Story: Business with Pleasure (all chapters)

Authors: sneekie

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Chapter 1

Hardly noticed by any of the buildings inhabitants, a tiny yellow cab pulled up next to the Wilson Advertising Company. Undaunted by the fifteen story building, black and reflective, a young woman, dressed smartly, stepped out and surveyed her surroundings. “Yes,” she hissed to no one in particular. This was the first day of the rest of her life.

Inside one of the offices of the building, a phone rang. The agitated woman, whose office it was, picked up the phone. “Now?” she asked, “I am in the middle of something, Sarah!”

She sighed. “Yeah, yeah. Okay, okay. I’ll be right over.” She stood up and headed her way to the unforeseen appointment.

She stopped at the door, which read “James R. Wilson. CEO” This is going to be pleasant, she sardonically thought to herself. Noticing the secretary guarding the door she asked, “So, what mood is he in today?”

Sarah smiled, understanding. “All considered, he’s in a pretty good mood. He’s waiting for you.” Sarah opened the door and showed her in.

James Wilson, who had been engaged in active conversation before the door opened, suddenly looked up and gave a poisonous smile. “Well, Nicole. It’s wonderful you could find the time to spare to grace us with your presence.”

So much for the good mood, she thought.

James gestured with an open arm to the seat in front of him. “I would like you to meet your new personal assistant.”

Personal assistant? That was certainly news to her. She looked over at the young smiling woman who occupied the chair. Nicole thought she was probably 23 or at the most 24. She had blonde shoulder length hair, and was very sharply dressed in a white blouse, skirt, and jacket.

James continued, enjoying the skeptical look on Nicole’s face. “Brook Davies, meet Nicole, she is…”

“I prefer “Nikki”,” she interrupted.

“Oh right,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Anyway, Nikki is responsible for securing new business ventures for the company. In other words she networks, meeting with and promoting our company to potential clients.”

Brooke stood and extended her hand, which Nikki shook firmly. Brooke’s nervous impression of the woman in front of her was that she was in her early thirties, with a solid build that was carried well by her height. Nikki had short curly dark hair.

“James, I don’t remember requesting an assistant,” Nikki droned, barely acknowledging the young lady.

The CEO ignored her. “Brooke comes highly qualified. She has a Masters Degree in Business and Administration from Harvard University, your old alma mater. In fact, she graduated Magna cum Laude.” He stroked her ego. “She will be a valuable asset, especially in project design and presentations, isn’t that right dear?”

Brooke nodded enthusiastically.

“Good, let’s see if we can get you settled,” he continued. “Nicole, get her inducted and networking with our clients immediately, I’m sure they will be just as impressed as I was,” he cooed.

Nicole showed no signs of acknowledgement or acceptance, so Brooke turned to James. “Thank you so much for this opportunity, Mr. Wilson. I promise I won’t let you down.”

“I know dear,” he replied.

Nikki left the office in large strides, Brooke rushed to catch up and make some conversation, any conversation.

“Ummm,” Brooke stammered, “it’s great to be working here. I heard a lot about this company at Harvard Business School. It’s making definite waves in the Fortune 500. I know you don’t normally accept graduates straight out, but it’s a privilege.”

Nikki turned around without warning to face Brooke. “Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t care for your sucking up techniques. You can lay that on James all you want. He likes that from pretty young women,” she growled.

Brooke smiled on the inside, intrigued that she was considered attractive.

Nikki continued. “But I don’t care for it anymore than I care to have a personal assistant.” Nikki resumed walking.

Brooke’s smile turned upside down and she continued after her new boss. “If you would just look over my CV you would know that I am more than prepared for the job.” Brooke handed over the CV.

Nikki barely glanced over it and then tossed it in the inbox.

Brooke could tell this was going to be a challenge. But, it was a challenge she was more then ready to face, since she had been preparing for it all her life. She was going to get to the top of the corporate ladder no matter what it took, and if her first conquest had to be Nikki, then so be it.

Nikki looked over the dozen messages on her desk and groaned.

Brooke chimed in, “As your new assistant, if you want I could…” but she shut up when she got a flash of a look from Nikki. She started over. “Where would you like me to start?” she asked in as professional a tone as she could manage.

Nikki, without looking up, reached into her desk and handed Brooke a black mug. “Coffee, lots of milk no sugar,” she ordered.

Brooke stared in disbelief. “Excuse me?”

Nikki looked up. “I’m sorry. Too fast for you? I’ll speak slower. Coffee, lots of milk, noooooo sugar.”

“I am not the coffee girl,” Brooke bit back.

“You are my personal assistant. Your duties are exactly what I tell you to do, no more no less.”

Brooke unenthusiastically took the mug. “Where is the coffee machine?”

“Ask someone.”

Brooke left the room, shutting the door as she was instructed.

Brooke found the machine, and was beginning to make the coffee when the secretary from James’ office entered the room. Sarah was only too happy to catch Brooke up on the company gossip. Brooke’s ambition to move up the ladder by taking Nikki’s job disappeared when she learnt that Nikki was in fact James’ daughter, also a Harvard Graduate, 28 years old.

Sarah informed her that Nikki was straight up; call it like you see it. It was a bad idea to second guess her. But, Sarah added, she is fair and definitely gives credit where credit is due. Brooke nodded at this. Sarah continued, stating that it was in fact Nikki who kept the company going, since her father had lost his business edge and began treating everyone like crap, especially his own daughter.

“Any other advice?” Brooke asked.

“Yeah,” Sarah added with a wry smile. “Like Mr. Wilson, Ms. Wilson doesn’t like waiting for her coffee.” Brooke rushed back to the office and walked in.

Nikki immediately looked up and growled. “In the future you knock! Understood? I could be meeting with clients. What would they think if my staff just burst in and interrupted?”

“Sorry,” she mumbled, handing over the coffee.

The rest of Brooke’s day went by without any incidents. She spent the time fetching coffee, reading over the company’s goals and projections, looking up the company VIPs and clients, domestic and international. She got a small desk in a small office. No windows, walls bare, and an ancient computer. Not what she had expected  from  this top advertising company

She gathered her things and was ready to leave at 5 p.m. She took the time to look in on Nikki, who had an ear piece and was talking away on it while looking out her large bay window. Brooke waved goodbye, but Nikki motioned for her to stay.

Brooke stepped in. “I was just saying “I’m off.”

“Wait, I have something for you.”

Brooke was elated. Finally! “Great,” she said, smiling.

“Find out everything on a company called Dawson Electrical. They want us to help them get noticed. I want it on my desk by 9 a.m. tomorrow.”

Her smile turned down. “Really…? I was just heading off…”

Nikki looked up in disgust. “Look, if you want a 9-5 job making nine dollars an hour, there are plenty of secretarial positions open, Brooke.”

Brooke grimaced. “What do you want to know?”

Nikki became frustrated, running a hand through her hair. “See this pile here?” she asked, pointing to an unbelievably high stack of papers. “I have to read through all of this before I go home. Your CV, if I am not mistaken, states that you are ambitious, hard working, and have marked initiative. I suggest you use that statement as a guide for handling this assignment. Now go.”

“Can I do it at home?” Brooke asked, hopefully.

“Do you think I care?” Nikki retorted. “Just have it on my desk tomorrow. 9 a.m. sharp.”

Brooke was headed out when she noticed Sarah was still at her desk.

“Hey Brooke,” she said, giving off a warm, comforting smile. “How was your first day at Wilson’s?”

Brooke shook her head. “I’ve never met such an arrogant, cold hearted tyrant. I don’t think she talked to me like a human being once today; she just ordered or demanded something. I copped nothing but shit. I’m a personal assistant; I’m supposed to be helping her with her tasks. She treats me like a glorified coffee girl.”

Sarah shook her head. “That’s the way it is here honey. Just stay in it. You’ll do fine. See you tomorrow.”

Brooke got home and was greeted by her very hungry and attention starved white cat. She picked her up and cuddled her. “Hey Maggie, I hope your day was better than mine sweetheart.”

Brooke had some cold chicken as she worked on her laptop. She gathered her business newspapers, opened her journals, and started researching. She staggered to bed at 2 a.m.

Chapter 2

Brooke got in early and put her report on Nikki’s desk. She dared glanced at the inbox and noticed that it was indeed all dealt with. Nikki walked in, her face dark with rage.

“Can I get you a coffee, Ms. Wilson?” Brooke asked, bright with sunshine.

Nikki slammed the door and stood inches away from Brooke. “The only thing I hate worse than incompetence is my staff airing their grievances around the workplace, especially when it is about me.”

Brooke swallowed nervously and went pale. “I…I don’t…”

“Well, after your little hissy fit about working conditions yesterday, I was called into James’ office and chewed out.”

Brooke looked for the nearest window to jump out of.

“If you don’t feel you can handle the demands of this industry, Brooke, you are free to leave anytime. However, if you do decide to stay on, I suggest you air any future complaints with me and me alone. Now…do you have anything you want to say?” Nikki asked.

The thought of telling Nikki how much of a fucking cow she was entered Brooke’s head, only to be wisely brushed aside. “Umm, your report is on your desk. Would you like me to get you a coffee while you read it?” Brooke choked out, with all the dignity she could muster.

Nikki nodded for her to leave.

In the coffee room, Brooke was dark and pissed. Sarah rushed in, apologetic.

“Oh, Brooke, I am so sorry. I accidentally left the intercom on yesterday while we were talking and Mr. Wilson heard everything.”

“Oh great,” Brooke said. “Career over before it even started.”

“No…Mr. Wilson was irate about how his daughter treated you. He chewed her out in front of everyone.”

Brooke returned with the coffee and proceeded to leave before Nikki asked her to sit. Nikki sat in her chair and tapped her fingers together.

“Brooke…if we are to work together I need to be able to trust you. How can I do that when you undermine me with my people,” she asked, in a somewhat softer than normal tone.

“I really am sorry, Ms. Wilson, I promise it won’t happen again, but can I say one thing?”

“By all means…”

“How can you trust me if you don’t give me any responsibility?”

Nikki shook her head and held up the report. “I did…now briefly, I don’t need a 5000 word essay, tell me about this company. What is your opinion on them?”

Brooke took the opportunity and ran with it, “Not worth our time. It would take too many valuable resources to advertise for a company that doesn’t have any foreseeable future in their market. They already nearly collapsed a few years back. It’s not worth the risk to promote their business under our banner, so to speak. Plus, their stock is very weak on the market.”

Nikki’s eyebrows rose. “Really? You certainly have put a lot of effort into this. You must have been up half the night.”

Brooke shrugged it off. “Oh, it was nothing.”

“Good job, Brooke. Well done. Contact them and tell them we are unable to help them and that we wish them well.”

Nikki looked over more messages and groaned.

“Would you like me to handle those,” Brooke asked, full of hope.

“Did I ask you to?” Nikki retorted.

“I think you were about to,” Brooke joked, trying to reach her boss at some level. It worked.

Nikki’s face lit up. “Yes. Yes I was.” She handed them over. Brooke returned to her office.

Nikki picked up her coffee and gazed out the window. She knew she was hard on Brooke. She looked over the girl’s CV and sighed. First class honors? A mightily impressive reference with a well known Harvard professor that Nikki herself had studied under? Why does she want to work in this hell hole, Nikki asked herself.

Over the course of the next few months, Brooke integrated into the company. She took minutes, and arranged client meetings. However, she never got to sit in at the meetings with clients, and Nikki never took the time to look at her ideas. Brooke was being shut out of what she really wanted.

Brooke was standing at the photocopier one day when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She swung around ready to give someone a piece of her mind, but then she saw it was James.

“How are you settling in here, sweetheart,” leered the CEO.

Brooke stammered. “Ummm, okay Mr. Wilson. Thanks again for this opportunity. I have learned so much!”

He smiled indulgently at her praise. “That’s alright. I hope my bitch of a daughter hasn’t been riding you to hard?”

Brooke winced at the comment. “No, she is really a good, organized person. In fact she…”

“Don’t be fooled my dear, she has nowhere near your brilliance and drive. She could learn a lot from you, especially the way you dress. That must have turned some heads at Harvard. You will go far sweetie…” he leered and added, “especially dressed like that.”

He squeezed her on the behind and walked off.

Brooke froze and caught her breath.

She entered Nikki’s office and tried to place the coffee mug on Nikki’s desk, her hand trembling. She spilt some on Nikki’s papers.

“Oh shit,” she panicked and tried desperately to clean it up before Nikki came in, too late

“I’m so sorry, Ms. Wilson, I can get you some…”

Nikki casually walked over and placed the soaked paper on the windowsill to dry. Brooke tried to leave as fast as possible.

“I don’t care if he is my father, the CEO, whatever, that sort of behavior is completely unacceptable. You have my apologies and a promise that it won’t happen again,” Nikki said.

Brooke faced Nikki and blushed, then nodded.

Brooke, exhausted at the end of another day, went to leave the office when she heard shouting coming from James’ office and she crept over nearer to Sarah’s empty desk.

“Don’t you EVER carry on like that again with a member of the female staff,” Nikki yelled.

“I don’t need you to tell me how to handle my staff.”

“I will when the CEO of this company is acting inappropriately and jeopardizing company reputation and integrity.”

James laughed. “Nicole, what would you know about those? Grow up some, huh? I only complimented Brooke. She’s a hard worker. You could do the same once in awhile.”

“James, I don’t have to grab her ass to compliment her.”

Brooke couldn’t help but smile, overhearing.

“I’m warning you, old man, don’t do that again.”

“Get out,” he yelled, and flung open the door.

Brooke jumped under Sarah’s desk, desperate to hide.

Chapter 3

The weekly board meeting was turning into an embarrassment. The company had just lost its biggest client and predictably, James was white with rage. He, not surprisingly, vented most of it on his daughter.

“It is your job to keep our clients! That is what you do! You’ve been trained to do it all your life. How could you possibly mess up this bad?” James asked, pounding his fist on the desk.

