I look at myself in the mirror and I sigh. I have the clothes, the heels and courtesy of Kate, I even look a little groomed – but I'm not sleek, blonde nor sophisticated and I cannot shake a feeling of foreboding – I just know I'm not going to fit in at GEH. I should never have accepted the offer; attempting to mix a professional and personal life would be tricky for anyone, let alone someone whose personal life includes a megloamaniac control freak boyfriend. And as of today, that same megalomaniac control freak boyfriend will be my employer too.
The only reason I had reluctantly accepted the intern position at GEH was because frankly, I was not in a position to turn any internship down. I got it on my own, Christian had long since handed over recruitment of interns to his well qualified HR team and he didn't even know I had applied. Or rather, that's what he told me. Do I believe him? I shake my head, trying to clear that uncomfortable thought. At least it will offer me a stepping stone to something else. GEH is a well respected company, and if I hadn't ever met Christian, I would have been so excited to have landed an opportunity like this. But if I hadn't met Christian…no, I pushed that thought away, it's just unbearable.
Wrestling my unruly hair up into a pony tail, I twist a band around it, smooth it down and look back in the mirror again. That will have to do. Sighing heavily I make my way towards the great room.
Christian is sitting at the breakfast bar in a dark grey suit, looking every inch the CEO. He is wearing his silver tie – my favourite – with a smart white shirt that is, of course immaculate. Mmm seems like someone is determined to think happy thoughts today I think grimly. His hair is tousled and still slightly damp around the edges from the shower. He looks…edible.
As I walk towards him he looks me up and down appreciatively. "Morning Miss Steele. You look beautiful. All set for your first day?" He senses my mood in an instant, climbing down from the stool gracefully and strides over to me, grabbing my chin, forcing me to look him in the eye. "What's wrong baby?" He murmurs, his eyes searching my face. "Still worried? – you have nothing to worry about."
I relax my head towards his touch, conscious that Gail is cooking breakfast over on the far side of the kitchen. Gail looks at me and smiles warmly in response to my nervous grimace before discreetly turning away. I take a deep breath and lower my voice before replying.
"Christian, I still think this is a really bad idea. I've been to Grey House, I've seen how your Stepford style staff look and behave. I won't fit it. I'm not blonde nor co-ordinated and I will stick out like…like a sore thumb. A clumsy, brown-haired thumb at that." Yeah great, now I'm mixing my metaphors too.
Christian snorts amused, but says nothing.
And I don't want to find that I'm crap at my job and let you down or do anything to make you realize that I'm just ordinary. But I keep that thought to myself.
"I don't want to be known as the one who only got the job because she's fucking the boss" I continue, exasperated. "I'll be ridiculed and detested and treated with suspicion by everyone who will think I'll be running back to you telling tales. This is my first proper job, my chance to find my own way, make my own mistakes without everyone jumping on me because of my connection to you."
"I'll be the only one jumping on you baby" says Christian with a smirk. "If any other fuckers try they will be out on their ass".
I take a deep breath and try to rein in my rising temper. "Christian, that is exactly what I'm talking about. I don't want any special treatment. I want to be treated just like any other intern. No special assignments, no special treatment from the boss…just like anyone else. It would be better if we didn't know one another at work…not in an obvious way, anyway. "
Christian looks at me wide eyed. Shit, now I've gone too far and offended him. Shit, shit, this is not going well.
He pulls me into his arms, running his thumb up and down my back. "Not obvious?" he murmurs. "Listen baby, I just don't get why this is such an issue for you. I really don't give a fuck what anyone else thinks…but then I am the boss."He looks down at me and grins again.
My breath hitches in my throat. God he's beautiful. What is he doing with me?
"So, if I didn't know you obviously..how would that work?" He runs his mouth from my ear lobe, softly nipping me from my jaw to my chin. "Would that mean I couldn't do this if I bumped into you?" He gently pushes his hips into me as he opens my mouth with his. "Or this?" I moan softly into his mouth and close my eyes, savouring the sensation as I lean into him. Bastard, he knows exactly what he is doing.
"No" I whisper unconvincingly, stifling another moan. "I would just be another employee, a lowly intern at that, someone you have met before only because she interviewed you for a student paper if anyone mentions it, but who is below your notice. " I look up at him. "Would you normally notice a new intern?" I ask, looking up through by eyelashes.
"I would always notice you Miss Steele" he replies narrowing his eyes and leaning towards me again "you know the effect you have on me".
"Because you have the same effect on me Christian" I whisper. "But this could be like a game. Just think of the anticipation building until we can be together in private again? We don't need to lie to anyone, just be.. er low profile" I struggle to a halt, feeling like I'm grasping, but he raises a speculative eyebrow. Ah, now he seems interested. I press on, encouraged by his response.
"Just at first, so that I get the chance to be recognized for my own efforts, not seen as the boss's spy. And all your staff think you're gay anyway – you wouldn't want to disappoint them by going all soft and getting a girlfriend now would you?" I add, somewhat bravely.
His arm snakes down my back to my behind and he pushes me against harder against him. I can feel his erection pushing deliciously against my stomach as he leans down and breathes into my ear.
"I think you know by now Miss Steele, there is nothing soft about me. Not when it comes to you".
He steps back and looks at me appraisingly for several seconds, running his long fingers against his lip. I know that look. He is considering the idea, planning how he might use the situation to his advantage.
