“I don’t know what you’re up to, Oz, but I’m going to be late.” I turn to him, and his face is sheepish. He already tried to make me late by pouncing on me this morning when I was getting dressed. Then he insisted on dragging me back up to his home to pick out a tie for him to wear, all while mumbling we wouldn’t have to do this if I moved my stuff in already.

“Oz?” I say hesitantly when he won’t look at me. “What’s going on? What did you do?” He tenses a little, making me worry more.


The elevator shoots to the top floor and the doors slide open. His administrative assistant, Jay, is at her desk, and stops writing furiously when she hears us arrive.

“Mr. Osbourne, Ms. Sullivan,” she says in greeting, standing and nodding to us. “The offices have been moved and are in place.”

“Thanks, Mrs. Rose.”

The admin smiles brightly and sits down, going back to scribbling away once again.

Oz takes my hand and leads me to the right, away from the double doors of his office.

“Oz, where are we going?” I ask as he pulls me down the hallway, making me wonder if anyone will see. People have got to be noticing that we seem to be together a lot, but I haven’t heard any whispers yet. I’m guessing no one would say anything to me. And his administrative assistant seems to know.

At the end of the short hall is another set of double doors, and Oz opens them wide. There are two desks facing one another in the middle of a large, window-lined room. Sitting at one of the desks is Skyler, tapping away on her computer.

“What the…” I say, and Skyler turns to look at us.

“I like the view a lot better up here, so don’t get all sassy yet,” she says, cutting me off, clearly enjoying the office change.

I turn to Oz, who shrugs, and I give him a death stare.

“Perhaps you can give us a moment of privacy, Skyler?” I ask, not taking my eyes off Oz.

“Sure, I’ll go grab a Diet Coke from the cold Keurig in the break room.” As she’s about to exit the room, she throws over her shoulder, “Cold Keurig, Mallory. Don’t ruin this for me.”

I roll my eyes, and then the door shuts. I cross my arms over my chest, waiting for an explanation.

“I actually need some help with a special project, and I talked to Linda about borrowing you and Skyler.”

“And you didn’t stop to think about what I want? Oz, I’ve told you I need you to respect my space when it comes to my career. I know you’re the one who gave me the scholarship, but I worked my ass off for my grades. I know what I earned, and I don’t want that taken from me so you can give me some fluffed-up desk job so that I’m closer to you. This is bullshit.”

I actually stomp my foot on the last word, but I don’t care. I may sound like an ungrateful brat, but he can’t push me around like this. He told me he wouldn’t do the very thing he’s doing.

Oz puts his hands in his pockets like he’s trying very hard not to grab me, probably knowing I’ll pull back from him. He hates it when I do that.

“I understand how this might look, but I promise you, I’ve got a plan and I need your help with it. I had the office up here converted months ago, but I’ve been unable to hire the right person for the job. Then I saw the production rate that you and Skyler were working at and I think you’d be perfect for this position.”

He’s taken some of the wind out of my sails at his statement. Now I’m interested, but I don’t want to give up my stance.

“Couldn’t we have done this job from the floor we were already on?” I snap, a little sharper than I intend to.

“Actually, no.” His voice is smug, and he’s acting as if he’s won this round. “The project will require you both to work with me and my admin closely. Whoever I hire for the position will have this office, no matter if it’s you and Skyler or someone else. I think you both could do this project a lot of good. I want someone I can trust.”

I let my arms fall down to my sides, interested in where this is going, even if I’m still a little pissed. Oz is like a steamroller, and way too good at making me give in to what he wants. But if there’s a real chance for a real job and not an internship, then I’m very interested.

He reaches out, grabbing my hand and pulling me from the office and back toward him. Jay jumps up from her chair as we approach.

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