Nikki, unmoved, shifted forward and cleared her throat. “We simply didn’t have what they wanted anymore. They don’t want us to advertise for them, and they won’t return our calls. It is simple as that. I have tried every trick in the book, but it just doesn’t work.”

“Well try something else then! People,” he said, now addressing the room in a mock caring tone, “this is the kind of thing that loses jobs at Wilson.” He turned back to Nikki and pointed at her. “Fix it!” James picked up his suitcase and stormed out of the room.

Brooke brought in Nikki’s customary morning coffee and sandwich, when she noticed that she was slumped in her chair, looking out the window. She was drinking scotch and resting her head in her hand

“Ummm, Ms. Wilson?” Brooke asked, in trepidation.

Nikki wiped her face before turning around. She looked up to Brooke and her eyes were still slightly moist.

“Why do I even bother with this place? I could have been so much more…if only he had let me pursue my real dream…ballet dancing.

Brooke’s mouth dropped open and Nikki laughed at her expression. It was the first time Brooke could ever recall seeing the bright side of Nikki.

“It was a joke,” confirmed Nikki, still with a smile.

“Oh ok,” Brooke said nodding. It was all she could say.

The smile faded away. “Wow, what a day. I could have done without that,” Nikki said.

Brooke decided to be brave. “Ms. Wilson…Why does he treat you that way? After all, you are his daughter.”

Nikki’s eyes narrowed at the intrusion. “I don’t like to discuss family affairs. I am just another worker to get shit on.”

“I know how that feels,” Brooke murmured, but Nikki caught it.

Brooke closed her eyes. Wrong thing to say, wrong time. Now she was in for it.

Instead, Nikki smiled. “Yes, I know…” leaning forward. “Things get a little stressed. He demands results that I just can’t give him. He hates failure; its too bad he never took a look in the mirror,” Nikki said, taking time to enjoy the stab at her father.

“Is there anything I can do, Ms. Wilson?” Brooke asked, hopefully.

Nikki huffed. “Yes, get my client back so that I can get rid of this headache.”

Nikki turned off her lamp and headed out of her office, another work day over with. She noticed Brooke was still in her office and tapped on her door.

“Go home, Brooke,” Nikki said gently.

Brooke, engrossed, jumped at the voice.

Nikki chuckled. “Hey sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”

Brooke turned and smiled. “You won’t believe this!” Brooke exclaimed, jumping up with excitement.

Nikki leaned against the doorway. “Okay, I probably won’t but go ahead anyway.”

Brooke sat on the edge of her desk. “I managed to get Birmingham Architectures & Construction to meet with us. You know! The client your Father was angry about.”

Nikki’s eyes shot wide open. “Yes! Yes, I do know. Go on.”

“I scheduled a lunch with them tomorrow at 1 p.m. I already jotted down some ideas that may just tempt them back to our company.” Brooke handed over the notes to her boss.

Nikki looked them over. “Don’t play with me Brooke. This is too important.”

Brooke smiled. “I’m not…I got you in, tomorrow you just have to sink it.”

Nikki laughed sarcastically. “Yeah right, that’s going to be easy.”

Brooke continued. “Just take my ideas home and look over them. But…I do ask one tiny favor.”


“That I be allowed to sit in on the lunch.”

“I will think about it, Brooke,” Nikki said and left for the evening.

Brooke looked down disappointed. That response was as good as a no.

The next day, Nikki slipped on her jacket. “Brooke, you ready to meet with Birmingham?” Brooke was shocked, but smiled and grabbed a few things.

As soon as they went to the restaurant, Brooke went to the bathroom. Nikki sat nervously tapping the table. Nikki looked over at the bath room and her mouth fell open in shock.

Brooke returned to the table with several shirt buttons undone and cleavage spilling out. She had let down her hair, and Nikki distinctly smelt perfume. Nikki was so engrossed in the sight that she barely heard the voices until Brooke elbowed her.

Both of them were middle aged men, in expensive business suits. They sat down and chatted and looked over the menu. Brooke leaned in and suggested an item to one of the men, who predictably was more interested in what was down Brooke’s front.

The other man praised Brooke for her offer, and said that he was looking forward to being dazzled by Ms. Wilson’s ideas. Nikki looked nervously at Brooke, and Brooke shifted to one side of her seat, crossing her legs, showing everything up to her thighs. Both boys were transfixed on Brooke, while Nikki tried to begin the presentation. She was pulling out draft programs when Brooke jumped to her feet.

“Let me, Ms. Wilson,” Brooke begged.

Brooke bent over to remove the draft programs, igniting the boy’s interests. Nikki was feeling a little uncomfortable, but was slow to notice that she herself was staring too. Brooke looked up, expecting Nikki to start. Nikki blushed and coughed, and began flicking pages, not getting anywhere.

Brooke sat down slowly and thought…Hello, someone else is interested in the little show I am putting on. A surprise, but a nice one.

After an hour, Nikki realized that the boys were more interested in Brooke than her ideas, and just about gave up when one of the boys spoke.

“We would be willing to consider a contract, if Ms. Davies…”

“Call me Brooke,” she cooed with a suggestive smile.

“Umm, yes, if Brooke would personally handle…the project.”

Nikki nodded in agreement, trying not to crack up. “We will draw up the contracts and have Brooke bring them over.”

Brooke interjected. “Oh, I took the initiative to have the contracts already drawn up and ready to sign, just in case. Damn, I can’t find my pen.”

Both men had their pens out of their pockets quickly. Nikki scoffed silently. The guys thanked them both, but predictably most attention went to Brooke. Brooke went to leave shortly after when Nikki asked her to stay on for an extra drink.

“That was the most unprofessional, un-business like display I have ever seen in my life…”

Brooke’s face turned pale with horror after all her work.

Nikki shook her head and laughed. “I can’t believe they fell for it. I could have said anything and they wouldn’t have noticed. You had their full attention.”

Brooke flicked her hair back and looked at Nikki, biting her lip. “And not just theirs either…” she added.

Nikki blushed but quickly regained composure. “Well…Well done Brooke. You better get to it, it’s your baby now.”

Back at the office James personally praised Brooke in front of the company for getting back their biggest client. “This young lady is a shining example to us all. Take notice…she will probably have my job in ten years.” James laughed.

The company gave her a round of applause, and she smiled ecstatically.

Most of the people left the boardroom, but Brooke walked over to Nikki, who was waiting for her, leaning against the doorway.

Nikki looked up at her. “Don’t let it go to your head Brooke. You’re good, very good. But, he will cut you down if you make even the tiniest mistake.”

Brooke nodded, her happiness vanishing.

Chapter 4

After resigning their biggest client Nikki was leaving for the day and dropped past the project room, to get an update on Brooke’s progress.

“How is it going,” Nikki asked.

Brooke looked up and smiled. “Huh, oh, great. They rang three times already today. They want something tomorrow.

“You have a problem with that?” Nikki asked.

Brooke looked down at her effort. “No…shouldn’t be a problem. Good night, Ms. Wilson.”

“Goodnight, Brooke,” she responded, then left.

Nikki was down in the parking lot, unlocking her BMW sports car when she  had a nagging feeling.

Back in the office, Brooke had her head in her hands, moaning.

“Brooke, are you okay?” came a voice.

Brooke sprang up, surprised. “Yes, Ms. Wilson, I am fine. Did you forget something?”

Nikki stepped towards the design and Brooke covered it up. Brooke let out a nervous laugh. “Hey, no peeking. Wait ‘till tomorrow.”

Nikki ignored her and removed the cover, finding as she expected nothing.

Brooke wanted to die. She had tried so hard to impress her boss, now it was all undone. Nikki looked at Brooke.

“A little over our head now, are we?” she asked coyly, with a sly smile.

Brooke nodded. “I thought I could do this.”

Nikki took off her jacket and rolled up her sleeves. “This is going to take a lot of coffee.”

Brooke went to get it. Nikki stopped her.

“No, I will get it. You phone Soho’s Chinese and order some takeout. Tell them to charge it to my account.”

Brooke looked quizzical, and Nikki chuckled. “I’m a regular,” she added.

Nikki returned with a hot pot of coffee and a white board. “Ok, well, lets get some ideas going.”

Brooke went blank and shook her head. “Brooke, you used your initiative to get this job, now you have to use your imagination.” Nikki moved towards the board. “Ok, I will start off. Then we bounce ideas off each other, write it up no matter how silly it sounds.”

After much banter, eating, and laughing, Brooke confidently took the pen from Nikki and joined up some of the points to create a concept that they could market to their clients. Nikki looked at it.

“Yes, yes, that’s it,” Nikki commended. She looked back at Brooke. “You are brilliant my girl.”

Brooke felt a little jump in her stomach as she pleased her boss. She looked at Nikki admiringly and a little more intensely. Her shirt was pulled out of her pants, her sleeves rolled up, and her cheeks rosy.

Brooke was brought back to reality with a snap from Nikki’s fingers. “Hey, Brooke, are you listening…I think this will do.”

“Oh great, I will just get it processed and printed, then…” She went to leave when Nikki grabbed her.

“No, you have done enough for tonight.”

“Ms. Wilson…”

“Brooke, please call me Nikki. I feel so old when you call me that.” Her guard was dropping. “We have staff that can take care of this tomorrow,” she lightly ordered.

Brooke’s eyes dropped.

“Brooke, you have done a fantastic job. I’m proud of you, I just don’t want to burn you out, that’s all,” Nikki said with a comforting smile.

Brooke looked up and smiled at the compliment, she was so excited, and then followed it up with something stupid. Nikki reached across Brooke for her jacket when Brooke unexpectedly kissed Nikki, a light press of the lips. Nikki froze.

What had happened didn’t register with Nikki for a second. Once it did, she pulled herself back, bumping into the doorframe.

Brooke blushed. “I…I…it was, I’m sorry…I’m just tired,” she said, trying to justify her action.

Nikki turned around and exited the office as quickly as possible. She was lightheaded, and she knew she had to get home.

Brooke returned home and fell into bed with a moan. “You stupid cow…” she said, then giggled uncontrollably. “Oh my God, it was sooo good.” She found herself extremely aroused as she played the kiss over and over again in her head. Her hand slipped down in between her thighs and she personally relieved the tension.

The following day, Brooke was nervous as she stepped into the office. She laid her stuff in her office, and slowly headed towards Nikki’s office. On the way, Sarah stopped her, grabbing her by the arm.

“Hey, guess what?” she asked.

Brooke blushed, nervous and unsure. “What?”

“Nikki called in sick,” Sarah said in a surprised tone.

“Yeah so…we all get sick,” Brooke said, defending her friend.

“No…Nikki has never had a sick day in 9 years with the company. You should hear what they all are saying…”

Brooke cut her off. “If she is sick, she is sick. I’ll take care of everything today,” she said, and then headed towards Nikki’s office.

It was the end of the day, and Brooke found herself standing outside the plush penthouse-like apartment. She gathered all her courage and pressed the buzzer.


“It’s Brooke,” she replied, trying to sound as if nothing was wrong.

There was a silence, in which Brooke’s heart raced, and then a very welcome click let her inside the apartment. Brooke walked in, her eyes astounded. The living room was practically the size of her whole apartment.

“Brooke,” croaked a voice.

Brooke turned and faced Nikki, who was on the other side of the room. She had never seen Nikki in anything other than corporate wear. Now though, in her casual jeans and t-shirt, she looked even more gorgeous to Brooke’s eyes.

“Ummm, Ms. Wilson…” Brooke stammered. “I thought you might want to hear how the project was received with Birmingham Architectures & Construction.”

Nikki gave no response, just shrugged.

Brooke continued, undaunted. “Umm, they liked it. They’re going to go with it for the next few years.”

“I already know,” Nikki replied, sitting on her couch.

Brooke was starting to feel uncomfortable. Things were not going the way she had practiced all day. “Oh.”

Nikki stared coldly at Brooke. “My father made sure I knew it,” she gritted out.

Brooke didn’t know whether or not to sit.

“Is there anything else?” Nikki bit.

Brooke got the hint and turned to leave.

“Ummm, yeah. Just one other,” she replied, turning back around. “I want to apologize for my behavior last night. It was totally inappropriate and unprofessional.” She blushed. “I can’t believe I did that.”

Brooke’s uncomfortableness registered with Nikki, who chuckled. “Don’t worry about it Brooke. And please…call me Nikki.”

Brooke relaxed a little. Nikki continued, “These things happen…forget about it…I have.”

Brooke left not long after, and Nikki poured herself a drink, instantly draining it. She looked back at the front door, shaking her head. “Nikki, get it out of your head girl, it’s not worth it.” She cursed at herself.

Chapter 5

The company arranged a celebration for its entire staff on achieving their targets for the financial year. The party was arranged to be held in James Wilson’s stately mansion.

Nikki, restless and nervous, moved around the room. Her eyes quickly picked up Brooke, and her breath caught in her throat. Brooke was wearing a long red dress, low cut in front, and split up the side. Her hair was let down and flowing as she gracefully moved around the room, talking to staff. Nikki got herself a drink, aware that one of her father’s speeches was not far off. Her eyes searched the room until she caught Brooke again. This time she noticed Brooke was caught in the corner with the company sleaze. She noticed Brooke trying to leave, and him catching her arm, holding her there. Nikki went immediately to cut in.

“Brooke, glad I have caught you. I have some ideas I want to talk over with you now.”

Brooke smiled and nodded with relief.

“Lay off Nicole, give the girl a break,” he poked fun at her.

Nikki squared off with him. “Hey, Cole. Shouldn’t you be somewhere else?” she sneered.

“Where?” he scoffed.

Nikki leaned in, intimidating him. “Your wife,” she said, and pointed. Cole rushed off, but not before deliberately colliding into Nikki.

“Are you okay, Nikki?” Brooke asked.

“I’ve always hated that guy. Pig.”

Brooke giggled. “Well, you showed him.”

Nikki relaxed from confrontation mode and turned to Brooke.

Brooke clicked her tongue. “You really look good in that,” she said, flirting subtly.

Nikki rolled her eyes. “Brooke,” she replied, warning equally subtly.

