But that was the last birthday I ever bought something for her. Over the next few days, she dismissed me, throwing me out like yesterday’s trash. Anytime I tried talking to her, she’d ignore me or walk away. By the time school started back up, we were no longer friends at all. I was a freshman in high school and she was still in middle school. Between working on the weekends and practices, we barely even saw each other in passing.
I pull into the parking lot and sit in my car a moment stewing on the flashback that resurfaced. I think about how different things would’ve been had I told her.
A text from Drew interrupts my thoughts.
Dude, what are your plans this weekend?
I almost want to tell him, the plan is to fuck with his sister, but…well that wouldn’t be kosher.
No plans, other than getting laid, I reply back with a smug smile.
Glad to know nothing’s changed in the few days I’ve been gone. Come to the lake this weekend. We’re heading up early Friday. It’ll be fun.
I think about Viola staying at our house alone and I’m not sure I approve of that. She can take care of herself, but I’d rather be here if something happened.
It’s you and Mia’s weekend to be alone. Enjoy it, dude.
One minute we’re happy and the next minute we aren’t. Dunno what’s going on. I think having people here will be better.
I’m no longer smiling. Drew loves Mia and would do anything for her. I don’t like to hear things aren’t going as planned. If you want me there, I’ll be there.
Good. I do. Travis to the rescue. I’m going to invite Viola too. Don’t worry, I’ll force her to be nice. I’m hoping she can get info from Mia. Be my recon.
Fine. Do you ever stop working? You should be a detective, not a cop. I laugh as I hit send then force myself to get out of the car.
I enter the building, taking the stairs two at a time because I want to feel my body being pushed to the edge. Once on my floor, I walk past the administrative assistant’s desk and give her a smile before I go to my office. As soon as I boot up my computer, Blake storms in without knocking.
“King.” He takes a sip of his coffee.
I’m really not in the mood for his bullshit today but I put on a fake smile and wait.
“Crawford was impressed with your reporting. He actually asked if you could see him as soon as you arrived this morning.” Blake’s face is glum, and I know it chaps his ass that I received any sort of recognition.
“Like right now?”
Blake nods his head before walking away annoyed. I drop everything and make my way to the tenth floor, where the executive offices are. I’m trying to gain control of myself as I knock on the closed door. My palms are sweaty and I can’t remember the last time that happened.
“Come in,” a rough voice says from the other side.
I put on a smile and open the door and see Sloan sitting behind his desk in a nicely tailored suit. His white hair is slicked to the side and his face is cleanly shaven. As I step in, I see Alyssa sitting in front of her Daddy’s oak desk. My mood instantly drops. She turns and looks at me and gives me a wink. I don’t let the smile on my face falter. I have to push our secret aside and be strictly professional.
“Sit, son.” Sloan is the type of man who doesn’t waste time so for him to even offer a pause before speaking freaks me the hell out. Alyssa crosses her legs, her skirt riding up her thigh and leans toward me when I sit. I shift my body away from her trying to make it unapparent.
“I’ve given Alyssa the digital division of the European account.”
I wait, because I know this isn’t what I was called up here for. There’s more coming.
“But she insists this account should be a co-project and that you’d be the perfect candidate. I looked over the reporting you completed Friday, and I have to agree with her assessment.”
Alyssa is playing games and her father is putty in her hand. He smiles at her proudly, and I know she has his balls in one hand and mine in the other. But this isn’t the type of project a person refuses so I suck up the bullshit and smile. I guess we will be partners. The thought makes me sick.
“Travis is going to be so helpful. I’m really excited for him to join me on this project, Sloan.”
In professional settings, Alyssa is known for calling her father by his first name. I’ve always found it odd, but he smiles at his daughter, his only child, the one who will inherit it all if she can prove herself to the company. We both want and need recognition in this industry, though I don’t like the idea of it, I’ll do whatever is necessary because I do deserve this opportunity. I’ve worked countless late nights and weekends over the last year with little recognition from Blake. This could be my only chance.