Alisha, Aimee, Mandy, Anita & Valerie
Alisha grabbed the handle of the café’s door the moment her cell phone went off. The door instantly snapped shut again with a mighty of roll of her eyes to accompany it.
“Sorry,” she mouthed to café host watching her through the glass. To be fair, Alisha had been three seconds away from speaking to him about where her group was meeting that day. Instead, she was back on the blazing hot sidewalk, shrugging in her tight, white blouse and readjusting her black pencil skirt as it threatened to keep riding up her sweaty ass. “Yes, Mrs. Monroe?” she said into her work phone.
There was a pause. Oh, no. “As flattering as it is for you to think I am my wife, I’m afraid it’s the other Monroe.”
The adrenaline now spiking in Alisha’s veins made her sweat more. “Sorry, sir. I’ve been mostly communicating with Mrs. Monroe today. I assumed… anyway, what can I do for you?”
“I know you’re on break until three, but if you could squeeze in a moment to forward me the reports from Dublin & Sons to myself and my real estate lawyer, that would be fantastic.”
“Christie Stevens, sir?”
“Yes, that’s the one. Thank God you remembered her name, because I can barely keep all the lawyers straight.”
It was Alisha’s job to remember, wasn’t it? “Of course, sir. I’ll get the files to her as soon as possible.”
“And you, of course.”
She hung up and rushed back into the shade. Why you gotta interrupt the one fucking hour I get off all week, Mr. Monroe? Alisha rued the day she took the big promotion from receptionist to personal assistant. Not that she rued the money and benefits, mind, but what good were the money and great health benefits if she didn’t have the time to use them?
Her monthly meeting with her guild of personal assistants, a group of women who got together to talk shit, deal with their unique challenges, and express the eternal disbelief that their bosses – who had way more money than they had any right to – existed, was the kind of thing she needed in her life. It helped that they always expressed admiration that she joined their meetings, unlike her predecessor, Sarah Clayborn.
Alisha entered the café and discovered she was the last one to arrive. Four other members of the guild were already sitting around the table in the corner of the sunlit café, one of them nursing a baby as if she had not a single fuck to give.
Naturally, Alisha chose to sit next to Valerie.
To Aimee, the only one in attendance who was not an American citizen, this group was the difference between having a social life and being the only French girl who didn’t know how to say, “Kicked right in the cunt!”
Valerie had taught her how to say that at the first meeting Aimee attended two years ago. I can’t believe I’ve been in America for two years! When she was growing up on France’s Atlantic coast, she often dreamed of fording the waves and seeing the sights of New York, D.C., and Chicago. Her employer, the well-traveled Miguel Bolivar, gave her plenty of opportunities to stay close to home and call other parts of the world her temporary abodes. He was only invested in this part of earth as long as he had a casino to oversee and a mistress to bed, but Aimee was the last to complain!
Even when her English was still as such that she had no idea what Valerie meant when she went on about “breast ducts” and “sewed me up tighter than a corset.” What does sewing a corset have to do with her baby? Oh, fuck it. Look at the cute little infant! Look at its gassy smile and how eagerly it grabbed at the air! Look! Look!
“You must teach her Francais,” Aimee insisted shortly after the last of the iced teas and cherry cokes were delivered to their table. “She is going to be tres beau and such a sophisticated dauphine that her second language must be French!” That’s what Aimee’s dear mother would have said, so it was only right she pass it along.
Valerie was the queen of diplomacy and hid her desire to roll her eyes well. It was Mandy, the perky 1950’s pin-up model that responded with, “You should quit your job and be the baby’s nanny so it can hear your cute voice all day!”
Everyone laughed. Except for Aimee, who covered her blushing face with her handkerchief and insisted that she was not good enough to be anybody’s nanny.
“No, she doesn’t need to be a nanny,” Valerie said. “What this girl needs is some homegrown American romance.”