Brooke smiled wickedly. “I was only saying. Come on, we are supposed to be celebrating,” she said, and pulled her on.

James got up and congratulated everyone on an excellent year, especially gushing over Brooke, making it well known that without her they wouldn’t be celebrating.

“I would also like to say,” he continued, holding up his scotch, “Brooke you have come a long way in such a short time. I had expected you to learn a lot from Nikki, but I think it was the other way around.”

Nikki’s feet felt like stone, her stomach started feeling sick. “Here we go,” she muttered under her breath.

James continued. “I actually think it should be Nicole who is assisting you,” James laughed and then wrapped it up.

They all clapped. Brooke, worried about Nikki’s feelings, looked around for her. She went outside to look, and found Nikki was getting into her car.

“Hey wait…don’t go,” Brooke called.

“Why not?” she spat. “This is your night, Harvard girl. Take it in while you can,” she said, shaking with her confined rage.

Brooke dropped her head. “I am sorry…he had no right to say that.”

Nikki’s eyes started to reflect the hundreds of parking lot lights as she fought back tears.

“You work damn harder than any of us. I have learnt so much from you. Your father has no idea what goes on in his own company, Nikki, you know that. You know what…I am going to go tell him that right now.” Brooke’s courage picked up and she marched off.

The car door slammed, and Brooke felt an arm holding her back.

“Are you crazy? You don’t want to be taking on the old man…you may be his favorite at the moment, but he will crush you and it is not a nice feeling Brooke, trust me.”

“He’s an asshole…” Brooke immediately realized what she had said and blurted out, “Ooops.”

Nikki laughed, “Yeah, I bet that’s what you thought of me when we first started working together.”

Brooke smirked. “Actually, no…I had a bit of a different thought,” she replied, and winked. Nikki shook her head.

They continued to mingle, and Nikki decided to drink away her sorrow.

After a few hours, Brooke found Nikki outside, staggering around in the dark. Brooke touched her arm.

“You okay?” she asked, in a truly caring manner.

“I finished in top 10 at Harvard. Not in the top 5 like he did, oh no, the top 10. HE was soooo disappointed. I hate this job!” she spouted and clumsily knocked her glass over, smashing it on the ground.

Brooke pulled hard on her arm. “But, you are good at your job. Come on, lets forget about it,” urged Brooke.

Nikki faced her. “How old are you Brooke, 23? 24?”

“Ummm, I’m 22.”

Nikki groaned. “Oh god. You will have my job before your next birthday. Shit, you will be CEO in under ten years,” Nikki’s envious side showing through. “Everything is so screwed up, I need to get outta here.” She pulled away from Brooke, and staggered, nearly falling to the ground.

“I don’t think you are driving, Nikki. I will call you a cab.”

They walked back towards the house, and Brooke rested Nikki up against the wall. “Stay here,” she said gently.

Nikki reached for Brooke and stroked her hair and face. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Beautiful and intelligent.”

Brooke blushed. “So are you, Nikki,” and lightly poked her.

Nikki moved off the wall. “Nah…I am 28, no partner, workaholic, no life. No…anything…” she finished, dropping her head.

Brooke lifts her chin. “Nikki please don’t do this to yourself, you know…” but never finished her sentence because Nikki grabbed her lips with hers, pressing against her. She backed Brooke against the wall and pressed her tongue into Brooke’s mouth.

Nikki didn’t care, she needed something, and groped clumsily at Brooke, who moaned as Nikki’s hands roamed her body. Nikki kissed, licked, and nipped at her neck.

“You smell soooo good,” she swooned. Brooke rubbed at Nikki’s chest hard.

Nikki roughly grabbed at Brooke’s dress, releasing one of her breasts. Nikki kissed her way down, and took it in, her tongue dancing over the nipple.

“Oh god, Nikki!” she moaned into the cold night air. Her hands stroked Nikki’s hair.

Nikki slid her hand down Brooke’s shapely thigh and pulled her leg around her waist, and then reached down into her. She easily took Brooke who was wearing no panties. She slipped in, and deep. Brooke cried out at the forcefulness and bit Nikki’s shoulder.

Nikki’s head was hazy, her chest heaving from the exertion.

Brooke was struggling, “I can’t Nikki, I can’t get…”

Nikki pulled out and reinserted with two fingers, jamming her up. Brooke winced but she was instantly relieved, biting down on Nikki’s shoulder as she finished. Nikki, hadn’t pulled out immediately, then as if the haze lifted, she realized what she had just done, and looked down on Brooke in horror.

“Oh God, what have I done…” and started to back away then ran off.

“I…wait…”called Brooke.

Brooke quickly pulled herself together and went after Nikki, but Nikki had already driven off.

Chapter 6

The beginning of a new work week had come, and Nikki was absolutely determined to avoid Brooke. She managed well for most of the day, even getting her own lunch. At the end of the day however, Brooke confronted Nikki with some documents. Nikki, forced to look up, smiled and continued on as if nothing had happened. Nikki quickly told Brooke to take off early, that she would handle the work.

Nikki took off her jacket and threw it across the seat of the car. She was just getting in.

“Nikki, come on, we need to talk,” came a voice from behind her.

Nikki didn’t turn around or even move. “Brooke…I….I can’t…”

Brooke was persistent. “We have to deal with this…I have to know…”

Nikki turned around, hunched. Her face was pale from the strain and her face stained with tears from her recent actions. This shocked Brooke, who was not used to seeing her boss as anything other than strong.

Nikki choked back tears. “Brooke…I am so sorry about that night,” she gushed out, trembling. “I was such a pig. I have never done anything as degrading as what I did to you,” now, her tears flowed unchecked.

“Nikki…it’s okay. If I hadn’t wanted it to happen, I would have resisted. But, I didn’t,” she said with a weak smile.

Nikki leaned against the car, not wanting to hear Brooke’s excuses for her guilt.

Brooke continued. “Nikki, I admire your confidence, your strength, the way you take everything in stride. You can be so charming. I find that all attractive. God, Nikki, you are the sexiest woman and I can’t help having feelings for you.”

“Brooke, no, stop it,” yelled Nikki.

“No…I know you are my boss, and that is why I am being honest with you. I think you may feel something for me,” she said, hopefully.

“Brooke…no. You work for me. We can’t mix business and pleasure,” she paused to look at Brooke. “It just doesn’t work.”

“We will try,” Brooke said.

“No,” said Nikki firmly.

“Why not?” Brooke whined.

Nikki took a breath and answered. “Because I don’t want to. I can’t run a company, deal with my father, and raise you all at the same time.”

Brooke’s eyes flared. “Just what is that supposed to mean?” she asked.

The knot in Nikki’s stomach was tightening. “You are 22. You should be out seeing people your own age. Having a crush on your boss will not get you up the corporate ladder any quicker. Go find someone else, I don’t have the time,” Nikki caught a breath, and watched Brooke’s face change to pale.

“Nikki,” whined Brooke, “you can’t…”

Nikki slammed the door to her car and squared off. “Brooke, just leave me alone. I told you, I don’t have time for this…find someone else to screw if that is how you want to get up the ladder.”

Brooke slapped Nikki and ran off.

The next morning came and Nikki took forever to dress. She was afraid to look in the mirror; she liked what she saw less and less every time she looked there. There was a mark left on her cheek from the night before which reminded her of her shameful actions. She eventually got to her office and found an envelope addressed to her.

She sunk into her chair, and read Brooke’s resignation over and over again. It simply would not sink in. She finally folded it back up and slipped it into her desk drawer.

It was two day’s after Brooke was gone that James finally found out about it and confronted his daughter.

“So, when were you going to tell me, Nicole?” he demanded.

Nikki’s head was already aching like it had the last few days and she was in no mood for one of her father’s tirades.

“Well?” he demanded louder.

“Dad, it was none of your business. She was my PA, so just butt out,” she shot back.

Veins were starting to show in his neck. “You have no idea how valuable to the company she is, do you?”

“Yeah I do James. And, if I didn’t, you sure do a damn good job of rubbing it in my face,” she bit back.

“Of for God’s sake, Nicole, grow up. You are not a child anymore. Business is business. I have no time for petty jealousy.”

Nikki stood up, and grabbed herself a drink, turning her back on her father, waiting for the usual speech.

“I am so disappointed,” he said.

Nikki snapped, “Yeah? Well tell me something I don’t know, in fact, why don’t you tell someone who cares. I don’t give a shit anymore,” she said, and then drained her drink.

James moved to stand in her line of sight, and raised his forefinger in a threatening gesture. “Don’t make me do something you’ll regret, Nicole,” he threatened.

Nikki, emboldened, matched his tone. “Go ahead…do it…I dare you James,” she replied growling.

James backed down from his bluff, his look softening. He stood down and straightened himself out. Then he spoke in a much softer tone,

“Nicole she is the next generation of this company, you and I both know it. I don’t care what you have to do, just get her back,” he said.

James left, slamming the door in frustration. Nikki, in a fit of rage, picked up her coffee mug and threw it against the door, shattering it. She then slumped into her chair, lowering her face into her hands, crying.

Chapter 7

Brooke got up to answer the knock on the door, and then let in her visitor.

“Hi Brooke, how are you?” came Nikki’s feeble attempt at conversation.

“Ms. Wilson,” came Brooke’s blunt reply

“Brooke, we need…” Nikki stepped forward, but Brooke pulled back with her arms crossed.

She could see the hurt in Brooke’s eyes and just wanted to wrap her arms around her and say everything was okay.

Nikki pulled out the envelope containing Brooke’s resignation letter and placed it on the nearby table. She said, in a hoarse tone, “I won’t accept your resignation.”

Brooke looked away. “I can’t work with you…” she croaked.

Nikki nodded. “I know. We have another office on the other side of the city. I can get a place for…” she was saying, but was cut off by Brooke’s gruffness.

“You just don’t get it do you, Nikki? You are the smartest businesswoman on this side of town, but you can’t figure out what is going on right in front of your face.

Nikki bit her lip. “Brooke, I am too much like my father…it’s about the company. I just can’t let my personal feelings get in the way,” Nikki’s own admittance serving to break her down.

Brooke watched her struggle and then went over to her. “It’s a little too late for that.”

Nikki’s eyes glimmered with tears and Brooke grabbed her hands. “You are nothing like your father Nikki. But, if you keep pushing people away, you will become just like him. Why is it so difficult?”

Nikki wiped her eyes and grabbed a breath. “You don’t understand what he can do. I can’t go through that again. I just can’t,” she choked out, tears falling freely.

Brooke’s heart sank seeing Nikki so broken. She leaned in.

“I am not afraid of your father. He can’t control what we feel for each other and he can’t stop anything from happening between us. That is…if you want something to happen.” Brooke wiped Nikki’s tears, herself falling apart at Nikki’s self-torment.

Nikki closed her eyes and dropped her head in defeat. “God, if he ever found out,” she whimpered, remembering all to well.

Brooke put Nikki’s face in her hands and pulled her in for a tender kiss of reassurance.

“He won’t,” and kissed her again, this time putting her arms around Nikki’s neck to hold her in tight.

Nikki moaned as she started to give in to Brooke, her hands exploring.

Brooke,” she said in a panic. “I don’t…I don’t think I can do this,” doubting herself.

Brooke leaned in and whispered, “I know you can, and I know you want to just let go. Trust me.”

Nikki fell into Brooke’s lips again, her tongue slipping in and exploring, her hands finding skin under Brooke’s shirt. Brooke let out a groan at Nikki’s wandering hands, her body igniting.

“I want you,” whimpered Nikki.

Brooke held tighter. “I know baby,” she said, and then grabbed her hand, leading her to the bedroom.

Their lips never left each other’s bodies, their passion increasing. Nikki sat on the side of the bed, and Brooke leaned over and kissed her face, then lifted Nikki’s shirt over her head. Nikki looked up innocently and Brooke removed her own shirt and bra. Nikki pulled her in and rested against her stomach. Brooke stroked Nikki’s hair and kissed the top of head.

She removed Nikki’s bra and moved her up the bed. They began once again to explore each other’s bodies. Brooke was a little rougher, sucking hard and biting the side of Nikki’s neck, causing her to pull back.

“Hey, no marks,” Nikki whined.

Brooke rolled her eyes, and then pulled back and let her tongue work over Nikki’s breasts and nipples. Nikki’s eyes closed, her body trembling in anticipation, part of her wanted to fight but Brooke was just too intoxicating, so dominant, just like her…But the thought disappeared when Brooke took in her nipple and sucked hard. Nikki started to thrash around, her hand running through Brooke’s hair.

“That feels so good…” groans Nikki, her head floating, but that was quickly erased when Brooke bit down on her breast causing her to yelp.

“Ouch…that hurt Brooke…be gentle,” groaned Nikki helplessly.

Brooke’s tongue again went to work, while her hand drifted down and rubbed the inside of Nikki’s thighs, through her slacks feeling heat.

Nikki could feel relief not to far away. She opened her legs, Brooke unbuttoned her pants and pulled down the zipper.

Nikki’s lungs grabbed for air. It was all happening too quickly. Brooke wasted no time and reached in, grabbing a handful of Nikki’s hair. Nikki flinched but persisted as she was nearing her goal. Brooke then force down between the folds and rubbed hard. The forcefulness made Nikki feel uncomfortable and rushed, her body struggling with the type of attention she was getting. Brooke would find the spot, but only to lose it, frustrating an over-aroused Nikki.

“Brooke please…stop teasing,” she growled.

Brooke’s hand pushed down further and only circled her opening once. Nikki felt a moment of horror as she realized Brooke was going to penetrate her with two fingers without relaxing her first. The mood was broken when Nikki pulled Brooke’s hand out.

“Stop…please stop it.”

Brooke, surprised, sat up. “What’s wrong? You were coming along nicely.”

Nikki rubbed her head. “I’m sorry, it was all happening a bit too quickly.”

Brooke chuckled and rubbed at Nikki’s leg. “That’s okay honey…the quicker you come…the quicker we go again.”

Nikki looked up in disbelief at how serious Brooke was about getting the deed over with. She sat up herself.

