Chapter 1: The Rival

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 438

The Rival

Prologue

Meet C.J Hunter. He’s critical, cold, and calculating. He sleeps with anything with a skirt, plays them like a rag doll, and then ditches them once he gets tired of them. Sounds charming? Sure. Oh, and I forgot to mention one tiny detail- he happens to own one of the largest companies in the world. However, he has one rule, and one only. And that is never to sleep with his staff. Maybe he isn’t as bad as it seems?

Now look for Ryan Astrid. He’s charming, flirty, but never sleeps around. He only has one flaw- he talks too much and listens too little. Wait, does that count as two flaws? Moving on. He is rich and powerful, due to owning a famous company that is known worldwide. Sounds good? Yes, of course.

Enter Mia Stone. She’s straightforward, never beats around the bush, and is a brilliant lady. She is efficient, always completes her given task, and never fails to deliver. She works in a small company, and is close to getting fired because of her constant absence. Her father is very sick, but she doesn’t have the money to give him medical care.

Chapter 1: A New Job

“This is the last straw,” he said as a warning.

What was this, diary of the wimpy kid?

“No! Do you want to lose your job, Miss Stone?” My boss roared.

Oops. I guess I said that out loud.

Meekly, I shook my head. “No, Mr. Edward. I’m sorry.”

He huffed loudly to show his displeasure and turned back to his computer, stuffing chips into his mouth every once in a while. Empty junk food packets littered the floor. If I smelled closely, I was sure I would smell a slight stench in this room.

Yuck. I hate this job.

Bending down, I grabbed the empty packets quickly and stuffed them into the garbage back in my hand. I still didn’t understand why he couldn’t just get a dustbin and no one would have to help him clean up his super dirty ‘office’. I doubt he even worked here. No, wait. I doubt he even worked, at all.

Mr. Edwards was staring at his computer screen as if I wasn’t even there. He looked so focused. Curiosity got the better of me, and I looked closer- wonder what he’s doing- and choked back my gasp. I knew curiosity killed the cat but this time it scarred my eyes.

Literally.

Oh my eff.

Is he watching…porn?

I could feel my face heating up. What the hell did I just see? Looking away quickly, I picked up the bags faster than before, eager to get out of here. I tried to push those pictures out of my mind as I scrambled around. It disgusted me to even be in the same room as him. I had such a dumb job. Once I cleaned up this room, I would get my check, which was quite a huge sum of money, considering the kind of nonsense job that I had.

Mr. Edwards was a rich man! Who knew?

After clearing the floor, I arranged his desk and books as quickly as I could, then grabbed the check on the table and left. I doubt he even noticed my absence. Exiting the place quickly, I stepped out of the building and let out a relieved sigh.

Walking along the familiar path home, I started to wonder about my life.

Then I pushed that thought away. I didn’t need to wonder; I knew!

One word- it sucked. Did that count as two words? I was feeling too frazzled to think. That image was still stuck in my mind. I shuddered just to think about it.

Soon, I arrived home. A tiny, three room house. At least it was cozy.

“Dad? I’m home!” I yelled, yanking my shoes off. Then I pushed the door open to my father’s room. As usual, he was lying there, motionless. I didn’t know what sickness he was having but if I had to guess, it would be depression. Since mom passed away, he had been doing stuff half-heartedly, and when I was 14, he started showing signs of depression. He slept too much and barely talked to me.

A shifting caught the corner of my eye, breaking my train of thoughts. His lips were twitching. Was he trying to say something?

“Dad? What’s wrong?” I murmured as I held his hand comfortingly.

“Get a new,” he paused, heaving in a great sigh, “job.”

My heart clenched, and I replied, “my job is fine, dad. I’m fine.”

He chuckled as if he didn’t believe me.

I smiled back, even though his eyes were closed.

“You must go look for… Ryan Astrid,” he pleaded hoarsely.

I laughed out loud, surprised and caught off guard.

“Um dad? I didn’t quite catch that.”

“Ryan Astrid.”

“You mean the guy from CTYN?”

He nodded.

“Dad, are you alright?” I asked, worried. Did he eat the wrong medicine or something?

He chuckled again.

“Please. I know I’ve never done anything for you…but just do this...please?”

His voice was so filled with apology and emotion that I had no choice but to nod. Then he directed me to his bedside drawer and told me to open it.

Inside, an old, dusty envelope caught my eye.

I took it out and asked, “So…I’m just supposed to give this to him?”

Dad nodded, then fell asleep minutes later.

My fingers itched to tears the seal apart, but of course I didn’t do it. Instead, I placed it carefully in my pocket, and dialed my best friend’s phone number. Well, my only friend.

“Hi, this is Elle.”

“Elle? I’m Mia. Do you have any idea how to contact Ryan Astrid?”

A moment of silence. Then,

“Who?”

“Ryan Astrid, from CTYN.”

“Why are you looking for him, Mia?” Elle couldn’t hide her curiosity.

I shrugged, and then realized she couldn’t see me. I did a mental facepalm.

“My dad asked me to. He didn’t exactly say why though.”

“Okay then, just give me a moment.”

I heard her typing something in the background, and then she was back. Wow, that was fast.

