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From the moment I walk into Hayden Morrison’s office, I am terrified. The man looks downright grumpy. His handsome face seems to actually turn down at the corners.
His expression does not changed once during my presentation. I spend exactly twenty minutes presenting Claude’s ideas and my recommendations. This is the result of three weeks of work I’ve consolidated into one short presentation, because up until today Hayden has blown off all our scheduled meetings.
I am articulate, include pictures and diagrams, and speak in a clear and confident voice. It should be perfect, I’ve spent hours practicing in front of my mirror, my cat, and Claude.
When I am finished I sit back down, leaving the easel where it sits opposite his desk. Hayden stares me for an excruciating minute. Then, miraculously, his frown turns upside down.
“Yes. This looks great. And I’m going to take every one of your recommendations.”
I let out my breath and feel myself relax into the chair. “I am so glad to hear that.”
“I’m very impressed. You did amazing.”
“Well, since you’re happy.” I wring my hands in my lap. “There is something I need to tell you.”
Hayden had been in the process of turning back to his computer, but now he settles back in his chair and gives me his full attention once again. “Shoot.”
“I…um…this is so hard to say.”
Hayden leans forward, his elbows planted on his desk. “Is something wrong?”
“I’m afraid I did something wrong,” I say. He cocks his head but doesn’t speak. So I continue with my confession. “I’ve started seeing Claude…the interior designer.”
Hayden grins. “I see.”
I am utterly flummoxed by his expression. “Isn’t that a problem?”
He waves his hand. “Caught your boss’ bug I see,” he says in a bit of grumble. “It’s no big deal Janice.”
“No. The guy is already hired. So it’s not like he’ll get any benefit from dating a Morrison employee. And you still work together well, don’t you?”
“Yes. Absolutely.” Claude and I are amazing together, in about a thousand ways.
“Good. Then I can still have you work with him part-time.”
I go still. Something is wrong here. “What do you mean part-time?”
“Clarice is going start telework next week and I want you to team up with her on the Cimmeron project. Plus, Candace is coming back.” Mr. grumpy is also back with this statement.
“She is?” I ask, completely surprised.
“Yes,” he says flatly. “She’ll be heading up her own department and have a new job title, but she’s requested you to be her Assistant.”
I can see Hayden is no longer in the mood to talk, so I gather up my stuff and leave his office. As I wander down the hall a sense of dread envelopes me.