A young executive was nervously biting her nails… her much-awaited promotion came at a price. In the past one year she had slogged hard, working late into the nights, completing presentations and reports, missing out on sleep and what not. She had a tough start, what with not being an MBA from the IVY league of colleges and a woman at that, she knew had to impress.
She reported to work on time, worked on holidays as well. No relationships, no social-dos apart from the office parties and meetings. She had missed her best friend’s nuptials too. All this sacrifice to only climb up the corporate ladder, a much-deserved promotion and a great pay check; this is what her life had been about since the day she started working here.
God knows how difficult it had been to stave off distractors, especially the guy who sat just opposite her cubicle. There had been a few smiles, stolen glances, chance meetings at the coffee machines. He was nice, nope, he was hot! Lust worthy. How she wished he would ask her out! She was nice looking too - medium height, but slim and wavy hair falling well behind her shoulders. She knew he was single and had a thing for her. Rumours or speculations about romances spread fast. But rumours can do a lot more…
In her quest to get to the top, she had to work closely with her immediate superior. He was a good looking guy too. He was smart, immaculate and meticulous too. Over the months she had come to respect him. And for this respect, she defended him too in front of her colleagues. Whenever she did so, people just smirked and the conversation came to a halt. Well, they were simply jealous of his achievements she had concluded. Little did she know what the smirk actually meant…
It was the night of the Annual office party, held at one of the best five star hotels in the city. Just the other day her crush had accidently or not, mentioned that he loved red. Now with this little piece of information, she made sure she turned up in red. He had smiled when he noticed her but he was busy with his group. She had caught the twinkle in his eye from across the room and blushed from top to toe. It had been promising and she had decided she would ask him out if he didn’t do it tonight.
But life had other plans. Just as she was recovering her boss walked up to her and asked her for a dance. This was a social norm and she agreed. Talking his hand, she stepped onto the dance floor. It was a formal do and they danced in the ballroom fashion. Soon she realised he was pitch drunk. His hand held her waist a little too tightly for her comfort. Yet, she complied. Soon his hand tried to grab her butt and she overstepped his foot. Excusing herself, she stepped down and walked towards the gallery. Her crush spotted her heading that way and he followed. But her boss got there sooner.
She had stepped out in the open to gather her thoughts. She was pacifying herself that he only did so because he was drunk. He would recover…just then the boss stormed in and forced her into his arms. Before she could say or do something, he had kissed her full on the mouth. What was worse that her crush had to witness this. He just walked away muttering an apology for interrupting.
She was horrified. This was her boss. Pushing him aside she reasoned with him that she was his colleague and it was wrong. But the drunken man was not let off easily. She stopped her.
“I thought you wanted your promotion…”
“Then this is a part of the bargain!”
“What? Rubbish…I have worked hard all these months and I deserve it!”
“Ha! Really, you think you do? Just hard work isn't going to get you anywhere. Your work is good but if you want your due you better come home with me tonight and we can discuss your future”
She was shocked beyond words and walked out of the party. She had noticed the hurt look her crush had…
“Natasha…” her boss called breaking her chain of thoughts. “I thought I asked you to come to my cabin,” he said as he walked to her cubicle. He was louder today. A menacing look on his face. She prayed for knees to support her. He lowered his head into her cubicle, trying to get as close to her, “we have to discuss your future…”
This was it. It was the last straw. On one had there was this promotion and this lecherous man, and on the other, there was her integrity. “Oowwwww,” her boss let out an anguishing yelp. “You bitch you burnt my face! You will pay for this…”
Yes. She would pay for this and a lot more. She had decided she would quit and the scalding hot cuppa of coffee splashed on his face only made it worth it. She would not let go of her integrity.
Leaving a room full of shocked colleagues and a much burnt ass of a boss, she gracefully walked herself to the HR’s cabin.