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Sparked(9)
Author: Lili Valente

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

 

From the texts of Sam Burgos

and Jack Holt

 

 

Jack: Missed you at the client cocktail party last night, but thanks for the game codes for the swag bags. My Ice Possums clients were so grateful that they set everyone up with season passes for next year. I snagged one for you, too, even though you’re too cool for group gatherings and live in a godforsaken country with sub-par professional hockey.

 

 

Sam: UK hockey is having a moment right now, man. Mark my words, give it five years and the NHL will be recruiting from UK teams.

 

 

Jack: And I’ll be recruiting wealthy British hockey players who want to invest in the US market. Thanks for the tip.

 

 

Sam: My pleasure. Gotta keep you happy, so you’ll keep managing my portfolio even though I’m not a famous professional athlete.

 

 

Jack: We at Seyfried & Holt happily make exceptions for eccentric billionaires. How’s the jet lag? Some of the guys from work and I are meeting up for a touch football game in Central Park later. You’re welcome to join us, and we could grab a beer or something after.

 

 

Sam: Can I take a rain check?

 

 

Jack: Sure. We still have the new-client recruiting picnic on Friday afternoon. You have to come to that. We’ll have those fancy Coney Island hot dogs you love, carnival games, clowns doing creepy clown shit, a petting zoo for the kids, and our secretary who is obsessed with alpacas is bringing her herd, the whole works.

 

 

Sam: Sounds fun, and yeah, I’ll be there for sure. I’d love to hang out today, too, but I have plans with an old friend this afternoon.

 

 

Jack: The same old friend for whom you dropped everything and flew to NYC to recruit the moment you realized she was unemployed?

 

 

Sam: The same.

 

 

Jack: Well, that’s good news. I was concerned she’d think you were a weirdo. Or a stalker.

 

 

Sam: She sort of did, but I managed to talk my way out of the stalker corner. Thanks, by the way, for sharing your concerns before I cruised into the weirdo zone.

 

 

Jack: Would you have done anything differently if I had?

 

 

Sam: No, but I would have had more time to prepare to defend myself.

 

 

Jack: Nah, you do your best thinking on your feet. And this woman is a good friend, right? I figured she would either already be familiar with your impulsive nature or should become acquainted with it before she accepted the position.

 

 

Sam: Yeah, she was a good friend. I’m not so sure about the present tense on that. She seemed pretty hurt by my vanishing act after high school.

 

 

Jack: What do you mean?

 

 

Sam: When I left for college, I cut ties with almost everyone from my past. I haven’t talked to any of my friends from New Jersey since the graduation party. Not even Jess.

 

 

Jack: Well, shit. No wonder she was spooked. And hurt. Have you considered hiring a consultant for things like this?

 

 

Sam: Things like what? Normal-human-behavior type things?

 

 

Jack: I wouldn’t have phrased it that way, but sure. Normal human-ing is a good skill to have in your back pocket, man. It can help you get what you want and avoid accidentally hurting the feelings of people you care about in the process.

 

 

Sam: I’ll take that under consideration. But in this case, I still wouldn’t have done anything differently. I had to cut ties to know for sure.

 

 

Jack: To know what for sure?

 

 

Sam: To know that she really is the one. That there isn’t another woman anywhere on the planet who can make me feel the way I feel when I’m with Jess.

 

 

Jack: Fuck.

 

 

Sam: What?

 

 

Jack: I don’t know, Sam. This could get really messy really fast. Blurring the lines between work and romance isn’t okay anymore. It’s a new world out there, one that has very little tolerance for wealthy men trying to boink women on their payroll, even with permissive intra-office dating policies firmly in place.

 

 

Sam: I don’t want to boink, Jess. I mean, I’m attracted to her, obviously, but it’s so much more than that. I care about her. I think she’s smart and unique and talented and the absolute best person for this position. And I won’t be her boss, at least not in any direct sense. I won’t be involved in the day-to-day operations of that division in any way.

 

 

Jack: But you own Paradisus. You are Paradisus. You could have her fired at the drop of a hat the second things get complicated on the interpersonal front. And if you do that; you will be in deep, litigation-worthy shit.

 

 

Sam: I would never fire anyone for not wanting to date me. That’s ludicrous.

 

 

Jack: Are you sure? Say you start dating and she cheats on you with your best friend. Can you honestly say you wouldn’t

want her gone?

 

 

Sam: She wouldn’t do something like that. Jess isn’t a cheater. And this is all conjecture at this point, anyway. Yes, our kiss last night was intense, but she didn’t invite me in for a drink, let alone anything more. And so far, she’s only interested in sex on the condition that it’s a one-night stand and we never see each other again afterward.

 

 

Jack: What?! Please tell me you haven’t already propositioned this woman, on the same night you offered her a job. Please tell me I misread your text and you haven’t jumped into the deep end of the conflict-of-interest pool on day one.

 

 

Sam: No, it’s nothing like that. We made a deal when we were teenagers, that we’d hook up and do each other a solid if we were still virgins on our twenty-fourth birthdays. Last night was hers. That’s how sex entered the picture. She assumed that was the reason I was there.

 

 

Jack: Well, of course she did. What did she say when you explained that you ushered in your twenty-fourth six months ago, with your live-in girlfriend? Who you were absolutely fucking because that’s what people who live together and sleep in the same bed do?

 

 

Sam: I may have…left out that part.

 

 

Jack: You’re going to make me use an emoji, aren’t you? No matter how much I hate them, the mind-exploding one is really summing up my feelings right now.

 

 

Sam: She just assumed I was a virgin, too, and I didn’t know how to tell her the truth without making her feel weird about it. I’ll tell her the truth when the time is right.

 

 

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