Home > Womanizer (Manwhore #4)(2)

Womanizer (Manwhore #4)(2)
Author: Katy Evans


“In a Fortune 500 company? Sis, you’re good . . .”

I frown. “But not that good?”

He looks at me with that smirk of his, then reaches out and rumples my hair. “You’re good. Make me proud, okay?” He tips my chin up.

I nod.

Callan Carmichael. I don’t know him, even though he’s apparently a close friend of my brother. When my brother moved to Chicago and I came to visit, he always told me to stay away from his friends. Now I’m old enough to work at one of their firms—Carma Inc. For the owner and CEO himself. Carma is a conglomerate of ten-plus huge multibillion-dollar companies involving media, real estate, and worldwide investments, and takeovers are Carmichael’s specialty. He’s a land shark. I’m not into city gossip, much less in a city I didn’t live in until an hour ago, but I know that in Chicago they speak of him with a touch of fear in their voice. Carma Inc. has been bringing karma to bad business handling for decades, without mercy.

Well it’s time to seize my own karma, and I breathe in as I stop at my apartment door.

I may have agreed to let my brother send his jet, but when he said he was renting me a place in his same building, I set my foot down. This is my independence we’re talking about. So we compromised when I couldn’t find anything affordable near work.

I’m going to be taking over his girlfriend’s lease, since she basically lives with Tahoe now.

Tahoe’s friend Will Blackstone has a prime building in the Loop that he’s demolishing to make new apartment complexes. The permits are still underway and could take a while, and in the meantime Gina had a great rental at an unbelievable price that was sitting mostly unused. She still has some of her stuff over here, but what she needs, she has at Tahoe’s. It’ll be my place for the next few months.

And suddenly here I am, filled with a rush of excitement when I use my brand-new key to open my brand-new place for the first time.

“You going to open that door today, little sis?” Tahoe asks, shoulder propped on the wall as he waits not-so-patiently.

“Give me a second! Let me savor this!” I protest.

My hand trembles a little and my brother doesn’t miss it, but he still lets me be the one to open the door.

I finally do, stepping inside.

It’s a one-bedroom, two-bath apartment with a closet as big as my room in Texas, a huge kitchen for entertaining, a living room with views of the city that are to die for, and hardwood floors that smell delicious.

“Oh, I miss this place,” Regina says with a sigh.

Tahoe raises his eyebrows at her.

“I didn’t say I liked it more than your place.” She nudges him with her toe, and he grins at her.

While they make goo-goo eyes at each other, I go and open the window. Gina sold me on the place when she told me the air smells of chocolate because there’s a chocolate factory nearby.

I take a good whiff, and the air not only smells like chocolate, it tastes like it too.

I scan my neighboring buildings and cannot believe I’m really here. I pinch myself a little, and it stings. It must be real!

The buildings nearby are beautiful, the streets clean. We make a trip downstairs to bring up all of my luggage.

In the closet, Regina has set her stuff on one side, but even with only half the space available, I can’t fill this closet on my own, it’s so big.

I hang my clothes and actually—unlike my Texas friends—I really like closets that aren’t crammed. Someone once told me when you cleaned out your closet it left room for new things to come into your life. Mine always has just enough space to welcome something. What that something is, I don’t know. But something.

So Gina helps me unpack, and my brother brings Chinese takeout for us to have a late lunch together, and when they leave to go get ready for some posh dinner they must attend, I look around the space and cannot believe this is my first place on my own.

It feels a little odd not to hear my parents downstairs. But I hear the city sounds outside, of life and bustling activity, and it pleases me.

In the living room, I add just one pillow I brought from home that has a colorful little crown and this embroidered right on top of it:

QUEEN OF EFFING EVERYTHING

My grandmother gave it to me. If there was ever any queen in Texas, she is it.

At eighty-two, she’s still the coolest gran I know. My nana is my own Betty White with perfect white hair and more expletives in her dictionary than a sailor will ever know.

The only purchase Gina never got around to making was a set of stools for the kitchen island. Since I want to learn to live on my own salary and plan to avoid superfluous spending, I’ll just pull the desk chair with a little cushion over when I need it.

I make my bed and organize the framed photographs of Tahoe, Mom, Dad, and me on my nightstand. Then I huff and puff until I get my suitcases up on the top shelf of the closet so they don’t take up any floor space.

That night, I sleep for the first time in my life in a whole apartment just for me.

I’m not that sure I like it.

Yet.

 

 

On Sunday, I finish organizing the closet in my new apartment and then add office stuff to my brand-new briefcase—a gift from my proud parents.

A girl of twenty-two left Texas, and tomorrow morning she will be a full-grown independent woman. I’m ready. I’ve got a lot to prove, especially to myself. And I’m here to learn how to play with the big guys in the big leagues.

I stuff the black leather briefcase with things like Post-its, pens and pencils, the works. I also go shopping to make sure I have the perfect attire. Apparently the CEO has a dress code. My shopping is for uniforms, pieces in black, white, or gray, required for all Carma Inc. employees.

I come home to bags of popcorn accompanied by a note.

 

You can’t call yourself a Chicago resident until you’ve tried this.

Your favorite bro.

 

I text him: You’re my only bro, meathead.

 

T.R.: Only reason I’d be your favorite.

 

Me: Say hi to Gina. Turning in early. BIG DAY TOMORROW!

 

T.R.: Babe, it’s going to be a big day every day for 3 months. Carmichael is cool as a cucumber in everything except business. You’ve been warned.

 

Me: Challenge accepted.

 

T.R.: If you wimp out, you can intern with me.

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