The Arrangement Ch. 01byzouzouni©
Something new. I hope you like ... enjoy :)
Jade knocked on the door in trepidation. She was unsure about her presence here but she didn't want to get in another spat with her boss. Especially after their last conversation. Jade recalled the last few weeks. The firm Jade worked for was small but exclusive. They only dealt with clients that had money, serious money. Jade was working her way up the food chain trying to make a name for herself. She was doing well too. The partners had noticed her achievements and placed her on a very lucrative project. This is where all the problems started.
Jade's immediate superior was Caitlyn Compton. Caitlyn was a shark. She'd been swimming with the big boys so long that she treated everyone with more than a touch of disdain. Jade felt that Caitlyn resented her presence on this project because she thought she could handle it herself. Instead of working together, Caitlyn turned it into a competition.
Files 'accidentally' misplaced. Emails sent to the wrong people. A great deal of subterfuge and underhandedness was Caitlyn's way of undermining Jade. Well, Jade had enough. She was not about to jeopardize her career for this woman's ego. So after a particularly frustrating meeting where Caitlyn belittled her in front of the client, Jade let loose.
"Caitlyn we need to talk." Jade said firmly as they were gathering their things from the conference room.
"What is it now brat? Can't find the stationary cupboard?" Caitlyn's voice dripped venom.
"Look Caitlyn, I've had enough of your particular brand of insanity. I'm on this project because I'm good at my job and no amount of bitchiness on your part is going to change that." Jade said.
"Oooh the kitten has claws. I'm so scared." Laughed Caitlyn.
"You are such a cow. If we lose this contract it'll be on you not me." Jade said frustrated.
"You think you're so smart. These guys aren't going to sign with us anyway. They've been entertaining offers from other firms. The owner is a complete whore; he likes to spread himself around to get the best deal. I'm just using this opportunity to demonstrate to the board how useless you are." Caitlyn said haughtily.
"Suck my cock Caitlyn." Jade growled. Caitlyn just laughed. "I bet I can make them sign with us." Jade whispered.
"You think you're better than us. We've been trying for years to land them. What are you going to do other than spread your legs? Believe me better people have tried." Caitlyn said almost resignedly. Jade shook her head; she didn't really want to consider the implications of that statement.
"I'm going to do my job Caitlyn and I don't need to resort to selling myself to do it." Jade said quietly.
"Hang on. You said you'd bet. Well a wager it will be. You get them to sign and I'll leave you alone. You lose and you quit." Caitlyn said with a pleased expression on her face.
"There's not much in it for me." Jade said thinking about it.
"Hmm I never make bets that I'm not sure I'll win. Ok, if you win you get a bonus." Caitlyn said smugly and wrote a number down on a piece of paper. Jade leaned over to look and her eyes widened in surprise. It was more than double her annual salary. Crap, risk it and lose her job or be tormented by Caitlyn forever? Tough choice.
"I'll take that bet only if you stop interfering from now on and let me do this properly." Jade said her voice a little shaky.
"Fine. I'll expect your resignation on my desk immediately after the final meeting." Caitlyn laughed as she strode out of the room.
Jade fought panic as she contemplated what she'd agreed to. For the next two weeks she immersed herself in research and planning. Jade discovered that all the companies vying for this account had presented the same pitch. She needed to be different. Inspiration finally struck and Jade planned accordingly.
The day of the final meeting Jade was a little nervous but mostly confident.
"Have you packed up your office yet?" Caitlyn snipped as she walked passed. Jade simply ignored her as the owner of the company they were trying to sign walked in with his son and their lawyers. Once everyone was seated Jade started.
"Mr. Thornton, gentlemen. Our pitch is exactly the same as everyone else's. Here." She said and slid a binder across the table to them. "There's nothing different we can offer you. It simply comes down to whether you want to work with us or not." She continued to everyone's shocked faces.
"Caitlyn what is the meaning of this? We're leaving." Thornton said his anger evident as they all rose to leave. While Caitlyn spluttered and tried to explain, Jade had other ideas.
"Feel free to leave Mr. Thornton but I would like a moment of your time in private." Jade said.
Thornton was too shocked by this turn of events that he followed her out and to her office much to the protestations of his lawyers. Frankly he was curious about this woman's unusual approach. Jade escorted him in and gave him a piece of paper.
