Read Her Charming Secret Online

Authors: Sam Ayers

Her Charming Secret (3 page)

BOOK: Her Charming Secret
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Alex was waiting outside his office; he started bombarding him with questions as soon as he came out. “Did you hire her? Where are you going? We have a meeting in an hour!” He exclaimed.

“I’m going to pick Aubrey up, she is waiting for me. Yes, I hired her! Help her out. Ask Jen to get started with the paperwork,” Aiden said and started running towards the elevator. He was late. Poor Aubrey, she must be alone. He got in his car and drove as fast as he could. It took him exactly ten minutes to reach the school. Aubrey was waiting with her teacher near the school entrance.

“I’m here, Kiddo. Sorry, I’m late,” he called, but the teacher stood in between them.

What was her problem?

“Are you her brother?” She questioned in a severe tone.

“Yes, I am and I’m here to pick her up. Thank you for waiting with her. Aubrey, let’s go,” he said, politely and held out his hand to his sister.

“Please wait, Mr. Reid,” the teacher said. “I’m Aubrey’s homeroom teacher. Your sister has been waiting for almost an hour. When I noticed her sitting alone I asked her to call her parents, but she called you. Small kids need constant attention and care, Mr. Reid. Please be on time, or inform us beforehand if you are going to be late.”

Great! It feels like High School all over again.

“I apologize. This won’t ever happen again I promise,” he said and she let Aubrey go, who hugged him tightly.

“I’m sorry, Aubrey. I’ll have a serious talk with Ashton, okay? I still have an important meeting. So we have to go to the office first,” he spoke to her calmly.

“Will Daddy be there?” She whispered.

“Of course, Angel. You’ll meet him soon,” he said and kissed her temple.

Aiden drove to the office after she settled down. Aubrey came here once in a while, so she knew her way around the office. She held his hand as they walked towards the elevator. Nicholas was talking to William, near his office and Aubrey ran to him as soon as she saw him. “Daddy!” She called out. Nicholas was surprised to see her, but he opened his arms to hug her.

“Aubrey, sweetheart, what are you doing here?” He asked her but looked at Aiden.

“She was waiting at the school for almost an hour. Ashton forgot to pick her up,” he replied.

Nicholas tensed up. William, who stood nearby, walked towards them and decided to make things better by talking to Aubrey in a very calm voice, making her smile. “Hey, Princess, come here. Let’s go grab a milkshake,” he said as he held his hand out towards her. Aubrey hugged him and said goodbye to her daddy.

“Nick, I’ll take her out. And let’s postpone the meeting, guys,” William smiled and walked away with Aubrey.

“I’ll talk to Ashton, don’t worry. This won’t happen again,” Nicholas sighed, “I need to pick Lynn up, so I’ll see you later.”

Aiden just nodded. So many things had happened today but his mind was still on the girl he had just met a while ago. It felt as if he knew her. She was a stranger, but there was this whisper in his heart saying that she was someone close. He knew her, but it was like a dream that was hazy, like it was just out of reach . . .

Josephine Winters was one huge mystery to him.


- Chapter 3 -


Bewildering Dreams




I could hear the screech of the tires trying to brake too hard, too fast and saw in slow motion as a three-year-old Aubrey ran right into its path. I saw her ball roll away; I saw my mother screaming for her to get back. In that moment, I realized that there was no time to stop the car from hitting her, so I pushed her out of the way and felt pounds of metal hurtle into me. I heard my mom scream, my baby sister cry. Someone called my name. The last thing I saw was the ground turn red with my blood before I fell into the arms of darkness . . .


I woke to the sounds of steady beeping and realized I was in the hospital. The doctors explained to me that I had been in a coma for over three months and the crash had caused partial amnesia. The last three years of my life were wiped clean, and they didn’t know whether it was temporary or permanent and all I could feel was grief, grief at the loss of all those memories – my sister, Aubrey’s birth, everything after the trip I took with my grandparents on my 15th birthday was blank – gone – completely lost.

Ash had grown up; he was tall. Adele was different, beautiful. And Alex – he changed a lot. It was surreal, all the things that were same but so different at the same time. Suddenly, the hospital slipped away. I was standing in a dense fog and could hear someone call me – I knew that voice but I didn’t know from where, who was this stranger that I felt I knew? And then there was blood falling on me and screeches of cars and screams . . .




























Aiden’s eyes snapped open as he sat up taking a huge gulp of air. It was that dream again, the one that haunted him day and night, every day. Even though it had been seven years since then, his memories hadn’t come back and his nightmares never left. Post traumatic amnesia – that’s what Gabriel, Adele’s fiancé told him. Guess he could take his word for it, seeing as he was a neurosurgeon. Gabe told Aiden that he knew that girl but he had forgotten her. He wondered why she was so important that she haunted his dreams every night.