“Look, please don’t take this the wrong way…but how many women have you made love to?”

Brooke laughed at Nikki’s serious expression and went to reply but Nikki cut her off.

“Drunken frat parties and fondling don’t count,” Nikki finished off.

Brooke’s smile dropped and anger flared. “Well, I guess not all of us have women falling at their feet do we?” she replied, getting up, putting on her shirt, and stomping off.

“Good one, that was smooth Nicole,” Nikki cursed to herself. She went out after Brooke, half naked.

“Brooke, wait, just hang on a minute…”

Brooke flew back at Nikki. “Screw you miss high-and-mighty,” anger was replaced by hurt. Nikki went to hold her but Brooke struggled.

“Brooke…will you listen to me? I don’t want to be fondled. I want to be caressed…you know, touched tenderly,

Brooke blushed and looked away but Nikki turned her face back to hers, and continued in a soothing tone.

“What I mean is, I don’t want to be rushed,” she said, and held Brooke to her. “I can satisfy your needs in thirty seconds Brooke, but where is the fun in that?”

Brooke nodded and Nikki continued. “Lets take our time, I want to get to know your body, explore and find out what you like and I want you to do the same.” Nikki finished her sermon and kissed Brooke deeply. She rubbed Brooke’s arms and then held her hand and ran her tongue around the outline of Brooke’s lips, making her young lover giggle.

“Well, now I found something you already like,” she said, raising her eyebrows.

Nikki took Brooke to the bedroom, and faced her, “Oh, and for your information I have only ever had one other partner.”

She removed Brooke’s shirt and kissed her again. She let her hand run down to Brooke’s pants and rest just inside. “I want this to be special.”

She slowly eases down Brooke’s pants and panties, displaying a fine trim bush. Nikki removed the last of her own clothing and knelt down into the bed, encouraging Brooke to follow. They kissed slowly and tenderly, Brooke holding back at first.

Nikki kissed Brooke’s shoulder blade. “It’s okay…don’t be afraid to touch me…just slowly,” she encouraged.

Brooke’s hand trace over Nikki’s body, and rests over her breasts, squeezing gently. She reaches further, rubbing against her hair. Nikki closed her eyes, and laid down, pulling Brooke with her.

They moved together at first but Brooke took over once again. She ran her tongue around Nikki’s nipple, making it stand tall, while softly massaging the other. Nikki’s gasps and moaning told Brooke that she was doing her job. She whispered into Nikki’s ear.

“I want to feel you; I want to be inside you.”

Nikki nodded and Brooke moved her hand until it rested on top of her dark, soft patch. She dipped a finger in then out. Nikki whimpered so Brooke continued and worked her way in.

Nikki’s body responded immediately to her touch by arching up, Brooke confidently worked around, feeling every inch of Nikki’s arousal, rubbing lightly over her swollen clitoris.

“Oh god!” she wailed.

Brooke didn’t let up and circled around her, Nikki crying out again.

“Yes, now…” she pleaded.

Brooke slowly entered a little way, and then deeper and increased the pace until Nikki couldn’t handle it anymore. She pressed her thumb against her clit, causing the flood gates to finally burst. She fell back, the room echoing with the sound of heavy panting.

Nikki pulled Brooke up and kissed her deeply, then stroked her face. “That’s exactly how I want to be touched. Thank you,” she said, smiling.

Brooke kissed the tip of her nose. “Well, you are the boss,” she replied and rested on her lover’s shoulder.

It wasn’t too much longer before Nikki had Brooke squirming around the bed, her cries much more vocal. Still, Brooke refused to release herself.

“Come on, Brooke, let it go,” encouraged Nikki.

“I don’t want to…not yet,” she replied, refusing to give in to her body’s demands.

“Don’t be greedy,” Nikki said, and applied more pressure to Brooke’s spot, sending her over the edge whether she wanted to go or not.

Nikki rested her head on Brooke’s stomach and softly stroked her. “This is sure going to be awkward tomorrow,” she said. She sighed, then looked at Brooke for confirmation.

Brooke frowned. “Why?” she asked.

“Well, working so close together, not being able to touch each other…” Nikki smirked.

Brooke stroked Nikki’s head. “Well, just think of all the sexual tension that we will build up, and how fun it will be when we get home.”

Nikki faced over Brooke and looked in her eyes, “You really have this all planned out…”

“Well, I am your PA,” she said with a bright, teasing smile.

They kissed and drifted off to sleep.

Chapter 8

Nikki arrived to work the next day a little later than usual. She sat in her chair and groaned at the messages piled up.

There was a knock on the door, which was followed by a cheery voice. “Morning, Nikki, how are you?” asked an over-happy Brooke.

Nikki ignored her for a few seconds in order to gain some composure, and then she looked up with a barely noticeable smirk. “Fine, Brooke, thank you. And how are you?”

Brooke’s face was lit up with a big smile. “Good as well, but I can’t seem to find your coffee mug…”

Nikki’s eyes bugged out for a second. “Oh, yeah. I broke it. Look, how about you forget my coffee. Could you go down to the production room and find out why our clients haven’t received our products? We are overdue on some of them. Look at all these messages! Please find out, because if I go down there…well, you know,” she said, getting worked up.

“Ok,” Brooke responded, still smiling.

Nikki left her office to get her coffee. She walked down the corridor a little way, looking confused. Brooke spotted her and chuckled to herself.

“Umm, Nikki? The coffee room is in the other direction.”

Nikki laughed. “Oh yeah.”

“Don’t forget your 11:00 A.M. appointment with…”

Nikki nodded and cut her off with a wave.

Little over an hour later, Brooke returned to Nikki’s office and found two people waiting.

“Oh, Ms. Wilson is not in?”

The older gentleman nodded and growled, “We are not happy to be kept waiting. Our appointment was for 11am. It is now a quarter after that.”

“Yeah, okay, I’ll just go and get her,” she stumbled.

Brooke looked in a couple of offices where she thought Nikki might be, before she heard laughter coming from the coffee room. She pushed through the small crowd and looked in disbelief. In the middle was Nikki telling stories about her father, having everyone in stitches.

Brooke interrupted. “Ms. Wilson…your appointment…they are waiting,” she said, tapping her watch.

Nikki looked at her own watch. She drew a deep breath, “Okay, everyone. Back to work.”

They walked together down the corridor and Brooke spoke up, “What were you doing in there? You were in there for over an hour.”

Nikki shrugged. When they arrived at her office, she invited all her potential clients in and they all sat down. Brooke handed out presentation manuals, and the gentleman spoke his mind.

“We came here because of your reputation for professionalism and we don’t appreciate being kept waiting. We may need to rethink your company for marketing our law firm.”

Brooke swallowed nervously. This was going to be the loss of another account, and now, of all people, Nikki had messed it up.

“Yes…well…” Brooke started but Nikki held up her hand.

“I must apologize, Mr. Grant. It has been one of those mornings. I have already had to decline three clients thanks to our workload. I can assure you that we are a very professional company and it is our reputation which allows us to choose which companies we market for. Now, if you would like to take these documents away with you and get back to me…say in two weeks I will endeavor to fit you in.”

The two business people looked at each other puzzled.

“Brooke, could you reschedule a time when we can fit Mr. Grant and Ms. Dennis back in?”

“Ummm, I…” Brooke stammered, confused at Nikki’s behaviour.

“Well, I know the rest of my week is booked solid,” continued Nikki.

Brooke flicked through Nikki’s diary containing empty appointments. “Um…okay, Wednesday, two weeks from now. But I will confirm that with you.”

Ms. Dennis spoke up urgently. “Can we deal with this now, rather than later?”

Nikki looked at Brooke and nods. “Well, certainly if you would accompany Brooke back to her office, she will see to it. I have other matters to attend to.”

“Thank you, Ms. Wilson,” the two stood and shook hands, then followed Brooke.

After lunch, Brooke was in Nikki’s office.

“I don’t know how you pulled that off. I was sure they were going to walk off,” Brooke said, astounded.

Nikki shrugged and signed off on the contract. “Sometimes you have to have them believe that they need you more than you need them. They go with our reputation.”

“Your reputation?” Brooke asked, shaking her head. “No, it’s you who delivers,” she said, proudly.

“Well, I can’t at the moment if my production team doesn’t start towing the line. What the hell is going on down there?” she growled.

Brooke leaned against the edge of Nikki’s desk right next to her.

“Well, the staff is making some mistakes, incorrect orders, orders not signed off, clients changing minds, and oh yeah, the production manager and staff hate each other. It’s a real pressure cooker.”

Nikki rolled her eyes. “So, what do I have to do? Go down and sort it out, Wilson style?” she groaned.

Brooke giggled. “No, I don’t think that would help…in fact, it might get you a mutiny on your hands.”

Nikki stood up and stroked Brooke’s face, then stole a kiss.

Brooke gently pushed Nikki back. “Hey, we agreed to none of this here.”

Nikki groaned and Brooke chuckled at her suffering lover. “Hey look on the bright side. Your father is going away for a week, you won’t have to hear NICOLE GET IN HERE!” she said, in her best impression.

Nikki’s face turned pale as she looked at the doorway behind Brooke.

“Oh, no…is he?” Brooke asked, starting to get short of breath. She turned only to find no one in the doorway. She looked back at Nikki and sneered. “That was just cruel.”

Nikki laughed. “Yeah, but hilarious.”

It was halfway into Mr. Wilson’s leave, and Nikki was chairing the company meetings in his stead.

She tapped her pen on the table and looked at her managers.

“People this will not do…we are losing clients. Our reputation is what gets our clients. Unhappy clients lose us potential clients. You guys in production are the engine room of the company. What is going wrong?”

“Deadlines are too short. We don’t have the time to meet with all the high standards that are expected. Plus, the clients are too fussy and change their mind,” whined one of the managers.

Nikki had a hard look on her face. “Well, welcome to the advertising business. Of course they are fussy and demanding. That is what makes us so good. We deliver regardless. Stop with the excuses and start making it happen.”

Nikki began to sense everyone’s tension. She wasn’t getting anywhere.

“I know we are all under a lot of stress, and believe me, I appreciate the effort you put in. So, this Friday night being the last before my father is back at the helm, we will hold staff functions, drinks, light nibbles, no work, just a casual get-together. It’s a way of saying “Thanks.” Okay, that’s it. Back to work,” she finished.

That night, in Nikki’s apartment they took a bath together. Brooke lay on top of Nikki while Nikki stroked her stomach and kissed her cheek.

Brooke turned to face Nikki. “That was a nice gesture you made today.”

“Uh-huh. Well sometimes you have to stop getting your ass kissed and start kissing some to get results.”

“Wow. How profound,” replied Brooke, teasing.

“Yeah, well, you do what it takes,” Nikki said, putting a washcloth over her face. “I hate HR issues.”

Brooke removed the cloth. “Can I ask you something personal?”

Nikki pushed at Brooke’s buttocks so she moved up for a kiss. “Hmmm, that depends.”

“Okay…what went wrong with you and your ex-girlfriend?”

Nikki said nothing at first, shocked.

Brooke noticed Nikki struggling. “Its okay…you don’t have to…”

Nikki smiled. “No, it’s okay. Her name was Tracey; we met when I was 19. I had just started working at the company making coffees, basic secretary work while I was going through college. She was 25, a photographer, and gorgeous. We started out as friends, and quickly became more than that. I was so in love, and I did everything I could to keep it a secret from my father. She would take photos of us together, sometimes quite risqué,” Nikki blushed and squirmed at the thought of those photographs.

“Really? Have you still got them,” Brooke asked, getting excited.

“No, I burnt them, shh. I eventually moved into her apartment on the bad side of town. I didn’t care though, I loved her so much. I couldn’t see anything but her, my studies were slipping. Dad then interfered, and bought me this apartment, to convince me to move out. It didn’t matter; I still slept at her place. After about four years, it all fell apart when my father found some rather embarrassing photos of us. My father fires Tracey on the spot. I begged him not to, told him that it wouldn’t happen again, but he said to succeed in this business you have to make personal sacrifices, and it was time I made mine. He told me that I had to set an example for the company, and my lifestyle was inappropriate for our image.”

Brooke noticed the strain on Nikki’s face. “Oh, no. That’s terrible. What happened to Tracey?”

Nikki’s voice quivered so she cleared her throat. “She got another job and packed her bags. She begged me to go with her. She told me if I stayed under my father’s control, I would never be happy. I sacrificed her for success and it turned out she was right. I was never happy. Just became bitter and lonely.”

“Did you ever see her again?”

“Yeah, a few years back. We did some advertising for an art gallery. I was invited to attend the opening and she was one of the key photographers. She still looked as gorgeous as ever, but her girlfriend was the gallery manager and one of our clients.”

“I’m so sorry,” Brooke said, resting her head on Nikki’s shoulder. “That will never happen to us.”

Nikki closed her eyes; she didn’t share Brooke’s confidence.


Chapter 9

The company party was a surprise hit; everyone was having a good time. Nikki eventually got around, thanking everyone personally before returning to her office. There was a knock.

“Yeah,” she said, not looking up.

“I thought you said no work?” Brooke asked.

Nikki looked up. “Well I need to get these done and signed before Dad gets back, so go on, I will be fine.”

The door closed and Nikki felt a presence next to her. Nikki looked up. “Brooke, I am serious, if I don’t get these done I am screwed.”

Brooke nodded and sat on the edge of the desk, her skirt riding high. Nikki noticed out of the corner of her eye and smirked.

“That’s not going to work either.”

Nikki reached across her desk for another folder and noticed Brooke’s shirt was undone and opened, her lacy bra in full view.

Nikki frowned; she was trying to fight her body’s own arousal. Nikki then cursed when she signed the wrong line of the contract.

“Blasted…Brooke please…” she looked up and found Brooke’s small, firm breast exposed. She was playing with it.

Nikki gritted her teeth as she felt her self-control slipping. She pushed her chair back and pulled Brooke into her arms and took her breast hungrily, licking around the nipple. Then forced her way into Brooke’s mouth with her tongue.

