I was always told to watch my back when it came to internships or new jobs. Being the new company employee was the same as being the new kid in school. It’s hard to predict how you will be treated by your boss or your fellow employees. Nevertheless, I decided to start my new internship, hoping everything would be well.
I was hired as a video editor at a media house, but my shift was the evening shift. That first day, I woke up with enthusiasm to start the day. I left the house to get my hair and nails done in the morning and return home in the afternoon. By 3 pm, I was ready, and I left for work.
When I arrived at the building, the watchman was friendly, giving me a little hope. I walked to the elevator and ended up walking in with a young woman my age.
“BrightHouse media?” She asked, smiling.
“Yes,” I replied as I smiled back.
She nodded and looked at the messages on her phone as the lift went up. When we reached the 5th floor, we both walked out, and I realized we were heading to the same place.
“Do you work at BrightHouse?” I asked her.
“Yes, I do; I’m still on probation, though,” She replied politely.
We got to the office, and I was very excited about the interior design. It was an open office space where people could easily communicate. The décor was simple yet elegant. There was a kitchen that was clean and fully equipped. I marvelled that I didn’t hear the lady talking to me.
“Hey, are you with me?” She said, snapping her fingers in Infront of my face.
“Yes, sorry, what did you say?” I asked as I snapped back into reality.
“Which department are you joining?” She asked with enthusiasm.
“Editing,” I said.
“Hey, guys! We have a newbie!” She yelled, causing people to turn and face us.
“Hey guys,” I said with a low voice, trying to maintain the anxiety I was feeling.
“Your name?” She asked.
“Ohh, I’m Veronica; you can call me Viv, though,” I said, trying to sound cool.
“What a coincidence; my name is also Veronica, but everyone here already calls me Viv; we will stick to Veronica for you.” She said.
The way she spoke, you would think she was the boss. How could someone at the same level as me in a company be so confident? Anyway, it was my first day, so I went with the flow. The goal was to build a good reputation for myself.
“Okay,” I replied with a smile.
“I work in the production department, but sometimes I do edit as well,” She said.
She showed me around for about two hours. When we got to our final stop, my boss’s office, I knew this would be a good place for me. Everyone was so lovely I couldn’t believe I was led to believe that coworkers could be mean.
When we got to the boss’s office, I was more anxious than before we started the tour. I was going to meet the person who would help me advance my career. Unfortunately, he had left during my main tour.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll meet Nick soon,” she said as she walked me back to my department.
For the next few days, I learned how to do my job. I also interacted with a few people at the office. We shared some jokes; had some exciting conversations; everything was good. I looked forward to each day.
At the end of my first month, I received a text about a monthly meeting I was supposed to attend. It seemed odd that people who do the night shift had to attend a mid-day meeting. Nevertheless, I left early the following day to catch a few hours of sleep and returned to the office by 11 am.
I had started a routine whereby I would have a small conversation with the watchman before entering the building. So I walked up to him, talked for a short period, and then walked to the elevator. As I waited for the lift, I noticed somebody behind me.
His fragrance was all I could smell. It was intense but not too strong. I had always had a thing for guys who smell good. The problem was I couldn’t turn to look at this mysterious stranger. It would make me seem weird.
The elevator doors opened, and I walked in. When I turned, I got a good look at him. He was about 5’8, although he seemed taller. His hair was curly, but it was combed neatly. He wore a t-shirt written BrightHouse along with jeans and sneakers. I also noticed that his nails were nicely cut and clean.
He walked into the elevator and pressed the 5th-floor button. I was hesitant to speak to him since I was horrible at small talk. When we got to the 3rd floor, the elevator stopped unexpectedly. This had never happened to me before, so I started to panic.
“Hey, are you okay?” the man asked in a concerned tone.
I thought it was a rhetorical question because clearly, I wasn’t okay. I was shaking, and I was short of breath.
“Oh my God, you’re experiencing a panic attack,” he said.
I managed to nod as I held my chest. He put his phone in his pocket and held my hand.
“Try to take deep breaths slowly,” he said calmly.