"Mr. Thornton I realize that this is highly unorthodox however I think I've figured out why you've been so hesitant to sign with anyone. And it's got nothing to do with service delivery or profit margins. It has to do with your son. He's a right royal shit isn't he?" Jade smiled taking a risk.
Thornton looked over this young woman. She'd hit the nail right on the head.
"I don't mean to tell you how to run your business or your family. But I've put together some ideas that may help. I think you've been coming at him from the wrong direction." Jade said as she indicated the piece of paper.
Thornton sat down and read. As he digested the information the expression on his face went from serious scepticism to guarded hope. "You think this could work?" he asked.
"Yes sir I think it can. What do you have to lose? You can try that on your own, you don't have to sign with us to do it. I just wanted to let you know that sometimes it's not all about the business." Jade said honestly. As much as her job meant to her, there were more important things in life.
Thornton was startled by the sincerity. It wasn't often that people in the corporate world bothered to look beyond the bottom line. "Let's head back shall we?" he said with a smile.
Jade was uncertain about his decision but at this point she really didn't care. She'd genuinely help someone out and that felt good. Maybe she was too soft for this job. They walked back into the conference room to tense silence.
"Now Caitlyn where is that contract, I'm ready to sign." Thornton said to everyone's utter shock. "There will be one stipulation however." He continued.
Caitlyn fumbled around with the paperwork "Anything." She breathed still trying to work out what had happened.
"My company only deals with Jade here. No-one else. Are we clear?" he said much to Jade's surprise and Caitlyn's ire.
The paperwork got signed and the details hammered out and everyone left happy with this turn of events. Jade was beside herself with joy and a sense of accomplishment. She practically bounced into Caitlyn's office.
"I'll accept direct deposit or a cheque." She said.
"Drop dead. There's no way I'm paying you. Lord knows what you said to make him sign." Caitlyn said scathingly.
Jade had a feeling she would back out of their deal. "Oh well I guess I'm going to have to let the senior partners know you are extorting junior staff. And before you pop a blood vessel, who do you think they are going to believe? The person that landed them the billion dollar contract or you?" Jade said calmly.
Caitlyn's jaw worked but she didn't say a word. Jade could see the thoughts turning over in her head as she considered all her options. "I don't have that kind of money lying around and I don't think I can liquidate anything immediately." Caitlyn said looking very put out. Jade was annoyed. It wasn't that she'd expected her to pay the full amount just something to make it sting a little.
Caitlyn got up and closed the door. "There is something. A way I can pay you but it will be in service not cash. I have already paid for this and I'm willing to let you use it. There's only one condition. You are never allowed to tell anyone about it. Ever." Caitlyn said.
Jade was curious now. Caitlyn looked almost scared. Her smooth complexion was paler and her eyes were darting about. Jade had never seen her like this. "I'll bite. What is it?" Jade said.
"Famous last words." Caitlyn muttered. "I have this arrangement with a man, well he's not really ... um." Caitlyn stammered.
"I'm not using your escort service." Jade said annoyed now.
"No! It's not like that. This is going to sound strange but hear me out. There is this guy, his name is Ayden Gregori. He is a vampire. Don't look at me like that, he really is." Caitlyn exclaimed to Jade's disbelieving stare. "I don't know that much about him personally. All I do know is that he makes arrangements with people to feed off them." She continued.
"The experience is, it is... I can't describe it. It is the most thoroughly satisfying thing I have ever felt." Caitlyn said. Jade watched the dreamy look on her face as she tried to describe something that seemed so unbelievable. But Caitlyn was the most straight-laced person Jade knew. Unscrupulous in business but straight down the line with everything else. Jade couldn't believe her. She didn't look crazy. Her mind reeled with the possibility that vampires were actually real.
"So what? You want me to go over and be lunch in your place?" Jade said incredulously.
"Don't scoff. People pay a great deal of money for the experience. It is such a rush." Caitlyn said and got that dreamy look again.
"And what about this Mr. Gregori? Won't he mind that you've sent someone else?" Jade asked.
