I Moved In With My Boss – Chapter 1

January 12, 2024

This is a first draft so it likely contains many errors.


My old Mercedes reeked of stale pizza and day-old coffee. Clothes were piled in the passenger seat, forming a mountain. A month ago I would have been ashamed of the disaster car had become but now I was beyond caring. I’d been sleeping in there for about two weeks and it was the only thing keeping me from freezing in the January weather or having to look for a shelter with other homeless twenty-somethings and junkies. I was just grateful to have somewhere to call my own.

I looked at my watch – half-past seven. I had thirty minutes before I had to be in the office. I didn’t have far to go, seeing as I was parked in the very back of the parking lot. Hardly anyone ever parked this far out so no one would notice, or care, if there was a car stowed there for a couple of weeks. I didn’t leave that spot much other than to go to work. On occasion, when I could afford the gas, I would take a drive around town to get a change of scenery. For the most part, though, I would only venture across the street to Starbucks after work to mooch off their WiFi while enjoying a coffee and a muffin.

I sat up in the back seat and reached into the hill of clothes for a semi-clean work shirt and a skirt. I ended up with a blue button-up blouse and a black pencil skirt. My heels were on the floor in front of me and I slipped them on. Today was payday which meant that I could go to the dry cleaners tomorrow, wash my clothes for the next two weeks, and then get myself a decent meal.

I wasn’t completely broke but these days you either needed hefty savings, roommates, or someone to cosign for you to rent an apartment. I didn’t have any of these so I was stuck living out of my car. Originally, I thought living that way was going to be worse than it was but I didn’t mind it. I had enough space in the back to lie down with my legs tucked up and, as long as I had a blanket, I was able to sleep fairly well.

I climbed into the driver’s seat and pulled my visor down to look at myself in the mirror. I was still getting used to this arrangement and the constant worry that someone would find out about my situation, so the bags under my eyes were expected. I pulled my purse up from the floor in the back and grabbed some concealer and put it on. That would have to do. I brushed my hair and put some lipstick on. There was no need for foundation or anything extra. No one paid attention to me at work so there wasn’t a point in wasting makeup.

I looked at my watch again. Quarter of. I grabbed my purse and got out of the car. I’d get to work early today. Maybe if I showed up early more often then they would finally promote me after two years. I didn’t want to stay a social media assistant forever. I’d gotten this job straight out of college and I was still in the same position. If the job market wasn’t so bad then I would have been long gone by now but I didn’t want to risk my steady job for the unknown.

I grabbed my keys from my purse and unlocked the car. I always made sure to lock the car when I got in in the evening so that if someone wanted to try to break in, they would have to put in some effort. I stepped out, straightened out my clothes to the best of my ability, and walked up to the building. There were only a few cars in the parking lot, the tryhards, but they were all inside already so they wouldn’t notice me emerging from my beater of a vehicle.

I scanned myself in and opened the door. I worked on the tenth floor with the rest of the marketing team. I had my own cubicle but since the majority of my work was digital, most of my drawers were filled with snack foods. I had chips, the makings of s’mores, Jelly Bellys, and so much more. Who needed a real lunch when you had snacks? I did keep plenty of Cup of Noodles in my desk so that I could look like a semi-functioning adult when I went to the breakroom to eat.

If you arrived too early to the office, the elevators were locked and you’d have to use the stairs to get to your floor but by this time of the morning the elevators were open and I was beyond thankful. There was no way I’d make it to the tenth floor in heels.

The elevator was quick to open and I stepped in, rapidly pressing the button to close the doors so that I wouldn’t have to share it with anyone else. Having to make small talk with strangers gave me extra anxiety that I didn’t need on top of everything else in my life right now. Thankfully no one came running up as the doors closed. I breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed the silent ride up to the marketing department.

By the time I got to my desk, I was only five minutes ahead of the normal workday and I could hear the cars rushing into the parking lot. I logged into my computer and clocked in for the day. While it wouldn’t mean that I could leave five minutes earlier, it did mean that I could take a five-minute longer lunch and that was perfectly fine with me. Who knows, maybe today I’d actually have some taxing work, but I doubted it.

