The bed creaked and rocked so hard, the pounding against the wall reverberate throughout the entirety of the apartment.
“FUCK YES! That’s how you do it baby, deeper Grayson, deeper!”
The lewd smacking sounds of life shattering sex, and the elicits moans of pleasure, sync with the groans that emit from one of the most handsome men the Big City had to offer.
“You feel that baby? Tell me you like it, tell me you want more!”
“More! Harder! Ughhn!”
More pounding, more moaning, more groaning and a few screams that would surely wake the neighbors, I’d definitely hear the complaints from Misses Donovan in the morning.
“Oh my God, Gray baby I’m about to cum, Fuck!”
Yeah, she was going to give me an earful, and what’s worse, I’d probably never get any sleep for the important early morning meeting I had at the office, hopefully Grayson and Ced didn’t go for round two, as my best friend and longtime roommate Cedric Everly was infamously known to do. I don’t know why I put up with it, I couldn’t tell you why I even put up with him, maybe it was the familiarity, or possibly my insecurities, I’ve never been able to stand up to my best friend.
If he was a steamroller, I was the asphalt, if he was Beyonce I’d have to struggle to maintain my position as Michelle. Who am I you ask? Well, you probably didn’t.. but don’t feel bad, no one ever does, the wallpaper in my room probably gets more attention than I do, I’ve just come to accept being Mister Invisible, live action cellophane. Maybe that’s why I found myself content in Cedric’s shadow, because every so often he had to look back behind him to be sure he was standing in the right light, and for that he had to eclipse everything behind him to be certain of it.
“Cyd? Cydnee? Bitch is you sleep?” My roommate asked as he burst through my bedroom door, still glowing and slightly damp from his escapades.
“No Ceddie, in what world would anyone be able to sleep with the way you two are carrying on? You know we have final presentation first thing in the morning..”
“I know, I know, but I’m sure you’re also aware of how long I’ve been dying to break me off a piece of that chocolate goodness named Grayson Matthews..” He placed the back of his hand to his forehead and sighed dramatically for effect, I rolled my tired eyes, giving a sigh of my own.
“You know that man is married right?”
“Naw, get it right, the nigga is separated and only sees that bitch every other Sunday, for dinner with the kids.”
“You’d think, with both of us obtaining Ivy League degrees.. you would learn to clean up the language a bit, why speak like the Bando when we finally made it to Midtown?”
“Not my problem you had that stick up your ass before Yale, a degree ain’t gonna change me bitch.. maybe if you’d replace that stick with a dick, you too could be having the greatest Hump Day ever!”
“Oh my god, Sssh.. what if he hears you, despite what you seem to think, our walls are paper thin.”
“Chyle, you know once I put dis pussy on a nigga he out like a light” He rocked and whined his hips, and I once again rolled my eyes, wondering what in God’s name did I do to deserve a friend like Ced, we were like two mismatched socks on Sunday morning. “By the way, we have to be in the office by nine sharp, make sure to wake me up Cyddie Boi..”
“Don’t call me that, ugh.” I lay back and shoved a pillow over my face, wishing it was enough to end my miserable existence, it wasn’t and I was forced to suffer as Cedric left the room whistling a tune that sounded like Rihanna’s ‘Work’.
I was a nervous wreck, my career was on the line and no one, not anyone, gets fired from Arkham Inc, at least no one who lives to tell about it. And no, Arkham isn’t in the assassin business, actually I wasn’t entirely sure about that last statement, so scratch that. It’s just that once you fall from the top of the corporate food chain, to flipping fajitas in a Taco truck, suicide is considered imminent, I’ve seen it happen too many times to count.
Once people find out you’ve been dropped by the best, you become tarnished goods, your name goes to the top of the Black list, they mean it when they say ‘you’ll never work in this town again’, you skip the unemployment line and your food stamps automatically come in the mail, the last guy that was let go jumped in front of the six train on his ride home uptown. I couldn’t fuck this up, I just couldn’t..
As I was running every last detail through my mind, a tall lithe goddess dipped in darkest chocolate came sauntering into the room, the rhythmic click clacking of her red bottom’s entered before she did. She looked like she stepped off a runway, in a (obviously) custom designer peach pale ensemble accentuated by pink pearl accessories, this was her ‘dressing down’ to blend in with the ‘Worker Bees’, as we were so affectionately referred to by upper management, Arkham Industries functioned like a hive and she was the queen bee of headquarters. This was probably the cheapest outfit in her closet, there simply wasn’t anything casual about her wardrobe, but you could tell right away Yurika Ymoja ALWAYS meant business.