"Who gives a shit? He gets what he needs." Caitlyn said as she wrote something down and handed it to Jade. "Here are the details, time and place. Be on time. I'll send along a letter explaining." She continued.
"I don't think this is right Caitlyn. The man has an arrangement with you, not me. I don't think it's very fair." Jade said, angry that her boss would be so dismissive of someone, though she shouldn't be surprised.
"Don't be me that holier than thou crap. He's not even human. What do you care? You'll get the biggest rush of your life. Besides this is the only way I can pay you. Otherwise you get nothing." Caitlyn said, back to her catty self.
Jade shook her head. She wasn't happy about this turn of events. Maybe she could just go there and check it out. She could just tell Mr. Gregori what happened and leave. "Ok Caitlyn. I'll go" Jade said.
"Don't forget, no-one hears about this. I mean no-one, not even on your death bed. Do you understand?" Caitlyn said intently. Jade nodded and left the office. Annoyed and confused where only half an hour before hand she was elated at her success.
Now Jade was standing outside the apartment door, completely unsure if she wanted to go through with this. Angry that she was put in this position. She knew that she had some leverage over Caitlyn temporarily but she didn't put it passed her to try something else to get her fired.
"Enter." Said a deep masculine voice. Jade entered and looked around the richly decorated room. She didn't even notice the man standing near the desk until her eyes had done a complete round of the room. "You are not Caitlyn." That same deep voice said sending chills up her spine.
Jade turned to look at him. It is not possible, she thought. Not possible. No-one anywhere could look that good. No Hollywood actor. No male model. No-one. The man was stunning, tall, dark hair, grey eyes, very male. Jade nearly drooled as she was standing there ogling him like a teenager. Pulling her tongue back off the floor and sticking her eyes back in her head, she took a deep breath. "No Mr. Gregori. My name is Jade. Jade Klein. Ms. Compton sent this letter by way of explanation." Jade said handing him the note.
Ayden Gregori took the note with a frown and tore it open. Caitlyn explained in her note that Jade was one her employees. A young up and comer. She lost a bet against her regarding a very big account and this was the only way she could pay her back without loosing her position at the firm. Ayden growled. He wasn't some toy to be passed around to whoever could pay. He stared out the window his face a mask of fury.
"I'm sorry Mr. Gregori. I told Ms. Compton that this arrangement was offensive but she wouldn't listen. I will leave you alone now." Jade said. Jade was annoyed that she had to be the one to explain this to him. It was Caitlyn's responsibility since she lost the bet. Jade briefly explained that she'd wanted the monetary amount of the bet. Caitlyn however informed her that she didn't have that kind of cash and wanted to pay in service. This was the service she chose. Jade couldn't hide the note of disapproval over Caitlyn in her voice.
"You are concerned about offending me?" Ayden asked surprised. He finally took the time to look over the young woman in front of him. She was attractive enough with auburn hair and dark eyes. But it was her body that noticed. She was tall for a woman, maybe 5'10" but boy did she have curves. All the way around it seemed. It had been a long time since he had given a woman more than a passing glance.
"Yes Mr. Gregori. I would have preferred that Ms. Compton paid her debt outright but she insisted that she couldn't. That this was the only way she could settle since this was something she had paid for in advance. I understand why you do what you do but I do not intend on taking advantage of you Mr. Gregori. I'll just leave and tell her that it all went well." Jade explained with some force. She remembered her anger at Caitlyn for thinking it would just be ok with him to just swap out. She turned to leave.
"Ms. Klein. Do you really understand what goes on here? What I am?" he asked his words catching at the end. Jade turned to look at him. He looked sad, she thought and wondered why.
Ayden was weary. Tired of the world and its inhabitants. He had not chosen this life for himself. He was attacked one night while on the way home from a drinking hall. He woke up feeling, different, strange. Then the thirst started. The need for blood. He could hear people's heartbeats. The thud of their pulse in their veins. He tried to resist but hunger got the better of him.
Raised in a good family with values and morals, he couldn't reconcile what he had become. A monster. He left home and everything and everyone behind to keep them safe from himself. It took him a while to work out how to feed without harming and how to live in the world that was now different for him.
