Making her Smile

By: Elizabeth Lennox

Chapter 1

“Your fiancée is here to see you,” Marie announced, standing in the doorway while maintaining as much distance between the two of them as possible.

Phillip barely glanced up from whatever he was looking at on the computer screen and her fingers tightened angrily on the doorknob. The man was completely oblivious! If it didn’t have a number in it or didn’t have the potential to make a million dollars, Phillip didn’t acknowledge it.

Marie had known this from the beginning, so there was absolutely no reason she should feel jealous. She also knew that Phillip had no feelings, other than familial obligations when it came to his fiancée. But Lillian was a lovely woman, kind and generous, courteous and warm. She didn’t deserve this kind of negligence on the part of her fiancé.

“Phillip!” she snapped. When his hands froze on the keyboard and he looked over at her, she knew that she finally had his full attention.

“Yes, Marie?” he asked, his voice smooth and sexy.

She glared at him, furious that he was doing his “thing”. It was his way of making her feel silly, but a long time ago, she’d learned to counter that look. She suspected that her retaliation amused him, but she got her point across so that was positive.

Looking at him with raised eyebrows and her own “look” that told him he was being a jerk, she patiently repeated, “Your fiancée?” she repeated. “Lillian? The woman you’re going to marry in a few days?” she prompted sarcastically.

Another chuckle and she wanted to slap him, but she knew that she needed to stay far away from him. She’d learned her lesson and wasn’t stupid enough to ignore that lesson.

“I’m fully aware of my future wife’s name, Marie,” he pointed out, leaning back in his leather chair.

Marie glared at his sarcasm, wondering if he really did know who his fiancée was. Lifting her chin, she glared across the wide expanse of carpet at her boss. “She’s here and she wants to speak with you.”

He looked at his computer once again, typing something on the keyboard. “She doesn’t have an appointment.”

Marie rolled her eyes, furious that he would dare to say something so outrageous. Was the man even in love with Lillian? Sometimes, she doubted it. No way could he love Lillian the way that Marie…well, he didn’t act like a man in love. “Phillip! She’s your fiancée! She shouldn’t need an appointment. Lillian should be able to stop in any time she wants!” She took a deep breath, trying to calm her temper. “You’re just trying to rile me again, aren’t you?”

He laughed once more, nodding his head. “Yes. But you know I love it when you think you can boss me around.”

Stiffening, Marie refused to look at him. If she looked into those beautiful, chocolate eyes of his, she’d be lost. Again!

“I’ll tell her that you were…”

“Just open the door and let her come in, Marie. There’s no need to give her any explanation. She knows me pretty well.”

Marie stood there glaring at him for another long moment, but when he simply lifted a brown eyebrow in amusement, she knew that her anger wasn’t making an impact and she gave up.

Pulling the door open, she smiled at Lillian, and held the door open for her. When the sweet, beautiful blonde was inside Phillip’s office, Marie pulled the door closed, not wanting to see or hear anything that Phillip might say to Lillian.

Jealousy was not pretty and it wasn’t kind, she thought. She’d been working for Phillip for the past year and, over the months, she’d gotten to know the man. He might be completely focused on numbers and strategy, but he was good at it. Damn good! She never understood how he could anticipate market trends so perfectly, but he did and she was amazed. But even more than that, she listened to him, talked to him. She’d gotten to know him. He was funny and charming, his southern manners coming out in unexpected ways.

He might be oblivious to the subtle nuances of romancing a woman, but he always held the door for her, he was aware of her efforts assisting him during the day and never failed to thank her for her work, even though he paid her an extravagant salary. When she made a mistake, he rarely pointed it out to her and even admonished her for being too hard on herself for those mistakes.

Sitting at her desk, she pulled up the schedule for the rest of the day, her eyes immediately drawn to the evening. Breathing a sigh of relief, she was glad to see that there were no wedding events planned for tonight. In fact, there wasn’t anything else until Friday night when Phillip was scheduled for the rehearsal dinner.