Mercedes Jones was running late, and she hated running late. The morning started out early enough but by the time she got the twins loaded up and dropped off at school she was behind schedule at least 30 minutes. Even though she had been living this life for ten years now, it wasn’t getting any easier. Ten years ago, she was a freshman at Georgetown University, entering her second semester, studying Fashion Design, when she was calle she got the call that no one ever wants to get. Her parents were involved in an accident and she needed to get home. So thinking she would go home, help out for a few days and return, she made her way home.
But she didn’t find her parents in some hospital bed happy to see her, they were both in the ICU and she was left with some big decisions. Being a mother to her twin siblings who were 2 at the time was never something she thought would happen, and yet, as she sat in the hospital room watching her parents slip away, she couldn’t let anyone else have her family. They needed her, and she needed them. It wasn’t easy, going home to the place that reminded you of your mom and dad, it didn’t help her heal. So with the help of her best friends Santana, Rachel and Kurt, they helped her plan the funeral, sell her childhood home, and buy a place that didn’t have as many memories.
Her parents didn’t leave them with many bills, and with the settlement from the accident, life insurance and selling of her home, she was able to play off any debts that was there, bury her parents in a very beautiful ceremony and still provide for her siblings. But that didn’t make life easier, she wanted to go back to school, but with raising the twins it wasn’t possible. So she took the time to help her siblings, taking them to any and everything they wanted to do. Showing up to games and performances and before she knew it, she wasn’t a carefree 18 year old loving life and finding her way. She was for all intended purposes a mom, taking care of her family and not really having a chance to live that life she wanted.
Which brought her to today, Miles decided he wanted to sleep in, while Madison forgot to let Mercedes know she would need her cheerleading uniform dry cleaned for the Peewee game tonight. So after dropping them off to school and taking the uniform to the dry cleaners paying extra to have it done by 2pm, she made her way to the coffee shop to get her standing order before heading to work at Evans Corp. She had worked for Mr. and Mrs. Evans for three years now and she really loved the job and the benefits. They truly treated staff like family, it was a good feeling.
Walking out the door, her phone rang and she shifted the cup holder in her left arm, and pivoted to open the door with her backside, grabbing her phone she went to answer when her body collided with a strong force causing her to spill her two hot lattes down the front of her shirt.
“What the hell?!”
Sam hated the hustle and bustle of rush hour. He had no patience waiting in line for 10 minutes getting coffee, or sitting in traffic for twenty minutes because everyone had a 9-5 to get to. These are reasons that Sam doesn’t normally start his day until 11 and no matter where he is, tries to not get caught up in the evening rush hour nonsense. He would have woke up later, taken a nice shower with Quinn, had his cup of dark roast, which he can’t go a day without and probably read the paper all before ten. And today would have been the same 11 to 7 or whenever schedule, but Quinn has dinner reservations tonight, and had asked him to get home at a decent time. Whatever that means. It’s just a means to find some way to irritate him. Though he guesses he is being unfair to her, and he blames the whole not being a morning person on his moody behavior. And even though he hates this whole rush hour business, he is sure that his mother would be grateful to Quinn, because being late on my first day as CEO would not look good for her or the company.
If Sam was being honest with himself, he can also blame his nerves. Today is the first day of him being CEO of Evans Corp. A position that he has been groomed for since he learned how to basically walk. His father and mother built this company up from the ground and put all of their blood and sweat into it, and now it’s Sam’s turn. He knows everything there is to know, about running this company. He remembers the countless board meeting he sat on with his parents, and the many late night lectures about his future when he decided that backpacking through Europe for a year was a much better option than going to school. His parents relented realizing that he needed some time for himself before the six years of college that were ahead of him. And it made such a difference. Sam loved the whole year he got of freedom. No responsibilities, just him enjoying being an eighteen year old.
When it was time to go back to school, he was more than ready and he was more focused than he has ever been. He knew what his parents expected of him, and since they do relent when he needs them to, he wants to be everything that they want him to be. And it could be worse than being a CEO of a million dollar company. How many college grads can say that they have a career with one of the Top companies in this nation? Not many. Sam has a beautiful girlfriend, a great job, and a supportive family. What else could he possibly want.
