Teaching The Boss

By: Mallory Crowe

“If he didn’t leave a message, then it can’t be that important. What’s next on the list?”

She tightened her lips, but decided not to push the matter. Sam and his father obviously had issues, but it was none of her business. “The Jude Foundation called. They wanted to personally invite you to their annual gala and I said you’d make it.”

“Jude...what’s that again?”

April rolled her eyes. He could remember where the Dow was two months ago, but this he forgot? “They’re a social care foundation. Helping out kids in the foster system to find permanent homes. You did that baseball event with them last year.”

His face lit at her words. “Oh yeah. I played catch with Jimmy. We sent him Christmas presents, right?”

She let out a laugh. “Yeah. The laptop, mp3 player, and loaded gift card. Santa was very kind to him.”

Sam beamed up at her. “Think Jimmy will be at the gala?”

“I think this is more of an adults only, black tie thing. I told them two tickets in case Oksana wanted to go.”

“What day is it?”

“It’s in six weeks.” April dug out her phone and opened up her calendar. “Looks like June fifth.”

“Oh. I don’t think I can make it. That’s the launch of...God, I don’t remember. But it’s a big launch party for a campaign that Oksana is the face of. She’s really excited about it and I promised I’d go with her.”

April chewed on her bottom lip and looked back down at her list, even though there was nothing left to go over.

“Come on,” said Sam. “Don’t give me the disappointed look. I promised Oksana.”

“I’m not looking at you.” She flipped the top sheet over, so she stared at a blank piece of paper.

“I know I just met her, but she’s special. I really think this might go somewhere.”

“I never said anything about Oksana.”

“You did silently.”

She let out a breath and finally brought her eyes back to his. “Maybe you feel bad about not going to a fundraiser for a charity you actually care about and going to a clothing launch instead.”

“Handbags. It’s handbags. Damn it, why can’t I remember the name?”

April shook her head. “I’ll be at my desk.” She turned to leave.

“Wait,” he called. “I’ll go.”

Her lips curved up. Every time she thought Sam had turned to the dark side, he’d surprise her. “The one ticket then?”

“Hell no. You got me into this, and you’re coming with me.”

Sam started on his third cup of coffee, which notably wasn’t working, when his office doors swung open.

He glanced up, expecting to see April’s smiling face. Instead, he was confronted with Oksana’s confident swagger. Although she’d made a small fortune thanks to her face, she wasn’t classically beautiful. Her cheekbones were a little too sharp, her lips a little too thin. But her unique look combined with her piercing green eyes made her stand out, and advertisers loved her.

“Hey, hun. Is it lunch time already?”

She shrugged as her eyes roamed over his office. “I’m early, but I had a hard time sleeping. New York time has never agreed with me. Let’s do a long lunch. You can show me the Statue of Liberty.”

He inwardly groaned, but made sure to keep the smile on his face. He’d been under the impression she’d be working as much as him, which was the only reason he’d invited her to stay at his place. Considering he’d spent most of his time in Paris at her apartment and she was scheduled to come to New York the same time he was headed back, it only made sense.

Now his kindness was coming back to bite him in the ass. “I’m still up for lunch, but I don’t know if I can do any sightseeing.”

She shrugged again. “It’s okay. I have some friends I can go with.” If another woman had been talking, he’d think they were being passive aggressive, but not Oksana. One of his favorite things about her was that she spoke her mind and never seemed to overreact.

“Let me make sure April can move our reservations up.”

She cocked her head slightly. “She is the one whose desk is outside your office?”

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