Aiden couldn’t sleep again. He checked his phone; it was 1:30AM. He couldn’t drift back to sleep again as his head hurt, so he switched on the TV and cartoons were on.
Hmm . . . these are from when I was a kid. Guess they never change.

So he sat looking, but not really seeing anything for what might have been just minutes but the next time he looked up at the clock, it glowed 5:15AM. He got up, showered, made breakfast and later pulled out one of his best suits, an Armani. After all, it was a meeting with the board of directors and he had to dress up to make up for the haggard look his face had from exhaustion and lack of sleep. That was something he didn’t want anyone to see, he could just feel it in his bones.

“It’s going to be a long day,” he sighed and locked the apartment behind him.


*  *  *


Making his way to the office, Aiden waited for Alex in the cafeteria. He felt a presence behind him and saw Alex placing a cup of strong coffee in front of him, as he sat on a chair with his hands covering his face.

“You alright there, Aido?” Alex asked, concern filled his voice.

“Hmm . . . yeah, thanks for the coffee. I totally needed that,” Aiden replied as he took a huge gulp of the bitter liquid.

“Did you party last night without me, Aido? You seem to have a hangover.” Alex pretended to be hurt.

“No, you moron! It’s not a hangover!” Aiden glared at him.

Alex just smirked and replied, “You do realize that you are younger than I am, don’t you? Learn to respect your elders.” He grinned. “So tell me, dear cousin of mine, are you this down because of a girl?” He asked while wiggling his eyebrows.

“Alright! I’m out of here,” Aiden yelled and started to walk away. Alex ran and caught up with him, his face serious with all traces of mirth gone.

“Hey, are you alright? What’s wrong?” He asked, concern clearly reflected in his eyes.

“Just the usual headache,” Aiden sighed.

“Again? Look, this is serious, you have been having them on and off for a while now, why don’t you just go to the doctor? I’ll come with you if you want,” Alex said, while his eyes took in just how much Aiden’s headaches were troubling him.

“It’s alright, Al. Did you forget that we have the meeting with the board today?” Aiden asked as they reached their offices. Josephine Winters was standing right next to Aiden’s office, talking to Jen. It looked like a cheerful conversation. Looking at her, Aiden’s heart skipped a beat.


*  *  *


It was Jo’s first day at work and it was fun. Jen and the other staff were very friendly. She met Mr. William Reid, the Chairman of the company; he was a kind and a responsible man. She couldn’t imagine that Alex was his son because the only thing he did was flirt with almost every girl yesterday. But Aiden was different . . . She stood there staring at Aiden and Alex, who were walking towards them.

“Good morning, ladies,” the player said in a flirty tone. Typical Alex!

“Good morning. Miss Winters, can I see you in my office?” Aiden asked politely and walked away.

“Good luck,” Alex called. “Don’t worry, he’s not gonna eat you.” Jo sighed and knocked on the door.

“Come in,” she heard a calm voice. Aiden smiled as she entered and pointed towards a chair. “Please take a seat.”

“Thank you, Mr. Reid,” she said and looked down before she got lost in those deep blue eyes.

“First of all, call me Aiden. Mr. Reid suits the bosses better,” he smirked. “So I wanted to talk to you about the almost interview yesterday, Jo.”

He called me Jo!

“Sorry. Can I call you Jo? Or Josephine?” Aiden asked.

“Jo is fine; Josephine makes me sound too old. Well, Alex did take an interview but he was distracted with all those ladies around him,” she giggled. He laughed and looked at her, just then she saw how deep blue his eyes were and it was mesmerizing her.

“Well, that’s Alex for you! Anyway, I did check your certificates. Quite impressive but . . .” Aiden looked up from his file. “You’re a writer,” he stated looking at her straight in the eye.

How did he know? Did Alex tell him already?

“I googled you!” He smirked. “You write short stories for kids, right? My little sister reads your stories.”

“Oh! Yeah, I write. It’s my passion,” she said.

He raised his eyebrow. “Then this isn’t the right job for you,” he stated.

He’s going to fire me. And it’s just my first day.

“Hey, relax! It’s your decision if you want to write or work here. Don’t worry; I’m not going to fire you.” He smiled. “Okay, so let’s get started. I want you to check with me first before transferring the calls. Alex calls a lot. Please don’t transfer any of his calls,” Aiden said.

“What if it’s important?” She asked.

“His office is right next to mine; if it’s important he can come here,” he smiled and added, “When the bosses call, I’m always available. Put them through.”

“What if you are in an important meeting?” she asked again.

“Why don’t you text me, I’ll try to call them later,” he replied as he checked the files.

