Oh. What a manipulative SOB that man was. She said without thinking, “It’s not—-”
Jared Westland arched one eyebrow. “Will the threat of firing you do the trick?”
“I am going to marry him right this moment, sir.”
A low laugh escaped the CEO, and Jane tried not to fidget. Was that good or bad?
“He told me you were funny,” Jared mused. “Anyway, I’ll see you later.” He dismissed her with a nod before walking away.
Her mouth opened and closed. What did the CEO mean later?
On her way out, she caught sight of Merry glaring at her and quickly ducked her head, acting like she hadn’t seen anything. She heard footsteps behind her, and Jane made a dash for it, knowing that Merry’s hectic morning schedule wouldn’t allow the news anchor to follow Jane all the way to the P.R. department.
Shit, shit, shit.
This was Christian’s fault.
He had made her stand out, and now people who knew she wasn’t supposed to stand out were mad at her for stealing their Disney moment. When she made it to her cubicle, she threw herself in her old but comfortable chair, her heart thudding against her chest.
It was like she had just escaped from the jaws of death – no, from the Jaws itself. Remembering Merry’s murderous glare made her shudder, and Jane began to understand what Jaike meant when she told Jane about the people at the press launch looking like sharks.
Taking her phone out, she started texting Christian—-
What did you tell the boss of my boss’ boss?
Her fingers stilled, and she gnawed on her lip as she reread her unsent message. Did she need to tack another ‘boss’ to the label?
Standing up, she knocked on the cubicle next to her. “Sandy?”
The other woman looked up. “Yo.”
“Can I also call the CEO as the boss of my boss’ boss?”
Sandy started flicking her fingers out then shook her head. “That lacks one level.”
“I was thinking the same thing, but I wasn’t sure. Thanks.” Jane plopped back in her seat and retyped her message.
Jane: What did you tell the boss’ boss of my boss’ boss?
Yes. That sounded about right.
She was about to press Send when Sandy poked her head past their shared wall, asking, “Since when were you friends with the CEO?”
Jane almost dropped her phone in her shock. “Jesus!”
“Oops. Sorry.” But Sandy’s grin was sly.
“I’m not friends with the CEO,” Jane muttered as she hit Send. Looking up, she tried to explain, “He only knows someone I know.”
Sandy looked disappointed. “I was hoping for something juicy.”
Jane forced a laugh. “Do I look like I’d have something juicy to share?”
Sandy sighed. “You’re right.”
Jane’s phone vibrated as Sandy retreated back to her cubicle.
Christian: I told him I asked you out and that you turned me down.
Jane almost dropped her phone again. What the-—Did Christian Ravenhearst understand the concept of TMI? What if they were thick as thieves? What would that mean for her job if she chose to say no to his proposition?
Christian: He’ll join us for dinner later, by the way.
Jane glared at her phone. Wasn’t he even going to try asking her out first?
Christian: I’ll pick you up 5PM.
Jane angrily jabbed at the screen of her iPhone.
It took her an entire minute to realize that Christian probably wasn’t ignoring her. Most likely, this was what he had warned her about.
Jane: Okay. I got it. You’re with your other girlfriend.
She put her phone away, along with all distracting thoughts about Christian Ravenhearst, and focused on her work.
At exactly five in the afternoon, she was outside AMC and rehearsing her speech for Christian while she waited by the steps. He was to ask if she wanted to have dinner first. Her life didn’t revolve around him. If he couldn’t accept that, then he could go to hell.
Fifteen minutes passed.
Jane sighed. Since he didn’t strike her as someone petty or irresponsible, did this mean he was still busy with the third party?
“Hello, Ms. Cooper.”
She jumped, literally, at finding the CEO walking down the steps, and for one moment she was confused.
Didn’t the CEO always get in his ride at the basement for security reasons?
Then she saw his arched expression, and she flushed, realizing she had failed to return his greeting. “Good afternoon, sir,” she said hurriedly.
They looked at each other.
She asked uncertainly, “Shall I look for your chauffeur, sir?”
His lips curved. “I’m guessing Christian forgot to tell you.”
Oh. So she was right, and Christian was busy with his other girlfriend!
“Thanks for letting me know, Mr. Westland.”
Jane’s rueful tone surprised AMC’s CEO. Most women would have thrown a tantrum by now or at least said something scathing about Christian and his work.
“I apologize on my friend’s behalf,” Jared heard himself say.
The unexpected words made Jane immediately protest, “It’s really okay, Mr. Westland. Christian let me know from the start that the third party was a non-negotiable presence.”