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Butt-dialing the Billionaire: Chapter 37


I step off the elevators the next morning nice and early, ready to work. Today’s shirt is black with white triangles and lots of neon-pink dots.

The office is nearly empty, though Varsha is there, poised and proper, concentrating on looking at my nose instead of my mole. “How was your night?”

“I made it through,” I say. “And I haven’t been consumed from the face inward by the carnivorous plague yet, so that’s good news.”

“Oh! Umm…”

“Like a Venus flytrap, right on my cheek.”

Her face is red. “It’s not that bad.”


Frantically, she nudges her dish of saltwater taffies toward me.

I grin and take one and head back to my cubicle, passing by the accounting section. I rap on the top edge of Dave’s cubicle. “Good morning,” I say.

“Dude. Kill me now. Spreadsheet implosion.” He holds up a finger. “Not my fault. I think Bert rebooted something.”

I wince. “Can I do anything?”

“Thanks, man,” he says surprised. “I don’t think so, but…I’ll let you know. A little wastepaper b-ball later…”

“You’re on.” I return to my station and busy myself with my spreadsheets, looking at the roster of deliveries and miscellaneous chores I need to do today.

People start to drift in.

I didn’t plan to come in. For a long time last night, my mind spun on what to do next. What racetrack, what city, what residence. I spent time angry that Jada didn’t want my help. Until I thought through a few things; I even did what I think people call introspection.

Renata arrives, complaining about having wet socks from a slush puddle that didn’t look deep and was. She tells me she used to keep an extra pair of socks in her drawer, but she wore them, and she didn’t re-up.

A pair of socks sails through the air. Shondrella pops her head up from her cubicle like a groundhog with skunk hair. She smiles and pops back down.

“That works!” Renata whispers. She’s on her phone, probably texting her thanks to Shondrella.


I look up. It’s Jada. “Good morning,” I say.

She blinks, standing in front of my cubicle. “What are you doing here?”

“I have deliveries to do. The inventory system is still a mess. Dave may need a mental health break from his spreadsheet implosion—ten minutes of wastepaper b-ball, at least. Varsha’s gopher list items aren’t gonna cross themselves out.”

She narrows her eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“Look…” I lower my voice. “Last night you said you didn’t like my help. You were right—my help sucked. You don’t want a replacement family; you want this one. I get it—this family’s a good one. We’re gonna have to turn this orders situation around.”

“What about the whole lost-cause thing?”

“I don’t love it,” I say. “Not a fan.”

“You hate that it’s a lost cause, but you still came to help.”

Needed—I needed to come fight by her side, all of their sides, with their sad sandwiches and ugly knit hats and dead plants and cookies.

She smiles. It does things to me.

“Also, the idea of leaving you all to your own devices, pathetically trying to rescue this place, it was too—”

“Thank you.”

“What’s more, there’s still that spectacular last demerit on the table. A nice, well-placed left hook? Take a certain somebody out for a little while?”

“Don’t! You’ll be fired or go to jail. You’ll be sent back to Europe. And we really do need you,” she says. “Plus, brute force. So idiotic.”

“Is that a no?”

“Shut it.” She sets her chin on the edge of my cubicle. “I’m glad you’re here.”

“Me, too.”

She gets a playful gleam in her eyes. “Okay, then. And FYI, I’m not gonna say anything about you-know-what. It’s your thing to reveal yourself. But just so you know, if you tell one person, everybody will find out.”

“Appreciate it. And I don’t know if this will work, but I have a new idea,” I say.

She narrows her eyes. “It had better not rhyme with parting a pew pompany.

“No! Look, here’s the deal—you guys are always talking about getting influencers to wear your yoga stuff. I was thinking about Unicorn Wonderbag, the luxury idea you had.”

“Yeah. I was looking into it, too. My friend Tabitha is gonna try to do something, but she’s not officially retail herself. She is gonna try to talk to some retailers, though.”

