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Chapter 5

November 15, 2007

Shane looked down the hall both ways as if her aunt or uncle would jump out of nowhere and knock their fist against her temple. She remembered one night in high school when she had overslept at the library and broke her curfew. Bud had taken a switch and whipped her so bad, she had nightmares about the beating for weeks. All she remembered him saying was that “she better not bring no babies in this house!”The rules her aunt and uncle had applied to Shane had not been applied to Trudy.

Cautiously stepping into the suite, she closed the door behind her and locked the door just in case she had been followed.

The Adonis had gone into the bathroom and she heard water running. The front room of the suite looked barely touched. She could tell from the look of the suite, he hadn’t been in it that long. The bathroom of the suite was connected through the front room and the bedroom.

Listening to what he was doing, she looked in the bedroom. There was a suit laid out on the bed, and a small bag with personal items. The closet was open and there were no clothes hanging up. Professor Henderson said this man would be staying until the weekend, yet it looked as if he only packed for one night.

“Being nosey, Shane Keaton?” that enchanting sonorous voice asked behind her above her head.

She groaned at being caught at the doorway of his bedroom. He had come out of the front room door. This time, he had on some dress pants and a silk shirt, which he was in the process of finishing off adjusting the cufflinks. Facing him, she blushed.
“You could say that,” she said evasively.

“Or you could just admit it?” He raised a dark brow in amusement.

Was he joking with her? She wondered, but didn’t want to say this out loud. She had learned a little about keeping her thoughts to herself from last night. “I may have been nosey,” she loosely confessed just for argument sake.

He seemed satisfied that she had done that and moved out of her way, so she could go into the front room. “Have a seat, Shane Keaton, until I can finished getting dressed. Or would you like to see something else in my bedroom?”

She went over to the couch without answering him. He chuckled completely amused and went into the bedroom leaving the door slightly cracked. Shane didn’t know if she should be slightly embarrassed or annoyed. At this time, she was both.

“Are you always this nosey?” he asked from the bedroom.

“No…well, I haven’t been to a hotel room before, so I wouldn’t call it nosiness. More like curiosity in my opinion,” she said defensively.

He peeked out the door as he tied his tie. “You really think I believe that?”

“Which one? That I haven’t been in a hotel room or I was being curious.”

“That you were being curious,” he said.

“Yes, because what reason would I have to lie to you?”

“Because you want an internship and the more you look like a rose, the better the chances, I might hire you.” He ducked back in the room and grabbed his jacket and then came out the room completely.

Shane frowned. “Was I supposed to respond to that statement in some kind of way, Mr. Watkins, or was that rhetorical?”

He only shrugged nonchalantly. “Why don’t we just drop the subject? I’ll think what I think and you’ll think what you think. What was that statement you made? It’s a free country, right?”

She huffed wondering if being employed by this man was going to be this frustrating all the time. Not really caring how damn
handsome he looked, he rattled her nerves to bits.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“I was ready when I arrived, Mr. Watkins,” she said with a lot of annoyance in her voice.

“Good, I’m famished.” He came over to the couch and being a complete gentleman offered his hand for assistance to help her stand up.

Warily, she took the strong large hand and allowed him to lead her out the door. He released his hold on her hand once they were out in the hallway and was on their way to the elevator. Without turning her head, she strained her eyes to look at his face, but he was so damn tall, she thought for sure her eyeballs were stretched to their limit. For some reason he looked mildly familiar, but she couldn’t place the face.

Professor Henderson had said he ran a lucrative business so maybe she had seen him on television or something – Even a real estate magazine or a network gathering.

“The professor speaks very highly of you,” he said when they were inside of the elevator alone. “With the resume he provided, I was positive you were a guy.”

“Are you disappointed?” she asked, keeping her eyes straight. As handsome as he was, he must be use to women staring. She didn’t want to be one of those women. Shane was a professional and one didn’t mix business with pleasure – especially eye candy like Andrew Watkins.

