It’s Day 2 of Story a Day. Today’s prompt was:
A _______ (adjective) ________(noun), who _________(verb) ___________(subject), then _________(related verb) __________(resolution)
I settled on: An ambitious woman, who strives to earn a promotion, then realizes she isn’t willing to give all her boss requires.
This picks up where yesterday’s left off.
Bree grabbed the drink tray and headed into the office building. She dabbed at her shirt with a spare napkin, but that only did so much to get the stain out. She should have been more careful. Now, not only was she going to be late, she was going to show up looking like a slob.
She was never going to get that promotion.
Deep breaths, she told herself. Maybe it would all be okay. Maybe Mr. Colson wouldn’t even come out of his office today. Maybe she could make it until her lunch break and duck out to find a clean shirt. And maybe she just needed to start carrying an extra shirt in her car, and she wouldn’t have that problem any longer.
As Bree got off the elevator on her floor, she was sure everyone was staring at her. Well, of course they were. She had a huge brown stain down the front of her white shirt. Why wouldn’t they be staring?
Even if Mr. Colson wasn’t in his office when she dropped his coffee off, it wouldn’t take him long to hear about this. She might as well kiss that promotion good-bye.
It didn’t matter what her roommate said. Mr. Colson had a business to run, and if he didn’t think he could count on Bree, there was no way he would keep her around. Even if she was Lissa’s roommate. And Lissa thought he was attracted to her.
Bree shuddered a little as she set the drink carrier on her desk and pulled out her boss’s coffee. He had always been a decent boss, but whenever he came to the apartment, Bree tried to make herself scarce. Outside of the office, he just made her uncomfortable.
Sometimes even inside of the office, but she’d always brushed that off as her own issues.
She didn’t understand why Lissa seemed to think there was more to it than that. She didn’t want Mr. Colson’s attentions, didn’t know why everyone thought he was an attractive person. Mostly himself.
The only thing she wanted from him was a better paying position.
She shook off those thoughts and knocked briskly on the office door, hoping there’d be no answer and she could just leave the coffee on his desk since his assistant, her immediate supervisor, wasn’t at her desk yet. Unfortunately, Mr. Colson called out, “Come in.”
Bree pushed the door open and walked straight to the desk. Maybe he wouldn’t notice the stain if she didn’t bring any attention to it. “I have your coffee, Mr. Colson.”
He looked up at her. “I’ve told you to call me Leo. It looks like you wanted me to drink the coffee off you.”
Bree felt heat rush into her face, and she took a step back. “Just had an accident with it,” she said. “I better get back to my desk now. Mr. Colson.”
“Have a seat, Bree. I planned to speak to you today anyway.”
Her breath caught for a moment. Maybe this was it. She’d get that promotion after all. She sat in the chair in front of his desk. But, he didn’t sit back in his chair. Instead he came around and leaned back against the desk. Way too far into her personal space. But, she didn’t have any room to move back.
A smile snaked across his face, and it sent something slithering through her stomach. But, she forced a smile on her own face. “What did you want, Mr. Colson?”
“I’ve heard you’re interested in being promoted to my chief assistant. Since Anita is planning to leave us at the end of the month.”
“Yes,” she said. She practically already did Anita’s job, but didn’t make nearly the amount of money. “Good.” He leaned forward and put a hand on her knee. “I’m glad that wasn’t just a rumor.”
He was way too close now. Bree stood quickly, moving around to the corner of his desk. “What’s the matter, Bree?” he asked. “If you’re going to be my assistant, you have to be used to me standing close.”
“No,” she said firmly. “That’s not what you’re doing. What do you really want?”
“You know what I want, Bree. You’ve always known. You’ve flaunted it.”
That was certainly not true. She’d never done anything of the kind. But some men saw exactly what they wanted. He started to round the desk after her, but she moved farther back. “This isn’t what I want,” she said.
“Then, I suppose you don’t actually want the promotion.”
“Not at this cost,” she said. But, he kept advancing on her. Her throat dry, hands shaking, she grabbed for something that might keep him back. He grabbed for her as she closed her hand over the stapler. When she wielded it at him, he laughed. She took several quick steps back, though. But, he was still between her and the door.
“Let me out of here,” she demanded.
“Not until you admit you do want this. My sister has let you stay in our apartment. I gave you a job here. You owe us.”
“Not this. Get out of my way.”
He didn’t move back, though, instead coming toward her again. She threw the stapler, saw him duck, then she ran for the door. Forget about the damn promotion. She had more worth than to put up with this.
I wrote the story, Looking Up, last September which is the aftermath of this.