“I can’t believe I am doing this,” moaned Nikki.

“You want me so bad,” Brooke’s lips trailed down Nikki’s neck.

Brooke wrapped her legs around Nikki, trapping her. Then she began to unbutton her shirt. She began to massage her breasts as they strained through the fabric, while her tongue teased Nikki’s mouth.

Nikki put Brooke back down on her desk, her lips spilling onto Brooke’s neckline, as her own urgency began spilling.

Brooke pulled back Nikki and looked into her eyes of lust, “Take me…here on your desk, right now.”

Nikki, her hands shaking, moved aside items on her desk; contracts started falling on the floor. She started to push Brooke down and reach between her legs when the phone rang, causing both of them to jump and break the moment.

“Fuck,” groaned Brooke in frustration.

Nikki quickly regained her composure and answered the phone. “Hi, Dad,” she said, rolling her eyes.

Brooke took that as “play time over” and got off the desk. She started doing up the buttons on her shirt and putting the things back on Nikki’s desk. Brooke continued to straighten herself as she left the office, but not quite closing the door.

Sarah staggered out of the bathroom door behind Brooke. She went to call when she noticed Brooke pulling down her skirt and fixing her hair as she headed back to the party. Sarah walked slowly behind and stopped at Nikki’s door, which was slightly ajar. Her mouth dropped open. She watched as Nikki was doing up the buttons on her shirt and putting her papers back together.

Sarah stepped back and put her hand over her mouth. “Oh my God,” she laughed.

Nikki cried out loudly, the room then filled with panting and moaning. Brooke surfaced and watched Nikki continue through her throes of release, then kissed her cheek.

“You’ve been holding on to that all day,” Brooke joked.

Nikki, finally able to talk coherently, said, “Well what did you expect with that little stunt on my desk earlier?”

Brooke bit her chin lightly then looked up to the ceiling, “I hope your neighbors aren’t light sleepers.”

Nikki rolled and looked at the clock. 1:15 A.M. She groaned. Brooke rubbed her chest. Nikki rolled over and brushed Brooke’s damp hair from her face.

“You are so beautiful.”

Brooke pulled Nikki onto her lips, and ran her hand down Nikki’s back causing her to shudder.

“And you are so sexy,” she said, and kisses her longer and deeper. Brooke breaks and sees a little look of fear in Nikki’s eyes.

“What?” she asked

Nikki just dropped her head onto Brooke’s shoulder. “Nothing.”

Brooke immediately pulled her back. “You were about to say something, come on,” she urged.

Nikki’s eyes moistened a little.

Brooke herself became fearful about what Nikki was going to say. “Nikki, please, tell me.”

“Brooke, I am so crazy about you…it scares me.” She fell into Brooke’s lips and kissed her slowly, then she returned to Brooke’s shoulder.

Brooke stroked her hair and kissed her head, then whispered in her ear. “Show me,” she murmured.

Nikki needed no real enticement. Her mouth trailed over Brooke’s body, working its way down. Brooke closed her eyes and thought that if that was Nikki’s way of showing her how much she loved her, she could accept that. No more thoughts occurred as Nikki’s tongue invaded her and slowly drained her. Brooke eventually cried out, calling Nikki’s name over and over again as her orgasm freed itself.

Nikki moved up and collapsed next to Brooke, and in complete exhaustion murmured, “I hope my neighbors wear earplugs,” and then fell off to sleep.

Brooke gently stroked her face. “I am crazy about you too,” she said, and then kissed her goodnight.

Mid-morning on Monday and Nikki arrived after having finished her early morning appointment. She had just settled into her desk when the door to her office flew open and then closed just as quickly. Nikki looked up and growled.

“Brooke, do you mind?” Nikki bit, putting her phone back on the hook. The distressed look on Brooke’s face immediately got her to her feet.

“What is it?” she asked, gently moving towards her PA.

“They know…I don’t know how but they know!” stuttered Brooke.

Nikki shook her head. “Brooke…you are not making any sense. Who knows what?”

“Them,” she replied, pointing behind her. “They all know about us…you know…what we did on your desk…”she said, lowering her voice.

Nikki tried to get her head around the information. Brooke continued, “I overheard two girls in the toilet talking about us…about Friday night in your office.”

Nikki leaned back against he desk, thinking. Then she chuckled, “Brooke, nobody saw anything. My door was closed, and we never really made it past first base anyway,” she said with a smirk.

Brooke shook her head but Nikki quieted her. “It’s just gossip; it will pass in a few days. It’s nothing to worry about,” she said, trivializing the matter.

Brooke, feeling a little easier, left Nikki’s office. Nikki went back to her desk and sat down. She put her head in her hands and groaned at the predicament she found herself in. Her self pity was put on hold when the phone rang. She held it away from her ear, or else the booming voice would have deafened her.

“Yeah, okay, on my way,” she said.

Nikki slowly walked down the corridor and felt like every eye in the company was on her, making her feel extremely uncomfortable. She was also extremely numb, thinking that she knew exactly what her father wanted to discuss. While in deep thought, she accidentally collided with Brooke.

“Hey, what’s up?” Brooke asked.

Before Nikki could answer a voice boomed down the corridor. “NICOLE GET IN HERE,” came James’ voice, “and bring Brooke with you.”

Brooke’s eyes widened and she looked at Nikki with fear. Nikki ignored the glare, and cut herself off, emotionally. She was prepared for the worst.

They sat down opposite James. Brooke was gripped with fear at the thought of losing her job, but when she looked at Nikki she saw no emotion whatsoever. Brooke was saddened, because this must have felt like déjà vu for Nikki with her ex-girlfriend.

“Um, Mr. Wilson? Can I start by saying that I don’t think what we have done will have any effect on the company’s image?” Brooke choked out, summoning all the dignity and calm she could.

James looked up at Brooke and shook his head, and then he directed his glare back to Nikki. Nikki started to shift uncomfortably waiting for the tirade.

“What is going on Nicole? I go away for a week and my company is in disarray?”

“Mr. Wilson, with all due respect, it wasn’t all Nikki’s fault.”

“Brooke, it wasn’t your signature authorizing a company party. It’s not your responsibility to ensure our company runs and our clients get what they ordered.”

Nikki slumped back in her chair, a little relieved. Her throat was dry, and she was unable to speak for a moment. Brooke also felt a moment of relief that his outburst was not aimed at their relationship.

“James, we have had some minor setbacks, but I assure you, we are getting back on track,” she answered.

“Oh, and throwing a party is your way of rewarding slack performance I suppose?”

Here we go, thought Brooke as she watched the intense exchange between the two Wilsons. Nikki’s body language showed her how uncomfortable she is.

“You authorized five thousand dollars for a party! What were you trying to prove? What possibly possessed you to do something so careless as to throw away my money? For God’s sake Nicole, you are the executive manager! You are supposed to show leadership and integrity!”

“I did it for morale. Things have been a little stressed of late,” came Nikki’s excuses.

“Stress? Stress is coming up with five thousand dollars to cover your mismanagement!” growled James.

Nikki’s face went dark and Brooke sensed she was ready to blow because he had questioned her judgement, so she decided to speak up.

“It has proved a success, Mr. Wilson! We have delivered to three clients already today and by Wednesday, I am pretty sure we will be caught up.”

Nikki looked over to Brooke and shook her head against the outburst, but she was too late.

“I didn’t ask for your opinion, Brooke. This is not the way to do business. It is about the clients. A company is not successful if its executive manager throws away good money after bad. Also, I strongly suggest you keep your pretty little mouth closed about matters that don’t concern you,” he bellowed.

Brooke blushed and Nikki growled, “ENOUGH!” then reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out her check book. She wrote something, tore it out, and threw it to her father.

“Here’s the money for your damn function!”

Brooke watched in awe as Nikki signed over five grand without a blink.

Nikki jumped to her feet and headed towards the door.

“I’m not done yet! Sit down,” he yelled.

Nikki faced him, her eyes giving away how she felt. “If you have anything else to say on this matter, address it to me in a memo. Brooke, let’s go,” she ordered.

Nikki strode towards her office and she noticed two staff members looking at her. They looked at her and then back at Brooke over her shoulder and smiled. Nikki stopped and snapped at them.

“Have you two got something you want to say?”

They looked in horror and went blank.

“Then get back to work while you still have your jobs! Do I make myself clear?” she yelled.

Nikki continued into her office, slamming the door. Brooke knocked and entered, finding Nikki slumped across her desk in tears.

“Oh, Nikki,” but Nikki waved her back.

“Don’t…I can’t do this anymore…I can’t work here…”

“But you are the heart of this company. EVERYONE knows that,” Brooke replied, moving closer to her girlfriend.

“Well, why the hell can’t he see it?” she asked.

Brooke touched her face lightly. “I don’t know, baby.”

Nikki fell into Brooke’s arms and broke down. The door immediately opened and they parted quickly. James walked in and looked at them both.

“What, you don’t even have to knock now?” Nikki asked, tears streaming down her face.

Brooke noticed that James’ posture had changed and his head bowed. “Nicole,” he said softly, then flashed a glare at Brooke.

“I want a moment with my daughter,” he said to Brooke.

Brooke stood her ground in defiance but Nikki nodded her out. Brooke left but not before glaring back at James.

James looked at his daughter, he hadn’t seen her in this much grief since her mother died.

“Nicole, you are going to run this company some day, very soon. You are going to have to make decisions around here that you won’t like. Trying to be everybody’s friend doesn’t work and it gets you no respect.”

Nikki didn’t look at him, she just stared blankly out the window before replying, “I thought that was why you hired Brooke?”

“No…do you really think I would hand the company over to some new, young inexperienced kid? I know I am tough on you Nicole, but believe me when I say it is for your own benefit.”

“Dad if you don’t start cutting me some slack I don’t think I want to run this company. I don’t even think I want to be a part of it.”

“Nicole…you are this company,” he said, with a painfully honest look in his eyes. “I just sign the checks.”

Nikki looked at her father. She couldn’t remember the last time he had paid her a compliment.

James walked over to her. “I just want to make you prepared.”

Nikki just nodded.

Later that night in Brooke’s bed, Nikki rested her head on Brooke’s shoulder, feeling washed out from the day’s events.

“Nikki, are you sure?”

“Brooke, for the hundredth time I am fine, just tired. Can we drop it?” she sighed.

There was a little silence before Brooke started again. “Honey, you need to be stronger with your father. Stand up to him,” she encouraged. “He walks all over you because he thinks he can.”

Nikki closed her eyes. The last thing she wanted was another lecture, and from of all people her lover. “Brooke, please. You don’t know anything about it.”

“Yes, I do. You need to stop being so soft,” she giggled. “You big marshmallow,” she teased, poking her gently.

Nikki couldn’t take it any longer and left the bed. She started dressing. She could feel tears welling up again.

Brooke sat up, “Hey, where are you going?”

She faced Brooke. “I get this crap every day from my father. I’m not taking it from you too,” she answered and stormed out of the apartment. The cold night struck her in the face, only slightly warmed by the tears rolling down her cheeks.


Chapter 10

The next morning Brooke nervously brought in Nikki’s messages and coffee. She was still upset over Nikki’s dramatic departure. She was unsure what type of reception she was going to receive.

Nikki wouldn’t look at her. She just took the messages and put them to one side.

“I’m so sorry about last night. I was out of line…” Brooke ventured.

Nikki nodded but still refused to look up. Brooke boldly crossed the barriers and put a hand on Nikki’s giving it a squeeze. “I just want you to know I hate seeing you hurt, and I am here if you need me.” With that, Brooke turned and left the office.

Later in the day, Nikki was making herself a cup of coffee. She felt so tired and out of it that the knock on the door made her jump.

“Um, Ms. Wilson?”

Nikki half turned. “Yes, Sarah. What does he want now?” she groaned.

“Um, nothing. It’s about Brooke. I think your father has upset her somehow.”

Nikki tried hard not to show much concern. “Oh really? Well I’m sure Ms. Davies can handle herself,” she replied turning her back on her father’s secretary.

Sarah walked up to and stood next to Nikki, “She left the office in tears. I think she is still in the ladies’ room.” Nikki faced Sarah and nodded her head.

Nikki entered the bathroom. Only one stall was occupied.

“Brooke, come out please. I want to talk to you,” she intoned.

Her request was met with silence.

“Brooke, I am not leaving until you do.”

The stall opened and Brooke came out, her face stained with tears and running makeup.

Nikki’s stomach jumped at the sight and her anger started to build. “What did HE say?”

Brooke wiped her eyes but still said nothing.

“Brooke?” Nikki’s tone got stern but it just caused her girlfriend to break into tears again. Nikki walked over and pulled her into her arms.

Brooke tried to push Nikki away, “Nikki, no,” but was ignored.

“I don’t care. Please, tell me what he said…” Nikki said, turning Brooke’s face over to look into her eyes.

“He told me that the only reason that he hired me was for my looks. He said that clients would prefer to have a pretty girl tending them, rather than look at the facts and figures on a contract. He congratulated me on serving my purpose well.”

“That’s just…bullshit,” Nikki spat, shaking with rage.

“No, it’s not. You know the only reason we got the architecture contract was because I flirted with those men. How cheap does that make me, Nikki? Nobody will ever take me seriously…”

“I do…” Nikki said and pushed Brooke’s hair back behind her ears. “Believe me, my father is the last person you should be listening to.”

“He said one other thing. He said that your infatuation with me is only short term, and that it is the only reason I have been treated so well.”

Nikki was shocked at the last bit. “He knows…” she hissed.

“Is it just that Nikki? Am I just an infatuation?”

“No…” Nikki said in a hushed whisper.

Brooke pushed away and looked at her. “I need to know if you really do feel something for me or if I am just an office fling.”

Nikki saw that Brooke was on the edge of breaking down again. “No…god…Brooke I don’t know how to prove any further how I feel about you. He had no right to say that…” she said. Angered, she turned and stormed out of the washroom to confront her father.

Brooke burst into tears again.