“I’ll skip the morning pleasantries people, as I have an appointment with Mister Ellison himself right after this, we simply just CANNOT go over time, his time is worth more than your lives and it’s just as fleeting, so let’s make this quick. Um.. Cedric, isn’t it? Speak, now.”
Without a beat Ced stood up, bright eyed and ready for action, despite going two more rounds in the dark hours of early morning with a slightly worn out looking Grayson, who sat across the table from me. He still manage to look devilishly handsome, while I’m sure I looked like three day old leftovers warmed in the microwave.
“Miss Ymoja, sitting in the portfolio in front of you is a detailed copy of the finance report for Project Sirius.” He stepped toward the head of the room where the projector was set up, while she literally flipped through the pages of a report someone no doubt worked hundreds of hours over several weeks to complete. “As you know, fourth quarter for Arkham was extremely successful after the launch of our Cleopatra Miracle skin cream and the defence contracts we signed with.. “
“Yada yada yada.. can’t we cut through the the filler? What’s the discrepancy I saw on page six, you say we won’t be able to start manufacturing until December, what’s the holdup? Is Engineering and Design incompetent?”
Cedric looked to me, his brow sparkled with perspiration, only someone like this woman could make him sweat, Ced didn’t sweat unless he was fucking, that meant he was nervous, not for himself, but for me. Every eye at the boardroom table landed on me, of course she noticed this and turned her steely gaze in my direction.
“Come on boy, speak. Matter of fact, what’s your name again? It eludes me..” She asked evenly, which didn’t help my jittery nerve, for Christ sake, I’ve worked at this company for three years now, straight out of university, hell, these people sought me out before I could even cross the stage at graduation, and she couldn’t even remember my damn name.
“Cydnee Tyson.. ma’am, I mean, Miss.. um.”
“Good recovery, my next question was going to be if I look like your godforsaken mother, now tell.. why are we holding on production? I thought the design was complete, isn’t that why I was even requested to be here for this?”
“Ahh.. yes, the Ark design is complete, there are just a few technicalities, you see, we need clearance from the state and with the..”
“I don’t care, whatever the holdup is, fix it! Mr Ellison won’t be forgiving of delays, if we weren’t currently ahead of schedule, I’d have your head mounted on my office wall Cindy, GET IT DONE.”
I nearly choked, her tone was as sharp as a knife, and cut deeply. There was some soft laughter coming from the far end of the table, I look to see Karishma whispering to a smirking Zachari, both Doctor’s and premier Biogenetic scientists, but you probably wouldn’t be able to tell with how they preferred to carry themselves, I had never met two people so inclined to be downright petty as hell and who lived solely to tear down everyone around them to look better at their jobs.
“Do you mind filling us in on the joke Dr Jhedav?” Ms Ymoja asked sternly, giving the tawny Indian beauty a fierce look that set her ass on fire like curry. “I don’t think the handling of Mr Ellison’s money is a joking matter at all, the only thing comical in this room right now is you thinking that knock off Givenchy dress doesn’t clash with that Hermés scarf you got in last Christmas’s gift bag.. Now where’s the update from your department? From what I’ve been hearing, you won’t be meeting your deadline, if the rumors are true, that’s more than disappointing.. it’s borderline offensive.”
“Despite what you’ve heard, we are on schedule and will have a prototype to show Mr Ellison before the annual retreat.” She replied, in that annoying posh imitation New England accent, smiling smugly.
“Oh, I’m sure of it.. because I’ll be putting Famous and the new hire from Oracle Co. division on the project with you, I need people working on this that consistently provide results.” Yurika stated, essentially wiping that smile off the wenches face, Karishma hated answering to others, even if it was the amazing Famous Aemous.
If Cedric was a rising star at Arkham Industries, (Famous) Aemous Chan had already gone supernova with only a year and half under his belt, no one delivers like he does. It didn’t help that he was so drop dead gorgeous, he made Grayson look common in comparison, and I’d been head over heels for the man since the day he arrived. I didn’t even care that he got all the credit for a proposal I’d worked months on, the man just had a way about him that was undeniably charming, and to seal the deal in cement, he actually noticed me on occasion. He was one of the few people here that actually spoke to me outside the boardroom, but that was just him, he spoke to everyone and made even the maintenance man feel special.. he was like a dream.
