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Perfectly Wrapped (A Steele Christmas Novella Book 2) by C.M. Steele (1)

Chapter 1


"Becca, we're not having this discussion again. You are not getting a menial job. You're finishing school. End of story,” my brother barks, keeping his eyes on the road as we head back home from the store. We have a month before Christmas, and I want to meet people even if it’s just in passing. I don’t have real friends because he’s super protective of me, and the very few female friends I had left for college. In fact, both Lorena and Jess are going to U of I while I take online courses and figure out what I want to be.

I can’t believe he’s still this obstinate. "You're being unreasonable,” I protest, gnashing my teeth and clenching my fists.

"What the hell do you need to work for?" His voice softens as he finishes as if he’s willing to be reasonable. I know that he’s only looking out for me in everything decision he’s made on my behalf, but I’m getting to the point where I’m stir-crazy. Being closed off from the real world used to be just fine, but then again, I still had the girls to hang out with, so I wasn’t as closed off as I thought. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s cold, and I spend most days inside looking for something to do.

"Because I need experience,” I press, hoping that’ll win me some points. In high school, he didn’t want me to work because school was a priority and it’s the only job I needed. I understood that, but I’m in college, living off of him. He works his ass off, and the most I do is cook dinner and straighten up. There’s not a lot of that because he’s never around. And when he is, he’s working in his office. We’re about to be at the house, so if I don’t make my point now, he’s going to go into his office and be in there all night. It’s my only shot.

"You are ridiculous. You don't need to work." He hits the button for the gate, and it opens while scowls the entire time.

We pull into our driveway as our gate closes behind us. I need to find a point to make him understand that I can’t live under his protection and care forever. Working will give me the experience and independence I need.

"You are rich, and I am a moocher,” I say as I jump out of the SUV.

He slams his door closed and knits his brows, scowling at me. With a shake of his head, he walks around to the back and opens the trunk. I grab two bags, and he takes the other ten because he hates making more than one trip. I close it, and we walk into the house. He doesn’t say anything until he sets everything on the counter, then I hear him take a large, deep breath and let it out. "Moocher? Mom and dad left that inheritance to both of us, and what did you do with yours? You gave it to me to follow my ambitions. I did that. And since you want to argue with me again, I might as well tell you. I have a trust that you get at twenty-one. It's the inheritance, my first year of revenue plus interest."

"What? Why would you do that?" I’m completely flabbergasted that he would do something like that or me. I shouldn’t be. He’s the best brother and practically a father any girl could ask for. He’s been raising me since our parents died when he was eighteen. I don’t know how he managed it all, but he did.

“I’m only being fair. I’ve made more money than I’ll need in a lifetime. If you didn’t give me your half, I don’t know where I’d be, but it wouldn’t be buying, revitalizing and selling companies, and making a killing doing it. I owe that to you. It’s the least I could do.”

I’m going with my last resort. “That still doesn’t change the fact that I need to get out more. I don’t do anything, and you work all day. I’m bored and well I need friends,” I inform him while I put away the vegetables in the fridge.

I hear the pantry door close, so I look up to see him with his lips twisted and thinking. It takes him a few more seconds before he responds, “Fine, how about I find you a job?” I set the cabbage on the counter then squeal, jumping into his arms. “Relax, I said I’d find you a job, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a great one.”

Immediately, I’m suspicious. Releasing my tight hold on him, I step back and narrow my brows before giving him one condition. “I’m not working for you.”

“Of course not because then I couldn’t fire you when you messed up.”

“Whatever,” I mutter, rolling my eyes and heading back to put away the groceries.

“I’ll make a couple of calls. Trust me when I tell you. Work isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

I roll my eyes because he’s probably going to find a job that’s going to make me want to quit on day one. “I bet you’re going to get me a shitty gig, but that’s cool. I just want to be out in the world. Even college is through a computer screen.”

He throws up his hands, surrendering before stealing a banana, then he states, “Fine. I told you I’d do it. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a meeting I have to prepare for with my board of directors.”

“Understood. Dinner will be ready in an hour,” I tell him. I don’t know what for. He’s going to be so busy working that he forgets all about it every single time.

“See that’s why you can’t get a job. Who will feed me?” he jokes,

“Find a wife,” I throw out.

“Touché.” With a wink, he leaves the room. Sometimes I wonder if he’s ever had a girl before. He’s been raising me all these years, and I’ve never seen him with a woman. I stop even thinking about it because I’ve got dinner to get started.

About an hour later, I go looking for him in his office because dinner’s done. I can hear him on the phone with someone, but I knock anyway. “I’m coming, Becca.” I laugh and walk back to the kitchen.

I set up the plates at the kitchen table since we have no use for the massive dining room table. He takes another three minutes, but I hear him running to the kitchen.

“Sorry, but I was on the phone with an acquaintance of mine. They could use someone seasonal.”

“Really?” I squeak, dancing around the kitchen.

“Yes, you have an interview tomorrow at Oui with Mr. Grey Goren.”

“Yay! Thanks, James,” I hug him again, getting a smile from my brother.

“Enough woman. I want to eat my dinner,” he grumbles, nudging me away. I’m too excited to eat. I barely eat my food before running upstairs to find something to wear for my interview. I squeal a couple of times throughout the evening. Tomorrow can’t come fast enough.