Because it makes me happy, and if something makes you happy, what more do you want?
Of course, now all I want is to be with Kessler. I loved spending as much time as I could with him before but the whole love declaration pushed us to another level. Like, it’s pulled back that lever I had deep in my gut, the one that caused me to lose my mind over Kessler in the first place, and I’m at level-ten obsession now.
This is what happens when you let go.
Thankfully, I think Kessler is down for it, to have me go all doting, gushing school girl crush on him.
After all, I still have to tell him I love him.
I guess I’m just not sure how.
Yesterday I spent the day at home, with only a few texts between us. He had promised Loan that he would take her and Hunter out to some Vietnamese festival thing and I decided it was probably a good thing to let them have their time together, especially since Loan does so much for them.
It was hard though, spending that one day away from him when all I wanted to do was just lie in his arms and stare at him like some damn fool.
And so, now it’s Monday.
I’m at work.
He’s at work.
And it’s taking all of me not to go over to his office and say hello. I have a million excuses too, and yet I manage to keep my distance and put my head down and work.
Then, at four-thirty, it turns out I have a meeting with him, Desiree and George.
About twenty minutes prior I knock on Kessler’s door.
“Come in,” he says. He looks surprised to see me when I walk in, shutting the door behind me. “Where have you been all day?”
“Trying to be a good girl.”
“I don’t know if I like you as a good girl. Where’s that nasty one who is usually hanging around?”
I laugh and come over to him, putting my arm around his shoulders and giving him a giddy kiss. “Oh, she’s around.” I pull back. “Hey, do you know what this meeting is about?”
He shrugs and that’s when I notice his forehead is glistening. “I don’t know,” he says.
“But you’re nervous.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Because you’re sweating and it’s minus eleventy million degrees in here.” I usually have to put on a cardigan when I come in his office.
“Oh.” He wipes at his forehead. “Well, then yes. I’m a bit nervous.”
“Okay then I’m nervous.”
“We shouldn’t be though. We always have meetings with George.”
“Not Desiree. Not HR. We haven’t had a meeting with her since, well, your first day.”
“God that feels so long ago,” he says with a sigh.
“It kind of was. And a lot has happened since then.”
Like the fact that I love you.
The words sweep through my mind like pink puffy clouds.
God, I’m pathetic.
“Do you think it has something to do with us?” he asks. “I mean, like you and me and all the sex?”
That’s actually what I was afraid of. “I don’t know. Should we have a game plan for when we go in there?”
“Well they can’t actually fire us for it. I checked the guidelines.”
“Hey, a boss can get in some major trouble for screwing his employee. And vice versa. You know this. Of course I wanted to make sure it was okay.”
“And is it?”
“It didn’t say it was not okay.”
I’m not sure if that’s enough to stand on and it does nothing to make the nerves go away. When the meeting rolls around, I’m sweating as much as Kessler would in a sauna.
I knock on Desiree’s door and go inside.
George is standing up and leaning against a table. Desiree is at her desk. Kessler is sitting across from her, giving me an uneasy smile. It’s déjà vu all over again.
“Nova, you’re here,” George says with a pleasant smile. “Please, have a seat.”
I nod at George and Desiree and sit down next to Kessler.
“You’re probably wondering why we called you in here,” Desiree says. “But it’s getting close to your three-month probation and we need to discuss the next steps.”
I swallow hard, wondering why I’m in the meeting if it’s all about Kessler.
“Kessler, we’ve all been very happy with the work you’ve been producing and your ideas are top-notch. You really seem to have your finger on the pulse of our audience and that’s great. And Nova, the same goes for you. Your hard work never goes unnoticed here and we know you’re a big part of our ohana. And, as we know, ohana is everything and we would hate one day for you to leave our ohana because you don’t feel appreciated. We all appreciate you, truly.”
Damn. This is the nicest thing Desiree has ever said to me, even though I have no idea where this is all going.
