I just got off the phone. I sat there staring at it for several minutes. I had just made a dinner reservation for two on New Year’s Eve. Who was he taking this year, I wondered. Was it Gabriela, the Italian supermodel, or Rosaline, the district attorney or Madeline, the CEO of GENTEC? What did I expect? That this year would be different? Did I seriously think that I would be the one he would take to dinner on New Year’s Eve? I shook my head at my foolish notions and got up from my desk. I picked up the folders with the typed letters and forms he asked for.
I walked slowly, head down to his office. Although the door was slightly ajar, I still knocked and when I got permission to enter, I pushed it open and went in. He was sitting at the end of his desk. I walked straight over to him, head held high, the folders clutched tightly in front of me. “I called the restaurant and made the reservations,” I informed him in a brisk, professional manner.
“Thank you, Tia.”
I inclined my head, reached around and placed the folders on top of his desk. “Do you need anything else?” I asked when I was standing in front of him.
“Not right now.”
“Fine. I’m taking my lunch break now.”
His eyebrows arched and he straightened away from the desk, towering over me which was very unnerving to say the least. “What’s the matter, Tia?” he asked, staring at me which made me uneasy, of course. Did he have any idea of how crazy I am about him? Would he care if he did? I sincerely doubt it because I’m not his type. He’s used to being with beautiful and glamorous women. I’m just his run in the mill secretary of five years.
“Nothing’s the matter,” I lied. “I’ll be back in about an hour.”
He looked unconvinced. “Something’s wrong,” he insisted. “And I’d like to know what it is.”
“I’m meeting a friend for lunch. I don’t want to be late.” The lies were coming a little too easy now. I needed to get out of there in a hurry. I was about to turn and scurry away when he caught me by the arm. The grip tightened when I tried to free myself. My eyes were wary when I met his. “Please, I have to go.”
“Not until you tell me what’s wrong.”
“There’s nothing to tell,” I informed him tightly.
“You were in fine spirits this morning. What happened between then and now?”
He released my arm then and lifted his up as if he were surrendering. “All right, all right, no need to bite my head off. Go and have lunch with your friend.”
“Thank you!” I turned and hurried out of his office. I pulled the door closed behind me and hurried over to my desk. I grabbed my handbag and left. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and cool my head. Emotions were churning inside me. I was furious with him for making me lie and for making me jealous. When he was holding my arm, my heart was pounding like crazy and my stomach was flip-flopping. I was afraid that my feelings would give me away. The last thing I want him to know is that I’m in love with him. If for some reason he were to ever find that out, I would resign immediately. I couldn’t stand to be around him and have him feel sorry for me because he didn’t feel the same way about me.
I went to a nearby cafe and had lunch. I didn’t have much of an appetite, though. My mind was on Thorne. No one knew how I felt about him except my best friend, Sheryl. She encouraged me to tell him but I flatly refused. I didn’t want to make a complete fool of myself. She met him when I invited her to an office barbecue on summer and she had the crazy notion that he was attracted to me. I didn’t believe her. And the fact that he was there with a stunning brunette convinced me that I was right.
I wished that I could go straight home after leaving the cafe but, of course, I couldn’t. I had a job to do. The time seem to go very quickly and I was soon on my way back to the office. As soon as I got back to my desk, my extension rang. It was Thorne. “Good, you’re back. I need to see you.”
“I’ll be right in,” I replied. I sighed heavily after I hung up. I really didn’t want to face him right now. I was thankful that I had freshened up before coming to my desk. I got up and went to his office. The door was open this time.
He was standing beside the window. “Close the door,” he said.
I did and then I walked over to him. We stood facing each other and not saying a word for several minutes. “You said you needed to see me,” I reminded him.
“Did you get to your lunch on time?”
“Did you enjoy it?”
“Yes.” Why all the questions? Is that why he called me in here?
“Whom did you have lunch with?”
Oh oh. “Does it matter?” I asked, stalling. I really didn’t want to lie anymore but if he pressed me, I would have to come up with a name. I had a few male friends. I could easily get one of them to pretend to be my boyfriend if I needed to. At the back of my mind, I was thinking that I needed to ask God to forgive me for my dishonesty.
“Yes, it does.”
“Please just answer my question, Tia. Was it a man you had lunch with?”
