Chapter 4: Confused and Hungry… Mostly Hungry
“What the hell is going on?” The bag and helmet fall to the hard floor with a crash as I raise a hand to scratch furiously at the back of my head in confusion. “Why are you here, Phun? Is this some kind of joke? How did you get in the CEO’s office?”
“Take a breath, Noh.” Phun chuckles and stands up to walk over to me. Bending down, he picks up the bag and helmet and moves them over to the empty table. Walking back, he tugs lightly on the sleeve of my jacket and guides me over to the comfortable looking chairs. “Why don’t we sit down first?”
Not knowing what else to do or how to react, I follow along. Confusion clouds my mind as I sit down in the chair indicated and watch Phun settle into another across from me. He unbuttons his coat jacket to get comfortable and folds his hands in front of him.
“I guess you didn’t find the business card I gave you the other night.” This isn’t really a question but more of a statement, as if Phun had been expecting this outcome. “I wondered if you were too smashed to remember our conversation.”
“It’s not that.” I’m quick to deny but my usual honest streak butts in and I hang my head a bit. “Okay, so it is that, sort of. I did find your card but I couldn’t read anything on it. Something got spilled on it and smudged the writing.”
“Then the note I left about seeing you on Monday must have really confused you.” Phun’s chuckle fills the room and a knot tightens in my belly. Before I can respond, a quiet knock sounds and the door opens to reveal Secretary Sutterland carrying a small tray with two drinks perched on top. She looks over at Phun curiously as his laughter subsides.
“I’ve brought your drinks. Iced coffee for Khun Nawahindakarn and Iced Americano for Khun Phun. If there is anything else you need, please let me know.” She gives a slight bow and directs a warm smile towards me. I’m not sure why she looks at me so fondly but it manages to calm my nerves some.
What should I call Phun now?? CEO Phumipat? Boss? Khun Phun like his secretary calls him? I’m so fucking confused. One thing is for sure, I can’t just keep calling him by his name anymore.
“Thank you, Aunt Chailai.” Picking up the drink she set in front of him, Phun closes his eyes and takes a sip while she sets the other drink in front of me.
“Thank you. I do have one request. Would it be possible for you to call me Napat, or even Noh?” My voice is a bit hesitant but the request makes her smile.
“Certainly. I’d be happy to, Khun Noh. Then you must call me Aunt Chailai like Khun Phun does, as we will be seeing a lot of each other while you work here.” She nods her head to the both of us and walks out of the office, making sure to close the door behind her.
The rest of our conversation that morning took a long time as Phun explained everything and there was more than one time that I was tempted to walk out the door. This was way beyond what I expected when I first came into the building. Phun Phumipat’s words took a while to sink in and I’m still wondering if this is a dream. This kind of shit isn’t supposed to happen in real life. I met this guy in a club (really fell on top of him but let’s not split hairs over it) while celebrating my new job and he just happens to be the CEO of the company I’m going to work for. Because of that accidental meeting, my low entry level job gets boosted to the executive level as his assistant with an eye-popping new number for my salary… and benefits! I get fucking benefits after the first month!
There is no mistake though and this is no dream. Two weeks in and I’m still here by Phun’s side. Literally by his side. On the third day of my employment, I walked into my office which was situated across the hall from Phun’s to find it empty of everything except the desk, chair and cabinets. I almost freaked out thinking that I was already getting the boot but Aunt Chailai called to me from her desk and directed me into Phun’s office. Walking in, I find that it had been changed sometime during the night. The comfortable chairs had been moved closer to the door and a few cabinets were moves to the other side to make room for another work space in the corner near Phun’s desk. The new desk was styled after Phun’s but slightly smaller and had my computer and other items on top of it. The small, framed photograph of my family was sitting on the corner in the same spot it occupied in the other office. Phun had decided that it would be more efficient to work together and easier for me to learn my new job this way and it’s not like I’m going to argue with him. Besides, he’s right.
“Phun, I’m heading down to grab a snack and something to drink. Do you want anything?” Scooting my chair back, I stretch my arms above my head. Its midmorning and we’ve been working non-stop since dawn thanks to an overseas conference call. I’m freaking starving.
“Why don’t you just have Aunt Chailai order it up?” Phun looks up from the document he’s reading at his desk and takes off his glasses to rub his eyes. He doesn’t often need the glasses unless he has a lot of reading to do or his eyes are over tired. To be honest, I think he looks pretty damn good in them but it’s not something I will ever admit to. The guy is conceited enough as it is.
“I want to stretch my legs for a bit. Besides, Auntie is busy typing up your response to the project proposal.” Standing up, I stretch again and twist from side to side, feeling the cramped muscles release a little. “I won’t be gone long. Is there anything you want?”
