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   Chapter 3 Three

Mr. Beautiful (Billionaire #2) By Ann Margarette Characters: 11327

Updated: 2020-03-16 15:56


AUDREY

Liam Cross. The memory I had of him was one of the very reasons why I wanted to escape Phoenix.

How could I ever forget his eyes that looked fondly at me that night? He—who still haunts my dreams at night because of guilt? Guilt that because of my mistake, I led him to misery—his death, to be exact, however brutal that word was.

But perhaps, fate wasn't done with me yet. And just when I thought I had finally escaped, fate sent someone else to torture me.

I thought I was going to collapse on the spot looking at the face of my prospective boss, Gabriel Stark.

Yes. His face resembled Liam, only Mr. Stark was obviously sophisticated and brisk, and right now, I was having second thoughts of working for Stark Apparel, thinking if I should just call the HR and tell them that I wouldn't be able to come anymore, but that was purely unprofessional.

"Hey!" Chelsea sat next to me, snapping a finger in my face to bring me back to reality. "What's wrong? There's no other black hole than you."

She put a cup of coffee in front of me. She was already dressed in formal attire—a white lace blouse, a cream colored-skirt, and nude heels, and she had tied her red hair in a ponytail.

"I'm nervous." I gripped the cup's hot surface.

"It's normal to be nervous on the first day, " she assured, but then she frowned at me. "What are you wearing?"

I looked down at my black straight knee-length dress, one of the few of the dresses I could save before leaving Phoenix.

"Don't you think that's too plain?" she asked. "I'm sorry, Audrey. Your face is of a goddess and your body is to die for, but didn't I tell you that working at Stark Apparel means dress to impress? You're going to be working for the boss who owned a fashion firm, " she reminded, but she forgot to mention that I was only going to work there for a temporary position. It means I could get fired without security, and the HR manager told me that I was going to under his right-hand man Dave Kline.

"Well, my wardrobe is limited so…" I reasoned. "But I will shop a few when I received my first paycheck."

"Hmm. Wear my nude heels, at least. It'll match your dress." She smiled, then took a sip of her coffee, "and oh, let your hair down."

"I prefer it this way, " I touched my blonde hair knotted in a tight bun.

"You'll get there since you will be working directly to him. He's very meticulous."

"No, I'm going to work under his secretary."

"Which means, he's your direct superior. I work under the general manager."

My shoulders fell. He was certainly someone who could make my knees liquefy.

Chelsea puts down the cup on the counter, "Drink up. We're leaving in five minutes. I'm just going to get the heels upstairs."

"Thanks, " I murmured, and then she disappeared.

***

New York was opportune for me because of Chelsea. She owned an apartment a few blocks away from the office. She also had a car so I wouldn't need to worry about transportation. I would be living in the streets if it weren't for her. I knew that it wasn't easy to live in the United States' largest city. The cost of living in Manhattan was beyond my savings reach. I had to tighten my budget until I get my first salary.

It was ten minutes before eight, we arrived at Stark Apparel. Chelsea told me to go to the HR department office first because there will be an orientation before I start with the actual job. I came into the room where I first had an initial interview, and inside, I found Jacey sitting on one of the seats. She instantaneously recognized me by flashing a wide smile.

"You're in! I'm so happy to see you!"

I grinned and sat next to her. "I'm happy to see you too, Jacey. You're here..."

"You know I heard that they've already picked someone for the job I was applying for, but then the HR manager put me in another vacancy because some employee is going to take her maternity leave so they needed someone to sit on her position, but I'm glad they picked you. It means I won't go to the cafeteria alone."

I grinned. I was sure she'd find a friend in no time if it wasn't me. She was very friendly. "Oh, have you met someone from the HR yet?"

"No. They said I have to wait here. Have you?"

I shook my head. "No. They said the same."

Several minutes while waiting, I learned that Jacey was twenty-two, a senior and an aspiring fashion designer undergraduate at NYU. She was living with his older sister in an apartment on the Upper East Side and was originally born in London. Her sister was already in the fashion business. They left the UK when their parents got divorced, leaving their older brother behind because of their sick mom.

I couldn't tell anything about myself to Jacey but my life in college and Chelsea who's already working at the company for a year. I had no interest in sharing my life with anyone because there was nothing good to share. It would probably ruin the mood if I tell her the tragedy of my life. I didn't want that.

Thirty minutes later, a man in eyeglasses came into the room. It was the assistant manager at HR, Mark Collins. He was wearing a designer jacket with the company logo on the chest part, a dark red turtleneck shirt, and black tight pants. From the looks of him, everyone seemed to have the freedom to express their fashion style. I was beginning to think that the company was suitable for a person who already had the money.

"Good morning, ladies, " he greeted, then sat on the chair across us. "Welcome to Stark Apparel Inc. Jacey and Audrey, am I correct?"

"Yes, Mr. Collins, " we answered in unison.

"Alright, this is going to be very brief and I shal

l start with Miss Hopkins. You can ask questions after I tell you all the basics."