“What if it were?” I asked and I saw his expression darken. He looked upset but why would he be?
“Are you dating again?”
“Is this why you asked me to come and see you?”
“I haven’t dated anyone since I broke up with Leon.” That was the truth. I broke up with Leon shortly after I started working for Thorne.
“So, you’re not dating the guy you had lunch with?”
“I didn’t have lunch with anyone, Thorne. I went to the cafe at the corner of the street and ate alone.”
“Why did you have me believe that you were meeting someone?” he demanded.
“I–I don’t know,” I replied, getting flustered now. “I was about to have my lunch break and you detained me, remember, so I had to come up with some excuse to leave.”
“And the best you came up with was that you were meeting someone for lunch?”
“Yes. I hate lying but you didn’t give me any choice.” That, of course, wasn’t true. There’s always a choice. As a self-professed Christian, I should not have resorted to lying just to get out of a sticky situation.
“All right. So, you lied about meeting someone for lunch. What about telling me now why you were acting so strangely?”
“If you must know, I was upset about having to book a dinner reservation for you another year. I’ve been doing it for five years now and I’m sick of it. The next time you want to make romantic plans, make them yourself. Leave me out of it. Now, unless you have something work related for me to do, I’m going back to my desk.”
“Not so fast,” he said, catching me by arm again. “So, you’re saying that the reason you were upset is that you had to make a dinner reservation for me.”
“Whom did you think the reservations were for?”
“You and one of the three women you’ve been juggling this year–the supermodel, the district attorney and the CEO.”
His lips twitched. “I haven’t been juggling any of them. They are very good friends of mine.”
My chin lifted a fraction and my eyes flashed at him. “Is that what you call them now–good friends?”
“Yes, that’s all they are to me. And for your information, all three of them are happily in love with three great guys. I’ll be a guest to all three weddings.”
“So, if the reservations weren’t for you and one of them, then who are you taking to dinner?”
“I thought you would never ask. I’m taking you to dinner.”
I gawked at him. “Me?” I exclaimed. “You’re taking me to dinner?”
He nodded. “Yes. We can celebrate our five years together as well as ringing in the New Year.”
My heart sank. So, that was it. He was just taking his secretary out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. “Thank you. It’s nice that my boss wants to take me out for dinner.”
He grabbed me by the shoulders, startling me. “This isn’t a boss taking out his secretary to celebrate but a man taking out a woman whom he has been extremely attracted to for five years.”
I stared at him, stunned. “You’re attracted to me?” The whole idea seemed incredible but then I remembered that Sheryl had said he was. How on earth could she have guessed?
“Yes. I’ve wanted to take you out for a very long time but I wasn’t sure about how you would feel about dating me.”
“I never would have thought that you would be interested in me. I’m not your type.”
“And what is my type?”
“Beautiful brunettes like the supermodel, the district attorney and the CEO.”
“I admit I had a thing for brunettes until I met you. I have a weakness for you. When I thought that you were dating again, I was jealous.”
“And when I booked the reservation for two, I was jealous.”
His eyes twinkled. “So, that’s why you were acting so strange.” He released my shoulders and put his arms around my waist, pulling me against him. “You know you’re very sexy when you’re jealous…”
I smiled and wrapped my arms around his neck. “Flattery will get you nowhere, Mister…”
Nothing else was said as we stood there kissing. It felt surreal. I was kissing Thorne after five years of wanting to be more than his secretary. I couldn’t wait to tell Sheryl that she was right.
On New Year’s Eve, I was decked out in my new black cocktail dress and he was dressed in a black dinner suit which made him look elegant and sexy. Dinner was at a swanky French restaurant and then we went to the Barbican Hall where we danced the night away to the sounds of The Johann Strauss Orchestra as it performed the music of the Strauss. I had never been to a Viennese ball before. It was such a classy and romantic way to usher in 2020.
As soon as we finished yelling, “Happy New Year!” Thorne pulled me into his arms and kissed me. My head was spinning and I felt giddy but it wasn’t because of the champagne. I put my arms around his neck and clung to him as we exchanged passionate kisses. I’m not sure if people were staring at us. I didn’t care. I was deliriously happy. 2019 had ended with a very high note and now 2020 was here with a bang.
Source: London List