The office was finally silent after the files I searched for came to a dead end I heard one last person in the office.
“Yes, baby. I know.” I heard him speaking but had no clue who he was speaking with. I lightly knocked on James’s door and he opened the door. His office had a screen hanging down in which he was on FaceTime with someone with an auxiliary cord connecting them. The person must’ve been someone who had a spot in his lineup. There was no way that this fine ass successful man had only one woman and I was always okay with taken on a situation. I wanted to be the woman that rid him of the others; this job interview was definitely not a coincidence. I had been slowly but surely grabbing the attention of James at the gym when his friends and he would play basketball. I use to work at LA Fitness and we were had become friends and with much planning, I waited until he had an opening in the company. We had exchanged numbers, but never once did he take our friendship into a sexual one which made me admire him more. When he found out about his wife I knew that there were some changes that would be made and I begin from there plotting.
“Hey, are you talking on the phone Jay?” I walked into the office.
“Yeah, I was. What’s up Charlotte?” He spoke and sat back in his seat.
“Nothing, I knew I heard you so I thought we’d catch up. We haven’t talked since I started working here.” I sat in the chair across from him.
“I know. I’ve been busy and I haven’t wanted to mix business with a friendship so I stay away to keep the gossip down. You know an office filled with college students and a beautiful woman walks in and I’m newly divorced… Yeah, I was trying to be a leader.” James responded.
“I understand. Well, how have you been? How is the newly divorced life?” I questioned.
“It’s going. How’s the dating life?” James asked.
“It’s going, but no one worth talking with for long periods of time. James, you know I’ve always had a thing for men with good sense of humor and a great smile.” I smiled.
“Yes, but there are men out there like that.” James responded.
“But I don’t want just anyone. I want someone that can really treat me how you treated Niecy,” I started expressing myself as we stared in each other’s eyes.
“What are you trying to say exactly?” James questioned me. Before I could answer, the name “Sugar” popped up and he asked me to allow him to take the call. There was no picture that popped up for the FaceTime request, but I knew whoever “Sugar” was I didn’t like her and I wanted her gone. Who was “Sugar” and how could I take her man?
Charlotte walked into the office with a very tight wrap dress that hugged her toned body perfectly. I had to admit that working out was doing her body good and if I were no good, I would have her on this desk giving her the dick. But Charlotte wasn’t the wifing type; she was the type to consistently fuck but never settle down. She gossiped a lot, been around the block a few times, was smart, but didn’t pursue anything until she was almost ass out in her current situation. She was pretty but not gorgeous, smart, but not brilliant, she was sexy in certain outfits, but not with her hair tied up and no makeup on. She was just ai’ght to tell the truth. I knew she wanted me, but I never wanted to even deal with the consequences of screwing her like that. She walked in to a conversation I was having with Tia; Tia asked to listen in and she’ll put FaceTime on mute. From the beginning, I knew Tia was accepting of Charlotte’s position, but I also knew that if Charlotte even attempted to act interested in me or come for Tia… much like Denise, Tia would eat her up and spit her out. I remained Switzerland, but I knew if it got deeper Tia would have me fire this chick. I kept trying to warn Charlotte by texting her to chill and by avoiding her but a nigga with good genes, money, and a divorce attracts all the hoodrats.
“What the fuck was that about James?” Tia asked me once Charlotte left. I removed her from the HDMI cable and pulled the phone to my face.
“I knew her prior to hiring her.” I admitted.
“When were you going to tell me?” Tia stated.
“I should’ve just opened my mouth,” I didn’t tell her because I didn’t want her to trip, but knowing who I was dating, I knew it was better to be straight forward then to bullshit. “Baby, I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to get any ideas about a relationship we’ve never had; Charlotte has been an associate for quite some time, but nothing more.”
“The issue is that I didn’t know you knew her not that you’ve fucked her. I am fairly confident in what I do for and to you. So I doubt a raggedy bitch can take my spot and if she can, you deserve her. I expect a better level of communication, however; seeing that you are currently feeding, fucking, and financing my life on top of the money I help bring into the company. I mean if I were immature as hell I would care about her looking at you, desiring you, and coming for me for absolutely, but instead I just want you to open your fucking mouth and keep 100.” I smiled at her and she rolled her eyes.
