Pleasing the Boss

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Chapter 25

Waking up Monday morning isn’t as exciting as other Mondays. I mean no Monday is exciting, but I have a feeling that this one is going to be unbearable. Sitting up, I check my phone and see a picture message from Anna. Unlike Kate’s risqué picture messages, Anna is simply a picture of her in one of the new dresses she bought.

I shoot her a quick text before checking my email. Today wasn’t going to be very busy. However, we were getting some new equipment in today that I was going to end up signing for. There are no specific messages from Ethan, not that I thought there would be.

Getting out of bed, I shower and pull on a Navy blue dress and slightly oversized black cardigan with a pair of flats. I wasn’t in the mood for heels. Checking my hair in the mirror, I smile at the fact that I actually had it cut. I pull it over my shoulders to look at before putting in a high ponytail, letting some pieces frame my face. With the weather changing a bit, I opted for glasses instead of contacts.

Looking like a sexy librarian, I grab my things and head out. As I’m riding the elevator, I can’t help but become nervous about riding to work with Ethan. Would he say something? Maybe he’ll just give me the silent treatment.

The answer becomes blatantly clear when I get to the car and Ethan isn’t there. When I ask the driver, he says that Ethan will be running late. Yeah right.

When I get to work, I go through the usual steps of getting things started. I turn on my computer, check my messages, check Ethan’s messages, get coffee, and start working up files. However, adding an extra task, I make my way across the office to see Anna. We talk briefly about some weekend plans and for some reason, I feel a lot better having a real friend in my corner to take my mind off of Ethan problems.

As I’m typing an email, my mind drifts to Friday night. Sex with Ethan was amazing and a part of me missed it so much. However, the following events that occurred leave a bitter taste in my mouth like wine that’s been in the fridge too long without a cork. The great sex is clouded by the look on Ethan’s face as he walked about like I was nothing to him. Maybe I’m not anymore. Maybe all that talk about caring for me was bullshit because this could have been handled with a simple conversation had he given me a chance to speak.

Getting angry isn’t going to fix anything, because I’m sure as hell used to people pretending they care and then throwing it in my face. I shouldn’t be surprised that Ethan did the same. I’m not saying he and Greg are the same, but they both hurt me. And yes, I lied to Ethan. I went behind his back but had I not I would have never found out what he was into. I would have cuddled and eventually had sex with a man who goes out on Fridays to anonymously have sex with other women. I was just saving myself the trouble of finding out down the road.

Throwing myself into work, I send emails, answer calls, and file things. All the while, Ethan still isn’t here and it’s almost 10am. Frustrated and irritated, I can’t think about that because a delivery guy shows up with three oversized boxes. Signing for them, I take them in Ethan’s office and set them on the floor. Grabbing an envelope cutter, I slide the tape on the boxes and see that it’s some shelves that need to be put together. With nothing else to do, but waste time, I kick off my shoes and spread the pieces out of Ethan’s carpet.

Playing music on my phone, sitting in the middle of the floor, I sing along to Chariot by Gavin DeGraw. I get so into it, I end up singing into a small screwdriver I found in Ethan’s desk. I completely stop working and starting singing out loud, thinking I’m alone in this office. The song fills me with an overflowing amount of joy for some reason and I sit up my knees, singing louder.

Suddenly from behind, I hear someone singing too. Turning around, Anna has her own air microphone as she comes to me. Taking my hand, she pulls me to my feet and we start dancing. As Anna is twirling me, I catch sight of someone at the door. My feet plant and Anna turns.

Ethan is standing at the door, leaning against the frame. Staring at us, Anna clears her throat.

“Well, I left some lunch on your desk. I’ll talk to you later.” And with that she walks out, slipping past Ethan like he has lava on his skin. I don’t blame her. He looks pissed. Here we go.

“What are you doing?” He asks. Finally, words. His eyes scan over me for a moment, stopping on my shorter hair.

“Uh, you got a package and I’ve been putting it together.”

He nods. “Looks like you were dancing around my office like a child. This is an office, Ms. Washington.”

Seriously? Now he can’t he use my first name.

“Sorry. I just got a little into the song.” Sitting back on my knees, I pick the instructions up and resume what I was doing. Walking around me, Ethan takes a seat at his desk. I don’t look at him. I just pretend like he isn’t here. Unfortunately, that’s harder than it seems.

Tension grows between us and it becomes increasingly hard to keep up this calm front. I’m nervous and on edge, wishing we could just talk about that stupid club. As I finish putting together the tall shelf, I shoot Ethan a look and he points to an empty wall space. The shelf isn’t heavy, but it wouldn’t kill the man to help. Getting it in place, I notice a large box of things and I assume they are going on this shelf. Looking over my shoulder, I look at Ethan and he’s observing me while talking on the phone.

