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Authors: Claire Adams

Tags: #New York City Bad Boy Romance

The Job (3 page)

BOOK: The Job
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“It’s
already packed up,” Amy says. “The movers will be here any minute and they’ll
take your stuff wherever you want them to, although I’m not sure how much room
that’s going to leave you in whatever shitty hotel you end up staying.”

“You
know what?” I ask, but quickly realize that I have nothing to follow the
question.

“What?”
Amy asks.

“Forget
it,” I say, making the motion of washing my hands. “I’m done.”

“Yeah,
you’re done,” she says. “Nice of you to pretend like it’s your idea. I’m sure
that’ll help you through your lonely nights where you only have a box of
tissues and your left hand to keep you company.”

With
that, she slams the door in my face and locks it.

I
should at least be able to grab my stuff, so I pull out my keys and try to
unlock the door. Instead, I end up pounding on it, shouting,

You
changed the fucking locks?”

“Will
you keep it down?” Mrs. Hathaway from down the hall asks, poking her head out
of the door. “Some of us are trying to watch our shows.”

“I’m
sorry, Mrs. Hathaway,” I tell her, but go right back to knocking on the door.

It
creaks open as far as the chain will let it and Amy seethes, “Wait down the
hall. We’ll let you know when the moving guys are here. Until then, I’d suggest
you get a real job and go fuck yourself.”

“Amy,
we were talking about getting married. How can you do this?”

“We
were talking about getting married when you were getting jobs that I didn’t
have to put in quotation marks,” she answers. “I’ve found someone who’s going
to be able to provide for me and my lifestyle, not just for a couple of weeks,
but for the rest of my life. Do you think I’m really going to give that up to
stay with your broke ass?”

“Amy,
come on,” I tell her. “I love you. Don’t do this.”

“You
know, Cort actually went to college. You might want to think about that
someday,” she says and closes the door on me again.

This
is the worst day of my life.

*
                   
*
              
     
*

“I
don’t see what you’re so upset about,” Alec, one of my workers and probably the
only friend I have left, says. “You landed the job today, and come on—we both
knew Amy has been sleeping around for a while now.”

I
look over at him across the pool table, saying, “You knew this was going on?”

“You
didn’t?” he asks. “I told you when the two of you got together that she’s all
about the pocketbook, man. I don’t know what you’re doing with yourself that
you never saw that, but it’s hardly news. I mean, when the two of you first
met, what was the question she asked before she agreed to go on a date with
you?”

“Oh,
come on, who remembers that sort of thing?” I ask.

“I
do,” he says, “and I know for a fact that you do, too. I don’t know why you’re
still trying to ignore the facts, man. She’s never been good for you. Plus, she
turned you into a withering idiot.”

“Gee,
thanks,” I tell him. “We used to be happy, man. It’s only been recently that
things have started getting rocky between the two of us.”

“Oh,
come off it, man,” he says. “What did she ask you before she agreed to go out
on that first date with you?”

I
sigh. “She asked what the square footage of my apartment was,” I answer.

“Yeah,
and what did she say when you told her?”

He’s
got a point here, but I’m really not in the mood to be mad at her yet. That’s
at least two pitchers of beer off. Right now, I just want to wallow in my
self-pity and dejection.

To
make matters worse, I don’t really like beer.

“I
don’t remember, I’m telling you.”

“She
said, ‘Well, I guess that’ll work for now, but I like my men to have more to
offer. You’re lucky you caught me in the middle of a dry spell.’ Does that
sound familiar?”

“I
know what she said, okay? Can we just talk about something else?” I ask. “How’s
Irene? How are the kids?”

“They’re
a nightmare,” Alec answers, laughing. “All of them. Listen, you’ve got to find
a way to get over this or else you’re going to be worthless for god knows how
long.”

“I’ll
be fine,” I tell him and I take my shot, knocking the eight ball straight into
the corner pocket.

Unfortunately,
it’s on the second shot of the game.

“And
that’s another twenty bucks for me,” Alec announces. “You want another game, or
am I going to overdraw your account?”

“Don’t
get too cocky,” I tell him. “You know it takes me a couple of games to get
going.”

“Eric,”
he says, “this is game number seven. How long does it take you to warm up,
really?”

“Shut
up,” I tell him. “So you’re telling me that I should just ‘get over it,’ huh?
You know, I hadn’t thought of that. It’s so simple, elegant, and I’m sure it’s
going to be just that easy.”

“Don’t
worry,” he says, “as your friend, employee, and life coach—”

“Yeah,
I don’t remember signing up for that last one,” I interrupt.

“As
your
friend
,
your employee, and your life coach
,” he continues, “I’m here to
help. Get out your phone.”

“Why?”
I ask.

“Oh,
just shut up and grab your phone.”

I
pull my phone from my pocket.

“All
right,” he says, “take down this number: 555-8928.”

“And
whose number am I putting into my phone?” I ask.

“Oh,
she’s great. You’re going to love her. Just send her a message.”

“I’ve
been single for like four hours,” I tell him. “I’m really not looking for a
blind date.”

“Just
send her a message,” Alec says. “From what I understand, she’s DTF.”

“What’s
her name?” I ask.

“Uh…”
He’s looking through his phone which is doing very little to inspire
confidence. “You know me with names. She’s in my phone as chick to help Eric
get the fuck out of his stupid relationship, but I don’t think that’s her
proper name.”

“I’d
say that’s a pretty safe bet,” I laugh.

“I
don’t know,” he says finally. “Just send her a message.”

“How
do you know her?”

