Grayson

By: Lisa Eugene

CHAPTER ONE



Looking around the busy street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, I double checked the address and walked into the sumptuous lobby of the posh high-rise. I pulled the flyer out of my bag and unfolded it. Reading the bold scrawl racing across the page, I twisted my lips thoughtfully.



Looking for someone to clean out old house.

A few hours a week.

Must be organized and methodical.

Will pay cash.



Admittedly, it was the last sentence that had roped me in. My portion of the rent was due in a week and a half and I was seriously short. Buying my last round of text books had left me practically broke.

The building was off campus and I wondered again who’d pinned the notice to the student bulletin board. The board was mainly utilized by students for posting odd jobs around the university campus, offering tutoring services, or selling used books. I glanced down at my worn jeans and thin T-shirt as people walked by me dressed in designer suits that probably cost more than I made last year.

The doorman announced me and I nervously walked toward the elevator bank. The mirrored doors mocked my non-compliant hair, causing my lips to purse in a frown. Pawing my fingers through my long dark waves, I tried to create order out of chaos. My brown eyes stared back at me, hopeful but anxious. In no time, I was whisked to the top floor and approached a sleek silver door. Straightening my T-shirt and the messenger bag slashing across my chest, I took a deep breath to bolster my courage.

Had I known that I was coming to this luxury building, I wouldn’t have come looking like something the cat reluctantly dragged in. I would have dressed considerably better. But from the phone interview it seemed as though this was going to be a casual meeting. I whispered a quick prayer and took another deep breath. God, I needed this job!

My gaze landed on my well-worn sneakers and ripped jeans, and then I scanned the richly appointed hall with its damask textured wall paper and carpet that felt like quicksand. I was fucked!

The door pulled open and a boy stood in front of me. Well, not a boy really, more like a young man with a very boyish face. With his sun-streaked blonde hair and deep blue eyes, he looked like a fresh preppy face you’d see in a Polo ad. He was shirtless, revealing a slightly muscled torso. My younger sister would be falling all over herself if she saw him. He was just the type she liked. Handsome. Blonde. Rich.

A slow smile pulled his lips as his gaze traveled over my face, then stroked boldly down my body, and back to my face again. After a minute or so, when it appeared that he’d forgotten his manners, I stretched out a hand and introduced myself, looking behind him to find the person who’d be interviewing me.

“Ah… ah, sorry. I’m Charles,” the young man said, pumping my hand and pulling the door open further to allow me to pass.

I smiled politely and stepped in, still feeling a little skeeved from his brazen perusal. The apartment was magnificent. From what I could see, it had high vaulted ceilings and my eyes hurt from the glare of the marble that was ubiquitous. This was an impressive home—if you could ignore the clothes and debris strewn everywhere. It looked as if a hurricane had swirled through the room and spewed shit everywhere. It was a Park Avenue pig sty.

“I hope you found it okay?” Charles said, swooping down to grab a shirt off the floor.

“Yes, no prob.” I watched him pull it over his head and rake a hand through his blonde waves.

I wondered if the doorman had awoken him. From the appearance of the apartment, I’d bet there’d been a wild party recently.

“I’m here for the interview,” I nudged when his gaze dropped and lingered on my breasts.

“Yes. Ah, yes.” He smiled brightly, but stayed rooted in his spot.

“The interview for the cleaning position…” I prodded, getting annoyed now. “I’m meeting with Mr. Whitmore.”

His smile broadened and he squared his shoulders. “I’m Mr. Whitmore.”

I couldn’t stop my brows from jerking up. Seriously?

He laughed, noticing my expression.

“Please, have a seat.” He indicated a couch at the far end of the room where large windows overlooked Central Park.

I had to remove several beer bottles and items of wrinkled clothing in order to clear a spot on the couch for me to sit. He chuckled apologetically, but I had trouble sharing his humor. There was a lace thong hanging off the other end of the sofa that I wasn’t going anywhere near. I just hoped that nothing jumping off of it could reach me.

“Sorry. We had midterms yesterday,” he said by way of explanation, his gaze following mine.

I nodded, noting his pale skin starting to redden. My own midterms were coming up, so I understood the need to celebrate when that monkey finally jumped off your back. Somehow though, my celebrations never involved mysterious couch stains, broken beer bottles, or dirty underwear.

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