“You should be a bad boy,” Sharon had said. Then, casually, she had walked away. I had wanted to jump up and follow her to find out what the heck she meant by that. Instead, I just stared after her blankly, my train of thought momentarily scrambled.
The way she had said it clearly implied that anything was possible between us. I was sorry to disappoint her. She was gorgeous in a sexy, feral way. A bad girl. Yet, I was somewhat relieved.
I suppose I should explain. At the back of my mind, as I watched her derriere disappear around the corridor, was the vague notion that it was time I made an honest woman of the mother of my little toddler.
“Bite the bullet,” my very unimpressed old man had bellowed over the phone. “Or set her free man!”
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I bit the bullet. Hot meals, sex on tap, consumption of less booze and more vegetables would make anyone healthy. I got healthy. A visit to the bouncing castle every other Sunday can make anyone happy. I was happy. I was beginning to save money rather than blow it. I was even thinking of buying a piece of land, becoming a landowner somewhere and getting a few cows. The good life was beckoning.
Then one short year later the dream imploded spectacularly. Now here I was, all alone in the kitchen, staring at my fingers, which had gotten singed as I attempted to make myself breakfast (coffee, laced with Tennessee Bourbon whisky and eggs).
A month ago I would have had company for breakfast. A month ago things like diapers existed in my shopping list. A month ago I would be taking tea with toast and some ham, maybe. Now here I was, wallowing in failure, nursing singed fingers and a mild hangover, the words “you should be a bad boy echoing around in my head”.
Then the phone rang. I stared at the number and thought I was going bananas. Members of the board don’t usually call junior managers. Heck they don’t even call senior managers.
Ten minutes later I was on the road to the head office. As I sped down the highway my whisky addled mind played back the weird conversation I had just had with the powerful lady. Get to the office immediately! I had been ordered in no uncertain terms.
At the reception, I found a note telling me I was expected in the executive boardroom. So I strolled down the corridor, trying to act cool, took a left and walked through the doors. I expected to find the entire board waiting for me with angry looks.
I was mildly aware I had been slacking off on the job. As a consequence, the company had suffered a mild PR disaster recently, directly involving a director. Frankly, the sack would not be a shock if it came.
I walked through the doors and found the power lady seated at the head of the table. She was alone. And she was smiling.