“It’s
Irene’s friend’s sister,” he tells me. “I’ve never met her or anything, but
Irene tells me she’d be right up your alley. She’s driven, dedicated, total
control freak. That’s your type, right?”

“Which
friend?” I ask.

“Uh…”
Alec responds, looking through his phone again. “It’s the blonde one.”

“You’re
really making me feel like this is a good decision,” I chuckle. “Really, I’m
inspired, and you know what that means…”

“No
way,” Alec says. He knows exactly what’s coming. “I’m nowhere near drunk enough
to fully appreciate you humiliating yourself.”

“It’s
happening,” I tell him as I walk over to the jukebox and pick the one song that
bothers Alec more than anything else in the world.

Let
me be really clear on that point: It doesn’t just bother him more than any
other song in the world, but every other
thing
in the world.

That
said, I don’t enjoy it any more than he does. The only reason I can stand it is
because I love seeing him tormented to the point of madness.

After
all, what are friends for?

So,
the music starts and with the first note, Alec is actually dry heaving. I used
to think it was just an exaggeration, but no, I’ve made the mistake of being
too close to him when the song starts going.

He
ruined a perfectly good pair of shoes.

So,
as the first terrible words to Nickelback’s “She Keeps Me Up” come over the
speakers, I rack up the balls and tell him, “Double or nothing.”

It’s
not fair, but he should be able to turn down the bet. The problem for Alec,
though, is that he’s the type who needs to prove that he can handle himself in
any situation.

Continually
proving that he can’t tickles me.

“You’re
on, asshole,” he says and, as long as I can make it through this game without
completely screwing myself, I’m about to break even on at least one thing
today.

*
                   
*
              
     
*

So,
it’s the first day renovating Lady Bits—incidentally, my favorite store name
ever—and I’m stuck here waiting for the rest of my crew to show up.

José’s
waiting here with me, but everyone else is taking their sweet-ass time showing
up. Rather than just standing around looking like we’re the biggest waste of
money in the world, José and I start moving things out of the work area.

Jessica,
the long-haired, leggy, brunette store owner comes over. Her face is almost
identical to Evangeline Lilly’s. Maybe this gorgeous woman could be my rebound
to get my head out of this stupid breakup fog.

She’s
smiling right until she sees that it’s only two of us.

“Hey,”
she says. “Where’s the rest of your crew?”

“They’re
coming,” I tell her. “They had to stop off for some materials, but they should
be here pretty soon. What can I do for our beautiful client today?”

“I
was thinking,” she says, trying to hide the fact that she’s blushing. “Would it
be too much trouble if we were to extend that window even farther, like all the
way around the corner, at least by a few feet? That way, people could see what
we’ve got before they even come in here.”

“Yeah,”
I answer, “we could do that. It is going to be more materials and labor,
though, so if that’s all right with you—”

“That’s
fine,” she says. “Also, I was wondering if we could maybe change the sunken
area to three feet with four stairs leading down. I know it’s going to cut into
the space a little, but I really think it’s going to make this whole section
pop, and I really want to draw attention to this area. We’ve got some really
great stuff already and even more’s coming in, it’s just fabulous.”

This
may be the first time I’ve worked for someone who uses the word “fabulous,” but
as long as she’s ready to pay for the ideas she has, I’m on board.

“Sure,”
I tell her. “We can do that. This is José, by the way. He’s my number two, so
if you ever need anything and I’m out picking up supplies or something, he’s
the guy you want to talk to, although, I’ll be happy to make time for you
whenever you like.”

“It’s
nice to meet you, José,” Jessica says, ignoring the fact that I’m actually
hitting on her.

José
shakes her hand, but immediately goes back to work.

“You’ll
have to excuse him,” I tell her. “He’s all about the work.”

Alec,
lazy motherfucker that he is, comes through the front of the store scratching
his ass.

Jessica,
upon seeing him, purses her lips, but somehow manages to keep her justifiable
judgment to herself.

“What
do we got, boss?” Alec asks.

“Right
now, we’re just clearing the area so we can start getting things mapped out,” I
tell him. “Why don’t you give José a hand while I finish talking to the lovely Mrs.
Davis, here?”

“It’s
Miss, actually” Jessica says.

“Oh,
my apologies,” I say, but I’m starting to tire of keeping up a happy, cordial
front.

It’s
nothing that she’s done, although I do think some of her ideas are pretty
ridiculous, but after what happened with Amy yesterday, I’m really not in the
mood to do anything but sit on the couch that I don’t have
anymore
and fall into an oblivion of spilled potato chips and infomercials.

“Why
don’t we go back to my office?” Jessica suggests.

“Okay,”
I respond and turn to the guys. “Keep going and I’ll be back in a minute. Also,
if anyone knows where Lou and Ian are, maybe give them a call and threaten with
some kind of physical violence if they’re not here in the next five minutes,
will you?”

“You
got it, boss,” Alec answers.

I
follow Jessica back to her office and close the door behind me.

“You
wanted to talk to me?” she asks.

“Yeah,”
I tell her, taking a moment to soak up her beauty before her expression changes
to one of unbridled anger. The way her dark hair falls over her shoulders is
enticing now, but in a minute, I have a feeling we’re not going to be getting
along so well. “I didn’t want to say anything out there, but I don’t really
think that you’re going to want to lower the floor that much down there. It
might add a nice visual effect, but it’s going to cost more, and I really think
you’re going to lose more space than you’re going to gain by getting rid of the
storage room.”

“Well,
I’d like to try it out,” she says. “I think it would be a wonderful way to draw
attention to the section.”

BOOK: The Job
8.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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