Ruling the CEO - Book cover

Ruling the CEO

Kimi L Davis

Chapter Two


Ellis was right, Kieran did come back, sooner than I expected him to. And the worst part was, I was all alone in the toy store with no one to save me from that handsome man.

It was during Ellis’s break that Kieran entered the toy store. And to say I tried to hide would be an understatement.

But there was no place in the toy store where I could hide, not that it would’ve mattered because I had to attend to Kieran as it was the store’s policy to attend to the customer.

Today he looked particularly handsome in his dark blue shirt and jeans. His muscles were prominent and were stretching the elastic material of his shirt, giving me a nice view of his muscular body.

“Hi, Jenny, right?” Kieran said, flashing me a smile that had my heart hopping with excitement.

I frowned upon seeing that beautiful smile. It had been twenty-four hours since I last saw him, and I distinctly remembered the glare he threw my way when he left the store yesterday.

So why was he smiling now? Had his anger evaporated? Did he not hate me anymore?

“Uh yes,” I said after I realized I was staring at him for the past five minutes. “Is there something I can help you with?” I asked.

“As a matter of fact, you can. I need the perfect toy for my niece this time,” he replied.

“Is it your niece’s birthday?” I should slap myself, I really should.

Why was I standing here, talking to a stranger, knowing all the danger that came with strange men? It was like I was blatantly telling trouble to come find me. I was an idiot.

“No, but since I’ve spoiled her rotten, she expects me to bring her a gift every time I visit her. You have no idea how difficult it is for me to buy her something that she doesn’t already own. This is why I need your help.”

Kieran smiled at me again. He smiled a lot, which meant he was happy in his life. Which was a good thing; everybody deserved to be happy, and I was glad this beautiful man was content with his life.

“I see.” I took a deep breath, willing my heart to relax. “What kind of a toy are you looking for?” I questioned.

Kieran was the kind of man whom you could spend hours looking at. Every angle of his face, each curve of his muscles was perfect.

And right now, he was being incredibly nice to me, even after how I treated him yesterday. I liked sweet men; there were so few of them these days.

“She likes stuffed animals, but no bears,” Kieran answered.

“Stuffed animals. They are in aisle three. I’ll take you to them,” I stated.

If he was going to be nice to me, I could push my reservations regarding strange men aside and be nice to him as well. After all, I promised my mother on her deathbed that I would be kind to everyone.

Stepping out from behind the counter, I led Kieran toward the aisle containing all sorts of stuffed animals. It was my favorite section in the whole toy store.

There was something so sweet about the stuffed animals, it made me feel at peace.

“Here you go. Pick any you like,” I said to him, gesturing to the hundreds of stuffed animals sitting proudly on the shelves.

“I don’t suppose you’re going to help me select one, are you?” There was amusement in his tone, and despite the way I felt toward him, I couldn’t help the smile that curved my lips.

“I’m sure you can select one,” I responded, before looking away.

“Right.” Kieran fell silent for a moment, probably looking at the stuffed toys and wondering which one he needed to buy for his niece.

I glanced around the aisle, making sure not to look at Kieran.

“You like strawberries?”

I jumped at his question. “What makes you say that?”

“Maybe because there is a giant strawberry on your shirt, and the fact that you were wearing a shirt with strawberries printed on it yesterday as well,” he answered.

I was surprised by his observation. I didn’t realize he noticed my clothes, much less remembered it.

“I just find them cute, that’s all.” I shrugged.

“I agree, they are cute,” he said.

“H-have you selected a toy?” I inquired.

I couldn’t let this get out of hand. I couldn’t afford to get close to anyone or have someone get close to me. I needed to keep this professional. Kieran didn’t need problems; he was happy in his life.

“Yes.” He plucked a giant stuffed strawberry from the aisle and handed it to me before grabbing a stuffed duck from the shelf below. “These two.”

Nodding, I led him back to the counter. “Would you like me to wrap these up for you?”

“Yes, that will be great,” he replied, fingering a couple of keychains dangling from the stand. “So, where is your friend today?” he asked as I pulled out a couple of boxes to put the stuffed toys in.

