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SAVORY APHRODISIAC

Love Finds You

 

CHLOE QUINN

Copyright © 2016

 

Chapter 1

 

Finally the inquisition had ended. Bianca couldn’t believe how many questions this guy had asked. If she didn’t know better she would have believed she had just gone through a screening process. It was one that should have entitled her to meet the president of the United States.

And who was this guy Damien? Yes he was attractive. He was just over six feet in height. He had light brownish blond hair which he wore in a buzz cut. His fit body was dressed in a grey colored suit and white shirt. The outfit was completed by the complementary tie. It made her think he looked like ex-secret service. She giggled the thought away and continued to think about his appearance.

Damien’s eyes were bright blue in color and sparkled when he talked. His demeanor was friendly and warm. Bianca found that she felt at ease instantly when she had met him.

But returning to her theory of the past hour and a half being a screening process Bianca couldn’t help but grunt with disgust. The process had been long and completely ridiculous. And the entire thing had taken place in the foyer of this man’s home. He hadn’t allowed her to leave the ivory tiled spacious entryway. He had two wooden chairs at the main entrance. This had been where they had sat as he conducted their meeting.

Bianca thought, at least she was lucky enough to have been offered a seat for the long interrogation.  Then her mind drifted to her next thought. She was use to being the one who would be performing the screening process. After all it was her gallery, Savory Aphrodisiac, she wanted his art for.

“Okay Ms. Winn.” Damien uttered while reviewing his tablet where he had recorded her answers to his questions. “I just received word that he is interested in actually meeting you. He will hear your request in person. Did you bring the items you were instructed to bring?”

“Yes, I did.” Bianca answered stunned. Who was this he Damien was referring to. She was under the impression that Damien was the artist. Now she was just mad. To know that she really was going through a screening process to meet his royal highness, her new nickname for this eccentric artist who she knew only as Mr. R, really was insulting.

Bianca found herself in contemplation suddenly. Was this man’s art really that captivating? Would her gallery connoisseurs really be moved by his work? Was all this fuss really worth it?

Bianca had already gone along with everything that he had requested of her. She had followed all of the specifications in the note she had received by electronic fax an hour prior to the meeting. The note she received read:

Dear Ms. Winn,

 I have been informed that you wish to meet with me regarding my photos. Since you have been recommended to me by a dear friend of mine I will entertain a meeting with you.

Please bring a weekend bag which contains the following items

One formal dress

Toiletries

An outfit to hike in

And something to sleep in

And Ms. Winn please do not wear anything fancy to the meeting. A t-shirt and blue jeans with comfortable shoes will be fine. And you don’t have to dress up your face either. That will not be necessary. Your hair worn in a simple ponytail will be fine.

 A car will be arriving in twenty minutes to take you to the meeting location. Please follow all of the instructions to the letter.

 

Signed,

Mr. R.

Bianca was in utter disbelief when she received the communication from him. She had waited over a month. She really had thought the meeting wasn’t going to happen. She had heard that this artist was nearly impossible to get a meeting with but she never dreamed that the process would be so elaborate.

She really wanted this meeting so she had followed the instructions to the letter. She had quickly changed her thin fit frame out of her aqua business dress. She washed off her makeup and placed her long caramel colored hair in a ponytail as requested. She clipped her eye length bangs back away from her face. She had then placed her favorite pair of sunglasses over her dark olive green eyes as she nervously awaited the car’s arrival.

However Bianca’s sister, Bonnie had something to say to her before she left. Bonnie wasn’t only Bianca’s sister she was also her business partner at Savory Aphrodisiac which was not only a gallery but an exclusive hotel, restaurant, and winery. Bonnie was leery of the meeting. Bonnie, who ran the restaurant and winery part of the business, didn’t like the idea of her only sister running off to God only knew where in order to score an artist for the gallery no matter how talented he might be.

The conversation with Bonnie from earlier replayed in Bianca’s head.

“I know that you have fallen in love with this man’s photography but Binks think about it for a minute. You don’t know anything about him. And to want you to just hop into a car which will take you to an unknown location is downright dangerous.”