“Okay . . . I will do that, Mr. Re . . . Aiden,” Jo smiled.

He smiled and continued, “Now this is very important, my little sister, Aubrey might call. And I’ll take her calls even if I’m busy.” Jo remembered how he ran after he received her call yesterday. “My grandfather calls often, so please tell him I’m busy and I’ll get back to him or I’m not in the office,” he said calmly.

“Okay, but what if it’s an emergency?” Jo asked.
Too many questions, Jo!
She berated herself.

“Trust me, Jo. He will tell you it’s an emergency every time you say I’m busy.” He raked his hand through his hair and sighed.

“Alright, I won’t transfer his calls,” Jo said. Why was he avoiding his grandfather?

“Well, that’s all for now. I have a meeting to attend, see you later,” he said and walked up to the door and held it open for her.

“Thank you,” Jo said as she walked out and placed the diary on her desk.

She started checking the files that Aiden handed over earlier. Well, it wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be, but the pay was good. And she had a job. Finally.


Twenty minutes later, Jo saw Aiden walking towards his office, running his hand through his hair.
Is the meeting over already?

She was about to go and ask if he was all right. His appearance though impeccable was haggard and tired.

Jo stopped when she saw the CEO, Nicholas Reid walking towards Aiden’s office. She sat down again and through the glass window she could see them having a very serious conversation. It looked like Mr. Reid was saying something and Aiden nodded his head. The door opened and he walked out with Aiden.

“Go home and take rest. Why don’t you meet Gabe?” asked Nicholas.

“Dad, I’m fine. Trust me. I’ll go home but I’m not going to the hospital,” Aiden said.

Hospital! Was he sick?

“Well it’s up to you, Son. Call me if you need something. Or should I ask Lynn to stop over after work?” Nicholas’s voice was filled with concern.

“No, Dad. Please don’t tell Mom. I’ll leave now. Bye,” Aiden opened the door to his office again.

“Alright, Aid. Take rest and I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodbye,” Nicholas waved to his son and left to join the meeting again.

“Are you alright, Aiden?” Jo asked before he entered his office.

“Yes, I’m fine, it’s just that my headache made me lose concentration during the meeting and Dad decided if I couldn’t concentrate anyways I should just go home and rest,” he sighed. “You can leave when I leave. So thanks for all the hard work.”

Jo left the door open as Alex walked in; he wasn’t smirking as he always did. His face was stern. This was the first time she saw Alex acting this way.

“Didn’t I tell you to go to the hospital this morning? Why can’t you do as you’re told?” Alex asked in a stern tone. Aiden lowered his face. Alex had a look on his face that said he was serious and that was surprising, what with him always goofing around.

“Aren’t you supposed to be at the meeting?” Aiden asked. Jo glanced between the two cousins and thought that it would be better if she left them both alone for a while.

“Excuse me, I’ll be outside,” she said to Aiden.

“Jo, wait. Please,” Alex spoke. “I need some help. Uncle Nick allowed me to leave so I could get you home in one piece,” he said as he turned towards Aiden.

“I’m not a kid, Alex. I’m going home alright! You need to be at that meeting. It’s important, dude. Go back,” Aiden groaned.

“Fine, go home and give me a call. I have some work and I need Jo’s help,” Alex said.

“I’ll help. Please, Aiden. I don’t have any work here; I checked those files you asked me to and mailed the clients, too. I can help Alex,” she said looking at Aiden.

He nodded. “It’s up to you. I’m going now. Bye.” Without a second glance he walked out of his office.

Jo heard Alex sigh deeply. “Sorry, that was necessary. If you will follow me, I’ll show you what I need help with,” Alex said and he walked out too. She followed him silently, wondering all the while about how her new boss was faring.


*  *  *


Aiden had been asked to leave the meeting just because he couldn’t concentrate, something that had never happened to him till date. He was immensely proud of the fact that he was seen as one of the most professional people out there, and to be dismissed like that had been utterly embarrassing! To top it off, he worked with his family and now Alex had gotten into the concerned older brother mode and wouldn’t stop till he knew that Aiden had gone to the doctor. The last time Aiden remembered something similar happening was when he had just woken from coma and people had walked around him on eggshells, concerned that even the slightest mistake might trigger something irreversible in his brain.

Though he knew they meant well, the fact that they all made him feel like he was sick with a terminal disease rather than memory loss had hurt him even though he understood what they might have been feeling. Deciding that a strong cup of coffee was the best short term remedy he would have for his ever-present headache, he stopped at a café and walked in, only to see someone very familiar standing in line looking at the menu.

He stood behind her and whispered, “Hey, Stranger.” His mood lightened up in a second.

BOOK: Her Charming Secret
6.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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