Authors: Blue Saffire
“I have my reasons for not wanting the position, but they are personal, if you don’t mind,” I say curtly.
I don’t like this woman one bit. What does he see in her? She lets out an exasperated sound and shrugs at me. “Suit yourself, Nick is an amazing employer.”
“I bet,” I bite out and step pass her into the room she has led me to.
I step into the room to find Mark and Kimmie sitting nervously at a boardroom table across from each other. The chair at the head of the table is facing away from them toward the amazing view from the wall of glass windows. I can hear Nick’s voice rumbling through the room as he barks off clipped instructions to whoever is on the receiving end of the conversation.
Jillian places a light hand on my arm to lead me to the top of the table to sit beside Nick. I can see the profile of his face as he finishes his conversation and Jillian takes the seat across from me in front of some file folders and a tablet.
“Yes, I expect all of this done by today,” Nick orders. “It seems things aren’t getting done around here if I don’t do them myself. If it is not done, then I have the understanding that you will not be returning to the office tomorrow. Someone capable will be in your position.”
He disconnects his call and turns his chair back to face the rest of us. His face is pure stone as he sets his eyes on me. I don’t know whether I should melt at the sight of him or if I should cringe in fear. He runs a hand through his unruly hair and licks his bottom lip.
Oh, this is so wrong; I shouldn’t be here. The energy crackling between us is enough to have the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Can he feel that, can the others in the room feel it? If Jillian can, she is sure taking it well, but if I looked like her I wouldn’t worry either.
“It seems you all missed breakfast this morning,” Nicholas says impassively, not taking his eyes off of me once. “Jillian, please have them serve brunch now.”
“Yes, Mr. Lincoln,” Jillian replies and taps something on her tablet.
“Now Sephora, I have been a very patient man. These interviews you have been going on, I’ve allowed them so that you could get the experience you so desired, but I have come to the end of my rope.”
“Excuse me,” I squawk incredulously.
“Name your number, Sephora, tell me what it will take to close this deal today, I will not wait any longer.”
“I have no number because I do not want the job. I thank you for the offer Mr. Lincoln, but the answer is no,” I say with finality.
He growls, and I mean growls at me. “Everyone out,” he barks.
Kimmie and Mark jumped up and rush for the door and I jump from my seat to follow. “Sit. Down. Sephora. Get out, Jillian, now!”
Jillian blinks at him before collecting her tablet and exiting quickly. I stand watching the door everyone just left out of wondering if I can get out of the door in my heels without breaking my neck. That’s when I feel the power of this man pulsing at my back.
Before I can turn, his hands are on my waist and his lips are at my ear. “I thought I told you to sit down. I never thought you would be so defiant. I need you to sit down Sephora before I say fuck the job and bend you over the table while I fuck you.”
My mouth has gone completely dry.
Am I having another of these hot dreams? Oh, I so want to stand here and see if he makes good on that threat.
That is the best option since I know I can’t have the job.
“Sephora,” he snaps.
I pull away from his hands and lower myself into the chair. Nick sits on the table in front of me and pins me to the seat with his glare. “Now Sephora, tell me why you will not take this job,” he says as calmly as if he hadn’t said anything else.
“Because I–because you–I can’t,” I whisper as I blush.
“That’s not an answer, Baby,” he says as he leaned into my space and licks his lips. “Sephora, you are driving me crazy. I need you to take this position so I can have what I really want. If I get what I want first, you will not believe you earned it and as a business man I cannot let that brilliant mind of yours go to the next highest bidder. Do you see my problem?”
“I–I don’t understand what you want,” I stammer out.
“You definitely understand me, my little butterfly. I will have you Sephora, now, the question is what will it cost me.”
“I am not some cheap whore you can buy,” I yell at him with tears threatening to spill over.
He takes a deep breath and pinches the bridge of his nose before running a hand through his hair. “I never said you were, nor do I intend to treat you as one. Our relationship will be strictly professional when we are here in the office. I will never make you feel uncomfortable within these walls. But Sweetheart, outside of this building you will be mine and I will do so much more than just stroke that beautiful skin of yours.”
“I won’t be anyone’s mistress. You already have someone,” I breathe.
Nick narrows his eyes at me measuring my words. “What makes you think I have someone,” he asks half amused as he cocks his head to the side.
“I saw you leave the party with Jillian,” I whisper.
He throws his head back and laughs a full belly laugh. I want to hit him with something, this is not funny. I think I am more confused than before I came here. “You know you are so much like your brother. I can see his stubbornness and quick assumptions in you. Jillian is my personal assistant that is all. She accompanied me to the party because I had some business come up during your ceremony that I had to get a handle on.”
