Center Stage Ch. 01

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Have you ever had one of those days when everything that could go wrong does? I was having one of those days. I swear the world has to be against me today. I wanted to just bang my head against the desk until I knocked myself out, but then who would answer this phone that doesn’t seem to stop ringing? God forbid mister high and mighty has to answer his own fucking phone. That would probably explain why I haven’t had a day off since I took this job almost six months ago.

That would also explain why there were five other people who filled this position the three months before I was hired. How could a company go through so many employees? I have two words for you: Zachary Grey. He is quite possibly the devil incarnate. I don’t think the sun even rises in the morning with out his expressed written permission, in triplicate of course. I have to grudgingly admit that the man is a genius, as much as that makes my stomach clench. He created Center Stage Productions a little over five years ago. The company helps produce and finance Broadway shows. The company even has a team of writers and composers to work on new plays and musicals. His genius comes with a price, though. He’s a self centered, arrogant, obnoxious, control freak perfectionist. That explains why he has had about forty personal assistants since he opened the company. It also explains why fifteen of them are in therapy to this day.

It was barely after 10 a.m. and my day has already gone straight to hell. I hate Mondays. I’ve been stuck on the phone for the past twenty minutes with a very rude, pissed-off gentleman that was trying to get his new musical produced.

“Mr. Gellar, I’ve tried to explain to you that you need to talk to our development department about your script. I am sure that Thelma and Louise: The Musical is a wonderful script, but I don’t have the authority to give you financing for it. I can transfer you if you like.”

It was very difficult for me to not roll my eyes. This is the fourth phone call I’ve received from him in the last two weeks. He was one of those special people that didn’t understand the meaning of the word no. Now don’t get me wrong, Thelma and Louise was an awesome movie, but as a musical? It sounded like a sure disaster to me, but as I told Mr. Gellar, that is not my call to make. I tried one more unsuccessful attempt to calm him down, but he started cussing me out.

“Mr. Gellar…” I interrupted him. “I’ve provided you with the number for development. Please give them a call once you have calmed down. Thank you for calling Center Stage Productions. Enjoy your day.”

I hung up the phone. I reached into my desk drawer and got out the extra strength Tylenol. The worse part is, I can’t even hold the phone away from my ear when people start going off like that. CSP used only the newest technology. Instead of a normal phone receiver, I had a small headset that fit right over my ear. Everything here was all up to date and high tech. This day couldn’t get any fucking worse, I thought, as I popped three, five hundred milligram Tylenol. The intercom on my desk buzzed. It took everything I had in me not to smack my forehead. Once again I’ve spoken too soon.

“Yes, Mr. Grey?” I asked as I pushed the answer button.

“I need to go over my schedule for the week, Cameron.”

“Right gaziantep escort away, sir.”

I unplugged the headset from the phone as I stood up. Of course, I would answer calls as well during our meetings. God forbid a call should go to the state of the art voicemail system we have set up. I stretched my 6’2 frame for a moment and tried to work out some of the stiffness in my back all this stress was causing. I reached into my desk and pulled out my copy of Satan’s day calendar and a notepad. I can certainly relate to why all my predecessors quit the PA position. I just recently got my degree in business administration and this job had just become available, for the fortieth time. The company was very successful, though, and working for the Anti-Christ paid almost six figures. There is no way in hell I was going to make that much money starting out anywhere else. My job was so much easier to deal with on paydays. I gave myself a quick once-over to make sure everything was in place. God forbid my tie wasn’t perfectly straight, or my shirt wasn’t tucked in evenly all the way around. I walked down the lavish hall away from my workstation and walked through one of the double oak doors that represented the gates of Hell.

I silently closed the door and made my way across the expansive office. It was a beautiful office. One entire wall was floor to ceiling glass and provided an amazing view of the NYC skyline. Lush carpeting covered the floors and accented the comfortable leather furniture. Another wall was tastefully covered in posters from every show CSP worked on. It was truly impressive. I sat down opposite my boss and turned his phone towards me. I plugged in the headset and opened the day calendar.

I got everything ready for our regular Monday morning meeting and looked up at him. Mr. Grey was sitting back in his chair and staring at me. His head was tilted to the side and he was tapping his lips with a finger from his right hand. He didn’t say a word.


His head tilted to the other side and his deep voice echoed in the wood paneled room.

“I was just wondering what took you so long to get back here? You don’t want to end up like my last assistant, do you, Mr. Prince?”

It took every ounce of strength I had in my body to keep my face smooth.

“No, sir. I don’t think I could afford the lithium prescription she gets weekly.”

His eyes locked with mine and I swear his gaze could turn someone to stone.

“Remind me, Cameron, why I shouldn’t fire you like the all the previous people to hold your position.”

I took a slow calming breath. This was something that happened from time to time with him. He would ask you a loaded question, and your position with the company could change based on your answer. Just last week two people in our props department were let go.

“I should keep my position because not only do I have a degree in business administration, which none of your other assistants had, but I’ve lasted longer than any other applicant you’ve hired. I am a hard worker and I am not afraid to stand up for myself. You don’t need a push over assistant that will kneel at your feet. You need one that knows when to stand up to you and challenge your ideas, but also knows that when you say jump, they don’t need to ask how high.”

