Courtney sat at her desk in front of her boss’ office. She was excited about this job, but also nervous. She hadn’t even met her boss yet, even though it was her first day.
Her boss finally walked out of her office at noon for lunch. “Hold all my calls, I’m going on my lunch.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Courtney said before she shuffled and organized her papers.
Courtney saw her curvaceous body from behind. She saw her long golden locks fly in the air as she flipped her hair. She saw her shapely back and — She refocused her attention on her computer screen and answering the phone.
An hour later, her boss returned from lunch and Courtney couldn’t help but stare.
“Courtney was it?” her boss asked.
“I’m back, see you in my office in ten.”
“Call me Ms. Artoni.”
“Okay, Ms. Artoni.”
Courtney looked at the time on her computer and thought about what her boss would say to her.
Courtney walked up to her boss’ office door and knocked.
“Come in,” Ms. Artoni said from behind the door.
Courtney slowly opened the door.
“Don’t be shy, come in,” Ms. Artoni said.
Courtney sat in the chair across from the desk. She saw her clear-skinned ovacular face and glossy blue eyes.
“Courtney, I look forward to working with you. You’re not only working for a fashion company, but you’re also working for a lifestyle, a way of life for people wearing our clothes all over the country.”
“Thank you, I look forward to working with you too,” Courtney said nervously.
“If you ever need anything, my office is always open or you can call me.”
Courtney rushed back to her desk. She received a call from Ms. Artoni’s boyfriend.
“Hello? This is Nicholas, Debra Artoni’s boyfriend. I need to talk to her.”
Courtney hung up the phone in shock and presses a button on the phone’s keypad. She opened the door to Ms. Artoni’s office and said, “Ms. Artoni, you have a call on line one, it’s your boyfriend.”
“Okay, thanks,” Ms. Artoni said before she picked up the phone.
Courtney scurried back to her desk, still in shock she ran to the bathroom.
She slammed the stall door shut and locked it. The cold toilet seat pressed onto her khaki pants as she sat on the toilet. She cried and thought. I know I just met her, but she’s just so gorgeous. Do I have a crush, on my boss? She has a boyfriend!
She unlocked the door and came out of the stall. She turned on the faucet and splashed water on her face. The lights flicked above her as she pulled paper towels from the dispenser and wiped away her tears and mascara. She reopened the stall and grabbed her purse on the floor. The mirror fogged up from the hot water and she wiped a circle on the mirror so she could see herself. She grabbed her mascara liner from her purse and reapplied it.
Courtney walked back to her desk and looked down, hoping no one noticed her leave her desk.
“Courtney? Courtney? Where are you?”
“Sorry, Ms. Artoni, I was in the bathroom.”
“The phone lines are ringing off the hook. Please answer them.”
“Sorry, I will.” She walked back to her desk and answered the phone. “US Artoni Fashion, please hold.”
“Good and please tell me next time you go to the bathroom, so I can get someone else to answer the phones for a minute.”
Courtney held her hand over the receiver and said, “Sorry, don’t worry, next time I will.”
“Good.” Ms. Artoni walked back into her office.
Courtney continued to answer the phone lines.
At the end of the day, Ms. Artoni locked her office door and said “Great first day, Courtney, see you on Monday.”
“See you on Monday. Have a good weekend,” Courtney said as she packed up her purse.
She checked her phone and got a text from her friend.
Girls’ night tonight?
Idk, I had a long day at work.
Come on, we can celebrate
your new job.
I can’t. I need to rest.
It’ll be fun and we can go
Sweating all night sounds fun.
Great. See you at 8pm.
Courtney gave in and drove home. She ate dinner and put on her fanciest strapped red dress.
She waited outside for her friend under a streetlight.
She nervously imagined a thief snatching her purse and she run after him. She took off her high heel and threw it at his head. That slows him down and she catches up with him. She gets her purse back and calls the police. The thief runs off.
She shook her head to return to reality. A car drove up to her and she opened the car.
“Hey, Tanya,” she said unenthusiastically.
“What? You’re not excited for tonight?”
“What’s wrong? You need some alcohol in you is what’s wrong.”
“I have a crush.”
“Not again, who’s it on?”
“You know you can’t pursue them, that’s unethical and you might get fired.”
“I know, but they’re so vivacious.”
“Are they dating anyone?”