"Ok, if that's the way you want to play it Miss Steele, I'm game" he says eventually. " While we are at work, you are just another intern. I will be as hard on you as I am on all my staff". His voice lowers. "Perhaps even harder?" he adds suggestively, leaning forward to rest his forehead on mine.
He leans back and flashes a wolfish grin. "You've got yourself a deal Miss Steele". I breathe a sigh of relief. Perhaps this won't be so bad now after all. It could even be…hot, having a secret affair with the boss I think optimistically. Yes, I'm a living, breathing, cliché now.
He turns towards the door where Taylor has appeared. I look down embarrassed, feeling my face flushing red. Shit, how long has he been there? Did he hear us?
"Taylor, we will be ready to leave in 10 minutes. Miss Steele wishes to arrive at work independently so we will drop her and Sawyer off around the corner from Grey House and they will walk the rest of the way together. "
Taylor looks at me and for a moment I think I see a twinkle of amusement in his eyes, but almost immediately his face returns to the usual neutral expression. "Very good Sir. Miss Steele" he nods towards me then turns and leaves the great room as I mumble an incoherent reply.
"Ana, Sawyer will accompany you to work. If you should need to go out for any reason, he will be with you. No discussion" he finishes glaring at me. Playful Christian has gone again.
I open my mouth to reply, but think better of it, smiling as sweetly as I can manage at him instead.
Christian looks at me intently. "Now Miss Steele, you have a long, hard day at work ahead of you. Eat".
I sigh, as he leads me towards the breakfast bar. Picking up my fork, I begin to eat my pancakes.
The Audi SUV glides to a stop on a relatively quiet side street. Christian takes hold of my hand and slowly kisses my knuckles one by one as he looks intently at me. "Have a good day Miss Steele. I will be thinking about you. I am thinking about you now" he finishes softly. My stomach lurches with a combination of desire and nervousness. He moves my hand apparently casually, but so that it strokes his groin. I can feel his arousal.
"Glad to hear it Mr Grey. " I lower my voice and lean towards him, as I breathe "I will be thinking about you too" softly into his ear. Christian closes his eyes briefly then looks at me, his eyes burning with carnal desire. I love that I can make him feel like that. "Laters baby" he murmurs, slowly letting go of my hand.
Sawyer has already climbed out and is hanging around, looking anywhere but into the back of the car as he waits for us to finish our moment. I feel myself flush as I smile gratefully at him and step out of the car.
"This way please ma'am". He strides away, scanning the street the whole time and looking every inch the professional body guard.
Oh crap, this is going to be difficult to explain. How many other new interns have a security detail with them I wonder idly as we move towards Grey House. Yeah, just the one fucking the boss then. I don't want to lie to people, nobody will trust me – or Christian either for that matter – when they do find out. That's if he still wants me. But be discrete? Yes, I can do discrete. I have learned a few things from my fifty about keeping my distance and batting away questions about my private life without actually giving much away. He can get away with it thanks to a combination of NDAs and sheer intimidation. That, and the fact that he's a natural Dom of course. Although Christian and I agree I'm not a natural submissive, I know I haven't got his natural talent for intimidation either, but I can try.
"Er Sawyer. You'll be based at Grey House too during the day then? How do I contact you if I need to go out?"
"No need ma'am, you'll get a security tag with your ID badge. Just as soon as you get anywhere near an exit, I'll be there."
I expect that is supposed to reassure me, but it fills me with horror. How the hell am I going to explain that to my co-workers? There's no way of discretely fitting in with them if I'm trailed by a body guard every time I leave the building for a sandwich. No, I need to manage this. But carefully does it.
"I see, that's er, great. But, the thing is – and please don't take this the wrong way – I'm trying to merge in with everyone else at work, not trade on my relationship with Mr Grey. Frankly, I suspect that your presence is likely to…out me" I fluster and finish lamely as I see the look on his face. Oh crap, now he's offended too. Nice one Steele.
"My job is to protect you ma'am and that is what I will do."
Ok, try a different tack. This is getting me nowhere. And now he thinks I'm just a jumped up jerk who's too grand to acknowledge him. Great.
"I'm so grateful, don't get me wrong, I would be concerned if you weren't there."
Yeah, that's it, play the helpless little woman card Steele.
" But is there any way you could be around me without it being too obvious that you're security for me personally? If I were out at lunchtime, it would be quite busy and so perhaps we could make it seem less overt that I have need security with me to go out. Otherwise I may as well just get a big flashing target sign for my head and advertise it to everyone." Yeah, that's funny, bet he's laughing on the inside at that one. Mm, or maybe not.
"Of course, you're the expert and you could be right there to react if anything did happen, but really, it's not too likely that many people will even know about my connection with Christian, as I said, I really don't want to trade on that. And the more discrete I am about that, the less likely it is I will stand out and be a target."
I look sideways at him. Oh crap. This is not going well.
"Yes ma'am". His lips tighten into a straight line. I'm not entirely sure whether he's given in to me or not. He's probably just agreeing with me just to put me out of my misery and stop me from babbling. Jeez, I wish I would, I'm irritating myself already. His no nonsense stride effectively ends that conversation as Grey House looms in front of us.
Yeah, I'll probably just stay at my desk today then I think bleakly.
"Good luck Miss Steele" says Sawyer quietly as we enter Grey House. He leaves me at the front desk and disappears through a doorway. Deep breath. Here goes.