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6
2 YEARS

First Look: 'Beautiful Bastard' (Exclusive)

Editor's Note: The following excerpt contains mature language and adult situations.

As everyone began filtering out for lunch, I remained
glued to my desk with my coffee and a bag of trail mix
I’d bought from the vending machine. Normally I’d

bring leftovers or leave with the other interns to grab
something, but time was not on my side today. I heard
the outer office door open and looked up, smiling as
Sara Dillon walked in. Sara was in the same MBA internship
program at Ryan Media Group that I was,
though she worked in accounting.

“Ready for lunch?” she asked.

“I’m going to have to skip it. This is the day from
hell.” I looked at her apologetically, and her smile
turned into a smirk.

“Day from hell, or boss from hell?” She took a seat
on the edge of my desk. “I heard he was on a bit of a
rampage this morning.”

I gave her a knowing look. Sara didn’t work for him,
but she knew all about Bennett Ryan. As the youngest
son of company founder Elliott Ryan, and with a notoriously
short fuse, he was a living legend in the building.
“Even if there were two of me, I wouldn’t be able
to get this finished in time.”

“You sure you don’t want me to bring you back
something?” Her eyes moved in the direction of his office.
“A hit man? Some holy water?”

I laughed. “I’m good.”

Sara smiled and left the office. I’d just finished off
the last of my coffee when I bent down, noting a run in
my stockings. “And on top of everything else,” I began,
hearing Sara return, “I’ve already snagged these. Actually,
if you’re going somewhere there’s chocolate, bring
me back fifty pounds, so I can eat my feelings later.”

I glanced up and saw that it wasn’t Sara standing
there. My cheeks flushed red and I pulled my skirt back
down.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Ryan, I—”

“Miss Mills, since you and the other office girls have
plenty of time to discuss problematic lingerie, in ad-
dition to putting together the Papadakis presentation,
I need you to also run down to the Willis office and
retrieve the market analysis and segmentation for Beaumont.”
He straightened his tie, looking at his reflection
in my window. “Do you think you can manage that?”

Did he just call me an “office girl”? Sure, as part
of my internship I often did some basic assistant work
for him, but he knew damn well I had worked for this
company for years before receiving a JT Miller scholarship
to Northwestern. I was four months away from
getting my business degree.

Getting my degree and getting the hell out from under
you
, I thought. I looked up to meet his blazing eyes.
“I’ll be happy to ask Sam if she—”

“It wasn’t a suggestion,” he cut me off. “I’d like you
to pick them up.” He gazed at me for a moment with
a clenched jaw before turning on his heel and storming
back to his office, pulling the door closed roughly
behind him.

What the fuck was his problem?Was slamming doors
like a teenager really necessary? I grabbed my blazer
from the back of the chair and began making my way
to our satellite office a few buildings down.

When I returned, I knocked on his door but there
was no response. I tried the knob. Locked. He was
probably having a late-afternoon quickie with some
trust fund princess while I ran around Chicago like an
insane person. I shoved the manila folder through the
mail slot, hoping the papers scattered everywhere and
he’d have to get down and sort them himself. Would
serve him right. I rather liked the image of him on his
knees on the floor, gathering scattered documents.
Then again, knowing him, he would call me into that
sterile hellhole to clean it up while he watched.

Four hours later I had the status updates complete,
my slides mostly in order, and I was almost hysterically
laughing with how awful this day was. I found myself
plotting a very bloody and drawn-out murder of the
kid at The Copy Stop. A simple job, that’s all I had
asked. Make some copies, bind some things. Should
have been a piece of cake. In and out. But no. It had
taken two hours.