I start with the lower shelves, putting books and things on them, making my way up to the bigger items. Picking up a heavy glass bowl, I figure it could look nice on one of the higher shelves. On my tiptoes, I try to get it up there, but I’m just shy of an inch or so. As if karma is biting me in my ass, I lose my footing and the bowl slips from my fingers. I manage to turn my face and it hits me right in the temple. Hissing loudly, I somehow catch it, before taking a step back.

Behind me I hear, Ethan hang up the phone. The bowl hurt, but not enough for tears so imagine my surprise when I start crying.

“Thea, are you okay?” Ethan asks and I notice him reaching for me. Holding my face, I flinch away from him.

“Don’t touch me! I’m fine.” I spit at him.

“Thea, just stop and let me…”

“Just please leave me alone.” My voice cracks and I turn, storming out of his office.

In the bathroom, I stand in the mirror, face beet red as I assess the small bruise forming over my temple. What I can’t seem to figure out is why the fuck am I still crying? Why?! Nothing good is coming from standing here sobbing like my heart’s been fucking broken or something.

Snatching a few napkins, I dry my eyes and splash some water on my face. When I’m at an emotional level safe enough to continue working without bursting out in tears, I make my way back to the office. Walking in, I don’t look towards Ethan, but I can feel him watching me. I sit at my desk and go through some new emails, eating the chicken tacos Anna left on my desk. Thankfully they are still hot.

For the rest of the day, I’m pretty numb to everything going on around me. I do my work and keep quiet. If Ethan needs something he asks and I do it. Nothing more or less. As the evening rolls in, I think I’m about to go home when Ethan requests that I stay late because he needs help on a project. Can’t say no to the boss.

At 9 that night, the office is mostly empty give or take a few janitors. Siting at Ethan’s desk, I’m rearranging a seating chart for some charity even coming up for the magazine. Apparently it’s a big deal to the company though I don’t know what charity they are giving to. I want to ask, but I don’t.

Ethan is sitting across from me, going through some files for the project. Neither of us is saying anything, but silence speaks volume. Or so I’ve heard.

After an hour of placing names on little sticky notes, my wrist is sore. I shouldn’t have put so much pressure on it from typing, shelf building, and now this. Stopping for a moment, I rub my wrist a bit, sighing deeply. I’m so ready to go home.

“Something wrong?” Ethan mumbles from behind a piece of paper.

“I’m fine.”

“Sure you are.” He says under his breath and I frown.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Putting the paper down, Ethan looks at me. “You’re not fine. You’re in pain, but you’re too stubborn to say anything. If you’re ready to go then just say so. The rest can wait till tomorrow. I just wanted to get a head start.”

“I’m not stubborn.”

Ethan snorts. “Yeah, sure.”

“And coming from you that’s real rich.” I say as I begin gathering the multiple colors of markers I was using. Ethan doesn’t reply to my statement and I take that as a sign that I should go. When I’m done straightening things for the night, I go to grab my things when Ethan called my name.

“Thea, wait.”

“What Ethan?” I turn and he is standing.

“Can we talk about this?”

“Talk about what?”

“You know what.” He rolls his eyes.

“When I wanted to talk about it, you treated me like some whore you didn’t even know. So no, I don’t want to talk to you right now.” Not giving him a chance to speak again, I storm out of the office. I understand that we should talk about things, but Ethan isn’t allowed to walk around having mood swings all day. He can’t treat me like crap one minute and then pretend to care the next. It doesn’t work like that.

At the car, the driver tells me that we have to wait for Ethan before we can go. Wanting to be as far away from Ethan, I decide to just walk until I catch a cab. Sounds like a shitty idea considering I just walked away from a private driver, but I just really need some air to think.

After walking a few blocks, I get tired of walking so I dip into a bar for a few drinks. By few, I mean a lot. Enough to make me stop thinking about Ethan. Fun fact about alcohol. You never know when you’ve had enough until you are already drunk. Like really drunk and the fact that it’s only Monday makes it worse. Around 11, I pull myself away from the bar to leave.

By the time I catch a cab, the soft sound of thunder lets me know that I rain is close behind. After a 20 minute drive, it starts pouring. From the cab to the lobby door, I manage to get soaked from head to toe. Just great. More Karma I suppose. On the elevator, I lean against the wall, closing my eyes. As I’m reaching for my floor button, I stop and suddenly, I press the button for Ethan’s floor. Why? I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m going to say or do, but the alcohol says

“Go for it, girl!” So why not?

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