She is clueless to the fact that Rupert lets me pack my casual attire—the clothes I usually wear in my down time when I’m locked away in my apartment and away from her prying eyes—into his suitcase. She never looks inside it. I presume she thinks, like the rest of her staff, he does exactly as she instructs.
‘Jade my dear,’ she says when I enter the parlour. She’s dressed to the hilt as usual. I’m guessing M would be in her mid-fifties, but she’s had a lot of work done over the years, so it’s really hard to say for sure. She looks great for her age. I’ve never seen her looking anything but perfect. Her blonde hair is always styled meticulously in a short bob. I wouldn’t be surprised if she sleeps with a full face of makeup. The permanent scowl on her face, though, detracts from her beauty. She smiles rarely, unless it’s an evil one. Her dark eyes are totally devoid of any sparkle.
Her gaze travels the length of my body. I’m wearing a tailored white pants suit, a large red handbag and matching red heels. There’s a hint of red lace from my camisole peeking from underneath my buttoned-up jacket. My long thick brown hair is styled in loose waves—I had my personal hairdresser stop by my apartment this morning. My makeup is applied to perfection.
‘Turn around.’ Her finger does a twirl.
When I pass muster, she gives me the usual air kiss on each cheek. That’s about the limit of her affection. I move to the side as Rupert lifts my suitcases onto the table one at a time, opening them so she can look inside. God forbid she has to bend over. She moves the contents around, checking everything.
After five years I have this down pat. I know the things she classes as suitable, so I always pack accordingly. The first few years she scolded me and removed half of the items. I’ll never make that mistake again. That’s when Rupert came up with his masterful plan of stashing my casual attire in his bag. He really is my saviour.
Once the inspection is complete, I remove my shoes and walk over to the scales that are placed by the window. She weighs me daily. ‘Good,’ she says with a nod as she looks down at the numbers displayed between my big toes. She walks over to the desk to retrieve a large white envelope from the top drawer. It contains my meal plan for the week. Like I said, she controls everything. ‘Follow it,’ she demands shoving it in my hand. ‘I expect you to be on your best behaviour, Jade,’ she says as she leaves the room. No ‘safe travels’. No ‘enjoy your holiday’. No nothing.
Rupert smirks when I roll my eyes at her retreating back. I shouldn’t let her coldness get to me, but it does. There’s a part of me that wants her to care, to give a shit.
Once we arrive at Sydney Airport, Rupert takes our luggage to the check-in counter. I head to the newsagency to buy a magazine to read while we wait for our flight. We still have just over two hours before our plane takes off.
After picking up a few magazines off the rack, I go to the counter. Maybe a Snickers bar? M doesn’t let me eat junk food, but I sneak some in occasionally. Snickers bars are my favourite. With the amount of hours I work out at the gym to stay in shape, I know I’ll have this baby burnt off in no time.
After paying for my purchases, I open the chocolate bar and take a bite. Rupert knows I’m not allowed to eat these, but he’ll keep my secret. There’ve been a few occasions over the years when I’ve had a shitty day, and I’ve climbed into the limousine to find a Snickers bar sitting on the back seat. He does that to cheer me up.
I flick through one of the magazines in my hand, taking another bite of my chocolate, and walk back to the check-in counter.
Boom. I crash into something solid. My gaze goes to the floor where my chocolate and magazines now lay. Shit. I was enjoying that. A pair of shiny black men’s dress shoes stand beside my poor unfortunate chocolate bar. A delicious manly scent surrounds me, invading all my senses. Nope, not a wall. My gaze travels up his expensive grey suit pants, past the matching tailored jacket and baby blue shirt and tie, until I reach the face of an angel.
I swallow nervously. He’s stunning. Absolutely breathtaking. He has big brown eyes and perfectly chiselled features. Can a man be beautiful? Because goddamn, he is.
‘I’m sorry,’ he says in a deep, dreamy voice.
Closing my eyes briefly, I try to compose myself. I can’t seem to find the words to answer him, so I eventually just smile instead.
‘You have a …’ His hand moves towards my mouth, skimming over my bottom lip. I’m frozen. Never has a man affected me like this. Why can’t my clients look like him? Sure most are far from what you’d call ugly, but damn.