That acquired more sage nods. Except for Aimee, who once more, only knew how to turn redder than Anita’s Shirley Temple.
“There’s a recently divorced lawyer of Mr. Cole’s that looks like he could use a new lady friend,” Mandy said with waggling eyebrows. Perfect eyebrows, it should be noted. “He’s not that much older than us. Maybe thirty-seven?”
“What’s a thirty-seven-year-old doing being a pro lawyer for a billionaire?” Alisha asked. “All the ones my employers work with are old enough to be my grandparents.”
“I think he’s a junior partner at the firm that works with Thomas-Cole.” Mandy shrugged. “Who cares? He’s rich and hot. He divorced his wife because he caught her cheating on him, so he’s got some morals! Score!”
Aimee giggled. “You don’t understand us French very well.”
Valeria guffawed, jiggling her baby in her arms. Mandy sputtered into her Coke, and Alisha excused herself to go to the bathroom before she snorted her iced tea onto the table. Anita was the only one who looked lost.
“Girl, go get that ménage a ass already.”
“Trust me, I know all about the ménage a toi. My employer Mr. Bolivar engages regularly enough that his scandalous pictures are all over the French press.”
The laughter exploding at the table was the stuff Christmas cards were made of.
“This guy would not believe that I was the executive assistant.” Mandy snapped her plastic straw in half. “Because I’ve got big tits, don’t dress like y’all, and wear glasses. Glasses! Since when does being an assistant mean I have to wear contacts?”
Anita perked up. “I wear glasses! Do people think I’m not a real assistant too?”
That garnered her a few snickers. You really are dumb sometimes. Jeez. Mandy couldn’t believe that Anita had been working for someone as discerning as Kathryn Alison for so many years. What was she? One of Kathryn’s many charity cases? It’s a good thing I like you, Annie! She would never call Anita that out loud, though. Anita may be a blank slate of emotion half of the time, but the one time Mandy called her Annie? Anarchy. She should do it again. As a party trick! “Look, guys, I can make Anita angry!”
“People are assholes,” Valerie said with a tired sigh. “If you’re not supermodel hot, they question what you’re doing working for a man who can surround himself with buxom beauties who also know how to type 200wpm. And if you are supermodel hot, it’s assumed that he’s fucking you. Do you know how many times I’ve fielded comments about me screwing my boss?” She wrinkled her nose, implying that her and Ian Mathers in bed together would be like two siblings having a Flowers in the Attic moment. Bonus points for Anita, the personal assistant to Mr. Mather’s long-term girlfriend, being in the room when she said that. “Bastards think they’re so cheeky when they see me sitting next to him and we have one of those a language only we understand moments. Fuck! That’s just the nature of the job!”
“Tell me about it,” Alisha slammed an elbow on the table. “Uppity douches have heart attacks when they come into meetings because I’m black. Then I see the looks in their eyes. Once they quell the burning fires of racism, they’re calculating how much of a racial fetishist my boss is. Because obviously the only reason Mr. Damon Monroe would have a black assistant is if he’s boning her.”
“What happens if it’s Mrs. Monroe you’re with and not her husband?” Valerie asked.
“Short circuits. The brain can only handle so much.”
“I can vouch for your boss not being a fetishist of that kind,” Anita coolly said, sipping her drink. “Because I was the one who arranged the hotel for him to fuck my boss.”
This was Mandy’s first time hearing that Kathryn Alison and Damon Monroe once had an affair when they were still single, and she was all about getting the hot deets – until her phone buzzed in her purse, and she was forced to get up.
“Yes, Mr. Cole?” Her voice instantly changed, as if she were walking to the front of the department store to handle an unruly customer. “Did you get those print-outs I left on your desk?”
It didn’t help Mandy’s mood that uproarious laughter sparked behind her as she walked to a private corner of the room. Damnit, she was missing out, and it was all her stupid boss’s fault!
