First chapter here we go! Wheee~
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A girl sat in a chair bruised and thin. She scooped food up with shaky fingers and stuffed her mouth full, eyes voraciously searching for more.
“Shaundra.” A voice called out into the room. The girl disregard what was said and shoved all she could into her mouth, barely swallowing.
“Not another one.”
“Look at her. Poor thing. She must have been starved for days.”
“Where did you find her?” There was silence.
“Did you bring her in here from outside?” More silence. Then,
“Slow down honey. The table ain’t going anywhere.” At that, finally the girl looked up to meet the woman’s eyes. Wild almost feral into calm but sad.
“She’s staying here.”
“This is my house.”
“It is our house. I pay half the bills and keep my share. Last time I checked that ring on my finger gave me equal amount of say.” There was quiet.
“Look at her Kendrick. We can’t let her go back out there.” A long heavy sigh.
“Fine. She’ll sleep in our guest room. But only after she’s clean.”
“But of course.”
That girl had showered and slept on a bed that felt like clouds. She had watched all the dirt melt off of her body and turn the water a rich dark color. She had sat still as fingers gently combed through her water softened matts and naps and when the comb ran through smooth, the fingers plaited her hair. She fell into the pillows and smelled the soft clean scent of freshly washed laundry. All the while stroking her belly. All the while eying the window, wondering. Fearing. Thinking it all was too good to be true and soon he would come through the door and pull her back out into the cold dark world. But he never came. One night turned into two. Two turned into four. Four into a month. Soon, she had been slowly accepted into the family of people who had kindly given her a bed and bath and plenty of food. That girl had gone through so much and met so many people. Traveled the world. Fell in love. That girl had had her heart broken brutally. And now… now that girl had grown up into a woman.
“Next stop: Bronx.” Fingers tightly held the handle as the train came to a stop. Letting go, she stepped into the open air and sighed. It was spring time and the birds chirped happily. All around her was green. Vitality and life, rebirth and regrowth. She had been the color of blue for so long but finally, she felt as if she too could be the color of green. In the midst of her thoughts, her phone rang. Plucking it out of her purse, she answered.
“Nug?” She sucked her teeth. Her brother.
“We still on for dinner with Moms later on tonight?”
“Yeah not unless anything changed.”
“Nah. Just wanted to make sure we were still on. You know how you be gettin busy randomly.” She chuckled.
“Yeah, thank my boss for that.”
“How is that dude anyway? Still tryna get with you?”
“Do you need me to come up there and talk to him?” She laughed.
“Hold your horses. I’m good.” Tre snorted.
“Nah. Ion know… I wanna keep an eye on him.”
“You mean lowkey creep.” Tre laughed.
“Well.” Sucking her teeth, she continued to walk.
“I got my boss. Don’t you worry bout that.”
“I can’t help but worry. Dude act kinda fast with the flowers and ish.”
“I can handle it. Besides, I’m not a baby anymore Tremaine. I’m 28 years old. I think your time as baby sitter has long since passed.” Tre snort again.
“It ain’t ever gon be over. You always gon be my baby sister.”
“I know. I can’t ever get rid of you huh?” He laughed.
“Nope.” She playfully rolled her eyes.
“Well guard dog, I’m gon to work.” He burst out laughing.
“Guard dog… that’s cold. Well okay.”
“Was there somethin else you wanted while you trailin me?”
“Nah. We good.”
“Aiight then. Bye Tre.”
“Bye Nugget.” She smiled to herself. Tre was such a good brother even if he got on her last nerve. She stepped into her place of work and smiled at the co workers. Finally, it seemed as if life was coming around full circle. It had taken quite a while and she had been hurt for so long. But now, she felt she finally could breathe and return to normalcy. There were some things about her past that she still had to forgive… but for the most part… she was happy. She think she deserved happiness more than anything. On her way to the elevator, her phone rang again. Smiling at the name on the screen, she bit her lip and answered.
“Where are you?”
“Where are you?” She heard a small chuckle on the phone.
“I believe I am about to come to your floor in a moment. Will you be there?”
“I think so.”
“Well, I’ll see you in a moment.”
“How do you know I’m even in the building?”
“I saw your car in the parking lot.”
“So you creepin…”
“It wasn’t creepin.”
“Mm. Well, I’m getting on now.”
“All right.” The caller hung up and she felt her cheeks get hot. She sighed and couldn’t keep the smile off of her face. She anticipated the minute the elevator stopped and as soon as it hit her floor, she gripped the bar inside the elevator. The doors slowly opened and she peeked out only to see no one there. Hm… She walked out into the hallway and heard a clearing of the throat. She smiled, turning to see him standing there. Him. Kwasame Jones. Her baby. The company’s very own janitor. And oh how good he looked in the long grey overalls, the shape hugging the hard earned muscles of his body. Perhaps her treat was the button or two that was undone, showing the crisp white crew neck shirt and a peek of his neck.
“Hello there handsome.” He smiled and uncrossed his arms.
“Hello my Queen.”
“Did you make it here okay?” He nodded, a handsome smile on his face.
“Sure did. I wasn’t sure I was going to catch you.” His British-accented voice melted every syllable like a flame.
