There were a lot of signs that led me to my resignation. My lack of tact might have helped escalate the scenario. But I’m one hundred percent sure it wasn’t my fault this time. My awful luck on finding a decent boss was another thing.
The first warning sign was when he supposedly touched my leg – his words of excuse. The second time, I wasn’t being delusional. He used his position to get a dinner date out of me. Those two times I could have smacked his face with a sexual harassment lawsuit but didn’t. Now I’m starting to regret it.
I’ve checked my outfit in the morning, twice, and bothered to measure the skirt length this time to give him no excuse to do anything remotely irksome. Still, it seemed none of it mattered. People like him who preys on innocent women doesn’t have a single decency of holding back whatever clothes you wear, or how much you cover yourself up. Predators are predators.
As I made my way towards the small stock room for the copier with mountains of fresh bond papers in hand, I was too preoccupied to notice my boss (now, ex-boss) followed closely behind me. Once I placed the pile on the desk by the huge copy machine, I turned around and jumped in surprise as I finally noticed him.
“Oh God! Mr. Daniels, you scared me there.” I stated as I calmed down my racing heart.
“I’m sorry for startling you. I just wanted to talk and saw you were busy… so I waited until you’re settled.” He informed as a familiar coy smirk tugged on the edges of his lips.
“What do you need, Mr. Daniels?” I asked as I kept my voice level and professional.
“Are you free this evening? And don’t say you aren’t, I know you don’t have anything planned this time. I’m sure.”
I kept my work smile in place, though I knew this man doesn’t deserve every bit of it. “I’m not. But, Mr. Daniels, I don’t want to explain myself again, sir. I want to kept things professional.” I informed, trying to put some authority on my voice.
Though it seemed he wasn’t getting the message clearly. He moved closer, inch by inch, until he completely block my path towards the exit, which I just now noticed was closed. My eyebrow creased in irritation how I hadn’t noticed his plan all along. Nevertheless, I didn’t let my guard down just yet. If it comes to it, I would scream bloody murder and kicked his baby maker.
“You don’t really mean that, Zoey. And we both know you and your boyfriend are no longer together. How long as he been gone now? Two or three weeks? He’s making that stuff up about going around the world for art.” His sarcasm was impeccable that I wanted to slap the smug look off his face. But, of course, I didn’t and clinched my hand instead.
Control yourself, Zoey. This is your third job now in the span of five years. It may not look bad, but it was difficult getting hired in the business industry with my subpar degree. If I screw this up, I don’t know what sort of job was left for me in a fast pace city like Chicago; even jobs for pricks like him are a miracle. And I don’t want to leave Illinois after I’ve move back just a few months ago.
“Mr. Daniels, as I’ve said, I don’t want to mix up my personal and professional life. And what status I have with my lover isn’t your business, sir.” I argued as calmly as I could.
“Why don’t you just try it out? One night, Zoey. Just one.” Though it was a question, from how he was saying it, it wasn’t a yes or no answer. It was just yes.
“Mr. Daniels,” I warned, stepping back towards the table behind me, though I knew there wasn’t much.
I had been brought up by my parents to speak my mind and protect myself. But I was also taught to respect my elders, in this situation, my boss. However, in this condition, I’m slowly rethinking about that moral code. As my heart raced, waiting for the inevitable, I finally decided to open my mouth to let out a bloody scream. Yet only a muffled sound came out, my eyes burst wide open in surprise. Mr. Daniels covered my mouth. His other hand hastily wrapped around my waist, pulling me closer to him.
It was then fear consumed me. I felt a bead of sweat tickling on my forehead and behind my neck. For a moment, I couldn’t move from the weight of my situation. I felt his hand trailing down towards my rear, feeling me up. With a jolt, I registered what was happening to me. Like instinct, my body recovered at the initial shock and responded to what I had to do.
My knee connected directed to his crotch, making him move backwards and covered his baby maker.
“Oomph!” Mr. Daniels let out breathy yelped. I didn’t wait for him to recover and grabbed one of the thick packed bond papers behind me and hit his head with as much force I could.
“YOU PRICK! DON’T TOUCH ME!” I hit him one last time with so much force I lost a bit of balance. “IF YOU TOUCH ME AGAIN, I’LL SUE YOU!”
Though his voice was airy, he had the guts to threaten me in his state. “Come back here. I’ll ruin your life you don’t…” he trailed off, catching his breath again.
Not contented with words and what I did, I give him a forceful kick on his arms, making him cuss in rage. He was about to reach out towards me in retaliation, but I was already gunning towards the door. Once I opened it, baffled he actually locked the room, I continued running until I reached my desk. As my co-workers stared at me in confusion, like they hadn’t heart my screams, gave me a good wake-up call. How no one came to my rescue, I knew what kind of environment I put myself in. I’m not going to tolerate it anymore. I’m ending things before I’m the one who’s getting screwed, for the better word of it. I’d rather waited tables than have a middle rage salary job with a sexual harassing boss. It wasn’t worth it. Not anymore.
This all had happened a month ago. And for the first time, I actually considered being a part-time waitress just to get by. I knew I wouldn’t have survived for long with a lifestyle of a middle salary ranged earner. The studio apartment I’m sharing with my boyfriend, who was across the world still, had slowly eat up my bank account. If I don’t start earning the right amount of money, I might consider moving back with my parents. At twenty-seven, who once taught her big break as an assistant for an entertainment company in New York was the beginning of a budding carrer, my future was becoming bleak.
Then, finally, some news to my ears.
“I’m not losing the place. Ben would kill me if we lose this studio.” I muttered. “Whatever job it is, if it pays good, I’m in.”
April, my best friend – who was my savior in this dark times, glanced around the spacious apartment in the middle of the city. We were lucky we got it cheaper. Chicago is a growing city and prices were getting higher and living expenses are choking. It was a god-send find.
“He would. This place is pretty big compared to the one a few blocks from here,” April agreed.
“So, what kind of job am I applying?” I turned the conversation back to the topic in hand.
“Oh, you won’t believe which company it is?” The sparkle in her eyes got me a bit more interest.
“Which one?” I pressed, not liking her withholding the information.
“I really don’t know much about the corporate world than these people live and breathe to make money. Could you at least narrow it down for me?”
“It’s a hotel and real estate company.”
“Uhm… The Hilton?”
“No, but close enough.”
“Ah… The Grand Hotel?”