And that was the thought that was running through his head when he rushed into the coffee shop to get some mediocre coffee, and head back into the hustle and bustle of the city just to get started on his first day. He must have been too in his head because before he knew it, he bumped into a soft body and felt hot liquid spill a little on his hand.
“Is it too much to ask for people to watch where they are going?” Before he could say what else was on his mind, he happened to see the source of his frustration as he looked into some big doe brown eyes, that was scowling. It would be cute and adorable if he wasn’t so irritated. No, he will not be swayed by pretty eyes, lips, and from what he can tell, a nice little body. “You should really watch where you’re going next time. It’s too early for this.”
Startled for a moment, Mercedes stared into the irritated green eyes and as the scolding drink slide down the front of her white blouse and black pencil skirt, his words sent her over the edge. “Excuse me? Do you not see this?”
The cups dropped to the floor and she shifted her purse on her shoulder so she could stand toe to toe with this man who blamed her for his mistake.
“You do realize that coffee house etiquette is to allow the person leaving to exit before you barge in, furthermore as a man you should have done the right thing and held the door open instead of crashing into me and probably giving me first degree burns all down my body. But hey its 2018 and I forgot chivalry is dead.”
As a small crowd gathered wanting to either get into the place or leave, she held her head up high not wanting to cause a scene. Bending down, she grabbed the cups of coffee and tops, not wanting to leave it there, she hated littering such a great place. Turning to the man she finally got a good look at him, any other day and any other time, she would appreciate just how green his eyes were, how handsome his features and shes felt how hard his chest was, but the liquid dripping down her body took over her thoughts.
“Here’s a free tip for you, next time you run into someone, don’t be such a dick.”
Moving to the trash can she disposed the broken cups. Her best friend Kurt rush to her side.
“Oh my goodness Mercy me I saw the whole thing are you okay?”
“Yeah I just… can I run up to your place real quick please?”
Kurt nodded. “Go ahead, and when you are done, there will be two new cups hot and ready for you to go.”
“Thanks boo, I just can’t believe this.”
She squeezed his hands, then left out the back up to his apartment above the coffee shop. She and Kurt had been friends ever since the first grade. She was the first person he came out too and, he was the first person she ever let her guard down with. As she went into his closet, she thankfully grabbed the spare dress she had over there. With the Coffee shop in between her house and her job, on those Mornings where she knew she wasn’t going to have time to shower and drop the kids off. Kurt let her use his guest bathroom and closet.
Cleaning herself up quickly, she changed out of the skirt and top and into a dark blush lace bodycon dress, with a silk dark blush underlay, thank goodness her black heels still matched. It didn’t take her more than 15 minutes to finish up and head back down. After kissing Kurt on the cheek, she thanked him again, grabbed the coffees and made her way to her SUV so she could get to work, she knew she was late, but thank goodness, Mary understood.
No matter how irritated Sam tried to be, the little lady made him more amused than anything. She couldn't have been no more than 5’4 with heels, trying to stand toe to toe with his 6’0 frame. He would have smirked and gave witty come back, but he had no time, and plus with the way she was going, he really couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Which was probably for the best because he was already running late, and if he wanted to get out in time to meet Quinn, he had to get to the office soon. Also,he didn’t really want to cause a scene. So as she was leaving, he said “And you have a good day to.”
He continued into the shop and ordered his dark roast all the while noticing the barista giving him dirty looks. And he was not in the mood to wonder if he was going to spit into his drink or anything.
“On second thought, never mind.” He opened his wallet, and put a twenty dollar bill in the jar. “For your troubles.” He flashed his signature smile before leaving the shop. He would just have to settle for some coffee at the office. And hope that just because today started out shitty, the rest of the day won’t follow suit.
As Sam stepped into the building, he was greeted by his mother’s smiling face. He should have known that she wanted to be the first face that he saw upon entering the building.
“Well if it isn’t my son. It’s about time you got here Samuel.”
“I had a bit of a misstep, but I’m here.” He gave his mother a kiss on the cheek. “How are you doing? Came to wish me good luck on my first day, or did you come here to micromanage me?” Sam was teasing a bit, but there was some truth to his words.
Mary smiled at her oldest child, his words couldn’t have been further from the truth, she knew he could handle everything and more that was thrown at him, and yet, she still wanted to make sure that he and Mercedes got off on the right foot.
