The boss: (billionaire romance) (page 6)

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“Seriously?” Christine said. “Isn’t your own sister more important than some stupid job?”

“Sure,” Jamie said, pocketing her phone and grabbing her purse. “That’s why I’m going back to work before I kill you.” She blew her sister a kiss as Christine shouted a stream of disappointment at her.

Jamie had cut her commute time to the office a little tight. She ended up having to run from the bridal shop all the way to the office. She took the stairs to save waiting for the elevator and stopped outside her office, breathing hard. A wave of dizziness washed over her and she reached for the wall to steady herself. She blinked rapidly, trying to clear the fog and her blurry vision. As she tried to reach for the doorknob, she missed and stumbled, then everything went black.

“Ms. Connors? Jamie!”

Jamie gasped and sat up, only to seriously regret the sudden movement. She moaned and laid back down on the couch.Strange. She didn’t have a couch in her office. Only Alex had a couch in his office.

“Jamie?” Alex’s voice was clear as day now. He had to be very concerned if he was actually using her first name.Fan-fucking-tastic.“Are you all right?”

Jamie turned her head and opened her eyes slowly. Alex sat right in front of her, holding a glass of water. “Mr. Reid?”

“You fainted. Here.” He handed her the glass. “What happened?”

“I’m not quite sure.” She sat up slowly, grateful for the water. “I helped my sister with her wedding dress fitting and then had to rush back here. I must have taken the stairs too fast.”

Alex tilted his head slightly. “When’s the last time you ate?”

“Um,” Jamie thought back through all of the meal times she had had. “Lunch?”

He raised his eyebrows at her.

“Yesterday.”

He swore. “You’re probably dehydrated as well.” He motioned at the cup in her hand. “Drink some more.”

“I just haven’t had time.” She knew it was a lousy explanation. She hated excuses, probably more than Alex Reid did. She took a gulp of the water. “My sister—”

“Your sister can take care of her damn self for once!” He ran his fingers through his perfectly styled hair. “You’ve been here a week and even I notice how much she relies on you. It’s ridiculous! You’re not a doormat!” He sighed and lowered his voice. “Sorry for the outburst. But, you can’t take care of her so much that you’re unable to take care of yourself. Do you have any idea—” He closed his eyes and shook his head. Slowly he opened them, the bright blue oceans calm once more. At least on the surface. Jamie could tell something else was playing much farther down in what he was thinking. “I can’t have you not functioning at full capacity for me.” He stood. “From now on, you need to eat something—I don’t care what it is—every half hour. And you’re going to stay hydrated!”

“Every thirty minutes! That’s ridiculous.” Jamie swung her legs over the couch. “I’ll blow up like a balloon.”

“But you won’t faint.”

“This happened because I didn’t manage my time well and had to run upstairs. It has nothing to do with my eating habits.”

“It has everything to do with them!” Alex shouted. “And it has everything to do with you running yourself ragged trying to please everybody, including me! I don’t want anyone fainting because of me.”

Jamie flushed. “I hardly fainted because of you.” Her heart pounded, was she that obvious?

“You ran up the stairs to not be late, even though you are clearly exhausted and not feeling well. So yes, I am partially responsible for your fainting, even if indirectly.”

Jamie stood slowly, feeling a little more alert. “I’m sorry, sir.” She set the glass down on the table beside the couch. “But I can’t eat something every thirty minutes. I’ll stay hydrated and make an effort to eat meals, but I cannot afford to gain any more weight.”

“Why not?” Alex asked. “Why’s it so important to you?”

Jamie stared at him, expecting disdain or mocking, but all she saw was genuine curiosity. That made her tell him the truth against her better judgement. “I won’t be my sister’s maid of honor if I don’t lose weight,” she said.

“You’re kidding.”

Jamie shook her head. “Christine told me that upfront. She’s ordering a size six maid of honor dress, which either I’ll wear if I lose weight or her best friend, who’s already a six, will.”

“Unbelievable!” Alex shook his head and threw his hands in the air. “Your sister sounds like a bitch.”

Jamie stared at him in surprise. “Excuse me?”

“Sorry. But that’s ridiculous.”

