No matter what.
“Incredible.” Mr. Evans’ disbelieving murmur broke into her thoughts, and Pippi glanced up in time to see her boss reach for the remote control to switch the overhead TV on. But instead of flipping to the business news channel like he always did, Mr. Evans surfed his way to…Society Gossip?
Pippi hadn’t even known such a channel existed.
“Have you heard about this?”
“About what, sir?” Her gaze went back to the TV, and her eyes widened when she realized the paparazzi was actually crowding the entrance to their building. They hadn’t been there earlier, but clearly something had happened to change this.
“The girl you helped yesterday,” Gareth supplied. “Her name is Amelia Martinez. She used to be the mistress of a rather-infamous gang leader.”
Pippi started feeling nauseated for some reason. “Used to be?”
“He’s dead now. His body was found just an hour ago, but they say he’s been dead for days – murdered, actually. His second-in-command, who also happens to be the prime suspect, has since taken command of the family business.”
A breaking news update had both of them returning their attention to the TV, and Pippi jerked involuntarily when the program suddenly flashed an honest-to-goodness mug shot of Amelia on the screen.
Girlfriend of the late Anthony Nolasco since her early teens…
Escaped the gang at least a week ago…
Police believes she was not involved in the plot to oust Nolasco.
No statement so far from Martinez, who is believed to be currently hiding in the penthouse of Greek billionaire Acheron Simonides. The tycoon’s involvement with the gang in his teenage years is common knowledge and took place well before his identity as the true heir to the Simonides fortune was verified by court documents and DNA tests.
Old friends of the two insist that Ms. Martinez and Mr. Simonides had a relationship in their younger years, and speculations now turn to the possibility of a rekindling of their romance.
Gareth switched the TV off as soon as the program went on a commercial break. “That is the girl you helped, isn’t she?”
“I heard she supposedly referred to herself as Simonides’ girlfriend.”
“She did, yes.” It was strangely painful to say the words, but Pippi managed to get them out in a neutral voice. “Mr. Simonides also personally came down to meet with her.” The added statement only made the hurt worsen, but she found herself actually relishing the pain like some masochist. Stupid or not, it made her feel strong.
Just face the pain like a big girl, and remember that it’s you in Acheron’s life now.
Gareth waited for the usual gushing to commence, as it always did where women and Acheron Simonides were concerned, but instead he saw his secretary return to work like her brief encounter with the enigmatic CEO didn’t matter at all.
It had him blinking and considering what he earlier thought was impossible. Could the rumors be true then? He had initially dismissed this morning’s rumors about Pippi crushing on one of the sales managers working on the same floor. Young, cocky, selfish, spoiled brats – all of them had been typical of today’s younger generation, and neither he nor Simonides certainly had anything in common with them.
It would be somewhat disappointing if Ms. Jones’ taste in men ended up running along those lines, but perhaps it was also for the best, considering the proposal he had yet to bring up with her.
Pippi immediately straightened in her seat. “Yes, sir?”
“There’s been some delays with Excalibur Park, and I may have a need for your services longer than expected…”
“Un-fucking-believable.” Acheron scowled at the real-time footage coming from their CCTV cameras, which showed paparazzi still clamoring for a chance to interview Amelia about Anthony Nolasco’s murder. “Didn’t you tell me our legal team was on top of this already?” They were supposed to keep Amelia’s name out of the press, dammit.
“They were, sir.” Charlie’s voice was strained. While it wasn’t the first time for the billionaire to lose his temper in Charlie’s presence, it still had him quaking in his boots and looking for the nearest exit in case things went south. “The leak about his death came straight from the police. A reporter was able to sweet talk the information out of a first responder…”
Wickham saw Charlie literally jump in his boots and, taking pity on the boy, he nodded the secretary’s dismissal and waited until they were alone before speaking again. “Amy still doesn’t have any access to the TV or Internet, and even if she were to look outside the window and see them, we can simply say it’s because news about her being your girlfriend—”
“No.” Acheron’s tone was clipped. “It can’t be that. Have P.R. spin something else – anything but that.”
Wickham’s eyes twinkled momentarily in amusement. “Afraid of little Ms. Jones’ reaction?”
“After what happened yesterday?” Acheron didn’t even bother hiding the truth. “Hell, yes.”