“Well to put it mildly, I have had problems in the past with female staff members.”

She couldn’t help, but look at him. He was staring directly at her, so she was forced to make eye contact with him. “What does that mean?”

He shrugged. “I should warn you that many females in my employ have had to be released because of office and personal conflicts.”

Of course as handsome as he was, he was most likely a playboy and probably couldn’t keep his hands off the female staff in his office. “Meaning there was relations between you and female office staff?” she asked suspiciously.

His look of mild disgust was quite evident. “No, Shane Keaton. I meant that they were unable to maintain a professional status with me when they had other things on their mind.”

“And that disgust you, Mr. Watkins?” she questioned in response to his look.

Huffing, he said, “No. Only the fact that you assumed it was I making the advances towards them and not the other way around.”

Shane couldn’t help to look guilty for her summation of this man. “For that I will admit it, Mr. Watkins, and apologize.”

The elevator doors opened at the lobby and they made their way to the Marriott Courtyard where he had reserved a table in advance for them. He was a complete gentleman assisting her in her chair before sitting down across from her, and ordering their drinks and meal.

Once he sent the waiter away, he asked, “Where did a name like Shane come from?”

She had to shrug. “I really don’t know. I never asked my mother, who named me before she died.”

“Your father perchance name comes close?”

“I never knew my father,” she answered quietly.

The waiter returned quickly to deliver their drinks. Shane had not ordered any alcohol, but lemonade. She didn’t want to order a carbonated beverage. He had ordered a beer, which was served in a glass.

“Does my name bother you?” she questioned him.

“I don’t think it’s just the name. The impressive resume Professor Henderson submitted was mesmerizing. I haven’t seen that much accomplishments since I graduated, Shane Keaton.” He chuckled and gave her a humorous wink.
Shane never knew when to relax with him or not. He had her whole equilibrium thrown off track and she didn’t like feeling like this. “Why do you continue to use my whole name?”

He shrugged with that same amusement in his eyes. “I’m testing it. I have to get use to it in order to know if I’m going to like you or not.”

“Does a name really make a person, Mr. Watkins?”

“Oh most definitely, Shane Keaton.”

“Would you be perturb if I told you that annoyed me when you did that?” she asked.

“No, it wouldn’t. So I should let you know calling me Mr. Watkins makes me feel like your grandfather?” He took a sip of his drink, but he never broke eye contact.

“Then you could have just said so,” she said.

“I thought I would annoy you first.”

“Are you always this frustrating?”

He laughed out loud throwing his head back. “Not really. People find me very enjoyable to speak with.”

“I really beg to differ on that, Mr…” She stopped herself. “What would you like me to call you?”

“Andrew isn’t a bad name, don’t you think?”

She didn’t answer his question and wondered what game was he trying to play or what exactly was he after. “So you’re worried I might make a bigger dent in this industry than you?”

“I never fear competition, Shane Keaton.” He licked his lips voraciously making a strange shudder go through her body.
Was he hungry for food still? She wondered, but bit her lip to keep this thought to herself. Breaking the eye contact to look down at her drink, she said, “So what is it about me that you fear?”

“The power you can hold over people. Professor Henderson says although that you keep to yourself around campus, your presence is impressive. I can see that.”

Frowning in uneasiness, she asked, “Just what exactly did Professor Henderson say about me?”

He smiled wickedly, “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

The smile was very familiar to her and she had a horrible feeling she knew this man from somewhere and not television. It was becoming very hard to keep her professional composure.

A phone began to ring and she wondered if someone was going to answer it. Across the table, he raised a brow in curiosity.
“Are you going to get that?” Andrew asked.

Realizing it was her ringing, she found Evan’s phone in her bag and answered it. “Hello?”

“Where the hell are you?” Evan asked.

“Busy, what’s wrong?”

“I’m looking for my phone at your class, but you’re not there and I know you’d break your neck not to miss Professor Henderson’s class.”

She chortled. “I’m having business brunch. Professor Henderson excused me from class.”

“What’s it about?”