James was in his office on a call when Nikki unceremoniously burst in. She slammed the door to get his attention. James waved for his daughter to stop, but she leaned over the desk and pressed down the receiver. James slammed the phone down.

“How dare you…” he began, but was cut off.

“Shut up,” Nikki yelled and thumped her father’s desk. “If you wanna have a go at me fine, I am used to verbal abuse from my own father, but so help me, if you ever go after Brooke again…”

“Okay, calm down Nicole,” soothed her Father.

“Don’t you tell me to calm down. You are nothing but a bully. You have no right to be telling her things like you hired her for her looks.”

“Well it’s true. I was only being honest. I know that a pretty face would help win us accounts, and Brooke had what we needed.”

“You callous bastard!” she shouted.

“Nicole, you are taking this way too personally. I wonder why…” he implied with a subtle smirk.

“You can go to hell!” she replied.

“Nicole, I am not blind nor am I stupid. You can’t keep up this charade with Brooke and not expect anyone to notice. It is all over the company. This is not the sort of image I had in mind for Wilson’s Advertising.”

“Take the “company image,” she said mockingly, “and shove it. I don’t care. My relationship with Brooke is none of your business.” She stood, waiting for her father to explode, but he instead backed off.

“Nicole…Brooke is deceiving you. Whatever you think she feels for you is a lie. I have come across many, many women just like her. They are only ever out for what they can get, and believe me, your Ms. Davies is no different.”

“You don’t know anything about it,” she said, pacing her father’s office.

“I know she’s taking you for a ride. I’m doing what’s best for you. I am your father, Nicole; I have your best interests at heart. Look, you are all emotional. Take some time off and we can discuss this later,” he added, trying to sound sensible.

Nikki narrowed her eyes. “You keep out of my personal life, James, or so help me I will bounce you out of this company!” she finished, and then stormed out.

James watched his only daughter leave and then shook his head. “There just is no reasoning with her,” he said, cursing to himself.

That night Nikki carefully rolled Brooke off her and left the bedroom. She couldn’t sleep; she had too much running through her head. What her father said about Brooke playing her. She sat down on the couch and shook her head. It was just another way of trying to get to her, trying to take control.

“Hey, what’s the problem, you can’t sleep?” a hand ran through Nikki’s hair and kissed the top of her head. Brooke sat next to her on the couch. “Nikki, are we okay? You haven’t said much about what happened.”

Nikki held Brooke’s hand. “Dad was out of line. I did what needed to be done.”

Brooke leaned in, and said through her yawning, “You amaze me. You won’t stand up for yourself, yet you defend me. I just can’t work you out sometimes.”

Nikki smiled. “I told him to stay out of our personal lives as well.”

Brooke sat back. “So, I guess he knows everything then…”

“Yeah. I told him to stay out of our relationship. That it was none of his business.”

Brooke kissed her tenderly. “Even if that was a bit insane, I am proud of you. How did he take it?”

“Surprisingly well… I think too well. Brooke is there anything I need to know about you?”

“About what…?” Brooke asked, confused by Nikki’s question. “What do you want to know?”

“Dad said that you were deceiving me on something but wouldn’t say. He said that you hadn’t been completely honest.”

Brooke sat quietly back and absorbed the information.

“Brooke, whatever it is I would rather hear it from you than my father. Don’t give him the pleasure, sweetheart,” she said, squeezing her hands.

Brooke got up and walked a little away, her stomach tightening. Nikki, alarmed by Brooke’s reaction, went after her.

“Brooke, please, what is it?” Nikki’s voice pleaded.

Brooke turned back in tears. “Nikki, please don’t be angry with me…”

The words alone made Nikki fear the worst.

“Nikki, I just wanted the job so badly. I knew you would never hire me if you knew how poor my grades were.”

Nikki shook her head. “What are you talking about?” her voice growing with suspicion.

“I lied on my CV. I wasn’t at the top of my class. I didn’t even finish in the top twenty. Look, I knew I could do the job; I just wanted you to give me a chance. That is why I deceived you on my application…”

Nikki looked sternly at Brooke. “My father hired you without checking out your references… Well go figure. The old man really has slipped,” she spat sarcastically. Then she said only to herself, “I don’t think it was the references he cared about.”

Brooke could feel everything slipping away.

“So I guess us is another lie then? Just a way of getting up the corporate ladder, then?” Nikki was furious at the thought of being taken advantage of by someone she cared for.

“No, Nikki. It’s not like that. I never used you. My feelings for you are genuine. I want to be successful but not at your expense. Nikki, please believe me, this has been such a hard day. You mean so much to me…”

Nikki just paced, her fists clenching. Brooke could see the signs pointed towards an explosion. “I knew it… I am such an idiot to ever believe this…” she yelled.

“No, Nikki, just listen to me. I lied about my references, but I never lied about loving you.”

Nikki looked at her in disbelief. “You never said that you loved me…”

“I just did… and I knew I should have told you but I was afraid that you wouldn’t want me anymore…”

“Brooke, do you think I am that shallow?”

Brooke looked away ashamed. “Would you have fallen for me if you knew?”

Nikki opened her mouth, and then closed it. She collapsed on the couch. She didn’t have an answer.

Brooke sat next to Nikki, “I’m sorry, but it doesn’t change the way I feel about you one bit. But…if you feel this is too much, tell me now and I am out of your life Nikki. I don’t want to hurt you anymore than I already have,” she went to stand but Nikki pulled her back.

“Don’t go…it doesn’t matter. Do you really mean it, that you love me?”

Brooke grabbed Nikki’s hand. “With all my heart. As soon as you can accept that we can move on,” she smiled.

Nikki smiled and nodded and they kissed passionately.

“What about your father? He is not going to be too impressed by this,” said Brooke.

Nikki kissed down Brooke’s neck, wanting more reassurance from her body. “Don’t you worry about my father…” and they returned to the bedroom.

Chapter 11

A week passed before Nikki found the right time to tell her father that she knew all about Brooke’s little lie. After an early lunch meeting, the two stayed on for a couple extra drinks.

Nikki decided to be out with it. “Brooke told me. I know about her deception. It doesn’t change the way I feel about her,” she said, her courage and defiance growing with every word.

James had a puzzled look. “You have to be kidding me, Nicole,” he said.

Nikki scrunched her face. “Come on, I don’t think lying about your education and references is some big felony…”

James, still trying to understand, was caught silent.

Nikki continued to gush. “I think it showed initiative. A determination which, even if it isn’t quite fit to be imitated, is still rather impressive,” she finished.

James was starting to catch up. “So, she lied on her CV?”

“Yeah, I don’t have a problem with it,” she said, draining the last of her drink. She barely noticed her father’s semi-confused frown.

“Oh, and if you fire her for this…I will walk too,” she said, turning her back and walking out.

James ran a hand through his thinning hair. This was not what he had been expecting.

Nikki arrived back at the office after lunch. She strolled over to Brooke’s office, and stood in the doorway watching her eat for a moment. Then she interrupted with a knock.

“Oh, hey, how did it go?” Brooke asked, with a mouthful.

Nikki smiled and pointed to the side of Brooke’s face. Brooke blushed and wiped off the leftovers.

Nikki sat down next to Brooke. “Good. Really good. They liked it and will probably go with it.”

“They liked my designs did they?” Brooke asked keenly.

“Yes, they were very impressed,” Nikki answered, happy to see her girlfriend beaming with pride.

“And, what did your father say?”

Nikki shook her head and noticed Brooke’s disappointment.

“Guess he has really got it in for me now,” Brooke choked out.

Nikki softened her tone. “Brooke, you did a fantastic job.” She could see her praise wasn’t enough. “Brooke, another thing…I confronted him on what you said the other day.”

“Oh, Nikki, did you have to? Really, it’s only going to make things worse,” she groaned.

“I just wanted to let him know that I knew and that it was okay,” Nikki defended.

“How did he take it?” she whined.

Nikki paused. “Well, to tell the truth he was rather surprised. I don’t think he knew what I was talking about at first. In fact, he was speechless…” she laughed.

Brooke remained silent, and Nikki took that as fear.

“Your job is safe, so don’t worry,” Nikki said, trying to be as reassuring as possible.

“How can you say that, Nikki? You may run the company, but he is the controlling body. He still decides who stays and who goes,” she growled. “You can’t make that call.”

Nikki was taken aback by her tone. “Well, I made it quite clear that if he fires you I will walk from the company.”

“Nikki, what if he calls your bluff?” Brooke whined.

Nikki got out of her seat. “What makes you think it was a bluff?” she asked, and returned to her office.

Brooke waited for Nikki to enter her office before picking up her phone and dialing a long-distance number.

Late that afternoon, Brooke brought in some more designs and documents to be signed. She started to fidget around Nikki’s office, annoying Nikki.

“What’s wrong? You’re making me edgy. Take a seat,” Nikki insisted.

Brooke collapsed into the chair. “I need to take some leave,” she started.

Nikki nodded. “Umm, okay. When?”

“Err, right away. Tomorrow in-fact.”

“What? Brooke, I need you here. Right now it’s just not possible,” Nikki said, finishing off matter-of-factly. Nikki, however, immediately noticed Brooke’s distressed look and moved from behind her desk to lean up against it near Brooke.

“Has James upset you again?”

“No…no…it’s…umm…” Brooke stuttered, “It’s my father. He’s taken sick. Mom needs me to help,” she choked out.

“Oh, Brooke, I had no idea,” Nikki said. “Is it serious?” she asked, taking both of Brooke’s hands.

Brooke shrugged. “I’m not sure. I just know I should be there.”

Nikki pulled Brooke into her arms and comforted her. “Okay…how long will you need?” she asked, gingerly.

“A week.”

Nikki groaned at first, then had an idea. “Okay, well why don’t I come with you?”

Brooke cut her off, over-enthusiastically. “NO…I mean, no. Nikki, I haven’t told my parents about you…or about me. I don’t want to turn up and try to explain it while Dad is sick,” she blurted. She could see the hurt in Nikki’s eyes. It softened her instantly. “Look, next time I promise. I just need to go alone, please…” she pleaded, softly looking Nikki in the eyes for reassurance.

Nikki nodded but was still a little saddened by Brooke’s quick rejection.

That night Brooke was in Nikki’s apartment, just about to leave for a long trip home.

“Now, Sarah is going to handle my stuff while I am gone, so everything should be okay. I really appreciate you handling Maggie for me while I am gone,” she said, handing over the cat. Nikki held the cat out in front and frowned at it, then put it on the ground.

“Now remember, she needs to be fed everyday. Otherwise, she gets into naughty things,” Brooke ordered with a soft laugh.

Nikki rolled her eyes. “I know, I know…stop worrying. I do have a fish you know,” she retorted.

Brooke’s eyebrows rose. “Yeah, a fish which you only feed when you remember,” she said, giggling.

“It’s a fish! You don’t feed them everyday,” Nikki said, as though it was a universal law.

“Well Maggie should be, so please take care of her,” pleaded Brooke. She then slipped her arms around Nikki’s waist and pulled her in for a long kiss. Nikki moaned and refused to let the kiss end. Brooke broke it off. “Hey, come on, it’s only a week. I will call every day…”

Nikki just frowned. “Are you sure you don’t want me to come? I could just be a friend for a bit? They don’t have to know anything else is going on,” she ventured, in hope of Brooke changing her mind.

“Nikki, its bad enough I have to go, lord knows how you will survive without me, but if you went as well the company would grind to a halt. No, not this time. But, I promised next time. I always keep my promises,” she said with a weak smile.

Nikki, in a small voice and without looking at Brooke, said, “You better go before it gets too late.”

Nikki was sitting on the couch, flicking through TV channels when Maggie jumped on her. Nikki picked her up and put her back on the ground.

“Oh no you don’t. Go play somewhere else, fleabag.”

It was only the second day without Brooke, and Nikki already felt lost at home and at the office she simply moped around. Night time was worse. She had never felt as lonely as she felt now, and Brooke’s phone calls only made it worse.

Nikki rushed home to wait for Brooke’s call, but when she checked her messages she was disappointed to see that she had missed it. She sat dejected on the couch and drained her scotch. The cat bugged her, but she kept pushing it away and decided to check her stocks on the computer. It was just after 10 p.m. when Maggie jumped on the keyboard, causing the machine to go crazy and then freeze.

“You annoying little thing! What’s your problem?” She turned off the computer and started towards her bed when she realized, “Oh, I haven’t fed you yet…”

Nikki poured out the contents of the can, but the cat just looked at it.

“Oh come on, you usually gorge yourself! Eat!”

Nikki left the kitchen and headed for the bedroom; she looked over to the window and stopped dead. She rushed over to her goldfish bowl, and looked in, then in a panic looked at the floor. Her fish was gone… She looked over her shoulder to see the white cat grooming herself. “You little…” She picked it up by the scruff, it meowed. Nikki opened her door and was about to hurl it out, but didn’t.

Nikki collapsed on the couch and picked up her phone and waited for the other end to pick up. It wasn’t answered right away. When it was, she was greeted by a voice, unfamiliar and deep.

“Umm, Brooke?”

“Err…no, who is this?” came the male’s voice.

Nikki apologized at having the wrong number and hung up. She took better care to dial the number correctly and waited again. Again, a male voice answered the phone, this time more alert.

“Who is this please?” he growled.

“I would like to speak to Brooke Davies, it’s Nicole Wilson,” came Nikki’s professional tone. She then heard whispering, then silence.

“Nikki,” Brooke’s quiet voice came on.

“Brooke, who was that?” she asked nervously.

Brooke didn’t answer right away. “It’s…my brother. Why are you calling so late?”

Nikki felt like she had intruded from Brooke’s off tone. “I’m sorry to disturb you, I will let you go.”

“No, no, Nikki…it’s good to hear your voice. I have missed you.”

Nikki didn’t respond.

“You there?”

Nikki wiped her face. “Yeah, I just rang…” but stopped. “Your damn cat ate my fish,” she whined.

Nikki heard a muffled snigger at the other end.

“I can’t believe you are laughing…did you not hear? She ate my fish!” Then Nikki too started laughing.

