Chapter One Lisa got to work as early as she could and went about organizing the office. She stored away files in alphabetical order…
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Chapter One Lisa got to work as early as she could and went about organizing the office. She stored away files in alphabetical order…
Lisa got to work as early as she could and went about organizing the office. She stored away files in alphabetical order and colour coordinated the books on the shelf. Everything had to be perfect, the CEO of their chain of companies was going to visit their branch for the first time since she had started work as a sales representative at the company. Word was that he went to every single office and gave his remarks when he was done. He also wasn't one to tolerate tardiness. From what she heard, he was the perfect example of the rich asshole stereotype. His name was whispered among workers, no one wanted to be caught on his bad side. Lisa was bent over, arranging the books on the bottom shelf when she heard someone clear their throat behind her. She was startled and almost fell over but the stranger's strong arms steadied her. He smelled of exotic cologne and man. Lisa looked up to meet his gaze and literally jumped away from her position in his embrace.
"I'm terribly sorry, sir." She avoided his gaze as she apologised profusely, it was embarrassing enough as it was. Her first impression of her boss was of her being a complete klutz.
Jack just smiled tightly and turned around. She had been bent over when he was passing by, leaving her generous behind in the air for everyone to see. She also had an exceptionally organised office, two of the things he liked the most. He couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet the lady that instantly had his attention without even trying. He walked in and stood for a good minute and she still hadn't noticed his presence so he cleared his throat loudly.
Lisa nearly knocked the wind out of Jack when she turned around. She was 5 feet and nine inches of sex in his mind. She had a caramel skin tone that left him hot and thirsty and pouty lips that made him wonder what she would taste like. He was in her office two minutes and in his mind, he was already mauling her and taking what he wanted. But sexual harassment suits kept his feet glued to the ground, but they weren't going to stay glued for too long if he had anything to say about it. She looked like she was about to pee herself when she saw that it was him. She was scared of him, that often worked in his favour.
Jack couldn't wait to finish making his rounds. He had to know the woman that had him mesmerized in a matter of minutes, had to see her again. Nothing else impressed him so he breezed through the most boring part of his job and then called everyone together to give his final remarks.
"Well done everyone. Everything here works but I don't need things to just work, I need exceptionality and top quality. I hope for better when next I come around." He looked around and finally spotted her in the back. "You there." She looked around like he couldn't possibly be talking to her. "Yes, you. What's your name?"
"Lisa." Her voice was wobbly when she answered, he truly terrified her.
"You have the most organized office which is a good thing but I wonder if you spend too much much time worrying about where things go instead of actually working." He saw a flash of anger cross her beautiful features and he smiled inside. Now she could be herself when he asked her out.
"Wait here. Everyone else can go." Jack dismissed his employees and waited as Lisa sashayed her voluptuous hips towards him.
The click-clack of her heels echoed in the otherwise quiet conference room, they were now alone. She stood to his side and waited for him to get on with whatever he had to say.
"Go out with me. Tonight."
Lisa was stunned and she was sure her mouth had hung open for an embarrassing enough amount of time.
"I'll send my driver to pick you up at 7 pm. Wear something nice." With that, Jack got up and walked away, leaving a completely stupefied Lisa behind.
Lisa couldn't process what had just happened. He said he'd send his driver, that meant he knew where she lived? He didn't even ask for her number, how was he going to reach her? And did she have a choice in the matter? She had just started a new life after all the things she had gone through and she really needed her new job. It was difficult enough to find a job that had decent pay. She was determined to keep her job, that was why she was so thorough with it. Now her boss wanted to go out with her? For what particular reason? And he wasn't just her boss, he was the boss to a string of bosses. He could end her whole career without even trying. Lisa began to worry. When she'd had the chance to respond, she had just stood there and stared and he'd left with a smug smile on his face. What did she say to someone like that?
Lisa concluded that she didn't have much of a choice in the matter, she was going to be ready for when the driver showed up. She would much rather unwind with a glass of wine after a hard day's work but she didn't have that option. She gathered her things and left when it was 5 pm. She usually worked late but today wasn't that day. The company would survive one evening without her.
