A Wolf in Billionaire’s Clothing

By: Daphne Loveling

They stood like that for a moment, his gaze locked on hers, until abruptly he turned away. “The meeting is in ten minutes,” he said, his voice once again gruff. “In conference room C.” He strode away without waiting for her.

Sighing, Miranda picked up her laptop and a pad of paper along with the copies she had made, and took everything to conference room C to set up. The room was empty when she arrived, so she turned on the lights, set out copies of the documents at all the places at the table, and made sure the coffee in the break room was fresh. As people arrived, she asked whether they wanted coffee or water, and made sure everyone was served and comfortable before the meeting started. At precisely 1:30, Liam strode in and began the meeting without preamble. Miranda sat at a chair away from the table and took notes.

An hour later, had wrapped things up, and the others stood up from the table and began to leave. Liam glanced briefly toward Miranda and said, “I’d like to see you in my office.” He took his sheaf of papers and walked out the door without another word. For God’s sake, what did I do now? Miranda wondered in frustration. She told herself that this was obviously just the way he was, but it hurt her feelings all the same. Am I really so uninteresting that he can’t be bothered to be nice to me? Am I really so ugly that he doesn’t even want to look at me? She felt tears alarmingly close to the surface, and brusquely swiped at her eyes. Steeling herself for yet another cold and distant conversation, she shut off the lights to the conference room and made her way back to Liam Blake’s office.

The door, for once, was open. Miranda stuck her head in to see Liam sitting at his desk, staring out the window. “You wanted to see me?” she inquired.

“Yes, come in,” he replied, not looking over. Miranda stepped forward and stood in front of his desk. Seriously. He can’t even look at me. A flash of anger went through her. Fine. If he wants a robot to do his bidding, I’ll be a robot.

“Aren’t you going to sit down?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

Mutely, she sat in one of the chairs facing him.

“How are you getting along so far?” asked Liam after a few moments of silence.

“Fine, thank you,” Miranda replied.

His eyebrow cocked even further as he looked at her fully for the first time. “Something wrong?”

“No, of course not. Can I get you something? Perhaps there’s something else you’d like me to work on?” She was trying to keep her tone as neutral as possible, but a note of almost-defiance crept in, unbidden. Something in her tone and gaze made a smirk appear on Liam’s face, and he replied, “Not at the moment, no. Tell me a little about yourself, Ms. Jacobs. Have you lived in the city long?”

She felt herself flush at this unexpected interest in her personal life. “No, I moved here a few months ago, after college. I’m actually from Minnesota originally.”

“I see,” he said, his eyes widening with either interest or mockery. “And do you like living here?”

“Yes, very much. I’m not much for small town life.”

“Are you interested in travel?”

“Yes, though I haven’t been to very many places. I spent a semester in London during college, and traveled a bit through Europe after that, but that’s about all.” She blushed again, feeling very unsophisticated and un-cultured next to this man who had clearly seen and accomplished so much. “I hope I’m able to travel more widely in the future.”

“I make quite a few business trips during the year, and it’s often helpful to have my assistant accompany me. I’ll be traveling to Switzerland next month for a meeting. Would you be able to come with me?”

“Oh, yes!” Miranda exclaimed excitedly, forgetting for a moment to be distant and bouncing in her chair a little. Regaining her composure, she continued: “I mean, of course I’d be willing to travel whenever necessary.”

Liam smiled at her reaction, and his eyes softened for a moment. “I’m glad to hear it, Miranda,” he said, and the sound of her name in his mouth felt like velvet against her skin. “You have a valid passport, then?”

“Yes, definitely!” she replied.

“Good. You’ll need to make the travel arrangements for both of us. See Ms. Hathaway to get information about the travel agent we use and the corporate account to charge this to. By the way, you’ll need to get yourself a corporate card for your own expenses while we’re gone. The dates of the trip and location of the meeting are in this folder,” he said, handing her a file. “Once you’ve contacted the travel agent and made the flight and hotel reservations, you may go for the day. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

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