When the capable, do it all secretary of a narcissistic entrepreneur decides to quit, chaos ensues.
James wants to leave his job of 7 years to pursue a career in writing, but his boss is determined to keep him by all means necessary. Whatever it takes.
Who says only men have tricks up their sleeves ?
It’s 6am in the morning as James Lim parked the company car in the driveway of the luxury bungalow in Sentosa.
While most of the people who work in an office are still asleep, James is already up and ready to start his day since 5am. On paper, he works 9am to 6pm, but in reality, he’s clocking between 16 to 18 hours a day.
Entering the password to the 20 Million bungalow with it’s private berth for a yacht, he switched on the lights to the living hall and removed his leather shoes. Slipping into his pair of bedroom slippers, he walked quickly to the kitchen and rolled up the sleeve of his shirt.
After donning an apron, he put the water to boil and checked the menu on the fridge. 5 minutes later, he has eggs and bacon sizzling on the stove while he brewed a pot of fresh coffee.
Popping a slice of sour dough bread into the toaster, he started to arrange the breakfast onto the serving tray, setting the food along side yogurt, fresh fruits and salad.
After he is done cooking, he looked at his Casio watch, satisfied that he is on schedule.
James brought the food up to level two of the large bungalow. He could see the light spilling our from the door of the master bedroom.
She is already awake.
I’m sure you would have guessed by now James is not the owner of this luxury bungalow. It belonged to his boss, Elene.
At 28 years old, Elene is the CEO of the company she founded.
A multi-million dollar company that specialise in women’s clothing and accessories with factories in China, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Her brand is carried internationally, and she employs close to 300 employees working in 8 cities.
She started it all when she was 21. Within a short span of 7 years, she has achieved much more than what the average girl her age does in a lifetime.
Of course, having a dad who is one of the few billionaires in Singapore helped too.
Besides from owning her own company, Elene is slated to take over the conglomerate from her father when he retires in less than 2 years time. In fact, she has started to take on some of the responsibilities that the father threw on her.
The bedroom door opened and Elene stepped out in her silk pyjamas. The expression on her face told James that day is going to be a long one. Elene is one to turn heads if you see her along the road.
With sharp features that would put most modern day actress to shame, Elene has that ice queen look that stabs shards of ice into men’s heart if she stares that them.
She hardly smiles, but when she does, hearts melt and deals are quickly concluded.
Elene has a nice pair of legs that when paired with a nice pair of heels, belongs on the runway in the top fashion capital of the world.
Everything about her is perfect. She can choose not to put on makeup and still knock the wind out of your lungs.
Some people think she is a vase. Some people think she is nothing without her billionair father.
You see, say all you like about Elene being a rich daddy’s girl but without substance of her own, there is no way she can come this far. Besides, there is only so much your daddy can hold your hand.
James knew Elene had everything today through sheer hard work. He knew because he was her first employee. The only one that stuck with her despite her impossible to please attitude and demands.
Elene is known in the industry to be difficult to work with.
And to employees like James, she is impossible to work for.
At 1.63m tall, Elene is blessed with a hourglass figure. She hardly works out but always keeps herself looking fabulous through what others say is black magic.
There’s nothing of the sort though. James knew.
He knew how hard she worked.
Everyone only sees the glam on the outside. How many knew Elene kept 18 hour days 7 days a week ?
“JAMES!” Elene shouted as he set the tray down at the balcony overlooking the infinity pool on level one.
“What time is my meeting with the board ? “ she asked without looking up from her phone.
“9.30am, in their office.”
“Where is the file with the agenda ? what did my father throw to me this time round ? ” she asked as she bit onto the toasted bread, dusting crumbs off her manicured fingers.
“you brought it back from office last night, you said you want to read it before you sleep. It’s about the hotel site he bought in Orchard road ..”
“I didn’t have time to read it. can you bring it for me.”
“Right away.” He said.
Walking to Elene’s bedroom, James opened the door and fought back a sigh.
How can such a beautiful woman live with such a mess in her room.
He saw the file on her study table from the entrance, instead of charting a straight line to the table, he took a longer route, picking up worn underwear, damp sports bra, worn socks and work out tights from the floor before depositing them in the laundry basket.