Brooke was in hysterics. “Oh, I am so sorry. I will get you another, I promise.”

“I miss you,” Nikki blurted, then felt insecure about her rush of feelings.

Brooke stopped laughing and lowered her tone. “I miss you too honey. So much. It’s only a few more days.” There was another voice and Brooke’s tone changed instantly.

“I’ll get back to you, Ms. Wilson tomorrow. Good night,” she said, then the line went dead, and that was the end of the conversation.

This was the day Nikki was dreading more than anything. She picked up her pile of files and coffee and headed to the board room. Already seated was James and from the other office the other executive manager, Cole Winters. Nikki found it hard to express in words how much she detested Cole.

“Well, glad you could eventually join us, Nicole. Just running the company, nothing important enough to shorten your coffee break,” he spat.

Nikki ignored the remark and sank into a chair, putting down her folders in front of James.

“I know it’s not a nice task when we have to let staff go, but our shareholders need to feel that their investments in us are safe and that we look profitable. Okay, Cole, how many personal files have you nominated?”

The meeting lasted over three hours and resulted in twenty redundancies from across the company. James eagerly signed them off and handed them to Nikki.

“This is a confidential matter, so Nicole, if you wouldn’t mind taking care of the letters by the end of the day…” James intoned, in a matter-of-fact way.

Nikki groaned at the task. James looked at his daughter and shook his head, and then Cole spoke up.

“I’ll take care of it James, if you want,” he asked, smiling at Nikki.

James just nodded when Nikki spoke “No it’s fine I’ll take care of this”

James agreed and asked Cole to leave.

“Nicole, whether you like it or not, redundancies are an unfortunate fact of business. If you are going to run this company you have to be prepared to do this from time to time. Trimming the fat is good for business.”

“I know Dad, but I have worked with some of these people since I started here. How can I face them?” she whined.

“Just address it in a stock standard letter and get them delivered before the end of the day.”

“I can’t just hand them a letter…it’s not right. They will want an explanation.”

He sighed. “Nicole, do whatever makes it easier for you.” Washing his hands of the matter, he left the boardroom.

Nikki slowly returned to her office only to find Cole sitting in her seat.

“You don’t look so good, Nikki,” he said cheerily.

“Get out of my seat, Cole,” she growled.

He got up. “Are you sure you don’t want me to take care of the marching orders?” he joked. He had resented Nikki ever since she had been made executive manager. He believed she had won the position through nepotism, while he himself had to climb the corporate ladder to reach the post.

Nikki flashed him a glare. “You would really enjoy it. You prick; I wouldn’t give you the satisfaction.”

“Whoa, hey Nikki. Just trying to help Daddy’s girl cope. But then again, watching you struggling is satisfaction enough,” he gloated.


Chapter 12

Nikki arrived home just after 9 p.m. She took off her jacket, threw it across the couch, and headed straight for the bar. She poured a large scotch and took a mouthful. She closed her eyes and waited for the effects to deaden her senses.

“Rough day?” came a soft voice from behind her.

Nikki jumped and faced the voice. “Brooke? You are not supposed to be home until tomorrow!” She looked; enjoying the sight of Brooke dressed only in a t-shirt and panties. “Why didn’t you call and let me know?”

“Wanted to surprise, plus I was tired so I had a little nap.”

Nikki went to take another mouthful but Brooke held her glass down and pressed her lips against Nikki’s. Nikki instantly sank into Brooke’s long drawn out kiss. “What’s got you so uptight, baby,” she asked, stroking Nikki’s hair.

“I had to sack twenty workers today, and I met with every single one of them. Dad wanted me to hand them a letter, but I just couldn’t do that.” Nikki closed her eyes. “I hate human resource issues.”

Brooke hugged Nikki. “I know, but it is a part of your job as manager.”

Nikki stepped back. “That’s what Dad said.” Then she picked up her glass and took another drink, her head was now light and her body numb.

Brooke watched her lover struggle with the burden and decided to help take her mind off it. She snatched at Nikki’s lips, her tongue playing deep inside Nikki’s mouth. She could taste the scotch left behind. Her hands worked at releasing Nikki’s shirt from her pants.

“Oh Brooke,” Nikki groaned, her hands drifting under Brooke’s top and caressed the side of her breasts. Brooke pulled away and led Nikki into the bedroom.

Their bodies moved over each other slowly. Brooke’s lips trailed down Nikki’s body slowly, igniting her senses. Nikki’s head was spinning from the quick burst of alcohol and the pleasure being inflicted.

“Brooke…please,” she moaned, and stroked Brooke’s back as she continued her travels. She then groaned loudly as Brooke’s mouth took her. It wasn’t long before Nikki was crying out as Brooke relieved her tension.

Brooke moved up and kissed her. “You feeling a little better now?”

Nikki chuckled softly and sighed. “Yes, thank you,” she said, then rolled on to Brooke, kissing her passionately, smothering Brooke’s lips with hers. Brooke’s breathing quickly turned into pants from Nikki’s touch and gasps as Nikki’s fingers entered her depths. Brooke held Nikki tight as her climax was building, their tongues dancing into each other’s mouths. Nikki increased the thrusting and Brooke began to shake.

Nikki looked into Brooke’s eyes. “Brooke,” she murmured.

Brooke, nearing her end was trying hard to concentrate on Nikki’s voice. “Uh huh…wha…oh god…” she cried.

“I’ve missed you so much,” whimpered Nikki, she pushed hard against Brooke’s spot. Brooke spilled and cried out. Brooke held Nikki tight as she shuddered through the start of her orgasm. “I know…I know honey,” she cried out.

Nikki finished off. “I need you so much…I love you.” Nikki stayed on top of Brooke and didn’t see the effect her admission made.

Brooke closed her eyes and grimaced; she waited so long to hear those words, but knew they were hollow, brought on by alcohol and tension. She kissed Nikki’s head. “I love you too.”

One afternoon James paid Nikki a visit to her office. Nikki didn’t speak, just waited for the verbal lashing, but James put his hands up in defense.

“Nicole, I am here to see how you are holding up…especially since you had to deal with the last round of redundancies.”

“Okay, I guess,” came Nikki’s flat response. “Is there something you wanted to talk about specifically, I am very busy.”

“Okay, Okay, don’t get defensive. Is it so odd that your father would show some concern?”

Nikki relaxed a little, but she was still waiting for the real reason.

“So…you still seeing Brooke?” asked James, as innocently as he could.

Nikki threw her pen down, she knew it was something. “Dad, I am not discussing this with you. It is none of your business,” she growled.

“I’m just concerned about you…”

“Well, don’t be. I’m fine. In fact I am better than fine. I’m very happy for once so just butt out,” she warned. “So, if there is nothing else, I have work to do.”

James sighed. “Yes, there is something else. This Saturday I am holding a staff get- together at my place.”

Nikki sat back. “Oh yeah?” she asked, feeling another embarrassment was coming her way.

“Nothing fancy. Just a “thank you” to the staff. Give something back after the latest events. What do you think?”

Nikki shrugged her shoulders. “Does it really matter?”

James’ patience was wearing thin with his daughter’s flippant attitude. “Yes of course it does, Nicole. Why do you have to be so pretentious all the time?” he growled.

Nikki backed down. “Okay, Okay. I think it would be a good gesture. So, who is paying for it?” she asked.

“The company, of course,” said James.

Nikki didn’t utter a word and James reached in to jacket pocket and pulled out the check, putting it on Nikki’s desk. She noticed it was the check she made out to her father for the last function.

“You don’t really think I would take my daughter’s money? God, what kind of a Father would that make me?” he chuckled.

Nikki smiled and reached for the check. “Thanks, Dad.”

Nikki was already in bed reading a book when Brooke appeared in one of Nikki’s nightshirts. It was oversized and down to her knees. Nikki couldn’t help but laugh at the sight.

“Oh yeah, great laugh. It’s not my fault you are so much taller. I need to leave more things here. I’m sick of looking like this. Look at me…ahhhh,” she groaned.

“I am looking. You look great in anything, honey, or nothing,” she teased.

Brooke flashed her a glare and rolled her eyes. She got in to bed. “You are so incorrigible,” she teased back, and pushed Nikki away.

Nikki wasn’t giving up and pushed Brooke down and leaned over her. “Who’s a bit crabby tonight?” She started to kiss her.

“Stop it, Nikki…I am not in the mood,” she said, and pushed her off.

“Hey, come on. I was just trying to cheer you up,” she sulked.

“I’m just sick of forgetting to bring my clothes, now I have to leave earlier tomorrow morning to go home,” she whined. She looked at Nikki. “I’m sorry, it’s not a chore. Just tired that’s all honey.” Nikki didn’t respond.

Brooke sat up. “Nikki, really, it’s okay.”

Nikki leaned in and kissed Brooke then dropped a bombshell. “Then move in with me.”

Brooke looked at her in shock. “Nikki, I don’t know. It’s a bit soon don’t you think?” she said nervously.

“Brooke, I am sick of this too. I want to be able to go to bed with you and wake up with you every day, not just a few days here and there.”

Brooke still didn’t know what to say.

“You are so much a part of my life, not having you here hurts…” She groaned, “Oh god…” the words had not come out as she had hoped. “If you don’t like this place then let’s buy another one, something you’d like. I really don’t care, all I want is for us to be together…because…because I love you,” she finished, the words gushing out.

Brooke was stunned by Nikki’s honesty. Nikki waited anxiously for Brooke to say something, anything.

“Are you sure?” came Brooke in a small voice.

“Yes…yes…just having you in my working life is not enough. I want you without the boundaries, just you and me, us, together. Like I said, if you don’t like this…”

Brooke put a hand over Nikki’s mouth to quiet her. “The place is fine, anywhere with you is fine, plus you have a fantastic bathroom,” she giggled. She then kissed Nikki tenderly. “Okay, when do you want me to move in?”

“This Saturday…oh wait…the work party. Sunday morning. I will arrange the movers, oh god I love you so much,” Nikki said like an excited kid.

Brooke stopped. “Whoa…wait…what party?” she asked confused.

“It will be announced tomorrow, but I will let you know.” Nikki filled her in on what Dad had arranged.

Brooke groaned. “Let’s not go. I can’t stand to hear him put you down in front of everyone.”

“I can’t not go, Brooke. You know that. Look, everything will be fine. I haven’t seen Dad in such a great mood for a long while. Hell, he sat in my office this afternoon and we talked for about an hour. It felt good,” Nikki said.

“He’s nice to you now, but I still don’t get the time of day,” Brooke said jealously.

Nikki cuddled her. “He’s only jealous that’s all,” justified Nikki.

“Of what? What could he be jealous of?” asked Brooke.

“Well, I got in first; you know…sleeping with the secretary and all, and he didn’t get a look in.” Nikki went into fits of laughter.

Brooke picked up a pillow and smacked her. “Oh is that so? You and your father compete in things like that?”

Nikki tried to hold in her laughter and let out a snigger and shrugged. Brooke continued to pound Nikki until she couldn’t stand it. “Okay, okay…”

Brooke poked Nikki in the side. “Well the father wasn’t as easy as the daughter,” she crowed.

Nikki jumped Brooke. “Hey, that’s not true,” she said, pinning her. “You take that back.”

Brooke giggled and stroked Nikki’s face. “But I’m sure I got the right Wilson,” she said, pulling Nikki onto her lips. “Your father has no chance. I am truly in love with his daughter.” Brooke kissed her and then snuggled down onto Nikki’s chest.

Chapter 13

Saturday arrived and Brooke was madly rushing around her apartment, trying to get ready for the party. Her preparations were interrupted by a knock on the door.

“It’s open!” she yelled.

Nikki casually strolled into Brooke’s bedroom to find a mountain of clothes on her bed.

“Where have you been all morning?” Brooke asked. “I want to know which I should wear; black or cream?” she said, showing Nikki a choice of two dresses.

Nikki nodded to the black, and Brooke put it over her head, and dragged the tightly fitting dress down over her body, hugging in all the right places.

“You look nice, honey,” Brooke said, giving her girlfriend a kiss as soon as the dress was on.

Nikki was wearing gray slacks and a beige sweater. Nikki watched in amusement as Brooke was dashing around, “I know, I know…I’m running late, just need to do my hair and makeup.”

Nikki laughed and looked at her watch, reading 12:30 p.m. “You have an hour; or should I call ahead now and say we will be late?” she joked.

Brooke narrowed her eyes and pushed Nikki from the room. “Out you go,” she said, and closed the door.

Nikki looked around the near empty apartment, the boxes packed and ready for moving day. She groaned; she had wanted to pay movers but Brooke had wanted the two of them to do it together.

The bedroom door opened and Brooke appeared. Nikki’s eyes widened at the sight. “Wow! You look gorgeous,” she breathed. She immediately went in for a kiss, but Brooke pulled away.

“Uh uh…you don’t want lipstick now do you?”

Nikki relocated her kiss to Brooke’s cheek, then took the opportunity to move down her neck. Again Brooke pushed back. “Not now,” she giggled. Then she noticed Nikki had something behind her back.

“What have you got there, sweetie?” Brooke asked, pointing behind Nikki’s back.

Nikki looked around slightly. “What?” she asked, teasing.

“Behind your back!” Brooke said, and went to grab it.

“I don’t know what you mean,” Nikki joked.

Brooke tried it again. “Come on, what is it?”

Nikki pulled out a rectangular box, wrapped up. “It’s for you, I picked it up this morning.”

“Why…I…” stuttered Brooke.

“Just open it up please,” half-pleaded Nikki.

Brooke unwrapped the present, and opened the box, gasping. “Oh my god…Nikki!”

The box contained a diamond pendant, matching diamond earrings and a bracelet. Brooke looked up at Nikki in awe. “This must have cost a fortune…I can’t…”

“Yes it did…and yes you can.”

Brooke looked at the present again. “It’s beautiful, thank you.”

Nikki shrugged like it didn’t matter, and Brooke rushed off to put it on. She came out, and Nikki nodded. “Now they are beautiful, they just needed you.”

