The boss: (billionaire romance) (page 5)

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“The third week of June,” Jamie said. “I thought...”

“What? That I was invited? I may be friends with Stephen from college but I’m not that close to him.” Alex looked at her intently. “Trust me.”

Jamie swallowed and nodded. She wasn’t sure what to make of Alex’s expression. Unless he was mad at Stephen on her behalf or something. She wasn’t sure why he would be, but the thought was nice.Stop it. Whatever you’re thinking about, just stop it.She was definitely too tired to be near people right now. Her thoughts were going every which way.

“I have a gym in the house.”

“Pardon?”

“Gina mentioned she showed you the gym at the office.” He ran his tongue over his lower lip. “If you want to use a gym and don’t feel comfortable there, I have one here in the house. You are welcome to use it anytime.”

“Oh.” Great, now he was going to push her to lose weight?

“I don’t mean it in any way. You look okay. Fine.” His cheeks flushed red. “I just meant to offer the quietness here if you ever wanted it... before the wedding and stuff. It’s the room beside your apartment. The code to get in is one-four-nine-six. Top left, down, Right bottom up.”

Jamie wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. She nodded, unable to say anything, terrified she’d burst into tears. She gratefully stopped in front of her apartment door. “Well, this is me,” she said lamely.Of course he knows it’s your place.She took a deep breath in and let it out, hoping she didn’t embarrass herself again. Not in front of him. “Goodnight, Mr. Reid.”

He smiled at her. “Goodnight, Ms. Connors.”

His smile made her stomach flip and before she completely humiliated herself, she opened the door and quickly shut it in Alex’s face.

Yeah, that wasn’t humiliating at all.

Chapter 7

The next morning, after a restless night, Jamie got up an hour early and dug through one of her boxes for some workout clothes. “I’m not doing this for Christine, or my mother, or Alex Reid,” she told herself. “I’m just doing it because I want to see what the gym looks like. I’ll just peek around and spend twenty minutes on a treadmill.”

She yawned, feeling like a zombie that hadn’t started rotting yet.There’s no way I got enough sleep last night.Didn’t lack of sleep also affect weight loss? It definitely wasn’t healthy. Shouldn’t she be losing weight in a healthy way? “Doesn’t matter, not right now. Exercise will wake me up.”

She set a skirt and blouse on her bed and dug through the laundry hamper she had filled with shoes for a pair of sneakers. She slipped out the door, wondering if she should lock it as she stared out into what should overlook the pool. The sun did not rise at four, it wanted to sleep.

The cool morning air did little to wake her up. She checked her messages on the short walk to the gym door. There were five more calls from Christine and three from her mother. Even one call from Stephen and a text message from her father. Apparently she had one day of work and the entire world fell apart. She opened the text message from her dad as she stood outside the gym door.

Jamie, honey, I think you need to come home. Your mother and sister are freaking out. Maybe this new job of yours should wait until after the wedding.

Jamie blinked back tears. He had been the only one excited for her. Even if it was for just a few seconds, he had been, and now he was telling her to quit like everyone else.He’s just saying that because he can’t handle mom when she’s hysterical.Nevertheless, it still hurt.

She sent him a simple reply.I’m doing great. All is well and I’ll call Mom and Christine later today.

She shoved her phone into her gym bag that held a water bottle and towel. She made a mental note to make sure she stopped at the grocery store on the way to and from work today.

Luckily the gym was unlocked. Jamie went in and lights flickered automatically on. The place was nearly as big as the gym at the office, with more mirrors than a ballet studio. If she’d been half asleep before, she was fully awake now.

She looked around and dropped her bag to the floor. She might as well do something. Half the equipment looked like machines built to traumatize or kill people. She settled for the treadmill. Safe and not a killing machine. She was so tired she almost tripped getting on. Luckily she was alone.

Jamie turned on the treadmill, thinking about how she was going to have to call her sister back and wondering what she was going to say. By this point her mother and Christine had no doubt gotten together and had a huge discussion on how Jamie was a terrible sister. She could just imagine the words; let down, unreliable, selfish, and so forth. Stephen would join in, and twist it to make himself look like the generous brother-in-law who had been coerced into helping her find a job.

