I'm not interested. Not in dinner. Not in a movie. I don't want a moonlit walk along the beach. Trust me when I say, there is nothing you could offer me that could possibly ever entice me to go on a date with you.
Moving back to London after a break up, Clara has a new hair colour, a new apartment and a new job.
It’s the job she’s always dreamed of. Except, she never dreamed that she’d have to work with him!
Andrew and Clara have history. He’s both the first boy she ever liked and the first boy she ever hated. They've been in love since childhood and now their reconnection is anything but easy.
The banter is quick witted, unprofessional and downright naughty…
Can this pair put their history to rest for the sake of their careers?
Watching him now I recall how he had always been biting on an apple, back when we were in school; that is, whenever he wasn’t making sly remarks at my expense. Even now, as he bites into that apple his eyes are taunting me, a painful reminder that I haven’t managed to escape the bully who now sits in the chair opposite me with his feet on my desk.
He is wearing a dark grey suite and black shoes. The black shoes that are currently resting on top of my HR paperwork are either new or very well cared for; they sparkle in the florescent light of my office.
The thought makes me smile; not my thought about the cleanliness of Andrew’s shoes but the thought that this is my office. Compared to the office I used to have at my last job, it’s amazing.
My old office had been a shared office. It had been cramped and cluttered, but this office is large and airy.
That office was the reason I left my last job.
After everything that had happened, it was just too small and confined. With two brothers, I know how to share, but I just couldn’t share that small room with him after I’d found him in bed with Cathy.
It’s ironic that it looks like I’m going to have to share this work space with another guy that I don’t like. If Stephen hadn’t cheated on me then I wouldn’t be here with Andrew right now.
It’s all Stephen’s fault, I think to myself childishly.
“Alright Princess.” Andrew smirks at me and suddenly the perfect job has lost all of its appeal. This job had promised to be everything I’ve ever wanted. It is everything I’ve been working towards since I finished high school eight years ago. Trust Andrew bloody Contius to ruin everything.
“What are you doing here?” I blurt out. I can feel my face reddening in agitation.
“I’m here to show you around.” Andrew takes his feet off my desk and stands to his feet. “Time to start your tour,” he winks at me.
I look him up and down and I’m pretty sure I’m giving him a look of absolute loathing mixed with interest. He looks good but I really don’t want him to know I think that. The office that moments ago, I had been delighted with, now feels stiflingly small. It’s too hot.
He removes his jacket and places it across the back of my desk chair. His shirt sleeves are rolled up, his biceps are significantly more defined than the last time I saw him. I shake my head trying to clear it.
Calm down. It’s just Andrew Contius.
I shouldn’t be checking him out. His eyes are shining with humour. I’m certain he’s mocking me, and I feel like that awkward teenage girl all over again. My hands are sweating and I’m not sure if it’s in agitation or desire. I step back towards the door to my office. He can’t be here. This is the last thing I need.
“You work here?” I ask, gaping at him. My eyes are wide and I’m sure I’m staring at him, so I drop my gaze to the floor.
“Oh fuck,” I shake my head, “you have to be joking.”
“Office right next door.” He smirks, clearly very pleased with himself.
Well at least that’s better than having to share an office with Stephen. If he’s next door I won’t have to spend hours every day with him. I can cope if it’s just the occasional run in in the break room.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I hear a thought; you don’t really think Andrew will leave you alone, do you?
“Great,” I mutter.
I won’t let this ruin my day. This job is the best thing to have happened to me in years. It’s exactly what I need. I won’t let Andrew ruin this for me. Just thinking about working with him is giving me a headache. I consider walking out of the office, but why the hell would I do that. It’s my office.
“Come on, Princess,” he drawls, his arm outstretched pointing towards the door.
I grimace at his words. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle a repeat of secondary school.
“What do you want?” I ask with more hostility than is probably necessary.
His eyes are gloating, frilled by the fact that even though we’ve been out of school for several years now, he can still get a rise out of me. He’s never failed yet. I try to smile. I don’t want him to know just how irritated I am.
“Just wanted to welcome you to the office,” he smirks before taking another bite of his apple. That bloody apple.
I glare at him but he doesn’t flinch, instead he keeps his eyes focused on me. I don’t know how to respond to him. He’s never said a kind word to me in all our years at school, so why would he start now.
I feel awfully childish as I engage him in a staring contest. His grey eyes hold mine with a confidence that I find awfully intimidating. Very few people intimidate me. I’ve always been the girl with the bright coloured hair and a big smile; the girl that everyone gets on with.
That is except Andrew Contius and Cathy Lacey.
Cathy and I were never friends. She was my last boss and she fucked my boyfriend in my bed. Talk about overstepping your boundaries.
I’ve always had a bit of a fiery temper but even I’d been surprised by my response. I’d grabbed her by the hair and pulled her out of the bed. I’d dragged her to the door of my flat and flung her out completely naked. As for Stephen, I’d merely demanded he get the fuck out of our home in a quiet, deadly cold voice.
I think that’s why Andrew teased me so much in school. He loved getting a rise out of me.
Andrew isn’t like me. I’ve only once seen him lose his cool control and that was when he’d taken a particularly hurtful taunt too far and I’d slapped him across the face. I can still remember the look of shock on his sixteen-year-old face as he pushed me up against the wall and told me to keep my dirty hands off him. He had looked flushed and unrepentant as he pushed me away and stormed down the corridor away from me.
