Chapter 42 - Maternal manner & hurt hand

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Harry's point of view

I fired three people before lunch (four, if you include Ms. Jennifer, who only laughed and then patted my bum before making breakfast). Every single person in the office was tip-toeing around me more than usual, avoiding elevators and skipping into rooms when they saw me in the hallway.

So, the knock on my door was both unexpected and unwelcome. "Busy!" I barked.

"Uhm," A light voice called back. "I have the file on the Malik merger."

The merger with Malik was something I'd been working for since I first started my business; something that would increase the net worth of my company and expand my name back home in England. I rubbed my hands over my face. "Bring it in."

One of the men who worked downstairs walked in with a terrified expression. "Mac told me to bring it to you."

"Here," I snapped, holding out a hand. The large folder was placed into it swiftly. "Now get out."

The young man scurried out as quickly as possible, leaving me to flip through the folder with as much attention as I could muster. Which wasn't much, considering Norah screaming 'because I'm in love with you' was on replay in my head, as it had been since two nights ago when it happened.

I stood up suddenly and stalked out of my office, adjusting my tie as I went. Multiple interns whose names I hadn't bothered to know jumped out of the way when I walked through, and the secretary's face turned as white as a ghost when I stopped at her desk.

"M-Mr. Styles," She stuttered. "Hi. I mean -- how can I help you?"

My eye twitched in annoyance. "What meetings do I have today?"

"One at 1 o'clock with the investments team, and another at 3:30 with Mac Carter."

"Perfect. Cancel both of them."

Her eyes widened in complete disbelief, and what little colour she had left in her face completely disappeared. "C-cancel then? The meetings?"

"Yes, cancel them. All calls straight through to my cell. And tell James I'm on my way dawn." I paused and glanced down as she tapped away furiously. The young women's awkwardness reminded me slightly of Norah. It seemed that today, everything did. "What's your name?"

Her fingers froze on the keyboard. "M-my name, sir?"

"Yes. I do not have all day. What's your name?"

"Laura," She breathed, "my name is Laura."

I stared down at her as the image of Norah yelling about how rude I was flashed through my head, with her eyes quickly reddening and her fists tightening into balls at her side. My lips quirked up into a small smile. "Great. Thank you, Laura."

The women looked like she was going to die right there as I walked away, trying to remember the last time I had bothered remembering the names of half of employees. Or, for that matter, the last time I had told one of them 'thank you'. Or the last time I had cancelled a meeting.

No wonder Norah thought I was rude. I stepped into the elevator and jabbed the button with much more force than necessary, then stood with my hands clasped behind my back as I rode down in silence. The doors opened to reveal James waiting patiently on the first letter.

"Car is ready, sir. Where are we going?"

"To my flat."

He looked just as confused as the secretary had, but led me out to the waiting Range Rover nonetheless. The drive was awkward and silent. The driver kept glancing at me in the rear view mirror as if I was going to yell at him to turn around at any moment.

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