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Authors: Annie Jocoby

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BOOK: Broken
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Chapter 12

Scotty – Two Weeks Later

“So, how do I look?” I asked Jack. My long brown hair was piled on my head with a butterfly clip, and I actually was wearing a little bit of makeup. I was wearing a cast-off Armani suit that I managed to find after looking in every thrift store in town for three straight days. I picked up other suits, of course, but this was the absolute best suit that I ever hoped to be able to find, so I chose it for my first day.

The fact that this suit was around 10 years old, therefore I still would look out of place at this firm, was something that I had to ignore. It was designer, it fit, and that’s all that I needed to know. As for the shoes, they also came from a thrift store, but they were perfect. It felt amazing that I was able to look at least somewhat presentable for my first day, which would certainly go a long way in helping me to fake it until I made it.

“Fierce. Beautiful. Sexy. Like those bitches won’t know what hit them when Hurricane Scotty makes landfall at that firm.”

I smiled. I felt uncomfortable that he mentioned the word
sexy
though. “Sexy. Uh, I’m not showing cleavage. Is the fit too tight? I don’t want to be inappropriate.”

“No. You look like a nun. You’re just damn sexy no matter how hard you try not to be. Sorry. I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em.”

I went back in to look at the full-length mirror. I had to make sure that I looked professional, and not in the least bit slutty. I wanted them to take me seriously, and I wanted to repel all male attention.

Even Nick’s attention.

Especially Nick’s attention.

The past two weeks had been weird. I still went to Nick’s class, of course, but I refused to meet his eyes. I sat in the back of class, arriving late and making an excuse to leave early, or at least with the other kids. For his part, he didn’t address me in class, and he didn’t ask me to meet with him. The only time he spoke with me was last Thursday night.

“Scotty,” he said, as I tried to push my way out of his class with the other kids. “I’ll be seeing you on Monday, right? I already told the partners to get ready for you.”

“Yes. Yes, Professor O’Hara. I won’t go back on my word.”

He looked relieved and he smiled. “Good. Then I’ll see you. At 10, right?”

I nodded. I had to work this internship around my school schedule, and my classes were over at 10 on Monday, so that was what time I would be starting.

So, that weekend, Jack and I hit every thrift store within a twenty mile radius, it seemed. He took time out of his busy schedule to help me out. I had to rely on his fashion sense, as I had none. I mean, I was a student and I worked in a bar. What did I know about business attire?

We really had the time of our lives. It was like the scene in
Pretty Woman,
where Vivian came out in different outfits, except we weren’t on Rodeo Drive, but, rather, we were in various Salvation Army and Goodwill stores, and every other thrift store that we could find. There were surprisingly great clothes in these shops. I had to really look, but there were true gems.

Of course, I had to have accessories too. I managed to find a Coach purse that was in surprisingly good shape in one of the thrift stores we visited, and I picked up a battered briefcase for a song in another place. As for jewelry, there wasn’t a whole lot in these places, but Jack was kind enough to buy me a string of fake pearls at one of the Target stores we visited that day.

“Aw, that’s so sweet,” I said, as Jack presented these pearls for me. “You don’t have to do this.”

“It’s $20. I’ll survive. Think of it as a congratulations-on-your-kick-ass-job present.”

So, that was how I found myself looking in the full-view mirror that day, staring at myself in my used Armani suit that cost me $40, and my worn Jimmy Choos that I picked up for $20. Both of them were incredible finds, and I felt more confident about myself. But Jack was right – I showed zero skin. My blouse was buttoned all the way to the neck, and my skirt went below the knee. I even managed to minimize my rack by wearing two sports bras that clamped them down as much as they could possibly be. My nails were done with a shellac manicure in a shell pink, and I was wearing foundation, mascara and lip gloss.

All in all, I felt I looked at least presentable. I looked at my backside carefully. Other than my breasts, the only body part that wasn’t completely emaciated these days was my butt. It was rounded, and I was as self-conscious about it as I was about my girls. But the suit managed to minimize this as well.

Taking a deep breath, I walked back out of the room. I kissed Jack on the cheek. “Thanks for everything,” I said. “God, I wish I could take you with me, like Linus’ security blanket.”

“Me too. But I have to let my little girl leave the nest. You’re gonna do great, I know.”

So, I got my briefcase, and hurried to the subway station that would take me to midtown to one of the most prestigious architectural firms in the entire world.

Breathe, Scotty, breathe.

