In the Shadow of the CEO

In the Shadow of the CEO

By:  Mana Sol  Completed
Language: English
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"I wasn't done talking," he said. "In return for this favor, you're going to do something for me."Jia's face paled. "What's that, sir?" she asked, simply because she could feel him ordering her to, silently, with the cold look in his eyes..."You're going to work for me," he told her, his voice dripping venom. "Until you drop dead."---------Jia Moon is riddled with debt and the head of her household after her parents' death. After a disaster, she finds herself serving at the spoiled whim of Atlas Grayson, CEO - but things aren't quite as unequal as they seem.Oh, he has a lot more to contend with than he thinks!

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97 Chapters
1 - Atlas Grayson
Wednesday nights at La Dolce Vita had never been so disastrous. This time, it was as if every rich businessman breathing in the Manhattan borough of New York City had stampeded through this restaurant, but as it so happened, the lowest point of Jia's evening hadn't even come to pass yet.She had known something was wrong when Richard sent everyone else home minutes after the massive VIP dinner event concluded - but then asked her to stay behind to clean up. Alone. Yes, he was an exploitative asshole who freely abused her vulnerable circumstances, but he had never done this kind of thing before: he simply hadn't ever been around for the Wednesday night clean up himself.Ever.If anything, he was the one who always went home early after the weekly Hell Night and made everyone else take care of the mess without him. But not today, though. No, not tonight - because the owner of the five-star La Dolce Vita was intent on making an even worse mess rather than cleaning anything up.A wine glas
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2 - Home
"Your address, miss?"Jia's head jerked up. "Sorry," she said hastily, wanting to pinch herself for zoning out in a stranger's car.This was why she preferred the subway. Yes, it would have taken far longer than this forty minute drive from Manhattan to the Bronx, but anonymity among strangers felt so much safer. And she could only imagine what kind of attention they were attracting now as they cruised down a dirty, pot-hole ridden street manned only by a few homeless, some delinquents out past curfew, and generally everything that the rich and glitzy Manhattan wasn't. The Bronx borough - particularly this side of it - was a different kind of beast altogether.Read more
3 - The Resume
"Mr. Grayson, you have a guest waiting in the lobby. Would you like to see her now?""We're not done here.""Yes, sir. My apologies, sir."The intercom clicked off with a swipe of Atlas's finger scarcely before the woman on the other end of the line, his newest assistant, had finished speaking. "You can continue, Daniel," he said with a wave of his hand as if he hadn't just potentially scarred yet another new assistant with his coldness. It didn't matter. She probably wasn't going to last long anyway. "You were saying?"Another man stood before him on the other sid
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4 - Questions
“Why do you want to work here?"Jia hesitated. “I’m sorry?” she asked, eyeing the man behind the desk with a leery uncertainty disguised as a case of bad hearing. Or maybe she really had heard him wrong, because what he asked made no sense at all. Last she had checked, she hadn’t had a choice in coming here.“Why,” he repeated, stressing the syllable with a sardonic impatience, “do you want to work here, I said.”“I…” Was this a test, or some kind of sick joke? She was here because he had blackmailed her, plain and simple. Jia wished Mr. Grayson had at least invited her to sit before b
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5 - Silk
“Do I have to pay for all of this?”Lydia gave Jia a scolding look with a furrow of her perfectly plucked eyebrows. “Don’t be silly,” she chided before dropping the pile of clothes into the other woman’s arms. “Who would make you pay to take old discards? Imagine. We have to pay to get our trash taken out, you know.”Jia’s eyes dropped down to inspect the expensive fabrics with an apprehensive grimace. True, she had never had an eye for fashion. But these looked just as stylish and modern as any ensemble fitted onto mannequins in department stores, all far beyond her budget. Trash, Lydia had said, but if this was trash, what did that make her wardrobe?“Are you sure these are discards?”she repeated skeptically, and squinted at the topmost article on the stack. Was that a Gucci logo? Discard, really?“Well, all right, not all of them are,” admitted Lydia. “But the damage you would do to our image if
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6 - Weakness