“Yes, they have a partner.”
“Girl, you need to move on. Meet some new people, go dancing.”
Courtney looked down and smiled. “So, where are you taking me?”
“The Off-Cuff. It’s new bar downtown for white-collar workers to let loose.”
“Sounds fun,” Courtney said sarcastically.
They arrived at the bar and parked in a parking garage nearby. They walked over to the bar and saw a line in front of it. They waited in line and when they reached the front of the line they showed their work IDs and driver’s licenses. They were let in and found a table to sit at. The table next to them had a bachelorette party. The party-goers took shots.
The waiter came around and Tanya “A round of shots for us.”
“Come on, don’t you want to let loose fast?”
The shot glasses were set on their table and they took back several shots.
Courtney said with her speech slurred, “You know, you’re my best friend and I’m glad you brought me out.”
“You’re my best friend too and you’re welcome,” Tanya replied in slurred speech.
Courtney pulled Tanya to the dancefloor and they danced the hours away.
When it was the last call, Courtney with her blurred vision called them an Uber.
Tanya stayed at Courtney’s place for the night. Tanya crashed on the couch and Courtney slept in her own bed.
The sun rose over the horizon and they woke up hungover.
“Uh, what happened last night?” Courtney asked with her hand on her aching forehead.
“We got drunk and passed out,” Tanya replied.
“I haven’t had a hangover this bad since college. Remember that crazy frat party during senior year?”
“I’m too hungover to remember.”
Courtney made them breakfast, scrambled eggs and orange juice.
They sat at the dinette table.
“The eggs are really good. Did you add any extra ingredients into the mix?”
“I added a little salt and pepper and some garlic powder.”
“I’m allergic to garlic,” Tanya said as her throat closed up.
Courtney called 9–1–1 and Tanya was rushed to the hospital.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were allergic to garlic,” Courtney said to Tanya, while she held her hand.
“It’s okay, I left my EpiPen at home. I didn’t think I would need it,” Tanya replied while laying on the hospital bed.
“Next time leave it in your purse, you don’t want this happening again.”
“I will, mom,” Tanya joked.
“I’m not your mom, I’m your friend and I’d be very upset if you died of anaphylactic shock.”
“I’m not gonna die, I have an EpiPen.”
The clock struck noon and the hospital discharged Tanya.
“Let me take you home,” Courtney offered.
“No, I’ll call an Uber,” Tanya declined.
“But I want to make sure you make it home safe.”
“Now you really sound like a mom.”
“No, I’m just a concerned friend.”
“Fine, you can drive me home.”
Courtney pulled up to the hospital’s entrance and Tanya hoped in. She drove Tanya back to her apartment building.
“See you next weekend?” Tanya asked.
“I need a break for a few weeks,” Courtney replied. She pressed the button to roll up her window.
Courtney returned to work on Monday.
“Morning Courtney, how was your weekend?” Ms. Artoni asked as she passed her assistant’s desk.
Courtney shook her head, “Good.” She put her head down so she wouldn’t look at Ms. Artoni’s body.
Ms. Artoni walked into her office.
What am I doing? How can I work for a woman that’s so beautiful? Maybe it’s not too late to quit, Courtney thought.
No, you need this job. If you quit now, you might not find another job, Courtney’s conscience advised her.
You’re right, I guess I’ll stay, Courtney thought back.
She got back to work, answering emails and phone lines.
She ate her lunch in the breakroom and was surprised to see Ms. Artoni there since executives ate in the executive lounge. The curvaceous woman pressed buttons “A” and “5” and a bag of lite potato chips fell into the pick-up box. She crouched down to grab the bag. Courtney looked over and her eyes widened when she saw Ms. Artoni’s behind in her black dress. Ms. Artoni gave her a wink as she walked out.
What did the wink mean? Was it flirty? Does it mean she likes me or was it more friendly? Ahhh! Courtney anxiously thought. She tried to calm down and slowly eat her sandwich so she didn’t choke.
She finished her lunch and returned to her desk. Ms. Artoni was in her office and she pulled up her blinds. She waved and when Courtney felt her staring, she waved back.
The week went on and the awkward encounters continued. An awkward silence in the elevator on Wednesday morning. Both of them trying to get into the bathroom at the same time there on Thursday. And a weird pass by at the water cooler on Friday.
