Work trips have never been my cup of tea. I would always travel to a beautiful place, but since my work is demanding, there was no time to explore. This time though, I was a little bit excited to travel. My workload was bearable, and after the trip, I would get to spend time with my boyfriend. He had planned a small staycation for us at the same hotel where I was to stay.
The only problem was I had to travel with a male colleague, and James was always so insecure when I was around any man. I knew that having this conversation with him would start an argument, but I had to. If he found out on his own, it would make matters worse.
“Why him?” He asked after I broke the news to him.
“My boss said that most female colleagues were being sent to other places,” I replied.
“So why couldn’t they send you to those other places?” He asked.
“This is my job, James; I can’t argue with my boss,” I replied.
“Did you at least try to ask if they can do an exchange?” He asked.
“No, I didn’t; it’s only three days, babe,” I replied.
“So, are you two going to be sharing a room as well?” He asked.
I didn’t respond to the question. James was acting like we were teenagers in high school.
“I’m going for the trip, this is my job, and I won’t jeopardize it because of your insecurities,” I said to him before heading to our room to pack.
James didn’t say a word to me for the rest of the night.
The following morning, I woke up early to prepare for my flight. I always had this habit of forgetting essential items, so I would counter-check before leaving. When I was done getting ready, I woke up James to take me to the airport.
“What time is it?” He asked, barely opening his eyes.
“It’s 6 am; we have to leave now so I can be there early,” I told him in a whisper.
“Take an Uber, or better yet, ask your colleague to take you. You’re going to the same place anyway,” He snapped.
I left the room and called an Uber. I can’t believe James was being so childish about this.
The Uber arrived in a few minutes, and I could get to the airport on time. My colleague Steve was already there waiting.
“Good morning, Tracy” he greeted me as I approached him.
“Good morning Steve,” I replied.
“Are you okay?” He asked.
I didn’t feel like sharing what had happened. Also, I didn’t know Steve well, and I was always afraid of office gossip.
“Yeah, I’m just tired,” I lied.
We sat in silence as we waited to board the plane. I wanted to send James a text ranting about what happened, but I realized it was not worth it. Plus, I didn’t entirely trust myself when upset or angry.
We boarded the plane at 8 am, and in two hours, we had reached our destination. I couldn’t wait to get to the hotel and relax for a while. The one thing I enjoyed about work trips was I got to spend a few days alone. Relationships are fulfilling, especially when you live together, but sometimes you need personal time.
Steve and I hired a cab to the hotel. When we arrived, I wasn’t in the mood for a briefing about the following day’s meeting. I told Steve we should relax for a while; then, we could discuss the meeting over dinner.
He agreed, and we took our keys and parted ways to look for our rooms. Immediately after I settled down, I saw a text from James.
“Hey babe, sorry about what happened earlier. Please call me when you settle down”.
I was still upset that he didn’t trust me, but he was still my boyfriend, so I called him.
“Hey,” He said as he picked up the call.
“Hey, I landed a while ago; I just got to the hotel,” I said.
“That’s good to hear,” He replied.
“I want to take a nap before I join Steve for dinner,” I said.
“Oh, okay, then we’ll talk later,” He said disappointedly.
“I’ll text or call,” I said as I hung up.
I took time to unpack my things and take a shower. For the rest of the afternoon, I decided to take a nap.
At 6 pm, I woke up feeling so relaxed and ready for dinner. Steve called me and told me he was heading to the dining area. I left the room then and there so I could find him before we served our food.
We had our dinner and discussed the details of the meeting we were supposed to attend the next day. At some point, I noticed that James had tried to call, but I wasn’t ready in the mood to call back.
“We should go to a club tomorrow evening,” Steve said after we finished our discussion.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I replied.
James was already upset that I was on this trip with another man. Going to a club with Steve would cause a massive strain on my relationship. I wasn’t afraid of James, but I sometimes understood where he was coming from. This was a risk I wasn’t ready to take.
“Are you sure?” He asked.
“Yes, I just want to come back to the hotel after the meeting and relax,” I replied.
“Okay then, we should get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a heavy day,” He said.
We made our way to our rooms. I was still thinking about the club idea. It was a bad idea, but work meetings were always so stressful. It wouldn’t hurt to have a drink or two.
“I’ll just sleep on it,” I thought as I got into bed.
The following morning, I was up at six. Steve and I met in the dining area, had our breakfast, and hired a cab to take us to the company where the meeting was being held.
By the time the meeting was done, we were so exhausted. We had woken up so early, yet the meeting started at 11 am and ended at 2 pm.
“Are you sure you don’t want to let loose?” Steve asked on the way back to the hotel.
I was so tired, but I felt like I needed a drink or two.
“We can go,” I replied.
“Okay, should we leave after dinner?” He asked.
“Yeah, that sounds okay,” I replied.
The cab driver listened in on our conversation, and he mentioned that it would be better to leave at 10 pm. I didn’t mind, and I assumed neither did Steve since it was his idea.
The evening went according to plan. We had dinner; then, we waited for an hour before heading out. Steve had googled and found a good club that was not so far from our hotel.
The night started slow and calm. Steve and I talked for a while about work and his experiences during other trips. I also shared my experiences, and we laughed about them. I didn’t want to drink much since I knew I was a lightweight. On the other hand, Steve was going all out; he ordered a whole bottle of whisky and finished it.
