I’m posting this at midnight because I have something fun planned later today. Please come back to check it out!
In the meantime, enjoy.
The numbers on the pages meant nothing to Conor. He’d been staring at them for about ten minutes without reading them. The flowers should’ve arrived a couple of hours ago and he hadn’t heard a word. Of course, there was no reason she should call him, especially if she wasn’t in favor of him becoming a partner.
Douchey. She probably didn’t want anything to do with him.
And this wasn’t a romantic proposition. It was business. He was teaching an employee a lesson while getting to do a bit of entrepreneurship on the side. He’d never owned a small business. He’d started in stocks and run from there.
He had to keep reminding himself that he wouldn’t be running this business either. He’d be a silent partner. But maybe after some time…
He turned back to the papers on his desk. They were his monthly stock reports. He used to watch them daily, but that was years ago. It wasn’t nearly as exciting to watch them monthly. He needed a new challenge like Ma Charisse.
The door to his office flew open. Marie stormed in with his assistant Jack trying to run in front of her.
“Mr. Grishin is not to be disturbed.” Jack edged in front, but she pushed him aside.
Conor stood just as Marie approached his chair. “You bastard,” she said and tried to slap him.
Uninhibited by alcohol, he was able to catch her wrist before she hit his face. “What the hell is your problem?” He dragged her to the chair in front of his desk and shoved her down into it.
“I’m sorry Mr. Grishin. She just barged in…”
“It’s okay, Jack. You can go ahead and leave.”
He was a young man with blonde hair and a suit that fit like it’d been tailored. He narrowed his eyes at Marie, who flipped him off before he left.
“That was uncalled for,” said Conor. “Whatever your problem is with me, you don’t need to take it out on Jack.” He sat on the edge of his desk and glared down at her. To his surprise, she wore sneakers along with her jeans and a shirt she might’ve bought at Target. For some reason he imagined her being someone who never went out in anything so middle class.
“You couldn’t wait a day or two to romance my sister? You’ve made me look like a total loser.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You sent six dozen freaking roses to her at the salon.”
“That’s business not romance.”
Marie stood up. “That’s bullshit. You and I both know you like her.”
Anger flared. “I’m sorry if I caused problems for the escort service you have going with your dad, but I wasn’t the one who called things off last night.”
She slapped him and he made no move to stop her. It stung worse than last night. He rubbed his cheek but didn’t speak.
“What if I told you my father has asked me to take over her ownership of the salon, just so you won’t be anywhere near her. Would you still be interested in the silent partnership then?”
Conor hated how fast he went cold. He knew by her satisfied smirk that he’d paled.
He tried to bluff her like he’d been bluffing himself earlier. “It’d be fine. I’m bored. Working with a small business would be new. It’s something I’ve never done before. But I can’t believe for one second that she’d sign it over to you. She loves it too much.”
“You hardly know her. Maybe she hates it and wouldn’t care.”
He shook his head. “No way. I can tell by the details: the Versailles theme, the coffee, her skill. She’s not going to turn it over to anyone willingly. Do you and your father make a habit of bullying her into doing stuff?”
She shoved her hands against his shoulders but he didn’t budge. “You make me so mad!” She backed away and slouched into the chair.
Conor checked his watch. Only 2:15. Too long until the meeting with Charisse. He hoped Marie wasn’t planning on staying. He could still see why Marie had him so turned on last night, but the anticipation of seeing Charisse prevented a repeat of the erotic feelings. He frowned as she crossed her arms across her chest like she had no intention of going anywhere.
“Is there something else you want to vent to me about?”
Her toe tapped the floor, but she remained mute. He continued to stare at her until she spoke.
“Bullying or not, I could get Charisse to sign over all managerial tasks to me, which means you would be dealing directly with me and not her at all.”
This fucking family. Conor kept his face straight and walked around to sit in his chair. Sounded like they were about to negotiate. The afternoon sun blazed into his office, but the air conditioner was running high.
“And what do you want in exchange for not becoming the manager?”
She stared at her jeans and didn’t answer right away. She finally sat up straight and looked him right in the eye. “You said last night that you grew the roses yourself. Do you own the florist?”
His poker face slipped a bit when his eyebrows rose. “No, I use them as a distributor. And strictly speaking I don’t grow the roses I sell. I have horticulturalists on my land who do that.”
“Well, you’re not the only one looking to change his life. I want a job at your distributor doing floral design.”