When I joined the cooperate world my main fear was my work never being good enough or my colleagues being toxic. Claire, my boss, was never really an issue because even though she was tough she always treated us with respect. In the five years I had spent learning and growing I had never experienced an issue until Jackson came along.
He worked as the Chief Finance Officer for his dad’s multi-millionaire company. Claire had spent so many years trying to talk business with his father but never got the chance to. Finally, after a long time, he decided to send his son. The minute he walked into the office everyone turned to look at him except for me.
Jackson commanded the room with his presence naturally. He wore the most expensive suits and fragrances; he was also very attractive. He walked directly to Claire’s office and shut the door. The two talked for hours and every time I would glance at her office, I could see them smiling. Jackson turned his head and looked directly at me. I quickly shifted my attention to my laptop and pretended to be busy.
A while later the two walked out and after shaking hands he left. Judging by Claire’s smile I assumed that all went well. Later in the evening, she called me to her office.
“Jackson has agreed to help me set up a meeting with his father,” She said.
“That’s great to hear!” I responded.
“Yes, it is, however, he needs me to go through a few things with him about what I intend to discuss with his father,” She said.
“Okay,” I replied wondering how this had anything to do with me.
“I need you to accompany me to a dinner I am having with him tomorrow and help me take notes,” She said.
“What about Veronica?” I asked.
“She won’t be available,” She replied.
“Okay, but what makes you think I will be available?” I thought to myself wondering how her assistant will be chilling at home as I do her work.
“Okay,” I replied before leaving and heading home.
The following day I left work early to physically and mentally prepare for dinner. Being a perfectionist, I knew that if anything went wrong, I wouldn’t forgive myself. Claire would also never forgive me given the fact that she had waited so long for this. By 6 pm I was done and already on my way to the restaurant. Immediately after I arrived Claire’s assistant who was chilling at home texted me and informed me that she would not be joining us.
“Great just great,” I said as I stepped out of the uber and tried to contain myself.
I walked into the restaurant and was surprised to find Jackson already seated at a booth waiting for me.
“Stay calm Faith, you’ve got this,” I thought as I walked confidently towards him and took a seat.
“Good evening, Faith,” He said with a smile.
“Good evening,” I responded shyly.
“You look stunning,” He said.
“Thank you. Should we order so we can talk about the details of the upcoming meeting?” I asked.
Jackson stared at me for a moment with a playful smirk which made me feel a little uncomfortable. Luckily the waiter approached us and handed us our menus. I took a minute to skim through the menu but before I could respond Jackson ordered on my behalf.
“Rude,” I whispered to myself.
“What was that?” He asked.
“Nothing,” I replied.
The waiter informed us the food would be ready in 30-40 minutes. During that time Jackson spent time flirting with me which seemed inappropriate given this was a business dinner. To avoid causing issues for the whole company I entertained it. The waiter finally came back with the food. As much as I hated that he ordered for me, the food was surprisingly good. Once we were done, Jackson turned from flirty to serious as we talked business. We spent two hours going through the details and I was glad that I had all the information I needed for Claire.
Checking my watch, I realized it was almost 10 pm and I had work the following morning.
“I have to head home,” I said.
“I would like to see you again and have a normal date sometime,” He responded.
“I don’t have a lot of free time,” I lied.
“Okay,” He said as he stood up.
We walked out of the restaurant together where he offered to give me a ride home, but I refused. By the time I got home, I had mixed feelings about Claire’s intentions for asking me to attend that dinner. However, she was still my boss, so I had no right to question her.
The next day when I got to work, I realized that everyone was staring at me which was odd until I saw a bouquet of roses on my desk. I opened the card and he had asked me out again even after the response I had given him.
“Faith, can I see you in my office?” Claire said as she walked to her office.
“Great now she’s going to think I was flirting with Jackson,” I thought as I followed her.
“I’m going to need you to go out with Jackson this Saturday,” She said calmly.
“What?” I asked in a confused tone.
