Being a fresh graduate is usually exciting and scary at the same time. You are starting adulting properly and getting to experience the real world of bills, living alone and building a career. The major problem usually comes in when you start job hunting and wonder how your parents managed to move through their adult years.
Daphne was among the luckiest of her peers. Two months after graduation, her uncle pulled some strings and got her a job at one of his friend’s companies. She was offered a slot most interns in the company had only dreamed of having, and her salary was more than enough to cover all her expenses. However, she was working in a department that was male-dominated, which made it hard for her to be taken seriously, especially during meetings.
Every day she would watch her colleagues talk about which women in the company had the best and worst looks without shame. Since this was her first job, she decided to focus on her work since that was her primary purpose of being there. She also knew that if she spoke up, they would also end up judging her.
The only man who was mature in the department was William. Unlike the rest of the men, he only engaged in work conversations or when they talked about sports. Daphne admired him from the moment she started working at the company mainly because of his looks. Finding out he was also mature made her like him even more. However, she knew it was just a crush that would fade away since William had never spoken to her.
Day in and day out, Daphne would deal with the same issues. During girls’ night, she would spend time venting about work, and her friends would keep encouraging her to stand up for herself. After countless meetings of being overlooked, she finally decided to take a stand and pitch her ideas without letting anyone talk over her or interrupt her.
On the day of the meeting, she dressed well, applied makeup and spent an hour in front of the mirror telling herself she was just as smart as the rest. When she got to the office, she walked confidently into the meeting with her documents and sat down. As her colleagues walked in, William took a seat next to her, and she noticed him glancing at her occasionally.
She was calm outside, but inside she felt like melting. Her boss walked in, and Daphne took the opportunity to let him know that she wanted to share some ideas. As usual, she immediately started talking; some of her colleagues started interrupting her; before she could shut them up, William told them to do so, which surprised her.
Her colleagues also seemed surprised since he rarely spoke at meetings. They remained silent and let her finish her pitches. Once the meeting was over, she followed him to thank him, and he also applauded her ideas which made her happy. She was glad to be at her workplace for the first time in a long time.
In the days that followed, William didn’t speak to her, which disappointed her, but again, she knew that standing up didn’t necessarily mean that he liked her. So, she went on with her days as usual. On a random Friday, William approached her during lunch and asked her if they could go out to eat. She was shocked, and so were her colleagues, but this was an exciting moment for her, so she accepted.
They went to a restaurant near the office. William took the opportunity to get to know her, and she also asked him a few questions about himself. Their conversation took up the whole lunch hour, and by the time they returned to work, Daphne was mesmerized by him.
Every day since the two would go for lunch, the more time they spent together, the more she realized how much she wanted to be his girlfriend. Their lunch dates led to weekend movie dates, bowling, and other activities. With time the whole office assumed they were dating, and so did she. Although the two had never actually made it official.
Two months later, Daphne was promoted and was so excited she couldn’t wait to tell William. During their lunch break, they went for lunch together as usual.
“Guess who got promoted?” She asked as they sat down.
William remained silent as he scrolled through his phone.
“William? Are you listening to me?” She asked in disappointment.
William put the phone down and looked at her.
“Sorry, I’m trying to find a good apartment,” He replied.
“Oh, are you moving?” She asked.
“Yeah, the company wants me to move to their main branch,” He replied.
“Oh, so you’re moving to a new town,” She said, trying to hide her disappointment.
“Yeah, unfortunately, and I don’t know where to start. I hate moving; there’s always so much to do,” He said.
“I can help you move,” She said.
“You’re the best; I don’t know what I would do without you,” William said with a smile.
Even though they had never made it official, that statement proved that he liked her and loved spending time with her, which was exactly the definition of a relationship in her books.
William had only two weeks left, so they had to maximize their time together. Although Daphne knew that their bond was strong enough, the distance was not an issue, and since they were both adults, it would be easy to make plans to see each other. She took a few days off and helped William look for an apartment. Once they settled on one, she helped him pack up his stuff, and they left.
During the ride, all she could think about was how she would have to spend the lunch breaks alone and how she would miss their hangouts. For once, she had gotten a man who loved spending time with her; now, he was going. The ride was silent, and she assumed that William also had the same feelings she had.
The ride took three hours, and once they got to his new place, William received a call and stepped outside. Daphne decided to start cleaning, and by the time she was done, he was still on the call, so she started arranging a few things.
His call took longer than usual, but she didn’t suspect anything since she assumed it was work based or a family member. She moved what she could inside and left the rest for him to carry once he was done. By the end of the day, his house was all set and clean. William looked at his watch and realized it was getting late and asked her to stay since travelling at night was not safe.
They ordered takeout and spent part of the night talking and drinking. When the drinks started to kick in, Daphne kissed William, which surprised him, but he didn’t pull back. The two ended up being intimate and blacked out. The following morning, Daphne woke up with a hangover but full of happiness since now she was sure their relationship was solid.
She got out of bed, freshened up and ordered an uber to take her to a café to get breakfast since she knew there was nothing in the house. By the time she got back, William was already up and dressed. As they had breakfast, Daphne noticed that William was not talking to her and was avoiding eye contact.
“Are you okay?” She asked.
“Yeah, sure, finish up so I can drop you at the bus station,” He replied.
Daphne wondered whether he regretted what had happened the night before.
“Is this about last night?” She asked.
“No, I’m just exhausted. Yesterday was a long day.” He replied.
Daphne didn’t buy it, but she didn’t ask questions since she wasn’t in the mood for an argument. They finished eating, and William dropped her off at the bus station. She expected him to hug or kiss her goodbye, but instead, he told her to travel safely and left.
The journey back seemed longer as she wondered what made him react like that towards her. Upon getting home, she texted William to let him know that she had arrived safely, but he didn’t respond. A few hours later, she tried to call him, but he didn’t pick up, so she assumed he was busy and would reach out later.
The following day, she checked her WhatsApp and realized he had read her text but didn’t respond. She knew this had to do with them sleeping together, but she wished he could tell her so they could talk about it. The silence continued for a week; it was all she could think about.
During one of her lunch breaks, she heard her colleagues talking about how William had posted a photo with a woman who deserved to be on the front page of a magazine. She quickly opened her Instagram, checked out his page, and saw the post. William had posted a picture with a woman outside his apartment with the caption, “Three years going strong”, and a love heart emoji.
Daphne had so many questions but seeing that caption made her realize that William had never asked her to be his girlfriend. She couldn’t believe that her feelings had misled her to the extent of being a self-appointed girlfriend. What made the matter worse was he had slept with her knowing he had a girlfriend. She had helped him cheat on someone, which would weigh down on her conscious forever.
Deep down, Daphne wanted to go to his place and yell at him. However, she knew that it would have made her look like an obsessed fool, so she let it go. It was a lesson she needed to learn through experience.
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