“I know Bon Bon.  But sometimes risks have to be taken for the sake of great art. If only you had seen the picture in Gidget’s office you would understand why I have to do this. Me walking away from this would be crazy. He is perhaps my greatest find ever. I know talent like his only comes around once in a lifetime. Plus you know I have to do this for another reason.”

“I know Binks but are you sure?” Her sister said. She understood the situation her sister was going through.

“Yes Bon Bon. I have never seen art that touched me so deep. I had to go over to it. I must have spent an hour or more lost in the photo. And the photo I saw was a portrait of a Gidget with her husband Cortland. But it was the way he photographed them. It was more than just a portrait. He captured their very essence in that photograph. It’s been some time since art has spoken to me. I haven’t had such a strong feeling about anyone’s art since…” Bianca trailed off. Her eyes became teary.

Bianca had thought about her friend Ryan Franklin. He had been the one who shared the love for art since they were kids. But now he was gone. And it had been several months since his passing and she hadn’t seen anything that inspired her. She had believed that maybe her love for art had died with him. Then she had seen Mr. R’s work in Gidget’s office and once more her passion for art had sparked to life within her.

Knowing it was still too fresh for her sister, Bonnie had decided to take the conversation in a slightly different direction. “But how do you know that he will even give you what you’re looking for? He might take nice photos but are you sure he can make art?”

“That’s just it. His photos are art. I think he just doesn’t realize the talent that he has. I need to make him see that his art needs to be shared with the world.” Bianca said wiping a fallen tear away.

“Well you do have the eye for it. Our gallery is listed as one of the highest acclaimed galleries in the world because of your eye for talent. So if you feel this risk is worth it then I will support you all the way. But I want you to call me to let me know you reached your destination safely okay.” Bonnie hugged her sister.

“Okay I will. Thank you so very much sister for your support. It means the world to me. I’ll call you as soon as I arrive.”

Bianca had then kissed her sister goodbye as she rushed out to the car which the mysterious Mr. R. had sent for her.

****

And now she was being told that this wasn’t even him. She just assumed Damien had been this gentleman’s first name or at the very least Mr. R. was his handle.

“Hate to interrupt your deep thought Ms. Winn but did you hear my last question to you?” Damien politely inquired.

“No, I didn’t. Sorry I was lost in thought.” Bianca said returning to their conversation. “But you have to understand my confusion. Who are you? I was under the impression that you were Mr. R.”

“Yes most people think this. It’s just a precautionary measure. It’s one that Mr. R has to take.” A kind yet sad smile crossed Damien’s blue eyes.

“Why?” Bianca couldn’t help but be curious.

“I’m sorry Ms. Winn but I’m not at liberty to say. If Mr. R. wants you to know he will tell you himself.” Damien’s voice was apologetic.

“Uh okay I guess.” Bianca uttered stupidly. What else could she say? She already felt uncomfortable with the situation. Here he had asked all of these penetrating questions about her and her background. But she asked one question that seemed harmless enough and she got the freeze out.

But that wasn’t what was making her feel uneasy. She knew by the expression in Damien’s eyes and his tone that she shouldn’t have gone up that path. However her curiosity had seized her. Bianca had started to suspect that maybe Mr. R had something to hide. Initially she had chalked his extreme measures up to his artistic genius. But now she sensed something else.

“What was it you just asked me?” Bianca said trying to refocus on her task at hand.

“I asked if you were ready to leave.”

“Leave?”

“Yes, this is my house. The car is ready to take you to Mr. R.’s location. That is if you are still interested in meeting him.”

“Of course I am.”

“Good then I need one more thing from you.”

“And what’s that?” Bianca’s hesitation hung heavy in her words.

“You have to leave everything you brought with you here to proceed.”

“Everything?”

“Yes everything.”

 

 

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Excerpt

Daphne

Donna’s Gate:

The Gate Sisters Vol. 1

CHLOE QUINN

Copyright © 2016

 

Chapter 1

 

“I’m glad you all are here.” Duke began on the pristine San Franciscan morning.

