In Love With My Boss

By: Audrey Tolhouse

Jennifer looked at her watch. 7:07. James was beyond officially late. More heat rushed Jennifer’s face. She slipped a hand into her Givenchy clutch bag.

Her phone had a 7-inch screen as a necessary for reviewing documents, project evaluations, and proposals. She swiped at the large screen with the pad of her thumb. No message, no email—nothing. She bit her lip as her eyes darted quickly to Andrew.

“He should be,” she said with a smile. They couldn’t order the food until Melone arrived. Jennifer eyed the folder to her left. She could always waste a few more minutes until he appeared.

Grabbing the folder, Jennifer placed it into her lap. She flipped through Andrew’s resume and portfolio composite, whistling and exaggerating her expressions. Andrew chuckled at the show.

She had done her homework like a good girl and had read the information twice, and conducted a thorough search of his work on the internet. As far as his credentials were concerned, he was a prime candidate for sure. She had no idea what James had in mind as far as a buy-in into the company though; he hadn’t shared that with her.

“You’re resume and experience is beyond outstanding,” Jennifer began, closing the folder. She didn’t even think she actually read anything that time, but she was sure it must have filled at least another minute. She leaned forward and balanced the folder on the edge of the table.

“I can see why James is interested in you as a partner.”

James smirked. “Is that what he told you?”

Jennifer paused. She felt like she must have missed something. James thought it was incredibly funny. She couldn’t tell if he was smiling at her or the situation. The confusion gave way to anger. She bit her lip and decided to continue.

“You have extensive experience helping small businesses achieve incredible revenue streams.” She uncrossed her legs, her eyes steady with James. “What’s your interest with us?”

Andrew opened his mouth to speak, but Jennifer quickly raised a finger to cut him off. She reached into her clutch bag to grasp at her buzzing phone. With a quick flick of her thumb, she answered and shot her eyes towards Andrew. “Please excuse me, Mr. Wiles,” she stood from the table and retreated towards the doors leading to the inside dining tables. Raising the phone to her ear, her voice because a hard, rumbled growl. “Where the hell are you?”

There was silence on the other end for a moment before an answer came to her. “Katie and I are through. She’s been cheating on me.”

Chapter Three

Change of Plans

THE FACT THAT the news didn’t upset Jennifer should have bothered her a bit; albeit that bit was buried beneath a rush of feelings and fantasies at the potential future. For a moment, all Jennifer could do was stare into the distance at the news with a smile creeping onto her face. James’s voice brought her back to reality.

“Is Andrew there?”

Jennifer flipped back into business mode. “Yes. When will you arrive?”

“I’m not going to.”

Her stomach dropped within her. She clutched her gut and put her back to the tables enjoying the Chicago night.

“You have to,” was all she could manage in a strained gasp.

“No. I’m leaving. I’m taking a trip to Jersey.”

Jennifer squeezed her eyes shut, knowing the room would start to spin if she didn’t. She felt for the open doors between the outside deck and the soft ambiance of the indoor glow.

She needed something to keep her steady. Her mind raced with possibilities and settled on nothing. They had a flight to Denver on Thursday and the Benefit tomorrow night. His presence was desperately needed, and more than anything, she knew he was hurting. She couldn’t console him if he were in Jersey, running away. Not to mention that Jersey could only mean one thing: Melony Richards.

Forcing her breath to calm, Jennifer felt her insides moving to tranquility. She brought her voice back to an even level ad began to speak calmly.

“James, just breathe.” He tried to interrupt, but she continued to talk to him, “You can’t make decisions while you feel this way.” She exhaled, happy that she had been able to calm herself down. After silence, James spoke.

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