Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Than Friends: Brad by Marie Rochelle


I can’t believe the words coming out of my boss’s mouth. Alicia Hart listened in utter shock to the next assignment that her boss Tiffany Henry was handing down to her. It took all of her willpower to sit up straight and not fall out of the expensive chair. There was no way in hell that she could do it. Why did Tiffany think that she could or would? Ever since her old boss left for a better job and Tiffany found out she knew the family she had been pushing her to become a part of this story. Well, she would just turn it down and that was that.

Another reporter could volunteer to take it and do a better job than her. Yes, she wanted to move up through the ranks of the news station, but this wasn’t the next story she wanted to be a part of in any way, shape or form.

“Tiffany, are you sure about this?” Alicia asked as she laid her pen back down on the notepad on her lap.

“Alicia, you will be the perfect reporter for this assignment. They have turned the news station down countless times, but since you’re friends with one of the brothers I know you could get them to agree this interview without a problem.” Tiffany grinned at her like she had it all planned out in her head and nothing would go wrong.

Tiffany wasn’t aware of her true relationship with the aloof Drace Brothers. She hadn’t even spoken to Brad in a while and if Lee had anything to do with it she wouldn’t for the rest of her life. The oldest and most outspoken of the elite Drace Brothers hated, and she meant, hated her!

“Didn’t you tell me that you want to start doing something like the Barbara Walters’ specials? Well, this is your first big step there,” Tiffany encouraged. “If you do a good job with this, I see bigger and better things in your future.”

“Brad Drace and his brothers are very private men. Most of them are already married and don’t want eyes prying into their personal lives,” Alicia pointed out, trying to get off this topic as quickly as possible. Tiffany didn’t understand that she really didn’t have any pull with the family.

She could already see Lee giving her that unblinking stare of his. He wouldn’t need to give her an answer after that because his look spoke volumes. No...she wasn’t going to allow herself to be put into that position by Tiffany or anyone else.

“I really don’t think any of them will agree to this behind the scenes type of thing anyway. I’ll be thrilled to do another spot on television and report something else going on in the news. Wasn’t there a recent drug raid that I can cover instead?” Alicia wasn’t that fond of doing drug dealers pieces, but it would get her away from the Drace Brothers story.

Tiffany glared at her as she tapped her French manicured nails on her desk. Great...she knew her boss only did that when she thinking of a way to get what she wanted and didn’t care who she had to bully to get it done.

Alicia was trying her best not to agree to this. For the past four and a half years, she had worked very hard making Brad understand that they couldn’t be more than friends. Yet, if she accepted this new project it would put her around him all of the time and she wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Brad really thought that she didn’t care about him, but that wasn’t the real reason that she pushed him away all of the time. So, it was for the best if he kept thinking that she wasn’t interested in him. It would work out better for the both of them in the end.

“Alicia, I’m not going to let you back out of this. You don’t seem to understand that my boss wants this interview done and I’m not about to lose my job because of you. Now, you can be the one that does it or I can give it to one of the new girls working here. It’s up to you, but it will be done.”

“I’m still not sure about this,” Alicia said, worried. She knew Tiffany wouldn’t hire a good person to take over the project. As much as she didn’t want to be involved with this, she did know the Drace brothers and their wives better than anyone else at the station.

“I was trying to do a good thing here. Everyone here knows that you’re close to Brad because he used to give you tennis lessons. He might be more open to granting you an interview and then you could get something from him other people couldn’t.

“Do you know that most people here in Houston don’t know much about Lee, Richard, Zack or Brad? All of them are very influential men and the public wants to know what makes them tick and how their wives were lucky enough to get them to the altar.”

Pushing up her glasses with her index finger, Alicia thought over what Tiffany was telling her. She hated it, but she had to agree that her boss did have a point.

The Drace brothers had moved to Texas years ago. It seemed like all of the brothers had made their fortunes overnight, except Brad who worked for Lee part-time about twenty hours a week and then gave tennis lessons for the rest of the time.

Were the handsome brothers hiding a rag to riches story that the community would love to hear about? This could really be the big break she had been dreaming about and it would give her a chance to be around Brad. She did truly love the moments she had spent with him during her tennis lessons. With this assignment, she would be doing her job and spending quality time with the attractive Brad.

Alicia wasn’t going to allow someone else to be around Brad when she could do it herself while working on a kick ass job assignment. “We haven’t spoken to each other for a couple of weeks, but I’ll call Brad and try to run the idea past him. However, I can’t promise that he’ll agree to do anything. I know that he’ll talk it over with his brothers first before he gives me any kind of answer.”

“Excellent,” Tiffany said as she stood up from behind her desk. “I’m late for my lunch date, but I’ll talk to you later on in the week to see where things are with this. I know that you aren’t going to disappoint me

Alicia stood up from her seat and pressed the notepad against her chest. She wasn’t going to hold out for a lot of hope that Brad would agree to this. He was probably still mad at her because she didn’t attend Lee’s engagement party with him several weeks back, but she truly had been working late on an assignment. Brad most likely thought it was another excuse she had used to get out of going on a first date with him...which wasn’t the case at all.

Lee’s engagement party was going to be her initial step at trying to see if she could become get involved in a relationship with Brad. Yes...she had been trying for God knows how long to find ways to avoid Brad. Or keep him out of her life because she was apprehensive about getting drawn in by him. Because he came from a pretty well-known family and she wasn’t positive she could handle all of the notoriety that came along with dating a Drace Brother.

“Okay, how about we go out to lunch and we can discuss everything then?” Alicia suggested. “I’m free next Friday if you want to do it then since you’re going out of town for a couple of days next week.”

“I like that. I’ll mark it on my calendar and then leave myself a reminder on my Blackberry.” Tiffany headed for her office door. “Please...don’t take no for an answer. This will be an outstanding piece, if can get all of them to agree to do it.” Tiffany waved good-bye to her before opening her office door and walking out.

Standing alone inside of her boss’s office, Alicia wondered how she was going to pull off interviewing Brad about his successful family plus continued to pretend like she was uninterested in him when that was the furthest thing from the truth.