Daphne smiled. She loved when they had a meeting especially like the one Duke was having today. He had brought in his favorite ice cream treats, It’s-It. This always signified a huge company announcement like a raise or more paid holiday time.

The only thing that was perplexing to Daphne was she didn’t know what it was. As the CFO of Duke’s production company, ACTION, she usually had the heads up in not only knowing where the company was going, but she usually helped him make the decisions especially on decision that considered the company’s finances.

But that didn’t matter right now. She could tell by Duke’s face that what he had to say was about to be awesome.

“So I know you all saw the It’s-It by now. So you know that I have a big announcement.”

Duke wrapped his arms around himself with excitement. He then blurted out, “Gosh, I can’t contain it. Should we just tell them?”

Daphne wondered who he was posing this question to. She saw the confusion on the other faces in the boardroom. Then all of their eyes fell on her.

Usually this was the place in the meeting Duke would be too excited to tell the group what was about to happen and he would rely on Daphne to tell them. But she was just as clueless as the group.

That’s when she spotted the Bluetooth in Duke’s ear. He then said, “Yeah I agree you should tell them.”

Suddenly the large hi-definition flat screen, which was at the front of the room right next to Duke, illuminated.

Daphne was shocked to see who was on it. How could this be? Daphne now was more confused than before. The man on the monitor was Tim Dough. This had to be a mistake, Daphne thought as Tim started to talk.

“Good morning all. As you might have guess by now…” Tim had begun but was now interrupted by Duke.

“We are now a part of the large movie house, CineGrade.”

No it can’t be, Daphne thought to herself. This was horrible. Now what seemed to be a great meeting had just gone straight to hell. How could Duke have done this?

“The good thing about this is everyone is getting a raise of ten percent,” Duke uttered bubbling over with joy. Everyone in the boardroom cheers except for Daphne.

“There will be a few changes,” Tim said from the cold monitor. Everyone around Daphne groaned.

“Not bad changes,” Duke jabbered on, “I think you’ll all love it. Especially since this means we will all have the holidays off with pay. So starting Thanksgiving week everyone is off until January 1st of next year.”

Once more Daphne watched as the room filled with cheering employees. She knew there had to be a catch outside of the fact he had neglected to tell her that he was not only considering a merger but had accepted the offer.

That was the only time Duke left her out of the loop like this. There had only been one other time in the three years she had been working with Duke he done that. And it had been a big catch last time, the other production company they had merged with didn’t have the funding their company had so as a result, they almost bled ACTION dry. Thankfully, Daphne had been able to fix their financial woes and save ACTION from going belly up with the other company. She had even been able to do save them without any of the other employees at ACTION getting wise to it. The only ones who knew how bad of a situation Duke had gotten them was Duke and Daphne.

So to hear he had gone and done it again, Daphne, not a cynical person she was just wise, still was sitting there waiting for the other shoe to drop. She was bracing herself for the possible Armageddon that might follow this announcement.

“As you all know CineGrade’s offices are located in Canada.” Mr. Dough uttered with a cordial smile on his face. A hush fell on the room. And there it was, the shoe had dropped.

“You all will need to relocate to Canada. But don’t worry about it CineGrade has been thoughtful enough to make sure the move will be painless. They are paying for all of the moving cost.” Duke said looking around the room at each of them. His face was wearing a ridiculous grin.

He turned his eyes to Daphne last. In his dark brown eyes Daphne caught a hint of something but she couldn’t put her finger on it. However, before she could, Duke casted his gaze back to Tim on the screen.

“Yes, in fact we have secured housing for all of you. These are lovely homes in a gated community for those of you who have families. For all who are single, there are condos, townhouses and apartments in the same community available for you.”

Tim had continued where Duke had stopped. Mr. Dough had given more information about the new arrangements for the company.

Audible sighs of both relief and excitement rang out. Apparently everyone was happy about this.

“We have packets for all of you that outline all of the details. Human Resources will be setting a meeting this week with each one of you to go over your new employee contracts for CineGrade,” Duke rattled off.

His voice now had a quiver to it as he continued to avoid making eye contact with Daphne’s bright blue eyes.