I’m frowning now.
“This is stupid. We may have to work in the same building, but it doesn’t mean you need to be using up the oxygen in my office. This building is big enough that we should be able to work effectively with minimal contact.”
I’m trying here. I want to get my life in order and this job is the key. I’d even dyed my hair back to its natural auburn colour in an attempt to be taken more seriously.
Stephen had never taken me seriously.
He was only two years older than me, but he treated me like a child. No. Worse. He’d treated me like a teenager.
Andrew is chuckling at me.
“Ah but it’s just so much fun teasing you.”
I laugh bitterly.
“You’ve not changed have you Andrew? Still as arrogant as ever.”
Andrew throws the core of his apple at the bin next to my desk, never taking his eyes off me.
“Clara, you make it sound like you wish I had changed… Were you hoping that we’d be best friends and I’d start braiding your hair and sharing my lunch with you?”
My frown deepens. I’m not sure I’ve done anything but frown since I entered my office a few moments ago, to find Andrew Contius with his feet on my desk.
This is not going to be good. He’s always brought out the worst in me and I’m trying to be a grown up.
“Argh! You are such an arse! Personally, I was hoping that I’d never see you again.”
“Now, now…” Andrew is barely concealing his glee at the opportunity to chastise me. “Remember, it’s your first day. You wouldn’t want to show yourself up.”
He bites his bottom lip and I’m sure he’s holding back a laugh. He always did like to laugh at me.
I’m actually speechless. I have no idea how to respond to his words.
“Come on, Delos.” He walks towards me. “Time for your tour.”
“Isn’t there someone else who can show me around?”
“Clara… Clara… Clara… don’t you realise yet; you’re stuck with me.”
He’s smiling cockily at me. He really hasn’t grown up at all. I sigh in resignation.
“Fine,” I tell him, my shoulders slump as I follow him out of my office.
I plaster a smile on my face. I don’t want the rest of the TRW employees to know that there is history between us. My pride doesn’t stop tears welling in my eyes though. I brush them away hastily.
“First, you have an assistant.” Andrew points towards the booths in the centre of the open plan office space just outside of my office. “Her name is Katie… she’s pretty good. If you need anything, she’ll be able to help you.”
I nod my head in an attempt to at least appear polite, biting my tongue to stop myself from saying any of the sarcastic comments that are filling my mind. I’m going to have to try and work with him. I have no choice.
“Everyone in this office space is either a part of your team or mine; our teams work quite closely together, sometimes sharing projects.”
I hear what he isn’t saying, that I am not going to be able to avoid him, no matter how hard I try. I try to process his words, but my brain feels empty. I’m not taking any of this in.
Our tour seems to go on forever. I just nod and grunt at regular intervals. I wish I could pretend that I am more mature than that but apparently when in the company of an adult Andrew, I revert back to adolescence.
He has me doubting myself again.
I’m more confident than this. I’d thought today would be brilliant and Andrew had to go and mess it all up. When the tour is finally over, I sigh in relief but the relief is short lived because Andrew follows me back into my office.
“We need to go over the accounts you are taking over.”
I should be grateful that he’s talking shop. Perhaps we can be professional. Maybe we can make this work.
“Great,” I sigh.
I can hear the acquiescence in my voice. I should be excited. This is my dream job. I shouldn’t be letting the idea of working with Andrew ruin it. I can make this work; I have no choice. I can’t go back to Liverpool.
“Don’t sound too excited,” he chuckles. “I’ll be around if you need help with any of these accounts. I’ve been looking after them for the last couple of weeks.”
I nod my head. I don’t trust myself not to vomit at the idea of spending time with Andrew.
He runs through the details of the new accounts I’ll be looking after. I decide to behave like a grown-up and do my job properly, so I ask him questions about the accounts. He is so focused on what he is talking about. He actually enjoys his job. I can tell; his face is animated and his tone excited as he describes the work my new team have been doing over the last month. If I’m honest, I’m excited too.
The moment passes though. The first sign of what is to come is a gentle twinkling in his eyes.
“You still look the same,” he comments, and I don’t really know what to say in response.
I know he’s probably teasing me, but I can feel my heart racing at the idea that he might be giving me a compliment.
“I look older,” I tell him after a moment. It’s the only thing I can think to say.
“Yeah… you’ve got grey hair now,” Andrew smirks at me.
A small part of me wants to check my reflection. My hand reaches up to touch my hair. I know he’s wrong though, so I don’t even glance at the mirror that sits on the wall near my desk. I only dyed my hair last night so there is no way I have any grey hair. Henrietta and Henry are as auburn coloured as the rest of my hair; I know because I’m extra cautious when dying the hair at my crown. I’ve only got two grey hairs; Henrietta and Henry. It’s practically a matter of international security; their existence is top secret.
“Piss off,” I reply hotly.
Andrew grins before checking his watch.
“Your wish is my command; time for my lunch break anyway.” He lazily gets to his feet and stretches, yawning. “See you around Princess.”
You can read the first book in this series, Repeating History, for FREE on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google Play and Smashwords.
Read Repeating History (BK 1)
Read Deleting History (BK 2)
Read Forging History (BK 3)
Read A History in Paris (BK 4)