For the second time since I started working for Luke, I was late. I rushed into the office and made a beeline for my desk.
“Maddie,” he called out after fifteen minutes. I rushed into his office thinking he might be angry. He was smiling.
“How was your weekend?”
“It was good,” I mumbled.
“Did you have any phone calls for me?” he asked curiously.
“No,” I shook my head. “It was quiet.”
“I’m glad,” he grinned. “That means my week has no extra unnecessary meetings and I can spend all week focused on the auditors so they can have whatever they need and not bother me for the next year,” he sighed in relief.
He was so confident that his week would go to plan that I was scared that he’d jinxed it.
“Let’s hope for the best,” I nodded.
The next few days flew by. Luke and I were knee deep in audit requests and just when I thought we were getting somewhere, a flood of new requests would come in. Luke was burning the midnight oil but insisted that I leave at a reasonable time to take care of my mum and get some rest.
On Wednesday evening, Jake rushed to Luke’s office looking angry. He didn’t even look at me. He just stormed into Luke’s office and slammed the door. I heard their raised voices but couldn’t make out what they were saying. Thirty minutes later, Jake stormed back out of the office and went in the direction of his own.
“Maddie,” Luke called.
I walked into his office wondering what that was about. Luke is usually very composed. The vein in his temple was ticking and his eyes were darkened in rage. I just stood there looking at him. In all the weeks I’d known him, I’d never seen him like this.
“When is your mother’s follow up appointment with the neurologist?”
I frowned at the unusual question. It wasn’t unusual for him to ask about my mother. But when he was so angry that the energy in the room radiated tension, why was he asking about my mother? “Tomorrow.”
“What are they planning to do?”
“The neurologist says there are some treatment options and its likely that she will have to stay in hospital until next Monday.”
He nodded. “I’d like you to take some time off and be there for your mother.”
I frowned in confusion. “But …”
“Something is happening in this company and I’d just prefer it if you were away for a few days. I can’t say what it is right now because of the confidentiality around the situation. I’ll see you on Tuesday.”
I looked at him in shock. He didn’t even wait for a response. He just continued working. I felt so hurt by his dismissal of me. I took a deep breath and held the tears at bay. I walked slowly to my desk and packed up my belongings.
“Bye Luke,” I called as I was leaving. He didn’t even look at me. He just lifted his hand and waved me away.