[ ChaPtEr FifTeEn ]
10 years in the future:
"Please, Lucas, I asked you to throw out this poor excuse of a compact disk!" I exclaimed, climbing into the drivers seat of our yellow Hummer. "My ears are bleeding."
Ever since I had turned sixteen, I'd liked big cars.
And I'd liked driving big cars.
Lucas didn't dare get into the drivers seat when I was going with him somewhere.
"You asked, but, sweetie, I didn't comply," he retorted, and I snorted as I turned the ignition and the powerful car roared to life. "Besides, we have some good memories with Bluegrass music," he added. I thought back to our high school days wistfully.
"A lot has changed, hasn't it?" I said, remembering in nostalgia. Lucas didn't reply, and I shrugged as we continued to make our way down the busy streets. As soon as we pulled up to our destination, I was out of the car, Styrofoam coffee mug in hand.
"Coming, honey-buns?" I called, sashaying through the automatic glass doors.
I could feel the heat of his glare through the concrete of the building.
He still hated the nickname.
"G'mornin, Kelsie," Dee said as I slid past her desk. I paused, grinning, and set the coffee down on her counter.
"And to you, sweet Dee," I added, throwing a sugar back in her direction before walking briskly down the hallway.
"Kelsie! You're going to be late for the meeting," an intern hissed as I walked by, and I simply rolled my eyes.
The fresh meat had a lot to learn.
The meeting didn't start until I arrived.
"Good morning, everyone!" I chirped as I walked into the conference room, my pant suit wrinkled and hair messy. Nobody gave me a second look—this was normality. I walked briskly to the head of the table, glancing around at the hundreds of rough drafts.
"Status?" I called, and somebody threw me a yellow notepad with scribbled numbers. I sucked my teeth in consideration. "Let me see the competing magazine," I said, and someone handed me a glossy issue. I raised an eyebrow, pleased.
"We're obviously ahead," I noted, flipping through a few boring pages.
"Kelsie, honestly. Stop playing boss and take your seat, please," Devon said as he entered the crowded room. I sighed over-dramatically and stuck out my bottom lip.
"Just one more thing?" I begged, and Devon rolled his eyes.
"Alright, everyone, so, here's the deal. We've got a corporate crisis, and Devon here has appointed me CEO. As of this moment, you all report to me," I said, standing up straighter and rolling my shoulders back. Devon hit his head with his hand.
"That's quite enough, Kelsie. Disregard anything she's said. Now, Kelsie, your seat?" he pointed with a long finger at a folding chair placed at the already-crowded table. With another sigh, I shuffled in between everyone and dutifully took my seat.
"Now, let me see the real stats," Devon said, grinning at me. Someone handed him an actual printed paper, one that had bar graphs and percentages.
Someone had given me a fake stats sheet?
"That wasn't nice," I said, turning to the girl who had handed me the scribbled paper. She shrugged, smiling.
"It was actually a scrap piece of paper from my sons homework last night," she explained, and I huffed.
"Kelsie, excellent job last week. Everyone always appreciates your sarcasm and wit in the column's that you–well, actually spend time on. Keep up the good work, and don't let Lucas get ahead," Devon commented, his eyes gliding back to mine. I raised an eyebrow.
"Do I ever?" This caused for a hushed laugh across the table. Devon simply smirked and went on discussing our magazine. I knew that somewhere, across the building, Lucas was in a conference meeting just like this.
For a different magazine.
As soon as the meeting was over, we were all dismissed, and on my way back to my cubical, I paused at Dee's desk.
"Thanks for the bitter coffee," she commented, and I glared at her.
"I made it in seconds, okay? You can get your own if you want," I said, and she rolled her eyes.
"You know that you wouldn't stop making me coffee." I pouted.
"...I know. See you at lunch?"
"Of course," Dee replied, and then her phone started to chirp. I smiled as I walked away, listening to her answer. "Good morning, you've reached D and K enterprises. Dee speaking."
"D and K. That never gets old," I said to no one in particular, smiling in satisfaction at my contributed letter.
I had been with them from the very start, and hence, it was Devon and Kelsie.
Dee made a great receptionist.
"Have fun playing boss this morning?" Lucas smirked as I breezed by his cubical, and I paused only briefly to stick my tongue out at him.
"Have fun playing lap dog this morning?" I retorted after I'd sat down at my own desk, and he poked his head over to mine.
"At least people respect me at my magazine."
"Lucas, my initial is in the name of ours."
"People like my column better than yours."
"Nuh-uh," I said, and when he sat back down into his desk, I threw a roll of duck-tape that I'd found over the short divider.
"Hey!" he exclaimed as the roll made contact.
With a smile, I woke my computer up and started to type.
Column, issue 25
Continuing: how to get the guy you want
By: Kelsie Deaken
In the past, I've had my fair share of mishaps when it came to men.
Okay, so that's a lie.
Every single incident regarding a man ended in disaster.
Marrying Lucas Deaken probably won't be the exception.
But I wouldn't have it any other way.
