Only Tonight

By: Naomi Moore

Chapter 1

Raven Fletcher grabbed the marble edge of the wash basin and hoisted herself up from the bathroom floor. Her knees creaked as she did, and a sharp pain ran through her waist all the way to her shoulders. She’d been cleaning for hours now, and the constant need to bend herself into awkward positions in order to reach a particularly obstinate stain was catching up to her muscles. “God, I’m exhausted.” She winced, waiting for the pain to pass.

Raven had been inside this penthouse office for what felt like forever—sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, and buffing, just like Ms. Fuentes, her supervisor, had asked her to do. She’d never been up here before. Ms. Fuentes usually made it her sole responsibility to maintain this particular floor of the building, but the elderly woman had recently taken a tumble in the entryway of her apartment and she’d asked Raven to cover for her until the bumps and bruises had healed.

Raven only realized now that the whole floor only contained two offices. One belonged to Donald Wainwright, and the other she was currently rendering a sparkling oasis had been left mostly unused.

“It’s important that you make the whole office shine like new, girl,” she’d said when she handed Raven the keys to the penthouse level. “Mr. Wainwright expects nothing less for his son. He’ll be coming in tomorrow to start working for the company. I’d do it myself, except for this sore hip of mine.”

Raven had nodded absentmindedly as Ms. Fuentes nattered on about the Wainwright family and their future plans—as if she were a trusted member of their household instead of the lady they paid to keep their file cabinets dusted. Raven had smiled politely as the old woman relived her memories of watching the young Mr. Wainwright grow from child to adult, but her thoughts had been for her coming exams in the night course she’d enrolled in at college and the paper she still needed to finish.

Besides, she was familiar with Donald Wainwright, current CEO of Wainwright Publishing House and the owner of this glass and steel building in downtown Pittsburgh, PA.

Donald Wainwright was an autocratic elderly gentleman with twinkling blue eyes and a full head of silver-grey hair. He towered over six feet tall with a booming voice that often announced his arrival. The Wainwright family originated from a mining town in Somerset where they struck gold, mining minerals and extracting them, and then selling to business corporations, government, and the private sector.

There were whispers of a family scandal that supposedly led the Wainwrights to move from Somerset to Pittsburg, but the official story was that Donald sold the family corporation lock, stock, and barrel to the highest bidder and moved to Pittsburg in pursuit of his first love, publishing.

Wainwright Publishing had catered to only physical editions of a book, with the old man asserting that books printed on paper for repeated reading would outlast the electronic universe, and that digital reading was a quick fad, easily forgotten.

The business suffered a blow when the e-book Kindle format became easily accessible to everyone. But Wainwright Publishing had survived with a quick—if late—push into the digital landscape, and the old man’s personal savvy and widespread connections that allowed for a rapid reversal of the company’s print-only policy brought him back to the top of the publishing world.

Donald Wainwright held court over his 3,500 employees from the penthouse of the building. He had announced his retirement a month earlier, proclaiming he was planning to sit back and relax while enjoying his twilight years. There were mumblings from the motley crew of old-timers, mixed with apprehension over the change in management. But when the old man announced that he was keeping his office, everyone took this as a signal that the old man would still be around, albeit in a lesser capacity.

Nothing much was known about his only son, Leon. It was clear the employees working for the publishing house were all curious about him. Rumors were rife. Leon Wainwright was supposed to be a spoiled, handsome devil that did nothing but travel the world on a princely allowance, courtesy of his generous father. He was schooled in London before setting off on his own personal, twenty-first century version of the Grand Tour, and only came home for Christmas holidays to be with his folks.

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