Duke’s lack of eye contact made Daphne recognize something was seriously wrong and to take it as a very bad sign. Her mind spun in several different directions to why he wasn’t making eye contact.

She narrowed her eyes. What was he up too? Duke began to talk again as Daphne tried to stop her mind from completely losing it.

“Okay people that’s all for today. Take the rest of the day off. Actually take the week off. But make sure you check your text for your appointment time,” Duke finished his speech with, “Science is over, class dismissed.” Duke whimsically ended the meeting like he always did. He quoted the end of the theme song from one of his favorite sci-fi TV show from the 80s, Misfits of Science.

The room exploded in a ball of energy as employees exchanged their reactions to all of the news. Daphne, who was securing her Microsoft Surface in her cream colored leather messenger bag, was still in disbelief. She watched as the others poured out of the room.

She had decided she was going to hang back to ask Duke what was going on. She finished gathering her things and headed in Duke’s direction.

“Ms. Gate can you please stay behind. There are a few more details we need to go over with you.”

Daphne hadn’t missed the frigidness of Mr. Dough’s voice.

“Of course,” She answered.

“Actually Daphne, I’ll let Tim talk with you.”

Duke anxiously eyed the screen. “I’m going to take off, face time me when you’re done.” Duke said to Mr. Dough as he began to head out of the empty conference room.

“Will do,” Mr. Dough said followed by, “Have fun on the course man. Wish I was there in California to go to the golf course with you Duke. Can’t wait to hit a couple rounds with you next week when you arrive in Canada. See you soon.”

“Ah I don’t think so Duke. I think you Duke should be having this discussion with me more than this guy. Don’t you at least think you owe that to me Duke?”

Daphne’s tone was just as firm as her blazing blue stare at Duke as she had issued those words.

“Fine Daphne. If that’s what you want.”

Duke actually sounded a little annoyed. Daphne could feel that she was now ticked off. What the hell was he mad at? After all she was the one with plenty of reasons to be mad. And then he thought he could just punk out and not explain how this merger happened. No way.

“Ms. Gate why don’t you take a seat right her in front of the screen,” Tim Dough said and motioned for her to sit.

“Actually I would like to speak to Duke alone if you don’t mind Tim,” Daphne insisted.

“Actually Ms. Gate, as the new head of this production division of CineGrade, I will be the one you will be speaking with. Duke go ahead and leave,” the jerk on the screen said with an elevated voice. His pale face was now red with anger. Mr. Dough drug his thick fingers though his dark blonde hair messing up his rigid slick back style.

“Um, okay. Sorry Daphne.”

Duke shrugged his shoulders. He collected his iPad and exited the room in a hurried fashion.

“Fine, then can you tell me exactly what is happening here?”

Daphne tried to have a soft tone to her own voice but she couldn’t. She didn’t care who this guy was. There was never any reason for someone to act this crazy in a business meeting.

“As you know…” Mr. Dough began. Daphne suddenly realized as he began this way that something more than she thought was wrong. Apprehensive of what was about to happen, Daphne listened on to Tim’s next words.

“CineGrade is a large movie house. And as a large movie house we have several departments in our company. One of those departments happens to be an accounting department.”

Oh god what was he saying, Daphne really hoped it wasn’t what she was thinking but she knew by Tim’s tone that she was right to fear the worst.

“This department handles all of CineGrade’s accounting books. And now that ACTION is a part of CineGrade, this department will be handling all of ACTION’s accounting needs.”

Daphne was glad she was seated for this conversation. If she hadn’t been she probably would had collapsed on to the floor by now. Daphne’s palms found their way to the plush seat of her chair. She pressed against the seat as if physically bracing herself for the next part of what this man on the screen was going to say to her.

Completely oblivious to Daphne’s inner thoughts Dough proceeded on.

“Duke and I discussed the possibility of you coming to work with our accounting department. Even though you are a certified accountant Ms. Gate, unfortunately the higher ups in the company didn’t think you were qualified enough to work for such a large company with only a bachelor’s degree in business obtained at a state school.”

An awful ping was zapping Daphne’s chest. He didn’t know but his words where now scraping away at an old wound called regret as he continued to speak.