Back home, she rummaged through her closet, looking for a presentable outfit. He had instructed her to look nice. She wondered what kind of place they would be going to; was it a restaurant or a bar? It most definitely wasn't a club, 7 pm wasn't the time for clubbing and Lisa didn't exactly make Jack out to be one for clubs. She found a royal blue cocktail dress that stopped just above her knees and finished the outfit with a pair of red high heeled shoes. She applied a little mascara and lip gloss and looked at herself in the mirror, she didn't look half bad. She threw her phone, ATM card and some cash in her clutch right before the doorbell rang. She rushed to the front door and met a man dressed in a black tux waiting for her. Outside was a huge black SUV. She was ushered into the back seat by the driver and they were on their way.
Fifteen minutes later, Lisa started to wonder where they were going but the driver wouldn't answer her questions. She quickly sent a text to her best friend Jordan, telling her that she was on her way to meet Jack Lawson and to text her back later to make sure she was safe. Of course, Jordan was more excited about the Jack part, completely ignoring her security concerns.
The car finally came to a stop in front of a new exclusive restaurant. It had opened only a few days before and it was a big deal to get a reservation at. The driver came around and opened the car for Lisa, leading her into the restaurant. Jack was sitting at a table by the window that was overlooking the buzz of the city but also had a measure of privacy. She got to his table and he stood to greet her. He took her slender hand in his larger one and brought it to meet his lips. Lisa's skin tingled with the touch and she quickly removed her hand from his. He came around and pulled out a chair for her and she sat down.
"Thanks for coming out." Jack smiled at Lisa, showing his perfect teeth and not so subtle dimple. Something about his smile made Lisa want to smile but she was determined not to give him the wrong impression. She had a general idea where he was going with all of it and it wasn't a ship she was jumping on.
"It didn't seem like I had much of a choice." She regretted her words once they came out of her mouth, even she could hear the sass in them.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that." She apologized quickly.
"It's alright, I guess I came off too strong."
"Can I ask what this meeting is about?" Lisa had a good idea but she didn't want to assume, in the off chance that she was wrong.
"I want to get to know you, in more ways than one." He looked her dead in the eye it took all of Lisa's restraint not to call him out on his suggestive statement.
"Is it work-related?" Lisa had to be sure although she already had a feeling she knew what he was going to say.
"Then I don't think it is appropriate."
"Just relax, I can feel your tension from all the way over here. I'm not going to jump your bones."
Before she could respond, the waiter came and took their orders. Jack ordered spaghetti with beef sauce while Lisa opted for the chicken salad and Jack raised his eyebrows at her choice of food.
"What?" Lisa questioned.
"What's wrong with a salad?"
"I like a woman who eats. Although I can't complain if it keeps you looking like that."
Lisa felt her cheeks heat up, he was openly admitting to checking her out.
"So why did you want me to come out?" Lisa changed the topic.
"I want you."
"Want me to do what?"
"Look, I realize I'm supposed to take you out a few times, buy you flowers and chocolates and what not but I suck at that type of thing. So instead, I'm going to be straight with you."
The arrival of their food interrupted his speech.
"Eat up, we'll talk after dinner."
Lisa couldn't wait to get dinner over with. His words could mean that her worse fears were confirmed. She wasn't the most attractive female where she worked and she was only a sales representative, nothing important. Why had she been the one to catch his eye? A lot of women back at the office would give their right arm to be out on a date with Jack, yet it was she who needed the least attention drawn to her that he picked. She also couldn't tell him to go straight to hell with his sexual innuendos because she needed a job. Not only was he capable of firing her, he could make sure that no one else hired her. At least not in Abuja. She was going to play the good little girl during dinner and then politely shut him down afterwards. Hopefully, he would leave her alone. But the thought left a bitter taste in her mouth. She didn't think he was used to getting no for an answer and she also had trouble believing that he would take it just because she said it.
The food turned out to be really good and both Jack and Lisa revelled in the tastes of the exotic spices. They ate in silence and Jack was about to order some dessert but Lisa objected.
"I'm stuffed, thank you. But you can get some for yourself if you want."
"I was going to get my satisfaction from watching you eat some ice cream. But I'm good if you're good."
There it was again, Lisa thought. All evening, he had been very suggestive and inappropriate and it was starting to get on her nerves. Yes, he was a very attractive man, everyone could agree. He was tall, well dressed and sinfully handsome. He always looked like he had just stepped off of the covers of a men's fashion magazine but that didn't mean that he had exclusive rights to any woman he wanted.
"Well?" Lisa prompted. Dinner was over, it was time to talk.