These are nothing to James. He has grown accustomed to seeing the slob in Elene.
3 years older than Elene, James has seen it all.
He took the job because it offered him the highest pay back then. With only a diploma under his belt, this was the only job was willing to pay him more than 2000 a month.
He needed the money for his grandmother’s medical bills.
When he first started working for Elene, he thought she was a mad woman. On top of the verbal abuses, the long work hours and the crude comments and insults, James had to take care of Elene’s every need.
From making coffee and tea, to making sure her clothes come back in time from the dry cleaners, to making reservation for her travel plans. Basically every damm thing a secretary does.
Initially, people eyed with him curiosity. Why would a guy, choose to do all these for Elene ? Some thought he liked Elene, he wanted a shot at becoming the prospective son in law of a billionaire but that could not be further from the truth.
Some thinks he’s sick, mentally that is. Some thinks he is Elene’s toy boy, especially when it comes to satisfying her needs if you get what I mean.
However, over time, everyone has come to respect him.
This includes Elene’s billionaire father George.
No one except James could put up with her shit.
No one but James can put up with her narcissistic behaviour.
No one but James could endue her verbal abuse, her insults and still put on a straight face to get things done.
Not even Elene’s father.
No one except James has access to Elene’s schedule and he is the one to get if you want to meet Elene. And he is slated to become the 2nd most powerful man in the company when Elene takes over the entire company.
James finds it amusing that George had to call him to remind Elene to go home for reunion dinner on Chinese New year’s eve.
It was not all a bed of roses for James.
The 1st two years was especially hard for James when he needed to juggle work and taking care of his grandmother. She has since passed on while James held on to his position.
Because of the hospital bills chalked up over the years. Hundreds of thousands of it. He needs to pay it off in order to be truly free.
Picking up the file, he notices Elene’s phone is plugged in but not charging. Switching on the power, he walks to her walk-in wardrobe. The lights came on automatically and he opened her drawer of lingerie.
“Monday… Board meeting…. Grumpy mood… black it is.” He mumbled.
Picking out a set of matching lace lingerie, James set it down on the bench and picked 2 pants suit for Elene, hanging them within her line of sight.
Choosing and buying lingerie may not have been part of his job scope when James first started but over time, his job scope gradually expended.
Sure he’s getting a higher pay now not to mention a charge all you want credit card courtesy of the company but with great powers, come great responsibilities. Or in this case, great ‘shit taking’ capabilities.
He handed the file to Elene who was biting down on a piece of papaya.
“shall I ask the day helper to come over today ? “ James asked.
“ok.” Elene answered while flipping through the file.
“I picked out your clothes in the walk in, do you want me to run your bath ? “
“Alright, I’ll clean up after you are done eating and wait for you by the car. “ he said.
Removing the apron, James brought the dishes to the sink and sent a text to the cleaning agency. They will have their staff over in the afternoon for a few hours and the place will be good as new when Elene comes back in the evening.
After a 30 minutes wait, Elene walked out with her Himalayan Birkin purse and a pair of shades from Gucci.
“How do I look ? “ Elene asked, twirling around to show off the clothes that James picked.
“Absolutely amazing.” He answered with a straight face.
“The Wraith or the Phantom ? “ James asked.
Without bothering to reply James, Elene walked to the Phantom.
Getting into the driver seat, James started the engine and within minutes, they were cruising down the expressway towards the board meeting.
James parked at a dedicated lot of the office tower before opening the door for Elene. The guards and doormen, upon seeing the heiress of the empire, all scrambled to look sharp.
Elene has fired a guard just because his shirt is a little crumpled before and retired a director because he talked back to her.
James put on his coat and walked 2 steps behind Elene with his tablet in his hand and 3 phones in his pocket.
One personal phone, 2 work phone. As he walked, he placed an order of a Soy milk latte with an extra shot topped with cinnamon powder to be delivered immediately on his phone. After sending the order, he looked at the staff of the café that is attached to the office like a tumour that do not belong.
The staff immediately started their preparation, knowing full well that the subsidised rent they are receiving came from the grace of the princess that reign here.
