His Miracle BabyBy: B. B. Hamel
A Bad Boy Romance
I didn’t really expect our office party to be quite this… lavish.
I didn’t even know Providence had a hotel this fancy. I walk into the main ballroom of the Renaissance and instantly I’m a little taken aback. It’s like an eighteenth-century castle in here, with gold filigree and thick drapery. The place is actually packed, and I swear I’ve never seen most of these people in my life. There’s no way all of them work in the mayor’s tiny office, or else I would have noticed when I tripped over a million feet throughout the day.
And of course, I’m totally underdressed. Everyone’s in suits and dresses, and here I am still wearing my navy skirt and bland sweater from earlier. I didn’t bother to get dressed, just came right over here after finishing up some extra tasks in the office.
I feel like a total idiot, but I guess it doesn’t matter. I spot some people I know, Marnie and Taylor and Joey, but I just wave at Taylor and head over to the bar. I can tell I already need a drink.
The place is packed. I have to slide through a group of people laughing loudly at some joke, the men dressed in dark suits, the women wearing too much jewelry. There’s only one seat left open at the bar, right down toward the end, and I hurry over.
I sit down just before this old, heavy-set man with jowls down to his chest can get there. He gives me a look like he wants to buy my whole life then burn it to the ground, and normally I’d offer him the seat, but his gold-capped cane makes me think he can probably afford to look elsewhere.
“Thanks for that.”
I look to my left, surprised. I didn’t really notice him at first, but now that I’m looking, I don’t know how I missed him. He’s handsome, older than me, but not by too much, probably late twenties. He’s not dressed up, wearing just an old beat-up leather jacket and some faded jeans, and he’s handsome as hell. I’m actually taken aback at how handsome he is. Scruffy face, green eyes, thick dark hair, he looks like he spends a lot of time outside.
I don’t respond right away, and he must catch me staring, because a grin cracks across his face.
“For that guy,” he prompts.
“You saved me from sitting next to McMoneybags over there,” he says, nodding toward the jeweled man who’s ambling away, muttering angrily to himself.
I laugh softly. “Oh, well, you’re welcome then.”
He nods at me. “Want a drink?”
He catches the bartender’s attention and I ask for a gin and tonic. I sip my drink when it arrives, and although I know I should go over and join Taylor and my coworkers, I decide that maybe I can stay around a little bit longer.
“You don’t look like you belong here,” I say to him.
He gives me a little smirk. “You think so?”
“No,” I say, shaking my head. “You’re under fifty and you’re not dressed like you own a bank.”
“Good point.” He sips his beer and cocks his head. “You don’t exactly blend in, either. You’re not wearing a million dollars’ worth of blood diamonds.”
I sigh dramatically. “I’m so embarrassed. I left all my blood diamonds at home.”
He laughs, still watching me. “I take it you work in the mayor’s office?”
I nod, smiling back. “Yeah, just an administrative assistant.”
“Ah,” he says, nodding. “Glamorous work. Especially for our wonderful mayor.”
I smile at him and glance at my drink. Buddy Weaver, Providence’s mayor, has something of a reputation. I knew it coming into the job, but honestly, I just needed the work. I care about politics and all that, but I care more about affording rent and food, so I couldn’t really pick and choose when something fell into my lap. The job’s not really my dream or anything like that, and I don’t love that I work for a supposedly corrupt crook, but the paycheck arrives on time so I can’t complain.
“He’s nice,” I say.
“Buddy is nice,” the guy confirms. “What’s your name?”
“Elias. Nice to meet you, Alexa.” His handsome smile is totally disarming, and I forget all over again that I’m supposed to go over to my coworkers. I guess it doesn’t matter, since really only Taylor is my friend here, and she’ll totally understand once she sees the guy I’m talking to.
He starts chatting with me about the work I do, but mostly we make fun of the people around us. It’s pretty easy, since everyone’s glad-handing each other, smiling and laughing too loud. It’s supposed to be an office party for a bunch of civil servants, but it feels more like a banquet for donors or something like that.
The mayor himself is here, shaking hands and smiling broadly. For as corrupt as he supposedly is, everyone likes him anyway, which isn’t really a big surprise. Buddy has a huge personality, and he’s incredibly likeable. He remembers everyone’s name, no matter how briefly you meet him. It’s part of his incredible charm.
He’s also a big man, easily over six foot. Elias is big himself, at least as big as the mayor, but he doesn’t hold himself the same way as the mayor does. Buddy is outgoing and loud, with an obnoxious toupee and a quick smile, while Elias is much more subdued.