 

Chapter 13

Nick

Scotty was going to be
here in a few minutes, and I was feeling something that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Excitement. Nervousness. Elation.

I had no idea why I was feeling these emotions. I only knew that I was. It was like when I was a kid, looking forward to Christmas Day.

I even was nice to Portia that morning. I had been avoiding her since our last encounter, and, because she came onto me repeatedly, still, I had to be downright cruel to get her to leave me alone. But I found myself singing softly as I walked to the office lunch room to get a cup of coffee, and Portia was in there eating a doughnut.

“Good morning, Portia,” I said. “Would you like me to pour you a cup of coffee?”

“What, you’re out of your cage?” She was referring to the fact that I rarely left my office those days, except to go to meetings. Mainly because I didn’t want to run into her too much.

“Yep. Out of my cage,” I said, humming a Katy Perry tune that I heard on the car stereo that morning on the way to work. “God, I can’t get that song out of my head,” I said, as I poured a cup of coffee for myself and one for her. “There you go,” I said as I handed her a cup of coffee.

“What’s got you so happy this morning?”

“Nothing. Why?”

“You’re acting like a giddy schoolgirl.”

I shrugged. “Guess I’m just in an unusually good mood.”

“Wait. Today’s the day your intern starts, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. You know, I almost forgot. Huh.”

She narrowed her eyes, and started reading the
New Yorker
magazine that was left in the lunchroom by somebody.

“Forgot, my ass,” she said, not looking up from her magazine.

I said nothing, but just smiled and went back to my office to wait for Scotty to show up.

Which she did, promptly, right at 10. She showed up in my office, and my heart started pounding. I had to literally not get up from my desk, as I immediately had a raging hard-on upon looking at her. Because she looked absolutely stunning. She was obviously trying not to, as she was wearing a shirt that was buttoned to her neck, and her skirt was the length that prairie women used to wear,
but she still far outshone all the top models that I had bedded since I arrived in this city. Every one of them faded in my memory as I looked at her standing there in her obviously second-hand Armani suit, Jimmy Choo shoes and battered leather briefcase.

“Hi, uh, what am I supposed to call you here at the firm? Mr. O’Hara?” she asked shyly.

I shook my head. “Nick. Still Nick.” I felt embarrassed that I couldn’t stand up the greet her, but there was just no way. I don’t think that I had ever been as hard as I was right at that moment. “Um, come on over and sit down.”

She hesitated slightly, then tentatively made her way to the chair on the other side of my desk. She looked around my office. “Gorgeous office,” she said. “You probably have the best view of the city.”

“Yeah, it works. So, anyhow, we’re going to start you off kinda slow. Grunt work and all that. But you’re eventually going to be on my design team, so, even though you’re just going to be making copies and working on the computer for now, you’re eventually going to be on the ground floor of designing some the largest buildings in the world. How do you like that?”

She smiled a shy smile. “You said ground floor. Cute pun.” Then she tucked a stray hair behind her ear, and looked down at the floor, obviously embarrassed at her silly joke.

And I was enchanted. That was the only word that came to mind.

Enchanted.

I looked up. George, one of the other senior partners, was at the door with a cup of coffee. “Nick. Is this your new intern?”

“Yeah,” I said, still seated.
Down boy, down.
“Uh, George, this is Scotty. Scotty, George.”

I shot George a look of apology for not getting up. He did look perplexed.

“Good to meet you Scotty,” he said, coming in and shaking her hand. “From what I hear, you’re going to be a great asset to our team.”

“I hope so,” she said. Then she blushed.

God, she’s so cute when she blushes.

What the hell was wrong with me?

George looked at me expectantly. “Well, Nick, are you going to show Scotty around, or are you just going to sit there?”

Oh, bloody hell.
“George, why don’t you show her around. I’ll, uh, catch up.”

He shook his head and Scotty looked utterly befuddled. “Come with me,” George said to Scotty. “I’ll show you around.”

Once they were gone, I felt relieved.
You better get it together, O’Hara, or you won’t be able to work with this girl.
I went into my private bathroom and took care of the matter in less than a minute. Then I went outside my office to find George and Scotty and show her around myself.

I found them stopping by Portia’s office.
Uh oh, there’s going to be trouble there.
I got there, and Portia was standing up and extending her hand to Scotty. “Oh, you’re Nick’s intern. You’re just like I pictured you.” Then she saw me and shot me a look of death.

“Thanks, Ms. Anson,” Scotty said. “I’m really happy for this opportunity.”