“Dutifully noted. Now what’s for dinner?” I responded.
“I have a date with Mr. Library and lots of coffee.” She responded.
“Again? You sure that’s all you’re doing?” I joked.
“I love you.” She hung up the FaceTime video.
“Charlotte, you gone yet?” I called out to the lobby. She was in front of the elevator about to board.
“No, what’s up Jay?” she called to me. I walked over to where she stood and looked down on her.
“While we’re in office, let’s refrain from too much personal conversation. I want to make sure people know you earned your job for your credentials not for being cool with me for all this time.” I started.
“I completely understand, but I want to do one thing I’ve waited to do.” Charlotte walked close to me and pressed her lips to mine. She didn’t say anything else as she entered the elevator. I stood there dumbfounded and lost for words.
“Baby, Charlotte just kissed me.” James spoke as soon as I answered the phone. I stopped writing my notes from the book I was studying for my paper. I put the pen down and sat up straight to give him whatever response would come to mind.
“Well, that was quick.” I wanted this bitches head. It was war. I didn’t know how I would wage it, but it would begin at any minute. I was on the verge of protecting my territory. James had always given me the things that I desired and also gave me a level of responsibility that pushed me to my highest career peak to date. Our nights on the town, moments of cultural discussion, art, sexual exploration, and arguments were well worth the love that had begun to bloom.
“Yo, I’m sorry. I’ll handle her.” James stated.
“James, I have to study. I’ll call you later.” I hung the phone up. I wasn’t even aware of what emotion I felt. I replaced the phone with the pen and started my homework up.
“Why are so independent? I mean if you hadn’t thought I was a good looking dude, you wouldn’t have even given me a chance.”
“The only example of strength that has ever influenced my life was my mother. My father wasn’t around and my mom took care of me. It was strong black women that raised me; they weren’t ghetto, bitter, or male bashers. They just taught me how to do my hair, how to dress myself, education is key, and to love when love comes.” Tia stated staring into his big brown eyes. They were cuddled on the couch with candles, wine, and conversation.
“There were no men who took care of you or influenced you in anyway?” James asked unnerved.
“Nope. My papa passed and no uncles. Mom didn’t bring men around, but I knew she always kept one. There used to be flower deliveries, jewelry, shoes, and other items that my mother would get, but we never talked about. I was younger I suppose, but when you see my mother you’ll know where I got it from.” Tia chuckled.
“What if I stay in your life and be all the things a man is supposed to be?” James grabbed Tia’s hand.
“Show me, don’t tell me.” Tia stated.
I fell into a daydream reminiscing on a conversation James and I had. That night we made a plan for each other and I didn’t plan to pull out due to one chick. He had put himself into my life and refused to back away. I didn’t want to lose him and for the first time in my life, I think I had truly fallen in love. It was scary and nothing like the movies. It was work, tears, uncertainty, bliss, laughter, orgasms, plans, and life with another human being that promised he chose me. I brushed the issues off my shoulder and started my work again. I wouldn’t fail a test for any chick not even one who kissed my man.
The next morning, I didn’t wake up to James. I woke up in the warmth of my apartment with all of my clothes on and I turned on my coffee pot. I showered and listened to Drake’s new mixtape. I ran my fingers over garments until I found one that would look killer to both Charlotte and James. There was a lesson to be learned. I pulled out a very bright citrus yellow textured pencil skirt with black long sleeved crop top that exposed a strip of my caramel colored skin, black blazer with citrus yellow accents paired with a Vince Addison exposing my red painted toe nails. My face had minimal makeup with black eyeliner and a light pink. My small black clutch and I was out of the apartment and on the road. James continuously called my phone and text messaged me but I refused to answer. I could show him better than I could tell him. I pulled into the parking deck and saw this cute intern walking in and walked in with him to draw attention. I knew that I would grab the attention of the two that I hoped to grab and it was on. The cutie grabbed the files that I had and followed me to my office. As I walked in, James laid eyes on me without a smile. His face was serious and concerned about what I had going on and then without missing a beat, I walked passed him and walked pass Charlotte as well. She didn’t know that I knew but I certainly had nothing to say to her. I closed my office door and waited for my office phone to ring and like clockwork I answered.
