Fire ignites under my skin and I stop breathing. I just insulted my own boss. Hired and fired in less than 30 minutes. Great fucking job, Thea. Go pack your crap and head over to the Catholic Church. Their steps look comfy enough to sleep on.
“I’m so sorry. It just came out. It will never happen again”
Mr. Sawyer stares at me and parts his lips “Can I ask you something, Thea?”
I nod. “Okay”
“Don’t get offended, because I’m only asking for business purposes. Do you own proper professional wear? We have a strict dress policy here and pride ourselves on it”
Words don’t form for a moment as I hesitate revealing how poor I am.
“No, this is all I have that comes close. I’m sorry. Hopefully, with my first pay I can get some things after I pay my rent and stuff” In all actuality, I don’t even know how much this job pays. How much can a simple assistant get paid?
“Don’t apologize.” He says as he picks up the phone “Anna, get in here please”
Seconds later, a natural redhead with legs for days, appears in the doorway.
“Come in and close the door. This is important” Anna comes in and stands next to his desk. She immediately whips out her phone and looks at him. “I’m ready”
Ready for what?
“Okay, this is Thea, she will start working here in two days. In those days, I need you to take her to a salon, take two inches off her hair and correct it, please.” He almost cringes at the sight of my horribly dyed hair.
Is it that obvious that dying my hair red from a box that only cost $2 was a huge mistake? And cutting my hair?! Is that really necessary? I look over at Anna and she is typing away in her phone, not the least bit affected by the level of control this man has fuming off of him.
“Take her shopping. Skirts, dress pants, dresses, jackets. Make sure they fit well. She needs proper shoes. Flats and heels. Get her blouses and button downs.” As he talks, his eyes scan over me, making note of everything wrong with my appearance.
“Take care of undergarments too. She’ll need some jewelry, staple pieces. Get whatever personal grooming items, brushes, hair utensils, rubber bands” His eyes flicker to mine at the mention of the bands.
I sit there and listen to him basically tell Anna to change my whole look. I want to argue against it or tell him off for knit-picking every part of me, but I can’t blame him. I’m a mess and wouldn’t want someone dressed like me to work here either. I just sit there and take it.
“And I’ll be making a home visit”
Oh hell nope. “What?! No!” I sit up.
Mr. Sawyer’s eyebrow twitches “Excuse me?”
“I’m not comfortable will you visiting where I live. All of this is a bit personal” Anna and Mr. Sawyer stares at me for a moment before Anna, but in.
“You shouldn’t take it to heart. He has helped almost every employee that works for him. I hope you don’t think all of us just walked in on the first day looking like this. Of course, he has never purchased us a whole wardrobe with company money” Mumbling the last part, Anna shoots Mr. Sawyer a questioning look, but he doesn’t notice because he is watching me.
“I just...” I start, but Mr. Sawyer raises his hand, stopping me.
“Anna I’m done. You can head out. I need to talk to Thea alone” Anna nods and exits, leaving me here with Mr. Control.
God, what boss dictates and mandates a wardrobe. If he doesn’t like your shirt, he sends you out to buy another? Control freak much? This man clearly has some underlying issues.
When Anna is gone, He stands up and paces around “I apologize for the snide remark Anna made. She oversteps her boundaries from time to time because she has been here longer than most. I’m not doing this to be rude or mean, Thea. I take my employees very seriously. The wellbeing of each person working here is my responsibility and I take the job to heart. I’m not doing this to embarrass you or make you feel less. If anything, I’m trying to build you up. Do you understand?”
He asks as he paces around behind me. Suddenly, his hands land on my shoulders and I freeze. “Sexual harassment is against the law, you know?” Though I don’t completely mind.
Mr. Sawyer snorts “Don’t flatter yourself. Your horrible posture has been bothering me this whole time”
He squeezes my shoulders and pulls them back. Sliding his hand down the middle of my back, he pushes forward, forcing me to undo the small hunch I was sporting. “This feels weird now, but in due time it’ll be a habit. Now you’re neck”
“What about my neck?” I go to turn my head to look at him, but his hands are already around the back of my neck. He wraps his fingers gently around my throat before sliding his hands up into my lower jaw, making me lift my head and straighten my neck.
“Perfect” He whispers as he corrects my posture.
The sensation of his fingertips on my throat is like cold water to the anger I was feeling moments ago. Does he do this with every woman in here? If so then someone needs to lawyer up. This man is one bad posture away from a lawsuit. When his warm hands leave my skin, I breathe a sigh of relief that I didn’t know I was holding in my lungs.
“Better?” He asks and I frown “Uncomfortable.”
“Because you’re used to sitting all hunched over. This magazine is based on poise and stature. We require the same for employees” Mr. Sawyer takes his seat again.
“Yeah, I’ve noticed the guys in the magazine. But I have a quick question that hasn’t been brought up this whole time”
“Okay, go ahead” He sits back and grips his chin, waiting for me to ask. His brown eyes burn into mine and I nearly shift in my seat, leftover feelings from his posture lesson.
“What is your job title?”
“You don’t know?” He sits up as I shake my head “No”
“Well, let me introduce myself properly” He stands up and comes around the desk yet again. Holding out his hand, he smirks.
“I’m Ethan Sawyer, owner of International Men Magazine”
Gawking at him like a fool, I reach up and shake his hand. Parting my lips, I run my tongue over my bottom and he catches it. His large hand grips my small hand, squeezing firmly, waiting for me to actually speak instead of sitting here like a mute.
“Uh, Hi. I’m going to be your assistant?”
He nods “Yes, and call me Ethan, please. We’re going to get really close and I want you to be comfortable. No one else calls me Ethan so think of it as a privilege. Now, let’s go down to get lunch.”
Hand still in his, he pulls me up to my feet. When I stand, our bodies are a lot closer and his height towers over me. Ethan looks down at me and presses his lips together.
“You will eat proper meals from now on. I will give you a temporary money card to buy yourself dinner and after my home check, tomorrow morning, we’ll figure out groceries.”
“But, I don’t...” God, how does he know?
This man doesn’t know me, yet from one stomach growl, he can see my whole financial situation written on my forehead. I guess the panic I feel is sketched into my expression because Ethan presses his hands down on my shoulders.
“Calm down, Thea. Everything is going to be fine.”
“I don’t want you taking pity on me. I just really need this job to get on my feet. I don’t want any handouts or special treatments, Mr. Sawy....I mean Ethan.”
“Thea, don’t over think it. The better situation you are in, the better able you are to handle the crapload I’m going to throw at you in two days. I need you well fed and rested. Now I will admit, I don’t usually do all of this as far as the new wardrobe and home problems because most of my staff live comfortably. I usually make suggestions and it’s up to the employees to handle it themselves, but it’s clear you need a little extra attention and I’m willing to give it. I won’t have my assistant going home hungry and without. Understand?”
I nod “Yes”
“Good, now let’s go get something to eat, new assistant.” If he keeps being this bossy and analytical, I don’t know how long I’m going to be his assistant.