Jia breathed a sigh of relief when Lydia finally put away the binder full of the Dos and Don'ts of dealing with Atlas Grayson. The other woman was still barreling through a heated scolding session on how inappropriate Jia's conduct had been back in the CEO's office, but after twenty minutes of haranguing her for it, she finally seemed as though she were beginning to tire out.“I understand," said Jia, keeping her voice patient and calm as if soothing a spooked horse. “It won't happen again.”“I told you to never question him! Even things like how he would like his coffee or how the day is are off-limits, and then you go and directly contradict him - !”Jia resisted the urge to jump up and flee the room. Of all the ridiculous insanities of her circumstances, the reverential fear the assistant had for her boss had to take the cake. What was this, a cathedral? Was Atlas Grayson the pope? She swallowed the resigned sigh building in her
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7 - Unforgettable
“Mr. Grayson is unavailable to take your call, but I can pass on a message for you.”Lydia was somehow juggling three binders, her smartphone, a stack of unstapled sheets, and a large coffee while handling the phone call with the utmost professional demeanor. She sounded downright automated.“I will make sure your message reaches him. Thank you, Mr. Li. We look forward to the conference tomorrow.”The phone dropped back into the pocket of her slim suit jacket, and Jia was left mystified by how exactly the woman had achieved such a feat when both of her hands were still full. Lydia seemed to think nothing of it as she proceeded to speed down the corridor with all the urgency of a Formula 1 car on a straightaway. Somehow, despite being taller than the blonde and most definitely possessing a longer stride, Jia found herself panting slightly to keep up.“Daniel is our Chief Operating Officer,” said Lydia as they rounded
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8 - Black Coffee
“Close the door behind you, please.”Jia floundered for an instant before she regained the sense of mind to respond to the request. Right, the door. She hastily stepped forward so that she could let it latch shut behind her, but her stare quickly darted back to pin itself onto the young man again. He was the Chief Operating Officer? But how…? Maybe she just thought she recognized him, she told herself, but that couldn’t be it: he had recognized her, too. He had even called her by name.And there was no mistaking that face, of course. A woman would have to be blind to not confess his beauty, with those elfin features and striking green eyes. She didn’t realize she was still staring goggle-eyed at him until Lydia discreetly jabbed her in the side with a well-placed elbow in passing. “These are the documents,” the woman was saying, and Jia catapulted herself back into the present with a firm mental slap. She succeeded just in tim
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9 - Skipping the System
“Last night?”“Yes,” said Daniel, and Jia had to force her facial muscles to relax so that she wouldn’t remain a dead ringer for a marble statue, paralyzed by panic. Those extraordinarily intelligent eyes wouldn’t miss a thing; she needed to say something to dispel his curiosity before he delved any deeper.She had to act natural, casual. And bored, too, she thought frantically, but without making it obvious she was hiding something. The last thing she wanted was to accidentally pique his interest by being too mysterious.But what should she say? Should she lie? But what if he then asked Atlas, who might or might not reveal everything anyway? Maybe a half-truth then - but Jia couldn’t rifle through the facts and figure out which were ‘boring’ enough to safely tell.Whatever you say, don’t say that it’s a funny story, she told herself sternly as she took in a deep breath, still scrambling for the right words
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10 - Opportunities
Daniel already knew how and where and when everything had begun, but the true dilemma had been knowing how little Jia could get away with telling him. She didn’t want to reveal the minute details of her home situation no matter how helpful he wanted to be, or even genuinely seemed to be.But without the proper context, it was impossible to make him understand why she had been so afraid of getting the police involved, why she had begged Atlas to let it all go, and how he exercised such a lopsided advantage over her now because of it.But above all else, Jia knew her priority was to extricate herself from Atlas Grayson’s powerful grasp. She had responsibilities, two kid siblings who depended on her back home. Whatever Atlas’s game was, she knew it couldn’t possibly be good for her.There was no reason to believe this bogus “position” he had given her as the assistant of his assistant would even pay her any wages, muc
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