The months flew by and Gran Baker was planning her annual fly away to South Africa for winter so she and Yvonne went through the steps to find an appropriate nanny to look after Kendo during the day as Yvonne was looking to start working full-time again.
During that same week, Mike cracked a code on a virus that had been threatening to destroy months of work. So happy was he that as Yvonne walked into their office, he grabbed her off her feet and swung her round before kissing her soundly.
“Yes!” he exclaimed.
He took a while to calm down enough to tell a bemused Yvonne why he was so elated. It only caused him to repeat his celebrations.
Terrence walked in at that moment, but nothing could make Mike less pleased with his accomplishment. In fact, he grinned, unabashed. Terrence’s expression was totally unreadable. Mike finally told him why he was so happy and it made his friend laugh a little. He said, “That’s great, man.”
Days before Jessica departed from her granddaughter’s home, they found Maria Benue. They did an extensive background check, as with the other candidates, but the fact that she came highly recommended by a prominent colleague of Johnson Baker’s sealed her position in the home of young Yvonne. She needed a permanent and professional child minder and the Bakers believed that they had found such a woman in Maria.
Maria genuinely liked her new employer and wanted to help her function as best as she could. Single parent households were never quite as easy as they seemed and the nanny wanted to make sure little Kendo was cared for at all times and especially when his mother wasn’t home.
Eve spent the weekend introducing her son to yet another person and by Sunday they were getting along like pals. Kendo managed to charm her with his gibberish and dimples as he did all women and Maria didn’t baulk at the task of bathing, changing or soothing the young child when necessary.
On Monday, Yvonne walked into her office and did a double-take. There was only one desk, which she deduced was hers by the colour of the monitor. A minute later, Mike walked in to gape at the new arrangement.
“Kicked me too,” she said, still standing regarding the open space.
“Oh, I’m not as surprised as you. I just didn’t think he was serious.”
Yvonne frowned at Michael. “He?”
“Terrence told me on Friday that he was putting me in the office on the other side of his.”
“Maybe he’s jealous,” Mike teased.
“Of what?” she was incredulous.
“Of us? I don’t know.” He was serious now. “He said something about there being more space for testing or something.”
“Accounts don’t need testing.”
Michael laughed now. “Duh, Eve but computers do sometimes,” he pointed out patiently.
“Oh come on.” Pause. “But, why?” she asked again.
Mike seemed to hesitate. “You’d have to ask Terry that. I can’t say for sure.”
“But you know,” Yvonne persisted.
Her best friend chose not to answer. Instead, he took her hand and smiled sweetly. His eyes twinkling behind small rimless glasses, he said, “Don’t worry, babes. I’ll still send you mail, we’ll still go for drinks. I promise I will call you. Nothing is going to keep me away from you,” he finished dramatically, placing a kiss on her hand, wiggling his eyebrows.
She laughed at that, but the moment he was out the room, she looked around again and frowned. What could possibly have made Terrence think that this was a good idea? She played the past few days back in her mind and couldn’t find any tell-tales signs that this had been looming.
Then suddenly her eyes narrowed.
Terrence readily welcomed the sight of Yvonne striding into his office until he saw the stormy look in her eyes. This couldn’t be good.
“What were the grounds for sending Mike out of our office?”
“Good morning, Eve.”
“Terrence, what the hell?”
“Take a seat,” he said calmly, wondering what the real issue was.
She sat down but the moment she did, she leaned forward and said in a low voice, “You cannot use your position to get the upper hand with me.”
Terrence certainly hadn’t been expecting that. “What?”
“I will not allow you to isolate me if you are doing this for personal reasons! How can you do this?” she demanded.
“Michael needs more space to explore the new dimensions of his position. You know that besides programming he is now working on hardware design. He’ll have technicians coming in and out of his office all the time. Either that or we move him all the way to the third floor labs.”
She opened her mouth and closed it again. Taking a deep breath she said, “I hope to goodness you are telling the truth, Matthews. You can’t just up and make changes like this and expect people to like them. You better have a real good reason.”
She left his office without another word.
When Yvonne got back into her office, she frowned again.
She realised the import of what she’d accused him of. The honest truth was, since their unfortunate kiss incident in the club months ago, he had been nothing but courteous and patient with her. She didn’t really have grounds for assuming that he was moving Michael further away from her for his own benefit.
They worked together a lot as it was, maybe she shouldn’t have called him out so aggressively. If she was wrong- which she likely was- it would just place tension on their working relationship.
Considering all he had allowed her to do since her baby was born, Yvonne also realised her attitude toward Terry was ungrateful. Not all new mothers had the freedom he had given her in the months after her return to the office. He had even offered to do a grocery run for her once when Verna was on vacation. How many bosses did that?
Way to go Eve, she thought to herself. Good luck trying to find the perfect moment to apologise.
The opportunity presented itself a quarter hour later.
Terry knocked on her door. “May I come in?”
“Sure,” she said mildly. “You are the boss.”
“You make it sound like you couldn’t say no even if you wanted to,” Terrence frowned, not walking into the room.
Yvonne stopped typing and took a deep breath. She was obviously still annoyed about this morning but she had decided on saying she was sorry. Letting it out slowly, she looked up at her immediate superior.
“That wasn’t my intention. I apologise.”
“Okay. Thank you.” He started to walk over to a chair. “I just wanted to clear the air. The tension isn’t good for our relationship.”
“Our relationship?” she echoed dubiously.
“How we work together,” he amended with a slow smile. “Things won’t go well if we aren’t being civil at the very least.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry for my outburst this morning. It won’t happen again.”
He nodded to acknowledge her apology. “You know, I would never use my position or power to try and get the ‘upper hand’ with you.”
She tilted her head to the side.
“I would like to think that my code of ethics wouldn’t allow me to resort to such tactics.” Pause. “But the truth is, if I’m making moves on you, I wouldn’t need my business card or an organogram.”
He said the last part very smoothly and then he chuckled. “So you’re safe from me making any professional decisions to bring us closer together.”
“You don’t need to be making any decisions for that reason personal or otherwise!” she snapped.
Terrence stood up from his seat. “I don’t want this to sound like a threat, but remember who you’re talking to next time you want to bite my head off.” Pause. “However you look at it, I’m either your boss or your best friend’s other best friend. It wouldn’t hurt to give me the benefit of the doubt that I mean you no harm, Yvonne.”
Eve pursed her lips to keep from saying anything else.
“I think I’ve made myself clear,” Matthews said lightly. “I’ll leave you to your work now.”
Yvonne nodded and watched Terrence walk out. The moment the door was close, she slumped forward and rested her arms on her desk.
That hadn’t gone well.
On the other side of the door, Terrence Matthews was thinking the same thing. He hadn’t mean to use words like ‘threaten’ or ‘boss’. He had planned it out in his head to be a quick, easy going exchange, but he supposed Yvonne was still bristling from having had the office rearranged without being consulted.
Sitting down in front of his computer, Terrence typed out a short email:
Next time I will let you know before we decide to make any changes to your work environment. Given your history, I realise that my actions may have been insensitive. I’m sorry. Terry.
He sent the email.
Pulling out a contract that was soon to be reviewed, he proceeded to try and forget that conversation with Yvonne.
Yvonne saw the email as she was getting ready to leave the office for a meeting. She sat down and replied quickly before taking her stuff and going out.
Terrence only noticed the response much later.
He clicked on her name and read the reply out loud.