The Meeting

There were hustle and bustle around the office. The normally sluggish morning hours were teeming with life again. There was a lot of excitement in the people to see their new boss. Yesterday they had merely gotten a glimpse of Mr. West but from today he was to start working officially. Every person had their files completed, checked, and arranged, ready to be presented at any moment they were required to. The women in the office had seen Jonathan West on magazine covers, he was one of the most successful businessmen in America, and they gushed on about how handsome and brilliant he was and how great it would be to work with him.

Liza smoothed down her black pencil skirt and rubbed her temples, wishing that all of them would stop talking for at least a moment. She had barely gotten sleep the previous night and all the caffeine she had taken hadn't kicked in her system yet. She sighed as she took in her reflection in the little ornate mirror that she had kept in one of the drawers of her table. She had applied a little bit of makeup but it had failed to hide the tiredness in her eyes. You could see small light purple eye bags under her eyes and her skin looked a little too much paler than it actually was. She sucked in her breath and gave herself a mental pep talk as she readied herself for the day to come.

The clock struck nine and at that exact moment, the elevator opened to reveal Jonathan along with a grinning Leslie. All the employees surrounded him as Leslie excused herself to go to her former office and collect a few things. Some of them were congratulating him, some were telling him how great it would be to work with him and some were buttering him up to save themselves from being fired and maybe for getting promotions. In all this mayhem, Jonathan's eyes searched for the only person that mattered to him. He longed to see her in the morning, maybe apologize to her again or maybe tell her to try and at least be friends with him. But unfortunately, he couldn't find her.

Meanwhile, Liza had already seen Leslie making her way to her office and she thought that maybe it was the only chance she would get to get out of this painful position. So she made her way to Leslie's office and knocked on it. Leslie opened the door with a smile "Come in dear" she said. Liza entered the room, unsure of how to put forward her request, so she blurted out "Please don't make me work with Mr. West". Leslie was shocked. She knew that women would die to work alongside Jonathan West not only because of his charm but also because of his brilliance and here in front of her stood Liza, pleading her not to make her work with him. "Why not?" Leslie asked. "I just don't think that I am the right person to show him how publishing business is done, I mean that he is a brilliant businessman and even if he is new to this sector, he will get hold of the ropes in a few days." Liza said. "I trust that he is a brilliant businessman but it would be better if you were there to help him and as important employ, as you are Liza I suggest that you don't question my decisions," Leslie said putting an end to the conversation.

At that precise moment there was a knock on the door "Come in please" Leslie said and in walked Jonathan. He was wearing a Charcoal gray Suit and pants with a smoke blue colored shirt, his eyes that were a dull green a moment ago brightened when he saw Liza standing there with Leslie. "Is there any problem?" Jonathan asked taking in the expression on the face of Liza but before she could say something Leslie jumped in and said "Of course not, Ms. Nestor was just telling me how excited she was to work with you. Weren't you Ms. Nestor?" Leslie asked daring Liza to answer negatively. Liza gritted her teeth and said, "Yes mam, now if you would excuse me, I have some work to do". With this Liza walked out.

It was nearly lunchtime and Liza had finished editing almost half of the manuscript within four hours, when her phone rang "Liza Mr. West wants to see you in his office" came the voice of her young assistant as she put the phone on speaker, still editing the document on her laptop. "Did he say anything related to why he wanted to see me?" she asked, "No, he just wants you there in five minutes" her assistant Mary, answered back. "okay" with this Liza got up adjusted her grey shirt whose neckline had become a bit too low for her liking and then continued on her way to Jonathan' office.

Liza knocked on the door and entered the office after hearing a muffled come in. "Why did you want to see me sir?" she said as coldly as she could. "I have a meeting today with Adam Smith, I want you to come with me to the meeting?" he said. Liza wondered if there was really a meeting or he was just making it up before she could even bring the question up, he beat her to it and said "there really is a meeting and I am not making it up, just in case you are wondering" he said making Liza flustered. "I-I was definitely not thinking that" "Yeah? Okay" Jonathan said but by the smirk on his face Liza could tell that he totally knew what she was thinking "Cocky Jerk" Liza muttered under her breath. "Sorry, did you say something," Jonathan asked her, hearing what she had said? Liza put on her sweetest saccharine smile and said "No sir. At what time do we need to leave?" "Right now," he said and got up.

Liza followed Jonathan out and stopped at her car "I will drive down to the restaurant on my own" she said. "Don't be ridiculous, why do you want to waste gas?" he said. "Oh, so that's why you want to drive with me, to save gas?" Liza asked. "No, but it is one of the reasons" Jonathan smirked and opened the passenger door of the car parked adjacent to Liza. Liza stood there not wanting to get in the car but at last, she gave in and sat in the passenger seat as Jonathan closed the door and went to sit. After almost fifteen minutes of riving, they stood outside a classy restaurant. Jonathan walked to the reception "I have a table reserved under the name of Jonathan West" he told the young girl who was standing at the desk. "Yes sir, if you will please come this way," she said fluttering her eyelashes and completely ignoring Liza. Liza rolled her eyes at the girl's typical reaction, she was used to girls behaving like this in Jonathan's presence and was not least affected by it. She followed them to the table where their client was waiting.

A man in his late fifties, dressed in a black suit, stood up. He had peppered hair and black spectacles which somehow suited his slightly crooked face. "Nice to meet you, Mr. West," he said shaking hands with Jonathan "The pleasure is mine Mr. Smith" Jonathan replied. "And who is this lovely lady?" he asked "This is Liza my Wi-, sorry this is Ms. Nestor, chief editor of our company" Jonathan introduced her, catching himself before he blurted out that she was his wife. Liza glared at Jonathan and then turned to give her best smile to the man in front of her. Adam Smith was one of the most influential writers and had been working with the company for more than ten years, now that the term of his contract was over he wanted to negotiate the new terms of his contract. They settled down and started discussing the terms of renewal.

Jonathan watched as Liza expertly negotiated with Adam Smith, her hands moving in wild gestures as she discussed his upcoming book and his writing style. Her dress-up was plain but she didn't look plain at all. Her eyes were bright as she talked about one of her favorite poets, he could see that she was truly passionate about literature. His mind went back to last night as he remembered how cold Liza's eyes had been. He had known that she would be different from what she was before but he hadn't expected such drastic change, but then again her ice demeanor seemed to melt as she talked to the man in front of him. He had hoped to find that maybe Liza had missed him even if it was a little but he should have known that he was nothing but a nightmare to her and no one wants to remember a nightmare.

Liza's spine stiffened as she felt Jonathan looking at her but she continued to talk animatedly with Adam. She hated that she would have to work with Jonathan but then she didn't hate Jonathan enough to leave the job she had worked so hard for. So she sucked it up and accepted Leslie's decisions but there was a lingering doubt in her mind that maybe she didn't put up enough fight. She knew that humans were fickle by nature, they could be thinking about a thing one moment and would do the opposite of the same thing next moment but she always held a stable mind and dealt with every decision she had taken, she was determined to show Jonathan that he didn't affect her anymore and she was set to succeed in her mission because she knew that she wouldn't fall again for the same Jonathan, but then she forgot that if she had changed so had Jonathan and this Jonathan wanted to never lose her again.

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