I looked down at the work in front of me. I realized that researching each one of these companies and compiling a list of pros and cons was going to take some time. I forced myself to physically shake off my new boss’s flirtatious behavior and roll up my sleeves, so to speak, and get to work.
I worked diligently through the morning. Once I was in the midst of it I lost all track of time. Seth had been right. The research that was given to me was nothing more than basic details. I needed a lot more than that to make an informed decision. I don’t think I even looked up from either my computer or my desk until hours later when there was another knock on my door.
“Come in.” Seth popped his head in the door.
“Have you been working on that non-stop since I left this morning?”
I realized the back of my neck was stiff and I put my hand over it to massage it as I said, “Yeah, I suppose I have.” I stood up then and stretched and once again realized that my CEO’s eyes were on my face and my body as I did.
He grinned and said, “It’s loose again. Is it all curly like that?”
It took me a second to process what he was talking about. The look on my face must have given away my confusion because he pointed at my forehead and said, “Your hair. I was wondering if it was all that curly.”
I reached up and self-consciously brushed the loose tendril off my face and tried to tuck it back into the French braid that ran across the rest of my head. Feeling like my face might be as red as my hair I said, “Yeah, I’m afraid it is.”
“I’d love to see it down sometime,” he said. Then before I had a chance to even think about what I should say to that he said, “What do you say to coming down to the cafeteria and having lunch with the boss? I can introduce you to a few more of our valuable employees.”
There was that word again… my boss. I knew he had no way of knowing, he couldn’t possibly, but it was almost like he was taunting me with it. I knew I had to suck up my emotions though and just go with it, so I said, “I’m starved. Lunch sounds great.” I grabbed my keys and followed him out of the office.
I looked at that first lunch with Seth as part of my orientation. We didn’t talk about anything personal and he did introduce me to a lot of my colleagues. Afterwards, he had walked me back to my office and very appropriately told me that he would be out of the office the rest of the day and that if I needed anything I could call his assistant, or Harlan or any one of the other executives. I went back to work after he left and before I knew it, the sun had gone down. As I rushed out of the building that evening close to eight p.m., the doorman kindly let me know that the building would lock up tight after nine p.m. and one of the Hunter’s or someone they had designated as “key holders” were the only ones who could get inside. I thanked him and made a mental note to be out of there before that ever happened.
Grant was practically pacing the floor when I got back to our apartment that night. When I walked in the door and hung up my coat he looked at the clock and said, “Eight-thirty? What are these Hunters… slave driving ogres?”
I laughed and went to pour myself a glass of juice. As I drank it I told him about my day. He was quiet until I’d finished.
“Be careful,” Grant said.
“No, I’m not talking about your quest. I’m talking about your boss.”
Confused, I asked, “What about him?”
“You should put a mirror in front of you when you talk about him so that you can see your face. It lights up like a firefly.”
I felt my face go hot. “It does not. It’s the reflection off of my red hair.”
Grant came over and kissed the top of my head. “I left the rest of my Chinese Food in the fridge for you. I’m meeting a co-worker for drinks. And you’re full-of-it… I’ve been looking at the reflection of your beautiful hair for a long time and that’s not it. Please be careful. I don’t want you to get your heart broken.”
I didn’t say anything else, I just watched him go. I had to admit that there was definitely a sexual energy that surrounded Seth. He was one of those kinds of men that just carried it around with him, I think. I doubted that his interactions with me were any different than the ones he had with any of his female employees… well, except maybe Bev. She seemed really intimidated by him.
I ate the Chinese food and picked out my clothes for the next morning before getting ready for bed. When I finally looked in the mirror that night I said, “Seth Hunter,” out loud to the empty room. My face didn’t change at all. “See there Grant,” I said, again to an empty room, “Nothing.” I washed my face and took down my hair. As I brushed it I heard Seth’s voice asking, “Is it curly like that all over?” and then again, “I’d like to see it down sometime.” I glanced up at myself in the mirror. I was slightly flushed and I was smiling. Damn you, Grant!