As she was envisioning the conversation she pressed the up button on the treadmill to get it started and adjust the speed. She rubbed her eyes, yawned, and stepped on. She wasn’t prepared for the speed on the machine, though, and as soon as she put her left leg on, it swung back and she tried to run with her right foot and grab the handrails to stop herself.

No. Such. Luck.

Her weight shifted but could not keep up with the moving path. She whipped her head back just as her body was flung backwards, across the gym. Arms and legs flailing everywhere until her back rammed into something hard.

The wall.

Right at Alex Reid’s feet.

Fucking. Hell.

“Good morning, Ms. Connors,” Alex said, frowning at her. “Are you all right?”

Jamie scrambled to her feet, ignoring his outstretched hand ready to help her up. “Good morning, Mr. Reid,” she said, her face burning from embarrassment and exertion. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”Not at four thirty in the morning.

“I’ve heard exercise reduces stress. Sometimes I need all the help I can get.”

“Oh. Of course.” Jamie made herself look at his face instead of at his gray t-shirt that showed off his muscles and made him look like a Greek god and a normal human all at once. “Well, I just finished. Enjoy your workout,” she said, nodding and then walking with as much dignity as possible after what happened and grabbed her bag before scurrying out of the gym. She didn’t bother turning off the treadmill.

Maybe next time she’d try after work and just stick to the basics. The treadmills were dangerous killing machines, they’d just tried to fool her by appearing simple and easy to use.

“There’s a call for you on line two, Jamie,” Gina called as she passed by her office door.

Jamie never took her eyes off the press release she was writing as she grabbed the phone. “Hello, Reid Enterprises.”

“Jamie!” Christine’s shrill voice pierced through the receiver. “I need you right now! You need to come over here right this instant!”

“I can’t, Christine,” Jamie said. “I told you, you can’t call me when I’m working.”

Christine sobbed over the phone. “I need help,” she cried. “The wedding dress just came in and it makes me look like a prostitute.”

“I’m sure it’s fine. Talk it over with the seamstress.” Jamie slipped a pen in her mouth as she marked off what she’d needed in the release. “I’m sure you look beautiful. Look, I’ll call you after I get out of work.”

“But—”

Jamie hung up and covered her face with her hands, sighing. She wasn’t sure if losing twenty pounds was worth being the maid of honor when it was already a bitch of a job as it was.Damn, I want pie, right now.

“Is everything all right, Ms. Connors?” Alex stood near her desk.

Jamie jumped slightly. She hadn’t even heard him leave his office. “Yes.” She pressed her lips into a thin line. “I’m afraid my sister found the number to here. I don’t suppose there’s a persona non grata list or something we can put her on? Otherwise, I have a feeling she’ll be tying up the phone lines trying to reach me.” Thankfully he hadn’t mentioned anything about literally bumping into him at the gym this morning. Her lower back couldn’t forget it though.

Alex looked at her thoughtfully. “I’m sure something can be set up.” He checked his phone, which ironically buzzed the same time as Jamie’s new work phone. “Isn’t there anyone else who can help her with her wedding?”

“I believe so,” Jamie said and then shook her head. “It’s my fault. I told her I would be her maid of honor.”

“Most maids of honor I’ve met have jobs and lives of their own,” he said dryly.

Jamie shrugged. “I’m sorry.” If she lost this job because of Christine, she wouldn’t need a maid of honor, Christine would be needing a pall bearer. “I’ll talk to her. I’ll try and keep her from calling me so often.”

“I’m not sure you can get her to see reason.” Alex laughed. “If she’s anything like your mother.”

Jamie’s head shot up to look at Alex. “You know my mother?”

“She’s called me three times today to tell me to fire you.” Alex’s face gave nothing away.

“Shit,” Jamie muttered. She was going to have to kill her family. Over and over. Then go to jail for murder. Either way she was going to lose her job. “Mr. Reid, I will definitely understand if you need to... let me go.” She sighed. “My family alone makes more hassle than necessary and if I’m not mistaken, a personal assistant is supposed to take away some of the hassle.”

“You’re right,” Alex said. “A personal assistant is supposed to take away the hassle.” He paused and she leaned forward, anticipating what he was going to say next. “And that is exactly what you’ve done.”

Shock ran through Jamie’s body. He actually thought she was worth something, even with her mother begging him to fire her? Even after that embarrassing scene in the gym that clearly said incompetence like nothing else? “R-really?”