“You see, Desiree and I had a heck of a predicament on our hands,” George says, clasping his fingers in front of him. “Both of you are equally qualified for Kessler’s role and both of you deserve it. We started thinking of maybe splitting the role in half, even though it would have become a logistical nightmare. You know how that is.”
“And that’s when Kessler called for a meeting with the two of us,” Desiree fills in.
My head swivels to Kessler, brows raised.
He held a secret meeting with them?
“Kessler, do you want to tell her what you proposed?” George asks.
Kessler turns slightly in his chair to face me. “You see, the other day I was at the skating rink and I was talking to them and out of the blue, I suddenly proposed a hockey school. Something I would get going through crowd-sourcing or fund-raising, something maybe the NHL would help support. I want to get into the game again in some shape or form and I know how much hockey helped me when I was young and things were rough. It’s all about that ohana that Desiree was talking about. I thought it was just a line from Lilo and Stitch, but it turns out to be an actual thing.”
I can’t even form words. My lips come together and break apart as I stare at Kessler to go on.
“So,” he says, “I decided that this was what I wanted to work towards. And I know it’s risky and scary and I don’t want to give up working at Kahuna Hotels either. So I decided to step down from my position as VP and, hopefully, take yours. I say take over yours, because you’re going to be taking over mine.” He pauses. “I wasn’t sure if that was clear.”
“Do you still want the job, Nova?” Desiree asks. “I know we all want you for it.”
“Are you serious?” I manage to say after a few beats. “It’s mine?”
George nods. “This worked out perfectly for us. Kessler will stay with us as long as he needs to and you’ll be his boss now. Aren’t role reversals fun? Heck, I live for this kind of stuff.”
I am stunned.
Just…I can’t believe Kessler would do that.
“Are you sure?” I whisper to him. “I know how much this all meant to you.”
He nods, smiling. “It still means a lot. But I like to go where my life takes me and right now I think it’s back to hockey. I really think you’d be amazing at this job. And you know it too.”
I do know it. Doesn’t mean I’m not surprised.
Doesn’t mean I’m not scared.
But it also doesn’t mean I’m not ready.
“Thank you,” I tell Kessler. I look at Desiree and George. “Thank you guys. I won’t let you down.”
I shake their hands and I can’t stop smiling.
I did it!
I got it.
And I have never been so turned on in my whole life.
The minute we get away from their office, I grab Kessler and drag him all the way to mine. It’s late now anyway so everyone is gone and frankly I don’t care who sees because I’m a big motherfucking boss now!
I yank him into my office, shut the door, and slam him back against my desk, immediately devouring him.
“My god, had I known this would happen I would have given up my job a long time ago,” he manages to say.
I pause and look at him. “But you’re not giving it up.”
“Not in so many words,” he says. “I’m stepping aside and handing it over.”
“You’re really sure about this? You’re not going to resent me?”
“Baby, I love you. I could never resent you. Just as long as you don’t think this is charity.”
“Fuck no it’s not. I earned it.”
“Yes, you did. Now you’re the boss. Who’s Demi Moore now?”
“I thought it was always me,” I grin at him.
And as Kessler stares back at me, I feel strength and courage where there wasn’t before.
Courage of the heart.
I run my fingers down the side of his face, feeling his stubble. He turns his mouth toward my hand and kisses my palm.
“I…I love you,” I whisper to him. “No Aloha. I love you.”
He breaks into the sweetest grin. “I love you too, Nova.” He kisses me softly and when he pulls away, he has a strange glint in his eye. “There. Now was that so fucking hard?”
“What?” I exclaim. “Telling you I love you?”
Is he crazy?
“Fuck yes it was hard. My god, I never told you the first time, to gather the courage to do it the second time…”
He waves me away with his hand. “Nah.” He grins. “You love someone, you feel it, you say it. I did it with you. I did it with you not knowing how you felt, just knowing that if you showed up at my house at midnight dressed in Menehune fighting gear and carrying a gecko all to help my son, I figured you might at least care about me a little bit.”
I can’t believe him. “You’re taking this so lightly. Love is a big deal. You know it’s a big deal with me. You even said so yourself.”