Playing the Bosses

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Overstepping

“So, I hear you’re moving and you won’t even tell your own mother your new address?” Veronica asked Eva. The two of them had met for a Sunday brunch and were waiting on Alexis, who normally acted as a cushion between them, but she was running late. “Do you really want me out of your life that much?”

“I don’t want you out of my life, mother,” Eva replied. “But considering you’re the reason I have to move in the first place, it only makes sense for me to not give you my new address.”

After Eric showed up at her apartment unannounced last week, Eva started by looking a new security systems before deciding to move altogether. Something about the energy she was sensing from Eric made her so uneasy that she was losing sleep and Eva figured it’d be best to move across town and not tell her mother her new address.

“You don’t think you’re overreacting? It was one time only a week ago, and Eric popped in on you at my request.”

“Right, but before that, he’d been sending me roses and letters nonstop despite the fact that I was ignoring him and then he went on to show up at my apartment begging for me to go back to him. I wasn’t getting a good vibe, I felt unsafe, and you put me in a really tough position.”

Veronica sighed and took a sip of her mimosa. “He’s harmless, Eva. He is just a man in love who desperately wants you back.”

“Mother, Eric and I will never be together again. I don’t love him and I never did. I’m not sure what’s been going on with you, but this obsession with marrying me off needs to stop. Can’t you see that’s what’s been pulling you and I apart?”

“I just want you to be happy,” Veronica reasoned. “I want you to meet a good man to take care of you. Do you know how nice it is to have a person to go to sleep with and wake up to? And then the joy of having children! Don’t you want kids?”

Eva’s jaw tensed and she huffed her frustration. “I don’t care about getting married and I absolutely never want to have kids. If I meet a man or woman who I want to be with for the rest of my life, great, but I refuse to give up my solitude for someone who isn’t worth it.”

Veronica was taken aback, astonished by her daughter’s words. “What do you mean you don’t want kids?! And you never want to get married?”

“Exactly what I said. I don’t want kids, ever. And marriage isn’t a priority for me, there are so many other things in life.”

Veronica shook her head with disapproval. “I just don’t understand.”

“All due respect, mother... It’s not for you to understand.”

“Eva, you are imposs—”

“Could you two please not argue!” Alexis pleaded as she walked up to their table. “You know there was a point in our lives when you got along, right? In fact, for most of our lives, you two were close... What happened?”

“That is the question...” Eva said, leaning back in her seat and looking away from her mother.

“Eva just needs to do more thinking about her future,” Veronica grumbled.