A thoughtful expression passed over his face so quickly that an untrained eye wouldn’t have caught it, but in dealing with this man for the last six months I was getting to be a pro at reading his facial expressions.

“And why would I need you to stand up to me or challenge my ideas?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I am your assistant, not your secretary. If you wanted someone to just answer the phones and take dictation, you would have hired a secretary. An assistant is responsible for more than that. My responsibility is to help you do your job to the best of your ability, and sometimes that will require me to voice my opinion. Besides, I present a challenge to you that none of the other assistants did. I have a mind, and I am not afraid of you.”

His mouth turned up a bit. This was his idea of a smile.

“Cameron, if you are done with your monologue, can we finally review my schedule for the week?”

“Of course, sir.”

I started reading off his appointments and meetings for the week. I quietly let out a sigh of relief. I had obviously given a good enough answer. I knew that if I showed any sign of weakness to him, he would rip me to shreds. Even if I didn’t stay long with the company, I knew that after working with Zachary Grey, any other boss will be a walk in the park.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I sat down at a table in the company’s cafeteria with a sigh. The meeting with Mr. Grey lasted almost an hour, and I had to deal with Mr. Gellar two more times this morning. The cafeteria served wonderful food, and it was free for the employees. Thank God lunch is an hour. Just as I started to eat, I saw Ariel Bennett coming towards my table. She worked in the casting department, and she and I hit it off right away. She was a tall woman, with gorgeous blonde hair that just brushed her shoulders. She was a real beauty, the perfect image of a casting agent.

“So, how is it going in the pits of Hell today Cam?”

“I got the third degree from his evil high-ass today,” I said with a laugh.

“Well, it’s about time. All of the department heads got their questions two weeks ago.”

Ariel was in charge of casting, and for good reason. She was extremely talented. In the six months I’ve worked at CSP she has never failed to find the perfect person for a part. One of my responsibilities was to check up on all the departments a few times a week.

“I guess he had to think of something really good for me. I mean, I am his right-hand slave.”

We both laughed at the joke.

“You have to admit, though, Cameron, he is gorgeous. He’s only thirty and has the most successful production company in the city. He’s only five years older than we are, and he is already running and operating his own company.”

I had to admit that he was good looking. When I heard about him, I prayed that he would be at least average looking, but, of course, he wasn’t. He stood about 6’3 and had midnight black hair. He had a firm, muscular body that genetics played a major role in. His eyes were a very clear, crystal blue. His face seemed to have a perpetual five o’clock shadow. People would be flirting with him on a constant basis if he weren’t such a son of a bitch.

“I do agree with you that he is hot, Ariel, but he such a demanding prick. I am really starting to love my job with the company, but it would be so much better if he was easier to deal with.”

Ariel gave me a sympathetic grin.

“I know, buddy, but you are doing a wonderful job. I’ve talked with people from other departments, and they are really hoping that you stick this out. They enjoy interacting with you and would definitely rather deal with you than Zachary.”

“Thanks, hun. That really means a lot to me.” I said with a smile. “I don’t even think of him on a first name basis. We are certainly not going to be friends so it’s better that I think of him as Mr. Grey.”

“Good point, Cameron, but I think if anyone can break through that suit of armor he wears, it would be you. I mean, you’ve already lasted like 4 months longer than anyone else has with him.”

“Keep your fingers crossed, sweetie. Keep your fingers crossed.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I returned from my lunch and was just putting my things away when I saw the note on my desk.

‘See me as soon as you get back from lunch.’

I couldn’t help the sigh that escaped from my lips. This certainly can’t be good. He’s never left notes for me before. Once again, I quickly gave myself the once over and made my way back into the lion’s den.

“You wanted to see me, sir?” I asked as I stood in front of his desk.

“I need you to attend a function with me this weekend, Mr. Prince. I will have a car pick up you around seven p.m. The function starts at eight sharp. No suits at this function. Jeans will be fine.”

I tried to keep my face as calm as possible. Here is another day off I am going to lose. That fact that I could wear jeans made me curious. I have never attended a company function that didn’t require at the very least a suit.

“Jeans, sir?”

Mr. Grey looked up at me with a very serious expression.

“How dedicated are you to the company, Cameron?”

I couldn’t help the confused expression that appeared on my face.

“I am very dedicated, sir.”

“Good. An old friend of mine is having a house warming party, and I have been invited. There is only one problem with this situation: a person that I can not stand will be there, and I would prefer to have someone with me that I know I can count on. And since you work for me, I know that I have your loyalty.”

“Yes, sir. I will do everything I can to help out. I haven’t been to a party in a long time.”

He raised an eyebrow and locked eyes with me.

“There is only one thing you are going to be responsible for the whole evening, and I expect you to perform there as if you were in the office. You will be on the clock and will be getting paid. I do not expect you to have too much fun.”

“What will my responsibility be for the evening sir?”

Another one of his so-called smiles appeared on his face.

“You will be my boyfriend for the evening.”

Now, I have been able to keep a smooth, calm face almost the whole time I have worked at CSP, but this threw me for a fucking loop. I didn’t even realize I had sat down until I felt the softness of the leather chair engulf me.

“Your what?” I managed to get out.

“Don’t play stupid with me, Cameron. You heard what I said. For all looks and appearances, this Saturday, you will be my loving boyfriend.”

Why did I have the feeling that I’ve sold my soul to get this job?

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