Anita couldn’t believe she divulged those details – in public, no less – about her own boss’s love life. What would Kathryn think if she found out that Dear Anita had spilled the Monroe beans? Not even Mr. Mathers had known about it for the longest time!
No wonder Valerie had her hand clamped over her mouth, looking like the most spoiled mean girl at the boarding school.
“Tell me what billionaire hasn’t fucked another,” the woman with a baby eventually said. “Even the guys are fucking each other. And the women are, too!”
“Please, we don’t bring up Amber’s name here,” Mandy said when she returned from her phone call. “Although I am forever grateful that she resigned. So I could have her job.”
“The one you can’t get away from? I feel you.” Alisha held up her work phone, currently going off yet again. Which Monroe was it this time? And how badly were they communicating via their proxy? Anita was glad that Ms. Alison was so good about not bothering her assistant on her off time. It helped that Kathryn was currently having a romantic time abroad with her boyfriend. Valerie was still technically on maternity leave, but it didn’t matter today.
Aimee piped up for the first time since her uncontrollable laughter. “I do not know how everyone can keep apart the drama that happens in this town! You know things that even the paparazzi do not!”
“It’s our jobs to know,” Valerie said. “That’s what we get paid the big bucks for.”
“Speaking of big bucks…” Alisha was wasting no time. “Who wants to compare notes about time off? Because I think I’m getting shafted compared to some of you.”
Valerie held up her daughter. “Have a baby. You’ll get all the time off in the world. Trust me, I’ve done it twice now.”
Conversation derailed – all anyone wanted to talk about was the baby, and Anita could not say she was disappointed.
One by one, the other assistants were called away to deal with whatever hell their employers were currently in. Alisha had to grab her coat and mumble that her daft boss forgot his mother’s birthday and needed flowers and a gift now. Aimee’s boss wanted a flight scheduled back to his home country of Monaco yesterday. Mandy got a call not from her boss, but from his wife, who wanted to surprise Mr. Cole with a fun night out. Could Mandy help make that happen?
All three women were nothing but smiles as they performed to the best of their abilities. They were consummate professionals, after all. For many of them, these were dream jobs that they had fought for and weren’t about to let go. The money was great. The healthcare? Fantastic. Side bonus if they met the rich man of their dreams, although not everyone was a Sarah Clayborn. (Nor did they want to be. The rumors about that crazy train had blindsided everyone. Orgies with rich dicks. That’s some crazy heiress level of shit. Valerie had seen her fair share of dumbassery in her years working for Ian Mathers and alongside Anita.
They were practically sisters now. When Ian started dating Kathryn, it was more than a convenient relationship between those two souls. They had created a blended family when they dragged their assistants into it. Valerie wasn’t impressed about changing more litter boxes, but at least she could use her pregnancies as an excuse to get out of it! Anita was still single. Forever, probably.
And the only reason they were the ones left at the table was because their bosses had chilled out and were probably having sex on some sandy beach somewhere. Good luck with that sand in your pussy, Kat. Valerie looked down into her daughter’s chubby face and sweetly muttered, “I’ll teach you all about avoiding sand in your bits one day.”
“Huh?” Anita asked.
“Nothing!” Valerie looked around before pulling a notepad out of her bag and plopping it onto the table. “Shall we?”
Anita also had her notebook and tablet out. “Let’s get to it before he changes his mind. Again.”
To be fair, coming up with the perfect wedding proposal for Kathryn Alison was no easy feat when the woman was not in the mood to get married. So happened Ian was not confident about his own plans, and threw it at the assistants to figure it out in his stead. “You’re ladies. You know what’s romantic!” Valerie had half a mind to throw her pen into her boss’s face.
“Engagement ring in the champagne glass?” she said.
“That’s the best idea we have so far. And I’m not convinced Ms. Alison will swallow it, whether on accident or in spite.”
This was the kind of plotting they couldn’t do around the others – and Valerie lived for it.