Charlie Harrison, CEO of Waveyskies, is an asshole. Not only is he twenty-five minutes late for the meeting, but he ruthlessly plans to cut jobs to improve his bottom line. As head of sales, Camila Hughes refuses to pander to him, but when he meets with her alone in the board room, she can’t help but submit to his demands, and not where it concerns business decisions.
Age Rating: 18+ (Cheating)
I am pretty sure the meeting will run over now, considering the bigshot himself is still running late.
It pisses me off that everyone else has to be on time, yet the most important man in the room doesn’t bother to show until he is good and ready.
Charlie Harrison, CEO of Waveyskies. I know all I need to know about this guy from the news—playboy by night and day.
His parents are billionaires, and being the handsome only child means he gets to do whatever he wants, with anything or anyone he wants.
My boyfriend, Graham, was beyond interested when I told him Charlie would be appearing in our meeting today.
But the fact remains that he is notoriously a bed-hopping rich boy who is probably late because he is getting his dick sucked.
My mind drifts to this morning’s lazy session before we left for work—a quick fumble in bed before Graham exploded all over my tits, and we fucked off to work.
Graham has given up promising me orgasms now—I have to do it myself if I want one. What is the point of that?
“Mr. Harrison, thank you for joining us!” I hear Saaed Jumar gush from the end of the table as everyone sits up straighter, shuffling papers like they are all incredibly busy. Except for me.
I have decided that just because this guy pays my wages, he doesn’t get respect until he earns it. If asked, I bet he wouldn’t even know who I was, when I worked, or even my last name.
He looks exactly as he does in the photos I’ve seen on his desk: messy brown hair that he wears in what I can only assume he thinks is a “trendy” style despite being over thirty-five years old.
His suit is, of course, tailored to his broad chest and arms perfectly, unlike Peter Dunne’s, who sits beside me looking like an extra from Beetlejuice.
“I’m really sorry I’m late,” comes the deep voice. “My driver had to take his daughter to school unexpectedly, and I didn’t think you would mind waiting a further ten minutes.”
“Of course not,” says Mr. Jumar hastily, his eyes filling with dollar signs as he sighs. “We would have waited as long as it took.”
“Twenty-five.” I clear my throat, gathering my paperwork up as Mr. Jumar glares at me in disbelief, shaking his head warningly. “We waited an extra twenty-five minutes for you.”
Charlie Harrison lifts an eyebrow quizzically in my direction, and I push my hair behind my ear before meeting his gaze head-on.
My father ran his own business for forty years, and he wasn’t late once. He understood that his team was just as important as him, and each of them had families and lives outside of work.
If they were on time, so would he be.
“And you are?”
“Camila Hughes, Head of Sales,” I reply without breaking eye contact.
“I see. I apologize for keeping you all waiting for twenty-five minutes, in that case,” Charlie replies, sending me a lopsided grin before Mr. Jumar falls over himself, apologizing.
“Camila is one of the best we have ever had. She started at the bottom and worked her way up. She doesn’t mean to offend.”
“From the bottom, hmm?” Charlie gazes at me before rubbing his hand over his mouth. “Lucky us, having you on board, Miss Hughes.”
I nod primly before checking my watch.
I have a conference call in two hours, and I need to make the announcements my team has been waiting for. Are we going to be closing stores? If so, which ones, and when?
I notice Charlie watching me with a strange expression on his face before he turns to the board behind him.
“I have been carefully considering our options. While the market is weak at the moment, I believe that closing stores will be detrimental to our business.”
I close my eyes and sigh with relief. I couldn’t face being tasked with cutting jobs again. As unpredictable as the travel industry is, the staff need some form of stability.
Maybe Charlie does have a sound head about him after all.
“That said, we don’t need as many staff as we have currently. Camila, would you please advise the RSMs to evaluate on an individual level the overheads on each store? Start with the worst performing.
“We need to make cuts somewhere, and in this climate, we can’t afford to have too many bodies in the stores. Apprentices are the cheapest—keep those and cut at least one body from every store that is underperforming.”
I am stunned, but I recover in time to answer him.
“With all due respect,” I begin as Mr. Jumar shakes his head violently. He is my immediate boss, and he looks like he is going to choke on his own tongue.
“Camila, I’m not asking. If I wanted business advice from anyone, I would seek it from someone who knows that area better than anyone here.”
“I am the head of sales—” I argue, my tone cold.
“You are, and I am not dismissing you personally, am I? Your team doesn’t need to be as large as they are now. We have to make cuts.”
“I see,” I reply tersely. “Is this just retail that you plan on cutting, or call centers too? Overseas? Head office? I mean, if we are overstaffed—”
“Camila, can we talk after this meeting? It seems we have more to discuss. Yes, what is your question?” Charlie smiles, moving his gaze to Valentina, who flutters her spider-leg lashes in his direction.
“I am just wondering if the Rain brand is still aiming to be launched in February?”
I lose focus on the conversation, still smarting from Charlie’s shutdown earlier. Who the fuck does he think he is?
I remain silent, taking a gulp of my now-cold coffee whenever I want to interrupt him. He is cocky and arrogant, but annoyingly, he knows the industry.
Twenty minutes later, the meeting is adjourned, and Mr. Jumar makes a point of wiggling his eyebrows at me, slowly moving his fingers across his throat.
No interpreter needed to figure out that little message.
I remain silent until the door closes behind Mr. Jumar, and I clear my throat.
He walks in front of me, resting his hands behind him on the table across from mine. He gazes at me, and suddenly, I don’t feel so confident.
“You have no idea the effect this will have on retail. Those staff work tirelessly for your company to line ~your ~pockets, yet they are the first you cut out when the going gets tough.
“Which it does, in travel, I know. It gets tough.”I pause, sitting upright to gaze at him as he watches me silently. “Where is the loyalty? These people have families, they are on minimum wage—”
“We are not a charity, Camila. I suppose you are right, though. The minimum wage of a handful of those people would be saved if I cut your job instead,” he muses, folding his arms to look at me with interest.
“Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for those people you know nothing about?”
“I don’t need to know them. I was one of them. I don’t want to work for a company that doesn’t value its employees. So, excuse me, Mr.—”
“Camila,” he barks as I stand up, dragging my bag onto my shoulder.
I am furious. Graham would pass out if I walked out, but I just can’t work like this. It is hard enough as it is without this guy sacking countless people in a pandemic.
“I’m afraid not. I don’t take orders from anyone,” I say quietly, walking to the edge of my table.
“I bet you do, in the right circumstances.”
I am not sure I heard him correctly, but from the playful glint in his eyes, I hazard a guess that I did.
“Excuse me? If that was at all a hint of sexual innuendo, Mr. Harrison—”
“A hint? Am I not being blunt enough?”