“Smart and compassionate, it would seem.”
“Yes, both. When his mother died from breast cancer, Seth became very active on the charitable scene, putting a lot of his own money into organizations that do cancer research and treatments for women who don’t have medical insurance.”
Damn him. It seems that he couldn’t stop at being gorgeous and just be the arrogant ass that I expected him to be. He had to have a heart too. I was going to have to find a way around mine if I wanted to win this battle. This wasn’t really about Seth anyways… it was about his father, the thief.
“Harlan, can I ask you another question?”
“Anything,” the congenial older man said. “Whatever I can do to help you.”
“Where is the other Mr. Hunter? The real CEO?”
“He has actually handed the reins to his son completely at this point. We see him around here on rare occasions now. He’s taken to spending much of his time on a golf course. James hasn’t made the formal announcement yet, that will happen at the company’s annual ball when all of the executives and department heads as well as many of the more lucrative clients are in attendance. Besides, it will give him a chance to be center stage once again.”
“Oh so he won’t be coming to any of our meetings or anything like that?”
“Hopefully not,” Harlan said with a grimace. “He told Seth that if he took the CEO spot, he would take a step back and let Seth handle things… as long as nothing got “out of hand,” as he put it.” I tried not to smile but the look on his face was really funny. James was obviously not his favorite person, and Harlan was obviously not good at hiding that fact.
“Is he not a nice man?” I asked.
“Let me see… how do I describe James Hunter… You studied history in college at some point, right?”
“When you picture his parents you would have to think Attila the Hun mating with Marie Antoinette… the offspring would likely be very attractive on the outside and very, very lethal within.” I couldn’t help but laugh a little at that visual. After Harlan left I couldn’t get the visual of Attila the Hun out of my head. He had raided and killed entire villages… wiped out entire armies… impaled his enemies… all to the end that someday he would be held up in history as the fiercest warrior that ever lived. It was a good analogy. James had almost destroyed a young girl’s future for his own personal gain and he hadn’t seemed to bat an eyelash doing it. He was the enemy, maybe not Seth… but Seth was going to have to be my means to that end.
I began familiarizing myself with the office and about a half an hour after Harlan left me, Seth knocked on the door.
“Hey there,” he said with a dazzling smile. “How do you like your office?”
“I love it, thank you,” I told him honestly.
He had some files in his hands and he said, “I hope you don’t mind but I mean to put you to work right away.”
“Not at all,” I told him. “I much prefer a productive day to an unproductive one.”
He sat down in the chair on the other side of my desk and sat the files down. “What I’m hoping,” he said. “Is that you could take a look at these and write up an informal report describing the pros and cons of each as you see it. One of the files is a compilation of the research that the specific departments have already done on the project but I encourage and even expect you to do your own research on each one so that you can come to an informed conclusion. They are all either charities we’re looking at becoming involved with or new clients we are considering putting money into wooing.”
“Sure, I can do that,” I said with genuine enthusiasm. It sounded right up my alley.
Seth looked like he was going to say something else when he suddenly leaned across the desk and brushed a piece of hair off my forehead. I flinched; shocked that he would touch me. He didn’t seem fazed by my reaction at all however. He simply smiled and said, “That curly little tendril escaped during the meeting earlier. I could hardly concentrate on anything else.”
He stood up and said, “Out of concern for it falling into your eyes of course.” He smiled again like there was some kind of secret between us and then he left the office, just like that. I sat frozen to the spot, staring at the door for a long time before I could finally move. Did that arrogant man think he could blatantly flirt with me like that? He was flirting… wasn’t he? I wondered if he treated all his female employees the same way. Then I wondered if it was only my imagination.