“Micro manage? Me? That doesn’t sound like me at all.” She said with a grin, teasing her son right back. “But I do want to know if you are ready, it's a big deal you taking over for me. I let a few people know but most expect it to happen gradually, not all at once like this.”
Sam chuckled and shook his head. He knew his mother all too well. “You worry too much. Everything will go fine as long as the employees do what they were hired for. And if they have trouble adjusting, well everyone’s replaceable.” Sam knew his parents were softies but times had changed and sometimes you need to play a little hard ball.
Mary cocked her head to the side softly and shook it. Her son was a force, like his father, and that could be both a good or bad thing. “Samuel, your father and I have run this company for many years now, people may be replaceable but that doesn’t mean they should be. You shouldn’t come in her planning on making those kinds of changes right away.” She stopped but then continued. “However, should ever you feel the need to replace the entire staff, there is one person it is irreplaceable. My assistant Mercedes, she has been one of the biggest reasons we have made it so far so fast.”
Sam rolled his eyes and turned from his mother moving to the elevator knowing without a doubt that she would be following him. “I’m not going to be firing people, but you should know that I don’t play favorites. If your assistant is good at her job, then she has nothing to worry about.”
The elevator dinged, and opened, and Sam held the doors for his mother before joining her.
“Anyway, you’re acting like I’m going to run the company into the ground. I know what I’m doing. I was born for this.”
Mary nodded joining Sam in the elevator. “That you were, your father knew you were going to be here one day from the moment you were born. He had this dream for you, we both did, it just feels better that it’s your choice.”
As the elevator made it to the top floor, the doors opened allowing them to exit.
“You know, a lot of people wouldn’t want to follow in their parent’s footsteps, I am not sure your siblings have the heart for it, but you, yes, we always saw you here.” She said stepping into the office. “Of Course I didn’t know I would be stepping down at the time, but with this new project, I want to give it my full attention. And I am glad to know that you will be taking it into your capable hands.”
Sam stepped off the elevator and followed his mother to the office. He knew she was going to take stepping down hard, but in all honesty, Sam doesn’t feel bad. She had put everything she had into Evans Corp, so had his father. They both deserved to sit back and relax and let their children take over things.
As Sam passed by the assistant’s desk, he couldn’t help but notice her absence. “For someone who is such an asset to this company, you would think she would be on time.”
He unlocked his office and set his briefcase down to open it. He took out some things to put on his desk including a nice picture of him and Quinn when they went to Fiji last year.
“Is she gracing us with her presence at all today?”
Mary looked around the office and knew Mercedes must have been running late. She had reminded her to try and make it in on time. But given how most mornings, Mary knew Miles and Madison would and could be a handful, she wasn’t surprised.
“Don’t be like that Samuel, Mercedes is a hard worker and she earns everything she has here, but there are some times that she does run a little late, it’s not cause for concern trust me.”
Sam wanted to know when it was ever okay to be late on someone else's dime. This isn’t his first run at having people under him. He knows that if you let them, employees will take advantage of your kindness.
“It’s a cause for concern when you number one employee can’t be trusted to get to work on time. First impressions are everything.” Sam looked at his mother in the eye before continuing. “You’re the one who taught me that.”
Sam knew he was being a little unreasonable, but Tardiness isn’t something he tolerates. No matter who it is.
Making her way into the office building, she waved at the security guard who nodded her pass, before she could dig out her badge. Everyone in the company knew who she was, mainly because whenever there was trouble, Mary Evans came in with Mercedes on their side and they fixed it together. As she entered the elevator and made her way up to the top floor, she quickly exited and went to her desk. The office building had four floors, all different levels of the company. The top floor housed the CEO’s, COO’s and all Upper Management. Where Mercedes worked it was basically an office inside and office.
Logging into her computer screen, she pulled up the files she needed and printed them out, as she put them in the respective folders. Grabbing Mary’s coffee, she picked up the files and walked towards the door, knocking before walking in.
“Good Morning Ma’am, I have those files I proofed last night and your morning coffee.”
Walking further into the office she smiled at her boss but stood frozen as brown eyes met the familiar pair of green eyes staring back at her.