“LaTia Driscoll speaking.” I answered jovially.
“Don’t play with me LaTia. Where the fuck have you been?”
“I told you last night while you were kissing old friends.” I snapped back.
“I told you I would fix it.”
“And I’m giving you time too.” I hung the phone up and begin my morning work. There was our normal staff meeting in which James, Charlotte, and I had to address our employees for the week’s goals. I sashayed to the conference where I sat across from Charlotte and beside James.
“Good morning guys. Last week was such a great week and Jalen designed a great building that is being considered to get him in as a full time designer for the company.” James started grabbing the room’s attention. “This is a great team and I love everyone’s work ethic. I need to go over the rules of the office since Charlotte is new to the company.” I was surprised with his statement. This wasn’t one of the guidelines I created for him to read for the meeting. Yes, I wrote his guidelines like Denise did.
“Everyone knows that I do not want co-workers dating or having public affection. It causes unnecessary drama and though I cannot control who you are up under after work, I can prevent drama in this office. If there are any couples here at the job, keep it to yourself, and do not mix business with pleasure here. I don’t mind anyone having a connection but don’t be kissing in the elevator or you know flaking on assignments to try and flirt with ‘bae’,” Everyone chuckled at his use of the word bae. He was cute when he was commanding respect. “I know y’all think I’m old, but I have a bae of my own and she doesn’t think I’m old.” We all cracked up laughing but I kept my eyes on Charlotte.
“Mr. Davenport, really?” Sarah jumped in.
“Yes, so make sure that you and your bae keep everything under wraps.” He winked at Sarah and glimpsed over to her boyfriend. James knew everything and he didn’t mind. He wanted to let it be known that he was in fact in charge, knew everything, and what he wouldn’t tolerate the unnecessary issues Charlotte was bringing.
“We’ll let LaTia Driscoll take the floor.” I stood. I looked directly down the table to look at all the associates and begin.
“We are a company that is sought after for our designs and therefore Mr. Davenport employs and relies on our interns to assist with designers. These interns are to learn, file papers, run errands, design when appointed, and stick with assigned designers and other employees.” I started sternly. I wasn’t in a good sweet Tia mood. “Interns, if you are assigned to one person report to that person and if Ms. Charlotte needs you report to her as well.” I started right for the jugular.
“Also, the personal files that each member works with and is for them needs to stay for them. I don’t think it’s ethical to snoop or go through other people’s files. That’s a quick way for termination; staff and intern. These things I’ve run by Mr. Davenport before mentioning it. HR isn’t in the business of hiring people who are conniving. Let’s make sure that personal files, relationships, and issues are just that for now on. I would like to congratulate Charlotte on her first two weeks here and with such a great job with her interns. We are really appreciative of your hard work you’ve put in. I wanted to make you fit right in so I got you something.” I walked out of the room and came back with a vase with red roses and a company mug. “We want to wish you a grand year here with us.” Charlotte was not only busted out for her snooping, her inappropriate actions, and shame, but had to stand and hug the bitch who humiliated her. Everyone in the conference room knew what she had been doing and had been whispering about it and so the room had so much tension in it; James could’ve cut it with a knife. As we embraced, I rubbed her back and we resumed our meeting.
“Let’s continue on with our day filled with positive feelings, emotions, and affirmations. We are here for greatness.” Charlotte was offered the floor and conveniently didn’t have anything to say after me.
I walked into James’s office, closed the door behind me, locked it, and walked to him. I pressed my lips onto his and looked him in his eyes.
“Do not make me leave you ever again.” I stated.
“I do not ever plan on it. I love you.”
“You better.” The rest of the afternoon, I was plotting another way to humiliate that bitch.
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