She grinned, thankful someone else thought the same way as her. “I know, but it’s my family.”

“Well, you need to eat.” He grabbed his phone and began texting someone. “I shouldn’t have been keeping you here every night so late. I forget you haven’t been here very long and you’ve stepped into the job so easily. I hired you to have a PA available twenty-four/seven. Which you do with no argument. However, we can work from the house, that’s the bloody reason I had the suite set up. MacBane is going to start making meals for you as well.”

“Sir—”

“No arguments. He’s my chef, and an extremely good one. I’ll have him prepare your lunch and dinners from now on.”

She felt like she was being spoiled and reprimanded at the same time. “I’ve had Murray’s steak and mushroom pie. It’s a wee bit of heaven stuffed inside clouds of pie crust.” She licked her lips, her stomach rumbling in agreement.

“Who’s Murray?”

“Murray MacBane. Your chef.”

“Oh, I didn’t know his first name was Murray. Interesting.”

“What is?”

He looked up as he set his phone back on the clip of his belt. “His company is Mm. I always thought it meant his cooking was so good, like Mmmm.”

She giggled. “Really?” Then she quickly dropped the smile when he looked at her straight faced. “Murray’s—MacBane’s food is delicious but it’s not going to help me lose weight.”

“I’ve already let him know you want salads and lighter side foods for dinner. He’ll take care of everything.”

“Oh.” What was she supposed to say? “Okay. Uh, thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Take it easy for the rest of today. If you feel ill, just let me know and I’ll get my driver to take you home.”

“I’ll be fine. Thanks again.” She started to head back to her office.

Alex cleared his throat.

“Yes?” She paused halfway across the room.

“Don’t forget to stay hydrated.” He came around and walked over to the couch, picking up her glass of water and handing it to her.

“Yes, sir.” Jamie looked at him, sure that he was going to fire her just for being a pain in the ass. She clearly didn’t really make his life easier if she was fainting all over the place. She paused at the door between their two offices. “Thank you, sir. I promise this won’t happen again.”

As she turned to leave, Alex called out to her, “Jamie?”

She turned back around to face him. “Yes, Mr. Reid?”

“Eating a snack every thirty minutes is still non-negotiable. If your sister objects to you being her maid of honor over something as trivial as a dress size, then she clearly doesn’t deserve you,” he said.

Jamie gritted her teeth and nodded. “Yes, sir,” she said, and then left. He clearly didn’t understand the importance of dress size. It wasn’t trivial at all.

Chapter 9

The thirty minute timer went off and Jamie stopped typing long enough to turn it off and grab a piece of celery from the Mason jar on her desk. She took a bite of it as she reset the timer and went back to work. She never liked celery, but it was really just a lot of water in plant form and apparently people could burn more calories eating it than they really consumed. It met Alex’s silly requirement of eating something every half hour, and it gave Jamie a small hope of fitting into the maid of honor dress.

“Where’s Alex?” Annette’s voice pierced Jamie’s train of thought and she turned away from her computer screen, doing her best to not look like she was ready to murder someone.

Jamie saved what she was working on. “He’s in his office right now.”

“Good!” Annette barged through Jamie’s office and paused before she stepped through Alex’s door. “Oh, could you run down and get me a coffee? Three cream and two sugars. Make sure you get it at Starbucks, and not some other place.”

Jamie blinked in surprise. She set down the rest of her celery. “Okay,” she said slowly.

Annette wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Make sure you wash your hands before you get it. I don’t want my coffee cup to smell like celery pieces.”

The office door opened and Alex stepped through, bumping into Annette and sending her crashing to the floor. “Annette! Sorry, I didn’t see you!” He bent down to help her up.

She rubbed her ankle still inside her long four-inch heels. “I don’t think I can walk.”

Alex slipped his arms around her and picked her up. He carried her into his office.

Annette wrapped her arms dramatically around his neck and rested her head against his shoulder. “Alex, I’m so glad you’re in,” she whimpered. “It’s been forever since we’ve talked and I wanted to see you.”

“Let’s make sure that ankle of yours is all right. I’ve got ice in my office.” Alex walked back to the door he’d just come through. “I’m extremely busy.”

