Chapter 1


Chapter 1:

The bass of the Rap song blared through a portable speaker. A few bourbons down, and Don caught himself laid out on a beach. The sun rays making the sand between his toes warm. The sun was hot, the breeze was cool, and he couldn’t imagine anywhere else he wanted to be.

And there she was, walking towards him from the shore. Her tanned brown petite body covered in patches of sand, dripping water from the Pacific Ocean. A neon orange string bikini showed off the round shape of her small breasts. He liked how her short hair danced with the wind, shining golden-brown hair under the sun. She smiled at him, getting closer and flicking him with water. All her tattoos came into his view; tribal symbols starting from her shoulders and fading into a mosh pit of clouds floating into both wrists.

“Are you going to do that thing where I have to reintroduce myself to you because I was away for five minutes?” she joked, shadowing over him with her body. She had dark eyes

“You wouldn’t have to if you were gone for two minutes. But the rules are the rules.”

She laughs, extends her arm and says, “Hi, I’m Paola. And you?” The curve in her lips were soft and round, showing off small dimples in the side of her cheeks.

Suddenly, an alarm blares from across the beach. He looks back at Paola who morphs into a foggy cloud of white smoke. Her orange swimsuit fading into nothing and Don reached his hand out into thin air.

He jolts up and finds himself alone in bed.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t on some private beach, and he didn’t have a fine Paola standing half naked in front of him. Instead he was sitting in sweat, his phone going off to remind him he had to go to work.

As soon as Don walked into his office, there stood Paola by his desk. Startled, he cleared his throat and adjusted his jacket. “I wasn’t expecting you in here.”

“I thought I could speak to you for a second before I meet with my dad.” She spoke softly, adjusting the gold bangles on her wrists. She wore dress pants that were cuffed at her ankle to match a slick navy-blue blazer. A look he wasn’t expecting considering her work-from-home life being an artist. He always saw her wearing loose crop tops and sweats or puffy yoga pants.

“So he can bash me all through lunch about the work he’s giving me two weeks from now?” Don scoffed, taking a seat behind his desk.

“C’mon. He’s not that bad.” Paola pouted, leaning forward on Don’s desk. She could smell he had his usual cup of coffee. She liked how he always kept routine and lived simply. He never changed up his course and that felt comfortable to her. She watched him roll his eyes, adjusting his plaid tie against his forest green shirt. Paola wasn’t one for too many vibrant colors in her wardrobe, but she loved Don’s sense of style; how he managed to pull off colors to make his dark skin glow.

“Call it whatever you want. That man has had it out for me from the day I said hello to you.” Paola smirked at his comment. Paola could see Don was a bit frazzled from discussing her father, so she changed topics.

“I wanted to invite you out to my exhibition happening downtown. The one I’ve been getting ready for all winter. Like the one with the reds and black, I made a collection. Yeah, It’s this weekend. I told your sister about it and she’s supposed to help me move my paintings, and she said I should invite you myself.” Paola fiddled with the strap on her purse; always speaking too much when she was nervous. She hated inviting people because, for some reason, she thought people should just want to show up somewhere because she’s there. Paola had a complex.

“True Mariah fashion,” Don inserted.

“Exactly.” They both shook their head and laughed. Paola continued on, “Anyway, It’s in a few days. I thought you may want to come through and see my work. No pressure, of course. But you always ask about my work so why not.”

“Count me in.” Paola saw Don smile at her, nodding favorably and obviously appreciating the invite. She grinned back, trying not to show too much excitement.

“Count you in what?” Ignacio walked through the door, standing tall in a freshly pressed tailored navy suit which happened to match his daughter. His voice boomed off the walls in his usual assertive tone, making Don want to crawl inside. Ignacio was his boss from hell, but Don respected his work ethics so much; he admired the business guru. The head trader was a corporate fanatic who knew how to drag Don, a wee ol’ junior analyst, through the mud of endless work. From long, hard glares sitting at his corner office when Don walked down the hall to assigning an incessant amount of paperwork Don knew was unnecessary for work.

Don watched the round of her small butt walk further and further away from him into it disappeared outside his office. He wanted out of his seemingly low entry job position, and wanted to show Paola he wasn’t an errand boy.

— Young Bull

Don officially met Paola three months after he started his internship at the firm. He was delivering mail to top managers when he caught Paola struggling to simultaneously hold and drag in a ten-foot tall canvas painting on a dolly down the hallway. He offered his help, gripping the painting steady as Paola wheeled it to Ignacio’s office. “Your work is awesome,” he complimented, admiring the bold strokes of gold and yellow intertwining a curvy, brown faceless body. She blushed thanking him. As Don complimented her smile, Ignacio suddenly came out his office to interrupt the exchange.

That was three years ago. Since then, Ignacio has made it his mission to drive Don insane.

“Hi, Daddy.” Paola perched on her tippy toes to give her father a kiss on the cheek. “I told Don about my exhibition for the Tracy Museum.” Paola’s voice switched into Daddy’s Girl immediately. Don saw Ignacio’s head loomed over Paola’s small frame to frown at him.

“I hope Don doesn’t have any work to do for me so he can attend.” Ignacio’s ego glared at Don for a second too long as he looked down on him on purpose. Ignacio stood 6’4” from the ground compared to Don’s 6’1” athletic build. Ignacio turned his attention to Paola, “Let’s grab Brazilian for lunch and your favorite wine. Your mom hasn’t cooked a good steak for me in a while.” Ignacio took his arm out to his daughter who put her arm through, and they quietly left Don’s office. Paola managed a quick peak over her shoulder to give Don a silent goodbye.

Don watched the round of her small butt walk further and further away from him into it disappeared outside his office. He wanted out of his seemingly low entry job position, and wanted to show Paola he wasn’t an errand boy. Don sat back in his chair, contemplating ways he wanted to woo Paola. She didn’t strike him as the flashy type, but he noticed Paola sported her expensive taste in subtle, quiet ways with blacks and dark blues, hidden logos, and real gold jewelry.

Before Don could think of another idea to spark Paola’s interest, his phone made a ding off a few text messages.

I Miss You. When Are You Coming Over?” Don grimaced; he hated how this girl capped every single letter. He shook his head, exiting the notification to tend to the next message.

I saw you & Paola being cute. Let’s go out though. I’m way more fun.” Don stared at the text for a long while. It was Ignacio’s assistant, Kayla. She was voluptuous in all the right places and kept her glasses at the bridge of her nose. Don looked up at saw Kayla at her desk, shifting her breasts around in her bra as she stared at him from across the hall.

“Yes.” Don mouthed.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2

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