The Empath's Mate

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“Hey Janette, I don’t mean to bother you. I was looking over the contract and I’m positive there’s an error with my salary.” I said handing her the papers.

She flipped to the correct page and looked it over, clearly for show. She picked up a pen from her desk and set it onto the contract in front of me. “There is no mistake, was that your only question? I suggest you sign before someone stops you.” She said with a sly grin and a quick wink.

I was shocked. Thankfully, my body seemed to know what to do. I picked up the pen signing the new contract before Janette notarized it for me. She said the raise would be retroactive, apparently, they felt I was underpaid for the last 2 months.

She produced my copy before sending me back into my office to finish settling in. I cleaned my morning away working on processing the sudden changes. I imagined different things I could do to celebrate my raise. Dinner with the family would be on the list for sure. This would be some much-needed good news. What else could the day possibly bring?

By the time lunch came, I was starving. I reached Jeremy and I was practically bursting from the seams wanting to share the news with someone. I told him about the promotion in a hushed voice as if it was a secret. He responded with some jokes about me paying for lunch for the next month.

On the way to the restaurant, I daydreamed some more. I imagined taking the kids on a trip to celebrate. They had been talking about going to the beach, though I was more thinking mountains. I knew they would be just as excited for me.

We took our entire lunch to go over the morning’s events in detail. Jeremy thought it was funny I was busted gossiping. He was a little shocked that I decided to speak at all instead of just walking away. He felt the need to call his wife while we were eating and tell her about my news. She said she was going to send something to congratulate me the following day.

When I returned from lunch, I peeked into Nikola’s office, it was still empty. I was relieved he wasn’t in there. I had no idea what I would have said. I shook my head before unlocking my office door and heading in. I would see him in 2 hours, I wanted to try to stay busy.

After taking an hour to make an enthusiastic graphic-filled email welcoming the 3 fellows to my team, I sent it out. I dove into planning out the team meeting I scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. I wasn’t sure if there was a specific project that Dr. Chapman… Peter, wanted us working on.

Around 2:30 PM there was a knock on my door. I looked up to see Nikola. My heart fluttered for a moment before I found my words. I wasn’t sure what was happening with me. Pretty boys never had this type of effect on me. If anything, it was more of a disgust.

“You’re early.” I said trying to suppress my smile.

“He is early? How much longer do you want me to keep him busy?” I heard Jenny’s voice come from behind him in the doorway. I looked at his eyes and they screamed ‘help’. I grinned an evil grin.

“Oh shoot, you know what Jenny, I just lost track of time. Thank you for offering, but I am good to go.” I assured her. I could sense she was disappointed; I heard her footsteps stomping away before Nikola slowly entered my office.

“Yes! Please come in, sorry I am still getting used to people actually entering or having an office.” I giggled to myself a little.

He closed the door behind him. He was looking at the pictures that were spread out around the office now. I didn’t have a lot on my desk before, only 3 or 4 pictures of my kids and 2 with my dog, Jack. I would need to get a few things, having space would be an adjustment.

“You have a beautiful family, how old is your dog?” He asked seeming genuinely interested. “He’s 4,” I said smiling, “do you have any pets?”

“I have a dog-wolf hybrid.” He smiled.

“I have always been interested in learning more about them. Maybe I can ask a few questions if you don’t mind?” I was getting ahead of myself but when it came to dogs, I didn’t know how to stop. “I am so sorry, let’s do the tour and if it’s okay, I will ask in-between?” I compromised.

He laughed at me. I blushed instantly feeling insecure, this couldn’t be happening right now. I could feel panic rising. Suddenly, he stopped laughing. I had stopped the panic just in time, but I was positive my face was red.

“Shit! I didn’t mean to upset you. I just assumed you would hand me a map and send me on my way. We can head out if you’re ready.”

He was speaking so casually I was taken back. I didn’t know what to expect with him. I was trying hard to get a read on him, I seemed to just be wrong, every time. I was never wrong.

“I am fine.” I tried to assure him.

“You are more than fine.” He said in a low seductive voice.

My face instantly blushed when goosebumps covered my skin. Did he really just say that? I had to be imagining things. Maybe this was just some type of “high” I was on with the good news of a raise and the promotion.

“I was asked to give you a tour and that is exactly what we are going to do. Any specific place you want to start?” I felt like I was to firm so I wanted to end with a question. My awkwardness was getting the best of me.

“Can we start with any other places on this campus to get coffee? Jenny is like a hawk over there; I may get a machine for my office.” I was not expecting him to be so open about her desperate attempts, maybe he got the wrong idea of me earlier when I was talking about him.

I decided to clear the air. I would just come clean and say I was having a rough morning and I wouldn’t normally gossip like that. Surely, he would understand right? He must know there are rumors about him out there.

“I know you heard me this morning. I just want you to know, I don’t typically involve myself in gossip, I just wanted the attention off myself.” I said honestly.

“Don’t worry about it. If you’re interested, I didn’t sleep with any of them. I fired them all because they wouldn’t stop trying to sleep with me. Ironic huh?”

He laughed as I stared blankly at him. I could tell he wasn’t lying. I wondered how desperate you would need to be to get fired because you can’t back off.

“Now I feel worse…” I said with a shrug.

“Let’s start with the coffee cart outside in the quad. It’s my favorite spot, mostly because it’s always Jenny free. She was a bitch to the owner’s grandson to many times.” I paused to gauge his interest, “Last time she threw a coffee at his him. I was shocked but security told her she was no longer allowed within 15 feet of the cart. I have gone back daily since.” I said with a huge grin before we descended the stairs.

Showing him around and talking came easily. I felt like I could tell him anything. I kept the topics appropriate for the office, nothing to personal. I would like to say I forgot how beautiful he was, but I didn’t. We covered most of the campus but took our time. Before I knew it, I realized it was after 6:00 PM.

Every time he spoke, I smiled. I wasn’t sure if it was because I liked looking at him or if it was because I could. Since everyone else in the office had left for the day, he offered to walk me to my car. I never smiled so much throughout my day, I thought my face may hurt by the time I got home.

When I arrived home that night, Travis was waiting. It was strange since we had barley spoke the last few days. I had texted him the news I received the promotion. He was indifferent about it. It almost brought me down a little, feeling like I didn’t deserve it.

Luckily, Jessie and Torvi had different reactions. They were elated. Torvi was asking all different questions, wondering when she can come see the new office. Jessie was excited that I was making more money, thinking he wouldn’t need to work his part time job anymore.

I looked over at Travis who stood in the kitchen, staring at me like he was waiting to say something. After I placed my bag in the chair and began to pull out the ingredients for dinner, I heard him sigh.

“Something on your mind?” I asked gently.

“Why do you always feel like your special and know what someone is going to say?” He demanded in an angry tone.

“I’m sorry. I just thought you may need something because your standing in the kitchen staring at me.” I replied with a slight attitude.

“This new job that you have. Will you be traveling at all?” He asked with ill-intent.

“I’m not sure right now. I should find out more tomorrow.” I replied without the attitude.

“I was just thinking maybe a little travel would be good for you.” Travis said before walking out of the room.

Well that was strange. I thought to myself before continuing with dinner. Nothing would dampen my excitement today.

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