“So then why did you ignore me after you gave me the necklace?”
He reaches out lifting me from the chair and pulling me toward him, brushing the strains of hair that have come loose from my face and placing his forehead to mine. “Are you listening to anything I am saying to you, Sephora? I want you so badly it hurts. I expected you to outgrow your awkward stage, but I didn’t expect this. For four years, these beautiful eyes have haunted my dreams, and now I have to have you, Sephora.”
He brushes his thumb across my bottom lip and groans as my breath catches in my throat. “This company is important to me, Sephora. I have to do what is best for it and I want to give you this job because I have yet to meet the mind that will create what I have envisioned until I met you.
“I knew the moment I read your scholarship essay that you were the one. You will create what I need. I couldn’t have you confusing the offer with my feelings for you, but I don’t see a way to have one without the other so I want both, Sephora, I want your mind and your body.”
“Yes,” I whisper.
“Yes, what, Sephora?”
“Yes to the job a– and y-yes to you,” I stutter.
“Good girl, I would kiss you now, but I will wait just a little longer,” Nick smiles and pulls away from me to look into my eyes. “Thank you, Baby,” he murmurs as he runs his fingertips across my cheek and down my neck where he fingers the butterfly he gave me.
“I should be thanking you,” I reply.
“Oh, you will,” Nick winks with a wicked grin.
, see to it that the last offer we made to Miss. Emilsson is gone over to her liking, have it signed and on my desk within the next hour. I want a copy sent to Mairettie & Mairettie as well. Kimberly Ann and Mark have earned the bonus we spoke of, take care of that,” Nick orders as Jillian and the others return to the boardroom.
He starts for the door, pausing only to place a card in my hand and then leans in to whisper, “I’ll see you tonight.”
I try really hard not to smile like a schoolgirl. I want so badly to squeal and hug Kimmie and tell her everything. I hold it in as much as I can as I look over at Kimmie and Mark. They both collapse into each other as Nick leaves the room. Mark is scowling, but Kimmie has a knowing grin on her face.
“If you ever put me through something like that again Soph, I swear I am going to kill you with my bare hands,” Kimmie sighs.
“Not if I get to her first. I actually like this job. I was sure he was going to can our asses this morning,” Mark blows out as he flops back into a seat.
“Well, you both will be receiving a really nice signing bonus so I would be thanking Miss. Emilsson if I were you,” Jillian says as she opens and slides a folder to each of them. “If you two will just sign off you can get back to work.”
Mark’s eyes bulge and he whistles at the paperwork. “Wow, Sophi, have I told you how much I love you.”
“If you want your job you’ll keep that to yourself,” Kimmie hints as she signs the dotted line and slips it back across the table. She looks over to me and shrugs. “Just saying.”
Mark signs his papers wearing that scowl again, he peeks up at me than slides the folder back across the table. Several emotions cross his face before he stands to follow Kimmie out. I try to process the emotions I see, but I don’t understand half of them.
“Well, we can begin with your salary and the expense package Nick wanted us to offer you,” Jillian begins. She goes on and on with the paperwork, I want to know where I have to sign before I wake up and this is all over. I can’t even think about tonight or the fact that Nicholas Lincoln told me he wants me. I really do try to focus on what Jillian is saying, but my thoughts are everywhere.
I need to call Luke and tell him I have a job. I need to call Ettie and ask her what I should wear on a first date, scratch that I may need to ask Kimmie instead. Oh, but Ettie will know how much longer I have to wait to get my hair dyed back to my color. Would Nick want me to wear it up or down? Oh I know he said that we would be professional here, but could we have lunch together sometimes, would he make good on that table promise?
She is asking you a question Sephora, pay attention before you blow our job.
Right, work first. I quickly scanned my brain for the last few things my subconscious picked up. She asked me if I had any questions, that’s it.
“Sorry, no I don’t have any questions,” I smile politely.
“Okay, great, you can sign here, here and here,” she chimes as she points out the designated lines and passes me the pen. “There are some other documents I will be bringing by your office later, but for now Lily will take you down to your office so I can get these to Nick.”
“Thanks,” I beam as a knock comes at the door and the petite girl from downstairs, I’m guessing Lily, pokes her head in. She is a pretty girl with brown skin and bright eyes.
I make a mental note that Nick has a few black women working for him when you count Kimmie, Lily and myself. I don’t know why knowing this makes me feel a little more comfortable but it does. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind my mother’s words and views on my color flame some insecurities.
“Miss. Emilsson, if you’re ready, I’ll walk you down now,” Lily smiles.
