The Billionaire's Proposal(2)

By: Avery James



“Maggie,” Callie called from down the hall, “come on in. We’re ready for you.”

Just like that, Maggie was breathless again. When she reached the office, she sat down in one of the chairs facing Amy’s desk. Amy was standing by the window, looking down at K Street while Callie took the chair next to Maggie. Amy turned around and looked at Maggie, like she was sizing her up, making some final determination. She turned to Callie and said, “I think you’re right.”

“I always am,” Callie said.

“Maggie, before we go any further, we wanted to tell you what a pleasure it’s been having you with Haven for the past few months. We have a few things we’d like to discuss before you become a permanent member of our team. We realize how much we’ve asking of you over the past few months—long hours, high stress and even higher pressure. We’ve asked you to make sacrifices, and you have. We think we’ve gotten a good idea of what you can do here at Haven.”

“We still have one question,” Callie added. “What do you want?” She let the question linger, like she and Amy expected some philosophical answer.

“That’s a big one,” Maggie said. She gave a nervous laugh. “You mean besides world peace and gender equality and heels that don’t make me want to cry?”

“Yeah, give it a shot,” Amy said.

“I’m sorry,” Maggie said. “I’m not very good at talking about myself. I always find it easier to talk on behalf of my clients. I like the job. I like it a lot, and I think that one day I’ll love it. I look up to both of you very much. I think I can be an asset to the company. I think I fit the culture.”

“We agree,” Amy said. “You have the job, Maggie. You’ve had it since your first week here. This meeting is about understanding what you want from it. Callie and I see a lot of ourselves in you, and we want to help you on your journey. In order to do that, we need to know what you want.”

Maggie looked at Amy, and then she looked back at the door. “Someday, I want to have what you have. I mistakenly thought this meeting was in the conference room, and I ran into your aunt and your kids. They were wonderful. I want to find a balance between doing the job I love and having a personal life. I’m just getting started here, but I want to work here for as long as you’ll have me. I’m twenty-six and figuring stuff out, but I want to live a big life, one full of love and hard work and adventure.”

Amy and Callie nodded to each other. “We have your first assignment. How much do you know about Stanton Howard?”

“The hotel magnate?” Maggie asked. “No more than most people. He’s rich, old, somewhat reclusive.”

“His mistress is threatening to sell her story to the tabloids,” Callie told her.

“Why would the tabloids care about him? I didn’t even know he was married.”

“He is, but he has an interesting arrangement with his wife. They live on different continents, and lead separate lives in order to uphold an image.”

“And you want me to kill the story?” Maggie asked.

“That’s my job,” Callie said. “We need you to deal with another problem. Stanton is afraid that the bad publicity will harm his company’s reputation, and he wants us to help him prepare for his son to take over as the figurehead of his business.”

Maggie furrowed her brow.

“What is it?” Amy asked.

“It seems like an overreaction to a simple sex scandal,” Maggie said. “If he and his wife are separated, and all he did was have a mistress, this isn’t exactly newsworthy.”

“That’s all he’s said so far, but I think you’re right. There’s something he isn’t telling us,” Amy said. “We’re looking into it. You know how it is sometimes. The clients try to outsmart everyone, including the people they’ve hired to fix their problems. We just need you to get the son to D.C. He wants the son to take over the business, but the son, Gavin, seems to have other ideas. He’s a bit of a rebel. He’s holed up in a hotel Stanton owns in Key West. We have a little over a month to make him palatable to Stanton’s board of directors. Once he takes his father’s place as head of the company, we’ve done our job. We need you to bring Gavin back here by Monday. We’ll take over from there.”

“How soon do you want me in Key West?” Maggie asked.

“Today. All you have to do is get him and bring him here. We’ve already set up a plan for rehabilitating his image. He’ll enter into a marriage of convenience to show that his womanizing is behind him. He’ll attend all of the right events in town, and he’ll make the right friends. He’ll take a position at his father’s company. When it comes time for a vote, he’ll be the obvious choice to replace his father. He’ll do what he’s told. Abby prepped his file for you, and she’ll tell you everything else you need to know.”

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