The phone in his office rings, and I jump from how loud it is. Tomorrow, when I start taking most of his calls and forwarding messages as needed, I will have a new concept of cacophony. Without Beck here, though, I think the call volume should be manageable. Mostly, I’ll be redirecting calls where they need to go or typing up messages that Beck will grab online when he can deal with them. The most urgent ones will be forwarded to his cell.

I jot down a note to make sure I get his personal number just in case. I pull off the sticky note from its pad and affix it to my monitor. “Ask Beck for his number” sounds much more personal than I mean it to. Thoughts of calling him, maybe even having phone sex to prevent him from being lonely, infect my brain.

“It’s already in your electronic directory,” Beck whispers from beside me, making me jump. “But if you give me your phone, I’ll program it in for you.” I hadn’t heard him come out of his office, and I try not to look at the muscled forearms flexing where he’s gripping my desk.

“B-Beck, hi. I didn’t hear you.” I fish around in the desk drawer for my phone, and I close out of my messages before handing over the device.

“You looked pretty focused on the screen.” He leans over me, and the scent of his cologne is as inviting as the body heat emitting from him. “The history of solar power, huh?” Beck gives me a wink. “Fascinating stuff if I didn’t know you already are pretty up to date on engineering, Lia.” He inputs his number and then crouches down, holding my phone out in front of us. “Smile for the camera.”

Beck’s cheek is inches from mine, and we are looking at each other—not my phone—when the camera app clicks. “That’ll have to do, I guess,” he teases. He hands back my phone but not before his own vibrates. “There. Now I have your number and a contact photo for you.”

He stands up straight, stretching his arms overhead and cracking his neck and back in turn. “What have you thought about your first day so far?”

“So far?” I question. I’m supposed to be on my way to Jean’s office for a ride home. If I’m not there when she leaves, I’ll have to wait for the bus.

He steps back and shrugs, burying his hands in his pants pockets. “So far as in I really need you to stay late, if you’re available. The call that just came in was one of our distributors. I thought I had everything wrapped up for the trip, but apparently I don’t.” Beck runs down a list of copies he needs, emails sent, travel plans adjusted. It’s overwhelming, and I’m only given the tasks he is delegating to me. “Do you have a hot date or something that you need to escape for? I know this is short notice for overtime, and on your first day at that…” He trails off and gives me a hopeful smile.

More time with Beck and getting paid for it? Sign me the fuck up right now.

“No hot dates tonight.” When he visibly relaxes, I wonder if he was trying to find out more about me, not just give me an out for the work. “I was planning on having an exciting dinner of grilled cheese or whatever Jean and my dad are making. It would have been epic.”

Beck reaches for my phone and taps out an extension before I can try to remember who it goes to. “This is Beck. Hey, Jess, what are the dinner options in the cafeteria tonight?” He taps a finger on my desk a few times before asking me if sushi is okay. When I agree, Beck orders two plates of assorted sushi, some fried rice, and whatever dessert the evening chef on duty wants to send up. “Charge it to my office tab, Jess. Thanks!”

We work side by side in his office, me running across the hall to our printer and copier to grab what he needs, and then proofreading documents before he sends them off to be notarized. There’s so much that goes into his job, and Beck’s ability to do it all with such ease amazes me.

“Lia?” Beck is in the bathroom washing ink off his hands when he calls to me. “Do you remember the office at the opposite end of the hall I showed you? The one with the roses on the glass pattern?” It belonged to their accountant, or something like that. I would have to go through the security checkpoint to go out. “There is a yellow file folder on the bookcase against the window. It has all my printouts of today’s financial documents. It needs to get dropped off in the mail slot there before we eat. Can you do that for me?” Copyright 2016 - 2023