“You see Ms. Gate, our accounting department is one of the highly sought after departments for people in your field. Most of the candidates who are considered for the department must have a MBA. And the majority of the applicants that we consider have graduated with honors from an Ivy League school.

It felt like the buttons on her beige blouse where closing in around her neck. Her hands had stopped pressing against the chair. She had started to wring her hands which was her nervous habit.

But she knew she must stop this immediately because this was a sign that she was losing control. So she dropped her hands to her plum colored skirt. She crossed her legs, regaining some of her self-control.

Due to her distress, Daphne had to make sure not to drop off the tan colored kitten style high heel on her foot for fear her concealment of her feelings might be discovered.

“We reviewed your transcripts and schooling history. The board was quite disturbed to learn that you got accepted not only to one Ivy League school but to several of them. We wondered why you did not attend especially since you had a full scholarship to attend the one of your choice.”

Mr. Dough pause and stared at her.

However, his words had just stuck the knife deeper into her heart. Her chest was almost ready to explode. Daphne dare not speak afraid that the tears she was holding back would not just prick her eyes but that they would become a raging river. She knew if she let the old hurt take over and let it out of the bottle she might not be able to put it back in.

“No answer,” Mr. Dough said as his head twisted with disgust, “well Duke answered the question for us in the meeting we had about you. He told us that you had turned down all of the Ivy’s to stay with a guy you were seeing. Something about he didn’t want you to go away.”

And there it was, Daphne’s big shame. She regretted that decision every day since. Especially since she was from a small town in California named Donna’s Gate. And if you were a member of the Gate family which happened to be the family that founded the town, like Daphne was, everybody definitely knew your business.

When she had accomplished getting into so many colleges, the entire town had celebrated their star pupil.

However, many of those same residence of the town also knew that she was in a serious relationship with her high school sweetheart Rick Levine.

So many questioned what would she do. They even had taken a poll on the decision they thought Daphne should make.

And since in Donna’s Gate so many people where still very old-fashioned, some really didn’t think there was a choice for Daphne to make.

92% of the people polled in Donna’s Gate actually voted for her to stay and marry Rick once they had graduated from high school. They thought she should definitely leave her Ivy League dreams behind because that wasn’t what a young woman should do especially if she already had a proper young male suitor.

But Daphne wasn’t old-fashion, she had always wanted to attend an Ivy. So for her there wasn’t a choice. She had made up her mind that she was going to one of the Ivy’s and that was that.

She always assumed that Rick would support that. But she had been dead wrong. He was completely against it especially after his scholarship that gave him a full ride to the University of New York at Buffalo, was receded and then offered it to another student.

When she told him of her wishes to still go to school, he begged her to reconsider. She had refused at first. But after several months of begging and turning the entire town into a pressure keg of people who completely supported Rick, Daphne caved. She reluctantly declined all of her acceptances for her dream schools.

After she had sent her last letter, Rick had been happy with her again. He then asked Daphne to be his bride. Daphne wasn’t too sure if she wanted to marry him after what he had done to her when it came to not supporting her dreams to go to college after his own had evaporated.

But yet again, when she didn’t give him an answer; she had felt the cold shoulder from Rick and the town. He had even recruited her parents that time.

Once more Daphne made a decision to please everyone else and not herself. She accepted Rick’s proposal. She took several extra shifts at her family’s café to pay for their wedding.

And that’s when it happened. Two weeks before their nuptials. Rick received word from the University of New York at Buffalo that they were offering him the scholarship again because the other candidate had fallen out.

Unlike Daphne, Rick had not consulted her. Instead he had packed up the next day and headed to Buffalo. He hadn’t wanted to miss anymore of the school’s football training camp.

Daphne didn’t find out about it until she was at the chapel where they had planned to marry that he was gone.

She had been there to make the final non-refundable payment for the chapel. The lady in the front office of the chapel told Daphne that her husband had given Rick a ride all the way down to Sacramento Intl Airport the day before.

Daphne had been devastated not only because he had basically left her standing at the altar, but he had chosen to pursue his dream of playing college football at the school he had wanted to attend.