On her lunch, she asked one of her female co-workers, “Hey, Melissa, can I talk to you for a sec?”
“Sure, I have a few minutes before my next call. What’s up?”
“Has Ms. Artoni ever made a pass at you? I mean like a wink or a wave.”
“No, I don’t think so. Why do you ask?”
“Ms. Artoni has winked at me a few times.”
“It probably means nothing — Wait, you like her!” Melissa shouted.
“Keep your voice down, I don’t want the entire office to know,” Courtney whispered.
“Okay, but she has a boyfriend.”
“I know, but maybe — ”
“Before she was with her boyfriend I went out for drinks with Debra as friends and I think I can tell when she likes someone. She usually winks and smiles at them. She walks up to them, makes them uncomfortable, and hands them her number. Has she done any of that to you?”
“She winked, she smiled, and — that’s it. But I don’t want her to cheat on her boyfriend.”
“Give her a few weeks and then come back to me.”
“Okay.” Courtney walked away unsure and doubtful that anything would happen.
A week later, Courtney returned to the office after a relaxing weekend. Her boss walked through the office with her head down in sorrow. Her employees talked amongst themselves in their cubicles. She heard “Did they break up again?”, “Did he break up with her again?”, and “Who broke up with who this time?” Ms. Artoni walked past Courtney’s desk. Courtney glanced at her, Ms. Artoni walked into her office, and she slammed the door behind her.
Courtney answered a few calls and checked on Ms. Artoni. “Ms. Artoni? Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, close the door.”
“My boyfriend broke up with me again.”
“I heard — I mean, I’m sorry, what happened?”
“Well, we were eating dinner at my apartment and he complimented me. Then he broke up with me. He said it was last time.”
“The last time you’d be together?”
“Yes,” she said before breaking into tears and putting her head on her desk.
“There, there,” Courtney said as she tapped her boss on her shoulder.
Now’s my chance. I better ask her out before it’s too late. I know she likes me, Courtney thought.
No, don’t be a rebound. She just got dumped by her boyfriend, her conscience retaliated.
“You’re a beautiful, intelligent, and powerful woman, I’m sure you’ll find someone else,” Courtney consoled.
“You think so? Nick and I have been dating on and off for years,” Ms. Artoni replied.
“I know so.”
The phone from Courtney’s desk rang. “You better answer that. I’ll be fine.”
“Okay, let me know if you need anything.”
The week went on and suddenly it was Friday again. She received from Tanya:
Girls’ Night tonight?
Sure, but can I invite a few co-
Of course, the more the
Great, see you at 8pm.
Courtney did the hardest she ever had to do, ask her boss out for drinks.
“Before you go, do you want to go out for drinks with my friend and I?” Courtney asked as fast as she could.
“I’d love to, I think I need a few drinks after the week I had,” Ms. Artoni replied with a smile.
“Great the bar is called “Off-Cuff, see you there at eight.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Melissa, her female co-worker was in the elevator. It was the perfect opportunity to ask her to go out for drinks, so she asked her.
“I haven’t been out for drinks in a few years, but sure, I need a drink,” Melissa replied.
“Great! We’re meeting at the ‘Off-Cuff’ bar.”
“See you there.”
The sun set over the city and Courtney drove to the bar. The three other women arrived at different times. They waited for each other and were let in. They sat at a booth. Courtney sat next to Debra (Ms. Artoni).
“Shots for everyone!” Tanya shouted.
“I’m down for anything!” Melissa shouted back.
“Sure, let’s do it up,” Courtney said with a little hesitation and nervousness.
“What the hell!” Debra shouted in excitement.
The waiter brought over the tray of shot glasses and they threw them back.
They drank shot after shot until the last call. They couldn’t drive home, so they each took an Uber home. Courtney in her slurred speech offered to split an uber with Debra. She thought about it, she was rich, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get to know her assistant. So, she agreed and stayed at Courtney’s apartment.
Under all the alcohol Courtney was nervous as hell.
Courtney slept in her bed and Debra slept on the couch.
In the middle of the night, Debra woke up from the pain of sleeping on the hard couch. She went to the bathroom and passed Courtney’s bedroom. The door was cracked open and she pushed it. She saw Courtney asleep and walked into the room. She got into bed with her, thinking it would be comfortable than the couch. She immediately fell asleep in the soft sheets and pillows and cozy blankets.
