“What a day.” I breathed out as I entered my apartment’s front doors.
The sound of music blasted from the TV. The smell of pine filtered up my nose and roast chicken wafted from the kitchen. I scanned around the apartment. Everything was spotless and clean. The carpet had just been vacuumed, the furniture dusted and everything neatly packed.
Wow, Stacey really worked the place. I raised my brows, feeling impressed and loved for a change. I kicked off my heels while placing my notepad down by the front door, and moved to the kitchen. The dishes washed and stacked away, not a plate in the metallic sink. A hot silver pot sat on the stove, I lifted the glass lid, and steam hit me, creamy mash potatoes lumped in it.
I licked my lips; I could definitely get used to this. Coming home to deliciousness every day. This is how a husband must feel like after a shitty long day on the grind. I giggled at the thought. Stacey’s cooking made me feel instantly better from the crappy argument I had with Eric today.
I sighed at the thought, the argument still stung. Eric and I didn’t talk after that, he was away from the office all day. But I realized I couldn’t complain to him about my work. I was his assistant. I guess I just wanted someone to blame, but the blame was on me.
“Hey cuz!” Stacey grinned. She came bouncing up from the hallway. Her backpack and suitcase dragged behind her.
I frowned as she set it aside by the door, along with her backpack. She turned around and saw my head tilted.
“You’re leaving?” I asked.
She sighed, pulling her shoulders up. “Yip. Finally, huh.” She murmured. “I guess I need to fess up cuz, and let you know the real reason I stayed this long.”
I crinkled my nose and crossed my arms against my chest. “Okay.”
She chewed her lips and gazed at the floor. “I failed all my classes in college. I’ve decided to quit it and not go back.” She began. “And I’m afraid to let my folks know. That’s why I didn’t want to go back to Canada.”
Somehow, I wasn’t shocked to hear this.
“Stacey, you have to let your parents know.” I said.
She shrugged and dragged her eyes from the kitchen floor, to look at me. “How do I let them know I wasted all their cash, because I wasn’t serious about studying to begin with?”
“Sure, they’ll be upset at first. But you got to think seriously about what you want to do with your future.” I advised.
She nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. That’s why I got a cheap one-way plane ticket to Canada leaving tonight.” She added. “I have to figure things out back home instead.”
“So soon. I just got used to you.” I grumbled. “But I understand. You need to do what’s best for you.”
She chuckled. “We can say our sad goodbyes later. But first let’s have our last supper together.”
I faked cried. We sat around the kitchen table tucking into our last dinner together. I talked about my breakup with Jake and the argument with Eric and how we didn’t speak after.
“Violet. You need to set boundaries with him, even if you’re his assistant. He can’t take over your life like that.” She said seriously. “If you don’t, I think you should leave the company. There’s other jobs out there.”
I nodded. “You right.” I uttered, as I played mindlessly poking my mash with a fork.
Twenty minutes later, I stood at the front door, holding tight onto Stacey in a deep embrace. “I don’t want you to go.” I whined.
“I’ll miss you cuz, thank you for allowing me to stay this long.” She said, her voice thick. “We’ll stay in touch huh.”
I nodded. “Definitely.” A lump in my throat formed.
We waved goodbye. I watched her piggy tails bounce as she exited, her suitcase echoing the empty halls.
I closed the door softly and leaned my back against it. I was alone. The apartment suddenly felt empty. Lonely. I let out a shaky sigh.
I walked up the office building steps with renewed purpose. Eric was heavy on my mind the whole night. To the point I might have dreamt about him. He hadn’t tried to message or contact me in any way. It’s been a full 24 hours ‘Blurred Lines’ did not blast through my phone in all the months I’ve worked at Bolt Investments. This was very strange and felt like a void was missing, him calling me. He’s probably more upset than I thought.