Daphne felt foolish.

Over time she had picked herself up. And after several months she applied to several schools and was accepted. But since she had turned down all of the other school along with the scholarship money, her parents refused to pay for her to attend school. They said they weren’t too sure if they wanted to spend that kind of money if she was only going to flake out in the end.

Daphne had been furious. But she didn’t give up. She made a decision, she was going to work and earn the money to put herself through school.

Finally, a year later, she had earned enough money to pay for business school at San Francisco State University.

At first she studied the business program at night online and continued to work at the family café during the day in order to save more money.

Once Daphne had saved enough, she knew she had to make another choice. This time she knew the best decision for her was to move to San Francisco and become a full time student so she could take more classes to graduate.

So she did.

Soon after, she had received her bachelor’s degree in business. She had planned to attend the university’s business school and obtain her MBA. But once more she had reached a road block. She didn’t have enough money.

So she had to return to Donna’s Gate and work for the café again.

But as luck would have it, one of the guys who attended business school with her was starting a production company. He remembered that Daphne had always been great with numbers and he needed that kind of person at his company.

She had jumped at the opportunity.

She had been working with Duke ever since.

At least until today.

 

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PASSION IN SEASON

Four Degrees of Chloe

 

CHLOE QUINN

Copyright © 2016

 

Chapter 1

“Good morning,” Colby spoke into her cell phone then took a sip of her Venti Awake English Breakfast tea from Starbucks.

“Oh my god Colby. Are you always this chirper? It’s like 4:40 in the morning. I thought you would still be asleep,” the grumpy girl on the other end returned.

“I always get up this early. I’ve even been on my morning run,” Colby stated and then got to the business of the call. “So are you ready to go?”

“Ah, of course not. That’s why I’m calling this early. I wanted to leave you a voicemail that I wasn’t going to make it.”

“Really Vero?”

Colby tried to sound surprised but she wasn’t. She knew this girl was going to flake on her. That’s why Colby was already halfway to the city of Napa in one of the company’s executive cars. She knew not to wait for Vero.

“This is why I didn’t want to talk to you directly. I knew you would be upset Colby.”

Vero’s voice was still coated heavily with late night activities. Colby figured it was due to the fact that Vero always partied on the weekends. She came in every Monday morning hung over.

Apparently this Monday morning was no exception.

Colby could picture what Vero looked like right now. Colby had no doubt Vero was a hot mess. Vero’s blonde hair mostly likely was stringy and damp with her makeup smeared on her face.

Why was this picture so vivid for Colby? Colby unfortunately had picked Vero up once or twice in the past on a morning like this one from a club when Vero was too intoxicated to make it home on her own. Colby had no idea how she had become Vero’s go to designated driver those few times, they basically only had a work relationship, but Colby went anyway. She figured Vero had to have been desperate calling her.

Returning her mind to the conversation Colby said, “I’m not upset. But you know this conference is for work right?”

Colby was actually done with the conversation. Colby knew it was pointless to continue the discussion with Vero because Vero really didn’t care about her own job security. After all Vero was the daughter of one of the owners and sister to Colby’s department head at Griffin Wineries.

And now barely twenty-one year old Veronica Griffin was Colby’s problem. Vero had been Colby’s headache ever since Colby had been promoted to a lead manager in the sales and acquisitions department.

“I know it’s for work, but I’m just your assistant. I don’t see the point of me going too. I figure you have to learn the new rules in order to secure the business deal with Hayes Hotel,” Vero paused and yawned loudly. She then continued her drunken rant.

“Anyway, just because you made more work for yourself doesn’t mean that I should have more too,” Vero huffed.

Colby knew the girl just rolled her enormous blue eyes because she was actually annoyed she had to explain this to Colby.

Colby really wished she had ended the call before Vero had drifted to the subject of the new business deal. But now the subject had come up.

Colby had been proud of what she had accomplished by making the business deal with Hayes Hotel. After all, Griffin Wineries had attempted for over a decade to get their wines added to the hotel’s wine list and had failed.

