On the outside, Gray Wilder is living the rockstar lifestyle as the lead singer of Blood Ink. He has cars, money, houses, and women lining up to be with him. But he's lonely and broken on the inside, a side to him he refuses to show. When Remi Jones is hired to be Gray's personal assistant, she is thrown into a world of money and fame. Gray is arrogant and rude to her, but as their relationship grows, she begins to realize there is more to him. He isn't just a rude rockstar but is plagued by dark and traumatic memories of his past. Remi is desperate to see the real him. Can Remi keep business from mixing with pleasure?*** “Why do you call me Rainy when I’ve told you multiple times my name is Remi?” Gray simply shrugs as a small smile graces his plump lips. “Your eyes are the color of rain falling on a warm summer afternoon and I like that. To me, Rainy suits you better.” Blood Ink is created by Chloe Higgins, an eGlobal Creative Publishing signed author.
Chapter 1: Feeling Lost
“You’re fired, Remi. We no longer need you.”
Those two words ‘you’re fired’ stab at my heart as if they were a knife and twist with all their might, shredding my heart with each syllable. I try not to let the pain well tears in the inner corners of my eyes, but it’s hard not to when I’m staring down the barrel of unemployment.
“I—I… don’t understand, Mr. Smith. I’m fired?” I don’t try to hide the quiver in my voice as confusion courses through my body. I tuck my shaky fingers underneath my thighs, resting against the soft plush seat.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t have a choice in this.” Mr. Smith looks apologetic as he runs a hand over his balding head. He can’t look me directly in the eye which I find cowardly as he sits there and makes me jobless in the blink of an eye.
“The company has just been bought out by someone who wants to revamp the franchise, which means hiring a whole new team of staff. I tried to fight for you, and everyone else, I really did, but the board wouldn’t listen. I’m sorry.”
I want to be understanding because I know this isn’t his fault, but I can’t deny the frustration, sadness, and small amount of anger building within my chest. When I woke up this morning, I had no idea this would be my last day working for the clothing store ‘Happy Days’. I have been blindsided to the point that I’m clueless and don’t know what I’m going to do once I walk out of this office.
“I’m sorry, Remi. I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear first thing on a Monday morning, but the board made it clear they wanted everyone to know so they can get the revamping of the store underway asap. Again, I’m sorry.”
Mr. Smith continues to say sorry for my unfortunate morning, but I don’t have the power to smile at him and say it’s not his fault. All I want to do is go home, crawl under the sheets, and cry for the rest of the day knowing I won’t have a job to rely on for food and rent. This is such a f*cking disaster.
I take a deep breath and remove my fingers from underneath my thighs to run them over my black jeans. “So, what happens now?”
“You can go home,” he says simply, slightly shrugging his shoulders. “The store won’t be opening today.”
“Why didn’t you say something sooner?” I try to not let the annoyance slip through my lips, but it’s as clear as day. I’m sure the co—workers who were in here before me felt the same way.
“I wasn’t allowed to say anything until today. I’m sorry, Remi. For what it’s worth, you were a fantastic employee for the last six months you have been with us. I’m glad I took the chance hiring you.”
The sentiment tugs at the corner of my lips, but I’m too sad and numb to give him a full smile. I blink back the tears threatening to spill over the edge and take a deep breath as I stand to my feet.
“Thank you for making me part of the family. I’m sad this is all coming to an end, but it’s been a pleasure working for you.”
Mr. Smith gives me a small smile, his pale brown eyes staring up at me as he leans back in his leather chair. “It’s been a pleasure, Remi. I’ll contact you in a few days about your last paycheck.”
And with that, I turn to walk out of the office. I try to keep my head held high and show no emotion as I walk past Benny and Amy who are waiting by the registers, not knowing their impending fate as they wait to be called into the office. Amy tries to grab my attention by waving at me, but all I can muster is a small smile as I walk out the front doors.
The streets of Los Angeles are bustling with people as I slowly walk down the sidewalk and the humid summer heat sticks to my skin. I’m lost in my thoughts as I make the short walk to my apartment, which I only just left forty—five minutes ago thinking I would be spending the day working. But nope, Mr. Smith had other plans for me.
I don’t let a single tear fall the entire walk. Instead, I think about what the hell I’m going to do now that I’m unemployed. I don’t want to move back to Texas to live with my parents because I moved away for a reason. I have big dreams and aspirations that I can’t fulfill in my tiny hometown.
