I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing next to my head. I’d had a long night out at the club with…what was her name? I took a peek at the naked girl sleeping to me and decided I’d call her ‘Red’ since that was the color of her hair. I’d also call her a cab as soon as I got up because our “date” officially ended as soon as I fell asleep. I buried my head underneath the pillow and sighed with relief when the ringing finally stopped, but my relief was short lived when it immediately started ringing again. Reaching out I picked it up and growled out, “What?”
“Is that any way to greet your father?” Ugh.
“I’m sorry father. I had a long night and you woke me up. It’s…” I looked over at the clock on the nightstand and saw it was already 2:30 in the afternoon. Picking up where I left off I said, “early for me.”
I heard him take a deep breath and braced myself for the inevitable. “You know why I’m calling Eric. It’s time for you to start living up to the Northman name and your obligations. I saw you had quite a celebration for your birthday. I let you have your fun once you graduated from Oxford so you could sow your wild oats, as they say, but now it’s time to come home. I have big plans for you and they start with you being here in Shreveport on Friday morning for the staff meeting. Tell me where you are and I’ll send the corporate jet to pick you up.”
Home. Well that’s a new concept. I was sent away to boarding school at the age of 5 and hadn’t spent more than a week or two at a time with either one of my parents since then. I was only trotted out for family photo opportunities with the press. While father travelled around the world forming the Northman Empire, mother travelled back and forth between fashion shows and rehabs. I knew who I’d gotten my party gene from and it certainly wasn’t the man at the other end of the line.
“I’m still in Monaco.”
“Fine, I’ll have the pilot call once they land. I have the perfect assistant in mind for you to help you get your feet wet. You’re going to represent me and this company and I expect nothing less than perfection.” He ended the call as soon as his little speech was over.
I threw the phone down on the bed and it bounced up and hit ‘Red’ in the head waking her up. She looked over at me and purred, “Hey baby. Are we going on your yacht today?”
All of them were the same. They all wanted the same thing, the lifestyle I led and the money I had. I know I’m good looking enough without it, but they wouldn’t be trying to hang on to me beyond the first few fucks without the rest.
“I’m not your baby and we aren’t doing anything today. You’re getting dressed and getting out. I have work to do.” I left her glaring after me as I went into the shower and made sure to take my time so she’d be gone once I got out.
I felt a little more human once I was clean and got a cup of coffee in me so I pulled open my laptop and started looking at the financial trends for the last few days. My father would probably shit a brick if he knew I kept up with them, but I’ve grown up knowing exactly where I’d end up and I didn’t want to look like a fool once I got there. I certainly didn’t want to embarrass him, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself even more.
I’d been keeping tabs on an investment firm in Australia that I thought would be a good fit with the company. I jotted down a few notes so I could talk to my father about it once I got in. I had no idea how to explain our relationship. He wants me to be just like him, but he acts like he doesn’t think I’m capable. I graduated at the top of my class at both boarding school and Oxford, but he just attributes it to the ‘Northman’ name and his generous donations. He gives me credit for NOTHING.
In return, I give him what he expects to see. I party hard and live the playboy life because he has expected nothing more. He was even gracious enough to fund it all. I know on some level I DO want his approval, otherwise I would tell him to fuck off and do what I want to do. I had entertained thoughts of becoming a writer, but that was shot down immediately by dear old dad so economics it was.
With a heavy heart, I stood up and started packing my things. By the time I had finished I had decided to just try and make the best of it. There was no sense trying to avoid it and maybe if I showed him that I was capable he would finally see the real me.
The next day I was being driven up to the front door of my parents’ home. I guess it’s more like a mansion than a house, but this would be my temporary home for now. I definitely needed to start looking for my own place. There was no way I was staying here any longer than necessary.
I was greeted by the house staff and told my parents were in the study. I walked in to find them ignoring each other and each with a glass in their hand. Why they were still married was beyond me. It made me feel a little better though, knowing I wasn’t the only one that was miserable.
Looking up at me my mother held her hand out towards me saying, “Eric. You look well. Come and give your mother a kiss.” When I bent down to kiss her cheek I could smell the booze on her. Scotch I think. Standing back up I walked to my father and shook his hand. His eyes narrowed as he assessed me, but I had know idea what he was assessing me for.
I decided to break the silence by saying, “Father, you look well. How’s business?” I knew he could talk for hours about the company so I settled into one of the wing back leather chairs in the room knowing it would be a while. I was right. He talked for two hours straight on all of the different things the company had expanded into over the last couple of years. When he finally paused long enough for me to get a word in I told him about the investment firm I’d been watching and handed him my notes. He looked shocked at first, but as he read over my notes a sly grin came across his face.
It was my turn to be shocked when he said, “Well, well…it appears the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” He actually smiled at me continuing, “I’m impressed son.” I felt myself actually sitting up a little taller at his compliment. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
The next morning I walked into the office behind my father wearing a much dreaded suit and tie. He showed me where my office would be which turned out to be nicer than I had expected. It was a corner office with two whole walls of nothing but window so I hoped it would help me not feel as confined as I’d feared. I’d gotten used to getting up a going wherever and whenever I wanted and worried at being stuck behind a desk feeling like the four walls would close in on me. This would definitely take some getting used to.