The day passed by slowly, as usual. My manager, Kim, had spent most of her day sending me nagging emails on the data from a few of the posts that I had scheduled the previous week. For most of them, I just replied with an ‘ok’ while I ignored the others. There wasn’t much I could say since she’d been the one to write the posts but she didn’t want to hear that. I was good at keeping my mouth shut and letting her feel like she was in charge. In reality, she just pushed her lesser tasks off on me and took credit for everything that went well. I knew I should speak up and that’s probably why I hadn’t been considered for a promotion but what good would it do to anger my manager who would tell upper management that I wasn’t fit for a promotion? It was a lose-lose situation.

By the time five o’clock rolled around, I’d consumed my weight in chips and had run the analytics for the entire month, writing various reports comparing the data through the last six months and where we could improve. I’d also spent a fair amount of time scrolling through TikTok and taking funny pictures on Snapchat that only a few old sorority sisters would see on my story. It was a pretty bland day.

I had just stuffed the last of a bag of Cheetos under my blouse when Kim stopped outside my cubicle, purse in hand and annoyed over something. I assumed she was here to berate me over my reports and request that I do them again first thing tomorrow, along with another pile of her work.

“I don’t know what you’ve done but Mr. Hughes wants to see you.” She pointed her thumb over her shoulder like I should know what that means.

“Mr. Hughes?”

“You’re not serious.” She let out an exasperated breath. “Our CEO. Weston Hughes.”

I made an ‘o’ with my mouth and nodded as though his name had just slipped my mind. “Oh, right. Sorry. It’s been a long day.”

“Top floor. If you still work here then I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She walked off toward the elevator and I was left at my desk wondering what I could have possibly done to get me sent up to the big man. I’d never even seen him, much less met him. When I was hired two years ago I’d met with the head of marketing and Kim. They hadn’t hesitated to make me an offer since it was clear I had very few options right out of university. There was no CEO necessary in that decision.

I took a deep breath and stood up. It wouldn’t be good to make Mr. Hughes wait any longer than necessary. Hell, it might even be detrimental to my career if I did. That didn’t stop me from calmly walking to the elevator and waiting to press the up button until no one was looking. Floor Seventeen. That was the top floor and, apparently, Mr. Hughes’s office. I wondered how many people had ever had the chance to see it. Not many, I guessed.

The ride up felt like eons but, finally, the doors opened and I stepped out into a reception area but there was no receptionist. Five o’clock. She’d probably gone home for the day. I looked past her desk and saw the door to another office slightly ajar. I slowly walked up to it. I wasn’t sure how to approach this situation. Did I knock and wait? Did I knock and peek my head in? Did I just slowly step in and say hello? I tried to recall what people did in movies but before I had a chance to decide on an action I was at the door.

I took the happy medium approach – I knocked, waited a couple of seconds, then pushed the door slightly and peeked my head in.

“Mr. Hughes? It’s Sloane -“

I stopped. Well, his secretary was there after all. Half dressed and lying across his desk, but there. I quickly backed into the reception area.

“Sorry. I’m sorry. Kim, the marketing manager told me you wanted to see me. I’m so sorry.”

There was shuffling and whispers. I could feel my cheeks heating up and I turned my back to the door. Maybe I should have shut it on my way out. A few moments later a young brunette woman passed by me, grabbing her purse from behind her desk. She muttered a ‘goodnight’ before hurrying to the elevator and slamming her hand on the button over and over until it opened and she disappeared.

There was a cough behind me and I turned around to see the man who must be Weston Hughes. He was still buttoning his shirt over his well-defined chest but tilted his head, beckoning me to follow him inside. I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into but I was already here so why not find out?

I followed him in and he motioned toward the chair on the other side of the desk from his. Good, not the desk itself. I dropped into it without a word and stared at his nameplate on the center of his wooden desk. There was a large silence between us and it was making me cringe.

“I’m sor-“

He cut me off.

“You’re Sloane Brooks?”

He didn’t have a file in front of him and wasn’t looking at his computer. He was staring straight at me, arms folded on his desk as though he were posing for a magazine feature. Between his gorgeous features and him being the CEO, I almost couldn’t reply.

“Y-yes. I’m a social media assistant.” My heart was racing. I just wanted him to tell me what I had done wrong.

I slowly met his eyes and he had a confused look. Maybe he’d asked for the wrong person. Was he looking for Kim and had gotten me mixed up with her because of my reports? Maybe I wasn’t being fired after all. That would be a relief.