The morning after, Courtney woke up and saw Ms. Artoni in her bed fully dressed.
Did we? No, I don’t remember anything, Courtney thought as she held her forehead.
Ms. Artoni woke up next, also hungover.
“Sorry, that couch was extremely uncomfortable, so I decided to sleep in your bed,” Ms. Artoni apologized.
“It’s okay, but you should’ve woke me up to tell me,” Courtney replied, a little angry.
“Sorry again, I didn’t want to wake you.”
“It’s fine, do you want some breakfast?”
“What do you have?”
“I have eggs, bacon, cereal.”
“I’ll have eggs, scrambled — Sorry, I’m used to bossing people around and always getting what I want. — And bacon.”
“Hey, this is my house, my rules. You get eggs benedict and bacon.”
Courtney pulled out a pan and few eggs from the fridge. She cooked them and crisped the bacon.
“Finally,” Debra said when the food was done and plated.
“Say thank you,” Courtney insisted.
“Thank you,” Debra said with a smile. She ate her food, “Delicious, do you cook like this for all of your guests?”
“No — I guess I do.”
“Well, everything is tasty. Do you have anything planned for today?”
“Only bringing you home.”
“Come on, don’t want to do something fun today?”
“I don’t know, I’m pretty hungover. I might take a nap and do a little light reading.”
“Really? That sounds boring, let’s get to know each other. I’ve been your boss for a few weeks now and I know nothing about you.”
“Well, what do you have in mind?”
“Bowling? Roller Skating? A walk in the park?”
“I don’t know how to roller skate and the closest park is few miles away, so.”
“Bowling it is.”
Courtney looked up the closest bowling lanes on her phone and she drives her boss there.
They walk in and saw the colorful carpeted walls, the place was empty. They picked up the bowling shoes and entered their names into the machine. Courtney abbreviated her name to Court since it only allowed five or six letters.
Courtney bowled first and got a seven-ten split, then she got a spare.
Debra got a strike.
“Wow, a strike on your first try,” Courtney commended.
“My ex-boyfriend and I used to bowl all the time, so I got pretty good at bowling. He was terrible and I always won.”
“You still thinking about him?”
“Yes, we dated on and off for five years, he was my everything. But I’m having fun with you.”
“Good,” Courtney said before she bowled. She bowled a six and then a spare.
Debra bowled another strike, she kept bowling strikes, turkey, a four-bagger, a five-bagger.
In the last round, she got a strike and a spare. Courtney bowled a spare and a two.
They shook hands and Debra said, “You were a worthy adversary.”
“No way, you beat me fair and square. That means I pay for dinner.”
“We agreed the winner picks the restaurant. I choose Veronica’s the diner downtown.
“And I’ll pay the bill.”
Courtney drops off Debra at her house and gets dressed for their “date”. She’s so nervous she smudged her makeup with her sweat. She put on her red dress and picked up Debra.
They arrived and sat at a window seat. The waitress came over and asked, “What ya havin’?”
“I’ll have the Veronica special,” Debra said.
“And how would ya like that?”
“Rare to medium-rare.”
“Great and what would you like?” the waitress asked Courtney.
“I’ll just have a salad with vinaigrette.”
The waitress wrote down the order, “They’ll be out soon.” She walked away.
“What’s the Veronica special?” Courtney asked
“A big cheeseburger with fries. It’s very cheesy. It was my favorite when Nick and I used to come here.”
“You still hung up on him? I’m here for you and all, but you need to get over him. We’re here to eat and get to know each other, not think about exes.”
“I know, but — ”
“But what? That I’m your assistant and your my boss. That it’s completely unethical for us to even be out together. No, think of it as a meeting with your assistant, in which we discuss business and business-related things.”
“Alright, I will. So, how do you like the new job? How has it been for the past few weeks?”
“It’s been good, to be honest, a little hectic, but I’m getting used to it.”
The food finally came and they dug in.
“How’s the burger?” Courtney asked
“Sentimental — I mean cheesy.”
Courtney shook her head.
“What? How’s your salad?”
The vinaigrette arrived, “Sorry, I forgot to bring ya the Vinnie, it’s what we call vinaigrette.”
“It’s okay,” Courtney replied.
“Enjoy ya meals,” the waitress said.