"Of course, sir." I acknowledged.

"As discussed, you will be working with the CEO's right-hand man, Mr. Dave Kline, until Mr. Stark finally decided to entrust you the executive assistant position, that is if you passed the probation. It is a very important job in the company, so he wanted to make sure that you are the right person for the job, hence, the probation status.

Second, you should always be available for Mr. Stark whenever he calls you. You will be in charge of organizing his desk, his filing cabinet, forwarding and answering some of his emails, his coffee, assisting his guests, and you shall be present in every meeting. It's not a mandatory thing, but our CEO is very demanding.

You can't be caught using phones too often during work hours, but it should always be available since I'm giving the bosses your direct number in case they can't contact your desk. And here is the company's handbook, it contains the company's rules and regulations. I'm giving both of you a copy so you can review it in your free time. This contract is for three months. Subsequently, we are going to have an assessment if you are eligible for the permanency, as per Mr. Stark's order. Is that clear?"

I gulped hard. "Crystal."

"Good. Do you have a question?" Mr. Collins asked.

"None, sir."

"All right, and as for you Miss West, the same rules are applied, only, you are working under the Vice CEO's assistant. Oh, excuse me." He looked back at me. "By the way, Miss Hopkins, you shall proceed to the eighty-fifth floor. Mr. Kline is waiting for you so you can start working."

"Of course, Mr. Collins." I smiled then stood and hooked my knapsack bag.

"If you have a question, don't hesitate to ask, " he added.

"Thank you, sir."

I glanced at Jacey's direction, but she was currently busy listening to Mr. Collins so I decided to leave the room. I walked toward the elevator and pressed the 85th-floor button. I could already feel my heart racing as if it wanted to jump out of my chest in nervousness. I couldn't stop clenching the fabrics of my bag. Approaching the 83rd floor, the elevator stopped and a man in a blue suit came in the elevator and about to press 85, but it was already lit, so he glanced at me.

"Good morning, " he greeted.

"Good morning, " I replied.

"Are you perhaps, Miss Hopkins?" he asked.

I frowned, "Yes, sir."

"Oh, I see…" he said, and then the elevator finally stopped at the 85th floor. He let me step out first and then he came out after me.

"My name is Dave Kline. I'm Mr. Stark's right hand. This floor is exclusive only for the upper management, their assistants and of course, the CEO."

I roamed my eyes around the place. The 85th floor was unlike the other floors in the building. It was more like a five-star hotel suite lobby with chandeliers in the ceiling and the carpeted flooring. The scent alone smelled luxurious, just exactly right for its expensive interior. The reception area had Stark Apparel Inc. brand logo on the wall.

"This is your keycard, " Mr. Kline handed me a light blue colored card. "Please keep in mind that your key has all the access to each door in the building since you are going to be working for the CEO. Not everyone has this authorization. Please, don't lose it."

"Thank you, Mr. Kline."

"You can call me Dave, Audrey, right?" he smiled. "We always want to become friends with everyone here. The job here could be demanding, but at least we are comfortable working with our colleagues."

I smiled back. "Of course, Dave." It was almost awkward since he was very polite.

"Alright, I shall introduce you to Mr. Stark properly now, shall we?"

My heart skipped a beat, my throat getting dry. I took a deep breath and heaved out a sigh. "Sure."

"Follow me."

I followed Dave until we reached the largest room on the 85th floor. He knocked on the door then we heard a "Come in."

"Oh, by the way, you need to wait for his answer before you come in."

I nodded.

"Mr. Stark?" Dave stepped into the CEO's room. I followed behind him.

"Yes, Dave?" Gabriel Stark turned his swivel chair around and faced us.

Oh, God. He was just too good to be true as if I was looking at a movie scene. He was more beautiful than I last saw him. He wore a gray suit this time, and black ties and his hair was faultlessly trimmed onto classic pompadour. He was confident and shouting with overflowing confidence and the way he looked at me as if he was telling me to "come over and sit in my lap", the way he crossed his leg, resting an ankle on his left knee.

"Mr. Stark, Miss Hopkins is here, sir."

"I'm aware, " he answered, but he kept his deep set of cerulean eyes on me, making me blush than ever. Gabriel stood and walked over me. "Welcome to Stark Apparel, " he said, reaching out his hand to me.

Hesitating, I slowly reached my palm to him and shook his hand. "Thank you, Mr. Stark." His hand was slightly rough and hard, but it didn't help to prevent the little tingles he sent me and traveled down my already wet core and panties.

God! This man was an epitome of perfection as if he was born to please a woman with his penetrating gazes, his devilishly sexy features, and he knew it.

He cleared his throat, then break away, slipping his hands inside his pocket. "Mr. Kline, show her desk. She shall use Miss Will's former seat."

"Right away, Mr. Stark." Dave curtly nodded, then he looked at me. "Follow me, Miss Hopkins."

He remained standing, cocking his head as he watched me and Dave as we exited his office.

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