“And do social media assistants often stash things in their shirts?” He brought one hand up and rested his chin on it, giving a slightly amused smile.

I was just as confused as he must have been until I looked down into my blouse. I jumped out of the chair, my embarrassment only increasing. I honestly thought I might pass out. I could hear the blood moving through every part of my body and my vision was starting to get shaky. I put a hand on the arm of the chair to steady myself but before I could even consider collapsing, he was by my side with a hand on my arm, lowering me back down.

His other hand took the Cheetos bag by the corner that was poking out of my shirt and gently lifted it out without touching me. He chuckled and set the half-crumpled bag on the corner of his desk and moved back to his side, taking his seat again.

“Sorry, it was just a bit distracting.” He laughed again.

I had no idea what to say so I just stared down at my lap where my hands were balled into fists to try to relieve some of my anxiousness. It wasn’t every day that I got to humiliate myself in front of someone so handsome and so powerful.

He waited a moment to see if I was going to say anything but when I didn’t, he continued.

“It was brought to my attention by one of the other employees that there’s a car that has been on the property the past couple of weeks and hardly leaves. I had security check it and it belongs to you. A 2002 Mercedes?”

The fact that he didn’t have anything in front of him reminding him of any of this was impressive. I could hardly remember what day it was.

“Yes, that’s my car. I’m sorry.” I wasn’t sure how many times I could apologize in one conversation but at this point, it was becoming a habit. “I will move it.”

He nodded thoughtfully and I wondered when this conversation would be over. It didn’t appear that he was going to fire me for this but I was sure that I was walking on thin ice.

“They also told me that there appears to be a lot of personal items in there. Are you living in your car?”

I hadn’t expected that question. I wasn’t sure how to answer. If I told him that I was then he might take it the wrong way, as though I was telling him that he didn’t pay me enough to live elsewhere. If I said no then he might already know that I’m lying and question anything else I might say.

“Yes, but just for a little while. I haven’t found the right place yet.” It seemed like a reasonable answer.

Another nod.

“That’s all I needed to know. I’m about to head out but if you don’t mind waiting for me downstairs, I have something I want to run by you as a social media assistant and all.” He stood up, signaling the end of our meeting.

I stood up as well. “Of course. I’ll wait outside the building for you.”

“Good. I’ll be down in about five minutes.”

I nodded and left his office as quickly as I could without running. The air was lighter the moment I got into the elevator. I wasn’t fired. I wasn’t in trouble. The only thing I had to do was find another place where I could park my car overnight without someone calling the cops or having me towed.

I got downstairs and walked out of the building, thankful to be in the fresh air. I was a bit nauseous but with every breath I took I began to feel better. Now I just had to wait for him. I wondered what he could want from a social media assistant that he couldn’t ask me in his office.

When he came out he had put a suit jacket over his shirt and somehow managed to look even more handsome with more clothing. I gave a small, awkward wave and he came over. He stood a little closer than socially acceptable and my heart began to speed up again. He was nearly a foot taller than me so I didn’t have to worry about meeting his eyes. I didn’t want to stare into his chest so I looked off to the side, hoping he wouldn’t notice the color trying to rise to my cheeks.

“I’ve seen your reports and you’ve done a great job with our social media.”

The color rose faster.

“Thank you.”

“How would you like to manage my personal social media? I’d pay you of course. I’d also include housing, food, and whatever else you need.”

My neck nearly broke as my head swung up to look at him. There was no way this was actually happening. I was nothing more than the lowest rung on the ladder at this company. Why was he offering me a job that should go to someone far more experienced?

“This is a joke, right?”

I didn’t mean to be rude but I couldn’t believe it. In my experience, people weren’t this generous. People like me didn’t get offers like this. I didn’t feel like I worked hard enough to deserve this type of opportunity.

“No, it’s not a joke. My place has more than enough room and it would help both of us. I’ve been looking for someone to handle my social media for a while and this could be a good setup.” He shrugged as though it was no big deal for him to offer to house one of his employees.

There was no reason to think it over. I needed a place to stay where I wouldn’t have to worry whether my home was going to end up in a car lot and he was offering it. I couldn’t say no. Sure, it was weird, especially after seeing him with his secretary only fifteen minutes ago but I was in no place to judge.

“I’ll take the job.”

He smiled. “Great. Get in your car and follow me.”

This morning I was getting dressed in my car. Now I was living with my boss.