She turned away from the display of clothing and looked through the rest of the room. Drawers were full of undergarments so small and lacy she wasn’t sure they would cover an inch of her body. She closed them hastily.
Her closet had been empty last night. She didn’t understand how anything had gotten inside without her knowing. She didn’t like that anyone had access to her room, even though she hadn’t had one to herself in ten years. She shook her head and turned to leave when she noticed that something was in the trash can. She peered inside and found her old clothes piled there neatly.
She yanked her old clothes out of the trash.
“I can’t believe someone would throw away my clothes without my permission,” she grumbled angrily.
Reyna yanked her ratty T-shirt back onto her clean body and shimmied into her well-worn jeans. She wasn’t going to wear all that prim and proper clothing. If Beckham had ordered this, then he needed to think again. She wasn’t some doll he could dress up. She would wear whatever she wanted.
Once she had her clothes back on, she rushed out into the living room, only to find it empty. She muttered furiously under her breath and went into the kitchen to make breakfast. She was gathering ingredients for an omelet when Beckham strode out of the back hallway. He looked as imposing as ever, in a black three-piece suit and a dark purple patterned tie.
He was checking his cellphone as always and didn’t look up until he heard the first crack of an egg. His eyes found her. Her returning look was steely. He seemed to appraise her, and she quickly looked away. Even though she was angry, it was hard to keep eye contact with him. Half of the time he looked like he wanted to have her for breakfast, and the other half he looked like he wanted to break her neck and throw her out the window.
“Why in the world are you still in those hideous clothes?” he demanded tersely.
“Why in the world did you try to throw out my clothes?”
“Well, the other clothes didn’t feel like me,” she snapped, cracking another egg and whisking the contents vigorously.
“They are all brand new.”
She shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. She didn’t even look up at him.
“And very expensive.”
Reyna sighed and made eye contact. “They look like they’re made for a baby doll.” She made a disgusted face. “I don’t know anyone who would wear clothes like that to sit around the house.”
Beckham glared at her. “You don’t know anyone. Of course you wouldn’t know anyone who would wear that clothing.”
“Well, I just…want something that’s more me,” she said, holding her ground.
“What you are wearing right now is no longer you.” His voice was dangerously low. “Trash it.”
Now her eyes were threatening. He couldn’t just order her around like this.
“I said trash it.”
“I work for you but that doesn’t mean you can dictate everything in my life!” she shouted back.
Beckham tilted his head down and stared at her as if she were a three-year-old throwing a tantrum. He slowly walked toward her. “I said trash your clothes. Now. Purchase new clothes if you don’t like the ones ordered for you, but I can’t be seen with anyone dressed the way you are right now. You already made a spectacle of yourself last night in the lobby. Would you like to continue to embarrass yourself?”
His words brokered no argument, and Reyna wordlessly shook her head. With him standing so near her, she was trembling from head to toe.
“Good. Then go change.”
Reyna dropped the whisk in the bowl, maneuvered around him, and then disappeared back into her room. She couldn’t believe she was letting him order her around and dress her as if she were a child, but how could she say no?
She located the least extravagant outfit she could find—a white chiffon button-up blouse tucked into a rose gold sequined skirt—and tried not to feel ridiculous walking around in the ensemble.
Beckham’s nod of approval did nothing to make her feel less awkward. Though it did make her feel a slightest glimmer of relief that she had done something to garner that approval…even if she had just fought him on it.
“Here,” he said. He slid a black card across the counter to her.
“What is it?”
“The company has set up an account for you with access to your payments. It’s all in your savings. You can charge anything else to this card. It doubles as a key pass for the penthouse. Your first payment has already been deposited.”
She took the key in her hand and stared at it in awe. She was holding a small fortune in her hand. It was so surreal.
“Don’t lose it. Those are not easy to get ahold of.”