assistant in his New York office at the top floor of one of the tallest buildings (according to postcards featuring the city’s skyline), with a view so startlingly breathtaking that upon first viewing it, I fell silent, and let a paper slide out of the dossier I was holding. My mentor, Mr. Gambit’s senior assistant, cocked her eyebrow and cleared her throat to jolt me back into reality.
“Yes, yes, I’m sorry – it’s just – this view is just -”
“It’s something you get used to.” She turned and continued our tour; her hair in a tight bun and glasses stamped upon her face. She was probably early thirties, pretty, but with a thin line of stress wrinkled upon her brow and the beginnings of crow’s feet at the edge of her blue eyes.
She had similar eyes to me, I thought. Minus the crow’s feet, of course. I was only twenty-one, fresh out of college, and landing a job I had only dreamed of. With my credentials, I thought there was no way I’d be afforded such an amazing starting position at the most powerful company in the country. But once I saw that my interviewer was a male, I knew my chances of being hired went up.
Other than being kind of brainy, I knew that my best asset was my looks. That’s not to say I’m an airhead, far from it actually – I’m determined and hardworking. Most of the time. Work hard, and then play hard. That was my motto.
But being clever meant that I had to know how to work my natural gifts. And so, I used my good looks to get ahead. If batting a few eyelashes and talking sweetly meant the difference between a minimum wage job and an eighty thousand dollar salary, then by God, I was going to bat those eyelashes like baseball bats smacking base balls (outta the park, outta sight – home run).
I got the job after a few more rounds of interviews; the final interviewer being the senior assistant AKA the woman who was giving me the tour.
I suspected she had realized how I’d come so far in the interviewing process the moment she laid eyes upon me: I had dressed sexy, low cut business blouse, tight skirt to show off my curves. Eyeliner applied just enough to let my bright blue eyes pop.
When I first saw her, my face fell. It wasn’t going to be a man interviewing me. Damn it. I had to hope then that she was either a lesbian, or a woman who knew the ins and outs of the business world; maybe a woman who recognized that I was only doing what I had to, to get an edge over the men. If she was already part of Mr. Gambit’s inner circle, then she had to be clever. Clever enough to do what it took to get ahead.
Luckily, I was right. While she told me that my tricks wouldn’t work on her, she let me know that the interview was merely a formality and I’d already been approved to start the position. Whew. Five grueling interviews completed. And what’s more, she reviewed my file, and recommended me herself based purely on my resume and my grades at college. As she excused herself from the room for a moment during the interview, I took a second to stand up and pump my fists in the air. It was time to celebrate my victory.
Then I noticed she hadn’t completely closed the door, and had turned around to hear what the commotion was. She raised her eyebrows at me again, and it would not be the last time.
Embarrassing, but when didn’t I embarrass myself?
On the tour we stopped by Mr. Gambit’s office.
“Now, you work directly for Mr. Gambit. But mostly you’ll be dealing with me,” she said, a look of warning spreading across her face. “He’s a very, very, very, busy man. I can’t stress that I enough.”
“I could tell you I understand. Three times, if it helps.” I said sarcastically.
“Your wit may be appreciated in other domains of your personal and professional life, but with me, your compliance will be valued above all else.”
“Sorry, I’m just nervous. I won’t do it again, and especially not around Mr. Gambit.” I offered.
She took a glance at the closed door and seemed to resign herself to a humorous thought.
“Well, with Mr. Gambit, you might actually get away with it.” She looked back at me, with an eyebrow raised. If she raised those eyebrows any higher, she was like to bump the ceiling.
“Just don’t try to be too cute. He’ll see through it.”
“Don’t forget that he’s probably the smartest man in the building. A self-made billionaire before thirty. Don’t forget who he is. And don’t forget who you are.”
I nodded. And then I froze with terror. It dawned on me that I had forgotten the senior assistant’s name. I subtly craned my head in an attempt to read her nametag – drat! She wasn’t wearing a nametag. Of course she wasn’t wearing a nametag. Everyone here knew her name. She was important. Not like me… the newbie.
Damn it, she caught me staring. At her chest.
“Is the new junior assistant looking down my blouse?” She asked with a bemused smile on her face. At least she wasn’t angry – it could have gone a lot worse.
“No, I was just noticing how not everyone is wearing nametags.” I tried clumsily to cover up. Hopefully I wasn’t being cute.
“Lillian Stone,” she said, taking my hand. “Call me Lillian.”
Her hand lingered upon mine for a moment, and my gaze gracelessly met hers.
I withdrew my hand, and she held her gaze for a split second longer than I expected.
This was a strange place to work, I decided. But I guess that came with the territory; high stakes, high tension, high society. And there I was, on the cusp of it all.
Lillian led me past the closed office door, and showed me to my desk. It was out in the open, within eyesight of Mr. Gambit’s room, and just slightly down the hall from Lillian’s station. It seemed like my desk was the smaller, cuter, version of Lillian’s desk. I figured that was appropriate, since she was the senior assistant and I was the junior assistant. I placed my hands along the desk, and nodded in approval. I was unsure of how to react, this being my first real job, and so I awkwardly guessed my way through the day.
