69 Million Things I Hate About You(10)

By: Kira Archer

She pulled out the files and flipped through the first couple. Land measurements, building specs, sale histories. What was this stuff for? Cole didn’t typically deal with real estate. He bought ideas and turned them into apps and products. But these were all files on various properties throughout the state. Strange.

Since she had no real clue what the man wanted, she arranged the files in order of best to worst purchase option, and then put them back in her briefcase. She’d go over them more at length later. Maybe. It was Saturday night and she’d been working for ten days straight without a real break. She was going to take the next day off whether he liked it or not. She’d known the job would be involved, but if he called her one more time in the middle of the night to ask some question that could easily wait until morning, she’d pull her hair out.

Her jaw throbbed, and she realized she’d been clenching it again. It happened so often she’d had to get a guard to wear at night so she didn’t grind her teeth down to nubs while she slept. She closed her eyes and did the breathing exercises her yoga instructor had taught her. Breathe in…calm, serene, life is beautiful…breathe out…push the frustrations away. Breathe in…breathe out…

She continued breathing until she had relaxed enough to save her enamel another grinding and went back to fantasizing over all the ways she could make Cole’s life miserable. If she didn’t want to keep her job, of course.

Two trains and a brisk four block walk later, she was running up the five flights of stairs to the apartment she shared with her friends. She actually enjoyed the lack of elevator in the building—it was the only workout she got every day. She didn’t have time to hit the gym. Plus, she loved the old world feel of the place. Only one of the many reasons she’d resisted Cole’s offers to install her in one of the apartments he owned closer to his home. The last thing she wanted was to be more accessible to him. He’d never stop calling.

“You’re late,” Izzy yelled over her shoulder the second Kiersten got through the door.

Kiersten dumped her bag and kicked off her shoes, accepting the plate piled high with pizza that Cassie handed her with a thankful groan.

“Food,” she said, inhaling deeply. Her stomach growled in anticipation. Izzy passed her a glass of wine as she slumped onto the couch.

“Hungry?” she asked.

Kiersten nodded, depositing her glass on the coffee table so she could shove a huge portion of the slice into her mouth. “I ate half a blueberry scone for breakfast and a handful of the leftover crumbs for lunch.”

Cassie frowned. “Boss Man couldn’t let you out of his sight long enough to let you eat?”

Kiersten shrugged. “To be fair, he didn’t eat, either.”

Izzy rolled her eyes. “You don’t need to be fair to that man. He works you to death. There should be a law against calling you in on a Saturday.”

“Yeah, well, that’s one of the perks of being the assistant to the big boss. When he works, I work.”

Izzy snorted. “Yeah, lucky you. He always works. And unlike him, we have plans tonight.”

“Speaking of,” Cass said, “did you get it?”

Kiersten nodded and gestured to her bag. “In there.”

Cassie hurried over and dug through the bag until she found the lotto ticket. Every time the jackpot went over one-hundred million dollars they each kicked in a couple bucks to purchase three tickets, from three different locations, with the plan to split any winnings three ways. Their tickets to freedom.

Of course, she’d been buying a ticket at least once a month since she’d been old enough to buy one for herself and had yet to win more than twenty dollars. But she remained hopeful.

Cassie put the tickets on the coffee table. “Please don’t tell me those files I saw are more work for you to do this weekend.”

“Okay, I won’t tell you.”

“Seriously? He calls you in on Saturday and then gives you work to take home? I don’t know how you keep from shoving his coffee where the sun don’t shine.”

Kiersten sighed. “That would be incredibly fun. But, aside from coffee enemas being supposedly healthy and therefore a horrible act of revenge, I’ve got three very good reasons why I can’t do that. Bills, rent, and food. I’ve kind of grown accustomed to luxuries like cereal and shelter. So, unfortunately, I need my job too much to give in to my fantasies of paying him back for every miserable second I’ve spent as his assistant.”