New York RainBy: Riley Moreno
The New York City skyline had its own mercurial personality; on some days, shrouded in fog, it could seem as gloomy and depressed as an old spinster, while on others, with the skyscrapers shimmering in the sunlight, it could seem bright as a mountain sunrise and brimming with promise. On other days it could seem almost menacing and evil, filled with an anger that had been simmering for hundreds of years.
On this, day, however, it seemed calm and benign, at least up here from the sixty-seventh floor of the Goldman building. Jade Gillie stared out at the sea of buildings, gleaming in the afternoon sunshine. She could see a ghostly image of herself mirrored in the window through which she was looking.
She couldn't help but chuckle darkly; she felt like a ghost these days. Like a phantom, walking through some dream, or nightmare, from which she could not wake. Since Vince had passed on, since the love of her life had left, so abruptly, ripped away from her forever.
A piece of her had died with him in that motorcycle accident. Maybe the biggest piece of her. Maybe most of her.
It had happened two weeks before their wedding.
That had been almost three years ago; three years of sadness, of grief, of sorrow that would just not leave her side.
She looked at her ghostly reflection in the mirror, shadowed in front of the majestic New York horizon. At twenty-nine years of age, her coffee-colored skin still glowed with a youthful vigor. Her oval face, with its high cheekbones, was pretty in a simple, country-girl kind of way, and was dominated by two large, dark eyes framed by exquisite eyebrows. Her mother had always told her that long ago, her ancestors had been royalty in Morocco, and that she had inherited the looks of a long-dead princess.
She believed it sometimes.
Not today though. Today was a day for serious talk, for business. Thoughts of grief and regret had to be put out of her mind. Business was all she had now, since Vince had passed away. She was supposed to marry Vince, supposed to live out her days with him by her side. Instead, she was living out her days with a briefcase and a laptop by her side. They were her only constant companions. Well, them and Jenny, a high school friend who had also moved from Florida to New York. She and Jenny sometimes met up for drinks in the city, when their schedules coincided. Jade's phone buzzed – a message from Jenny. She took it out of her purse and checked the message.
“Good luck for the proposal today, girl! Btw, I'm going on a date with a dude who drives a Ferrari later! Yeah! -J.”
Jade shook her head. Jenny had a reputation as a gold-digger, and she wasn't doing much to combat it. Truth be told, Jenny was a gold-digger, but Jade stuck by her because the ties of their friendship went back so many years. Jade typed in a quick response.
“Don't let this one get away now girl. And thanks for the good luck wishes! Hope it goes well! Xx. -J.”
In messages they each signed off only as “J” - which could lead to some confusion sometimes.
Jade pressed 'send' and put the phone back in her purse, and continued to stare out at the mesmerizing skyline.
Jade turned around to see a tall, strikingly beautiful blonde secretary dressed in an eye-catching red dress behind her.
“Yes, that's me.”
“I'm Mr. Huxley's personal assistant, Claire Marsh.”
Claire extended a slim, long-fingered hand to Jade. Jade shook it politely.
“Pleased to meet you, Ms. Marsh,” she said.
Claire beamed a broad smile at Jade.
“I hope you haven't been waiting too long. Apologies if you have; it's just that Mr. Huxley has been talking to a very important client over a very serious matter. However, if you'll just come with me I'll take you to his office. He's ready to see you now.”
Jade nodded and smiled, but inside a stab of nervousness twisted her guts. She was about to present a business proposal to one of New York's most powerful billionaires. If she could pull it off, it would be the biggest deal of her career thus far.
If she could pull it off. Brenton Huxley was a notoriously hard man, and rumor had it that you didn't do deals with him – he did deals with you. If, of course, he liked you. If he didn't, however, he'd be as quick to say so, and that would be the end of it. He didn't give second chances to anyone. Ever. You had one shot, and if you blew it... That was it. For good.