Slipperless #2By: Sloan Storm
Following my lead, the team clapped in appreciation for several seconds until she returned to her seat. Once she did, I assumed control of the room once more and wasted no time in making my desires plain to all of them.
“We’ve experienced some setbacks in the lab recently.” I said, before pausing for a moment or two. Gliding my palms back and forth together in front of me at chest height, I continued, “Now is the time we need to pull together as a team. I expect that if there are any issues with Fiona’s leadership, you’ll take your concerns directly to her. In any case, Fiona, congratulations again. All right then, back to work folks.”
As the group started to disburse, Fiona approached me.
“Fiona… What did I tell you about saying that?”
She nodded and thinned her lips in a show of resolve. “You’re right. Um, it’s just that, well, I’m not comfortable… you know, speaking in public.”
“No really?” I replied with a wink. “I hadn’t noticed.”
Just then the hint of a smile traced her lips.
“This is a good thing, Fiona,” I began, as I studied her worried expression. “It’s just going to take some getting used to is all.”
My grandmother hadn’t been feeling well. She’d slept most of the weekend so I hadn’t told her about the promotion just yet. In the wake of Gabe’s announcement, Amanda and Melissa continued their icy behavior towards me. I couldn’t say I was surprised, but to say the least, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the days and weeks ahead.
This was one of those times when I could have used someone to talk to about what I was going through. I suppose I could have called Ellie and told her about it, but she would have been so excited I’d slept with Gabe, I’d never get her to spend a single second listening to my work concerns. As the reality of my new role sunk in, it looked as if there was every chance I’d get the exact opposite of what I’d hoped for.
In other words, I’d been so blinded by my desire to win that I hadn’t considered what might happen if I actually did. Yes, I got the promotion and no, at least I don’t think it had anything to do with sleeping with Gabe. Even so, I couldn’t help but wonder. Had the fact I’d given in to his advances changed his mind? Would he have fired me on Friday if I hadn’t?
The notion gnawed at me over the weekend and sent a cascade of worries across my consciousness.
What if he got tired of me? After all, there was no end to the number of options available to a man like him. What would make me different from any other notch on his bedpost? Or what if the stress of it all wore me down to the point where I stopped sleeping with him on my own? Would he allow me to keep the position without giving in to his appetite?
If any of those scenarios came to pass I would lose my promotion, at best. I did foresee one additional situation that could force me to quit on my own. If I wasn’t so desperate for work, that is. If Gabe’s displeasure grew enough, he might demote me, which would leave me reporting to either Amanda or Melissa. And given the way they’d treated me leading up to Gabe’s announcement, I didn’t see any way I could make that situation work.
I’d almost rather be fired.
Needless to say, the positive emotions I should have experienced, I didn’t. In any case, I got ready for work that morning. And prior to leaving, I woke my grandmother to feed her and make sure she took her medication.
Carrying a plate with two pieces of toast and butter, I entered her bedroom just as the first flickers of sunlight streaked through the mostly drawn curtains. A few random specks of dust floated in the air and flickered in the yellowish-white glow. I made my way over to her, and after I roused her with a gentle touch and a kiss, her eyes fluttered open.
“Good morning, Grandmother.”
She exhaled a jagged breath as she stirred to awareness but didn’t speak. As she awoke, I gathered up her medication and placed the plate of toast in her lap.
“It’s time to eat and take your meds. How are you feeling?”
“Oh, a bit better,” she grumbled as she struggled to sit upright. I reached down to help her, fluffing her pillows behind her back. “I know I haven’t been good company the past few days my dear. I’m sorry about that.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I said, as I smoothed a strand of hair away from her eyes. “You need your rest.”
As I spoke, she leaned back into her pillows and looked up at me, still only half-awake. “Let’s not talk about me, Fiona. It’s a rather dull subject. Tell me what’s happening at your job. What have I missed the past few days?”