Shane huffed. “I’ll speak with you later, Evan, and I’m sorry about not dropping off your phone. Good-bye.” He could be so thoughtless at times. “I apologize for the interruption, Andrew.” Saying his name was rather intimate and made her very uncomfortable.

“No apology necessary, mine would usually be ringing off the hook, but I choose to leave it in my room.”

At that moment the phone rung again and she saw from the cell phone’s screen the call was coming from her home. She wondered who at her house would be calling Evan’s phone. “One more moment please,” she said and answered the phone.  “Hello?”

No one answered, but the caller stayed on the line for a moment as if hesitating. Shane heard the twins in the background before the call was disconnected on the other end. Frowning she looked at the display as it went back confirming that the call had come from her home number.

“If that’s much more important, please let me know,” Andrew said, resting his clean-shaven chin on his hand.

 “No sir.” Biting her tongue for the informal gesture, she turned off the phone and put it away. When she met his eyes she could tell he was perturbed again, but she wouldn’t apologize. Not this time.

Stiffly, he said, “What holds your interest in the real estate world, Shane?””My mother actually.”

Casually she swirled her fingertip around the tip of her glass. “She always had this entrepreneur spirit, but as many small ventures that she tried, she always told me the real mark on the world is how much property people had. We would ride the buses to the suburbs and pretend we were going out to buy a house.” She chuckled more to her at the memory. “She didn’t have a car, but that never stopped her. She would faithfully find the house, even if the bus didn’t run there and we’d look it over. She gave me a taste of the business and since then I knew that’s what I would go in. You could say I have a passion for the business and I’m destine to prosper.”

“Professor Henderson was right, then. You would be an asset to my company.” He leaned forward enthralled by her.

Shane felt honored by his compliment and the smile she bestowed to him made those fascinating eyes dance with pleasure. Yes, it was getting very hard to keep her professional demure with Andrew Watkins. After clearing her throat, she asked, “What would the internship entail?”

“Well, I’m sure Professor Henderson has told you I’ve been recently acquired an outsource account with Bellini Enterprises and it’s a very important deal to me. I need a research assistant who can take the eight properties and seven businesses and obtain their worth on the present market. Whatever we find out, however big the price we turn into Bellini, he’s promised a thirty percent cut of the wealth.”

She knew at that point this would not be a small assignment and licked her lips excitedly.

He leaned back and became very business like. “I don’t know if the professor told you, but this is a paid internship. I start at twenty-one and there is a thousand-dollar bonus every year you work for me. If I decide to hire you full time, you’ll move to twenty-seven with a maximum bonus of three to five grand depending on annual employee evaluations done by me. As an employee, I do offer education scholarships, vacations, personal days, and such. I like people who do actually work. As anyone, I’m a fair boss. I don’t play favoritism in the office, but there are rewards for people who go above and beyond the call of duty in pleasing my clients. As an intern, you’ll be at the bottom of the bucket, Shane, but if you give your best, sweat your ass off and work like this is the last hour of your life, I guarantee a reward.”

Shane was highly impressed at his professionalism. Without him saying, she knew he took very good care of his employees and he cared about them even though she probably was right in assuming one would have to break his arm for him to admit it. Shane didn’t think breaking his arm could be physically possible for as large as he was.

Deciding not to note that she wouldn’t need an education scholarship, she said, “How long is the internship?”

“Until I say so or unless I hire you full time.”

“Or until I quit,” she added with her own arrogance.

He snorted superciliously. “That’s highly unlikely, although considering your qualifications I would probably be incline to do whatever it takes to keep you if you’re as good as you look on paper.”

She pushed the thought of him actually trying to do “anything” to get her to stay out of her mind and forced herself to think professionally.

Their food arrived which was a great distraction and she was able to get herself back on track. He had ordered a perfect business brunch, although she didn’t know if she could eat right then. Her stomach was still doing flips.