A bronze letter E the size of a car hung embossed in the opulent lobby of the family’s building. E for the Eng family.
Receptionist stood up and security uncles cleared the way for Elene as if the prime minister himself arrived in the building.
Stepping into a private lift, James hit the top floor after scanning it with his access card.
“I want my coffee James.” Elene said.
“it will be on your table before the meeting start.”
When the private lift opened, the receptionist are on their feet.
The managers standing by in case she needed anything.
Elene walked straight to her father’s office. Without wasting a single second, she switched on his computer and immediately started replying the hundreds of emails she gets when she sleeps.
James shut the door to the office and he could feel everyone in the office heaving a sigh of relief.
No massive tantrum from the princess today.
Turning to see the line of people coming to him, he started with the operations director of EbrandX.
“James, I need the operating budget for the new department Elene wanted signed off by today.” He said.
“It’s done, I have sent the documents to finance.”
“oh thank you so much brother.“ He gave James a hug and promised to buy him lunch.
Next in line, Brenda. Product manager who looked like she did not sleep the whole night.
“James, James, there is a issues with the factory in Cambodia, their output dropped 50% due to a fire in the warehouse. We cannot…”
“Brenda…don’t tell her something like that, she will flip…” James said. “ Send the orders to Vietnam, and give Ngyuen a call.”
James pulled up a contact card from his tablet and Brenda quickly take a photo.
“Ngyuen’s team can do miracles….” James said.
“what about the increase in cost ? “ Brenda asked. “ We’re looking at another 20% increase for this if Ngyuen does it.”
“I’ll talk to Elene when she is in a good mood, just make sure her new line ships out in time.”
“Brenda, look at me.” James said “The new line…. Ships on time. Period. I’ll talk to Elene about the money.”
“oh thank you so much James!” Brenda said before giving him a tight hug.
After fending off a few other colleagues demanding for Elene’s attention, James was surprised to see Nicole walking over to him. It’s not often that the COO, ( chief operating officer ) of EbrandX has a favour to ask of him.
Especially when Nicole is Elene’s BFF since Primary school.
“James.. how is she today ? She in a good mood ? “ Nicole asked.
“George dumped a hotel on her and she’s is going to meet the board in 10 minutes. “ James said professionally. “ She’s not in the best of mood today for bad news”
“oh fuck this. Then I won’t tell her yet… is her weekly spa still on ? “
“Yes, tomorrow at 3pm. I suggest you meet her at the spa at 5pm if it’s bad news, at least she can take it after her massage. “ James offered.
“Ok. sounds good. I’ll see you tomorrow at the spa James…. it’s a bit of a bad news.“ Nicole said.
“how bad ? “
“a hiccup I would say.”
James waited to hear more. With Nicole, there is always more.
“CFO ( Chief finance officer ) just tendered her resignation.” Nicole said. “I was at HR within minutes, but there’s no stopping her.”
“Megan is leaving ? why ? “ James asked in shocked.
“Her husband was diagnosed with cancer, doctor gave him one year at the most.”
“oh my god.”
“yeah, I have a massive headache now and the last thing I need is for Elene to freak out on me when I break the news to her.” Nicole said as she started waving her hands in the air, asking aloud if anyone stashed whisky secretly at their desk because she needed a drink.
“anyway, nevermind. I’ll do it after her spa tomorrow.” Nicole said as the lift door opened and James saw the café staff bringing in Elene’s coffee.
It’s time for the board meeting. The board members are arriving and filing into the board room.
James knocked on Elene’s door and she knew it’s time.
Getting up from her seat, she walked over to James, took her coffee and entered the board room with a word.
The heavy wooden door shut and James exhaled, thinking of how to bring up the conversation with Elene.
After a bit of deliberation, James walked over to the HR department.
He knocked on the door and he saw Nicole talking in hushed voices to the HR director Cindy.
“yes James? Can I helped you ?” Cindy asked.
“ yeah… you can.” He said.
Pulling out the envelope from his coat jacket, James handed it to Cindy.
“I’m tendering my resignation.”
There was a moment of silence around the room.
Then Nicole fainted, Cindy fell off her chair and the remaining HR staff in the office started screaming.
“fuck…” James mumbled under his breath.