I started breathing in and out slowly. This continued for a few minutes until I started to calm down, but he insisted we keep doing it until I felt completely okay, which I did after a while.
“Thank you for helping me through this,” I said as I jumped to hug him.
“I’m glad you’re okay,” he said, smiling as he hugged me back.
At that moment, I realized how unprofessional I was. I had never seen this man in the office, and he could be my superior. I was just so overwhelmed with emotions because I could have as quickly died.
The elevator started moving, and we finally got to our floor. I pulled away from him and walked out silently. When we got to the office entrance, everyone was staring at us.
“Good afternoon, team. Is everyone ready for the meeting?” He asked.
“Yes, sir, we were waiting for you so we could all gather in the conference room,” Viv said.
“You must be the new intern, Veronica,” he said as he turned to face me.
“Yes,” I replied quickly, still trying to wrap my head around what had happened.
“Welcome to BrightHouse; my name is Nicholas,” he said as he extended his hand to me.
I shook his hand and gave him a small smile. As we headed to the conference room, I was deep in thought. I started to wonder what he thought of me. This was my first time meeting him, and I was already so unprofessional.
The meeting went on for two hours, and later, we dispatched. Nick walked into his office, and I decided to head to my department. At around 4 pm, he called me into his office. I was nervous, but I tried to convince myself it was just a moment of weakness.
“Veronica, have a seat,” he said as I walked in.
“I’m so sorry for what happened in the morning, sir,” I said as I sat down.
“It’s okay; you were not feeling well,” he said.
I was so relieved that we could get past what happened. The rest of our conversation ran smoothly as he got to know me. He intended to make me feel as comfortable as I could be. He released me a few minutes before my shift.
When I walked out of his office, I saw Viv walk in. She didn’t say a word to me or even smile at me. I didn’t think much about it because I didn’t know her very well, and maybe it was her way of being professional.
I finished my shift, and in the morning, I left earlier than usual, so I could get home and sleep well. When I got to the gate, the watchman stopped me. It seemed odd because we would always have our conversation when I got to work.
” How are you today Madame?” He asked smiling
“I’m okay, just a little tired,” I replied.
“Ohh, let me let you leave then, but before you do could I have your number?” he asked.
I was a bit sceptical about giving my number because of what I had experienced in the past. You give out your number or pay for a service, and then by the end of the day, someone texts you asking you out. He also had a wedding ring on, so what else would he want with a 20-year-old?
“I don’t think that would be professional,” I said politely.
He didn’t respond or look at me. I also didn’t have the time to explain, so I just left. Later that day, I got to work as normal. The watchman was still mad at me, so we didn’t have our usual chit-chat. I felt terrible, but I didn’t want to put myself through a compromising situation.
I walked past him and headed for the elevator. As I waited for it to come down, I saw Viv getting out of a rather expensive V8. She locked the car and walked towards me, holding on to a bag and a scarf.
“Hi Veronica,” she said, smiling.
“Hey, Viv,” I replied.
“Looking forward to the weekend?” She asked.
“Yes, but I’m mostly going to be in the house,” I replied.
The elevator doors opened, and we both entered. As it went up, I decided to check my phone since messages were popping up. Work needed to be finished that day, so people had to work late.
We got to the 5th floor, and Viv and I parted ways at the office entrance. I went to my department and decided to start my work even though my shift hadn’t started. A while later, a woman walked into the office as I headed to the kitchen to warm my food.
She was beyond gorgeous, and she looked a bit older than most of us.
“Nick!” she yelled from the entrance causing everyone to turn.
Nicholas left his office to see who was yelling his name. When they faced each other, I could sense some tension. I decided to grab my food and head back to my department, but the lady stopped me.
“Everyone gather here! Today Nick, you must tell me who she is!” She yelled again
Since I didn’t want any trouble, I returned to where I was standing in the kitchen.
“Who is this Veronica girl you have been seeing behind my back?” She asked.
Nick remained silent. I didn’t know if he was in shock or didn’t want to look weak answering this woman. I was also surprised that Nick and Veronica were sleeping together.
“It’s her,” Viv said, pointing at me.
“Wait, what?” I asked in a confused tone.
