A Beauty Uncovered(6)

By: Andrea Laurence

 “Mr. Eden?” Sam pressed the speakerphone button, as much as she didn’t want to.

 “Yes?” His response, as usual, was impatient and short.

 “I’m not feeling well. Do you mind if I go home?”

 “Is it terminal?”

 His blunt question startled her. “I don’t think so.”

 “Is it contagious?”

 Her new boss certainly had high standards for sick days. If she wasn’t on her deathbed or in quarantine, he didn’t seem to care. “No, sir. It’s a migraine. My pain medicine is at home.”

 He didn’t respond, but a moment later, the silver drawer shot out. Sam rose slowly from her chair and walked over. There was a lone bottle of ibuprofen in it. That wasn’t quite going to cut it. Apparently Mr. Eden was not afflicted with migraines. But his answer was clear. No, she couldn’t go home. She took the pills out and swallowed a couple. It was better than nothing. Maybe if she caught it before it was full-blown, she could keep it from getting too bad.

 “I ordered Italian delivery for lunch,” he said as though they hadn’t had the previous discussion and the issue was resolved. “They should be in the lobby in about fifteen minutes.”

 It took everything she had not to reply, “And?” He didn’t care that she didn’t feel well. He didn’t even bother to ask her to go get it for him, much less say “please” or “thank you.” It was just implied. He never asked her if she wanted to order, either. If she felt better, she might want to smother her irritation with a layer of mozzarella cheese, but she was never given the option.

 Sam couldn’t quite figure out if he was some kind of genius who was thoughtless of others or if he just didn’t consider her worthy of his attention.

 “Put it through the drawer when it arrives,” he added as though there were another option. He wasn’t going to let her bring it to him, so in the drawer it had to go.

 Without responding, Sam reached for her purse, pulled out a couple dollars and picked up the laundry bag he’d left by her desk that morning. If she wasn’t going home, she might as well carry on as best she could. While she was downstairs, she’d drop off his dry cleaning and grab a turkey wrap from the deli next door. Maybe some caffeine would help. If she left now, she’d have enough time to run over and get back before the deliveryman arrived.

 Her timing was perfect. As she strolled back into the lobby, she saw the delivery guy at the desk with a sack of food. Sam grabbed it from him and headed through the ridiculous layers of security to get back to her desk. She set both sacks on the desk and then walked over to the minibar where Agnes stored supplies to get a cup for her drink. She was about halfway there when she heard his growling voice over the intercom.

 “Uh…my lunch, Miss Davis?”

 “One damn second,” she said as she snatched a cup and slammed the cabinet door. She hadn’t spoken through the speakerphone, but unless the walls of his office were made of soundproof material, he certainly heard her. She didn’t care. Her head hurt, she was cranky and she’d reached her personal breaking point. There was no reason for him to be this rude.

 Back at her desk, she clutched the paper sack with his food in her fist, ready to sling it in the drawer. Then she stopped. This whole thing had gotten old, quickly. He wasn’t concerned about her headache, so she wasn’t going to be concerned about his empty stomach. If he wanted food on his own timetable, maybe he should come get it. She brought it upstairs. He could come the last ten feet.

 Sam slid the sack to the edge of her desk and looked up at the camera with an expectant arch of her brow. A moment later the metal drawer slid out to her. Nope, she thought.

 She unplugged the cord from her phone, switched off her monitor and slipped out of her black Michael Kors cardigan. Walking to the closest camera, she whipped the sweater over her head, covering the lens. The other camera couldn’t see her desk from its angle, so she returned to her seat and pulled her lunch out of the bag.

 She needed this job, but he also needed her. If he wanted his lunch, he was going to come out and get it. If he wanted her to do something, he was going to ask nicely. Sam wasn’t working here to be abused. If he didn’t like it, he could fire her, but she was pretty certain he wouldn’t.

 He had no one to interview a replacement.

 Five minutes passed. She could hear instant messages chiming on her computer, but with the monitor off she couldn’t see them. Another five minutes.

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