Andrew didn’t know what to make of this young lady. Her resume had knocked him off his butt, because he had not expected someone so bright and intelligent with the vast accomplishments to be so young and a female. Shit! This just threw him all off track and he didn’t know where to start with her or where to end. He was very leery about her though, but he would follow the philosophy about keeping your friends close, but your enemies closer. Andrew had yet to determine if she was a friend or enemy, but either way she would be great for his business.

As they progress with eating, she took the smallest bites of her food. He was very aware that she was very uncomfortable around him, so he decided to talk about himself, which always seemed to relax other women.

Shane listened as he spoke about his upbringing in the city of Detroit before his mother passed away of breast cancer. His father decided to move out the city with his boys who were still in high school. Andrew went on to earn his bachelors from MSU on a football scholarship. Two games before the draft pick, which he was set to be number one; he tore muscles in his shoulders and was out until he graduated. He came back to Detroit putting his football career behind him and earned his masters in real estate and finance from Wayne State University. His father was ecstatic that he came into the business.

“He was worried he would have to hire someone outside of the family to be in charge, while he enjoyed his retirement,” Andrew stated.

His father died a year ago from heart failure and Andrew had no problem running the business. He had tripled the profits and his company would be voted number one in sales by the end of the year by Detroit Crain’s Business magazine.

As he spoke, she found her eyes drifting to his cropped hair of ear length, thin lips, detailed nose, and condescending chin. Those luscious mint green eyes of his were the most amazing thing about his face and with his deep soothing voice, she had to wonder why this man wasn’t married.

The frown on his face came quickly along with the narrowing of the eyes.

Shane had done it again. Blurting out her thoughts was never cool in an interview situation.

‘Stay professional,’ she screamed inside her head.

Yet Andrew answered her question, “I’m too busy to meet someone.”

“Is that an excuse or shield?” she found herself asking then bit her tongue. Her boss’s personal life should be none of her business.

He laughed not at all insulted by her question, as most people would be. “You sound like someone I know,” he said.

The waiter returned to see if there was anything that they needed. Shane decided to ask direction to the bathroom to get a breather from this man and freshen up. As she was walking away, she had a powerful inclination to turn around and look back.
She allowed herself to gaze over her shoulder at the last minute, to find Andrew staring at her with a very odd expression on his face.

He broke eye contact first this time by pretending his beer glass was much more important.

In the bathroom, she stared for a long moment at herself tying to figure out what the hell was her problem. All of a sudden she had developed an attraction for two men on the very left side of the having scale.

At twenty-one years of age, she had no trouble finding dates. There were lots of guys on campus who wanted to go out with her, but none of them had actually piqued her interest. They would see her intelligence, sense of humor, and even tell her she was beautiful, yet Shane never once thought they were whom she wanted to be with or just couldn’t connect to them.
 

‘You didn’t feel anything,’ she told herself. ‘Not like this.’ Shane wrapped her arms around her stomach feeling those flip-flops at the thought of Paul and Andrew.

In one week, she had managed to find two men – one who physically attracted her and the other who mentally stimulated her and who she wanted (really wanted).

Returning to the table, Andrew was on the phone. She heard him say quickly once he noted she was there, “She’s here. I’ll call you when I’m done.”

Shane didn’t comment on what she had heard, but for some reason she wish she knew who he was speaking to about her.

As soon as she sat down, he picked up where they had left off. “I use that excuse to hide from myself.”

“Why would you want to do that?” she inquired.

“Because I can’t admit that having a relationship with a woman is even more difficult than running a Fortune Five Hundred company and that I don’t think I could ever please a woman the way she would want to be please,” he said honestly. “Over the years I’ve realized I’m better at business life than at my personal life.”

“It’s not that difficult if you practice.”

“I don’t give myself time to practice,” he stated. “Speaking of personal life, what do you do with your personal time when you’re not at school or at work, trying to be more perfect than I?”

She gave the generalized answer, “I am in various school organizations and participate with activities for school and career wise.”

“I can see that, but what are your hobbies, Shane?”