It needed furniture so I wouldn’t be using it today, but father had said that I would just be introduced to everyone today. I would officially start on Monday, but I wouldn’t be going into the office. I had already phoned the investment firm I’d been tracking and had an appointment to meet with them on Tuesday to see if we could come to an agreement. I’d be flying out on Monday along with my new assistant.
I stood outside his office door giving his secretary the travel times so she could make the hotel arrangements when I saw the most beautiful woman I had ever seen walking towards the conference room. Her long blond hair fell in waves passed her shoulders and she was wearing a tailored white dress shirt that fit her curves perfectly. She had tucked it into her black skirt which highlighted her slender waist and curvaceous ass. I watched her eyes glaze over as they traveled over my body before she saw me looking back at her. She immediately dropped her eyes to the floor and went into the conference room.
I heard my father chuckling next to me causing me to look over at him. He smiled like the Cheshire cat saying, “She’s very pretty isn’t she? ”
“Yes.” It was all I could say because it was true, but I couldn’t help but wonder why he’d brought it up. We walked into the conference room and I sat off to the side as my father started the meeting. I caught myself staring at her, but she kept her eyes trained on my father and for some unknown reason I was jealous she wasn’t looking at me. I started wondering if maybe she was my father’s mistress and he had been gloating over her beauty. It wouldn’t be the first time he had one. I wondered what position she held and whether or not she’d gotten it on her merits alone. Maybe I could find out her name and check out her personnel file.
I vaguely heard my father saying my name when she finally looked over at me and then everyone started clapping. I looked up at my father and he gestured for me to get up so I did. While I was standing there he announced that I would be the new VP of Acquisitions and I heard a faint gasp coming from the group. I looked over and saw that it must have been the beautiful blond because she was the only one that looked shocked.
My father got my attention once more and told me to fill everyone in on what I’d come up with on the firm in Australia and as I cast my eyes around the group I noticed the more I talked, the more she seemed to turn red and it appeared from anger by the way her eyes were shooting daggers at both me and my father. What the fuck?
The meeting finally ended and as the group got up to leave my father said, “Ms. Stackhouse, would you stay behind please?” I looked over and saw that it was the blond that turned back. Was she crying? I looked over to my father for some sort of clue. When she came to a stop in front of us he gestured for her to have a seat and said, “Ms. Stackhouse. I can see you’re upset and I think it has to do with that firm in Australia?” He paused and she nodded her head so he continued, “I know you approached me with the same proposal but my son had the same research when he came home and since he’s going to be the new VP of Acquisitions I thought it was only fair that he be given this task.”
What was he talking about? She’d been following the same company and gone to him with the same information? He hadn’t mentioned any of that to me. I could tell she was holding back her emotions and I felt bad because she looked as though she didn’t believe a word he said. What he said next shocked us both. “I’ve decided to create a position for you Ms. Stackhouse. I haven’t decided on a title yet, but it will come with a significant salary increase. Essentially you will be working directly under Eric. You’re very well versed on the many holdings within this company and Eric could use someone like you to support him. He will eventually take over my position so you would slide right into his vacated slot. Is this agreeable with you?”
We both looked at her as she just stared at us with no emotion left on her face. I briefly wondered if she was in shock, but she hesitantly nodded her head.
My father concluded with, “Good. Eric will fill you in on your trip next week. If you’ll excuse me I have another meeting to attend.”
As soon as he walked out I couldn’t help but ask her, “Are you okay? You seemed pretty upset.” I was about to apologize and explain to her that I’d had no idea she had pitched the same proposal to him, but no sooner had I spoken the words than the daggers appeared in her eyes again. She spat out, “I’m fine. Perfect. Why don’t you just tell me whatever it is you need to say so I can back to work.”
I immediately felt my blood start to boil. “What’s your problem? If you’re having some sort of lover’s spat with my father, there’s no need to get nasty with me!”
“LOVER’S SPAT?” she yelled. “Where do you come off accusing me of having an affair? I’ll have you know that I’m a married woman! Just because YOU seem to sleep with every female that crosses your path doesn’t mean EVERYONE does!”
Married? I looked down at her left hand and sure enough there was a rock on her finger that was big enough to choke a horse. She’s one of those I thought to myself. She must have reeled in a whopper to get a rock that size. I briefly wondered why she was even still working if she married into money. The thing I didn’t understand was why I suddenly felt disappointed that she was already taken.
I shook the thoughts out of my head and said, “It’s no concern of mine WHAT you do so what I do should be of no concern of YOURS. We’re flying to Sydney on Monday. Be at the airstrip where the company jet is stored by noon. We’ll be returning on Friday.”
She was still glaring at me when she said, “Fine!” And then she stood up and left.
“FINE!” I barked back at her retreating form. I sat there with my head in my hands wondering what in the hell had just happened. Something about her got under my skin. I rarely lose my cool like that, but she had me so worked up I wanted to either fight her or fuck her. Probably both.
I grabbed my laptop and logged into the company’s database. I had been given access to every system this morning and I immediately pulled up her personnel records. I skimmed through them and saw that her married name was Compton. Why does she still go by Stackhouse? She had a degree in Business from LSU and all of her annual performance appraisals were outstanding. It almost seemed as though she walked on water from the way some of her former managers sung her praises.
I decided that I would cool off over the weekend and try to start over with her on Monday. We were spending the entire week together so I should be able to get a better feel for her then.