“Mia? This is his office number…”

--

Okay, here goes nothing.

I was standing outside Ryan Astrid’s office-

Just thinking about that made me freak out.

Ryan freaking Astrid was in there! Like, a few meters away from me.

I would never have expected this to happen. I wasn’t even sure how this happened, to be honest.

“Miss Stone? You may enter.”

Okay, here goes the REAL nothing.

Taking in a deep breath, I wiped my clammy palms on my skirt and opened the door. I knew I was going to make a fool of myself, somehow. I looked up, and my breath caught in my throat.

There, sitting in the so-very-comfy-looking office chair was none other than Ryan Astrid.

He. Was. Freaking. Hot.

“Well come in, Miss Stone.”

His tone was amused. Then I realized that I had been standing at the doorway openly ogling him the whole time.

Godamn it. I wasn’t even in the room yet and I had already embarrassed myself.

“Yes sir.” My voice shook ever so slightly as I approached him. Did he notice? I hoped not.

“Please, take a seat.”

I wet my lips nervously, and then settled myself down on the seat opposite him. I was so nervous I almost tripped as I sat down. Real smooth, Mia. Real smooth. I hoped he didn’t see that.

Oh who was I kidding?

His eyes were amused, and the corner of his mouth was twitching.

Dear lord, why did I agree to this?

“Alright, Miss Stone. I understand you made an appointment to show me a letter?” His voice was so deep… I stared at him dreamily.

“Miss Stone?”

I jerked upright, blinking.

What the hell happened? Who interrupted my daydream?

I stared at Ryan, who was staring at me patiently. What was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to do something? Was he waiting for me to do something? Did he say something?

I stared back, confused.

“Um…pardon?”

“The letter?”

“Oh! The letter. Sorry. I’m just…distracted.”

“I’m too good looking, huh?”

I nodded absently, and then realized what he had said. No, more like WHO had said that. I started blushing madly. Was Ryan Astrid flirting with me? Nervous, I dug around for the letter, and then finally found it- that sneaky thing- hiding at the bottom of my bag. Why was it even there in the first place? I passed him the letter shyly.

“Thank you.”

He opened the envelope quickly, and I stared at his long, long fingers. So long and graceful, like a pianist…

I didn’t realize I had actually been ogling him- again- until he sighed.

“Is there a problem, sir?”

“Did you write this?” His tone was grave.

“No, sir.”

“Do you know who wrote it then?”

“It was probably my father, sir.”

What was it?

What was making Ryan Astrid getting so worked up? I could see his muscles tensing, his jaw ticking, as he read the letter. Hello… I’m right here! Tell me what it is about! I’m dying here!

I glared at him with a pout.

Why did you ask me that if you knew it would leave me hanging?

Hm?

I started a mini conversation inside my head.

Ryan was silent for so long that I wondered if he had fallen asleep with his eyes open. Maybe he was secretly a fish? A mermaid? No that’s just weird. When he suddenly spoke, I almost fell of my chair. I really should stop daydreaming. And he should stop talking so suddenly too.

“No, Miss Stone, I am not a mermaid. I have a question, though. And I need an honest answer.”

I nodded. Did I speak out loud? Well, of course I did.

“Have you read this letter? Or were you the one who wrote it?”

“No, sir. My father gave it to me.”

“May I know the name of your father?” I could swear I saw fear flicker through those light brown eyes.

“Okay…That’s a weird question but I’ll tell you anyway.”

He looked as if he was sitting on the edge of his chair. Was his face now closer to me than it was before? Was that anxiety I sense radiating off him?

“He’s Darwin Stone.”

--

Ryan Astrid’s face was dark.

Crushing the letter furiously, he threw it across the room, and it landed smack in the bin.

A perfect shot.

“Very well,” He began, his voice low with hidden anger. His eyes were narrowed, judging. Was he angry at me now? What did I do? My heartbeat accelerated.

This was crazy.

I came here, into Ryan Astrid’s office, not knowing what I was supposed to do, just that I was supposed to pass him a letter.

“Let’s start with an interview, then.”

My mind blanked. Wait… what?

“Interview?” I repeated.

“Yes. An interview. Now, you do know about what my company does, do you not?” He started.

What? Wait, slow down, why was I being interviewed?

“Uh…yes, yeah I do.” I replied anyway. I was getting increasingly nervous, my emotions flying all over the place, well not literally of course, but you know what I mean. Damn the letter, what secrets did it hide? Did it grant me an interview with Ryan Astrid?

“Tell me, then.”

Holy mother of god.

How was I going to survive this?

Simple. I wasn’t.

--

I’m alive!

I couldn’t believe I actually lasted through that entire interview! Ryan Astrid wasn’t as scary as I thought he was after all. He turned out to be a great guy! I thought all billionaires were egoistical jerks but he proved me wrong. He had been patient and polite throughout the interview, not even commenting about my awkwardness.

“You aced the interview, Miss Stone,” Ryan congratulated. He looked like he was genuinely pleased. I grinned widely. Never in a million years would I have thought THE Ryan Astrid to say that to plain old me!