No one had ever been that inquisitive and she found it slightly amusing. Chortling, she nervously said, “No ones ever asked that of me. I’ve been on hundreds of interviews and no one has thought to ask me my hobbies or personal interests.”

“I like to know what my employees enjoy.”

“I’d call that nosiness,” she said taking his words.

“I’d call it curiosity,” he quickly shot back. “Other than eat and sleep, what do you enjoy besides the real estate business, Shane?”

Shane had to admit, he could play verbally very well. Taking a moment, she thought about it. “Redecorating has always been a fancy of mine. I love to read the magazines when I have the chance or even look at the cable shows when I can.” She wasn’t going to go on about how she could never watch the television.

“So your mother is deceased?” he asked jumping subjects.

“When I was nine,” she answered. “Sclerosis of the liver. Before having me she was heavily into drinking and drugs until she didn’t know what day it was. Yet once she knew she was responsible for another life, she straightened up and found her way. She used to tell me I was her inspiration.”

“That’s the reason behind your middle name?”

Shane crinkled her nose wondering did he memorize her resume. “Yes,” she answered.

“So do you have any brothers or sisters?” he inquired.

“No, sir…I mean Andrew.” She bit her tongue for her flub. “I have no siblings that I know of since I told you before I never met my father.”

“What about children or significant others?”

Was this line of questioning necessary? Why did he have to know so much? “No. I have no children and I do not have a boyfriend. I’ve decided to wait until I finish school to become serious about anyone.”

His look was long and searching as if he was waiting for something else, but when she didn’t say anything he asked, “When can you start?”

“I can start as soon as possible,” she said. “But did the professor tell you about my transportation problem?”
 
“Ah yes,” he said smiling knowingly. “I will leave information with the professor on arrangements to our office if I have chosen you, Shane. You should know soon.” He checked his watch. “Is there somewhere you wish for me to take you?”

“No, I can handle myself.”

“I have a five o’clock with a lot of running around in between. Can I walk you to the entrance?” Andrew asked.

She nodded her acquiesce. He stood up and she followed comparing how large he was. He had to weigh over three hundred pounds, but he kept himself in excellent physical condition and dressed very nice.

He’s your boss, not a date!’ she reprimanded herself.

They walked to the front of the hotel and she shook his hand.

“It was a pleasure talking with you, Andrew.” She spoke robotically; keeping her feelings of the frustrations he had caused her mind and body out of her eyes. “I hope to speak with you soon.”

Looking up into his eyes, he had that searching look again as if he were expecting something. She kept her emotions in check and prayed he didn’t see the attraction that was slowly building. The sooner she got away from him, the sooner she would be able to breathe normally.

Shane turned away before she broke character not waiting for a response and hurriedly walked out of the hotel and onto the street.

The waiter came over to Andrew and let him know the young lady had left the cell phone on the table. Andrew looked at the door where she had gone and decided not to go after her. The results of their meeting had not gone as he wanted them to. Quickly, he took out his own phone and hit redial.

The familiar voice answered.

“She just left, but I still have my reservations. Why her?” he asked.

“Jealous that she could possibly be better than you?”

“No,” Andrew grumbled. It was rare he let anyone egg him on. This person was a large exception. “Jealous that I have to go along with this façade. She wasn’t even attracted to me. I don’t think this is going to work. She’ll never agree.”

The other voice said, “You sound as if it mattered when just this morning you said it didn’t. Don’t worry about it, Andrew. She’ll come around. I know she will.”

Andrew huffed and hung up too peeved about the meeting with Shane Keaton to really care if he had been rude to the person on the other line.

 

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4 Comments
  1. shonda permalink

    im lovin the story, but it sounds soo familiar? but newayz keep them comin sylvia! can’t wait for the update:0)

  2. Tori permalink

    It’s starting to get good. I am excited about the next chapter!

  3. kassie permalink

    hi gurl, dis is new luvin it already.

  4. kassie permalink

    hi gurl, i’m already luvin it so pls kip it comin

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