From time to time he'd met another like him but he found them cruel and barbaric. They had no regard for humans. Even though Ayden thought himself a monster he didn't want to become like them. He tried to hang on to every ounce of humanity he could. Unfortunately, time and time again people would disappoint him. He would see in their eyes exactly what he thought of himself. It made him sad and numb. Now there was this woman behaving differently to what he'd always expected.
"Yes, Mr. Gregori, I understand." Jade said. Ayden looked at her expectantly and she realized that he wanted her to say it. "You are a vampire Mr. Gregori. I understand that you need to feed and that people, some people, pay for you to feed off them. Ms. Compton said it was highly pleasurable for the person being fed off." Jade said not backing away from his intense gaze.
"And yet you do not wish to avail yourself of this pleasure." Ayden said sarcastically waving his arm dramatically.
"I will not deny that I am curious Mr. Gregori. However, I have never and will never take advantage of someone." She said annoyed at his assumption that she was just after cheap thrills.
Ayden looked hard at her. She was annoyed at him. This surprised him. In his long life it took a great deal to surprise him. She was serious about him being comfortable. He watched her walk towards the door.
"Don't go." He said barely above a whisper. Jade stopped in her tracks unsure if she'd heard him correctly. "Stay." He said louder. He motioned for her to come and sit by him on a bench like seat. Jade moved slowly, curious about his change of heart. Sitting she half turned in his direction and waited for him. To do what exactly she wasn't sure.
Ayden sat near her somewhat unsure of where to start. "Ms. Klein I wish to apologize. It is not your fault that others act so... so..." he couldn't find the right words.
"Stupidly? Irresponsibly? Rudely? Disgustingly? Give me a moment; I'm sure I can think of a few more epithets." She offered smiling. Ayden relaxed and chuckled at her. She was different to what he was use to. He was definitely curious now.
The people, both women and men that came to him were generally spoiled, rich and selfish. They had no regard for him or his needs. They were universally repulsed by what he was. They sought only their pleasure and thought their money could buy their safety as well. Ayden knew that he could crush them like bugs. However, this arrangement suited him for feeding, he didn't want to roam the streets to hunt. Still he didn't have to like being treated as their own personal toy.
Jade looked at him as he sat there thoughtfully. "Still I do not wish to take it out on you." He said quietly.
"It is fine Mr. Gregori. I understand that you would be angry." She said.
"Please call me Ayden. Now, you are here. Without meaning to offend, do you still wish to, um go ahead?" he asked tentatively. Jade looked at his handsome face and realized that he was nervous. It amazed her that someone like him. So gorgeous and powerful could be nervous.
"If I am to call you Ayden then you must call me Jade." She stated to his nod. "Do you need to feed?" She asked directly. Ayden nodded. "Only if you are sure Ayden. I am not doing this simply to fulfil an obligation. Then yes, I am happy to provide." She breathed. Lord he was intoxicating. She could feel herself becoming wet just looking at him.
Ayden turned in his seat so that they were facing in opposite directions on the bench seat. He drew her close and was about to take her wrist when she pulled her hair back and offered him her neck. Shocked, he stopped. Exclusively he fed off peoples wrists since they wanted the effect without being so close to him. That she would allow him so close touched him. Feelings that he'd long ago given up hope of ever experiencing started to churn.
Ayden wrapped an arm around her and with the other hand he cradled her head as he leaned in and ran his lips along her throat. Jade shivered in pleasure. She smelled divine Ayden thought as he felt his fangs lengthen.
Jade felt an initial prick of pain as he sank his teeth into her and she stiffened in his arms. As he started to pull her blood, pleasure suffused her body. Her nipples tightened and wetness pooled between her thighs. She relaxed against him as he felt the pressure building in every nerve ending.
Although Jade was lost to the sensations in her body, she was not completely unaware of her surroundings. Her hand stroked the hardness of his chest and slowly travelled lower along his toned stomach and eventually paused on his hard length contained in his pants. Jade traced his hardness with her hand, gently squeezing and stroking as her own pleasure built.
Ayden could believe how incredible this woman tasted. Each mouthful of her sweet blood was going straight to his head like a drug. He was going to have to be very careful not to take too much. When her hand landed on his hard cock he nearly pulled away from her. He was shocked that she would touch him so intimately. He quickly relaxed into her and continued to feed enjoying the sensations.