In Love With My Personal Assistant

By: Audrey Tolhouse

He paused at the door and smiled at her again. This time, she could tell that he had something on his mind. His smile wasn’t quite as strong, and faltered for a moment.

“See you Wednesday,” he whispered again.

Jennifer nodded. Seconds later, he was gone and she was left in her office alone and confused. As far as she was concerned, nothing had really seemed to bother Andrew. She had no idea what would cause him to crease his face in a pitiful little frown. A second later, her thoughts switched to Melone, and a ball of anger returned to her gut.

She looked at the portable clock on the surface of her desk and turned it towards her so she could read the time. 8:05 am. She was late for the morning briefing and Melone hadn’t called her once.

Taking a deep breath, Jennifer ran her hands over her hair and smiled, remembering what Andrew had told her. In a rush of moment, she pushed herself from the desk and marched across the empty space to the door. She didn’t care that she had no idea what was on the day’s agenda, or the week for that matter. If James didn’t call her, it was more than likely because he knew Andrew was with her.

She pursed her lips and headed for James’s office. Jennifer didn’t even bother to knock.

Chapter Three

Bag of Tricks

Inside James’s office, Jennifer stood, feeling a bit immature and still angry. James wasn’t in yet. She doubled checked the time. 8:06. He should have been there already. Instead, she heard his voice behind her.

“What are you doing in my office?”

She spun around and glared at James. He had a white plastic coffee cup in his hand. He must have helped him to something from the staff breakroom.

“You’re sending Andrew away for two weeks?” It wasn’t a question. Everything about the way she approached him was wrong, but James didn’t seem fazed. He nodded eagerly, and motioned to the chair in front of his desk. He entered the room fully and shut the door behind him.

“So you’ve spoken with him then?” James asked leisurely.

“Of course. What is this about? You didn’t contact me all weekend about anything.”

Again, James nodded and made his way his desk. He settled himself into the chair with unhurried ease. He either didn’t understand that her tone was pushing the limits of respectful confrontation, or did and simply chose to ignore it.

“First,” he started calmly, “I want to start with an apology.”

“An apology?” She nearly coughed on the words.

James nodded, and motioned to the chair again. With hesitation, Jennifer eyed it. She realized she was breathing rapidly. Her chest heaved and fell under the distress. Swallowing back a bit of her resignation, she moved towards the chair, but refused to sit. Instead, she stood behind it, opting to place a single hand on it instead.

“Yes, an apology,” James continued. He met Jennifer’s eyes with a steady gaze. “For everything. For my behavior two weeks ago right before Seogen,” he paused, “and then for Friday afternoon.”

Jennifer dropped herself into the seat. Was he admitting that he was completely out of line?

James shook his head and dropped his eyes momentarily. “I was completely,” with a pause, he sighed hard, exasperated, “I was completely out of line.” Jennifer’s eyed bulged. She couldn’t have opened them wider if she tried. She opened her mouth and found herself stuttering.

“So what are you—I mean, what—Friday,” she paused and shook her head, confused, “What?”

James nodded again, holding up a hand as if to help her clear her mind.

“How long have we known each other?” James asked softly.

Jennifer’s mind drew a blank. Was he asking how long they had worked together, or how long since their relationship had kind morphed and fused into something neither one of them could really define, other than knowing without a shadow of a doubt that they weren’t together?

“You’ve been with me—the company, for five solid years, right?” Jennifer nodded. At least he cleared up the confusion about his question. “We’ve been through a lot, together, right?” He smiled weakly and nodded in agreement with his own words.

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