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“Don’t even think about touching my new assistant.”
I manage to behave … barely … until it’s time for our first business trip.
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I took a deep breath, rolled my shoulders back, and allowed myself one more look in the mirror. Yes, I looked fine – and no, I couldn’t find a single reason to linger about in the hallway of my apartment for even a minute longer. I was stalling.
I wasn’t sure why my nerves had suddenly overwhelmed me so late in the game. I’d had weeks of notice leading up to this moment, ample opportunity to work off all the nervous energy that had crept up on me in the last half-hour.
No, my stupid anxiety had to choose right this instant to reveal itself, and here I was trying to calm down minutes before I had to get out the door and show up for my first day of work at Artemis Tech.
I still couldn’t believe I’d landed the job. I had spent months looking for something and after so much rejection I decided it couldn’t hurt to apply for the position, even though I was certain they would take one look at my resume and toss it in the trash.
I was a business graduate without a single minute of secretarial experience clocked, let alone any that would qualify me to work alongside one of the biggest names in the business world right now.
Even when they had called me in for the interview, I convinced myself it had to be some kind of mistake.
I sat down opposite the woman in charge of hiring, and I guess my complete lack of confidence and hope relaxed me enough to leave a good impression. I got the offer two weeks later. Go figure.
I kept my cool long enough to accept the offer and write down a few details, but as soon as the woman from Artemis’ HR department hung up, I dropped my phone, punched the air, squealed and collapsed back into the couch, relieved that the search for gainful employment was finally over..
My roommate Katya having heard the commotion, walked in with a furrowed brow.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“I got a job,” I said, still dumfounded. “I got a job!”
“Oh, shit!” she said, cocking her head and grinning. She was well aware that my savings were almost completely depleted, so the news was as much a relief to her as it was to me.
“Where’s the job?”
“Artemis Tech,” I said, shaking my head in disbelief.
Her eyes bugged out of her head, and I was sure I saw a flash of jealousy pass across her face. Still, she reached out to pat my shoulder.
“Well, congratulations.” she offered, and turned to go back to her bedroom.
I knew this was as much of a surprise to her as it was to me. Artemis Tech was the company everyone dreamed of working for.
Oliver Paulson had created the kind of career everyone in my graduating class could only dream of, a start-up business he launched straight out of college. And he spent every waking hour since then working his ass off to turn his baby into a world-dominating enterprise.
Now, I would be working alongside him.
My heart jolted again. I fished my phone out from between the couch cushions and dialed my mom. I wanted to share my news with someone who wouldn’t think I was gloating.
That was a month and a half ago, and I had spent a very lean six weeks doing every bit of research on the company I could manage. I learned the history of Artemis Tech back-to-front, scouring over as many profiles of Oliver as I could get my hands on and reading up desperately on advice from people who’d worked as secretaries in companies like the one I would be starting at.
I signed my contracts, guaranteeing me six months at the company, and spent most of my nights staring at the ceiling, wondering what it would be like to work near someone like Oliver Paulson. I had repeated his name so many times in my head, it almost lost its meaning. Oliver Paulson. O-li-ver Paul-son.
He was kind of hot. I had to admit that. Maybe it was because he held the future of my career in his hands, but I found myself gazing a little too long over pictures of him in the profiles. I noticed his sharp jaw and expensive suits, wondering if he had chosen his hair style because he knew how chiseled it made his cheekbones look.
He was about fifteen years older than me, but that didn’t matter. One of the reasons I’d avoided dating through college was because I found so many of my classmates to be immature and irritating. The thought of someone who worked hard, ran his own company, and was already a stone-cold success was deeply attractive to me.
I did my best to keep those kinds of thoughts from my head. I knew it would be crazy to think for even a second that someone like him would give me the time of day.