“Oh fuck me!”
Yurika spat, which caused the room to gasp, Ms Ymoja was never one for vulgarities, before this I would have thought it impossible.
“Karishma, thanks to your disruptive presence I’ve overlooked the time.. I’m forced to take Mr Ellison’s call here and now, dammit!” everyone started to stand and gather their things but she gave a wave of the hand, clear sign for us to sit and take our seats. “ All of you just be still and act like furniture.. not a word, not even a breath from any of you.”
She pressed a button on her chair that made a small box rise from the center of the table, it was one of the holodeck modules I had helped develop, it was like FaceTime but in 4D. It gave a series of melodic beats as the call went through, moments later a woman appeared on the screen, she had the most welcoming face and was pretty in the way everyone’s favorite mother figure or auntie could be. Her glowing brown complexion and bright toothy smile, accentuated by a matte red lip, gave you a feeling inside like it was Easter and Thanksgiving at the same damn time. She was sharply dressed in royal purple, giving her round figure a complimentary and expensive look.
“Oh Yurika dahling, you look absolutely divine!”
“Why thank you Saundra Dee, you as well, and as always you are a vision of exquisite taste.”
“Oh hush child, you must tell me where you got that dress, my god, it looks magnificent on you.. is it a Botticelli?”
“Girl that eye is as sharp as ever, I tell you.. of course It’s a one of a kind, you know the man never makes the same dress twice and refuses to do alterations.”
“The things I would do for one of his dresses are positively unmentionable.. I hear his waiting list is seven years long.”
“You don’t even have to ask, I’ll have Romeo working on a gown just for you my dear.. just in time for the Annual, he owes the boss man more than a few favors. Speaking of, is he available? We had an appointment, but I do believe I’m a minute or two early.”
“Yes dahling, I’m more than aware, I’m actually just stalling because he’s in a ‘meeting’ with his boys.. so you know how that goes.”
“Yes, yes, it goes without saying..”
“Ah, he’s ready to see you now so I’ll transfer the call, kisses Yurika, till next time”
“Thank you Saundra.”
She blew a kiss to the woman as her face defragmented from view, after a few seconds it was replaced with one of the most notable and recognisably infamous faces on the planet, it was the man in charge of it all, Jynx Joseph Ellison. His smooth olive skin was almost inhumanely beautiful, with long flowing hair that eclipsed his shoulders, he looked like a man of the world yet had an exotically unique look to his features. It left you guessing if he was white, black, or something else entirely, it was like God personally crafted him by hand and Satan came behind and blessed him with his own seductive kiss to create what had to be a crime of perfection, molded in flesh.
He was clothed in a lush white robe, as if he just stepped outside heavens doors, but his face was slightly flush, with just a hint of dampness, making one wonder what sinful fornicating acts we were intruding on, it left me feeling dirty and unworthy to see him in such a state of unwinding. Yet from the look in his eye, there was no shame or bashfulness, if anything it made you feel the heat radiating off his skin, though without a doubt he was hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. This man was the unabridged depiction of luxury and lust, he made you aroused with jealousy, yet meeting his gaze head on would be like looking straight into the sun. Everyone either hated or loved him, wanted to fuck or fight him, and one thing was for sure.. we all wanted to BE him.
“Jynx, so good to see you, sorry I’m late.”
“Let me guess.. that whiny bitch Karishma held up another meeting, remind me again why I chose not ship her off to join the rest of the slumdogs in the Dharavi?”
“Your guess is as good as mine, my dear.. though I do recall you noting her academic worth as her only redeeming feature, but you stressed she was otherwise disposable.” Yurika said candidly, causing every eye in the room to glance towards the now heated hot faced Indian, some had to cover their mouths to stifle a laugh. “But enough about yesterday’s news, more pressing is the documents I received from your Father.. it seems he’s resolute to go to extreme measures to block our lobbyists on the Hill. He has called in a favor with that Rockefeller woman intent on investigating our ties to the Eur-Russian merger, but I won’t be able to get anything done until after the Retreat.. speaking of, where is our destination this year?”
“Don’t worry much about Minerva Rockefeller, I can handle her, she’s as hard as a rock but if you provide enough pressure.. she’ll break easy. As for the Annual getaway, let the Worker Bees choose where to go. I don’t know, draw straws or do a raffle.. something, spare no expense, but whoever it is better make it good.”
“I’ll take care of it, anything else we need to get a handle on?”
