Home > Requiem (Providence #2)(4)

Requiem (Providence #2)(4)
Author: Jamie McGuire

“The one I’ve wanted to take you to…where my father took my mother.”

I smiled. “That sounds fantastic, but I have a meeting, first.”

“Right,” Jared said, pretending he’d forgotten.

I straightened my skirt at the waist, and then pressed the button for the third floor. My entire last day of freedom could have been spent with Jared, but Mr. Patocka asked that the interns come in for one last meeting before school began. Some of them were leaving, and he needed to redistribute responsibilities. I had looked forward to this meeting al week, only because it was Sasha’s last day. That alone was cause to celebrate.

“Interns,” Mr. Patocka began, looking through the papers in his hand. He always said interns as if it left a bad taste in his mouth.

“Anna, Brad and Evan wil be leaving us, leaving Shannon, John, Nina and Sasha with new responsibilities. I would like to say…”

Mr. Patocka’s words blurred together after I realized he’d put Sasha in the wrong category.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Patocka?”

“Yes, Miss Grey?” he said, obviously irritated. I was wel aware that had any other intern interrupted him they would have been promptly asked to leave the meeting, but everyone knew, including Mr. Patocka, that I wasn’t just an intern.

“I think you’ve made a mistake. Sasha isn’t staying,” I said as professional y as I could manage.

“Stil not paying attention to your briefs,” Sasha snapped. “I’m staying on through the school year.”

“What?” I said, my tone more disgusted than I’d meant. I looked to Mr. Patocka, who nodded while looking incredibly bored with the turn the conversation had taken.

“I…she….” I stumbled over my words, trying to think of a way to save face after I’d made it so clear that I was shocked and dismayed at the news.

“It’s okay, Nina. We stil get to be office mates,” Sasha purred. Her smile was that of a cat being polite to the bird just before she ate it.

“Moving on,” Mr. Patocka continued. “Sasha, you’l be taking over Brad’s duties, Shannon, you’l be taking over Anna’s duties, and John wil be taking over Evan’s. I expect those departing to make sure those staying behind have exact instructions.”

“What about Nina?” Sasha said, glaring back at me over her shoulder.

Mr. Patocka sighed. “Nina wil be training with Grant during the school year, Sasha. Try not to make me feel as though I’m babysitting more than I already do, please.”

“With Grant?” Sasha groused.

Grant was second in command at Titan. When Jack died, he assumed the management responsibilities until I was ready to take over. Working with him was not something I looked forward to; I had spent my teenage years watching Grant suck up to my father and, to Jack’s amusement, shamelessly flirt with me.

Jack saw something in Grant that I couldn’t—or wouldn’t—see. Not only did he give Grant promotion after promotion, he tirelessly tried to persuade me to go out with his up and coming, incredibly intel igent, star employee.

While being within five feet of Grant usual y made me a bit nauseous, Sasha had been scheming to land a job as his assistant since her first day.

Mr. Patocka’s decision to place me in the very position she’d been working for al summer would no doubt push her beyond any irritation she’d had for me before.

I smiled at the thought. This would mean an al -out war.

“Is there a problem, Sasha?” I asked, trying to preserve a bit of respect from my future employees.

“Problem? Not at al ,” Sasha said with the sickeningly sweet laugh that liberated her from most awkward situations she’d created for herself. “I apologize, Nina. I didn’t realize you were so sensitive,” she smiled.

I looked to Mr. Patocka. “Are we finished here?”

“I’m finished with the meeting, but I need you to come to Grant’s office with me, Nina. He needs to brief you on a few things before you start back next week.”

The other interns filed out of the room, shaking hands and saying their goodbyes. I nodded to each of them as they made a bee-line to the elevator, but not before meeting Sasha’s cheap grin with one of my own.

Mr. Patocka escorted me down the hal and into the elevator, punching button four, where my father’s office stil resided. Grant’s office was on the opposite side of the floor, paral el to Jack's. Half of his wal s were covered in degrees and pictures of polo ponies, and the other half al owing the sunshine to pour in from large windows that overlooked Fleet Rink.

Mr. Patocka knocked on Grant’s half-opened door. “Er…Mr. Bristol? Nina’s here to see you.”

“Bring her in.”

I walked into his office, sitting in a puffy green chair, feeling amiable for a change. Grant had worked for my father for ten years, and like every cliché rise-to-the-top story, Grant started at entry level. The only thing that would have made his story any more boring would be if he’d began in the mail-sorting trenches, had we kept a mail room. But Grant didn’t begin his days at Titan as a mail boy.

He began as an intern.

“Nina,” Grant greeted me over his thin, square glasses.

“Grant,” I acknowledged with a nod.

Grant looked at Mr. Patocka and smiled politely. “Thank you, Eugene.”

Mr. Patocka ducked from the door and shut it behind him. Even though I saw Grant as somewhat of a weasel, the rest of the employees regarded him as their personal savior.

“Okay, what’s with al the formalities, Grant?” I said, crossing my arms.

“Give me a break, Peanut,” he smiled.

He sat in his chair, leisurely crossing his ankles on top of his desk. I frowned at his ridiculous argyle socks. They resembled the very thing I hated about Grant Bristol. He was handsome in an annoying, maddening way. His light, brown hair and clean-shaven baby face made most women at our office swoon. He was wel dressed and wel spoken, and I suppose he was even funny at times. Al of which made me want to plant my fist straight into his square chin. He reminded me of the token soap opera star. His words were fake, his smile was fake, and his very presence affected me like nails on a chalkboard.

“Ugh…you know I hate it when you call me that,” I groaned. “If we’re going to work together you’re going to have to stop that, Grant. I mean it.”

“Anything you say.” He smiled with his too-straight, too-white teeth. “I want you here when you’re not in class. If I could do it, you can do it. No excuses.”

Attempting to keep my temper in check, I stood and offered a smal grin. “See you tomorrow.”

“One more thing…,” Grant said. I turned and waited. “Nice skirt, Peanut.”

I stomped out of Grant’s office, trying not to kick anything on my way out. When I pushed through the front door, I saw Jared’s Escalade parked against the curb across the street as usual, only this time he stood against his door looking extremely uncomfortable while Sasha leaned against his car on her shoulder, not six inches from him. I could see that he was trying to be polite as he kept his arms crossed, careful not to react to her flirtation, but my eyes zeroed in on Sasha giggling and touching his shirt, chest and arms with every other word.

“Nina! Hi, Sweetheart.” Jared said, my interruption a relief. He pul ed me into his arms and made a show of planting a kiss on my lips.

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