“Ellis is on her break. She will come back in a short while,” I answered, putting the duck in the box and wrapping it with glossy paper.

“I see.” He paused. “I want to ask you something.”

“Yes?” My stomach twisted in knots as I wondered what he wanted to ask me.

“Would you like to go out on a date with me, on Saturday?” Kieran asked.

My fingers froze on the tape dispenser as my eyes flew to meet his soft brown ones. Date? He was asking me out on a date? Was he insane? Did he not realize what a disaster it would be to date me?

No, no, I couldn’t do this. I could not bring Kieran into my world.

“Uh, well, you see, I have plans on Saturday,” I told him.

“Okay, what about Sunday then? I’m sure you’ll be free on Sunday,” he queried.

“I have to go visit my mother on Sunday.” That was not a lie. I did go to visit my mother every Sunday…at the graveyard.

“Maybe we can visit her together,” he suggested.

Why couldn’t he take the hint? I didn’t want to go with him. And I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by rejecting him outright. But it looked like this was what I would have to do.

“No, we can’t. Sunday is like mother-daughter bonding day, no third person allowed,” I stated.

“All right. Not Sunday then. How about tomorrow? It’s Friday, and we can spend the evening together, maybe a nice dinner and a movie?” God, he was persistent.

I sighed. It looked as if I would have to hurt his feelings. “Look, Mr. Maslow—”

“Oh wow, you remember my name, but please, call me Kieran.”

“Kieran, I am flattered that you want to take me out on a date, but—”

“Hold it, don’t finish that sentence. I understand.” He gave me another smile.

Why did he keep gracing me with those beautiful smiles? I just rejected him, and he was still smiling at me? I didn’t deserve those smiles, not after refusing his offer.

“Y-you do?” I was glad I didn’t have to tell him no. I hated hurting people’s feelings, even if it was the right thing to do.

“Yes. I will just pay for my purchases now,” he replied.

“Right, of course.” I quickly checked out the items and handed Kieran back his credit card. “Have a nice day,” I told him.

“You too, Strawberry.” With a wink and that ever-present smile on his face, Kieran walked out of the store. Strawberry, he called me Strawberry? The man gave weird nicknames.

Once Kieran was gone and silence reigned in the store once more, I sat down on a cushioned chair and looked out the window, making sure I was safe and he was not there.

It had been six years since I ran away from him, with nothing but a little money and a lifetime worth of scars on my body and soul. The years did not pass by so easily for me.

But it was better now, at least I hoped it was. Ellis was a blessing in my life. Without her, I would still be existing in that hell—barely breathing.

I knew I wasn’t completely out of the woods yet. He could still come for me; I had no doubt that he would. And I would have to leave once he decided to show himself, but for now, maybe I could relax.

Even so, I couldn’t afford luxuries like Kieran Maslow in my life. He was nothing but a fantasy, a fantasy I yearned would morph into reality.

However, this would never happen, so it was best if I just kept my distance from him. It was better for both of us.

Even though I wanted to forget about Kieran, I couldn’t. There was something so alluring about him, something that forced me to think about him, to visualize that gorgeous smile.

I was going crazy. But I was sure every girl who came across such a drool-worthy man would spend hours thinking about him.

It was unbelievable how he just asked me out on a date. He didn’t sound like a creep, like other men sounded whenever they asked me out. Just because I was skinny, they thought they could touch me, control me.

But Kieran didn’t do anything like that. He didn’t come eerily close to me or try to touch me.

“Hey, what are you thinking about?” My heart nearly jumped out of my ribcage when I heard Ellis.

“You nearly gave me a heart attack!” I glared at my best friend as she dropped her purse right beside my chair.

“Not my fault you were so busy in your thoughts. What were you thinking about?” Ellis asked again.

“Nothing, just stuff,” I answered.

“Wow, that tells me all I need to know,” she replied, every word saturated with sarcasm.

I rolled my eyes. “Nothing special, Ellis. Drop it.”

“You’re not thinking about him, are you?” Ellis inquired.

“Him who?”

“Duh, you know who,” she said.

