Rated R, NSFW
Read previous chapters or from the start here: Blythe and Mac’s story
Talking it out
“Well…” My mom began. “He sounds incredibly selfish if you ask me. Come on.” She pulled me up from the sofa and toward the kitchen where the smell of my dads cooking intensified. He kissed the top of my head as I sat and resumed chopping.
“I know right? Normally I’d just tell him off and make him leave me alone, but I can’t.”
“Because you don’t want him to say something to your boss and get you fired.”
“Don’t hmmm me mom.”
“Do you want my advice?”
“Duh.” I tried not to laugh. Duh is her pressure word. The one that pushed her button instantly.
“Blythe Coranne Parks don’t you use that word on me. Go to work tomorrow and fess up. Tell your boss what’s happened. You’ve done nothing wrong. In fact you’ve followed his archaic rules to the letter.”
“What if he fires me?”
My dad turned around at that. He was a smart man and had heard the majority of my woes when he came in to check on us. “If a man or woman is going to fire you for standing your ground and following the rules, then make sure they understand the hypocrisy of their judgement. Your mother’s right Bly, you go in and settle your fears one way or another.”
They were right. One way or another I needed to stop this insanity. I was too afraid and that was the problem. I’m not a fearful person in general. I nodded my head feeling better. I would be a bundle of nerves tomorrow but right now, I knew it was the right decision. Seagate needed to know the truth and if Seagate didn’t have my back maybe he was the wrong person to be working for.
I was fully re-energized and feeling human again by the time I left my parents’ house. I had a plan and my head was clear. I was seeing the problem from a more detached perspective and that is why I adored my level-headed parents.
For the first time in weeks, I fell asleep and didn’t dream.
My morning jog was exceptional. I got up twenty minutes earlier and pushed myself further and faster. I had to prepare and get my mind in the game. I was getting a little concerned with how aroused I got these days. I know it’s a symptom of my dry spell and my new obsession with Mac. However it started just before I met him.
Now I was dressed to impress and I was done worrying about being fired. I deserved respect and I’ve done everything right. Mr. Seagate agreed to meet with me at ten, which meant an entire hour to second-guess myself… or if I thought positively an hour to get my ducks in a row. I paced my office until eight fifty-eight and went down the hall to his lavish office. I knocked and entered when told to.
“Come, sit Miss Parks.” He grinned and I did as told. “To what do I owe this pleasure?”
Cheesy and nice. Something’s up.
“I need to tell you something.” Suddenly Tom’s voice popped into my head. “But, ah before I do May I ask you a question?”
“Certainly.” He nodded.
“Did you give me the promotion because of Mr. Waterstone?”
Seagate chuckled and shook his head. “No. I can understand why it would seem so and I am aware of the rumors flitting about the office.”
Rumors? That was news to me. Okay…
“But no Miss Parks the timing of the two incidences were purely coincidental.” He leaned toward his keyboard and started typing away. “Here.” He turned his razor-thin monitor to face me. I read the notes. Dated back as far as four months ago. All of it was reasons to promote me. Accomplishments, initiatives I took, praise from fellow staff.
“Yes, Oh.” He righted the monitor. “I had decided a week prior to promoting you. Believe me or not Mr. Waterstone was a test of sorts. Not whether or not you impressed him, but how you handled the outcome. He is unpredictable at best. Win or fail you were still being promoted.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Nobody is perfect Miss Parks. Nobody. You never seem to give up or give in. Of all my staff you have a… unique quality of ethics.”
He had no idea just how ethical. “That is the perfect segue into my original reason for my visit. I have a small problem with my client. Nothing bad but I wanted you to know. Just in case I… ah… anger him.”
“Why would you anger him?”
“I keep refusing to go on a date with him. I rebuff his advances constantly and he keeps kissing me without my permission.” Well that was straight to the point. Good for me.
Seagate smiled then started laughing. “He is not a man accustomed to being told no.”
“No kidding.” I relaxed just a little.
“Do you know why I have rules about sleeping with clients?”
“Yes sir I do.” Jill was a clear example. She used her looks to dupe clients into unnecessary add-ons. Or slept with them to keep their loyalty. It hasn’t blown up in her face yet, but it was bound to.
“Clearly. I’m glad you came to me to explain, so in the event he does come to me with some slight on your character, I am prepared.”
I nodded my head. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I should since Seagate isn’t a monster he just resembles one.
“Look Miss Parks I can’t actually stop people from fraternizing or sleeping together that is never going to happen. However, if I impose rules then I have something to stand on if the proverbial shit hits the fans. ”
“That makes sense. I feel so silly letting my fears run my sensibility.”
“We all do from time to time.” He smiled sweetly, almost fatherly at me. “I ask my staff not to get involved with clients because when it goes wrong, and it always does, it gets messy. Really messy. I usually end up losing a good designer all because they made a bad decision. Because they cost the company an account or lost their dignity. That said, I would rather lose a client than have an employee feel as if they must please a client beyond the job description merely to keep them happy. I will be on your side so long as you are on mine.”
I took a deep breath. I knew that deep down, but it was so comforting to hear it. I wasn’t dammed if I did and wasn’t dammed if I did not. If I slept with Mac and it turned sour and compromised the account I would likely be fired. However, if I didn’t, and he got mad because I said no, that was on the client not me. Adulting is complicated business.
“Thank you Mr. Seagate.”
“Is there anything else you need to discuss?”
“No sir, thank you again. Please don’t think poorly of me, but I needed to hear you say it.”
“I understand. You’ve been under a lot of strain of late and still settling into your new role. You are doing just fine. Go. I sent you a new client request to look over since your time with Mr. Waterstone is nearly at an end.”
I stood and went to the door. As my hand touched the handle, he spoke.
“Oh if when the job is done and you do decide to see Mr. Waterstone, let me know so you are not assigned to any of his or his relation’s accounts.”
“Yes sir of course.” It couldn’t be that simple, could it? I left pondering all that Seagate said. He didn’t seem to have a problem with me dating Mac, just not while working with him. And if I did then I’d be off any projects he or any affiliates brought in. “Huh.” I needed to talk to Lawrence about this and get his input. It was a moot point anyway since I had no intention of dating Mac at all. Tom was clear that Mack and Lila were a forever kind of couple. I just wanted Seagate to know in case Mac did throw an adult sized temper-tantrum and try to get me fired. At least now, I could relax and not worry about offending Mac. I could be me again.
I called my mom on my hands free and updated her as I headed home. As I ended that call another came in I answered before finding out who it was.
“Hi Blythe don’t hang up. Please.”
I was tempted to just out of spite and might have if Mac didn’t sound upset. “I’m listening Mr. Waterstone go ahead.”
I heard him sigh in frustration. I know my refusing to call him Mac was aggravating. It really was petty since I made a point to use Tom’s given name regularly.
“Blythe can you go by the restaurant and see what Tom is freaking out over?”
To be continued…
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Next Chapter: #16 The Other woman