Book cover of “The Boss, Love, and Revenge“ by Taylor Brooks

The Boss, Love, and Revenge

Josh hates his boss, Rick, who treats him like an overqualified errand boy. Josh graduated with honors and wants to be appreciated at work. Instead, Rick sidelines him on major projects. At one point Josh yearns to punish Rick and give him a taste of his own bitter medicine. Rick’s life is his work. He is lonely but believes there’s still love ... 

Chapter 1

I hate my fucking boss! It’s raining, and I’m balancing two coffees and those healthy almond bites he loves so much. If Rick wasn’t such a bloody perfectionist, I wouldn’t need to walk six blocks just to get him coffee. And now I’m soaked because of it.

Any café won’t do for him. I learned that the hard way 5 months ago after he lectured me like a kid for getting him the wrong coffee. I thought he would throw it in my face. Instead, he shook his head and looked at me with a scowl like I was a lost cause or something; me, a cum laude architecture graduate! 

I cross the road to get to our office building. When I’ve just reached the sidewalk, a car speeds past me too close to the curb, and splashes water all over my pants. I’m so infuriated that I almost toss the coffee at the back of the car. It would have been satisfying to see the hot, black liquid staining the car window, but better judgment steadies my hand. Rick wouldn’t have given a shit if the car had run me over. But there would have been hell to pay if he didn’t get his morning coffee.

I get into our office building and finally escape the rain. I look like a fool as I walk across the lobby, dripping like an idiot who can’t interpret a simple weather report. I smile at Miguel, the building receptionist, as I pass him. Not sure if he should be cheerful or feel sorry for me, he returns with an awkward, straight smile. His expression basically sums up the story of my life—excited to be interning at one of the top architecture firms in the city but treated like an errand boy.

I briskly walk toward the open elevator. When the doors begin sliding to close, I run. Despite the occupants seeing me running, no one holds the elevator for me. The last thing I see before the doors slide shut is the smartly dressed lady at the front frowning at me like I’m some vagrant ready to rob her. Although I’m seething inside, all I can do is grunt and wait for the next elevator. 

As more people join me, I notice them throwing glances at my wet clothes. They must be proud of their foresight and bloody umbrellas. I get into the next elevator and stand at the back. I inspect the almond bites to make sure they didn’t get wet. At the café, I asked for a plastic bag when I noticed the mean weather. The coffee is still hot, and its aroma is flooding my nostrils. It’s exactly how Rick likes it—strong and black like his soul. I hate how Rick has turned me into this guy who sweats over the small stuff for him. 

Yesterday, he kept me in the office until 7 p.m., looking through a pile of drawings for the minutest errors—something I had already done the previous day during normal working hours. He told me I wouldn’t leave the office until I was done, basically turning me into a fucking inmate. Because of him, I missed a night out with my best friend, Chandler.

Rick wouldn’t completely ruin my night, I told myself. So, after work, I invited a guy I met on Grindr to my place. But, try as hard as I could, I couldn’t get work off my mind. For the first time ever, I couldn’t get my dick up with a hot, eager, naked guy lying on my bed and ogling at me. Rick is now ruining my sex life.

As the elevator nears the 12th floor, I breathe slowly to calm myself. I need this job. It’s bad enough that I can hardly afford my tiny apartment; if I lose this job, it’ll be back to mommy and daddy for me. Then, my sex life will die in the heart of a nuclear meltdown.

The elevator doors slide open on the 12th floor. I can’t help but smile when I see the company logo in laser-cut stainless steel: Dunnlock Group. Despite all the grief, I at least get to brag to my former classmates and impress them at parties.

“You poor thing,” says Martha, our company receptionist. “If I had known you were going out in this weather, I would have given you my umbrella.”

Martha has a boy around my age, so she kinda treats the interns like her kids.         

“It’s okay,” I tell her with a smile. “The rain forced me to take that overdue jog.” I’m actually really into fitness, and I work out regularly. “Anything for Rick?” I ask her.

“No, no walk-in mail today.”

I walk toward Rick’s office. I’m feeling warmer and dryer already, though my hair is still dripping. I see Rick through the glass walls of his office. How comfy and smug he looks on his computer. I don’t know why he thinks the world of himself. All he does is give me the grunge work, and he gets to meet clients and look like the hero.

I pass Laura, Rick’s secretary, and push the door into his office. Rick looks up at me with his icy blue eyes. I can’t believe I thought his deep blue eyes were his most beautiful feature when I first saw him. Now, I only see a reflection of his inner coldness. But, for a thirty-something-year-old guy, he’s quite fit and good-looking. If he wasn’t such a constipated prick with a severe look perpetually on his face, he may even have been hot.  

“Don’t drip all over my floor,” he tells me. “Place the coffee on the table next to the door.”

A thank you would have been nice; after all, I braved a monsoon to get his coffee. But I bite my tongue. Expecting gratitude from him is like squeezing a rock for blood.

I turn back to the small table. There’s a framed photo of his two kids on the table, a boy and a girl. They’re beautiful children. It makes it that much sadder that they have such an asshole dad. I’ve noticed another picture of his kids on his desk. Sometimes, I wonder if the pictures are a show for his clients. Maybe Rick thinks they humanize him. I heard Rick is divorced, so he can’t exactly brandish a happy wife.

I place the coffee and breakfast snacks on the table, careful not to touch or move anything else on the table. God knows the perfectionist must maintain his little empire in exact aesthetic harmony.

“If you had gotten the coffee when I told you, you wouldn’t have been caught in the rain. Now, how are you supposed to work on my drawings when you’re dripping like this?”

I turn to look at him and fight to keep my insults inside my head. I can’t believe this guy. He called me when I was still at home to come in early and look for the Weaverport drawings. I had no fucking idea what Weaverport was. I had to ask around the office until I was pointed in the right direction. 

I spent the greater part of my early morning in the archives, digging up the dusty files. And, yeah, I still have to measure all the buildings on the old industrial complex’s plans and redraw them. Combined with the other work he’ll stack on me, it’ll probably be another unpaid late night at the office.

“I’ll manage,” I tell him in a tone that borders on caustic. 

He stares at me, knowing full well what I think about him, but without any actual cause to lecture me. “You can get to work, then,” he dismisses me with a wave of his hand.

I’m all too happy to go somewhere I don’t have to deal with his disappointed looks.


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