Chapter 6 – Julian
“Neither of them have pulled their offers, so I suppose things worked out even with the faux pas.”
I push away from my computer and regard Preston with a sigh. “It could’ve gone better. On the other hand, having an open Wednesday was nice.”
“Yes, yes, you got to come into the office late for the first time ever.”
“Can you blame me?”
“Oh, yeah, and if I wanna come in late because I was up all night getting drunk on pussy, it’s no big deal, right?”
“Uh huh.” Preston kicks back from his seat and shakes his head. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were falling in love. But I know better. Because you’re the last guy to ever get clocked by Cupid.”
“Don’t know what you’re talking about.” Me? In love? I certainly adore Alyssa. I’m not going to deny that. She’s the giant breath of fresh air I’ve been dying to have in my life, even if I didn’t know it before. Women? Women make me happy. Their mere existence puts a skip in my step. But until Alyssa, most of the women I’ve dated since my teenage years haven’t been anything more than distractions. It’s uncouth of me to say, but when we’re done having sex – and that terrible need to fuck is out of my system – I don’t see what the point of hanging out is. Until Alyssa. Now, I enjoy having company at dinner for the sake of having company. Now, a sleepover isn’t an inconvenience in the morning, it’s a reason to stay in bed. Like I did this morning when I realized I didn’t have my usually scheduled meeting. In a way, Alyssa’s mishap was a boon to our relationship. We stayed up all night having sex and washing away the stress in my shower. Woke up to find her scrolling through Facebook on her phone. After I asked her if she thought it was a good idea to face her phone camera while naked in bed with me, she tossed her phone aside and kissed me until I spent an extra two hours in bed with her.
I’m not going to say, however, that I’m in love. That would be absurd. I’ve only known Alyssa for a few weeks. Also, I hate to say it, but she’s ten years younger than me, and that becomes evident once in a while. I don’t usually think about it. I especially don’t think about the fact that she was in preschool when I lost my virginity at an average age.
I jump into a lot of things. That’s my personality. My nature. It’s how I’ve made a billion dollars since opening my own business. This isn’t the first relationship I’ve jumped into, either, although it is my first one with this setup. One day a reporter will track down a woman named Gloria and ask her about that summer I whisked her away to Paris and made all her dreams come true – minus marrying her, anyway.
Just like I can jump into anything, I tend to jump out of a lot of things too. Ending relationships, when I feel they’ve come to their natural end, is easy for me as well. Only once have I been dumped. I can’t say I felt terrible afterward. I moved on, and she’s married now.
While I can’t say I see things ending with Alyssa anytime soon, I am in no hurry to make a commitment. Think I’ve got her hooked, anyway.
“I’m not in love,” I say, ignoring that massive eyeroll coming from Preston’s direction. He’s one to fucking talk. The man’s in love with a new woman every week. His definition of “love” is so loose it’s spilling the beans every time he walks into the office. You’d never guess that he’s technically my best friend for as much shit we give each other.
“A hundred bucks says that light blowing up your phone is from your girlfriend, who should be working.” Preston opens the door to my office and steals a peek outside. Ah, yes. There is Alyssa, sitting near Vern. While Vern is diligently at work between his computer and his laptop, Alyssa sits with her legs crossed, texting on her phone. Preston’s right. My girlfriend isn’t doing much work. She’s making my phone blow up with messages.
“Sorry.” I unlock my phone to find a few messages from my girlfriend. “Gotta take this.”
“I don’t care if you’re paying her to sit around and look pretty for your amusement, but at least throw Vern a bone for putting up with it.”
“I’ll consider it.”
Preston leaves my office, closing the door – and my view of Alyssa – behind him. Ample opportunity to check my messages from my flirty girlfriend.
“Can’t stop thinking about you, Mr. Marcus. Tell me that you’re also thinking of me.”
Am I thinking of her? Is she kidding? When do I stop thinking about her lately?
“I’m thinking about us in bed…” I erase that. Because of course I’m thinking about that. Why the hell wouldn’t I be? I need to expand my conversational horizons. “Thinking that we need to get out of town for the weekend. I have a meeting early Monday, but we could get out of here Friday evening after work.” I also erase that. I don’t feel like traveling.
I want to stay home with her. That’s what I look forward to on the weekends now. Lazy at home with my girlfriend, with bouts of gym time (also known as me time.)
Before I can get an actual text sent to her, another one comes from Alyssa.
“Let’s play a game.”
“A game? Now?”
“… All right.”
“We get to ask each other one sex question, and the other has to answer honestly.”
“What kind of game is this?”
“I’ll start – do guys usually jack off before a date? How real is that?”
I put my phone down and get up. I hit the button that controls the shutters and catch a new glimpse of Alyssa at her desk.