“No, just send me a summary of the meeting, I’ll eventually get to reading it.. thanks Yuri, I owe you dinner, Jynx out.”
The picture defragmented as the call link ended, there were smiles on everyone’s faces as they all no doubt were buzzing from the news, one of us would be picking the destination for the Annual Retreat, the one work requirement that nobody wanted to miss. It was essentially a glorified ‘Work’ vacation, normally located at some random exotical location, last year’s was in Abu Dhabi, the year before, an unnamed Pacific isle near the Butterfly Islands Mr Ellison had recently purchased.
“So you heard him people, one of you peons will be burdened with choosing the next great getaway location, honestly I can’t tell you if it’s something for you all to smile about, after the Tororiki island incident in Fiji.. it isn’t clear if this is a blessing or a curse, some of you may remember a former employee by the name Vincent Price, rest his soul, for he’s no longer with us.”
Aemous leaned close to me, the sweet smell of his minty breath and the arousing musk of his favorite fragrance filled my nostrils, momentarily distracting me from the question he was asking. He smirked at me, tickled by how dumbfounded I look, and snapped his fingers to get my attention, before speaking again.
“Cyd, you okay? I asked you what happened in Fiji?”
“Oh umm, sorry, was thinking of something.. um, yeah, Fiji.. it was all good until the cyclone touched ground flooding out the landscape, and then there were the frenzied sharks that took claim of the island after. Mr Ellison insisted on leaving him behind when we were finally evacuated. It was quite the tragic experience..”
His sharp eyes went wide, and his complexion paled a bit, I didn’t blame him for not asking for further details, nobody ever liked to speak of the poor guy nor do we know what actually happened to him, Cedric liked to crudely joke that Jynx Ellison set him up on one of those flimsy Aaliyah planes, yet instead of a fiery crash landing poor Vincent was lost at sea.
“So what I’ll do is let you guys decide, we will take a vote, most nominated gets the great dubious honor. Write down a name that is not yourself, everyone place it into this bowl.”
She grabbed a small decorative fish bowl from an end table, dumping the poor life that occupied it into one of my co-workers mugs, before passing it round the room. Some people looked excited, others not so much, I don’t think anyone could honestly say they wanted the possibly career ending task.
“Okay, everyone finished? Cedric tally the votes please.”
“First name nominated.. Famous.” He called out, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone, not even Aemous, who looked cool calm and collected, not to mention he was as fine as white China. “Next up.. Dr. Jhedav. So that’s one Aemous, one Karishma.”
She had a smirk on her face that sent a chill down my spine, her beautiful, but eerily serpentine, eyes were located right on me, it gave me chills. I couldn’t tell you what I ever did to the woman to make her hate me so much, maybe I was just an easy target, maybe someone just took a piss in her coffee and it reminded her of my piss poor life, whatever it was it always made me a target. That’s when it occurred to me, this could be the perfect opportunity for someone to take out the competition, getting rid of them once and for all if they couldn’t rise to the challenge, I was so preoccupied with my thoughts I missed several of the counts.
“Once again, Aemous. That’s Famous three, Karishma two..” Cedric looked relieved his name wasn’t down, while he loved to be the center of attention, he sure as hell hated to rock the boat. “Okay guys and gals, that leaves seven votes left, next point goes to.. oh shit, um excuse me, next vote goes to Cydnee.”
There was a gasp, I think it came from my own mouth, half these people barely could remember my name, how the hell did I get in the running?! I looked back down the table toward Karishma to see that sickening smirk of hers, she was out to get me, she was going in for the kill.
“Um.. next name, Cyd. So that’s two Cydnee, two Karishma, and three Aemous.” He looked at me with a worried look, and I was already breaking out into a sweat, my hands were even getting clammy as he reached into the bowl again.”Cydnee.. “
By this time he just started to pull the rest of them out, not even updating the total, there was no need at this point, they might as well put my ass out to pasture already, I was as good as dead as my name was called out four more times.
“Well, I’m sure you’ll pick the perfect destination Cindy.. with that settled I depart, Pastel have a summary of the meeting drawn up for Mr Ellison, and I will see you all next Thursday Eight sharp, don’t be late cause I have an important nail appointment, tahdah.”
I sat in shock as everyone started to gather their things to depart, Cedric came over to rub my shoulder, as Aemous pat me on the back softly, I was so out of it, there was no register that such a beautiful specimen of man was actually touching me.