Nick glanced at me, then back at the lady. He didn’t say anything to Viv.
“I have never romantically been with Nick,” I said, looking at the lady.
“That’s not what the evidence suggests,” Viv said.
Evidence? She was planning to frame me for this affair she’s been having.
“You’re also called Veronica, so how can I be accused of this?” I asked her.
Viv pulled out a Flash disk and plugged it into one of the computers in the office. She opened a folder named evidence and played one of the videos. It was CCTV footage of the day I was in the elevator with Nick. Viv had managed to edit the footage so that the only footage that could be seen was when I hugged Nick.
“Are you going to deny that this was you?” She said as she pointed at the screen.
“No, but where is the rest of the footage?” I asked surprisingly.
“It’s a Yes or No question,” she replied.
I couldn’t believe this was the same Veronica I had been talking to a while ago.
“I had a panic attack, and Nick helped me; that’s all it was,” I said.
“So why did you need to hug your boss if that was the case?” the lady asked.
I remained silent because I couldn’t justify why I did so.
Veronica then clicked on another video. This was the same day, but the time I was talking to Nick in the office. We were only talking and laughing that day, so I didn’t understand how this was evidence of an affair.
“He called me into his office to try and get to know me,” I said
“So, you hugged a man you barely knew, and later you just went to his office to talk?” Viv asked.
“Yes, exactly; besides, you also went into that office that night,” I said as I remembered passing Viv that day.
We watched the whole video, and she was not seen entering or leaving the office that evening.
“Veronica edited these videos! I didn’t do anything wrong!” I said, looking at everyone who had already started judging me with their looks.
“I saw a scarf in your car this morning, and it wasn’t mine,” the lady said to Nick.
“It belongs to Veronica,” Viv said quickly.
I was so confused, but I tried to recollect my thoughts. The scarf in question was probably the one Veronica had when she left the car. The car that I now knew belonged to Nick.
“You had that scarf before we entered the elevator,” I said to Viv.
She opened her bag and removed every single item inside. There was no scarf. I froze because I knew this meant she had somehow put the scarf in my bag.
“Veronica, I know you somehow managed to put the scarf in my bag!” I yelled at her.
“Enough!” the lady said.
“Nick, you know the truth. Why aren’t you saying anything?” I said as I turned to face him.
“Don’t act innocent now,” Viv said.
“These are all allegations; Viv is trying to frame me,” I said.
“I have a witness who can prove what I’m saying,” she said
I was just in shock. Who could this witness be, honestly?
Viv made a phone call, and in a few minutes, the watchman walked in. He told everyone that I was the one that left Nick’s car earlier and that Viv was the one who was telling the truth. I was just speechless at that moment. He lied because I refused to give him my number?
In a split second, I felt a slap across my face.
“You think you can sleep your way to the top? With my husband?” She said as she started kicking and slapping me. I was on the floor curled into a ball, trying to prevent her from hitting my face.
The next thing I knew, I was in a hospital bed with bruises. I couldn’t believe what had transpired. I struggled to wake up, but my whole body was in pain. A nurse walked in and informed me that I was lucky I had no broken bones.
I asked her to hand me my phone so that I could call my parents. A message popped on my screen as I dialled my mum’s number. It was an image sent to me by one of my colleagues. I was on the newspaper as a home wrecker, and the image used was of me being beaten by Nick’s wife.
Tears just started rolling down my face. My life was shattered by a lie and the fact that I shared a name with someone else. A few days later, I was discharged, and my parents came to pick me up. We didn’t talk much since their main concern was the bill. When they went to the cashier, they were informed that Nick had already covered the bill in full. He was also the one who brought me to the hospital that day. This didn’t make me feel better since all this was his fault.
My parents took me home to gather my things. They thought it would be best if I laid low in our upcountry until things died down. I never returned to BrightHouse, although Nick sent me money for the month I worked there. He also contacted me many times, but I never picked up. I later read that Nick and his wife separated after she found out Viv was the one to blame for the affair. This incident made me realize that everything I was told about internships and jobs was true. I just wished I had watched my back. Maybe I would have avoided this character development.
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