“Well, I’m sure that person didn’t do it on purpose, did they?” I replied, not sure what his reaction would be. I tried to be positive though. And tried to cool off the tension a little. “At least I bet the coffee was good”.
At least I bet the coffee was good? What the fuck, Sophia… wake up!
Ryan didn’t buy my shit. “Could've been better with the right company”.
He left my slight office right after that, leaving me as a speechless mess staring at the door, now closed after he left. I know I could have just said the truth and tell him I didn’t read the email, hence I woke up too late to even think of going for a coffee with him.
Reminding my coffee was right on the table, I turned around and took it, realizing it was still boiling hot and took a sip, mentally thanking God for its invention and the good taste. I enjoyed my moment since it was early and people still haven’t arrived. I frowned, checking the schedule on my table while sitting, leaving my coffee aside for a moment.
I had a lot of contracts to check, people to call, and just thinking about it was making me sleepy. I gulped the rest of my coffee and sighed, turning on the computer and quickly checking my emails.
One caught my attention.
From: Ryan Nelson (Nelson Associates)
To: Sophia Godfrey
Since we couldn’t do the coffee, what about lunch? Plus, we need to discuss the project I told you to check on the weekend. The job is yours if you want it.
CEO and founder of Nelson’s Associates
I blinked swiftly a few times after reading. I still wasn’t sure if I should accept or reject it. Checking the time, I had about three hours to think about it, so I replied to his email, knowing perfectly Human Resources had access to all the emails sent from and to everybody working in this building.
From: Sophia Godfrey
To: Ryan Nelson (Nelson’s Associates)
Lunch is fine. And my decision on the project is yet to be made.
And it was sent. I sneakily looked at him through the clear walls to see his reaction, but he was talking on the phone and frowning. I couldn’t take my eyes off him; the way he determinedly grabbed the pen just to take notes on something the other person on the line was saying… The way his lips moved while speaking and-
“Sophia,” Richard, one of my superiors and the seniors knocked on my crystal door, catching my attention instantly. Thankfully, nobody here could ever notice the way I was looking at Ryan since the big size of the screen of the computer was in the middle. “Have you called the Robertsons?”
I tried to think as fast as I could. “Yes, I called them last Friday and told them their papers are nearly ready to sign. I’ll send them in a bit and I expect to have the signs tomorrow at the latest.”
He nodded his head approvingly. “Perfect, keep working as hard as you’re doing now and you’ll be in my position in two years. Excellent work.” He left without giving me a chance to even say thank you.
But his words comforted me. When I first started working here, I was told how ruthless he was, but he has been like a father to me in this month I have worked here so far. Always giving me useful advice, praising my work. And a couple of weeks ago I found out he was retiring soon, which I understood perfectly. I would do the same.
I completely forgot about Ryan and everything as I focused on my duties, I didn’t even notice it was nearly lunchtime and everyone was leaving until another knock on my door, which was always open, and when I looked up ready to fight whoever interrupted my magnificent work, but Ryan’s smile distracted me and stopped right there on my tracks and stared at him like an idiot.
“Ready?” He just asked, and I nodded silently, putting the computer on suspend mode so when I came back all the files would be as I left them and wouldn’t have to start all over again.
I got up, stretching after the hours sitting and quickly grabbed my bag and purse and signaled him to go ahead and I went behind him. We were in silence while we headed to the elevator of the building and the silence surrounded us until we were stepping out in the busy and noisy streets, making me miss the silence inside the building and the air conditioner.
“Where do you want to go?” He asked suddenly, breaking the ice.
I just shrugged. “I don’t care, I just know I’m hungry.” I was completely honest. I felt like eating anything I found right now and was not ashamed to say it.
He chuckled at my sincere comment. “Fine, then we’ll go to this new restaurant. Their dishes are big enough to calm a horse for a few hours”. I lifted my eyebrows at his simile. I blushed, realizing I maybe was too raw for him. I knew the women in his life were classier than I was being right now. I bet all of them ordered salads they didn’t eat when they went out with him. “I never took you as a big eater, I thought you were one of those women who just ordered salads and never eats them, you know, I have never seen you eat in the office, just drink coffee like a maniac”.
I laughed a bit too loudly because I was just thinking the same about the women in his life just brief moments before. “That’s a nice joke right there, sir. No, I just go to the gym a lot so I can allow myself to eat as much as I do. And what can I say? I love coffee.”
He looked at me with an enormous grin on his face. “I’m glad to hear that. Taxi, or shall we walk?” He changed subjects quite quickly.
“Definitely I prefer to walk, you?” I asked in return what his preference was, I didn’t want to seem the one taking control. I didn’t even know if that restaurant he mentioned was too far away from here or not. “That way I get hungrier there, you said the dishes were big, right?”
He laughed, taking the phone out of his pocket and calling. “As you like, I already made a reservation, so that’s no problem.”
I nodded. We just were walking for like five minutes and the conversation was nice so I got disappointed when he said we had arrived. Looking around while entering the not so big restaurant, I was astonished by the good ornamentation and delightful piano music that allowed our ears to rest from the insane noise in the streets.
Ryan led me to one table that seemed to be more hidden from the perspective of the entrance and I got slightly uncomfortable. Once we were sitting, I placed my stuff where I could see it and proceed to fold my hands, while looking at him while we were waiting for the waitress to make our orders.
“Did you think about the promotion and everything related to the project?” Ryan broke the ice once again, and I internally thanked him for doing so. I turned around lightly to grab the files that were in my bag and I placed them on the table, opening them to check the specific point I wanted to discuss.
“I see it's time to break out the big guns, isn’t it?” He inspected me cautiously, maybe waiting for my question and inquiry.
“Aha,” I confirmed him while still searching, it had to be in this page, I was sure “and… here it is. It says and I quote «this agreement is drafted with terms intended to be reasonable and that can be adapted to a particular transaction, hence the agreement would include a promotion for the employee»”. I read that aloud for Ryan and I looked at him just to make sure he was paying attention to me and in case he had anything to say.
“What’s the problem with that exactly, again?” He questioned. I snorted.
“Mr. Nelson, we both know a promotion would mean I would become your personal assistant, and, as I said in my email, I’m well aware of my value as a lawyer. And as much as I would love a salary increase, I’m not keen o giving up my position.”
He took in my words and stared at me.
“Nobody mentioned anything about giving up on your position, Sophia. If that worries you, hand me the files and I will change it, but that clause is intended to say you’re keeping your position as a lawyer while adding some other duties for this project.” He explained himself. “Is that all?” He asked. I was speechlessly digesting the information he just threw at me.
I tried to think fast… other points? There was something I couldn’t put my finger on right now… Ah, yes.
“What is this project for you to have it so secretly hidden from the rest of the employees? And why did you think I was the right person to trust this with?”
Thank you for reading!