“Yes,” he said, smiling. “Yesterday was the easiest work day I have had in a long time. And clearly you’re a good personal assistant if your sister wants you as her wedding planner-PA thing this badly. Believe me, I’ve no intention of firing you.”

Jamie smiled, still not sure what she should do with the praise. “Thank you, Mr. Reid. I’m glad I can be of use to you.”

“You are of a lot of use to me,” he said. “I hope you keep up the good work.”

Jamie found herself blushing and really wished she was wearing a pound of foundation on her face to hide it. “Thank you, Mr. Reid,” she said again, wishing she could find something more intelligent to say. She looked at him, unsure if that’s all he wanted or not, and was unsure how to ask him.

Alex blinked as if falling out of a trance. “Oh, uh, dry cleaning? Can you pick it up?”

Jamie got up and went to the coat closet in the corner of her room and opened the door, pulling out two dry cleaned suits. “I picked these up during my lunch break,” she said. “I wasn’t sure when you would need them, so I figured the sooner I got them, the better.”

“Thank you!” He grinned as he took the suits. “Remember, I’ll need that press release in fifteen minutes, and please message the IT department for an update on the website bug.”

“Right away, sir,” Jamie said. She turned back to her desk as he went into his office and she smiled. Maybe she wasn’t screwing up as bad as she thought after all.

Chapter 8

“Look, I told you,” Jamie said to her sister. “I’ll help you on the weekends and after work when I can.” Jamie sighed. “Can’t you see how important this job is to me?”

“Can’t you see how important this wedding is tome?” Christine whined. “Tighter,” she snapped at the seamstress. “I don’t want to be mistaken for my sister because the bodice is too big.”

Jamie rolled her eyes and reclined against the dark blue armchair meant for guests during the fittings. “I thought you were worried about looking like a prostitute,” she mumbled.

“There’s a difference between looking like a prostitute and not looking like I’m morbidly obese,” Christine said. “Speaking of which, how is your diet going? It looks like you’ve broken it a few times.”

Jamie was beyond tired of Christine’s comments. “I’m not morbidly obese. If I lose twenty pounds, I’ll be like a size six, maybe an eight, tops. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that size.” She stared at her sister’s reflection in the mirror. “Actually, I lost five pounds. Not that you would notice, wrapped up in your self-absorbed little world.”

Christine gasped.

Jamie took a deep breath to calm herself. “Sorry,” she said. “I’m just stressed from work.”And helping you with the wedding.

“That was incredibly mean.” Christine pouted. “I could’ve told you getting a job during such an important time in my life was stupid. I have maybe six months to organize and there’s no way you’ll get everything done in t—Ow!” She glared at the seamstress. “You stabbed me with a pin on purpose.”

“No ma’am,” the seamstress said submissively. “You moved.”

Christine huffed and the seamstress grinned quickly before catching herself. Jamie watched the seamstress, impressed the woman hadn’t “accidentally” stabbed Christine earlier with the way Christine was making a fool of herself.

“How’re the invitations coming along?” Christine asked.

“I sent the last of them out on my lunch break yesterday,” Jamie said. “I also emailed you the final plans about the honeymoon, including airfare, the resort, and even a rental car reserved for you. Believe it or not, I’m not totally useless, even when I am employed.” Hadn’t Stephen said he was going to take care of the honeymoon? Funny how he’d turned around and put it on her.

“You’d be a hell of a lot more useful if you had more time,” Christine snapped. “Living with Mom and Dad also helped. You were at a convenient location. Instead you have to be incredibly selfish and move to your own place.”

“The apartment came with the job.” Christine hadn’t even bothered to come by or ask where she was living. They could be neighbours and she probably wouldn’t notice. Stephen, on the other hand, would probably be over in the drop of a dime if he knew she was living in a suite connected to Alex’s massive house.

Jamie smiled. Christine could insult her and her job all she wanted, but Jamie was never going to regret getting employed by Alex Reid. It had been over a week since he had told her she was good at her job, but it still rang in her ears as if he had said it minutes ago. Was she really this pathetic and needing to please that a couple of sentences of praise could leave her glowing for so long? It didn’t matter. Even though she still didn’t have time to unpack her things and she rarely got more than six hours of sleep a night, it felt so good to be working again. Just then her phone rang with her alarm set for five minutes before her lunch break ended. She got up. “I’ve got to get back to work.”

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