We are taking book requests on our companion website. You can request books here. Make sure, you are following the rules.

Butt-dialing the Billionaire: Chapter 28


Everybody’s treating me like I’m some sort of savior the next day. It makes me want to yank off my own fingernails.

As if things can’t get worse, Lacey comes up to my cubicle with effusive thanks, and she sets to hugging me before I can move out of position.

“We made you this, Jack.” She whips out a crudely knit winter hat like the others have—royal blue. Giant pom. An insignia on the front done in white yarn, which she tells me is a shooting star but which looks like drunkenly interlocking geometries.

It’s all I can do to stifle a miserable groan.

I shouldn’t have come—we’re not family, in spite of the mass delusion happening here.

“I can’t take this,” I say.

“Of course you can. You saved my ass!” She presses it into my hands. “It’s the official winter hat of the design department. We all have one.”

“You gave me an excuse to drive like a maniac,” I say. “If you’d been one of the cars on the road with me, you would’ve knit a noose.”

“Stop it. We wanted to do something. Come on, try it on.”

I clutch the hat, looking at the bulky, wavy lines the yarn makes. I can’t believe they knit it for me.

Nobody ever knit a hat for me.

If Jenny saw this, god, she’d be even more stupidly convinced that we’re family. Something loosens in my chest. Phlegm, maybe.

Jada’s leaning against the side of her cubicle. Renata’s there.

Dave has wandered over. “Did he put it on yet?”

I keep holding it, staring at the insignia. I tell myself to snap out of it—it’s just a hat! The sooner I can put it on, the sooner I can escape this ridiculous hero’s welcome.

“The shooting star is the symbol for our family,” Shondrella says. “We’re meteoric!”

“You do know a shooting star is just a hunk of rock that’s burning to a crisp in our atmosphere,” I say.

Jada groans. “Put it on, you freak!”

I grumble and shove it over my head.

Shondrella claps. “It looks great.”

I mumble my thanks and get to work at my desk, wondering how long I have to wear it.

A few moments later, Jada’s head pops over the side of my cubicle. I smile up at her and adjust it on my head. “What do you think?”

“Nice,” she says.

“I was given this hat because I’m a good person who does things out of the goodness of my heart.”

“Fuck off,” she says. “Lacey wanted you to have one.”

I cross my legs and lean back. “Some men need incentives to be generous, but me? That is just the person that I am.”

She throws a paperclip at me, and I want to kiss her again. I want to continue where we left off on the patio. I want to know what she sounds like when she comes. I want my face in her tits and her fingernails in my back.

Renata comes up. “Cute, but it doesn’t exactly go with the party shirt.”

“Really? Are you sure?”

“Jack.” Renata gets this serious look on her face. “You know what would look great with that is a nice Henley. Like a waffle-knit Henley shirt—you know that kind with two buttons off the collar?”

I put on a confused face. “Are you not a fan of my shirts? I thought they looked good.”

Renata is just laughing. “And now that we’re on the subject, why the shaded glasses? Why for god’s sake?”

“Because they’re awesome,” I say. “You don’t think they’re awesome?”

“No,” Renata says.

“How can you not like them?” I complain.

Renata draws her brows together in a look of grave concern. “I don’t mean to insult you, they’re just…look, they were super fashionable for a while, and an amazing style move at one time, but I do think you should try something new.”

I frown. “So you don’t like the glasses.”

“Shut up.” Jada turns to Renata. “He is so full of shit.”

Renata gives Jada a stern look now. “Maybe they’re fashionable in Europe where he’s from?”

Jada is shaking her head.

“Or get contacts. You would look so cute,” Renata says. “Wait, you know what? My friend has a before-and-after makeover TikTok channel. She would style you for free and even give you free new glasses. Oh my god, she would seriously love to do that!”

“No, thanks,” I say. The last thing I want to do is to be a before-and-after TikTok.

“You should think about it!” Renata exclaims. “My friend would get you really flattering glasses—nice designer ones. Brands always give her things like that. She’d give you a new haircut—she’s so good. And you’d get it all for free! You have beautiful bone structure, Jack. Or even contacts—whoa, you could get contacts.”

I’m shaking my head. “No, thanks.”

“Think about it. And when she’s done, let’s just say your dating experience would really improve. Like, through the roof—think about that!”

I slide a discreet glance in Jada’s direction. “I already have to fight off the ladies. I don’t think I could take anymore.”

“Of course you look great as is,” Renata continues, “but who wouldn’t want to look even more amazing? You have so much potential, just so much completely unrealized potential—”

“Completely unrealized potential?” I joke.

“I didn’t mean it negatively!”

“Stop it, oh my god!” Jada breaks in. “The way he’s styled himself, that is a deliberate choice, Renata. Jack wants to look like this. He wants to look weird and off-putting. It’s how he’s comfortable in the world.”

I look over, surprised. “Weird and off-putting?”

“Admit it,” she says. “You know it’s true.”

“Uh…” Renata leans in. “Isn’t that…harsh? It’s just a cultural thing.”

“Oh, please!” Jada says. “Because he’s from Europe? Europeans usually have better fashion than us. This is not a cultural thing.” Jada is talking to Renata but she’s looking at me, looking through me, even. “Jack’s fashion is a deliberate extension of his personality, his personal keep-out sign. Like a spiny fish that adopts the coloring of a sour-tasting fish so that predators pass him over.”

I fix her with a hurt look. “A sour-tasting, spiny fish?”

“You know it’s true.”

“Did I not just become the office hero yesterday?” I ask her. “Out of the goodness of my heart?”

She snorts.

“Geez, Jada,” Renata says. “He did save Lacey’s ass.”

“In spite of himself,” she says. “Look what he’s wearing! He’s a perfectly capable man, and this is how he dresses himself. He’d wrap himself in barbed wire and keep-out signs if he could.”

“Ouch,” I say with a lightness that I don’t feel. I’m not used to being observed this closely. I’m usually the one who does the observing, and the rest of the world does the scrambling or preening or whatever. “My fashion choices are barbed wire around a spiny, repulsive-looking fish?” I ask. “And why would I want that?”

“Yeah!” Renata turns to Jada. “Why would he want to be a spiny, repulsive-looking fish?”

Jada eyes me. “I wonder.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


not work with dark mode