“I am here early.”
“I don’t work this floor you know. I had to make up an excuse to even come up here.” She pulled him closer and pressed her cheek against his bicep.
“I’m sorry for makin things complicated.” She sighed as he wrapped his arms around her.
“Says who? Besides, it’s worth it. Every time I can see even a peek of you my day is better.”
“Rae, don’t worry about it. This will be enough for now. I’ll have to see you later.” She tightened her grip on him.
“I don’t wanna let you go teddy.” He smiled against her and pressed his lips against her temple.
“Come on little lady. It won’t be too bad. We’ll see each other before you know it.” She let him go and he lifted her face in his strong rough hands.
“I love you.” He didn’t wait for her answer and gently kissed her lips before letting her go.
“Have a great day.” She waved as he slowly made his way back into the elevator.
“You too. I’ll see you later teddy.” She sighed and turned to come to two big glass doors. Stepping inside, she smiled at the co-workers and office assistants who had come in early.
“Why you here so early? You come to see your janitor?” Rae rolled her eyes.
“Was it that obvious?” One of her co-workers Shelley grinned and peeked out from her cubicle.
“Is it obvious? Girl you practically run to him every time we pass him on the 5th floor. I know you wanna go that way just to get a glance at him.” She sucked her teeth.
“I do not.”
“Ebere, come on girl. You’ve been so stubborn with that man. He totally has the hots for you.”
“He better.” She grumbled under her breath but cleared her throat.
“Okay we aren’t going to talk about my love life this morning. Where is Mr. Rossi? Has he arrived yet?” Shelley nodded.
“You know he arrives earliest than everyone. Probably has his morning coffee already.” She nodded and sent a gentle smile her way before smoothing down her skirt. Today, this day, she was going to ask for a promotion. She felt it was due time. Overdue really. She had worked as an intern for his business firm straight out of undergrad and slowly but surely worked her way up to being senior executive assistant. She was almost like his right hand woman and held him and everything about this place together. She wasn’t sure how many years more he was going to expect her to be in this position but this was going to be her fourth year. Shelley smiled as she looked her over.
“Going in for the ask?”
“I’m waiting for you to pop up in one of our business meetings. Just walk in there and steal the show.” She laughed and ran fingers through her hair nervously.
“That will be soon I hope if this all goes well.”
“It will! You’ve been an Exec Assistant for so long Rae. You deserve it out of all of us.” She looked up at her.
“Shelley, you work harder than any of us. If anybody deserves a promotion, you do.” Shelley waved her hands.
“We both work harder than anybody in this whole place. But I have some time left. You deserve it because you have such a big dream. I want to see you succeed Rae.” She blushed, her cheeks warm and bit her lip.
“Thank you Shells. Truly.” Shelley stuck up her thumb and winked.
“Go get em girl. You got this thing.” She took a deep breath and turned around, standing up straight. Shoulders back. Head high. It was time to go get her dream.
“Ms. Marshall, you may come in. He will see you now.” She got up from the plush chair in his lobby. Smoothing down her clothes, she calmly followed the receptionist back until she came to his office. Seeing him brought a polite smile to her face. He thanked the receptionist.
“Well hello there Ms. Marshall.”
“Hello Mr. Rossi.”
“Have you completed those assignments I sent you?” She nodded.
“Sure did. I always do.”
“So very well. Thank you.”
“It isn’t a problem.” He eyed her appearance, a small smirk coming to his face.
“You look especially beautiful today. Were you trying to impress me?” She rolled her eyes.
“May I speak informally with you Mr. Rossi?” He playfully grinned and steepled his fingers together.
“Sure. We’ve known each other for a considerable amount of time. But only this one time.”
“Of course.” He leaned back into his executive chair.
“What is the matter?” She eyed him straight and direct.
“I ain’t come here to play games with you.”
“The one where we go back and forth about me letting you take me out on a date.” He chuckled.
“You still will not accept my offer?”
“What exactly are you offering me Antonio?”
“I can offer you seven or possibly even eight figures.”
“Ah. Why have you not thought of this offer before this morning?”
“It is perhaps a selfish reason.”
“To be perfectly honest with you Ebere, I don’t want to promote you because I don’t want to lose you in the position you are in now.” She pursed her lips.
“You must like me in the position I’m in very much Antonio.” He chuckled, a faint redness spreading across his cheeks.
“I do. I like having you where I have access to you at all times. The thought of losing that is distressing to me.”
“So you don’t want to promote me because you like having control over me? Am I getting that right?” His dark eyes finally flickered up to hers, having been aligned with his fingers until then.
“Selfish I know. But you are a damn good employee. If it were not for you, I would be a mess. Both in business and otherwise. You deserve all of the good things I can give to you.”
“What is it you want? Surely, you haven’t pursued me outside of work for four years for nothing. There has to be something you want.” His gaze didn’t drop.
“I am aware that you are fraternizing with the help.” At that, she stiffened.
“I’m sorry?” He scoffed.
“Come now Ebere. You deserve so much more. Much better than a dirty janitor. You are a woman who should be pampered, clothed in gold. treated like the royalty you are. How can that man give you that?”