Debra ate a fry and almost choked on it, but she drank some water.
“You know, this is nice. Just the two of us, eating together,” Debra said.
“It is, we should do this more often.”
“How about next Saturday and every Saturday after that.”
“I’d love that.”
Monday morning, they went back to work. It was awkward at first, but they got to it. They tried to hide their new found relationship but failed. They flirted all day with winking and smiling. And things said like “Have I seen you somewhere before?” and “I don’t know, I don’t get out of town much.” Rumors spread that they were dating and everyone in the office was okay with it. Until word of their relationship got to HR a week later.
“I’ve called you two in here to discuss the rumors of your ‘relationship’,” the HR rep., Cindy said.
“What relationship?” Courtney said without suspicion
“You know exactly what relationship I’m talking about,” Cindy replied.
“I’m the CEO of this company and I say, there’s nothing going between us,” Ms. Artoni said squinting her eyes.
“And I’m the HR rep of this branch and I say your relationship either needs to end or be done in private because it’s distracting the other employees.”
“Distracting? Who said something, was it, Dave, in accounting? He loves to gossip and will talk to anyone,” Ms. Artoni theorized.
“No, it wasn’t Dave,” Cindy said as she fully closed the door. “It doesn’t matter who complained or where I got the information from. You two just need to tone it down. You’re professionals, act like it.”
Ms. Artoni and Courtney put their heads down and nodded.
“Good, now you’re free to go back to work,” Cindy said, shooing them away with her hand.
Courtney and Ms. Artoni met in the boardroom.
“I didn’t even know we were in a relationship. Are we official?” Ms. Artoni asked.
“Debby — did I just call you Debby? Anyway, we are and it’s okay. We just have to stop with the
flirting is all. The winking, the smiling, and weird pickup lines.”
“I know and I don’t even realize I’m doing it sometimes.”
“We’ve got to keep it on the down-low.”
“Fine, one kiss for the road?”
Courtney smiled and stood on her tippy toes to kiss Debra on the mouth. It felt like she was floating above the ground and she was as Debra was lifting her.
They rushed back to their posts, hoping no one saw their misdeed.
Next week, they met in the bathroom to talk. Courtney locked the door.
“I can’t stand it anymore. I want to be with you,” Debra said with a burning passion.
“I know, but we see each other at work,” Courtney replied.
“I need to see you more, move in with me!” Debra shouted.
“Keep your voice down. We’ve only known each other for a few weeks — ”
Someone knocked on the door and from the other side asked, “Hello? Is Ms. Artoni and Courtney in there?”
“The door is locked, maybe they won’t bother us,” Courtney whispered to Debra.
“What?” Debra shouted.
“Quiet!”Courtney quietly screamed.
The woman who knocked on the door got the janitor to unlock the door. They found Ms. Artoni and Courtney kissing on the floor still fully clothed.
They stood up and “Cindy? What are you doing here?”
“I should be asking you the same question,” Cindy replied.
“I can explain,” Courtney said.
“I’m reporting this to the board of trustees,” Cindy said in reprimand. She walked away and
quickly typed out an email to the board.
Ms. Artoni followed Cindy to her office. “Wait, don’t do this. I’ll give you a promotion!”
“This has gone far enough,” Cindy replied and hit send.
The next morning, the board of trustees and Ms. Artoni met in the boardroom. She was fired and the new head of the company would be the head of the board. Courtney was also fired later.
Courtney walked out of the building and saw them removing the Artoni sign. She sighed and continued walking.
A few weeks later, Courtney and Debra met at a coffee shop. They hadn’t seen each other since they were fired.
“How are you?” Debra asked Courtney as she sat down.
“I’m fine, I’m still looking for a new job. How are you?”
“I’m good, I’m thinking of starting a new business. A clothing store downtown just went out of business, so I was thinking of buying it. Do you want to work for me again?”
“I don’t think so. I’ve been thinking, it was fun sneaking around, but the spark is gone. I still love you, but I can’t be with you anymore. You’re too passionate and demanding. You always wanted to — ”
“I was, but I’ve calmed down since then.”
“I — I can’t do this again. I need a stable job where I’m not dating the boss.”
A tear fell down Courtney’s face and she ran out of the coffee shop.
“Courtney, wait!” She followed her ex-assistant, but she was too fast to catch up with.