“This might help. There are these socialites I know in Europe. One is the princess of a nation state you’ve never heard of and the other is this duchess that does a lot of skydiving, and they’re both named Genevieve. I looked them up last night to see if they have a social media following—”

“Wait, the two Genevieves? They’re huge luxury influencers. Oh my god—are you friends with them?”

“Oh, no. They hate me.”

Her face falls.

“With a passion,” I say. “But I was talking to Arnold after you left, and he helped me remember that sometimes people who despise me are inspired to do things out of how much they despise me. And those two owe me a favor. I got them out of a jam one time—”

“You helped them?”

“Sort of. But it’s more like I thought it would be funny for them to owe me a favor. And of course I never cashed in, because why would I when I have the delight of knowing they hate that I can dangle this favor over their heads?”

“What happened?”

“Just a compromising situation I got them out of, and they begged me to stay quiet about it. The point is, they owe me.”

“Okay, but let me just say one thing here. If you never cash in on it, what’s the difference between that and doing something out of the goodness of your heart?”

“Because it’s different,” I inform her. “Anyway, I’m thinking I could cash in on that favor. If you have a couple of those bags to overnight to them, I could make sure they carry them at the Monte Carlo Fash Bash.”

Her eyes widen. “They would do that? Wait—the Fash Bash is this weekend.”

“It would be a hell of a courier bill, but if we could get two bags on a plane by lunch, they could be delivered to their hotel by the time those sloths wake up.”

She straightens. “They would each carry a Unicorn Wonderbag?”

“People hate being under my thumb.”

She blinks, as though barely comprehending. “We’d have to upgrade the fabric. Get beautiful packaging.”

“I thought you had prototypes ready.”

“Oh my god, these are the two Genevieves! If we’re making a luxury version of Wonderbag, a few things have to change.”

There’s a flurry of activity over the next two hours while the design team sources high-end fabric and sews new prototypes based on the original design. Shondrella and Varsha create gift boxes. Lacey works on the lining. They send out for custom, enamel-resin unicorn zipper pulls. They’re all very excited about the zipper pulls.

A Bert alert goes through the office at around ten. They manage to hide the bags just as he storms into the office. He’s got some angry words for Dave and the design accounting group, and then he checks in with Renata on something.

I watch Bert strut around. He could really ruin our plans. It’s literally his job. He slows near Jada up at the design area.

I grit my teeth. The urge to get up and stand menacingly as a wall of support near Jada is nearly irresistible, but she doesn’t want that. I have to respect her wishes to not do brute force things. I can be a hardworking man who lets things slide off his back.

He continues on to Shondrella, then Renata. He seems to be asking her questions.

I wince.

Jada melts back into her cubicle and slips the bags into her drawer. “Dammit,” she whispers. “He might see the fabric buy.”

But then he leaves. The relief is nearly palpable, so much so that I high-five Jada, and then Dave.

Shondrella brings over the boxes and packs them up.

“I don’t understand how you could’ve even met the two Genevieves,” Renata says. “Did you fix their car or something?” Nobody can believe the two Genevieves would owe Jack the office-gopher-slash-delivery-assistant a favor.

“State secret,” I say.

“So chivalrous,” Lacey says.

“You’re going to have to pay cash or credit for the courier,” Renata says. “It could be hundreds, but we’ll pay you back.”

“He’ll figure it out,” Jada says.

We take the boxes down to the truck. She sets one on the passenger seat and taps it. “Good luck.”

“People are going to love them,” I say.

“It’s like getting a mention in InStyle.” She turns to me. “Is this going to cost me?”

“Nope,” I say. “I’m not playing that.”

She frowns and toys with a button on my shirt. “Not even…” She looks up.

I kiss her. “I’ll pick you up at seven.”

Her face brightens. “Any hints on the dress code?”

“Where we’re going, baby, it won’t matter. You might as well go with something warm and practical.”

She grins ear to ear. “If you insist.”


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