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The Ex Games (The Ex Games #1)

By:J. S. Cooper

The Ex Games (The Ex Games #1)
Author: J. S. Cooper





Chapter 1

"It's one weekend, Katie. You'll survive." Meg giggled at the expression on my face. "I mean, it can't be that bad … can it?"

"It's going to be worse than bad," I groaned and flopped down on her bed. "I may die. I mean it. I may literally die of embarrassment."

"You won't die. You may be embarrassed though." She gave me a sympathetic smile.

"I can't believe this is happening to me." I buried my head in her pillow. "Of all the jobs in all of the world, I had to get this one."

"You were happy about it a few weeks ago."

"That was before I heard about this weekend training." I groaned and stared up at her. "I had no idea he worked for Marathon Corp."

"Well, he more than works for them now." She laughed, and I shuddered.

"I should quit. I'm going to quit!" I cried out melodramatically. "You'll have to take care of the rent for the next few months while I look for a job. I'll cook and clean and be your house woman."

"Yeah, right. You can't cook or clean for shit." Meg collapsed next to me onto the bed and rubbed my shoulder. "And you know I'm saving up for my trip."

"You're not really going to travel around the world and leave me, are you?"

"You can always come with me."

"But I have a job," I whined and saw her grinning at me. "Fine, I'm not quitting. This is the job I've been waiting for my whole life. I'm not quitting just because he owns the company."

"Hear ye, hear ye."

"Don't go being a lawyer on me," I moaned at her, and she laughed.

"I didn't go through three years of law school to just stop." She jumped up off the bed and grabbed my hands. "Come on, lazy bones. Let's go shopping. You may as well look hot when you see him."

"I don't want to see him. Maybe he'll have forgotten me." The thought sent a ripple of hurt through me.

"There's no way he will have forgotten you."

"He's going to hate me." I gave her a pained expression. "Or he's going to fire me."

"He dumped you. He's not going to hate you." Meg brushed her long blonde hair as she waited for me to get up. "And we're going to make him regret it."

"Why oh why did Brandon Hastings have to buy Marathon Corp?" I slowly dragged myself off of the bed and looked into the vanity mirror. I wasn't altogether displeased with my appearance, but I wished I didn't look quite so washed out. My long brown hair looked messy, but that was nothing a brush couldn't fix. I examined my face and was pleased that my brown eyes looked bright and cheerful even though I was filled with inner turmoil.

"You look gorgeous, Katie."

"I look like a little kid," I groaned. "I don't look like a manager."

"Hey, it's not your fault you're super smart. So what if you're twenty-five and an executive manager already? Anyone who cares about that is just jealous."

"Brandon will care." I sighed and I bit my lower lip as I grew serious and put my face in my hands. "Oh my God, Meg, what am I going to do?"

"It's all in the past, Katie. You made a mistake. He can't be holding a grudge for all these years."

"It was a pretty big mistake." I made a face. "Some may even say it was a lie."

"Well, it was a lie." Meg made an apologetic face as she spoke honestly. "But it was seven years ago."

"Yeah." I straightened my shirt and pushed my shoulders back like my mother had taught me. "I'm sure he's not thinking about some silly girl he dated seven years ago."

"You were eighteen, new to love! These things happen."

"Yeah." I nodded in agreement. "If he had half a brain, he would have figured it out."

"Exactly." Meg linked her arm through mine and we walked to the living room. "He's the one that broke your heart."

"Exactly." My heart beat slowly as I remembered the tears I had cried late at night. I had been devastated when Brandon dumped me right before Christmas in the first semester of my first college year. Absolutely devastated. I hadn't been able to sleep or eat for weeks. He had made my second semester of college absolutely awful. It wasn't until the summer and a trip to London with my parents that I was finally able to accept that what we'd had was forever gone. He had been my first lover and my first love, but to him, I was just a little girl playing around in fairytale land.

***

Flying in first class was a perk of my job that I loved, even though this was the only time I had actually traveled first class. I sat back in the wide leather seat and looked out the window, trying to lose my thoughts in the clouds. I felt worried as I tried to relax and thought about what was going to happen this weekend. I had only been working for Marathon Corp for about a month. It was the first job that made me feel like a real professional, and I felt like I was going to be fired already.

I was in charge of the whole New England area, and I knew that most, if not all, of the lower managers below me felt that I wasn't qualified for the job. I myself had been amazed when I had been hired as an executive manager. I knew I had the degrees for the job – marketing BA from Columbia and a business management master's degree from NYU. But I didn't have that much experience – only the summer internships I'd done while getting my master's. But I had brains and verve and a lot of initiative. And I knew that I was good at my job. However, I knew that there was no way in hell Brandon would allow me to stay if he realized who I was.

I mean, there was a chance he wouldn't recognize me. It had been seven years, and we had only dated for five months. It had been the best five months of my life, but for him, I bet it was nothing. I also knew that I looked more mature now and definitely dressed like a woman who knew the world. My usually wavy brown hair was flat-ironed straight and I had on mascara and eye shadow. I looked nothing like the girl I'd been when I started college.

Then I

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