"I don't care how you do it, just get it done!" The phone landed with a rattle back in the cradle. "How old is he - three?" Nate exploded, slamming himself back in his leather chair, running both hands through his already messy curls. Nathaniel Walker was having a bad day and it was only 11:45 am.
It had started out fairly good for a Friday. Traffic had been excellent and for the first time in God only knows when, he made it to work by 7:30 am. Paperwork that had been sitting in his In-Tray for a week was now safely tucked into the Out-Tray, ready for his PA to work whatever magic she needed to get it distributed correctly. Files were updated and put away from the past few weeks of slaving over them checking and rechecking figures for the latest project. Nate decided everything was going great. Right up until the phone rang at 11:00am.
"How can a grown man who graduated in the top five percent of his class not know that you have to order a few weeks in advance when sea freighting from the other side of the bloody world?" Nate wondered aloud, shaking his tawny head.
He pushed himself out of the chair and stalked over to his side cupboard, opening the bottom door and reaching in for the bottle of Jameson's he kept in there for emergencies or late night strategy meetings with his best mate and business partner, Koby Allen. Pouring two fingers ... okay, three fingers into a crystal tumbler, he looked up at the clock on the timber panel wall and decided it was after 2:00 pm somewhere in the world, therefore okay to indulge in the badly needed shot.
He and Koby really needed this project to come together. It was the final step required to put their company, NAK Inc, on the map and he had imbeciles who thought a container ship could get from London to Australia and the stock cleared through customs, off the wharf and delivered to the customer in five days, working for him! 'Okay, that was harsh, ' he thought, 'not imbeciles but Christ on a crutch; can't anybody else think for themselves anymore?' He exhaled roughly, massaging his temple with one hand while throwing the whiskey that was held in his other down his tan throat.
A tapping on the door pulled his attention to the woman standing just outside his office. He had forgotten to shut the door before having his little tantrum and was now feeling another form of heat rising up his neck ... all the way from his loins.
"I couldn't help but overhear your side of the conversation, Nate. Is everything alright with the Harbourside Marina Project?" enquired Abby, Nate's PA, who in his opinion was the most striking woman he had ever met with her blue eyes and dead straight black hair, which she kept tucked up in a professional but sexy French braid. She was wearing his favourite outfit today too: tailored black trousers and one of those silky blouse things. The one that made a man want to touch it to see if it was as soft as it looked. It was a blue one today.
"No, Abby, everything is not alright. The shipment has only just left the factory on it's way to the wharf in London," Nate replied disgustedly, enlightening her to the other side of the conversation. "Paulson didn't realise it would take so long to get here and hadn't organised the order until last week."
"Is it possible to get the truck to take it to the airport rather than the wharf?" Abby asked. "That way, we can air freight it and with pre-clearing through customs it should be here and ready for delivery by this time next week."
Nate just looked at her in awe and then smacked his hand to his forehead, forgetting that it was the one he held the crystal tumbler in. "Oh, Fuck, that hurt!" he cried, too busy trying to rub away the pain in his head to be worried about embarrassing himself in front of his sexy PA.
Abby had realised what was going to happen when she saw the hand with the glass rising but couldn't stop it in time. "Here let me look at your head," she said clucking her tongue, as she walked briskly over to Nate, reaching up for the hand rubbing his forehead.
"No, it's alright. I'm a big boy."
Nate didn't want Abby to get too close because of the way she affected his body whenever she was in the same room with him. Actually he only had to smell her perfume to have the same reaction. Parts of him desperately wanted to make friends with parts of her but he was acutely aware of their working relationship and didn't want any sexual harassment charges brought against him.
"Don't be silly. I'm a first aider. I have to check to make sure you didn't give yourself a concussion with that chunk of crystal." Abby once again grabbed for his hand. "Why don't you put the culprit down and sit down so I can see your head and eyes better?"
Nate gave in to her demand and, putting the glass down on the side cupboard, he turned round to face her, perching on the edge.
"There, happy now?" he asked, sarcastically. The embarrassment was starting to set in.