“I need that meeting with his father and right now you’re all he seems to think about. So please I need you to go out with him,” She responded.
“Okay,” I said knowing that if I refused it would cost me my job let alone a business deal.
“Thank you and remember to keep him satisfied. We need this,” She said.
I walked out of her office wondering what she meant by that statement. Did she expect me to sleep with him if that’s what it took to get the meeting? The rest of the day went slowly since my thoughts were all over the place.
Finally, the week came to an end. On Saturday morning I woke up nervous but decided to keep it together hoping things would go smoothly. I arrived at the restaurant early since I already knew he would be there. In my mind, I had already planned out how the conversation would go based on our past dinner date. However, this time things went differently. He didn’t order for me and surprisingly I was the main focus of our conversation. By the end of our date what I hoped would be a night of horror turned out to be a great night.
This time I let him drop me home and he watched me walk to my door before leaving. I had never been a fan of wealthy men in their 30s, but he wasn’t all that bad. The following week he asked me on another date, and it became a frequent plan for us. The more I went on these dates the happier he was which meant Claire was also happy.
A month later he finally set up a meeting for her and things went well. By this time, I had already imagined Jackson and me dating since I had started to know him well. Luckily, he was on the same page and that was the beginning of an amazing relationship.
Jackson is used to the lavish life and never shied away from spoiling me even when he knew I was earning enough to maintain a good lifestyle. The more time we spent together the more my life changed in a way I had never imagined. As we got closer, he seemed a little possessive, but I didn’t mind since I didn’t have eyes for anyone else.
The problem started when Claire asked me to help out with the marketing department since the head of the department was sick. It was the only department that was full of men, and this didn’t sit well with Jackson. Every time he would come for a meeting or come to pick me up, I would see him staring at me angrily. Eventually, it started to affect his concentration which also affected his ability to carry out tasks that his father had assigned him.
Claire knew that it was a minor insecurity, but she couldn’t risk blaming him so instead she accused me of flirting which annoyed me. I in turn lashed out at Jackson since his petty jealousy was affecting my job. This started issues between us that with time started to reflect when we were at work. Jackson would disapprove of ideas including my own and yell during meetings. Knowing this didn’t sit well with her employees, Claire asked me to make amends with him to stop the madness.
Making amends meant accepting that I would always have to deal with petty jealousy which didn’t sit right with me. However, his behavior was affecting my job and people started blaming me, so I decided to swallow my pride and do it. From that day, Jackson had registered it in his mind that he can always control me since I couldn’t fight back. This allowed so much room for disrespect in our relationship.
I had become a dog and he was my master. He would have me followed everywhere and spend time in Claire’s office watching how I interacted with my colleagues. Anytime he would see me laughing or sitting close to a male colleague he would call or interrupt my meetings physically. The more we worked together the more I became hated at work. Outside work was even worse since I couldn’t hang out with my friends. As long as their boyfriends were around that was a no from Jackson.
Slowly I found myself sinking mentally since I couldn’t leave him. His presence was keeping Claire happy and my job in place. The months went by, and Jackson went from stressing me out at work to flirting with other women. His excuse became since I was not giving him the vibe, I had in the beginning he would get it from other women. The hate turned to gossip which made me feel even worse.
I decided it was finally time to talk to Claire and let her know that this was becoming overwhelming for me. My thought was she would understand me from an emotional level but to my shock, she told me to hang in there. She had worked hard for this and couldn’t watch it go away because of my feelings. At that very moment, I realized that this would always be my burden to carry, and this wasn’t even my company.
I walked out of her office grabbed my essentials and left. Jackson was too busy flirting to notice which was a relief for me. I knew he wouldn’t bother coming home so I gathered my things and went back to my place. The next day I decided to go stay with my sister where nobody would find me. I put my phone on airplane mode and decided to shut out the world as I figured out my next move. What I knew for certain was I never wanted to see Jackson or anyone from that company ever again.
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