She happens to glance up and meet my gaze. Her phone waves in my direction.
Is she kidding me? She’s not even hiding it!
She is something else…
I close the shutters and return to my desk. Fine. We’ll play her stupid game. Although I have a feeling that her end goal is to get me thinking about sex. I know how she is by now.
“I can’t speak for all men. I also can’t say that this is a topic of conversation that happens often. What do you think men talk about?” We’re lax on the details. All I’ve told Preston about my love life is that it’s “good.” Likewise, I don’t need him to tell me how much he enjoys watching women bounce on his dick while blowing smoke rings.
I don’t give her time to respond with whatever cutesy words she has stashed in her mind.
“I’ve done it. Sometimes it’s good to gain a little clarity before going out on a date. It’s also nice to last longer later. As I’m sure you noticed last night…”
I answer an email while waiting for her response.
“Interesting. When was the last time for you? I want to imagine you touching yourself.”
Cute. Very cute.
“No. It’s my turn to ask a question, isn’t it? So I’m going to ask you a question, Lyssa.”
“Go for it.”
Oh, what to ask? How about we start with…
“How good does it feel when I’m inside of you?”
I know. So original. When in doubt, go with the classics?
“So good that it’s all I can think about even when I’m satisfied.”
“Then you’re not satisfied and I’m not doing my job.”
Preston steps through my door without knocking. Again.
“Put down that phone and hear me out.” He locks the door behind him. I put my phone to sleep and leave it upside down on my desk. My abandoned computer likewise goes to sleep while my business partner takes up the spot across from me again. But instead of relaxing, he pulls out another printed sheet of paper and slides it across my desk.
I can’t say that I like what I see.
A week ago, I treated the assertion that my girlfriend is an “STD-ridden slut” as a prank. One that made me have a couple of realizations, but a tasteless prank, nonetheless. I didn’t launch an investigation, even though I probably should have for the sake of the peace in the office. Hell, for all I knew, Preston did it himself to make a point. After all, these fliers keep showing up in his office.
“Where are these coming from?”
“In-house, obviously.” Preston grimaces. “I stepped out to see you for fifteen minutes, and someone managed to slip that beneath my door. Nobody noticed. So it’s someone who flies under the radar and wouldn’t look suspicious around here.”
That narrows it down to about twenty people at this time of day. Lovely. Could be one of our staff. Could be a courier. Could be fucking security for all I know. No matter what, someone in my office is causing problems for me. And Alyssa.
I look back down at the paper. “Perhaps the boss would like to know that Alyssa Pendleton is fraternizing with the male interns?”
“So nice to know that we have a spy on our payroll.” I crumple up the paper and shove it in the bottom of my wastebasket. I don’t even bother shredding this one. “What do you think they want?”
“Besides our attention? Who knows? Someone looking to sow discord in our midst.” Preston leans back in his chair, sighing. “Look, Julian, ultimately I don’t care what it’s like with your intern slash girlfriend, as long as you’re jamming along as usual when it comes to business. Knock her up and start a family for all I care. Just don’t fuck up the harmony of our office.”
“So, basically, don’t lose you money.”
“That’s all I ask. And don’t get us in legal trouble.”
“How many times do I have tell you this has all been cleared with HR?”
“And how many times do I have to ask you how much you strong-armed them into agreeing to this? To not press charges?”
I’m not answering that. I don’t want my words coming back to bite me in the ass one day. Fact of the matter is, HR is looking the other way as long as Alyssa remains placated – and I will make sure she’s not unhappy with our arrangement. I suppose, if she really wanted to, she could force HR’s hand on the matter. But at the end of the day I am king of this corporate castle, and HR’s end goal is to not get us all sued… not to protect every hurt feeling in the building.
Unless they’re my hurt feelings, of course.
“The question is,” I steer the conversation, “why are they giving you these juicy tidbits? Who’s trying to stir up discord between us?”
Preston shrugs. “I’m the personable one, remember? Either that or they’re trying to rile me up so I get pissed at you.”
“Is it working?”
He narrows his eyes at me. “You don’t want to know.”
Preston and I have our squabbles like any other pair of friends in the corporate world, but I don’t want to think that this is going to be what puts a rift between us. Women should never come between us, and honestly, they haven’t yet. I put up with his philandering, and he puts up with my stuffy heiresses, actresses, and women like Alyssa who come in and out of my office and hang on my arm at events. We both have our seduction styles, as polar opposites as they can be.
It’s official. I have yet another item on my already long list of shit I need to do. Namely, I need to get to the bottom of this crap and find out who the hell is trying to sabotage my relationship with Alyssa.
I can’t wait. Let. Me. Tell. You. No better use of my time than playing these petty games with my underlings.