I nod and stand to follow her out. As we make our way out I notice Nick in the hall speaking with an older gentleman with his head bent over some documents. He looks so serious, but so sexy, it has to be illegal. He looks up through his lashes to catch me staring at him and one side of his mouth pulls into a smile.
Yup, my panties are certainly ruined for the rest of the day. I’d be surprised if I don’t slip on my own arousal and face plant right here. What have I gotten myself into, this was the reason I knew we shouldn’t work together.
“Welcome to FLI, Miss. Emilsson,” Lily beams as the elevator doors close. “You’re going to love it here.”
“Thanks, but you can call me Sephora or Sophi,” I say with genuine joy.
“If you need anything, you can always come and find me. I am usually floating, but I know the ins and outs of all the departments. Mr. Lincoln likes to have a few of us moving about to make sure things are running smoothly and the departments are intercommunicating functionally. I’ll most likely be sitting in on most of your team meetings,” she says with an open smile.
“Great, I can’t wait to get started.” I chirp back as we make our way off the elevator and pass Amanda the receptionist from earlier and past rows of chic looking cubicles. They are framed in wood at the bottoms with lightly frosted glass at the tops. They give the illusion of privacy, but still allowed the occupants to not feel closed off from everyone else.
Lily leads me to one of the offices on the outer perimeters of the cubicles. Pushing open the frosted glass door Lily holds out her hand for me to enter. “This will be your office. I am three doors to your right when I am in my office,” she says with that infectious smile and turns to leave.
This is my office? Oh my God, this place is huge. I spun around to take it all in, the view, the desk, the bookshelves, the chair and sofa anchoring a seating area. I squeal and pinch myself.
I sigh and say a silent thank you as I sit at my desk. This is so a dream that Kimmie is going to come shake me out of any minute now. My own office and it is huge. I had walked right by the cubicle Kimmie calls her desk and saw Mark not that far away from her. I shake my head and let out a silent happy squeal. I am now both their boss. I have people that work under me.
I take a quick spin in my chair as I hug myself. This is really happening. I pick up the phone on my desk and call Luke. He will be so happy for me.
“Hello shithead,” he laughs as he picks up the phone on the third ring.
“Well, that’s a first,” I giggle.
“Sophi, what are you doing calling from Nick’s office?” he asks with concern in his voice.
“I am not calling from Nick’s office, I am calling from my office, silly,” I beam.
, Sophi,” he groans, “please tell me you didn’t.”
“What do you mean?” I am taken back and I can feel my face compress with confusion.
“I mean; tell me you didn’t sign anything saying you would take that job. Nick is like a brother to me, but Sophi… Just please tell me you didn’t.” Luke sounds frustrated and panicked.
“I did,” I grumble.
“Shit, I’ll kill him,” I hear him say away from the phone. “Sophi, listen to me. You are a big girl now and you can make your own decisions, but Lilla du, Nick is not for you. Do your job and keep away from him, do you hear me?”
“I hear you Lucian, but like you said I can make my own decisions.”
“Sephora, Nick shouldn’t be your first boyfriend. You won’t understand him, Lilla du, he has …shit Soph, he is wrong for you,” Luke growls.
“I have to go,” I almost sob. Luke is ruining everything great about today for me.
“Soph honey, I just want what’s best for you. I don’t want you to get your hopes up and find out you’ve gotten into something you can’t handle. I love you, Sephora. You always come first,” Luke sighs heavily waiting for my reply.
“I know what I’m doing Luke. I’ll be fine,” I respond and disconnect the call.
I hear a knock at the door and look up to find Kimmie bouncing at my door. She has a tablet in her hand while she sweeps my office with her eyes. I will have to wait to deal with Luke’s words. I really don’t know what I’m getting into with Nick, but I won’t let Luke know that.
“Hey, come in,” I offer, clearing my throat.
“Oh no, are you having second thoughts, will I have to cancel my shoe order my bonus just paid for,” Kimmie pouts.
“No, but as your boss, I don’t think it’s a good idea to tell me you have been surfing the net during work hours,” I giggle.
“I was on a break, I swear,” Kimmie gasps.
“Relax, it’s just my stupid brother,” I groan.
“Oh, what’s eating him now,” Kimmie mutters.
“This job and the whole Nick thing. He thinks I should stay away from him. He said Nick is not good for me. He’s more than can I handle,” I snort.
,” Kimmie whines and shrugs. “He may be right this time,” My heart sinks with her words and it must show on my face. “Wait, wait, listen Soph. There are just things about… um, some of your brother’s friends that you don’t know.”
“What does that mean?”