“How dare you! How the hell do you know what it is I want? Do you think I can be bought with money and material things?” His gaze was serious and intense and if she were not angry, it would have made her slightly uncomfortable.
“I do not think you understand what it is I am saying to you Ebere.”
“Spell it out for me cause clearly I must have missed it in between your flowers, chocolates and arrogant attitude.” He sighed and let his hands fall on the desk.
“I am in love with you.” She blinked, not quite sure if she was hearing correctly. Maybe she was dreaming and hadn’t woke up yet. She stayed still and blinked over and over, silent. Where was this coming from and why so sudden?
“Have you heard me?” Quiet for the longest until she could provide the best answer she could come up with,
“You’ve fallen in love with the wrong woman.”
“Have I? Can not one night away from the office with me change your mind? Perhaps if you see me in normal clothes and house slippers you will have a change of heart.” Even in the seriousness of the situation, the corner of her mouth twitched in a smile. That would be quite the picture indeed. She wasn’t sure if she could mentally handle not seeing him in his business suit and quite unconventional messy bun. He was a young business owner and in that youth reflected quite liberal attitudes when it came to his appearance and business affairs. But for the most part, he was a genius and his business was and would continue to be very successful for many years to come. In her years of working for him, she had begun to know the personal side of who he was, as much as she tried not to marry business with personal. It wasn’t something either of them had expected but in the time together, she could call him a friend. However awkward it was to be friends with your boss. But even so, the only thing she could give him was her friendship and professional service. That was all she wanted to give him.
“Antonio, I have a relationship. Regardless of if you approve of him or even like him is not a concern of mine. He makes me happy and I care about him very much. As for your offer, if you want anything other than my friendship I cannot do it. If you desire to force me to accept your offer then I will not work here any longer. I understand that I am being very bold but I have stood by you, lifted you up when those around you sought to destroy you and helped you pick up the pieces of your life again. The truth is it has nothing to do with my boyfriend really. You don’t want to lose me at all. You need me. That is fine. I will be what you need as long as you understand that I will not jeopardize my relationship with my significant other. Ours is a friendship I treasure Antonio. Please do not make me choose.”
The man before her had hung his head and it looked so uncharacteristic of him. He always held his head up high, never defeated. She didn’t recognize him. He slid up and ran fingers through his hair.
“Rae…” He slowly stood up from his desk and came towards her.
“What are you-?”
“This will be the only time you will see me like this…” He pulled her against him in a hug and she stood still.
“You’re an amazing woman.”
“Give me your word Antonio.”
“Give your word that you will not do anything to harm Mr. Jones.” His arms tightened around her shoulders.
“He works for your company. You don’t like me with him. Get it?”
“Ah,” He slowly pulled away from her and cleared his throat.
“I won’t do anything to get in his way. You’re a woman even I can not hope to be with. You are on a level simply your own and the man who reaches you there is a lucky one indeed.” She breathed a visible sigh of relief.
“Ebere… what has happened and what has been said will not leave this office is that clear?”
“Crystal sir.” Just like that, they had fallen back into the corporate vernacular.
“Good. Well then, you are free to go.”
“Yes. You are free until lunch time. I expect my next set of meetings and schedules to be prepared and left at my secretary’s desk by the end of the day.”
“You got it.” He sighed and sat back in his chair. She clenched her fists and tightly pursed her lips as she turned to go.
“One more thing.”
“Congratulations. You’ve been promoted.” She spun and eyed him, her eyes wide.
“You’ve been promoted. Congrats. You’ve earned it.” She barely contained her squeal and yelped for joy.
“Thank you… thank you sir!”
“It is nothing. You don’t realize I was testing you do you?”
“I wanted to see how far you would go if I offered you what you rightfully deserve or more. Would you be like the other women and agree to go with me to dinner and later my apartment… or decline with your integrity. I am impressed Ms. Marshall.” She couldn’t stop the blush that warmed her cheeks. He sighed with a smile.
“So pretty. You better go before I think about Mr. Jones.”
“You wouldn’t. You gave me your word.”
“That I did. Damn that I did.” He said with a playful smile. She pursed her lips but opened the door.
“Thank you again.”
“I got it.”
“Oh my God! Congratulations!”
“Rae got promoted?!”
“Yeah! Finally. That man should have promoted you long time ago.”
“This deserves drinks tonight!”
“Yeah! Come with Rae!”
“Okay. Sure.” She laughed as the busy worker bees excitedly swarmed her. The light flying feeling hadn’t left her yet and she was happy. Finally.
“All right, let’s get back to work before Mr. Rossi comes out of his office.” They scurried to do their respective jobs and she smiled as she began to get started. The life of a worker bee never stopped. But in the end wasn’t it all worth it?
A/N: Hey y'all! First chapter! It took forever! Class and midterms upcoming and my flow was just not there for a minute. <3 What do you think of the girl who grew up into a woman? I have some characters I will add in a seperate chapter :) I hope you all enjoy it. I plan to work on the next chapter soon but no promises. I want to be able to keep my word. <3 Thank you for understanding! :D Love you!