I’m not sure I understand her question. My mind goes blank. “Um… finish this bender and then… I don’t know, brush myself off and look for a job?” It comes out sarcastically. I’ve just lost everything I cared about. What does she think I’m going to do?
“What if I said you didn’t need to look far?”
I frown. “What?”
“Pay attention, Juliet.” She gives a little laugh. “I’m offering you a job. I want you to come work for me at the Rexford.”
I blink, but I can’t respond. She’s playing with me.
“Look, I now have a huge stake in the Rexford,” Lillian explains. “And with Xander supporting me with his shares, we have the majority to make a real difference. I need someone who knows the insides of the company, who can give me the advice I need. My personal liason, assistant, advisor – call it what you want. I’m offering you three times your normal salary, and you’d answer only to me.”
My brain finally catches up. She and Dom’s brother are taking control. She wants me to help her?
“I’m just an intern!” I protest.
“Say what you will about my ex-husband, but he has excellent instincts when it comes to finding good people.” She shrugs. “Dominic trusts you.”
Pain shoots through my heart. “Trusted, Lillian.”
“He valued your judgment. Obviously, that makes you someone to watch. An up-and-comer. Besides, you know how Dom works. I need someone who can stand up to him and fight in my corner.”
Fight Dom? Suddenly, it becomes clear. “I won’t be your pawn! I didn’t know what I was getting into with the set-up, and I won’t do it again.”
“This isn’t a set-up. I’m laying my cards on the table.”
I shake my head. “He won’t even let me on the property. He hates me.”
“And you’re going to let that stop you?” Lillian arches a perfect eyebrow. I don’t know what to say. “I misjudged you,” she continues. “You’ve worked hard for your career. I didn’t think you’d let him walk over you like this.”
She opens her purse and takes out a business card. She looks around for a clean surface, then gingerly places it on my purse.
“What do you really want, Juliet? A career, or a broken heart that’s going to get you nowhere? Dominic can’t crush you if you don’t let him.”
She walks out, closing the door behind her with a click.
I catch my breath, reeling. Going back to work at the Rexford… It’s a tempting thought, but I stop it in its tracks. I can’t. If I work for Lillian, Dom will never forgive me. He values loyalty above all else. Lillian says she’s being straight with me, but how do I know this isn’t part of some devious plan to drive Dom and me even further apart?
If only he would talk to me, let me explain that I was never part of her agenda.
I need to see him.
I grab my keys and phone, and rush out the door before I can talk myself out of it. I’ve downed half a box of wine in the last few hours at least, but I manage to flag down a cab a couple of blocks away. Soon, we’re speeding towards downtown.
This is insane, but I can’t stop now! My heart races as we pull up to the side of the Rexford. Dominic is inside—so close, but so much separates us. I have the crazy thought of telling him what Lillian said, of us laughing over the absurdity of it like we would if everything was fine.
I get out and try to think this through. I don’t want to make a scene at the front entrance. Besides, my yoga pants and flip flops don’t really scream ‘I belong’.