“Thank you,” I returned, ecstatic. “May I know why I needed an interview?” I blurted out, feeling lost. I couldn’t help it- the words had been on the tip of my tongue. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Anger started to creep into my mind. Seriously now, what was going on?

“Everything’s great, Miss Stone,” Ryan replied vaguely, not answering the question at all. He shot me a small smile and leaned back on his huge chair. He crossed his arms, studying me. I shifted uncomfortably under his piercing gaze.

“What do you mean?” I shot back, not liking the way he was staring at me.

“It means you’re hired as my secretary.”

Wow, was my first thought.

Then I wondered more, suspicion lurking at the back of my mind. Whaaaaat was going on?

Reality sank in- more like smashed in- and I let out a shocked gasp. WHAT? You've gotta be kidding me.

I'm now Ryan Astrid's secretary?

“What? No way. Okay, fun time’s over. You can stop now, I surrender. Show me the hidden cameras. Not gonna get me this time, no way,” I stuttered, wagging a finger at him as I leaned back into my chair, feeling shell-shocked. My eyes darted around the room. Maybe the camera was there, behind that potted plant? My gaze shot back to him.

His eyes lit up with that amused light.

“Who said I was kidding?”

“Well no one said you weren’t?”

“Well no one said I was or weren’t?”

“Exactly! This means you are kidding!”

“Your statement does not make sense, Miss Stone.”

“Oh don’t you dare play that game with me. We both know it’s you who is the one who’s not making an ounce of sense!”

“Well it isn’t me who isn’t making any sense, it’s the Godamn letter!”

“Well then let me see the Godamn letter!”

“You can’t!”

“And why can’t I? You’re not my dad! Don’t tell me what to do!” I was furious. I didn’t care who he was or how powerful he was anymore. One does not just boss me around and get away with it.

“You-” Ryan Astrid was fuming mad. His sentence, however, was cut off by his supposedly soon-to-be fired secretary as she entered the room, carrying a huge stack of files.

“Hello, Mr. As-”

“LEAVE US! You’re fired!”

I couldn’t help it, I giggled. Hahaha, she said Mr. Ass.

The look on her face was priceless. “What? Why? I’m sorry if I did anything wrong, please-”

“Don’t give me all that Godamn crap, just get out!”

“Yes sir. Sorry sir.”

Ryan turned back to me. He was standing now, and I realized, so was I!

When did I stand?

I had no idea! Holy cow, did I lose my memory now? Did my pet goldfish pass me her STM condition?

“And you! I don’t believe that you don’t know about the letter but- Argh! Damn it!”

I snapped out of my thoughts. Staring at Ryan, I got lost in his brown eyes… again. His face was slightly flushed, his mouth set in a thin line. Then his words sank in and my eyes narrowed.

“I swear I didn’t write, or even see, that Godamn letter! I swear! I don’t know what’s going on, or why I’m suddenly being hired by Ryan freaking Astrid, to be his Godamn secretary! Hell, I don’t even want this job! Not even a little!” I cried, pinching my index and thumb together to emphasize on my point.  

Ryan’s face fell. Guilt washed over his features as he let out a disappointed sigh.

“Sorry. I’m just… worried that you might be a con man.”

“Well then don’t hire me! You can’t just fire your old secretary for no reason anyway.”

He was silent, settling back down on his seat and gesturing for me to do the same. Heart pounding, I plopped down, huffing slightly. This was madness. MADNESS. I didn’t ask for this shit. I didn’t ask to get hired; I had a perfectly fine job with a boss who pays me well. Well, well enough. I didn’t come here to get yelled yet, or to get someone fired.

 Godamn it.

I glared at Ryan Astrid- who cares if he was a billionaire- while he glared back at me. What, were we having a staring contest? Because if we were, I was so going to win. I glared at the man with such angry intensity that he finally looked away and sighed. Wow, what? I won Ryan Astrid in a staring contest? I mean I knew I would win but still… That’s awesome!

Ha, in your face, sucker.

“Alright,” He finally spoke. His voice was quiet, laced with reluctance.

“Alright?” I parroted blankly.

“You shall start work tomorrow. Report to my office at 7am sharp. Ask Linda for help if you don’t know the way.”

Linda? The lady at the front desk? I opened my mouth to speak, but he continued on hastily. Jerk.

“All the information you need will be briefed by me tomorrow. Coming to work late will not be taken lightly. Please be aware that there will be a punishment. If there is no other questions, you may take your leave,” Ryan finished, his gaze never leaving me. I still found him attractive, sure, but after today…maybe not so much.

His smile, though. It really is perfect. I sighed dreamily.

“Miss Stone?”

I blinked. What? Which ass interrupted my daydream? I frowned.

“Yes? I mean, no. I have no questions. I think. Bye. Thank you…? I’ll get going. Um, bye,” I stammered quickly, shooting up from my chair and muttering another hasty goodbye. Shit, why did I say goodbye twice? Godamn it. I walked out the room, feeling confused. I wasn’t dreaming?

Great!

I get to start work tomorrow… as Ryan Astrid’s secretary.

Yay… can’t you feel the excitement?

No, of course not. It was, surprisingly, nonexistent.


Submitted: January 07, 2014

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