Two - The Highest Form of Attractiveness

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Having no secretary meant that Ricardo had many excuses for being late. His father had been the number one proponent of the belief that a man should be the first in the office and the last to leave. In this, as in many ways, Ricardo was not like his father. Without Melissa he had taken to long naps and was becoming very fond of brunch that didn't involve a desk. It was his building and for once he was enjoying the benefits.

It was a cloudy day, and mostly the reason why he had rolled out of bed late and strolled into the bathroom as if he had nothing to do. He had taken the time to pick one of the last dry cleaned suits hanging in his wardrobe. Three days more without a PA and he would have had to take his laundry to be cleaned himself. He shuddered at the idea: his family's dry cleaner was a long time friend, and she loved to gossip. Thankfully, Alexei was due to start just after lunch - as he was arriving - and not a minute too soon. He wouldn't be shooting the breeze with Gertrude, the 60 year old woman with a thousand wrinkles, any time soon, if ever.

Ricardo arrived at the office a little bit later than even he had planned. At this point everyone was tucked behind their desk, satisfied from good lunch and grinning like Cheshire cats with their lazy eyes. His shoes made a soft noise against the highly polished floor as he headed straight for his own office. Despite the cloudy weather he was wearing his Louis sunglasses and everything was tinted grey. But the sign above the reception desk persevered in clean, white letters.

His whole office should have been dark, waiting for movement to stimulate the sensor lighting. The secretary's desk was outside his main office in an anteroom that was substantial in size compared to the others. He was expecting to see the dim glow of the untouched PC on night mode. It hadn't been touched in days, not since Melissa had logged off with a flourish.

Ricardo's office was lit up like Christmas day.

He faltered. Stopped at the glass door which was already propped wide open. Behind the secretary desk sat Jaimee Choudhary. He was typing furiously away, focused entirely on the PC screen. He was wearing another nice suit, the jacket folded over the back of the chair, his shirt sleeves neatly folded up to reveal the leanness of his arms. His back was curved slightly over the desk, the knobs of his spine visible against the crisp cotton.

Ricardo cleared his throat. Jaimee looked up sharply, saw him standing there, and blinked behind his glasses. "Good afternoon Mr Santos." Then he smiled. "It's quite late in the day, I didn't think you were coming in."

Ricardo couldn't believe the nerve of this guy. He slid his hands into his pockets, ignoring the dig at his timekeeping. "The thing is, Mr Choudhary, I am 100℅ sure that I didn't offer you this job. In fact, unless you ate the voluptuous blonde who I did hire, I didn't expect to see you ever again." He tried to clip his words but he was just so surprised that it was hard to maintain the ice.

Jaimee didn't look chastised. He pulled a pile of folders towards himself before standing up and turning to face Ricardo. "Here's the thing: you made a mistake. I know it, and soon enough you will too. I gave a great interview, you even said so yourself. I want to work for you."

Ricardo scoffed. "That's not up to you. Do I want to work with you? That was the real question and I believe I answered it in an email." He looked at the computer screen and saw that it was logged in. "How the hell did you even get in?"

"I came in early, charmed the IT department into giving me the login you forgot to send, and then I got to work." Jaimee then handed over three files and, even more surprised, Ricardo took them. "I took the liberty of colour coding your tasks today; you'll find that they match up with your to do list which I updated an hour ago. The red file is the information pack that was sent over by E. Environment. You have a meeting scheduled with their COO tomorrow at 12, but you probably know that already - if you checked. The orange one is a list of all the cars that Jaguar is offering you a choice from, they wanted to hear back by the end of the day so they can begin to customise for next week. The green one is your speech for the Mayor's dinner. It was faxed over by her assistant and they want you to make any relevant changes so they can review it by the end of next week."

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