“I just bet,” she said. “Well, you’ll find that Nick will be a very hands-on supervisor.” Then she smiled an evil smile and looked at me. “Right Nick?”

I shot Portia a look right back, hoping that neither George nor Scotty picked up on the extreme tension between Portia and me. Scotty probably did, though. She’s a woman, and it had been my experience that women have gut feelings about things like that.

But, so far, she seemed oblivious to the double-entendres and stress between Portia and me.

Scotty nodded. “I hope Nick is a hands-on supervisor. I really need to learn all I can while I’m here.”

Portia just looked at her for a second and laughed. “Oh, you’ll learn a lot, I assure you.”

Scotty just nodded her head again. “I hope so. That’s why I’m here.”

I finally decided to take control of the situation. “Uh, Scotty, let me take over from here,” I said. “Thanks, George, for stepping in, but I got this.”

“No prob,” George said. “Well, Scotty, it’s great to meet you. You’re going to be working on some great projects.”

“Thanks, George, great to meet you too.”

And, at that, George made his way back to his office.

“Ok, now Scotty,” I began, and then started to wish that I could hold her hand while we walked along the corridor between the offices. “Let me take you to the conference room,” I said to her, before realizing that I unconsciously was reaching for her hand. But I saw her start to shake, and put her left hand, which I was reaching for, up to her mouth, as she started to bite her nails.

I casually ignored this, but felt rebuffed and intrigued at the same time.
Oh, well, just as well. If any of the other partners, associates or interns saw me grab her hand, there would be hell to pay. Especially from Portia.

We got to the conference room, and her eyes got wide, like a small child on Christmas Day. She rubbed her hand on the marble table, then went to the windows and looked out. Then she looked at me. “This is the most beautiful room I’ve ever seen,” she said, as she walked around and looked at everything. She rubbed her foot on the Oriental Carpet, and brushed her hand on the mahogany bookshelves. She walked up to the Degas painting on the wall, and briefly touched it before recoiling her hand from it, as if it bit her. “I shouldn't touch a priceless painting. It's a bad habit.”

I was amused by her awe. “This better be a beautiful conference room. Our clients are not exactly paupers off the street. They expect luxury, and that’s what we provide.”

“I’ll say.” Then she looked down at her clothes, and, when she looked back at me, I saw a look of insecurity and of being completely unsure of herself. But she said nothing, although her demeanor did change.

We left the conference room, and made our way to meet the rest of the partners and associates. Everybody was friendly, of course, and there were plenty of “welcome aboards,” “good lucks,” and “congratulations!”

Finally, we ended up back at my office. “So, what do you think?” I asked her, as both of us sat down.

“Uh, I’m overwhelmed a little, but everybody seems really nice.”

“Well, nice isn’t a word I would describe most of these people. Driven, ambitious, talented, creative and a little bit nuts would be better adjectives.”

She said nothing and just nodded her head. And started biting her nails again.

How do I make her comfortable?
I got up and sat on the chair right next to her. Then I took her hands. But as soon as I took them, she was shaking again.

I couldn’t help it, though. I felt the need to touch her. Almost involuntarily, I touched a wisp of her hair, tucking it behind her ear. “You’re nervous,” I said. “It’s going to be okay.”

“Thanks,” she said, taking her left hand, which I was still holding, and pulling it away from my touch and up to her neck. “What am I going to be doing?”

“Well, today, you’re pretty much going to be making a lot of copies of documents. We have secretaries, of course, but we don’t want to overwhelm you, so we're going to start you off with light work. More or less, the first week is just getting used to the place and getting to know everybody.” Then I touched her cheek. “But, eventually, you’re going to be in on the design process. You’ll be working closely with me, because I’m the lead on the biggest project we have right now.”

She nodded. “Uh, Nick, I wanted to say thank you for giving me this opportunity. I’m sorry that I turned you down at first.”

“That’s okay. One of these days, I’m going to get to the bottom of what you’re afraid of, and then I’ll understand why you rejected that offer at first.”

She looked down at the floor. “You’re so sure I am afraid of something?”

“Positive. Hopefully you’ll open up to me one day.”

Then she looked around. “Uh, the stuff I have to copy. Where is it?”

“Well, you remember the copy room. I piled everything up in there for you.”

“Okay, uh thanks. I’ll just get to work, okay?”

“Sure,” I said, and then she got up and left.

And, after she left, I felt something odd.

I actually missed her.

 

BOOK: Broken
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