In Love With My Personal Assistant

By: Audrey Tolhouse

“Okay, let’s hear it,” Jennifer crossed her legs and locked hair behind her ears. For a brief moment, James paused to look over her again.

“It’s been a while since you’ve done the straight thing.”

“Excuse me?” She chuckled awkwardly, not following James’s train of thought.

“Your hair,” James said with a slight nod in her direction. “You used to wear is straight all the time. I loved it. Then you started curling it and it looked incredible. Now you’re back to straight again. I like it,” he smiled at her.

Jennifer couldn’t stop the smile that touched her lips. She ran a hand over her hair absently. She always thought James preferred the curly look on her. In fact, until just now, she hadn’t even know that he had even seen her—like actually seen her, beauty and all.

“I thought you preferred the curly look,” she said softly, her voice nearly a thin whisper.

James chuckled. “Who said that?”

“You did.”

“Hmm,” James cradled the bottom of his chin. “You know, I think I remember something like that. I must have meant I liked the new look, but you know,” he paused and gave her an incredible smile, “you pretty much nail every look you’re going for. You’re gorgeous.”

He hadn’t even stopped speaking, and Jennifer was giggling before she could catch herself. When she regained control of herself, her mind thought briefly of Andrew. Her heart squeezed and her throat tightened at the though. Her mind drew blank. She blinked and stared with wide eyes back at James. He never complimented her like this before. Yes, they had always been close, but maybe it was really more of the professional type. Now, she wasn’t so sure.

“But let’s get back to business. Andrew is headed to Denver right now. He has a lunch meeting with the CEO and two of his advisors. Jerry’s focus has been limited to keeping the two new contract’s schedule as close to on time as possible. We might not need you to cover him just yet. Instead,” James paused and reached for a bottle of water sitting on the right side of his desk in the silence. He smiled at Jennifer and held up a finger before he unscrewed the top and tipped the bottle back into his mouth.

Jennifer watched him drink it. He guzzled it liberally, making Jennifer’s throat feel as though it might need some relief as well. She touched her throat and tried to clear it quietly. As James watched her, his eyes widened and he withdrew the bottle quickly.

“Are you thirsty? Where are my manners,” he stood and moved to the miniature bar built along the wall of his office. It sat to the left side and was always stocked with fresh juices for light mixed drinks, or heavy mixers to handle bad news.

“Now, if I remember correctly, you don’t do commercial grade coffee, but would you like some juice or water?” James called to her over his shoulder.

Jennifer’s eyebrows pinched at his words. Since when did he know what her preferences were? “Maybe some juice.”

“Orange juice?” James chuckled. “How about a mimosa?” Jennifer couldn’t help but grin. She eyed James carefully.

“What are you up to?” She asked him carefully, watching him as he turned to her with a genuine frown.

“What? What do you mean?”

“You,” she chuckled slightly and shook her head as she tried to form words. “You’re acting differently. You’re not normally like this. Is there something you’re not telling me?” James ran his eyes over her face thoughtfully. He stilled for a moment, and then suddenly shook his head.

“Not that I know of. It’s just been awhile since you and I have shared a loose drink. Why not today?”

“Sounds like we have a pretty big fire to put out,” Jennifer reminded him calmly.

James nodded, and lifted the bottle of water he had carried in his hand back to his mouth to finish off the rest of the contents. The skinny bottle was only half-full when he had initially reached for it. Now it was empty.

He dropped it into the wastebasket and crouched in front of the refrigerator. He pulled out a container of orange juice and half-empty bottle of Barefoot Bubbly and stood as he closed the door.

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