"Now look deep into my eyes," Abby said in a comical voice. "Are you getting sleepy? How many fingers am I holding up?" she asked in her normal husky voice.
"Not sleepy and I didn't know you had seven fingers on each hand," Nate joked.
"Okay, smart guy, you're fine. Next time remember if you're going to get all drama queen on me, use the hand that DOESN'T have the chunk of glass in it!"
"I'll have you know that tumbler is genuine Baccarat crystal, you peasant!" Nate said in a faux-snooty accent.
"Oh, so sorry, M'Lord, I didn't realise the importance of such a piece," Abby played along, bobbing into a quick curtsy.
Unfortunately, on top of the three fingers of Jameson's and the knock on the head, the proximity of Abby's curvy little body was too much for Nate's poor system to bear and he found himself hardening right there in front of her. He quickly rose from his perch, turned away and walked uncomfortably to his desk, clearing his throat and wishing like hell his hard-on would settle down as he settled back in his chair ... BEHIND the desk.
"Yes, well back to the marina project," he said in a brisk tone. "Do you think you could contact our clearing house and organise for them to set this plan into action?"
"Shouldn't be hard," Abby quipped. She had noticed the movement in Nate's jeans, her gaze longingly following her hot boss's butt as he walked over to his desk. In the year she had been with the company, Abby had woven many a fantasy in relation to her boss and his fine form. A vision of Nate wearing those blue jeans and nothing else ran through her head.
Nate's head turned sharply at her reply. Surely she couldn't have meant that the way it sounded, he thought but her face showed only the innocent expression she usually wore. "Great. You arrange the change of delivery method and I'll contact Paulson to advise him not to bother fixing anything else for us!"
Abby agreed and reluctantly went back to her desk outside Nate's office. Efficient as always, she made the necessary arrangements without any fuss. Abby couldn't believe that Paulson had made such a huge mistake with this project. Everyone in the small company knew this was the big one. Everyone but Paulson, it seemed. Abby knew Nate and Koby came from wealthy families and that both the guys had decided to do this on their own. She was very impressed with their independence. Sighing, Abby continued on with her other work until Nate poked his head out the door.
"All done?" Nate enquired.
"Yes. Everything has been fixed. I've emailed the necessary documents to the clearing agency and they should take care of everything else. All we have to do is sign for the shipment on Wednesday and have it delivered to the Marina on Friday. See, all fixed!"
"Abby, you're a life saver ... or should I say job saver? Paulson owes you a big bunch of flowers for saving his job," Nate said as he wandered completely out of the office. "How about I buy you some lunch? It's my way of saying thanks too. You really covered my butt on this job too."
'How about I cover your butt with baby oil and my hands?' Abby thought, mentally licking her lips. "Sounds great! Pub for lunch?" she asked.
"No, this thank you requires somewhere a bit more up market than the local pub. How does Michels grab you?"
"Michels? Do you really think we're dressed appropriately for there?" Abby wondered looking at Nate's jeans and polo shirt.
"Yeah, should be. It's only the lunch crowd. Michel only gets pissy about dress code at dinner," Nate responded thinking about his old uni friend. "On second thought, how about we just grab lunch from Mickey D's down the road and I'll treat you to dinner tonight at Michels?"
Nate was rather proud of this idea. This way he could have the pleasure of seeing Abby all dressed up and relaxed out of the office and yet cover himself from a possible harassment suit by claiming it was a work dinner. It wouldn't hurt to claim it on the company credit card either. Shit, he was brilliant!
"Oh Nate, you don't have to. I was only doing my job after all," Abby demurred though inside she was pumping her fist in the air saying, 'Yes!'
"No, I insist!" He really did! "Come on, Abby, don't be a spoil sport. I need to thank you properly for all the great work you've been doing over the past year," Nate coaxed. Now that he had made the decision, it was imperative she said yes. He needed to see her tonight. "I'll send a car for you to bring you to the restaurant and I can drop you off home afterwards if that would make you feel better ... or not."
.... There is more of this story ...