"I want us to have an arrangement. I need to get married but I am not capable of romance or love or any of that superficial crap. Here's what I propose; a marriage that is really just a business arrangement. You get 50 million naira immediately you sign the papers. And if you stick with me and have children for me, you own a quarter of everything I have. You'll be provided for and taken care of during this time. You will also be protected and will enjoy all the privileges that come with being a Lawson. But there's also a non-disclosure clause in the contract, no one can know that it is a contract. Especially not my mother."
Lisa was beyond dazed. Her mouth was hanging open by the time he finished his tirade. She didn't know where to start from or how to even process everything he was saying. A contract wife? What made him think she would buy into such an idea? She had thought that he wanted sex from her, maybe even just a night of it. The farthest thing on her mind was becoming a contracted, Mrs Lawson. She wasn't sure how someone responded to something like that. It sounded attractive, she would finally be able to take care of herself but at what cost? Would she be happy? Getting married to Jack on a contract basis was like selling your soul to the devil. Everyone knew exactly who he was and people rarely had good things to say about him. How was she going to live with the devil and retain her sanity? Her first thoughts were to say absolutely not but was that really wise? And he said he'd protect her, she needed that. So much more than he understood and she knew she could trust him to when her demons came lurking but there were a lot of things to be considered. But what even made him sure that she was the right fit for this type of thing? Didn't you have to know someone before you married them? What about things like her family background and her genotype? Didn't he need that kind of information?
"What do you say?" Jack prompted.
Lisa was not sure she had the words. She had to talk to Jordan at least. But he'd said no one could know, she couldn't keep this kind of secret to herself.
"Can I think about it?" That was the best she could come up with at the time.
"I'll give you two days then I'll be expecting your answer. Time isn't exactly on my side."
That raised another question, "Why do you need to get married so urgently, don't you want to try and find someone that suits you?" Lisa was truly confused, there had to be a reason he was rushing into it and in this manner.
"Let's just say it's time. All the other details you'll find in the contract I'll have delivered to you when you give me your answer."
When? Did he think she was going to say yes? And there was already a contract?
"You've thought this out haven't you?" She couldn't help but ask.
"Yes, I have."
"So why me? Surely there's someone in your social circles you'd prefer."
"You're intelligent, hard-working and very organized. I am a simple man when it comes to these things, that and the fact that I'm not about to marry an airhead to bear my children." Jack was looking Lisa straight in the eyes, completely sure of every word he spoke.
"I'll have to get back to you. This is a huge step and I want to be sure I'm making the right decision."
"Don't overthink it. You'll have your freedom and liberty to keep things as they are. The only things that will change are your address and last name. That and the fact that you may have to move around with security every now and then."
Lisa just nodded. She didn't know what else she was supposed to say.
Jack paid their bills and they left the restaurant. The driver brought the car around and both Jack and Lisa got into the back seat as the driver headed back to her apartment. Jack sat so close that Lisa could feel the heat radiating from him. The silence in the car was pregnant with tension. Jack put his hand on the little skin exposed above Lisa's knee and her body burned under his touch. He didn't touch her more than that, he just left his hand there. Lisa had gone out on the date with Jack expecting to be infuriated by his forwardness or maybe to be nervous to be so close to her boss, never in a million years did she expect a marriage proposal. Growing up, Lisa like every other girl daydreamed of the day a handsome man would drop to his knees, profess his love ask her to marry him. She never thought that a business mogul would offer to pay her to be his wife. It was the least romantic proposal in the world but who was counting?
The car pulled to a stop in front of her apartment complex. Both Lisa and Jack climbed down from the car. They walked to the front of her house and Lisa started to say goodnight but jack surprised her by capturing her lips in a searing kiss. She was so shocked at first that she'd just stood there but then he grabbed her hip and kissed her deeply. She heard a moan come out of her and that's when she realized she'd been kissing him back. She pushed him away and took several steps back.
"Goodnight Lisa, I'll be waiting for your answer." With that, Jack turned around and walked away.
She didn't understand what had just happened. She stood there for a moment before Jordan, her best friend and roommate opened the door and squealed. Lisa didn't realize she had come home. She'd been with her boyfriend Francis when Lisa was leaving the house.
"Are you going to come inside and give me the full gist or are you going to remain here?" Jordan was bubbling with excitement. Lisa turned around and walked inside, she had the feeling that her world as she knew it was about to change.
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