When she was first hired to work at Griffin Wineries fresh out of business school a year ago, she had heard the rumors in the department about how no one could land a deal with Hayes Hotel.

Colby, being young and ambitious, gave it a shot. She failed. However, Colby hadn’t let that stop her. She ended up getting turned down five times before she finally got a meeting with the person who made the decisions on the hotel’s inventory, Brian Baxter.

Colby’s presentation was a hit. Hayes Hotel contacted her and said that they were a go just as long as Colby followed a few of their guidelines they had for admitting a new product to their hotel. Colby, with clearance from the owners and the executive board at the winery, had agreed to the terms Hayes Hotel had given her.

And because Colby was able to actually get Hayes Hotel to consider a business contract with Griffin Wineries, she received a promotion to a lead manager making her the youngest person who was a non-family member to receive the position.

Though the owners and executive board had been thrilled, her co-workers not so much. Envy over her securing the deal ran wild in her department. This had been the reason Colby hated that Vero brought the business deal subject up. She didn’t know the exact words Vero was going to say next. But sadly, Colby was all too familiar with the hurtful place they would come from.

“You can handle a few meet and greets on your own can’t you superstar?”

And there it was, the venomous animosity that Colby received every day from her co-workers.

Colby really didn’t care if she received attitude from the other people she worked with in her department. She had worked in sales for over twelve years starting her freshman year in high school. She had been really good at it, so she had decided to major in business in college.

So, she was no stranger to the business of sales or the inevitable culture of envy it tends to percolate.

When it came to her job at the winery, she was there to do a job not to make friends.

But she did resent receiving attitude from Vero. Vero had just turned twenty-one and had never held a job before. She didn’t know anything about anything.

Originally, Colby had been excited about working with Vero. Even though Colby was only five years older than Vero, she knew there was a lot she could train Vero on because of her experience in the field of sales. Colby had hoped Vero would take this opportunity to learn from her like Colby had done with her mentors when she was Vero’s age.

But instead Vero had chosen to adopt the attitude of the other people in the department and treat Colby with disrespect.

Adding to it, Vero was Colby’s assistant. Vero was supposed to work alongside Colby not against Colby.

Colby had to table her anger that had been mounting in her thoughts as she spoke to Vero, “Okay Vero, we’re not getting into this today.”

“See, you’re mad. This was a bad idea to call you. I knew you would be a grouch,” Vero stated smugly, her words sounding pouty.

Colby wished she could reach through the phone and choke the stupid girl. Instead she said, “That’s fine I guess I’ll handled it myself like I always do.”

“Why are you saying it like that? I do my work,” Vero said her voice sounded anxious.

Colby could hear her words had actually hit a nerve. She smiled. Then she frowned. Why was she stooping to this foolish girl’s level?

“Look, what I mean is, I will go to the conference without you Vero.”

That was a little more professional, Colby thought to herself.

“Good. I guess if you don’t need me this week I’ll find something else to do,” Vero’s words appeared to sound relieved.

Colby knew why Vero had been relieved. Colby knew she had to clarify what she had meant.

“That doesn’t mean you have the week off. There is plenty I will still need you to handle on that end. I will be receiving information that I will need you to process every day.”

“What? Are you serious? You won’t even be there and you still want me to be there. You’re going to be off having fun at a resort and you want me to be stuck in that office. Unfair Colby.”

“I can still have the car come and get you so you can join me at the resort if you want.”

Colby held back her laugh as she listened for Vero’s next words.

“No! I don’t think so. I just told you I wasn’t going to do that. Haven’t you been listening to me?” Vero sounded stunned.

“Well then I’m sorry Vero. Since the information I will be receiving is time sensitive and will need to be given to the execs every day, you’ll have to be at the office.”

“That’s just downright cruel Colby.”

And with that statement Vero had disconnected the call.

“Guess she didn’t like what I had to say,” Colby said with a small giggle as she removed her Bluetooth from her ear.

“Miss. We have arrived,” the driver said.

“Thank you Hank.”

Colby peered out of her tinted car window. She hadn’t expected her eyes to fall on the most awe-inspiring sight she had ever seen.

 

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