I moved to Los Angeles to become a writer because it has always been a goal of my mine to be on the best sellers list and put my work out there for people to read and experience the characters and stories floating around in my head. But I can’t do that without a job that pays my bills, puts a roof over my head, and stops me from dying of starvation.
“I’m totally f*cked,” I groan as I turn the corner and see my apartment complex come into view.
I readjust the tote bag on my shoulder and trudge up the stairs to the foyer of the complex. The elevator ride to the fifth floor plagues my body with anxiety because it’s making this entire sh*tshow of a morning sink in further.
I can hear the television playing what sounds like music through the door as I unlock it and step inside. The door slamming behind me causes my roommate, Ava, to look over her shoulder as she sits on the brown suede couch.
Her short brown curly hair swishes against her shoulders with the sudden movement, chocolate eyes shine with confusion as her brows pull together in a tight frown. “What are you doing home? I heard you leave an hour ago.”
A groan escapes my lips as I drop my tote bag by the door, kick off my sneakers, and plop beside her on the couch. “You won’t believe what just happened. I got f*cking fired.”
Ava’s eyes widen and her jaw almost hits her lap as she stares back at me. “Fired! Are you serious? What happened?”
I tell her everything that happened in Mr. Smith’s office twenty minutes ago, including every detail so Ava gets the full picture of what happened. I’m still trying to process it myself as reality starts to settle on my shoulders and this morning’s weight pushes me toward the ground.
Ava doesn’t bother to hide the irritation on her face as she shakes her head. “That is such bullsh*t. I seriously can’t believe that.”
“You and me both,” I mutter as I let my head fall back against the couch. I turn my eyes toward the television and see the singer Ava is obsessed with performing on the screen. “Are you seriously watching this concert again? How many times is that? Five?”
“Ten,” Ava corrects me with a raised brow. “And don’t change the subject. What are you going to do now that you’re jobless?”
I take a deep breath as I focus on the insanely attractive man on screen as he pours his heart out to an entire stadium of people who are there solely for him. I’ve heard Ava talk enough about Gray Wilder to know he’s part of a band, Blood Ink, but the other members aren’t as popular as him. I don’t know if it’s because of the multiple scandals he is part of, the stunning models and actresses he is seen out with, or his stunning looks, but he’s all Ava ever talks about.
I tear my eyes away from the screen and shrug. “I guess I’m going to have to look for a new job. I was actually going to cry in my bedroom for the rest of the day, so I might go do that and leave you with your boyfriend.”
Ava wraps her fingers around my wrist as I try to leave the couch and I groan. I should’ve known that she wouldn’t allow me to be down in the dumps about being fired. I’ve known her for six months, and she is already my best friend and would do anything for me. I saw her ad online looking for a roommate when I was getting ready to move to L.A. I’m glad I responded to the ad because I would’ve been lost without her.
“You’re not going anywhere, Rem.” Ava raises a brow and releases my arm to retrieve her laptop from the coffee table. “I’m going to help you find a job right now because I don’t want you wallowing in pity and self—doubt. It’s best to not let yourself get knocked and just keep your head held high.”
For the first time since leaving ‘Happy Days’, a smile graces my lips and I scoot in beside Ava as we scroll through job listings on the internet. She is one hundred percent right. If I allow myself to be kicked down, and stay down, I’m never going to get back on track and I will be forced to move back home, which is the last resort for me. I will take any job if it means I get to continue living in L.A.
We scroll through the listing for at least an hour. I see a few jobs I think will suit me well, but they require skills that I don’t have. I only have previous experience in retail and that’s not going to cut it in a corporate job.
Frustration courses through my veins and I throw my head back in frustration. “This is useless. I’m never going to find anything that isn’t in retail.”
“Hang on,” Ava says. “I think I found something.”
Ava points at the screen and I see the job title ‘Personal Assistant’ written in the job description. I have never thought about being a PA to anyone, but surely it can’t be too difficult of a job, right?
“It says that the PA position is for an up—and—coming singer who needs a PA to help with their schedule. It doesn’t specify that you need experience in anything, but that you must be hardworking and work well under pressure. I totally think you can do this, Rem!”
I chew on my bottom lip as I read the job description. It’s very vague and doesn’t give much away, but at this point, I’m willing to take any job if it means I won’t be jobless and have no money. I can’t let myself fall, I remind myself. I need to do this.
“Alright, I’ll apply for it right now.”