Butt-dialing the Billionaire: Chapter 10


Arnold opens the door and takes my coat as I step out of the elevator of La Manche House, my family’s Upper West Side residence. “They’ve delivered the weight room equipment, sir, and we’ve already put it up top. I’ve been assembling the furnishings to sell in the second-floor day room, but you’ll need to make a few decisions on the more prominent pieces.”

“All the stuff from when I lived here goes,” I say.

“Nevertheless,” Arnold says. “A few things need your review, and Chef’s got fresh-caught tuna. Is six good?”

“Seven. I want to get in a workout.”

“Very good, sir.” He hesitates. “And did you get the answer you wanted? Regarding the caller?”

“Not yet, but I will.”

I head up to the top floor, a former ballroom. I recall it as cold and cavernous, but it’s smaller than I remembered. I instructed Arnold to have the window coverings removed from the windows, so it’s quite sunny now.

I peel off my mole, scrub my face, and change into my workout gear.

Arnold appears while I’m doing squats. “So you’ll be going back, then? To your…new job?”

“Yup.” I grab the jump rope and start jumping. “They don’t want to break ranks and give me the answer I need. But they will.”

Arnold looks baffled. “You worked the job all day?”

I keep jumping, whipping it under my feet. “Today was mostly training. Tomorrow I’ll have duties. There’ll be deliveries, I imagine. Somebody mentioned filing.”

Arnold nods. “And the people accepted you as a fellow employee?”

“Why not? But the Papaggio delivery? That was all wrong.”

“I tried to warn you—”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s fine. It was funny, actually. They thought it was a joke, and the senior designer, Jada…” I grin. Do you not take anything seriously? “She’d like to have a word with you. She found it to be a very cruel trick.”

“Oh, no,” Arnold says.

“She’s so serious. She’s not the butt-dialer, but she’s so intense about rules and the team and pulling together. You’ve never met such a little Joan of Arc—the shining warrior, fighting the good fight with pencils stuck in her bun.” I grab a towel and wipe my face. “She keeps looking at my eyes when she talks to me instead of staring at the mole or averting her gaze, treating me with respect and dignity. God, people can be so fucking irritating.”

“Is this truly the best use of your time, sir?”

What is this? The day of everybody in the universe questioning me? I give him a stern look.

“All of this focus on a workplace issue…your parents only just died…”

I snort and throw the towel over my shoulder, which is more than that comment deserves. “I’m going to need to bring a lunch like other people bring. The people like to bring their lunches in molded plastic containers with specific labels. I don’t know where they get them, but I’ll be needing one for tomorrow.” I grab my phone, text Arnold the photo I discreetly shot of Jada’s sandwich packaging, and then my minute break is over, and I start up the jump rope again.

Arnold furrows his brow at his phone. “Are you sure…”

“Of course I’m sure. Bringing the same sort of food as they bring will show them I’m one of the gang. It’s like a rugby jersey. Once they see me wearing the team jersey, they’ll pass me the ball.”

“Yes, Mr. Henningsly.”

I keep hopping. “Do you know a computer program called Excel?”

“I do indeed, Mr. Henningsly.”

“You’ll teach it to me after dinner.”

“It’s a bit complex, sir.”

“I need to know it,” I say.

“Very good, sir.”

Excel continues to be maddening. It seems to have a mind of its own, and you have to create an elaborate formula just to ask it to do something. “Who designed this, Satan himself?” I complain.

Midway through the torture, Arnold gets an email from the tech team. They’ve enlarged the label image of Jada’s sandwich and figured out where to get one—at the airport. A courier has been dispatched.

“Do you have a preference between egg salad and barbeque chicken?”

I frown. The airport seems a bit of an odd place to shop. It’s not as if these people are going to the airport for their sandwiches. They must have another source for them. “The chicken, I suppose.”

“Very good, sir.”


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