“I’ll take what I can get, even at the risk of getting hurt.” Annette pointed to her ankle. She turned and smiled at Jamie. “Thank yousomuch for getting me coffee.”

“You’re getting her coffee?” Alex asked.

“She was kind enough to offer it to me,” Annette said.

Please, bitch, like I don’t see through you.Jamie smiled back politely.

Alex looked at her for a long time. “I see,” he said finally. “Actually, this is perfect, Jamie. I have a few things for you to pick up. Hold on a minute.” He carried Annette into his office and set her down on the couch before heading to his desk and grabbing a pen and notepad. He scribbled something down before wrapping it in a one hundred dollar bill. “Thank you,” he said to her and then closed the door.

Jamie nodded and stared blankly at the wooden door. How could he not see through Annette’s act? She sighed and moved to her desk to switch her snack alarm off and head for the stairs. As she stepped outside she checked his note, hoping whatever Mr. Reid wanted was close to a Starbucks.

––––––––

Jamie,

Grab a coffee for yourself too, and keep the change.

For the record, you’re my assistant, not Annette’s.

Alex

Jamie smiled and then quickly squashed it. Alex had been unusually nice since she fainted and he had stopped addressing her so formally. He probably loved saving a damsel in distress. Annette had just been perfectly set up.

Jamie sighed. He pitied her. Mr. Reid felt sorry Jamie was so insecure. If she could change it, she would. It was just the way she was. She didn’t want his pity, and even though the extra money could be put toward her sister’s wedding gift, she wouldn’t take it.

She walked to the closest Starbucks, even though it was a block farther than a perfectly delicious coffee shop. Inside she ordered two coffees. Someone tapped on her shoulder and she turned to see Gina.

Gina smiled. “Hey,” she said. “On a coffee run as well?” They hadn’t seen each other much the past few days with the business of work, Jamie following Alex to meetings, and spending more time in his office than her own.

Jamie shook her head. “Annette came into the office and asked for coffee.”

Gina rolled her eyes. “I’ll deny it if you ever tell anyone, but I hate that bitch.”

Jamie ordered the specialty coffee and just a decaf for herself. She grinned at Gina. “She told me to wash my hands so her cup wouldn’t smell like celery. She came through my office to get to Mr. Reid’s office.”

“Why would she do that? She can go through the main office entrance.”

“Maybe no one was there,” Jamie suggested.

Gina shook her head. “There’s always someone there. If I’m not, Sarah from downstairs comes up to cover for me. That desk is never left unattended. She did it just so she could bug you.”

“Well, Mr. Reid came through our inner office entrance and bumped into her. She fell and he had to carry her to his office to check her ankle.”

“She’s ridiculously high maintenance. Alex should just dump her. He doesn’t even like her anymore.”

Jamie raised her eyebrows. It was not any of her business whether or not Alex’s relationship was on the rocks, but she was interested all the same.Just because I hate Annette. Not for any other reason.“Why did they start dating in the first place? They seem like complete opposites.” Great, now she was gossiping, the one thing she hated.

Gina looked at her strangely. “Actually, I think they’re pretty similar,” she said. “They started dating about a year ago, but both are so career oriented they never had the time to get serious. I’m pretty sure they use each other for fucking and for dates when they’re lonely, or they’re going to some work event and that’s it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I think Annette wants more. Alex is so focused on work he doesn’t even see how annoyed he is every time she walks into the room.”

It seemed pretty obvious to Jamie, but she wasn’t about to admit it out loud. Her job did not include talking about the boss and she had a pretty good idea Alex wouldn’t appreciate it. Her coffee order came up and she walked to pick the two cups up.

Gina followed her and then looked around as if there were possible eavesdropping employees around every corner. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but is there something going on between you and Alex?”

“What?” Jamie felt her cheeks heat up. “Of course not!”

“Good,” Gina said. “Just making sure. There are some rumors going around the office.”

“Why would anyone think that?” Jamie kept everything completely professional, except mentioning her sister, and maybe the time she passed out. But that didn’t give cause for people to start jumping to conclusions. Plus, she was completely not his type.

“Well, the two of you have been staying late at the office just about every night, you leave at the same time, and he does call you by your first name.”

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