By the time it clocked midnight, I was helping my staggering colleague to walk while trying to order an Uber. Eventually, the guy arrived and helped me get Steve into the cab. I decided to sit beside him since he had started blacking out.
“Today is a good day, huh?” the driver asked.
I was so tired that I didn’t comprehend what he was trying to imply, so I just scoffed and kept quiet.
When we got to the hotel, I asked the driver to help me out with Steve. He refused and said that he would only help after I paid him. Since I didn’t want to argue, I gave him the money.
“What is this?” He asked in disgust.
“The money for the trip, ala!” I snapped.
“This isn’t the amount that I saw on the app,” He replied.
“I had a 20% discount,” I replied.
“No, you have to pay me the full amount,” He said angrily.
“I’m not paying a shilling more,” I replied.
“Then I’m not going to help you,” He said.
“Okay then, go!” I snapped.
He drove off like a mad man leaving me at the hotel’s entrance—one of the guards who saw the whole argument offered to help me get Steve up the stairs. I then managed to get him to his room and on the bed.
A while later, I left his room and went back to mine. I was beyond exhausted, so I just changed and got into bed.
The following day my phone rang. It was James.
“Hey babe, I’m at the hotel,” He said immediately after I picked up.
“What? Why?” I asked.
“I wanted to surprise you,” He said.
“Great, just as I was starting to enjoy my solitude,” I murmured.
“What?” He replied.
“Nothing; ask the lady at the service desk to direct you to my room,” I said.
I knew James had only come early to keep an eye on me. Anyway, I was still glad to see him.
He got to my room, and we talked for a while. I didn’t mention to him about the club part since I knew it would start drama.
Since I had missed breakfast, James and I went to a restaurant to eat. When it was time to return to the hotel, I requested an Uber. I wasn’t paying much attention to the app, so I didn’t realize that the driver I got was the one I had argued with the night before.
“Do you have an offer for today as well?” He asked in a bitter tone.
“When did you use an Uber?” James asked.
“Yesterday,” I replied as I looked out the window.
“Doesn’t your company pay for the cabs you use on a work trip?” He asked.
“I picked her and another man from the club yesterday night,” the driver responded.
“He was asking me please stay out of our conversation!” I snapped at him.
“That’s going to be difficult since you’re in my car!” He snapped back.
“What’s going on here? You went to a club with Steve?” James asked.
“Yes, we did; we had a long day yesterday. It’s not a big deal,” I replied.
“That’s not how it looked like yesterday.” the driver said.
“I thought I told you to stay out of this!” I snapped.
“Who knows what happened after I dropped you and that drunk man at the hotel?” The driver said.
“Nothing happened, I swear,” I said, looking at James.
“How am I supposed to believe you? We’re you even going to tell me?” James asked.
“Yes, eventually,” I replied.
“Oh! So never,” He snarled.
“You make a big deal out of small things. I just helped Steve get to his room,” I said.
“I can’t believe this!” James snapped.
The argument was so intense that I didn’t realize we had arrived at the hotel.
“Today, I want my money in full,” the driver said.
James paid for the Uber and stormed out of the car with my purse.
“I hope you know I’m giving you one star and reporting you for harassing me yesterday,” I said as I got out of the car.
“At least my relationship is still intact, unlike yours,” He said before driving off.
I went searching for James so we could talk things out. When I got to my room, he was nowhere to be seen, but my purse was on the bed and open. I went ahead to check what he took and heard the door being closed.
“James!” I called out, but he didn’t answer.
When I approached the door to see if he was outside, I realized he had locked the door. This was starting to get out of hand. I looked for my phone in my bag, and I couldn’t find it. He had probably taken it to find out which room Steve was in. Luckily the room had a telephone, so I called the service desk and explained that I was locked inside my room. They told me to wait as they sent someone to help.
The door was opened in a few minutes, and I rushed to Steve’s room. When I got there, Steve and James were fighting.
“James, stop!” I said to him.
James ignored me and kept punching Steve. Since I couldn’t stop the fight, I called the reception. They sent some people to the room to try and contain the situation.
“James, are you mad?” I asked him as I checked on Steve to see if he was okay.
“I’m so done with this!” He screamed before heading out.
I was also done with all this drama. Steve had to be rushed to the nearby hospital for a checkup. I was panicking because I didn’t know what I would tell my boss. By the time I returned to my room, James had packed his things and left.
The only relief I had was that he had left my phone on the bed. The days that followed ended up being heavy since I had to work and attend meetings alone. Steve communicated to our boss and informed him that he was not feeling well. I was so glad he didn’t mention what had happened.
During the staycation that James had booked, I ended up staying alone. I felt bad for how things had gone down. However, I was still happy that I got a vacation to help me let go of the anger.
Eventually, Steve got better, and we travelled back together. I apologized for what had happened and offered to pay him back the money he had used in the hospital. He refused and assured me it was okay since I took care of him when he was drunk. When I got home, James had packed his things and left. I tried to call him, but he never picked up my calls.
I decided to take a break from work to process all that had happened. My relationship would have been intact, and none of this could have happened if it wasn’t for that Uber driver. I kept my promise and reported him so that this would never happen to anyone else.
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