But it didn’t matter. I was going to set boundaries with him, whether he liked it or not. I breathed out heavily. Anxiety prickled my skin, as I stepped onto the office floor. Eric and I left things so awkwardly and I didn’t know what he was thinking.
I walked past the desks. Some were left vacant, co-workers huddled gossiping and talking. I looked around, something felt off, a weird sensation overtook my body. A few women were looking at me as I moved on. I went slightly rigid and made my way quickly to Penny’s desk. I found her seated in her chair, she had just ended a call on the telephone.
“Oh my gosh. Did you hear the news?” Penny gasped, immediately when she noticed me.
I frowned. “What news?” I asked urgently.
“You mean, you don’t know yet.” Penny asked confused.
“Know what?” I asked impatiently. Feeling like I’m the only one in the office left out on something important.
“Mr. Bolton. He died in hospital yesterday afternoon, from a car crash.” She said, her eyes wide.
I gasped, holding my heart. “What! Eric!”
She shook her head. “No! Eric’s father. Mr. Richard Bolton.” She corrected. “You know, the CEO.”
“Oh no.” I breathed out, feeling the blood drain from my face. “I didn’t know.”
I stood still, as the news settled in slightly.
Everything seemed to connect now, how I didn’t hear from him at all yesterday. He had a family emergency, and here I thought only about myself and my feelings. I sighed as I slapped my forehead, shame and guilt warped me.
“Are you okay? I thought Eric would let you know.” Penny said with a raised eyebrow.
I shook my head meekly. “N-No, he didn’t.”
“Miss Harper!” I turned to the side slowly.
Mrs. Walters strutted towards me. “You got a lot of work to do. First by cancelling all Mr. Bolton’s meetings and clearing his schedule till after the funeral.”
I nodded solemnly. “Yes. Of course.”
She handed me documents, “as soon as you done here, go and drop this at his place. You got his key.” I grasped the documents and held it against my chest. “Keep it safe. It’s private matters regarding the CEO, Eric needs to sort out.” I gazed mindlessly as Mrs. Walters walked away.
“I’m sure Rebecca is comforting him right now.” Penny chimed as she took a sip of her coffee.
I didn’t like the thought of Rebecca with him. A hardness at the sound of her name grew inside. My mind flashed to Eric. What he must be feeling? I shuddered. What about if he was at home. Would he even want to see me?
That’s the risk I’ll take. I’ll get the work done quick and go to his place as instructed. I had to check for myself. Eric might need me right now.
That’s all I could think about.
Three hours later and I found myself at Eric’s huge black gates. I took out a second set of his house keys from my bag.
The gate opened electronically as I pressed the small grey remote. I walked swiftly towards the large door, the massive house looming over me, and opened it with the keys. The spacious area was empty, a coldness lingered in it. It felt still and lonely. I closed the front door silently behind me and moved inside.
Patter of paws ran down from the stairs and the black Doberman rushed towards me. I knelt down and patted his head warmly.
“Where’s your boss huh?” I whispered.
As if the dog understood, he looked up towards the stairs knowingly.
My heart melted and smiled. “Good boy.” I cooed. “Stay here.”
My smile faded every step I took going upstairs. I haven’t been to the floor above but spotted the bedroom down the hall. The door was slightly ajar.
Eric must be inside.
I held my breath and knocked timidly. I didn’t hear any voice come through. My hand gradually guided the door open. I crept slowly inside the darkened bedroom. My eyes quickly roamed the big area and landed on the king-sized bed.
Eric sat at the edge of it. His hands held in his hands. I gulped. His dark blue shirt hung out of his black trousers. His usual sleek black hair was roughed up. His eyes looked tired. He probably didn’t sleep at all. The usual dapper and confident man looked undone and vulnerable. My heart sank at the sight of him.
“Eric.” I whispered.
His head lifted from his hands steadily.
His tired jaded eyes roamed me from top to bottom. I sucked in a breath the way he stared at me.
But his eyes warped into something else.
His jaded eyes turned into... hunger.