“I’ll go with you.” Phun sets the document and glasses down and slides back in his chair.
“You don’t have to. I can bring something up for you.” Knowing how busy he is, I regret interrupting him for something like this. I should have just waited for lunch. We have a business meeting set up for then so there will be tons of good food and the company pays for it. “Or I can just wait for lunch.”
Right then, at the worst possible time, my stomach gives a loud growl that seems to echo in the silence of the room. Such a fucking traitor. I look down at the offending body part with a glare and can feel my ears start to burn in embarrassment when Phun bursts into laughter.
“Let’s go get something to eat. I can’t let my assistant starve.” Standing up, Phun walks around his desk towards the door. “I need to stretch my legs, too. We’ve been stuck in here for hours.”
Shrugging, I follow him and try to get ahead to open the door but Phun beats me to it. He swings the door wide and steps back to let me go through first. I’m not a freaking girl and I’m his assistant. I should be the one opening the doors for my boss, not the other way around, but Phun doesn’t listen whenever I say anything. He does what he wants to do and one of the things he wants to do seems to be taking care of me, whether I want him to or not. In the two weeks I’ve been working here, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and expected to get yelled at but Phun has nothing but patience as he helps me correct each one. Usually, he even has an array of snacks and drinks brought up if he thinks I might be hungry while we work. If this is the way he treats his assistants, I wonder why any of them left.
This is not to say I’m completely hopeless. I do have some skills. The problem is that I was never trained to be a personal assistant to the CEO of a major company. I got thrown it the deep end and I’m trying like hell to keep my head above water. The biggest saving grace for me is my ability in foreign languages. I’m fluent in both Thai and English and have a working knowledge of French and Japanese. With all of the company’s foreign contacts, my language skills have been put to good use and even managed to impress Phun.
Walking out the door with an aggravated sigh, I give up on trying to argue with Phun over this and I see that bastard smiling smugly out of the corner of my eye. Yes, he wins again. It’s a small victory but it makes him happy so I just let it go.
“Aunt Chailai, we’re heading down to get a snack and some drinks. Would you like anything?” Ignoring Phun practically giggling behind me, I look over at his secretary who is busily typing away on her keyboard.
“I can order you something if you like?” Her fingers pausing over the keys, she looks over at us with a smile which widens when she sees Phun trying to stifle his laughter.
“That’s okay, Auntie. We’re just taking a short break to get out of the office for a bit.” Finally getting his giggle fit under control, Phun waves her off. “Would you like anything?”
“An iced green tea would be lovely. Thank you.” After we promise to come back with the drink, we walk away and she continues with her typing, still smiling.
The executive receptionist, whom I’ve since learned is named Brian but I’ve heard him called Jolly outside of the office, stands as we walked by and greets us. We both nod to him and continue on. He’s not someone that I am close to yet but he doesn’t seem like a bad sort and he does his job well. It’s to be expected of someone who has reached this level. I seem to be the only one who doesn’t exactly fit in here but I’m doing my best to keep Phun from regretting his decision. The last thing I want is to be an embarrassment for him since he personally selected me.
In the elevator on the way down, it’s a quiet ride as we stand next to each other. It’s not a bad thing this quiet, more relaxed and comfortable. Phun leans against the back wall with his hands resting on the narrow bar that’s waist high and circles the small compartment with the exception of the sliding doors. As the elevator reaches the first floor, it staggers suddenly before coming to a sharp stop and I’m thrown off balance. I fall back into the solid form of Phun who catches me with a grunt, his hands grabbing onto my waist.
“Are you okay, Noh?” His breath tickles my ear and makes me want to squirm. The warmth from his hands seep through the thin cotton of my shirt to the skin underneath.
“Fine. I’m Fine.” I manage to say, barely whispering the words as the scent of his musky cologne surrounds me. “How about you? Are you okay, Phun?”
“I’m great, but you might want to stand up now. The doors are opening and we can’t walk out with you leaning back on me.” Phun’s voice is gruff with amusement as I scramble to stand up straight.
How could I not realize the position we were still in? I was practically laying in my boss’s arms in the company elevator. That would have looked just great if the doors had opened with us like that. Imagine the gossip, the damage it could do to Phun!
“Come on, Noh.” Holding the elevator doors open, Phun pulls me out by the sleeve of my shirt. “I need to get you fed before your stomach reprimands me again for neglecting you.”
Phun’s words are not said quietly and I see several people nearby turn to stare at us. The closest employees greet us respectfully but I can hear the whispers as we pass. So much for the thought of protecting his reputation. Khun Phun is doing a good job of starting the gossip mills all on his own without the visual of me in his arms in the elevator. Then I notice that he still has ahold of my shirt sleeve as he leads the way to the company’s café. Just fucking great.