… I was sort of curious about something and when a friend of mine took me to learn more about it, I sort of ran into…um, some mutual acquaintances. I have more in common with them than I thought. We all have a need that we have to fulfill. Sophi… a lot of Luke’s circle happens to have a common interest. If Nick is like the others and from what I have noticed I am pretty damn sure he is… Luke is just looking out for you.”
“Okay, so what, you guys all smoke pot or something?”
Kimmie gives me an incredulous look, then doubles over in laughter. I just watch her trying to understand what is so funny. Drugs is the only thing I can think of that Luke would want to hide from me. I can’t think of anything Kimmie wouldn’t tell me. I practically live through her.
“Sophi, seriously, there is so much I have spared you sweetie,” She sighs heavily, shaking her head and placing her tablet in her lap. “We all for lack of better explanation need to have control when it comes to certain pleasures and we have learned a way to get it. Nick is going to be more than you bargain for Sophi, but if you want him, I think it will be good for you in the end.”
“I’m already scared to death of my feelings for him, Kim. All this,” I emphasize by waving my hands in the air, “is not helping. Before talking to Luke I thought the biggest thing I had to worry about was what to wear tonight.”
“Wait, tonight? As in you are going out with him tonight,” Kimmie gushes.
“Keep your voice down,” I hiss.
“Oh my gosh,” she whispers, “he asked you out. I mean, I am so not surprised, but I thought he would let the ink dry first.”
“You’re not surprised?”
“No, look at you, Sophi. You have no idea how many guys would love to think they have a chance with you. And lately you have a few wrapped around that little finger of yours and you don’t even have a clue.”
“Yeah, I seriously doubt that,” I snort.
“Ugh, you’re impossible,” Kimmie frowns. “So you’re going out tonight, which means we have work to do so I can get out of here on time to get you all dolled up. I am sure our boss would have no problem with you skipping out, but some of us do have to work around here.”
Kimmie spends the next two hours filling me in on my new staff and running down the projects that are now on my calendar. I am so excited that I will be working so close to Kimmie and Mark. Kimmie may love to party, but she is great at what she does and never misses a thing.
Lily stops by with a brand new tablet customized for me and informs me that my assistant will be starting on the floor tomorrow. Rumor has it that she was handpicked by Nick himself. She and Kimmie will be working closely with me to get me into the flow over the next few weeks.
I am a little overwhelmed at first, but Kimmie is making things a lot easier. Nick is wasting no time at all in the office just like in our personal life. I have a booked solid schedule loaded to my tablet with meeting after meeting for the next week, followed by a ton of project completion dates.
Kimmie and I have a working lunch as I go through the profiles of my team to see what resources we have in our favor. Nick must pride himself on finding and hiring the best. The staff has to be Americas most wanted when it comes to technology. I am a mixture of impressed and a little scared of the resources at Nick’s fingertips.
Time seems to fly by as I get acquainted with my new surroundings and team. Kimmie has left me alone to get her reports done for the day as I make mental notes of where I want to get started tomorrow on my first official work day. Jillian knocks at the door just as I start to pack up for the evening.
“Hi, I hope you were able to find everything well,” she begins as she steps into my office. “I have the rest of the paperwork you will need to go through. You are welcome to turn it into HR in the morning.”
“Oh, thank you. I was just getting ready to leave for the day.”
“Oh, well, I’m glad I caught you. Nick had me quite busy today. He can get this way when there is something he wants. He is willing to say and do anything necessary to get a deal closed,” Jillian prattles on arrogantly. “I’m sure you noticed that. Well, I’ll leave these with you. I need to get back to Nick, we have dinner plans this evening and he hates to be late.”
I don’t miss the insinuation in her tone, but I am not going to give her the satisfaction of seeing her words affect me. All Jillian has done is prove to me that my brother is right as always. Nicholas Lincoln is out of my league. So much so that he has fooled me into giving him exactly what he wants while holding a straight face.
I think I am going to be sick. I feel like I made a deal with the devil and got burned before the ink even dried. I try my best to breathe as I gather the rest of my things and the papers Jillian left behind. I realize my whole body is shaking as I hold the papers in my hand.
Why did I think Nick wanted someone like me? Was I that stupid to think that he was ever telling me the truth. I take in a deep breath as I step out of my office and over to Kimmie’s cubicle. She is powering down as I step to her desk. She lifts her head with a huge smile until she sees my face.
“What happened,” she whispers quickly rising to her feet.
I shake my head, if I speak now, it will all be over. I will never be able to show my face in this office again. Kimmie nods in understanding as she throws her bag on her shoulder, grabbing my hand to give it a good squeeze as she leads the way to the elevator.