“Don’t worry Cyddie, you’ll do fine, how hard can it be to set up a dream vacation.. if it helps, I love to snorkel.” He tried to reassure me, but Karishma and Zachari walked pass, bursting into a fit of laughter.
“I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that Aemous, he’d be better off getting a head start on his funeral arrangements, see ya later boys, there are pressing matters to get to and I’ve just been overcome with a peculiar taste for chocolate..”
I wanted to burst into tears, I could feel them threatening to flood my eyes this very moment, Karishma was right, I was as good as dead. Jynx Ellison was one of the richest men in the world, there was no way my boring ass could come up with anything that could impress him, Yurika should have just signed my pink slip on her way out the door. Aemous and Cedric, even Pastel, the company gossip queen, were trying to comfort me but they knew deep down what this meant in the end. I pushed myself from the table and ran from the room, sure it was juvenile, but the godforsaken place felt like the horrific days I spent in highschool all over again.
I ran down the hall trying to find the nearest bathroom or closet to ball my eyes out in private, I knew I wouldn’t make it upstairs to my office in time, so I just picked a door. There was a muffled and choked scream, followed by a piercing squeal of my own as I walked in on someone with a mouthful and a half of dick, going to town. It was Karishma and of all people, Grayson Matthews, this bastard sure got around, what was even crazier is Dr. Jhedav and Dr. Granison were supposed to be engaged, not to mention Cedric’s new boy toy was a dirty devilish dog feeding his bone to every bitch in the building.
I found myself running again, just as Karishma was no doubt about to curse me out over catching her mid fellatio, she could do it later, my mind could only take one breakdown at a time. I decided to leave for the day, and made an early dash for the exit, sure I’d probably get in trouble given the delayed deadline but I just couldn’t take it anymore. My mind was telling me no, and my body was making a break for it, I was in such confusion I wasn’t even paying attention as I ran into the solid form of another body, and went crashing to the floor, hard on my ass.
I look up through squinted eyes, blinded by the light that filtered through the double glass door entrance, a figure that I’d collided with stood looking down on me, his face obscured in the shadow of his broad but lean silhouette. Slowly but surely my eyes adjusted, and the man’s face soon came into view, causing me to lose all the breath in my chest, gasping at the allure of divine yet viral features that made up his face.
“Oh my god..”
“No, you got the wrong guy, but I’ll gladly take the compliment.” He replied with a smirk, reaching a hand down to help me up, taking it upon himself to dust off my sore rear end.
Such a forward gesture cause me to blush despite the swarthiness of my skin tone, he also move some of my tousled locs from my face, seemingly to get a better look at me. Dare I say, I actually felt attractive.. desired even. It was just something about the sparkle in his dark eyes, and how they seem to pop brightly against his creamy sallow complexion. I took a quick survey of him and he seem to be sizing me up the same way.
Where my nose was broad and regal, his was more refined and slightly rounded. Where my jawline was soft and curving, his was sharp and sleekly defined. His lips were full but pouty and mine were decidedly thick with a prominent Cupid’s bow. He had his hair cut into a low dark fade that waved nicely, I had allowed my wild natural hair to have a mind of its own, tamed only by a simple hair band and tapered sides, that allow me to fit into the corporate atmosphere. Where I was shaped more like my mother in proportion, this guy was lean with muscle and like someone who had played sports their entire life, yet still his movements seem to have a deliberate grace about them.
The only thing we had in common were dark almond eyes and strongly defined brows, while mine seem to radiate a certain vulnerability, his were intense and mysterious. They seem to pierce into me, as deep as bone and soul, like he could see me, like REALLY see me. We went to shake hands but both had to pull back quickly from the stinging static of a quick shock of energy that course between us. My eyes went wide as I took a step back, but he just laughed.
“I apologize for the static, I tend to drag my feet on carpet.. I also didn’t mean to knock you down, are you hurt?”
“I’ve never been better..” I replied, sounding a little dazed as I continue to be trapped by those marble eyes, but I tried to quickly recover after clearing my throat. “ I mean.. umm, I’m fine. Excuse me though, I really have to get going.”
“Okay well, I do hope to see you again, uh, what’s your name? If you don’t mind me asking..”
“Cydnee, Cydnee Tyson.. and you are?”
When he smiled once again, this time with teeth that seem to sparkle at the edges. Who was this dazzling stranger? Where did he come from? What was he doing here?.. Little did I know, my life would never be the same once I would find out the answers to those simple questions.
“You can call me Shaw.. Shaw McCreed.”