Realization dawned like the rays of a toxic sun. “No, not him. It’s someone else.”

“Oh wow, that’s the first time in six years you’ve told me that you are not thinking about that tosser,” she stated, her voice holding a mixture of awe and relief.

“That’s because I’m not.” It was not easy for me to forget about that monster, which was why it surprised me just how intensely Kieran occupied my thoughts.

“That’s wonderful. Are you thinking about your mum?” she queried.

“No, Ellis, I’m not thinking about my mother either,” I responded.

“All right, now I’m stumped. Tell me what or who are you thinking about?” she demanded.

“Why?” I arched my eyebrow in question.

“Because you thinking is a dangerous thing. The last time you were lost in your thoughts, I had to pull you out of the bathtub that you were planning to drown yourself in,” she answered.

I winced as I recalled that horrible day. If Ellis hadn’t been there to pull me out of the water, I would’ve died, I would’ve never met Kieran, and Ellis would’ve been all alone in this world.

That was a selfish and a cowardly thing to do; and that day was a particularly dark day in my life. It was the time when I found myself at an all-time low.

“Well, I was thinking about Kieran,” I told her.


“Kieran Maslow, that man who came in yesterday,” I explained.

“You mean that delicious man? Oh wow, why are you thinking about him?” Ellis asked.

“Because he came in again. He bought two stuffed toys. He left a few minutes before you came in,” I informed her.

“Man! Why didn’t you call me? I missed seeing that delicious man,” Ellis whined.

“Well, in that case, what I’m about to tell you will have you exploding,” I stated.

“What? What is it?” Ellis came awfully close, closer than I was comfortable with. Seeing this, she flashed me an apologetic smile before taking a step back. “Tell me.”

“Promise me you won’t freak out,” I said.

“Just tell me,” she urged.

“Okay.” I took a deep breath. “He asked me out on a date, and I said no.” I clenched my eyes shut and waited for the explosion that I knew would be coming.

“What?” And it was here. “Are you trying to take a crack at me? Please tell me you did not reject him.”

“I did, I just told you that. I told him I was busy and didn’t want to go on a date with him,” I replied.

“Did you hit your head on the wall? Why would you do that? You missed such a good opportunity!” she admonished.

“Ellis, you know I can’t date men,” I argued.

“No, you just choose not to. Happiness comes knocking at your door, and you send it away. That’s stupidity, Jenny. How can you expect to live a happy life when you don’t embrace such opportunities?”

Ellis slapped a hand on her forehead in frustration.

“Ellis, stop it. You know why I rejected him. I can’t bring Kieran into my life. I can’t ruin his life like that,” I defended.

Grabbing her purse, Ellis dug her cell phone out and handed it to me. “Call him, right now and tell him you want to go on a date with him.”

“No, and I can’t call him because I don’t have his number.” I handed the phone back to her.

Ellis sighed, her forehead creasing in a frown. She was annoyed.

“I don’t even know if he will come tomorrow or not. And even if he did, there is no guarantee he will ask you out again. Men like him do not do well with rejection; they take it personally.”

She banged her fist against her forehead. “I knew I shouldn’t have left you alone. You always choose the wrong thing. Next time, I am spending my break right here with you.”

“Would you cut it out. It’s not a big deal. I’ve rejected other men before, what’s one more?” This girl knew how to make a mountain out of a molehill.

“Those men were creepy; they deserved to be rejected. But Kieran is a good man. You get one good man, and you push him away,” she chastised.

I took a deep breath. I’ve had enough of this.

“Ellis, I would appreciate it if you’d cut me some slack. I have much more important things to worry about than a potential husband, and you know that. So stop it, please.”

Ellis sighed. “I’m sorry. You’re right, Jenny. I just want you to be happy.”

“I can be happy without a man,” I argued.

“I know, but still. I want to see you happy and married with a couple of cute kids running around. I want you to have a happily ever after,” she stated.

But that’s the thing. I wasn’t destined for a happy ever after. My life was not a fairytale, and it never would be. And if Kieran continued to pursue me…

Then he would know this too.

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