Nikki and Brooke drove up to James’ mansion and the valet parked Nikki’s car. They got to the front door.

“Should I go in first, or you?” Brooke asked.

“Brooke, it’s no big deal. Let’s just go in,” and they walked in together and once in, the small gathering staff all looked at them both and murmured.

Brooke leaned a little in to Nikki. “I told you.”

They instantly separated and mingled with the staff, but from time to time making eye contact. Long distance flirting.

James eventually called everyone together to the main room and champagne was served. Brooke went and stood a little in front of Nikki, her hand brushing hers.

The waiter offered Nikki champagne, but she refused it. Brooke raised an eyebrow without looking behind her.

“Trying to cut down…” Nikki whispered.

James opened up by welcoming everyone and then he apologized for the recent downsizing. With this done, he turned his attention to Nikki.

“I would especially like to take this opportunity to thank my wonderful daughter Nicole, and to tell you how proud I am of all the hard work you put in to keep this company competitive and successful. I would also want to make you all aware that…if not for Nicole many more jobs would have been lost. My dear, if only your mother was alive today to see how much you have achieved. She would be so proud of you.”

The unexpected adulation catching her off guard, she felt her eyes stinging with tears.

James raised his glass. “To my daughter, Nicole.”

The crowd, including Brooke, turned to face Nikki. “To Nicole!” they chorused.

Nikki blushed at all the attention, and then her eyes met Brooke’s as everyone drank. Brooke looked at her lover proudly and winked. Brooke turned back around and reached behind, grabbing Nikki’s hand briefly.

James didn’t end it there. “And…I would also like Ms. Brooke Davies to come up and join me.”

Brooke didn’t budge, her heart feeling a mix of surprise and terrible suspicion.

“Come on dear, don’t be shy,” James coaxed.

Nikki leaned in, “Go on…” she whispered, giving a little nudge of encouragement.

Brooke turned, giving Nikki her glass, and replied by whispering, “Save me…” She pleaded, but Nikki just nodded her to the front.

Brooke walked up nervously, standing in front of the crowd with James.

“Since this young lady joined our team, she has been a one of the major driving forces behind our successes. Her advertising creations have kept us a step ahead of other agencies. She has also helped secure some very big contracts which have earned the respect of myself and even more so my daughter,” he said, leaving it to linger in the air.

There were a few giggles from the audience and Brooke blushed; now feeling very self-conscious at all the attention.

“But, it has come at a huge price for this young lady,” he said, now turning to address Brooke directly. “Working so far from your home and love ones must be extremely hard dear…”

Brooke shrugged unsure if it was a question or a statement, her stomach tightening with each compliment.

“You have made such a big move in your life for us, and so it is only fair that we give something back.”

Brooke instantly went pale.

Nikki noticed Brooke’s tension, and was concerned by her sudden change.

“I would like to ask Andrew to come out please,” asked James.

A young man walked up to the stage from the back of the crowd and stood next to James, opposite Brooke.

Brooke started to shake at the sight and gasped, she looked at James in horror, then at Nikki.

Nikki knew something was now terribly wrong, when Brooke took a step back and made eye contact with her.

“Welcome Andrew. I’m so glad you could make it to share this occasion with Brooke. You must be so proud of your girl friend.” The word lingered.

There was deafening hush over the crowd. Brooke felt like she was going to faint and couldn’t bring herself to look at Nikki anymore.

Nikki’s ears were ringing and she wasn’t completely sure what she had heard.

“Brooke, Mr. Wilson is right. I am so proud of you. I know the lengths you had to go, including giving up our relationship so you could achieve your goals. I understand and that is why I am here to tell you I’m not ready to give you up and if the only way to keep you in my life is to move to the big city, then that will be my sacrifice for you.”

Nikki’s body felt like a stone, she was finding it difficult to breath right now. She wasn’t sure if this was a dream or real.

Brooke was close to tears, she looked at James, but James looked straight through her to his daughter.

Andrew continued. “Brooke…honey.” He stepped a little closer. “To show how much I am ready…” He produced a small box from his jacket pocket and opened it. “Will you marry me?” The box contained a diamond engagement ring.

Brooke put her hand to her mouth to muffle her cry, her body trembling. Andrew stepped forward again but Brooke backed up and hit something. She turned to find it was Nikki who was behind her, supporting her slightly. Tears were falling freely from Brooke’s eyes. She noticed the stern look on Nikki’s face, but her sight was directed at James.

Brooke started to break down when Nikki spoke in a soft tone. “Brooke…its okay. You need to follow your heart. It’s truly okay.” Nikki summoned up all the strength in her body, trying to believe her own words. “Marry him,” she croaked out desperately, half afraid the words wouldn’t come.

“Oh Nikki…” cried Brooke.

Nikki just smiled weakly.

“I’m so sorry,” cried Brooke and Nikki shrugged.

Brooke turned and faced Andrew. “I can’t, I can’t marry you Andrew.”

The room broke into gasps and murmurs. Andrew looked at James then back at Brooke confused.

“What? I don’t understand…why not?” he said, genuinely hurt.

“Andrew, I can’t marry you…because I don’t love you,” Brooke stuttered.

Brooke then ran past the bewildered pair of James and Andrew. Andrew closed the box and put it in his pocket, a hurt-shocked look plastered on his face, he shook his head. Nikki gained her composure and walked up to her father, glaring, her eyes glistening with tears. He dropped his head. Nikki then left to look for Brooke.

She eventually found her deep in the green mansion gardens, sitting on a bench sobbing into her hands. Nikki’s heart finally broke at the sight of her. Carefully, she wiped her own tears away before going up to Brooke.

“Brooke hey…it’s okay…shhhh,” she said, trying to calm her.

Brooke wouldn’t look up. Nikki could hear the quick gasps of breath Brooke was trying to take in.

Nikki put her arm around her and pulled her in. “Come on, calm down. Take a few deep breaths please,” she said softly, tears still escaping Nikki’s eyes.

“I’m so sorry…I never meant to hurt you. There were so many times I wanted to tell you, I just didn’t know how. Why the hell do I screw everything up? My life…your life? Why did your father do this to me?” sobbed Brooke.

Nikki kissed Brooke’s head. The realization that the entire day was set up to humiliate them was slowly dawning on her.

“I don’t blame you for hating me. I’ve made such a mess of things…I am so sorry,” she cried out again.

Nikki lifted Brooke’s chin and looked at her, her eyes red and puffy. “I don’t hate you. I am disappointed that you weren’t honest about him and your feelings for him, but I don’t hate you Brooke. You should have been honest. Now let’s get you tidied up, you have a marriage proposal to accept.” She said this with as much positive ness as she could muster.

Brooke shook her head. “I can’t.”

“Yes you can. I will not let my father ruin the chance for you to be happy. I won’t stand for it,” she said firmly.

Brooke’s hands nervously touched Nikki’s face. “Nikki, I don’t love him. The only thing I have always been honest with you is my feelings for you. I love you with all my heart. I took leave to break off the last of my ties with Andrew. I told him that a distant relationship couldn’t work, I wanted him to believe that it was for my career and for that to be the end of it. I couldn’t even be honest with him.” She started to sob again. She didn’t know the next move or if Nikki even believed her.

Nikki did and tenderly kissed Brooke, holding her close. “I love you so much. I didn’t know what I was going to do if you accepted that proposal.” Nikki said her relief pouring out.

“Okay. Enough of this, honey. Let’s get you respectable again. You owe Andrew an explanation, then after that you and I are going to sit down and you are going to be honest with me about everything.”

Brooke nodded in agreement. Nikki still held Brooke to her. “Everything is going to be alright Brooke, I promise.” Nikki noticed that Sarah had wandered out and Nikki escorted Brooke over to her.

“Sarah, would you mind helping Brooke, please?” Sarah nodded and put an arm around Brooke, who broke down in tears again.

Nikki sat back down to gather her thoughts. She bit her thumb nail for a second, then stood up shakily.

James looked up to see his daughter enter his study, he was just finishing a telephone conversation when she entered. Nikki took a seat, while he calmly drank.

“So, guess what?” she asked, with a ferocious faux-smile. “Come Monday, you are going to be on a plane flight to Florida, to retirement. A condo…maybe, I don’t really care. You are done in this company James. Done. Today just proved to everyone exactly how much of a bastard you are..”

James looked pained. “Nikki…I didn’t know.”

“You knew exactly what you were doing James. Exactly. What happened to you? You use to be a good man. You used to be my father. Since Mom died you have been nothing but a burnt out shell. ”

“You can’t pick some girlfriend over your own father,” James said, his face contracting in pain.

“The man who was my father died at the same time as my mother. Your stunt today made that incredibly clear. It didn’t have to be this way. I warned you to stay out of my personal affairs, but you just couldn’t. That little speech about Mother being proud of me…I am glad she isn’t here to see what type of a man her husband has turned in to. Whatever your intentions may have been I will never ever as long as I live have anything else to do with you. So help me if you ever come near Brooke again.” Nikki’s voice climber higher as she was unable to control her anger. She thumped the desk, causing him to jump. “You are out of my life, permanently.

She turned to go.

“Nikki…you are all I have,” he said. The admission was like a beam of sunlight penetrating a cloud that had been over their relationship since the death of his wife.

Her mind went back to the time when her mother had died. She had spent countless nights alone in the dark, crying. For all the gilded luxury she had lived in, she couldn’t deal with the pain that had come with the death of her mother. She had turned to her father; he had been all she had had. She had cried and held on to him. But he had been stern and aloof, too wrapped up in the company to be there for her. She realized now that he had been fighting his own grief in the only way he could have.

She stopped walking off for just a second. She could hear her father as he used to be. A tear stung her cheek. She turned to see the honest look on his face. But, she refused to go back. It was over now. Nikki stormed out of the room and out of his life.


Chapter 14

Title: Chapter 14 - final

12 Months Later

Brooke stood outside the office of the CEO, nervously looking at the secretary guarding the door.

“Hi, Sarah. What type of mood is she in?”

Sarah smiled. “Not too good I am afraid. Ms. Wilson had to let somebody go today, you know how she gets.”

Brooke groaned. All too well. “Really…do you know who?” she asked hopefully.

Sarah shook her head. “You’d better go in. Good luck.” She opened the door.

Brooke entered the office. “Good morning, Nikki,” said Brooke, cheerily.

Nikki looked up. “Good morning, Brooke. Nice of you to see me at such short notice. Please take a seat,” she offered.

Brooke settled in, unsure of what her boss wanted her to talk about.

“Now, I have noticed business around here has been a little slow, not much of a challenge for you I suppose.”

“Uh, its okay. I am sure it will pick up in a month or so,” hoped Brooke.

“Yes. Meanwhile, I have people, well paid people I might add, sitting around twiddling their thumbs.”

Nikki reached into her drawer and pulled out three files and put them on her desk in front of Brooke.

“Brooke, I want you to interview these three applicants and select the best one for your position,” said Nikki in a matter-of-fact tone.

Brooke’s jaw dropped. “What…you’re replacing me? I can’t believe it.” Brooke was getting angry realizing that it was she who was getting the sack, and all weekend at home Nikki had never let on once. She looked at Nikki, waiting for some sign that this was a prank, but she knew Nikki never joked about business with her during working hours.

Brooke stuttered. “If only you’d come to me sooner, I could have explained or something.”

“When I find that one of my best managers has time to fill up the coffee tin, I have a problem.”

Brooke scoffed. “What? Oh come on…I can’t believe this,” she growled.

“Well, it’s obvious that you don’t have enough work. Be honest…you know there are no challenges here for you anymore, Brooke.”

Brooke shook her head. “But it’s…but…” Nikki waved her quiet.

“Brooke, unfortunately sacrifices have to be made, and as Wilson CEO it is my role to see that they are carried out. So as difficult as it is…I had to let Cole Winters go from our other office this morning.”

Brooke looked up. “What…you sacked Cole?”

“The other side of the town is booming with business, yet we are not. We should be getting flowback, which is also not happening. I need someone over there that I can trust, that has motivation as well as the ability to manage staff. He no longer was up to the task, so…the position is yours.”

Brooke’s head was spinning, she couldn’t speak.

“Brooke, I am offering you the Executive Manager role over there. I know I can trust you. You have good motivation and I can help you manage staff until you get the hang of things. It’s a good opportunity.”

Brooke spoke, “I dunno…” Doubt was creeping in.

Nikki dropped her CEO act and moved from behind her desk to lean in front of Brooke.

“This is your break,” said Nikki softly.

“Nikki…I don’t know if I am ready, I don’t know if I can…”

Nikki lifted Brooke’s chin. “I think you are ready…and I know you want to,” she smirked.

Brooke’s eyes flickered then dulled. “You didn’t give me the job because…you know?” she blushed.

Nikki’s face flashed with annoyance. “Brooke…you know I don’t work that way. But if you feel that this is too overwhelming or you’re worried people might think I am playing favorites then I will hand it over to someone else,” she said as if she couldn’t care less.

Brooke shook her head and got to her feet. “I don’t want to let you down,” she said.

“Good, then don’t. You start in the position next week,” encouraged Nikki.

“Okay, I will get those interviews organized.”

Nikki headed back to her chair. “Yes, please do…” she paused, trying to hide her smirk. “I’d really like a nice young executive. You know, someone that would please me,” she said, teasing.

Brooke’s face was deadpan as she looked over the applicants. Then she snickered. They were all thirtysomething males. “Hmm, I will see what I can do. Thank you for this opportunity. I will not let you down.” Brooke turned on her professional tone as they both subtly flirted.

Nikki just rolled her eyes at the statement.

Brooke reached for the doorknob when Nikki called her.

“Oh…one other thing Ms. Davies,” she said, as serious as possible.

“Yes, Ms. Wilson,” Brooke said, turning.

“It’s your night to make dinner,” Nikki smirked.

Brooke nodded. “Yes, so it is. Well, don’t be late then,” she playfully warned.

Brooke floated back to her office. She walked up to the large window overlooking the city and put her hands on her mouth to catch the elation. She looked out and muttered quietly to herself, “Yes…”

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