“Oh, nice. This will do.” I said, gauging her reaction to see if I was playing my part correctly.
“It’s better than what you’d be offered at most places. And most places don’t have a view like this,” she said as she motioned her hands towards the wide windows that stretched the length of the wall.
Well, she was right. I felt stupid and clumsy as my hands patted down my new desk.
“Oh, no, I just meant that – yes of course, it’s far better than any of the other places I toured.”
I hadn’t toured anywhere else. I hoped my lie wouldn’t bite me in the ass.
“You toured other places, dear?” She said, the hint of a smile forming on her lips.
“Not seriously. Just to see.”
“It’s okay if you did, Emma. I’m busting your balls.”
“Oh, I know. I’m just – being honest. That’s all.”
That crooked smile still hung on Lillian’s face.
“I think I’ve got you pegged so far. You seem to know your way around men, but stumble about powerful women. You’re finding that your cute-but-able-but-kinda-ditzy shtick isn’t working on me.”
I took a step backwards in feigned offense. Or maybe it wasn’t feigned. I was actually kind of offended at that suggestion. I stood silently for a moment, unsure of what to say.
“No matter, Emma. I like you. And what’s more important, Mr. Gambit reviewed your file and interview tapes and he liked you.”
“Yes, each stage of the interview was recorded. You knew that. You signed the relevant sheets. It’s the same process we’ve all been through.”
Damn it, I knew I should have read those sheets. What other rights had I signed away?
“So… Mr. Gambit already knows about me?”
“He’s a very…. He’s a hands-on type. Very generous to his employees. Very professional, but kind-hearted. He also enjoys a good laugh.”
Okay. Professional but enjoys a good laugh? This might be tricky. Part of my recipe for success that I’d been developing was to charm the higher-ups with my good natured humor. And if that didn’t work, I’d charm them with my not-so-good natured humor. And if that didn’t work, then I figured I was screwed. I’m a good worker, but you need more than that to get ahead in this world. I had to be charming; I had to be everything they were looking for.
“Okay. I think I understand, then.”
“Doubtful. Oh – here he comes. Time to introduce yourself. Let’s see how you do…”
The tiny little microscopic hairs on the back of my neck stood up. A subtle scent filled the room. It was intoxicating, like some kind of creamy, ambergris candle, crafted to draw you in and seduce you. I was too afraid to turn around, as I heard the footsteps approaching. It was Mr. Gambit. It had to be. I watched Lillian’s face instead. Her expression changed in a flash; her controlling and powerful demeanor switched to gentle, laugh-lined, and charismatic. She displayed a face that was ready to react and laugh on command.
Okay, I was ahead of the game. Knowing how to react to Mr. Gambit was half the battle. I just needed to follow Lillian’s lead.
I mimicked Lillian’s face – an enthusiastic smile, ready-to-laugh expression – and spun around to meet my boss, the owner, founder and CEO of Vay Technologies, Eric Gambit.
“And you must be my new junior assistant, Emma Faro.” Eric Gambit said. To me.
I had seen him before, in pictures in magazines, and I already knew he was attractive. But I didn’t realize how devastating his looks would be in person. His brown eyes turned me to stone in an instant, and it was all I could do to study the rest of his face; high cheekbones, thin and rugged, a perfect white smile, a brow that protruded ever-so-tenderly over the ridge of his eyes, giving an implacably masculine quality to his entire face, complete with a feint five o’clock shadow that sealed the image of a rugged young man. How could this be Eric Gambit? I was not prepared.
I simply was not equipped to meet him. I either wanted to latch onto him and start making out, or I wanted to turn around and run home. I couldn’t quite figure out which one I was more inclined to do.
! What the hell was going on? My entire body felt like it had been electrocuted; I had never felt his way before. My fingers felt tingly, my toes were numb, and the place between my thighs… well, I felt him there too.
Oh God, how long had passed since he had greeted me? Why wasn’t I talking? I had to snap myself out of my stupor.
“Emma?” Lillian nudged me.
“Yes! Yes of course, I’m your new assistant. Your new junior assistant, that is. Emma Faro. But you already knew that, of course. And yes, I know who you are. How could I not after all, I do read People magazine.” I was talking too much.
Lillian shot me a glance that told me to tone it down a notch, but Eric Gambit kept a cool veneer over his expression. He was not fazed.
“Pleasure to meet you, Emma.” He said, extending a hand. “I think you’ll fit in great around here.”
Oh boy, there was just something about him. Something… supernatural, unearthly, unbelievable, unthinkably powerful about him. From pictures, you could tell he was a handsome man. But in person, his personality, demeanor, and his good looks all came together to create some kind of masterstroke of a man – he was instantly approachable, but still made me numb in my knees. This combination of beauty and kindness shouldn’t be allowed to exist.
“Thank you, Mr. Gambit.”
“I ask everyone to call me Eric. Although few do.” He said with a smile, glancing at Lillian, who blushed and forced a giggle.