“Whatever.”

~~~~~~~&&&~~~~~~~

It was late evening on Monday and Eva was in a horrible mood. Not only was she still agitated about her Sunday brunch with her mother and Alexis, Eva was also stressed about moving to another part of the city and the recent slowing of her progress in collecting intel on PMC Group. Despite the fact that the men were trusting her more, Eva still couldn’t seem to gather anything strong enough to take them down and keep them from pursuing revenge against Thompson Luxe Group.

On top of it all, she was working late... again.

She let out an exacerbated sigh when her phone started ringing and she saw it was Justin. It was already a long day for her and most of the staff had gone home except for Eva, Justin, and Adrian. She still couldn’t wrap her head around how often she stayed in the office late as an assistant.

“Yes, Justin?” she answered.

“May you come to my office, please?”

“Okay.” As she stood up to go to his office, Eva rolled her eyes wondering what work Justin wanted to add to her already full plate.

“Hi Eva, how’s it going?” Justin asked casually when she entered his office.

“It’s alright. How may I help you?”

Justin’s brows tensed when he noticed the lack of energy in her tone and the difference in her demeanor compared to usual. She seemed a bit dejected — something very unusual of her.

“Are you sure you’re alright?”

“Could we keep our conversation focused on work?” Eva asked. “I really can’t talk about anything else today, and we’re already here late. I imagine you want to get out of the office too.”

“Oh um... right, of course... I actually called you in here for advice, if you don’t mind.”

Eva had to hold herself back from snapping. Did he really just call me in here to ask for fucking advice? It better be business-related...

“What... is it?” she said through clenched teeth.

“Well, um... You see... I’ve been following your advice about communicating with Ashley, but things aren’t really changing. There’s still not much a spark left. Do you have any other pointers on how we could reignite things? To be honest, I’ve been trying to get her to be more dominant.” He rubbed then back of his neck. “Sorry, it’s just that you’re the only one I can seem to talk about this stuff with.”

Eva exhaled deeply at his question, and it wasn’t lost on her Justin’s reiterating of his desire that Ashley be more dominant — something he’d recently complimented Eva about. And it wasn’t his first time making hints that Eva’s personality aligned with his interests.

Eva thought she was making progress with Justin, especially given the conversation they’d had Friday after dinner, but she couldn’t believe that he actually had the nerve to call her into his office after hours to ask for relationship advice.

What made it worse was that Justin and Ashley had a failing relationship. It was clear to everyone that he didn’t love Ashley and Eva wasn’t sure if Justin even liked his girlfriend. Also, he’d often bring up his dissatisfaction with their relationship — whether it be directly or indirectly.

But today was not a day that Eva was capable of showing her usual patience.

“Well then dump her,” she said flatly.

Justin looked at Eva in disbelief at her bluntness. “W-what?”

“Dump her, break up with her, whatever. She deserves better than a significant other who’s going to complain about their sex life to his secretary.” The agitation was clear in Eva’s voice. “Just because Ashley isn’t into certain things, she shouldn’t be shamed for it. If you two are sexually incompatible, then fine. Just stop trying to pretend you care about saving your relationship and end it already.”

“I-it’s not that easy...”

“What’s so hard about it? You obviously don’t want to be with her.”

“What do you mean I ‘obviously’ don’t want to be with her?”

“It’s clear as day,” Eva sighed. “You’re constantly complaining about her to me and act annoyed whenever she visits or calls... Then again, those have been less frequent recently. And haven’t you told me that she’s been busy with work yet somehow in a great mood despite the stress? Interesting...”

Justin’s entire body grew tense with how cold Eva was behaving with him, he’d never experienced that from her before and he felt a tightness in his chest and a lump in his throat.

“W-what are you getting at?”

“I think you know...” Eva stood from the chair and turned to walk toward the door. “It’s late and I still have like ten more things to do for you three before I can leave the office. I don’t have time to listen to your problems right now.”

When she returned to her desk, Eva audibly groaned when she saw a text message from Alexis.

Alexis: Hey sis... The company that shall not be named is really gaining on us and you’re coming up on a year. It seems like we should’ve been done by now. We need to get this finished ASAP.

“Whatever,” Eva muttered to herself. She stiffened in her seat when she heard Justin’s door open and his footsteps approaching her.

Although she saw him standing next to her from her peripherals, Eva didn’t bother looking up at him.

“Um...” Justin cleared his throat. “Eva?”

She didn’t respond and instead started typing something on her computer.

“Eva,” he repeated, this time more sternly, but it didn’t make a difference. “I just wanted to say...” Justin took a deep breath. “I’m sorry for overstepping like that. Our conversations have just been... It feels like you and I are... Ya know, like friends—” he choked on his words and felt a lump grow in his throat when Eva was still unresponsive to his apology.

“I’m sorry, Eva...” He said softly and hurried out before seeing if she would respond or not.

Eva sighed and finally lifted her gaze from the computer screen to watch Justin walk away. “You need to figure yourself out, Justin,” she muttered.

She had never faced so much stress in her life. Her mother was relentlessly pressuring her to get married. Eva was reminded by Alexis’ text that her plans for PMC Group were taking longer than anticipated and Eva didn’t want to admit that it had something to do with the soft spot she’d been developing for Adrian. On top of it all, she was in the process of moving because of Eric’s stalker-like behavior and there was a constant underlying uneasiness that she’d been feeling since he first started sending her flowers.

Eva looked at her unfinished to-do list and let out an agitated huff. “Fuck this.”

She pulled out her phone and opened her text conversation with Logan.

Eva: You free?

+++

A/N: Thank you for reading!

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