He gestures to a chair behind him, and sure enough, a folder lies there with my name on it.
“Thank you,” I manage and sit. A bit unnerved, I look around and recognize the members of the board, but no one else. Who are these people? Folding my hands on the table, I try to look confident and purposeful, even though I feel neither.
I have no idea why I’m here.
Dominic stands with his legs apart. His dark gray suit is so finely tailored and conforms to his body so well, it’s impossible to look away. I’ve never seen him appear anything besides in control, but he’s razor sharp today.
“Good morning,” he says to the room. “I’d like to introduce my brother, Alexander. He’ll be frequenting The Rexford in the coming weeks as he gets reacquainted with the business.”
“Reacquainted?” Xander stands. “That would assume I had anything to do with The Rexford in the first place.” He smiles, looking around the table, and shoves his hands into his pants pockets much like Dominic tends to do. People smile back as if he made a joke, but I don’t.
Dominic tenses as Xander slaps him on the shoulder.
“Who better to educate me on the inside workings of The Rexford than my capable, business-savvy brother?”
The two men look at each other. I feel the dig in Xander’s words. If I notice, so do others, I’m sure. But I don’t dare look around the room to see reactions.
Dominic seems unaffected. He indicates a folder before him on the table.
“The 100th anniversary of The Rexford is coming up fast. As you know, we’ll be hosting a gala to celebrate, as well as launching special marketing and promotions.” He opens his folder and everyone does the same, including me.
I skim the papers inside. What I see looks pretty par for the course. Not that I’m an expert on gala-planning, but none of it really stands out to me.
“We need this to be big. Memorable. Exciting. I’d appreciate if each of you would think over the event plan, and let me know by tomorrow if you have thoughts or additional ideas.”
Dominic introduces a woman from the public relations department who chats about media coverage, and then other departments pitch in too with regular business updates. Soon, the hour is over, and the meeting is dismissed.
I still don’t know what I’m doing here. I was shadowing Dominic as part of my internship, but that was before the big scene in his suite. Now, I don’t know where I stand.
I gather my things, unsure if I should stay or head down to work my shift at the front desk. I’m just about to leave when Dominic beckons.
“To my office please, Ms. Evans.”
The formality in his voice feels like a slap in the face. So, he’s pretending like nothing happened. My heart sinks, but I stalk past him and down the hallway. I can be coolly professional, too.
I wait in his office, trying to stay calm. I don’t want him to know that he’s having any effect on me, so I school my features to display nothing. If I’m rigid, I can be prepared for whatever he has to say. It won’t hurt, because I won’t let it.
“Sit, please.” He breezes into the office and motions to the plush leather chairs by his desk. I don’t; I stay put, keeping the damn folder against me like a shield.
Dom pauses, looking at me. Then he steps closer, and reaches out to softly touch my arm. I automatically lean into him. Damn it. I want to be resolute, but his touch? It breaks me.
“I handled things badly the other night.”
“I agree.” I clench my jaw and say nothing else, but he doesn’t back off. He caresses my cheek, then pulls me closer, not into a passionate clinch, but a simple hug instead.