When I was just a sophomore in high school, ten years back, as you know from previous columns—I'd wanted to get with the popular, handsome and oh-so-dreamy senior.
[On a side note, he now is the janitor at the building that I work at.]
We all know how I went about this, but I needed someone to play fake-boyfriend.
Lucas Deaken was perfect; because he had just broken up with his girlfriend.
[On a side note, she was later abducted in a taxi by cannibalistic carnival clowns. Just kidding. She is now a -foot- model. Watch for her lovely arch in the anti-fungus and itch commercials.]
But, honestly, he hated me and I hated him. How was I going to convince him to pretend to date me?
The answer was blaringly obvious: blackmail.
I paused, and slid out of my chair stealthily. I crouched down and crawled around into Lucas's cubical, where his back was to me. I inched forward until I could clearly see his computer screen, and I started to read his column.
Column, issue 25
Continuing: How to survive through a relationship when your partner is slightly deranged
Written by: Lucas Deaken
Title: Mind games
My recent wife and I have had quite an interesting past, as most of you faithful readers know.
If you read -heaven forbid- her column, you'll know that it wasn't exactly love at first sight. In fact, it was more like I'm-going-to-hate-you-with-a-passion-so-die-now-and-save-me-the-trouble-later at first sight. We were only seven.
And now, we've been married for four months, and I'm quite frankly surprised I've lived this far. She hasn't changed at all since high school, and even though I love her dearly, we hate each other openly.
For example: If I want to drive, I have to take my own car. She ALWAYS has to drive.
Solution: Allow her to drive. I'm sure that if I were to resist, I'd wake up missing a favorite appendage.
How to deal: Allow her to think you actually like her driving. Even if she drives down the road erratically and illegally and has almost hit pedestrians and cars alike more times than you can count, if you compliment her and act like it doesn't bother you, you'll stay a happy man. If you don't, refer to favorite appendage.
And my wife thinks she's being cute right now, reading my column from over my shoulder. This just goes to show that D and K magazine will stop at nothing to get ahead.
"HEY!" I said, pouting. Lucas turned around, snickering.
"You are so bad at playing spies."
"Am not," I said childishly, glaring at Lucas. "And I'm a good driver."
"Of course you are, sweetie," Lucas said, snickering. I rolled my eyes and went back to my computer.
As I was saying, blackmail had seemed like the most logical answer. As we speak, I have a naked baby picture of Lucas sitting in my desk, ready to whip out if he so much as glares in my direction. I'm sure that senior-mcDreamy-turned janitor would find it interesting to see see the snapshot.
And, framed by my computer is a picture of us from when we were like, eight or something. We had been playing on the slip-n-slide, and right after that picture was taken, I had pushed him down and he chipped a tooth.
It was all okay, it was just a baby tooth anyways.
I know, most newly wedded girls would have pictures of their honey-moons and snapshots from their wedding day. Instead, I have weapons. I'm at all times ready, because Lucas is not to be trusted.
By his computer is a picture of us from the last day of our honeymoon.
And who's the girl in this relationship?
I paused, remembering the time I'd first met him.
Who's the stupid girl now, Lucas? Remember; it's easiest just to say Uncle. You're well trained.
I grinned to myself at the way Lucas and I bashed each other in the magazines.
It brought in the readers, and it was fun.
And I had always been extremely competitive.
I poked my head over into his side, and he sighed.
"Let's get lunch!" I said, and Lucas raised an eyebrow.
"It's only ten thirty."
"Okay, an early lunch! A brunch! I'm restless," I said, and Lucas shook his head before standing up.
"Fine. I'll get Devon, you get Dee," he instructed, and I nodded before skipping down the hallway to the front desk.
"Dee, come on!" I exclaimed, and she grinned before standing up.
"I was wondering how long you'd be able to wait today."
"I made it... a half hour," I said, shrugging. Dee grinned and her face lit up as Devon came strolling around the other corner, Lucas chattering good-naturedly.
"Kelsie, you remember your question from earlier?" Lucas said as we all started to trail out of the building. My brow furrowed.
"Well, I've decided that things really haven't changed at all since high school." I grinned and looked around at my best friends.
"Nope. Not at all." And with that, I hopped onto Lucas, piggy-back style.
Not much had changed. And I was glad.
. . .
A/N: Ohmahgawsh!! we finally did it, guys. I finished Only The Benefits!!!
What an awesome ride, no?
Basically, I'd lost interest in this story, and it was where I had intended it to be, so here's an epilogue for everyone!
You should all let me know what you'd thought, I'd love to hear them!
To EVERY person who's favorited, alerted, and reviewed this story: THANK YOU.
You are the BEST and the reason why I finished this story at ALL.
After re-reading through this story, it sounds childish to me, but I'm going to leave it up. I hope everyone enjoyed it!
I have a request: if you guys like my writing, I'd LOVE for you to check out my current story, Room 475. I really like it, and it's a different than this one. I'd love to hear what you think on that one.
Anyways, I guess I'm done rambling now. Please drop a review telling me what you thought of the story and it's epilogue.
All the best,